Dead Head (The Halcyon Days?)

The Anthropocene, characterised by the human influence on climate change and environmental degradation, correlates human activities and planetary transformation.

Long in making the utopia of production and consumption, abounds materialisation of concepts and thoughts, fears and expectations of personal status; a manifestation of power through the control over the appearance and disappearance of contents.

The rain fell in a steady drizzle, tapping against the windowpanes like a thousand tiny fingers. He sat there, huddled in his coat, watching the world goes by. The streets were empty, held for the occasional stray dog or homeless person huddled in a doorway. The hum of fluorescent lights was the only sound in the small, sparsely furnished room. The walls were barren, saved for a single poster advertising an obscure art exhibit. The air was thick with the smell of stale cigarettes and cheap spirits. A small window looked out onto a desolate landscape where nothing stirred.

–What are you doing? –I am aimlessly dragging around leftovers, a giant anthropogenic melting pot, scrapped vessel, voided object shuffled through various entities across generations and places, and competing approaches of implied aesthetics.

In the 1980s, a decade since the emergence of Interactive Fiction in which players use text to control virtual characters and environments, the sociocultural institutions that formed the backdrop of my upbringing were visually linked, in my mind, with an infinite array of spittoons; thus, Incising the institutions’ relentless efforts to mould reality according to their utopian five-year plans, revealing much about the spatial arrangements of (bio)cultural hegemony.

Day in and day out: interweaving threads of cultural curation, speciesism, and societal norms converge into a convoluted matrix perpetuated by the domination of ideological and corporate power structures, engendering all-encompassing institutionalisation of life.

We produce trails that align with the inventorial of enhancing and maintaining extraction, containing and containment –all merging and morphing in a cacophony of degradation and annihilation that eventually joins, mutates and transforms us and our surroundings.

Obsessive randomness of hookingto artefacts from the past, as if in a magical twist, will cause our insufficiencies of the present to resolve by themselves.

Whatever we make, whatever we touch, purchase, wear, or own; we often shouldn’t have to hold onto it. While it is perhaps a good idea to try and use as many of the items we own, we frantically clasp into all the things we have around the house that we would never use.

We taste the acrid bodily saliva of data segmentation as technological advancements such as tokenisation (now mirrored in its virtual form in the field of (HPC) Machine-learning –pseudo-rebranded as AI) make art without humans a tangible reality, signifying a trending shift towards cyber-authoritarianism.

The insidious proliferation of visual pollution and the impending threat of extinction, coupled with the ever-encroaching digital hoarding, have all been meticulously categorised under the banner of taxonomy, a strategy born out of the Cold War’s vision of a statistical-based computational future. In the ecology of war (as in the Russian invasion of Ukraine), the scourge of collective narcissism and hedonistic speciesism persists like a relentless, unforgiving tide, leaving a barren and desolated landscape of decay in its wake.

On the interplay of the user and provider (impersonating the 251.9 million years old Permian–Triassic extinction event):

One of the blueprints of the perverse pleasure of voyeurism and its insidious role in creating a “biosecurity [conceivably a techno-genocidal-ecocidal] state” is the PRC’s profiling of Tibetans and hoarding their DNA in a biological database while leveraging advanced surveillance technologies to maintain a tight grip on the population. How gratifying? –the collective obsession with peering into the private lives of others is being put to such good use; It’s almost as if the dystopian nightmares of Orwell and Huxley have been fused in a terrifying vision of our not-so-distant future.

As insatiable hunger for technological gain consumes the collective consciousness, and the aestheticised spectacle of art plays out in the foreground, a troubling stream of uncanny bodily fluids discharges from the political/ideological and corporate exceptionalism towards the Earth and beyond its atmosphere, all while the ruthless efficiency of extraction (in re the Lithium Triangle and Cobalt mines of Congo; the reckless industrialised farming, slaughtering 76 billion land animals a year; mass-burning of hydrocarbon of fossilised corpses) fuels the daydreaming of the monopolistic topia(s) of the small and ample powers of the day.

By the end of WWII, the Radio-plane Company in California produced almost 15,000 radio-controlled “drones” (UAV), and a decade on occurred the Soviet launch of Sputnik, nodding dawn of an era where Earth and Space Surveillance became a dominant force in shaping our surrounding, transcending geographical boundaries and affirming itself as a ubiquitous high-tech Panopticon. Were – infra-causation – a dynamically shifting osmosis of ever-augmenting blueprint of military and civil aircraft expenditure overlaps the drought zones (aridity isohyets line) and the most [by 2014] drone-monitored and targeted areas in the world, for instance. Over the past century, the very experience of flying has shifted once again –from those in the air to those on the ground. The virtuality of being aloft is no longer a product of our imaginative faculties but rather a byproduct of machine representation of past or simultaneous events. The age of ubiquitous surveillance and virtual representation has fundamentally reconfigured our understanding of space and time, forcing us to revise the implications for our sense of self and the nature of reality.

Yet, the fascinating interplay between user and provider, where the domains of art, sexism, speciesism, and climate change collide in a complex web of power dynamics –shaping relationships and wield control over the interpretation of narratives, as well as the exploitation of other species and degradation of the environment– in a subtle yet potent expression of authority and submission.

Interdependence and infra-causation form the nitty-gritty of the complex web of relationships between living organisms and their environments, where every entity is intimately intertwined with one another, and every action, no matter how small, resonates like a wave, rippling through the delicate balance of an ecosystem.

Recalling drum shots, water vapour, haunting objectives breathing in your neck, open-endianness, loss leader, probability distribution, divergence<>convergence, nitrogen fixation, precarity, self-domestication, construction, previously vacant ex-bouts of brevity describing broken eyes –by night, it would burst into frantic hallucinating dance off any ceiling.

Indeed: In spite of what many proudly call themselves, much much more are swallowed by epic black litter expanses washing out across land-like stretches of any and all holes, trenches, arroyos, shaws, ravines through rocks –no more widening microscopic fields and ploughing among stores of takeaways; from hoarding to imaginative design engineering, traversing a terrain of informal visual preservation schemes, intimate knowledge is remoulded through bio-sensitive diagonal legwork arcs and blind cuts gently transplanted within self-established aesthetic practices.

A containment is never complete. Even the most sophisticated vessels are prone to leaks and breaches, letting the extracted substances escape and interact with the world around them in unpredictable ways. Everything we do, no matter what, inevitably will become part of the ‘problem’ that irritates us in the first place.

 

 

 Kiril Kuzmanov (note excerpts 2007 – 2022)

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  1. Memory is a fickle, constantly shifting landscape that we can never quite pin down. We try to hold onto our past selves, to remember who we were and where we came from, but the more we try, the more we realise that memory is more fiction than fact. We construct narratives of our lives, stitching fragments of memory into a cohesive whole. But in doing so, we inevitably leave out the messy, inconvenient details that don’t fit the narrative. We devise a version of ourselves that we can live with, a version that makes sense to us and others. And yet, beneath the surface, there is always the nagging sense that we are missing something, that we are not quite whole –a puzzling, haunting feeling, a sense of loss.

 

  • Dead HeadIn metal casting, adding empty spaces in the mould intentionally slows down the solidification and crystallization of the cast. The leftover parts, called Dead Heads, are unnecessary remnants of the original shape and serve no economic or cultural purpose. These remnants are melted again for reuse, representing an excess byproduct that is only related to the material and energy consumption requirements of the production process.

 

© Kiril Kuzmanov