Archive for May, 2015

Performance Art

May 13, 2015

Many people are mystified by performance art. Art traditionally has been interpreted as “representational”. Subject matter is represented for interpretation. The representation can be one of an illustration, design, literal narrative in words, 3D model, photograph, etc. Today much subject matter is “performed” rather than “represented.” In this manner, rather than get a third hand account (the representation) that can be lost in translation, the actual subject matter is given directly in performance, how it actually works in real time.

TPP anyone? That’s Trans Pacific Partnership to you, partner. What’s it all about? Chief executive of the executive committee negotiating this agreement says we don’t need to know, too complicated and nuanced. Besides, B. Rock’s Trade Agreement Liquidators truckload sale guarantees the deal to be “what’s best for the American people.” Congress person Pat Tiberi stopped by Screen Machine Industries Incorporated in Etna township recently to actually perform what the TPP is (Congressman Tiberi discusses trade during local tour, Chad Klimack, The Newark Advocate, 5-11-15). Though not a member of the executive committee with direct knowledge of what the agreement actually involves, the Ohio 12th District representative is a card carrying promoter. Screen Machine Industries itself has a long history of association with the executive committee, providing the backdrops for chief exec wannabees like M. Romney or J. Kasich, as well as wannabees only a heartbeat away . The trade agreement performance trotted out not only the jobs and jobs creator oratory but also the curative power of global trade with its good-for–what-ails-you elixir (“Steve Cohen [corporate president] told Tiberi that Screen Machine survived the recession through foreign sales.”). The TPP and the visit itself are cloaked in secrecy (“A roundtable discussion between Tiberi and central Ohio employers regarding how the passage of Trade Promotion Authority laws and the two proposed foreign trade agreements would impact their businesses was not open to the media.”). And like the TPP, Screen Machine Industries Inc. behind the scenes machinations with Etna Township are likewise secret, matters to be seen (but not noted) exclusively by members of the executive committee. Back in 2013 Etna Township local elected government looked to address infrastructure repair and improvement through the creation of a JEDZ that included the land upon which doth dwell the SCOTUS designated person of the corporation, Screen Machine Industries. Any final proposal would have needed to appear before the Etna electorate in some form or other. Cheri Hottinger of the Licking County Chamber, along with her colleague Dan Evers of Grow Licking County, actively and vigorously opposed and berated the trustees for daring to perform such self-rule. The corporate “persons” of this proposed JEDZ would have no vote. Acting with the speed of business, Cheri’s husband Jay, along with his legislative counterparts, outlawed such self-rule (see this blog’s 12-25-13 posting We The People). (““That’s what this is all about.” Said Tiberi”) The performance of the TPP as good for business went exactly as scripted in advance (“Tiberi said the proposed TPP and T-TIP could help companies such as the Screen Machine access new markets, creating more than 1 billion potential new customers.”). The jobs creators sit on the executive committee; corporate persons in terms of partnership, exceptions in terms of community obligations (tax breaks, incentives, credits and abatements while in the face of needed infrastructure maintenance and repair expected to be financed by the community). The magic act performance of the TPP, like the Chamber/Grow Licking County/Screen Machine Industries relationship, will never be disclosed. It is the current growing model and trend (embodied in JobsOhio) that business relations, especially those of public private partnership, be in secret, undisclosed with access allowed only to those on the executive committee (which the TPP creates on a global scale). These secret public private partnerships, whether local or global, all have one thing in common: corporations amass wealth while communities pay. Thank you congress person Tiberi for performing the Trans Pacific Partnership. No one could have done it better. “That’s what this is all about.”

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Form Into A Body

May 6, 2015

On his weekly radio broadcast, Le Show, Harry Shearer sometimes refers to what he calls “the grand experiment.” Sure, manufacturers say their research shows their product to be perfectly safe for the individual human (when used as directed) but, according to Shearer, it’s anyone’s guess when combined with other products. Someone taking that Aleve to get through the day, inhaling petroleum fumes while fueling up, getting industrial strength cleanser on their hands from the store counter, ingesting some glyphosate overspray on their salad (with preservatives), etc. what then? This happens daily. The cumulative effect of continuous exposure/ingestion of multiple synthetic manufactured chemical compounds…. What? As Reich pointed out, public private partnership makes for less and less ability to study this.

Analysis finds this experiment to pale in comparison with the truly grand experiment currently playing out in California (“as we speak”). After years of drought, the water is running out. The experiment is not whether folks can live without water or how they will manage/solve the problem. The experiment is whether contemporary American culture can actually refocus and organize around the common good. Analysis (as well as others) has repeatedly shown that capitalism (from its inception) has been about the elimination of “the commons.” Privatization as a priority within the strategy of conservative governance is no accident or coincidence. Likewise, with only 7% of working Americans within the private sector organized as unions (15% if you include public employees), organizing, the ability to bring an equitable like minded affiliation of people together over a common concern, is actively disparaged and demeaned today. Right out of the box the grand experiment in California faces severe fundamental challenges. The state has always been like the torch on the statue of liberty. California has been the beacon of fulfilling personal pursuits and desires, the highlight of liberty. It is curious as to whether these can be set aside, deferred for the common good. Water is pretty much fundamental to life (prior to the pursuit of happiness). By nature, it slips through the grasping fingers of capitalist appropriation by being oh, so very common.

What does all that have to do with Newark? Newark itself is undergoing a grand experiment. Like Los Angeles, Newark has a large footprint. East to west the city spans 8 miles, north to south 6. All that for a city of nominally 50,000. This weekend witnessed an ostensible community event. Whose community? The community was ostensibly Newark. The existence of such a huge footprint (and growing “as we speak”) for such a small populace complicates any notion of community amidst the pursuit of happiness and individual desire. What event? Notably lacking in the city’s only daily paper (the Newark Advocate) was any mention or coverage of the Newark FAMFEST that had taken place over the weekend. Billed as a “community festival” in the many carefully orchestrated press releases prior to the event, its actual occurrence was never reported. For what purpose? Ostensibly the event was a celebration of the plethora of various cultural phenomena, talent, skill, and art capacity within the “Newark community” (“Shortly after Chris Ramsey arrived in Newark, someone told him there wasn’t really an art scene in the area. It didn’t take him long to realize that person was wrong. Ramsey said he meets local artists every day, whether he’s working at Sparta Restaurant and Coffee Shop or spending time with students at Newark High School. He’s hoping local artists of all ages, and community members who support them, will spend the weekend in downtown Newark participating in FAMFEST, a new festival focused on local film, art and music. “ FAMFEST to celebrate local art scene, Anna Jeffries 4-28-15, The Newark Advocate). The amazing abilities certainly were on display, but there was no, zip, nada post event coverage or critique by a paper that was only all too eager to promote the event (the actual event itself was not news?). Another ostensible purpose of the event was to “get people downtown.” Analysis finds this to be complicated at the least, disingenuous at the most given the displacement of the previously thriving Newark farmers market from the downtown way out to the fringes of Marne (“The market grew every year” Farmers Market Moving, Anna Jeffries 5-5-15, The Newark Advocate). Analogous to California, Newark is immediately challenged by the two fundamentals of organizing and commons. These mutually implicate each other. Corporate structure is not identical with community. It excludes commonality within a hierarchical structuring. According to SCOTUS, a corporation is an entity existing solely in contemplation of the law. Corporation stems from the Latin root word “corporatus” (“form into a body”). The words “Community,” “Commons” stem from a different root, the Latin “communis” (and retain the original meaning). Exemplary of Newark’s grand experiment, this year’s unreported Newark FAMFEST turned out to be a corporate event with community aspirations.