News from the Fauxist International

The first source for Activist Dissolution & Pl-Plagiarism®

Upcoming Publications on NFTFI

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on February 25, 2011

Exciting New & Upcoming Publications from

Fauxist International Contributors and Sources

in Early 2011.

Stay Tuned.

New in the Fauxist Cryptozoology & Military Cryptogeography Series:

(For existing work in this series, see for example: “Bigfoot Found On Mars! The Spatio-Visual Politics of Cryptozoology,Military Cryptogeography, & Space Archaeology“, “‘Out of Time, Place, Scale’: Cryptozoology & Neocolonialism“, “Yearning for (re)animate Nature: Faunal Colonialism in Cryptozoology and the Case of the Thylacine”, “Exo-conservation narratives & The Environmental Apocalypse“, “Cinematic Dinosaurs & the Apocalyptic Extinction Genre“)

Animatronic Amputees in Mock-Afghanistanian Mud: Military Simulation-Urbanism, Cultural-Performance & the Future of Global Warfare.”

CONTENTS: 

The rise of Mock/Sim-Villages: Global Training Facilities; “Architectural ornament as target criteria”: The Arab City in Orientalist Imaginary; The Future is Slum Wars; Employing Diasporas in Diplomacy;’Amputees in Action’: Makeup & Amputees (Video Collection);Global War-Games and the city: Meta-MOUT’s;

“The PlayStation to beat all PlayStations”: Telepresence Architecture; “All but war is simulation”: MIME-NET; Blurring the Base: A Typology of Military Performance in ‘civilian’ space.

Chupacabra in Chernobyl! The Hunt for a Global Cryptid through Border Politics, Psychosis-Architecture & Military Cryptogeography”.

Contents: The History and Biopolitics of Chupacabra; Goat-Sucker Goes Global: Diabolical Diaspora; Chupacabra & the Mutants of Chernobyl; Disaster Prediction in Chernobyl’s Cryptids: Mothman, The Kaptar & Black Bird; Stalkers & Cryptogeography in ‘The Zone of Alienation’; Psychosisgeography, Dream Architecture & Radiation Monsters in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R game series; Picturing Chupacabra: Vampiric Mutant Canids in S.T.A.L.K.E.R; Re-enacting Disaster Architectures: S.T.A.L.K.E.R Cosplay/LARP in the Irradiated Zone.

“BigFoot on Google-Mars: Space Archaeology, Telepresent Performance, & Cryptozoological constructions of “Martian Indigeneity , (Part 2 of “Bigfoot Found on Mars!: The Spatio-Visual Politics of Cryptozoology, Military Cryptogeography, & Space Archaeology”)

The second installment of the popular “Bigfoot Found on Mars!”, investigating telepresence and colonial affect in the Lunar & Martian rovers, cartographic re-enactments, Martian Indigeneity in the work of anomalists and NASA, and the recently expanded field of Space Archaeology.

Selected Cryptogeographic Projects”

As part of Fauxist investigations into military cryptogeography, this document presents elements of our research and contextualizing materials for existing work in the field of cryptogeo, military urbanism, simulation-architectures work and ‘an anthropology of telepresence’.

Contents:  Cryptogeographic Histories; Military Cryptogeography and Globalisms; Gaming in Gitmo; Blank Spots on the Map: Projects of a Cryptogeographer; Decoding Military Landscapes

New in the Alien Sex, Xenophilia & Exopolitics Series:

(For existing work in this series, see for example: “Fauxist Sex with Aliens Survey 2009“, “Fauxists ‘Moon Bomb’ Amateur Telescopy Party” (and Review),”Fauxist 2011 Space Playground Design: Goulburn West Primary School” “”Mindless Fleshapoids Are Easy: A Trans-Viral Technophilic Oz

“Alien-Human Hybrids: Body Panic, Schizoid-Tech,  & becoming the other Other (again).”

Part 1: Hybridity in the American Alienation: Alien-Human Hybrids: History, Identity, Support groups & literature; Becoming Other (again) in America: Race, miscegenation & Erasure in Hybrid discourse; ‘Starseeds’- Exemplary Statistics & Electro Sensitive Citizens

Part 2: Genealogies of Estrangement: “Hair of An Alien”: The ‘Alien DNA’ paradigm; Off-Earth Hybrid Populations and Acceptance; ET pre-human evolution & Sociobiology/Evolutionary psychology; Alien Experimentation: a teleology of evolutionary Intent.

“God is Dead & I’m His Telephotographic Wife”: Daniel Schreber & Alien Feminizing Rays. Being The True Story of One Fauxist becoming a woman with an ass irresistible to God & their Various Efforts to build a Alien Feminizing Ray Receiver-Condenser”

CONTENTS:

Part 1: The Case of Daniel Schreber becoming a woman with an ass irresistible to God; the front courts of heaven are drained of souls; man/woman, body/soul, conscious/unconscious, private/collective, God/human; psychoanalysis eschewed; Histories of Alien Feminizing Rays ; from the solar anus to civilizational amplitude;  Alien Feminizing Experiments of matriarchal martians and sex-meddling Arthurians; Defense Attempts A design history of thought-proof helmets;

Part 2: Cosmic DIY Trans-Femininity: My Feminizing Ray Condenser How to make a DIY feminizing god/alien ray antenna/amplifier using commonly available parts, design antecedents, trials and preliminary results; High-grade voluptuousness eventually passes into sleep,

“’Retracing the Alien Scalpel’: Alien Implants, Schizo-Surveillance & the Super-Scientific Alien-Machine”

Contents: Implants; “Compared to them, Pavlov was an angel”: Histories of Implantation 1967-2010; The Implant Doctors (including Fauxist interview with Dr. Roger K. Leir); “Pleased to see the lack of inflammation”: Alien Implant removal stories & interviews, as told to the Fauxist International; Panic Bodies; Schizoid Surveillance- Postmodern mythinformation & the Super-Scientific Alien-Machine; “Illnesses You have to fight to get”: Implants & Electrosensitivities as ‘Alleged Illnesses’ under privatized healthcare; Hacking Alien Tech: DIY Uses of Domestic Appliances & Auto-Surgery; What is Alien Medicine? Quarantine, disease, & entropy

Hysterical Genealogies: Human-Alien Pregnancies

Contents:  “Woman’s 18th alien-hybrid pregnancy”: Giovanna Podda; A Genealogy of ; Alien Pregnancies for sale in Second Life; Alien pregnancies & Alienated Wombs in popular culture; ‘Should I Baptize my Hybrid Baby?”: Exclusive Fauxist interview with Dr. Jameson (the “abortion reverend”); Alien Insemination Pornography- A Genre Analysis

“Drugged Animals Signal Aliens!: An Expose on Alien/ASEMIC writing in the actions of Fauna regarding the Exo-Eco-Apocalypse”

Contents: The Truth behind crop-circles: Pinned Marsupials, algorithims and geometers; The Alien-God in the Postmodern Bestiary: Augury, Allegory and Secular Apocalypse in Alien-Nature; Asemic writing, hieroglyphs and Exo-linguistics in whale beaching patterns; Queer Soldiers & Mass Bird deaths; The Luminescent Runes of the North Pacific Giant Squid Architeuthis martensi; Quorum Sensing; The Dolphins of Heaven (Animals as Aliens): Psychic ETI Sasquatch, Children’s fears of animals, reptoids; Addendum: Transcripts of telepathic Messages from alien Whales to Humanity

New in the Fauxist Drug-Architecture series

(For existing work in this series, see for example: “Temporal Slip in Crystal Architectures: Meth Museums, Meth Labs in Space, & The Meth-Architecture-Organism“, “4 Fauxists Visit the True City of Fauxism on PCP“)

“Ketamine’s Thanatological Themepark: Near Death Experiences, K-Hole Architecture, & K-Transgender”

Ketamine & Near Death Experiences; Ibogaine in North Africa: Ritual Near-Death Drugs;  The Ketamine Architectural Goddess; Overdose At The End Of The Tunnel: Near Death Experiences & A Thanatological Themepark proposal; Ketamine & Transgender; How to Look Good in a K-Hole: Fauxist Couture; A Kat-Valium Eternity: Chronotopic Architecture, Paulo Virilio, & Depression; Chasing Gravity on Wonk.

Posted in Fauxist Events | 1 Comment »

The Blobsquatch Against The Rational: The Abject Romance of Low-Res, Information-Mythologies & Divination in Cryptozoological Media

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on December 17, 2010

Bigfoot-as-blobsquatch forces the side-exit of the ruins of the (para)scientific method, opening new imaginative realms for the cryptid, new definitions of the screenal-field of a troubled Nature, and new tensions in photographic reality. This publication interrogates the problems that the blobsquatch poses for the Cryptozoological community, and looks at the blobsquatch as a form of delightful info-myth, a form of data-divination, which blurs signal-noise as figure-ground as science-myth in a postmodern take on the troubled constituents of the Medieval Bestiary.

Contents:

–       Blobsquatch: A History

–       Blobsquatch Theory: Cryptid Cliches &  “Unknowability” as “Unphotographability”:

–       From “Proto-Blobsquatchery” to “Blobsquatch in the Expanded Field”: The Work of Carl Diehl

–       Endnotes & video addenda.


Blobsquatch: A History

‘Blobsquatch’ is a term Bigfooters use to declare an alleged Bigfoot photo too blurry to determine anything- literally a blobby sasquatch. Thus the term “blobsquatch” refers to any vaguely Bigfoot-shaped mass seen (or not) in an otherwise unremarkable photograph of, for example, trees. In other words, “Blobsquatch” is specifically the object in a photograph of a supposed Bigfoot or Sasquatch that has a lack of definition and detail, whether an ostensible illusion created by a play of light within an often unfamiliar natural environment, or the result of camera movement, lack of focus, glitch, or more recently the effects of digital high-zoom and pixelation.

Thus these blobsquatch “photo-creatures” which may or may not be, but probably are not, a Sasquatch, are pareidolic[1] phenomena that assist people’s imaginations in “seeing” (finding/divining/projecting) a Bigfoot. Related photo-cryptid forms include “Blob Ness Monster” and “Blobcats”, and in physical terms, the Globster[2]

The Wooldridge Yeti

Due to its efficacy, the term blobsquatch has been retro-extended to past photographs that are not specifically about North American Sasquatch/Bigfoot. One such instance is the infamous Woolridge “Yeti Rock” image.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Leah4PRA2ZA

Blobsquatch Theory

Often a little flick is sufficient for a decision to be made. Heads or tails, a book opened at random…The bit of noise, the small random element, transforms one system or one order into another. —Michel Serres, The Parasite

 


While various sorts of cryptid evidence slowly accumulated as the twentieth century wound down, no one managed to capture images of a quality comparable to those obtained decades earlier. As in the case of Our investigation of the “Bigfoot Found on Mars” controversy, most blobsquatches refer back to earlier images and forms- and most often the 1967 Patterson-Gimiln film- Paterson-Gimlin film (arguably the most well-known cryptid photo in existence)- in a case of debatable images based on debatable images for their forms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUAHJC9XgyA

With each advance/change in electro-visual technology, new forms of Blobsquatch come into being- new types of noise, resolution increases, and necessarily, the home software (photoshop) of the cryptozoologist leverages new spectra, deeper layering and control. (For more on this see Our work  “Here Be Dragons”: Armchair Exobiologists love Photoshop”). Perhaps most interestingly, the blobsquatch exists as a central figure of the ‘signal to noise’ ratio/relationship of the image- the figure-ground collapse, which in this case often interrogates varying affects of ‘Nature’, the boundaries body and media/technology constructs. The image below re-orders the signal-noise spectrum as the ‘blob-squatch’ continuum. We will return to this more fully below.

The viral nature of the blobsquatch- it suggests a possibly infinite expansion, inhabiting the fuzzy areas of all images, ‘treated’ or not- is curtailed only by credulity and definitional limitation. For example, one defunct CZ group defined “blobsquatch” as “anything in a picture or film which might be possibly mistaken for a Sasquatch”, which would suggest that the definition of the Cryptozoological ‘Field’ (in both senses of the word) could take on hallucinatory broadness. (See Our work “A History of NASA photograph PIA10214” for a treatment of alleged transparent cryptids). This process necessarily implicates tensions between constructions of ‘natural space’-the screenal reality of most experiences of natural space, the reality-status of the image, and the re-animating or re-wilding leverage of the cryptid. (For more on this, see Our work “The Bunyip as Mega-Faunal Oral Memory: Colonial Projections in Cryptozoology” and ‘Wild Hairy Men’: Cryptozoology, Class and Masculinity in Australia and the USA’)

The video below illustrates this- the delineating marks becomeing delightfully unstuck (especially from 0:51 onwards)- and thus implicates almost all of the space/nature/screen as blobsquatch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_jV2qmUs6k (ORIGINAL VIDEO REMOVED BY USER)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZFP7TutmrIframeborder=0

In “documentary” photographs of UFOs this elevated natural-referential status also threatens to come unstuck, to the point at which light- Photography’s basis- itself is imbued with negative and terrifying connotations.  For, despite eyewitness accounts that describe “flying saucers” as tangible technical apparatuses, they rarely have been photographed as such.  Of the innumerable photographs purporting to document flying saucers collected by the government agency Project Blue Book, very few reveal any recognizable form.  Often, these photos only show spots of light floating in the sky. It is not the fact that these photographs image what could be potentially dangerous technologies in the service of unknown beings that makes them terrifying, it is their impenetrable quality that does so.  These photographs “picture” that which cannot be seen – cannot be known.  They do so by employing the sign of the formless – the blob– and thus imply that the sky itself is an animate medium, that these atmospheric floccus- the flashes, thickenings, and quickenings- on the photographic field coalesce and disperse alternatively paranoiac and utopian intent.

While some measure their world with a very rigid yardstick in excluding all blobsquatch photos, of course, a misleading blobsquatch could be a really bad picture of an ill-defined Bigfoot in the woods[3]. But the cryptozoological field sorely- if not completely- lacks hard evidence, and that one person’s expunged blobsquatch could be another individual’s “initial” piece of potential evidence (blobsquatch motes in the eye of the beholder), forces a continuing engagement with the possibilities of the blobsquatch as evidence. Simultaneously, the discourses around the apparent, the alleged, the fake, the hoax widen to include ever stranger anomalous photographic phenomena which are increasingly divorced from the ‘traditional’ habitats, appearance and meaning of Bigfoot, making it function more obviously like a Rorschach splat than previously.[4]

The cryptozoological community is well aware that this slippage in definition, scope and field is a widespread credibility (credulity) problem in their circles, and indeed to the extent that the grainy/noisy blobsquatch photo could be said to be one of the key cryptozoological clichés. Indeed, one site contributor quips that “we might as well add blobsquatch to our list of Crypto-critters….” under the following description:

Blobsquatch. Height: ? Weight: ?

Description: dark blob

Habitat: possibility any or all photographic documents…

The CZ community evinces mixed reactions to this cliché- many bemoaning or criticizing this tendency as a final judgement on the field. Others, in a more positive move, offer sets of advice, instructions and technical information on how to create better quality, standardized images and documentation. It is on this second reaction that We now focus.

Often as part of these instructions, a list of the ‘Crypto Cliches’ is drawn up to show how obvious indeed things are. Many contain information relating specifically to the types and forms of cryptids (eg Loch Ness or BF clichés), but of interest to us here are the broader visual/media clichés, which in both their presence and nature bespeak both methodologies of hoaxing, and content related to the cultural politic of ‘encountering’, ‘photographing’, and the troubled structures of proof and veracity. Cryptozoological cliches which concern visual indeterminacy include:

– Fuzzy or out of focus pictures

– Only a glance or a few seconds of film

– Situations or conditions preventing pursuit or capture.

– Lost or corrupted ‘Evidence’

– High Zoom, pixelation.

– Arrows/circles used to demarcate a body or trace.

Thus the blobsquatch is situated in a specific spacetime- the photographer was most often unable to chase the cryptid and get more documentation- with the secondary implication being that often the photographic moment is an equally fearful encounter (importantly that is, for both hunter/hunted). The long history of interplay between the tale, the travellers report- from bigfoot as loggers tale, Paul Bunyan story, whitewashed indigeneous stories, to Pliny and the medieval Bestiaries- and scientific rationalization plays out here in the documentary narrative and indeterminancy of the creature. Thus the Blobsquatch could be said to pre-date (predate?) Bigfoot itself, being part of the long history of animal-monster speculation, now concomitant to electronic communication technologies. In this sense, to the empirical branches CZ community, the Blobsquatch has done more harm than good.

Conversely, We believe that the blobsquatch can be seen to have a productive, expansionist role in CZ, turning people’s awareness to the characteristics of these histories, the media, coincidence, forms of info-animisms and  etcetera. The blobsquatch destabilizes the authoritative role accorded empirical-scientific methods and photography, and indeed the role of the body in the sometimes-scientific field of cryptozoology. The blobsquatch summons many of the central tensions within the CZ field, recalling those around modern interpretations of the Medieval Bestiaries- those between animal/spirit (monster, demon), presence/absence, wild/described, rational/paranormal (hysteric, mythinformatic), allegorical/literal,…

Specifically, in that cryptozoology predominantly deploys an uneasy conjoining of the looping, schizoid truth claims and associative research of the anti/para-scientific, paranormal, Fortean and conspiratorial ‘genres’, with the quest for objective empirical evidence (aping scientific-zoological methodologies), by haunting the photographic realm of consumer screenal nature, and blurring the aforementioned categorical divides in ‘the document’ as field, the Blobsquatch gestures toward the side exit (like the P-G Squatch headed stage left…) of cryptozoology’s relationship to scientific method and veracity, fostering new imaginative habitats for the cryptid. (For more on this, see our recent publication “Out of Time, Place, Scale: Cryptozoology and Neo-Colonialism”.)

Remaining for a moment longer in the realm of ‘Blobsquatch Theory’, let Us pose a few interesting questions:

–       How does one bait the Blobsquatch? seed and collect glitch media?

–       What then is the Cryptozoological ‘Field’?

–       What is the ‘expedition’?

–       Will the ubiquitous ownership of portable photographic devices (i.e cell phone video/cameras) ostensibly make the search and capturing of Blobsquatches much easier?[5].

From “Proto-Blobsquatchery” to “Blobsquatch in the Expanded Field”: The Work of Carl Diehl


Hidden Animals Intro from carl diehl on Vimeo.

Critical work on the blobsquatch is rare, limited mainly to disparaging mentions on CZ forums, accusations leveled at new photos from time to time, and defensive responses from makers. The work of Carl Diehl stands out as one of the only Blobsquatch investigations worthy of mention. Taking a slightly different tack than We do here, Diehl’s Blobsquatch theory draws in Casio keyboard fetishes and circuit-bending noise, “Metaphortean Research” and phenomena of malfunction. We have included a number of Diehl’s excellent Blobsquatch video works here: “Blobsuatch in the Expanded Field”, “Proto-Blobsquatchery” and “Hidden Animals”. See Diehls site: http://www.electronicelsewhere.com/ for more. Warning: One must contend with the torpid, dead-pan echo-delay narration.

Carl Diehl “Proto-blobsquatchery”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNj0y7-kpp0

Carl Diehl “Blobsquatch in the Expanded Field” (Parts 1-3 of 3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XXvqI8hFxk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUVGtKQSUEI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy1sLVOGLT8


Endnotes & Video Addenda

The Globster


Gimlin-GlobSquatch?

The following video presents an interesting circling of this- implying that a Blob-Gimilin can be seen in the background of the Patterson-Gimlin film…

CLICK HERE To VIEW

Gimlin-GlobSquatch

——————-

[1] Pareadolia- explanation and link to BF on mars.

[2] Globster: a conflation of monster and glob (‘Glob’ being a combination of Globe and Blob) describes an entertaining sub-genre of aquatic cryptids that form when agglomerations of weed, rubbish, and/or decaying bodies or biological materials wash ashore. The Globster would thus seem to be a physical or ‘body’ blobsquatch- an interpretative field involving physical matter and possible biological forms. The Globster neatly fits Our definition of an accidental instance of ‘Botched Taxidermy’ as discussed in “Out of Time, Place, Scale: Cryptozoology and Neocolonialism”  and promises interesting experimental forays. See video in endnotes below.

[3] See HERE for a deeper investigation on how to analyse a blobsquatch photo.

[4] We have undertaken a comparison of the blobsquatch to Rorschach images/tests elsewhere.

[5] This is indeed a current debate in crypto communities- adherents expressing a simultaneous mix of revulsion and desire around the increasing deployment of consumer imaging technologies- as to whether such devices offer more chances at documentation, more eyes in the field, or the further blurring of the scientific intent of CZ and the proliferation of bad Bluberry Blobsquatches. See HERE for documentation and debate on one of the first cases of an apparent cryptid (The Wiltshire Panther) caught with a cell phone camera:  , and as discussed on CryptoMundo.com

Posted in Fauxist Cryptozoology, Fauxist Psywar | 1 Comment »

Fauxist Associated Projects: Regrette Etcetera’s “So this one time…”

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on December 10, 2010

“So this one time I turn up for a trick…”

Selected ‘Surprisingly Astute’ & ‘Hilariously Erudite’ Outcall Stories

of Regrette Etcetera, 2008-10

News From The Fauxist International is are pleased to announce that Our Editor and Luminary, Regrette Etcetera (link) has published their much-anticipated collection of sex-work stories “So this one time I turn up for a trick…”: Selected ‘Surprisingly Astute’ & ‘Hilariously Erudite’ Outcall Stories of Regrette Etcetera, 2008-10

(Click HERE for free download)

If Etcetera’s Fauxist work is anything to go by, (and indeed the publication includes an account of the Fauxist Spirit Recording Project!) We are in for a labyrinthine treat… We are told that issue 2 is slated for release in mid-2011. Is this how Fauxist’s “pay their way through medical school”? Ha.

Launch Party


‘International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers’

Sex Worker Art Exhibition

December 17,

Little Fish Gallery,

Newtown, Sydney.

 

About “So this one time…”

As excerpted in Interstitial Bestiaries magazine iss. 4, “So this one time…”  collects the international whore stories of Regrette Etcetera. We follow this heady narrator into being paid to sit in on French Lit. lectures, parrying post-porno-pooches, appearing in an all-trans-ho amateur Gertrude Stein production, and taking various forms of revenge on a retinue of the strangest tricks- among them Etcetera’s high-school english teacher, a self-proclaimed alien-hybrid, a tazer-wielding trannychaser, and the unforgettable ‘Caeleb Wilson’- all the while being offered a hilarious, patrician commentary on all that occurs.

Critical Reviews

“Captures the inherent weirdness of the outcall moving with it into self-reflexive plays on the similarly weird psycho-mythic representations of trans women… Unique.” UN Magazine

“For once a respite from the sex-worker titillation genre!… Etcetera’s mock-moralisms and ridiculous, convoluted humour are a delight to unravel”                                                                                                 Karen Elliot, Smile

“Refreshingly repudiates the transfeminine autobiography-cum-autopathology moral-confessional motif… an unapologetic work of makeup, coincidence  & hallucinatory autodidacticism…”         Alexis Jung, 1-Claw Zine

——

We will be publishing a Fauxist review of “So this one time…” in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned to NFTFI.

 

Posted in Fauxist Events, Fauxist Real Gender, Fauxist Speculative Literature | Leave a Comment »

Bigfoot Found On Mars!

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on December 4, 2010

Bigfoot Found On Mars!

The Spatio-Visual Politics of Cryptozoology,

Military Cryptogeography, & Space Archaeology.

An investigation in 2 parts.

 

Part 1.

– “Bigfoot Found on Mars”: A Fauxist Favorite

– A History of NASA photograph PIA10214

– “Here Be Dragons”: Armchair Exobiologists love Photoshop

– A Detour into the Xeno-Domestic With Jonathon Richman: “Here Come the Martian Martians” & “Abominable Snowman in the Supermarket”

The Alien Super-Scientific Machine: Paranoiac Mythinformation & Resolution Revolutions


 

Part 2. (Forthcoming).

– Choreographies Of Telepresence: Martian Rovers, “Google Moon”, & Space Archaeology

–  Making Martian Indigeneity on the High Frontier.


“Bigfoot Found on Mars”: A Fauxist Favorite

Suiting Our penchant for all things apocryphal, for popularly maligned memeological hoaxes and hijackings, there are always some rather strange images circulating within Fauxist networks. One of Our longest-running favourites in the last year has been the image come to be known colloquially as “Bigfoot found on Mars”, as seen above.

First publicized in 2008, it features what appears to be a Martian Sasquatch-reminiscent rock formation (indeed an almost perfect instance of the blobsquatch) captured by NASA’s Spirit rover on the Martian surface. NASA photograph PIA10214 has since become the subject of both pervasive parody and vast internet debate. Meanwhile, what has kept this image cropping up for Us has been its interesting conceptual leverage – it exemplifies key tenets of Our works on Cryptozoology and Neocolonialism, reanimate Nature, Military Cryptogeography, Astrobiology, and apocalyptic exo-conservation politics.

On looking further into the image’s history though, We find that the Martian bigfoot was late to arrive on the scene, and in fact a host of labyrinthine stories and critical hoaxes from the cryptic realms of exobiology, exopolitics, and conspiracy theory to the annals of National Geographic and NASA, then lead us spiraling into Martian history, the search for life on Mars, and the voluminous publications of interpreters and their heady claims at an elusive photographic reality.

In what follows, We unpack these narratives, and look into:

–   The history of Mars as a speculative, productive space- as a cosmic Rorschach or Mirror.

–   The history of the hallucinatory NASA mistakes in the search for ‘Life on Mars’, and how their logic fuels conspiracies.

–   How the 20th century has indeed been a bad one for the Martian.

–   The field of Martian Anomaly Investigation (with its photoshop –savvy ‘Armchair Exobiologists’ and claims of ‘transparent Martian species’, Martian Subway stations and etcetera) and its attacks on scientific authority.

–   Figure-ground and signal-noise collapse in the search for aliens and artifacts, and the troubled reality-effect of science and photography.

–   Take a trip with Jonathon Richman into a domesticized xeno-cryptid dream.

–    How amateur exobiologists and anomalists (sometimes knowingly) navigate and promulgate the schizoid traps of postmodern Mythinformation,

–   How the figure of the alien constitutes the ultimate superscientific machine, and the trickster spirit of misinformation.

–  We take up the politics of tracing planetary surfaces, looking into Space Archaeology, telepresence choreographies and cartographies, and Panoptic vision.

–  The revival of nationalist frontier politics and forms of ‘Martian Indigeneity’, and the animating of cryptogeographic space with class, race and protest masculinities.

History of The Image

NASA photograph PIA10214 is a panoramic montage of a series of snapshots of the Martian surface that were taken by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit in 2007, when Spirit was perched on the western edge of the Home Plate plateau in the inner basin of the Columbia Hills range of Gusev Crater on Mars.

On December 7th, one Andrew D. Basiago, whilst perusing the broad westward expanse of the Martian surface that can be seen in the photograph for other indications of life, after enlarging the photograph on his new HP Pavilion Entertainment Personal Computer, was ‘shocked to discover’ in it’s depths evidence of life forms and artifacts on Mars.

Basiago, 47, founder and president of the Mars Anomaly Research Society, and author of exopolitics.com, thought, quite simply, that the enigmatic forms looked like a statue (see statement) or the fossilized remains of Martians fleeing a cataclysmic event or ‘Reptoid Predation. Basiago quickly published a number of verbose press releases, articles, a series of high-zoom blowup images of these pixelated fields (see below), and later contacted National Geographic (letter here) informing the world that he had discovered life on Mars, with all the pomp that such an apparently epoch-shattering event would warrant.


In the detail from PIA10214, Basiago saw “a male humanoid being with a bulbous head and a long, spindly body can be seen standing inside a rock enclosure”. According to Basiago, the humanoid is “wearing tan pants and is bare-chested and can be seen leaning against a rock wall at the back of the rock enclosure.  The scapulae in his upper back are evident as he leans against the wall”. He went on to produce a number of increasingly baroque suggestions as to what the image captured, (like the ‘transparent Martian species’ mentioned above) which We will explore further below.

Like the majority of Martian anomalies, the figures were quickly dismissed as a natural rock formation resulting from erosion by wind, water, and time. Bigfoot was yet to hit the scene.

But it is not these dismissals that are of importance here, as We will see. Immediately of interest is that despite Basiago’s prodigious productions, correspondence, and the fulminations on exopolitics.com, all claiming that these images stood as evidence for an ET humanoid species, and indeed, civilization, the image quickly overstepped his assertions and control, and became known as ‘Bigfoot found on mars’, due to the resemblance of the form to that of the meme-glut still image from the 1967 –Paterson-Gimlin film (arguably the most well-known cryptid photo in existence) and was reported upon as such in the media (as above). Thus the image began to do the rounds on the majority of cryptozoological sites.

At left: The Paterson-Gimlin Film still

In that Basiago’s assertions- which We will continue to discuss- were deemed to be too complex, too deliberately weird and were largely abandoned in favour of a cryptozoological standard, a memeological monument, speaks volumes about both the conceptual power of the cryptid hominid in colonial space and the historical cessation of the Martian.

Whether of not Basiago’s assertions were knowing hoaxes and an ostensible critique of NASA’s objectives (which We believe to be the case), analyzing the image from both perspectives- that of the interpretative space of the anomalist, and that of the  using classical cryptozoological cliches and metholodologies etc., which We’ll explore in the following section.

“Here Be Dragons”: Of Martian Canals & Armchair Exobiologists

“The only pure myth is the idea of a science devoid of all myth”    Michel Serres

“Science acquires its staying power from a sustained struggle to keep down the demons of the supernatural with whose visions, however, it competes”     Avital Ronnell

“When I analyzed PIA10214, and saw what was there, I felt like Charles Darwin encountering the animals of the Galapagos Islands for the first time, except that my Galapagos Islands were on the Internet and my animals were on Mars.” Basiago


"Here Be Dragons": A cartographic tradition used to denote unknown realms and the monstrous inhabitants imagined to inhabit them

Medieval 'Map Monsters' awaiting the explorer

The fuzzy imaginative space of Mars has long harbored, fostered and facilitated the alien, the marginal. Its distance and elusiveness allowing a proliferation of projections and speculations even as terran ‘frontiers’ and ‘others’ became familiar. The Martian surface, as planetary antipodes, is a key cryptogeographical and cryptozoological terrain, physically accessible only by advanced tech and capital agglomerations, and redolent with menageries of didactic creatures, and symbolic artifacts.

Indeed, Mars began its visual-scientific career as a cosmic Rorschach blot in 1877, when the Italian astronomer Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli stared through a 9-inch Merz refracting telescope and declared that the spidery lines he saw etched on the planet’s surface were “canali.” What he meant was channels, but the English-speaking press, still hopped up on the recent opening of the Suez Canal, settled on the sexier term canals, implying an alien-architectural origin more suited to then-current desires. In the US, the amateur astronomer Percival Lowell widely publicized his conviction that the splotches and lines revealed by his observatory’s 24-inch telescope suggested vegetation and alien-made waterworks. (Lowell, “Mars”, 1895) Lowell’s ‘discoveries’ were to be soon followed in 1898 by H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, with its malevolent, techno-advanced martians, and the panic it’s 1938 radio broadcast so famously caused.

In this time of immense public interest in the scientific and narrative potential of Mars, forms of belief melded, produced etc. in the midst of an enormous amount of speculative work, science fiction, monster movies and news reportage variously construing the Martians as benevolent or threatening, pedagogic or mindless, humanoid or radically ‘other’,[1] depending on what cultural phenomenon they were attached to, however indirectly. Three brief examples, which each take account of this simmering popular imagination in differing ways, should suffice.

Firstly, Disney’s parodic piece on the ‘popular culture of Mars’, from 1957, playing out some generic motifs like the Martian as inhuman, scintillating/sexually threatening, as racial-compendium, and official ‘other’, speaks largely for itself in capturing the stereotypes of a pre-Sputnik Mars. (Sputnik was launched 2 months before its release).

The second example, produced by The Museum of Jurassic Technology (L.A) is the book “No One May Ever Have the Same Knowledge Again: Letters to Mount Wilson, 1915-1932”.

The book is made up of letters received by the Mount Wilson Observatory from members of the public. For decades after its construction in 1904, the Mount Wilson telescope was the largest in the world, and was central to astronomical research conducted by A. A. Michelson and Edwin Hubble. The lay public learned about their work through the popular press, and the observatory entered that stream of popular culture that made icons of science, space, and aeronautics. The letter writers urgently wished to share information and impressions with the astronomers, who were broadly seen to be casting the Eye of Science further into the cosmos. The title alone simultaneously reflects both the cessation (or culling) of possible popular, abject and parascientific knowledges regarding space, spirituality, and the Other, and conversely, the productive possibilities expressed by alien ‘contact’ and the great  astronomical ‘endeavour’.

A couple of brief passages from the letters (retaining original spelling and syntax) will give the flavour:

“A New York professor was about to try Einstein’s insulation-of-gravitation theory. He thought he could walk on the air, if insulated, but I wrote and told him to be careful, and not try it on himself but try it on a monkey, because should he try it on himself and succeed, instead of walking on the air, the pressure of the air would shoot him up at an accelerated speed, and, according to Newton, a body once put in motion and acted on by no force continues to move forward in a straight line forever; so he might never return. We have not heard from him, but we hope our letter reached him in time.”

“The Planet mars is inhabited by human spirits like us can talk eat & drink wear clothes, but have great power. They are somethink people of this earth have never seen. They are kept to do work overhead. They also work our wireless gramophones, machinery, Moving Pictures Talking Pictures and all that sort of thing. All that sky is worked spirital… So I have been told & seen in half sleep trance.”

These letter writers grappled with science and technology in modes that encompassed not just the naive, and not just the ‘irrational’, but complex combinations of scientific understanding, popular belief, and ‘magic’, as indeed many scientific theories of the time would similarly appear today. Their perceptions seem propelled by fervent beliefs, desires and fears flowering in the imaginative space of an uncharted cosmos, and an unseen Martian, and often take the form of a more or less disguised challenge (whether in the form of ‘reminders’ or advice) to the knowledge producers (and space colonizers) of the observatory as representatives of empiricist scientific rationalization.

Let’s check in with Disney again to appreciate this mix of the productive, mirroring quality of Mars with scientific speculation:

This speculative production continued to jostle and coexist with advances in visual technology for almost a century, until in 1964, a NASA probe took the first pictures of the planet’s surface, shattering Lowell’s visions of Martian gondoliers. This trend was to continue with each subsequent advance in visual-electromagnetic technology, the visual illumination and surveillance chasing away the Martian, shrinking their physical habitat, and importantly, intruding upon and eroding the psychic-imaginative territories and their populations. (See: Hotakainen’s “Mars: A Myth Turned to Landscape” (2008) for more on this. And for an account of the history of ‘Martian Radio’- the speculative electronic realm of contacting martians, theorizing of martian signals, intelligibility, and so on- see Jeffrey Sconce’s “Haunted Media: Electronic presence from telegraphy to television”)

Despite such debunkings, the possibility of a (now bio-zoological) ‘Life on Mars’ persisted in the minds of some scientists into the 1960’s. Eventually, this led to NASA’s Viking missions to Mars in 1976, when the Viking spacecraft landed complex instruments on the planet to make direct tests for the presence of life in any form, including microbes of diverse physiological types. The results were negative. Again in 1996, NASA scientists created a media frenzy by announcing evidence for the presence of microbial ‘wormlike’ microfossils in a Martian meteorite[2]. After much hype, the “microfossils,” however, were soon shown to be inorganic artifacts. In 2006, a new and similarly dubious NASA claim of evidence for past microbial life on Mars appeared regarding another Martian meteorite which had crashed to Earth in 1911 (striking Egypt, where it ‘collided with a hairy dog’) in another case of mistaken identification of organic matter [3]. NASA hype continues to publicize Mars and other celestial bodies as possible locales of microbial life in the context of the expanding field of “astrobiology”.

In this sense, the 20th century was a bad one for the Martian, which is to say, for the scope and scale of human’s perceptions of them. 100 years ago, Martians were intelligent, energetic creatures, capable of undertaking vast public works, possessing ultra-sophisticated technologies, and even of launching myriad expeditions against Earth with wildly varying intentions, results and targets. By the century’s end, the multifarious Martians, now conceived as the harshly circumscribed term ‘Life on Mars’, have been reduced to mere microbes, cowering in dark crannies far beneath the planets frigid surface, waiting only to be poked at by NASA’s expensive remote-control golf-carts.[4]

Indeed, for some, Mars will always be inhabited, no matter what the data say. Occasionally one hears the opinion that somewhere on the planet there may exist a wet, warm place—a Martian Garden of Eden—where Martian life forms are thriving, that Earth-Mars biological transmission (panspermia) is seeding either planet [5]. Or, alternatively, that the Viking instruments did in fact find life—that the Viking data can be interpreted to mean that there are organisms living in the soil at a population density below the GCMS [gas chromatograph mass spectrometer] limit. The Rovers still sample,  and the field of Astrobiology- a gussied-up, better-funded Exobiology with a more avowed imperialist-instrumentalist agenda [6]– continues to grow and subdivide, despite the sheer paucity of forthcoming evidence.

Notably then, the ‘anomalous’ nature of official ‘finds’ of life on Mars- the mistaken resemblances, media alerts, sensor scale and category mistakes and so on- can thus be placed on a continuum with those of the Anomaly or broadly paranormal communities, rather than methodologically or qualitatively opposed.

Returning then to Basiago, who, in occupying the lovely, fuzzy peripheries of the anomalist-exobiologist world, would have us believe that all is not lost in the search for Life On Mars. Because in Our case, conversely, with every increase in visual resolution, some new oddity, some fresh anomaly inevitably emerges from the pixelated strata of Mars.

And so it has been since the 1960s, when NASA probes sent back the first shots of Mars, amateurs have filled their files with curiosities. These anomalies- whether appearing variously as worms, trees, UFOs, pyramids, subway stations, giant fungi, fossils, planetary genitalia, buried cities and etcetera– invoke both the imaginative history of Mars and the scientific drive, in re-routing its data and repeating, with a brazen, hallucinatory sensibility, the interpretative moves made by Mars scientists as discussed above.

One of Basiago's Blow-ups

For example, in 1976, when a Viking probe passed over a region named Cydonia, the orbiting craft took a fuzzy picture of a huge mountainous structure below. In a subsequent press release, NASA announced that this mound “resembles a human head formed by shadows giving the illusion of eyes, nose, and mouth.”

(Also: An interactive 3D rendering of the Cydonia ‘Face’)

 

The space agency was probably just trying to stir up public interest in an increasingly demystified Mars, and thus it’s Martian projects, yet it stirred up a hornet’s nest of speculation and conspiracy writing, making it clear that Mars still holds an enormous cultural pull. link to various theories- findings of more faces, pyramids, etc all of a similar interpretative looseness.

Diagram showing the the correspondence between Martian surface features and their apparent history as the 'Tharsis Pyramids'

Since then, numerous ‘anomolous’ features (enough to occupy a number of dedicated research groups and the archives of numerous ungainly websites) and blurry pixel-clusters have had their ‘day in the sun’.

Basiago, as a dedicated Martian Anomalist, situates his Martians and artifacts squarely within this history, saying “This evidence goes far beyond that provided by The Face on Mars at Cydonia and establishes with scientific certainty that advanced, intelligent humanoids exist on Mars”.

And like Basiago, there are many playing armchair exobiologist these days.

Like the 1997 NASA Mars Pathfinder rover- which broadcast images clear (&’ fresh’) enough to afford a convincing spatial sense of another world and achieved more than 45 million viewers logged in and over 80 million hits per day during the 1st week of the operation– an internet record and indeed defining moment for the internet- when Spirit began transmitting, Mars fans downloaded over 35 terabytes of visual data from NASA’s servers in less than a week. And they’re not just loading up on boring screensavers, as We’ll see below, they’re putting their image-processing software to the test, hunting the digitized Martian landscapes for signs of life, past and present, and publishing their reports. These may be the postmodern successors to the Mount Wilson letter writers.

According to EBTX.com, a Web site devoted to “figuring out the universe” and run by 56-year-old “E.B. from Texas,” amateur investigators don’t look for the sorts of general principles that attract most scientists. “We look to the anomalous features,” says E.B. The methods of distinguishing an anomaly (figure) from the landscape (ground), like the Martian Blobsquatch- which in the realm of high-res orbiter and rover scans often amounts to figure-ground as signal-noise– are suitably vague, often amounting to seeming resemblance, suggestion and narrative, and in this case, resulting in Basiago’s hominids being out-meme’d by the Paterson-Gimlin squatch.

The interpretative move of the anomaly, however vague the technique, then allows an anomalous doubling. While a Martian carbon dioxide-breathing, -140 celcius-proof humanoid-serpent family or Bigfoot (whatever their provenance) would indeed qualify as anomalous by anyone’s standards, Basiago again aims to use an distinctly ironic exopolitical leverage to further stretch the field.

Notably implicating standard tricks of the cryptozoological field (recourse to ‘mythic sauroids’, creative interpretation of fossil ‘forms’, and heavy reliance on the Blobsquatch- as discussed in an earlier Fauxist publication) in claiming that while “Many of the animals that appear in the NASA photo resemble the frogs, lizards, serpents, and tortoises of Earth. Others resemble the extinct reptile species known as plesiosaurs, which had long necks like snakes and round bodies like turtles”. So now there are Dinosaurs (and notably the Loch Ness Monster plesiosaur) on Mars. He then goes further, claiming that in fact, all evidence is potentially anomalous, opening up (again in deft Exopolitical fashion), the interpretation of what is a ‘lifeform’: “There is evidence of camouflage in some of the species”  (Figure-ground collapse) and finally that “One is transparent in form”. (Observable details on this particular species are understandably thin on the ground).

The fossil hominids of Basiago (indeed his fossilized catastrophic narrative) and the artifacts-in-ruins of the anomalists (like the Tharsis Pyramids above) implicate a radical deepening of time in their search. Thus, while the photographic overpasses, the landers and rovers arguably brought Time (history) to Mars, the anomalists complicate any linear geo-chronologies with their speculations. In some obverse of Conrad’s journey to Kurtz (“Heart of Darkness” (1902)- where geo-spatial movement connotes a Lyellian movement, regressing through moral-temporal strata- the ‘dig’ and the foray here reveals underlying strata laid down, as it were, from Civilization’s (or Humankind’s) future. Reaching back to the canali and gardens of the early telescopists, We investigate the possible boundaries of the field of Martian archaeology- the geologic timescale, amorphous ruins, and possibilities of interpretation in part 2 of this work.

That Basiago asserts the existence of transparent species and the ability to divine such from the data evinces his critical, parodic agenda. In an ironic re-enchantment of Martian space, a liminal haunting of the instrumentation-as-colonizing eye, Basiago deploys an anti-enlightenment cum Utopian desire  questioning the reality assumptions and authority of the military-industrial-space complex.

Whilst this anti/parascientific skew is foregrounded in much of the anomalist work, importantly, in the majority Imaginative Martians have turned into Interpretative ones. Rather than a Mars populated by didactic creatures of the imagination- as part of a larger galactic bestiary- the Anomalist’s beings are produced now from evidence produced by the military-industrial panopticon, from tele-operated machines on the Martian surface and the archives of NASA. The anomalists thus fight, in a comparatively literal fashion, to repopulate the realms of pre-colonial, utopian Mars-as-Outside.

However much the enthusiasts want to destroy or usurp these institutions and truth-structures, and however much their interpretative move of “That NASA photo blown up 400x sure could look like BF, therefore…” performs a noble myth-informational function, the net result of this speculative field surely enhances NASA’s power and agenda apace, as any news is good news when pertaining to a politically offensive, budget-consuming program driving carts on a distant planet looking for microbial residue.

For its part, NASA has learned to sidestep and incorporate such seeming controversies. “I think it’s great that we’re releasing raw images, warts and all,” says an extremely tactful Joy Crisp, project scientist for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. “Everyone can make their own interpretation – artists, kids doing science projects, folks with different mindsets”. And significantly, “Everyone can be an explorer.” Or, as E.B. suggests, you can “experience the thrill of discovery (or self-delusion) for yourself.”

Joseph Skipper on MarsAnomalyResearch.com- the coruncopic archives of images and speculations on paredolia, rock forms, and shadows of the martian (and lunar) surface, and  perhaps the best one-stop shop for Martian enigmas- formulates the cryptozoo/geographic position succinctlty: “No one’s interpretation of the visual evidence should be considered established fact.” Skipper’s site includes scores of annotated images, as well as claustrophobic commentary that scrolls on quite endlessly.

In a report titled “The Real Smoking Gun as to Life on Mars,” he discusses one of his most important discoveries: Photoshop. The graphics program, which allows the 61-year-old Florida insurance investigator to sharpen detail in NASA’s images, “lifted the scales from my eyes”, changing ‘reality’ (the photographic reality which is Mars) into a penetrable, workable field. Indeed We find that such consumer image programs are de rigueur for anomalists and amateur exobiologists, and in merely glancing at any such site one encounters hundreds of zoomed, chopped, colour-morphed, inset and annotated images of the feature under question.

The following video is a good example of this process, containing as it does an almost endless sequence of different filter, spectrum and visual morphs on the martian BF:

These tools allow self-identified exobiologists a measure of control and creative input into the hitherto inaccessible cryptogeographic space and scientific method of Mars. And, by exploring and expanding official cartographies and data with a baroque, anti-reductionist, para-scientific lens, they introduce, with their noise, multiple spectrums, filters, a deepening, reviving, and burlesquing of the Martian possibility.

Besides finding evidence of life, Skipper also claims that NASA is tampering with the Mars images, removing evidence of alien life and civilizations, in what may be a Photoshop InfoWar. Notably, Skipper’s analysis of the BigFoot on Mars image- “Mars Rover Statue or Person?“- finds paths, graffiti and so on in the surrounding rocks and landscape. (See image below)

The layman’s visual equivalent of SETI (which significantly has also recently opened it’s data streams to public interpretation: SETI-Quest : “Contibute to the Search for Cosmic Company”) wrests authority over distant geographies and existential malaise from the institutions archival wastelands.

And thus, with these Photoshopping Philogelians in action, space scientists no longer have the last word, aka definitional authority. And indeed they give Barthes and Sontag a run for their tenure regarding the reality status of photographs, and thereby- now implicating Baudrillard- Mars itself. If anything, what We can entrust to these accessorized anomalists is the introduction of strange loops, and the implication that surface details, however surreal, always contain a deeper explication of what may be happening.

In this sense, they also manage to forcibly recover that elusive cryptid, FUN, from beneath the epic-dour military dreamspace of interplanetary Vision and even the pedagogic  of Crisp’s ‘kids doing science projects’. For example, in response to some of the Spirit’s images- which contain features that look like a bunny, a crab, or even a croissant– a Web designer named Jim Love put up MartianCrabs.com and asked web denizens to peg the true nature of the object themselves. In a week, more than 600 opinions poured in, ranging from the absurd (“a jumping corn chip”) to the beautifully paranoid (“All the photos are fakes!”).

Love says that roughly 15 percent of the reports seem to take the anomaly seriously. “But it’s hard to tell because so many are sarcastic.” And that’s what both the true believers and the hardcore skeptics miss. Anomalies aren’t just the result of our attempt to visualize the unknown. They are also fun. As steve2.net noted on MartianCrabs, the fact that the bunny was most likely “rover fluff” didn’t detract from its value. Why? “We like this kinda freaky visual nonsense.”

This ‘fun factor’, parodying the paradigmatically epic intents of NASA (and thus their mega-budgetary consumption) may seem to be amongst the few responses left to the expansion of the military-cryptogeographical, panoptic colonization of the universe, and imminent ‘migration’ of the rich-and-talented off–Earth…

Finding bigfoot trying to entertain her serpentine guests whilst the pesky jumping tortilla’s threaten to be-crumb their tracksuits in the intersticies of an orgasmic NASA’s nationalist techno-mythopoesis… or leveraging the possibly omnipresent transparent alien… returns Us to some of the beauty of the Rorschach-like, imaginative and Utopian potential of Mars. And indeed, we may not have the same knowledge again.

Basiago's "Evidence of Martian Gremlin in Spirit Rover Photograph" (2009)

 

A Detour into the Xeno-Domestic with Jonathon Richman

Staying for a moment longer with the ever-tyrannical Fun factor, We believe a short detour into another pop-cultural tributary. The ever-wonderful, often spooky, Jonathon Richman of the Modern Lovers, is known for his sophisticated-naïve songwriting. And two of his songs in particular capture the inversion of the martian and cryptid, removing the frontier narrative in acts of xenophilic diplomacy, which offer a comedic, loving take on the exopolitical work of Basiago and his Exopolitics group.

The threat of ‘the coming martians’ in “Here Come the Martian Martians” (1977- the Viking year) turns into a welcome, and domestic enquiry (finding out their favourite icecream flavours, helping them get around, and wondering if the martian schoolgirls will like him…),

Whilst  bigfoot’s ostensible hominid relative, in “Abominable Snowman in the Market”, is hanging out and disrupting the space of consumption, while Our Jonathon is trying to reconcile the scared shoppers (here suspiciously rendered as ‘housewives’) to his presence, and find out how to talk to him. Dig?


One wonders what Ms. Richman would say about the Spirit rover, or indeed Bigfoot on mars… For interest’s sake, and for a much longer detour, contrast these 2 songs with the following 39-part interview series with Basiago, in which he discussed his histories in various insidious CIA/PSYOPS programs:

 

The Alien Super-Scientific Machine: Paranoiac Mythinformation & Resolution Revolutions

“There is no longer any distance. You are so close to things that they no longer affect you at all.” Joseph Roth 1927

With the usual belief-in-God-as-Psychopathology and the ‘Global Terrorist’ nestled firmly in cheek, We ask: How pathologized is belief in alien beings? A number of surveys indicate that a majority of North Americans (65%- according to the ever-reputable CNN) believe in UFO’s. So much for the Enlightenment. And what’s more, nearly 50% believe that UFO’s have visited Earth, and have conducted their abductions, cornfield-geometrics, cattle-vampirisms and so on.  (Chupcabra-as-alien even gets a liminal look in).

Now, the question of whether or not UFO’s are ‘real’ is, alternately, too crude and to philosophically taxing to broach. As Keith Thompson points out in his smart if sometimes breezy Angels and Aliens: UFOS and the Mythic Imagination, in the end the Alien is nothing more than our attempts at interpreting it. Recognizing that each hypothesis is “a particular and limited question put to the UFO by particular observers with particular assumptions,” Thompson shows that mainstream ufology’s Holy Grail of physical evidence is not only boring but moot, and it is far more interesting to engage our own reflections in those almond-shaped white-less eyes that peer back from so many paperbacks and cluttered websites. And if We follow Thompson, the cryptid/alien ‘field’ (in both expeditionary and media senses), and evidentiary structure, namely the leverage Bigfoot on Mars and the Anomalies exert and how this is achieved becomes the most compelling part of Our investigation.

As such, it is perhaps most efficacious here to consider the UFO field as a theatre of the absurd, an intelligence whose ‘message’ seems almost intentionally tangled. The UFO/alien is realm in which evidence and hoax become indistinguishable, un-interpretable, and We need only to mention Roswell to invoke the microcosm of the strange loops information takes in its vicinity, and the preponderance of alleged leaks, cover-ups, infectious rumours, high-tech ‘hieroglyphs’, suspicious fact and synchronicity, simmering away in the Cimmerian realms of fringe media where the Alien prospers.

From this perspective, it is as if the UFO incarnates the trickster spirit of information itself, constantly flip-flopping the meanings and effects of signal and noise, to the extent that the UFO becomes impossible to extricate from a cultural field of visionary noise, a Hermetic ambiguity that animates and galvanizes and concentrates those info-critical currents and theories, and threatens the whole human informatic structure- recall how often UFO’s are reported to stop any and all electronics and usurp signals.

With this, We begin to circumscribe the obverse to the great myth of information (any-and-all-and-more information) as the new place for secular worship of the postmodern world. Most obviously, postmodern communication technologies themselves have become some of the central focuses (and indeed typologies) of psychopathologies and the various media-paranoias grouped under schizophrenia. Cases of paranoiac mythinformatic neuroses concerning Space were described by psychologists as early as the 1960’s, generally being framed as a product of the cultural obsession with Space. See for example: Kerry, R. J “Phobia of Outer space”, Journal of Mental Science 106 (1960) 1383-87. and also: Marks & Bebbington “Space phobia: syndrome or agoraphobic variant?”

That nefarious, quasi-telepathic forces are using communications technology as surveillance, electronic implants to colonize or monitor minds and so on, come to form saturating secular psycho-mythologies appropriate for the ‘outered’ electronic self, a self of open and exposed psyches in digital space and the archive and amongst the systematic and deeply invasive character of media and increasing cybernetic logic of control of all institutions.

When the alien/UFO, with its associated techno-experimental narratives of contact, abduction, medicine-invasion, breeding, and surveillance- their superscientific machinic nature, if indeed the ufo/alien ican be considered the ultimate superscientific machine, straight from the radiating heart of postwar technoculture- stand in as a (de)materialized figure of digital and panoptic culture, it can bee seen as further representing fears of being the subject (that is object) of techo-scientific invasion or endo-colonization.

In our current context, the liminal hairy-nature-man escapee that is Alien Bigfoot doubles this representation- in running from the camera, the autopsy, the institutional eye- and by standing in for a residual, resistant Other/Nature. Even for the nuts-and-bolts crowd, the overwhelming strangeness of the UFO makes it a fundamentally spiritual object. Holy, violent, and utterly goofy, the alien is the ultimate identity crisis.

Frederic Jameson, in discussing the resolutely alien intelligences to be found in various sci-fi works, and others dealing with the “impossibility of ‘contact with aliens’” (i.e even conceptualizing the truly alien), focused on a Foucauldian take on power/knowledge- in terms of the colonizing effect of exploring the ‘other’: “If we grasp even the intent to understand as an intrusive and aggressive power, we may abandon the Other… abandon it to some complete isolation as sealed and seamless as the future itself or even that radically different system we call Utopia”. This is perhaps literalized by Basiago’s transparent species- the landscape, the photograph itself is Other, is hallucination…

In this way, in the Martian context, these technologies perform an annihilation of space and time that also chips away at the boundaries of the self, and especially the North American self, built as it is on utopian frontier dreams and (conceptually emptied) WIlderness. The Rover’s telepresent, telekinenetic, teleprosthetic witnessing, gathering and zooming refocuses Utopian attention and production on this distant surface- of Mars, of the photograph, of a possible New Deal- and brings us to a place where we may be closer, more deeply epistemologically invested, to the Martian surface than the politics of an Earth right in front of Us. Recall Basiago’s statement that his Darwinian Galapagos islands are the internet.

Useful here is Leo Marx’s concept of the ‘technological sublime’. While the Wilderness interpretation of Martian space imbues the landscpape/images with a certain Sublime quality, with the Rover standing in for the Kantian/Burkeian viewer, or indeed the Lyotardian pomo-artiste (all threatened by the deadly ‘reality’ of the inviting pastoral), Marx’s conception of the replacement of nature worship with techno-worship-horror serves Us well in trying to explore the techno-facilitated nature of Martian reality/space, and the associated tele-presence epic of unmanned reconnaissance.[7]

Here, in the Information-Sublime, We have a second mythinformation-obverse. The package of ‘more signal, more noise’ (please) proffered by the UFO enthusiast, with its debunking of a hegemonic data-proprietary, epistemic boundaries and veracity, acts as an attractor or node for those adrift in what is an increasingly saturating info-environs. In dealing with this apocalyptic collapsing of time and space- Mars as postcard as God-scape as Global Village as anomalist’s evidence? – the alien cult seems particularly attractive to people who lose their way somewhere along the normative, capitalist routes of the information superhighway, and follow some beautiful byway into a fragmentary world of deep webs of suggestive correspondences, ‘marginal’ information, and conspiracy, where every piece of data that has strayed into their path then knits into an expanding web of paranoiac connection. In other words, like the 19th century Spiritualist, under the sign of the secular Info-Godhead, the anomalist-enthusiast irrationally mis-uses (scientific) data, and ‘Straight time‘.

Even mainstream science’s sop to ETs—SETI, the big dish search for intelligent radio signals in deep space—reflects the faith that signals can always be untangled from noise. Taken to its extreme, this information theory becomes information mysticism, a giddy flux that runs through one of the most universally reviled literatures currently produced anywhere: New Age channeling.

This results in more or less literalist cults of information. The UFO churches, the channelling fad (spiritualist TV) and Starseed transmissions at one extreme- where ‘messages’ received are uncritically celebrated as revealed truth even as the “messages” themselves often consist of bad SF plots or a noisy haze of New Age jargon (interestingly, some of the Evangelical Protestant ilk even hold that the angels in Revelation refer to global satellites)- and at another, the Exobiologist-Anomalists digi-scouring NASA’s data midden and finding transparent Martians and worrying about the ‘establishment photoshoppers who got there before they did’.

At this rhizome-nub of the spectrum, and in returning to the Fun-as-deconstruction pseudo-science element discussed above, We find that some of the best (most critical, most entertaining?) production works to mutate the authority of scientific style by soberly fusing cosmic-comic speculations and legitimate hard science in the style of Basiago’s more sober bretheren. Basiago’s own ironic, history-savvy sci-fi (of fi-sci) offers numerous suggestions toward just such a methodology.

Marginalized from the legitimacy and cash conferred by institutional research, the enthusiaasts desperately want to normalize the UFO into a legitimate object of study. They don’t want to hear that their urge to prove what they call the “ETH” (extraterrestrial hypothesis) using the tools of science is just one more metaphysical compulsion set before the feet of a radical enigma. They don’t want to hear that busting science moves like graphs, credentials, acronyms, and the language of hard evidence (dates, exact times, measurements) is just a fetish in the face of the void.

Most scientists would appear to hate this material not solely because they’re trained to, but because pseudoscience has a dangerous tendency to encourage the astrofurutist lumpen prole to jump the fence of technical languages and sneak around the arena of Truth, and even, like Basiago, to informedly take the piss.

—–

Stay tuned for Part 2. (Forthcoming).

– Choreographies Of Telepresence: Martian Rovers, “Google Moon”, & Space Archaeology

–  Making Martian Indigeneity on the High Frontier.


[1] See for example: “Mars: From Myth and Mystery to Recent Discoveries”

[2] In August 1996, a NASA report by McKay et al. (1996) announced detection of past microbial life on Mars as evidenced, in part, by observation of “wormlike microscopic fossils” in a Martian meteorite.

[3] At a 2006 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, McKay et al. presented new evidence of organic remains of life in another Martian meteorite, designated Nakhla. This meteorite fell to Earth in 1911 in Egypt, where it collided with a hairy dog. According to an account in Science (Kerr 2006), the McKay group believes: “The putative organics [in the meteorite] are in veins whose walls are peppered by tiny tubules extending into the adjacent mineral, olivine….They (have) argued that microbes acid-etched the tubules in the hunt for nutrients.” Andrew Steele [Carnegie Geophysical Laboratory] commented: “McKay has so many contaminants he has to eliminate. We do know Nakhla is contaminated with a lot of organics.” The Science account continues: “They include organic matter produced by abiotic means on Mars, organisms that invaded Nakhla after it fell to Earth in Egypt killing a dog, and organic agents used in the preparations of thin sections. Steele would take another tack: ‘In Nakhla, I assume it’s contamination. Prove me wrong.’” See here for one of the latest (2010) apparent NASA life discoveries.

[4] See for example: E. Imre Friedmann and Ali M. Koriem “Life on Mars: How it disappeared (if it was ever there)” Advances in Space Research Vol. 9. Iss. 6 1989, accessible here. Interestingly, the memorable Martian narrative of The War of the Worlds, the techo-advanced and world-threatening Martians fortunately, for Earth’s humans, begin to die rather suddenly en masse because they are susceptible to terrestrial pathogenic bacteria. The narrator of the novel explains this as the result of the “fact” that there are no bacteria on Mars. Consequently, Martians have no immunity and are “irrevocably doomed, dying and rotting even as they went to and fro. It was inevitable. By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the Martians ten times as mighty as they are.”

[5] For an overview of the field, and its inherent politics and possibilities, see Our article on Panspermia. For specifically Mars-Earth panspermia, and technical information on the necessary forces, see Mileikowsky  et al. “Natural Transfer of Viable Microbes in Space: 1. From Mars to Earth and Earth to Mars” Icarus 145, 391– 427 (2000). Accessible here.

[6] See for example Gest, H.The ‘Astrobiology’ Fantasy of NASA”. 2006

[7] See also: Mosco, V. (2004). The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Posted in Fauxist Cryptozoology, Fauxist Speculative Literature, Fauxists In Space | 9 Comments »

Fauxist Submissions Feature in Fetish Magazine

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on November 23, 2010

Interstitial* Bestiaries**

Free Fetish Personals for Discerning Devotees

Vol. 1 Iss.4, Nov.-Jan. 2010-11 ACE

“A Desire Called Dystopia: Abject Sex & Archive Trauma”

For free, full-colour pdf download:

Interstitial Bestiaries 4

From Interstitial Bestiaries:
“This month’s featured artist, Utopia Etcetera, takes us on a brief tour of
their large collection of Second Life imagery, project excerpts and working
documents. Utopia has solicited their SL friends’ submissions also.

In a double-sized issue with the theme:

“A Desire Called Dystopia: Abject Sex & Archive Trauma”,

We’ve an amazing, exclusive interview with Zoltan, Designer of Robot AI Sex dolls & regarding his robot girlfriend Alice, an account of the Museum of Sex Furniture in Second Life, artist submissions including ‘The Virtual Transgender Suit’, the ‘Menstruation Machine’, A themepark of Near Death Experiences, a tranny surprise film, & a comprehension test submitted by the Fauxist International.

If that wasn’t enough already, We’ve crammed in late entries: a psycho-sexual reminisence on Mattel’s famous 90’s goo-toy ‘Gak’, & a story about a game-designer’s fossilized porno dog ‘Artaud’, from Regrette Etcetera’s upcoming collection “So this one time I turn up for a trick…” ANDWe are also privileged to have received a number of choice items for review this month, donated by the Portland Paranormal Society”.

Note: Fauxist Representative Regrette Etcetera also featured in Interstitial Bestiaries #3, available for download in the menu bar at left.

 

* interstitial: (in-tər-ˈsti-shəl): Pertaining to being between things, especially between things that are normally closely spaced. 1 a : a space that intervenes between things; especially : one between closely spaced or nominally indistinguishable things <interstices of a wall>, <the interstitial fluid found between body cells> b : existing in or filling a gap or break in something generally continuous <the interstices of society> <passages of genuine literary merit in the interstices of the ludicrous…plots — Joyce Carol Oates> 2 : a short space of time or content between events or features.


** bestiary (bĕs`chēĕr’ē): A
type of medieval book that was widely popular, particularly from the 12th to 14th cent. The bestiary presumed to describe the animals of the world and to show what human traits and moral lessons they severally exemplify. The bestiaries are the source of a bewildering array of fabulous beasts and of many misconceptions of real ones, and demonstrate differences in pre-modern and modern taxonomies and beliefs.


Posted in Fauxist Real Gender, Fauxist Speculative Literature | Leave a Comment »

Exhibition of Fauxist Materials & Appearance

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on November 19, 2010

Presenting a grouping of the Fauxist International’s projects concerning monumentality, museumification, and memorialization- in this case, those specifically engaging the queer, ISGD, trans, intersex communities. These project excerpts form part of a larger investigation and planning drive toward monument and ritual design and theorizing.

 

Queer archival practice, monumentality and memorialization often eschews the use of a queer methodology or lens, and aims for a historical solidity or definitional authority that is so often is critiqued by the makers themselves. In terms of monumentality (whether referring to statuary or performative modes) the didactic logic of most monuments- their rigidity and sense of historical closure- too closely resembles traits associated with the oppressive forces supposedly being critiqued, and become, in a word, fascist.

The monuments, rituals and archives surrounding Trans Day Of Remembrance have similarly been criticized for their problematic presumption of a unity of identity,  uncritical hagiography, and a general white-washing of race, class, and life-histories. The Fauxists believe We stand at an important threshold in determining the nature of mourning, accountability and resistance.

Exhibiting:

– Transgénero, como método y posibilidad: Museo Travesti del Peru

An investigation into a particular critical example of the Trans memorial/museum, this document describes the theory and practice of Museo Travesti del Peru (The Transvestite/Transgender Museum of Peru), and features an interview with Giussepe Campuzano, the museum’s founder. This publication looks in particular at the ways in which the nomadic, living, performative and anti-hegemonic Museo Travesti uses trans as an organizing and deconstructive metaphor in ‘doing the museum’, a tactic We believe is generally missed in trans memorializations, which often adhere to hegemonic, apologetic structures of mourning and presentation.

– Memorial Museums

We are in the midst of a generation of “memorial boom,”. More memorial museums have been built in the last 10 years than in the last 100. New speeds and types of atrocity, genocide, and thus memorialisation, tourism and writing proliferate.

In investigating this field, the Fauxists hope to look at dominant method and means of memorial museumification- the sites, objects, displays, and linguistic structures- that function to ‘remember’ and situate atrocities and genocide. This project aims to develop Our own critical-experimental forms of Memorial Museum, that necessarily avoid the pitfalls of the hegemonic memorial structures. We include this material in an effort to encourage reflection in each case upon ‘Queer/Trans Genocide’, TDOR, queer monumentality, and the structures of such events and spaces.

– Fauxist Anti-Monument Project

(Excerpts from working Document  “Meaning to Muteness: Abject Monumentality & the Fauxist Anti-Monument Register”)

A project initiated in 2008 interrogating the fall of hegemonic monuments in historical and political terms, and with production of anti-monuments, specifically those concerning ‘abject histories’ and minority categories of loss and identity. The Fauxist Anti-monument strives to be de/deconstructive, nomadic, temporary, performative, interventionist, painful, inconclusive, and in this context aligned against the GLBT-industrial-complex’s colonization of memory, history and utopia.

– Fauxist Investigations in Feminization Hypnosis

An under-explored area, Feminization Hypnosis is a recent phenomenon that has been gaining popularity, mainly online. Sold through mail-order/websites, the Femme hypnotic materials primarily take the form of audio tapes, Mp3’s, CD/DVD’s, but range to phone consultations, hypnotherapist outcalls, and ‘hexed’ hypnotic clothing and accessories.

The Fauxists investigate the cultural, political and anthropological dimensions of Femme Hypno, looking at common motifs, devices and indeed the psycho-social presumptions of trans-femininity.  Reading Femme Hypno materials by unpacking their constructions of psycho-somatic invocations, inductions and pathologization, ‘feminine artifactuality’ and self-organizing trans lives.

The “Fauxist Investigations in Feminization Hypnosis” CD, collects exemplary source materials, experiments in, and Fauxist productions of Feminization Hypnosis. Available from News From The Fauxist International

The “Contains No Original Material: Subliminal Films of the Fauxist International” DVD, includes a number of works using Feminization Hypnosis, though in a cinematic-subliminal context.

Appearance:

Fauxist luminary Regrette Etcetera also hosts the performance event.

Post-event documentation below. Photos by Huck Spin.

Regrette Etcetera.

Regrette Etcetera.

 

Posted in Fauxist Events, Fauxist Real Gender | 2 Comments »

Temporal Slip in Crystal Architectures: Meth Museums, Meth Labs in Space, & The Meth-Architecture-Organism

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on November 11, 2010

Contents:

– “Laura”: Mourning in The Contemporary Meth museum & Topographies of Meth Hells

Practice Meth Labs: Emergency Sim-Architecture

Practice Meth Labs 2: The First Ever Meth-Lab in Space

Moving into A Meth Lab: The Toxic-domestic regrets of innocent families

– Domestic Alchemy & The Meth-Organism in Architecture

——–

Watch this first.

 

This is a smart meth PSA. For once. Much more sophisticated than the usual fare of lost innocence/violent teenager imagery…  And to be crystal clear, I love meth. I’ll come with you Laura. An indeed the writing of this is ‘inspired’ by the recent wave of double/triple strength meth that hit the scene in Sydney & has everyone talking to Tina. The Fauxists have long evinced a fascination with drugs and architectural spacetime, and in Laura’s museum, We’ve picked up on some particularly potent motifs of meth-time.

Laura’s Museum

In what is obviously the blank bright cavernous interior of a contemporay art space- rather than the dark stuffiness of a traditional museum?- split-channel videos and wallpapered paintings blatantly quoting Takashi Murakami mimic the art-viewing experience, of experience scoured & framed by the white cube-void.

We are led into an exhibition that could well be entitled “Laura: The Mourning of Straight Time”. Laura wanders spaces of temporal slip, arrayed with visions and objects of her/a lost adolescence and childhood. Indeed, at centre, the contrasting of meth-time, meth-desire with straight time is the central tenet to most of the PSA’s of this ilk. The notion of ‘straight time’, as deployed by Halberstam, and developed by Jose Esteban Munoz, describes the ‘autonaturalizing temporality’ that is produced by the structures of heteronormativity (broadly), and its proprietary deployment of work, recreation, family, the body etc. Straight time promises that there is no future for non-normative individuals/groups, as the only futurity promised is that of reproductive majoritarian heterosexuality, the family, and the spectacle of the state refurbishing its ranks through covert & subsidized acts of reproduction. It is impoverished and toxic for ‘others’ who do not feel the privilege of majoritatian belonging, normative tastes, and ‘rational’ expectations.

In the forced re-imposition of straight time, Laura is ‘offered’ a hypertextual multiverse of access to her potential paths and parallel lives framed totally as loss (“A museum of what she lost to meth”). In a screaming re-accession/dismissal of her childhood(s),  Laura bodily skirts a claustrophobic installation of cards, only to thrash against/through the birthday/card field-archive (reminiscent of the ‘house of cards’ or dominoes, and bringing to mind Derrida’s ‘Archive trauma’) that someone has arranged so perfectly, through the accumulated weight of sticky intentions and ties, forming a path.

Google Image results for "Meth"

Straight Time again. This parallel lives/lost potential device is common throughout anti-meth ads & lit. Alongside the overwhelming preponderance of before-and-after mugshots of crystal-ravaged countenances (these are in fact the predominant image found if you type “Meth” into Google- see image above- and are a makeup artists database for the swathe of tele-features destined to proliferate as the ‘meth-emergency’ continues), there are a number of campaigns that traffic in a cosy mix of regret and straight time, like the infamous “Lost Me to Meth” series, and in particular the ‘gay’ ‘Lost Me To Meth’ video below.

Other notable instances include the apparently ‘horrific’ Montana Meth Campaign some of its derivative spinoffs.

There is a voyeuristic-cum-panoptic quality to this video, which is verified by the surveillance camera’s robotic jerkiness and zoom in the closing moments. We now know that Laura’s ‘exploration’ is under supervision, the video lays bare it’s self-producing mechanisms as panoptic document. Much can be read from this. ‘They’ have made this museum and are letting her suffer through it for ‘the Great Lesson’, surveiled from and shoring up their own righteous position and  importantly, chronology. There is a deep Catholicism in this. In meeting an omnipresent god, whose monitoring angels have recorded your every move and intention, how else could you experience ‘what you had lost’ like this?

In reiterating chronology (or more accurately the chronotopic timespace relations of amphetamines) , We remember that some years into the study of the ‘states’ grouped under the umbrella ADHD, came the realization that the ADHD ‘sufferers’ perceived the flow of time quite differently to the majority. Thus pharmaceutical speed and meth treatments, which had already proven to re-align the occupation of aberrant attention were then understood to actually correct and align the perception of time passing. In other words, amphetamines- strictly administered- became known to be effective agents of hegemonic/straight time, whether in the kindergarten child, or the jacked-out military fighter jet-pilot. That the pseudoephedrine of common cold medications designed to keep Us work-ready is the key ingredient of meth, doubles the irony of the endless castigation of the self-administering meth-freak’s mis/overuse of time.

Following such time-slippages in an institutional space (the ‘angels in the architecture’ of Paul Simon), We are left to wonder what other types of museum or archive Laura’s ‘monument’, her thanatological themepark, could inhabit, and how the space would then determine the psycho-emotional possibilities of the ‘exploration’. In other words, how would Meth-life-time be displayed in the educational, didactic displays and chronological layouts of the traditional museum? Would the dark and dusty halls of old not be more suited to the junky’s history? (Perhaps best located architecturally in smack-poet Michael Dransfield’s mythic ancestral mansion ‘Courland Penders’, into which he built his nostalgia for an older civilization).

Which implies the question: Is there something about the contemporary art space that is inherently schizoid? And what of the museum in the supercomputer or database? Would not the Virtual Reality Meth-Hell, the simulated gaming space of a million mediated selves, be just as ‘efficient’?

What indeed is the architecture here? The architecture of Laura’s Museum is essentially and exactly a topology of hell and morality, which always is busy designing it’s Hells and their populations. In viewing Laura’s Museum, We must then imagine the labyrinthine institution that would hold all of the lost experiences and lives of Meth Users, or others similarly abject (according to any particular morality and vision of upward mobility etc.) We can safely predict that their overseers consume an all-to-common diet of the traditional Borges, Dante, Piranesi, Bentham… with updates by Philip K. Dick, EST, Italo Calvino, Landmark Forum…

How did she enter? Where from? How does she exit? Who and where are the museum staff? Do they visit their own janatorial hells too? Are these replete with corporate hierachies they could have ascended if they’d just bleached their skin more rigorously? Screams can be heard from behind the walls. In the next room(s), the 4th world poor are flayed by streams of better lives, the children of junkies are hired for cameo roles in their parents films, all the while producing material for their own future museums. Rooms lit by myriad screens, editors compiling endless footage of speculative lives, possibilities, permutations, for the judgement & the primal scream…

But before We exponentially expand Laura’s museum into a city-state, other associations beckon…

For example, We are aware here of the somewhat uncanny crossover’s with Mike Kelley’s work, notably his confrontation with architecture and “repressed memory syndrome” (the “Study for Repressed Spatial Relationships” series) and his work “Educational Complex”: an architectural model composed of replicas of every school Kelley ever attended, with areas which he couldn’t remember left blank.

Mike Kelley "Educational Complex" 1995

Mike Kelley "Study for Repressed Spatial Relationships Rendered as Fluid, No. 6 St. Mary's Church and School Cry Room in the Sky" 2002

Further, Kelley’s performances, with their implication of childhood objects and memories (later of trauma, sexuality, loss etc) brought into the contemporary art space, often function by creating agglomerations, dialogues, and taxonomies of (often handmade) soft toys in gallery space. Like Laura’s childhood bear and bed, Kelley’s toys are set in scientific-philosophic arrays and dialogues, animated with mourning and the abjection of memory, and draw on the calculus of object-affect and regression that Laura’s overseers obviously employ.

Mike Kelly "Dirty" typology.

Mike Kelley. 'Dirty' inset.

Toy Taxonomy/Typology

An Anthropometry of Memory

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As another small detour, for a moment consider the videographic architecture of the equivalent Acid morality-museum. What would be the moralist’s didactic media space for the acid-freak? As Erik Davis writes, psychedelics are perhaps best seen as media, and in fact are a lot like information overload, however, We believe, baroque the iconographic-semiotic framework. Similarly, McLuhan saw psychedelics as “chemical simulations of our environment”, which allow users to achieve empathy with the “archaic echo chamber of the electronic media”. And indeed, the metaphors of psychedelics are of media, not message (‘tune in’ & ‘turn on’… and trust the psychedelic apparatus). Or alternatively of LSD: “When you get the message, hang up the phone”.

In many ways, according to Davis, 60’s/70’s freak spirituality simply reproduced industrial society’s belief in quick-fix technological solutions- the ‘plug & play’ nirvana of the gadget happy Americans. An instantaneous ‘out’/’in’ often set amidst the high-tech sensory assault of the happening (think Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test/Grateful Dead), resulting in forms of technological fetishism. So what are the acid-heads missing from the museum? Would this museum be an internet/advertising space?

Seen from this vantage point, the Meth PSA’s, and especially ‘Laura’, mobilize elements of the heady epochal melding of Acid freak (60’s), New Age (primal scream therapy) (70’s), and corporate Success seminars (90’s)- and indeed the easy slippage of New Age semiotics into the corporate environs- in dealing with postmodern anxieties around the maintanence of the self, proper/functional trajectories, and the identity media-multiverse. In the video museum in which Everyone is You-as-lost-You, the overseers/seminar leaders are photogenic messiahs trying to deprogram the TV-bred abjection out of you. A recent, succinct rendering of this is Brody Condon’s amazing LARP Seminar “Level 5” performance at the Hammer Museum, September 4-5, 2010: VIDEO HERE

Staying with Brody’s use of 70’s regression ‘processing’ techniques for a moment, We can draw links between these interventionist psychological tools and the horrific 1950’s torture-psychology experiments that they emanated from. Laura’s museum- in both its surveillance-experimental and infantilizing nature- could thus be seen as a kind of circling ‘back’ to the CIA’s clandestine  Operation Bluebird (think drug-and-noise/media-and-electroshock-forced schizophrenia) and indeed Ewan Cameron’s MKULTRA ‘regression’ experiments, which added LSD to the mix. Indeed, you’d only need to cut the text out of the Laura video to make it a performance-art video piece.

Setting aside Brody, and indeed McLuhan, We believe the theorist Paul Virilio- whose theories of speed, dromology, telepresence and videography warfare and their effects on architecture, identity and ‘the’ body- are better suited to thinking through the Meth-time museum, and nature of the meth-media link. But again, We digress! This is another essay entirely!

All in all, Laura’s museum seems like a somewhat benign behavioural punishment. In being made to experience these narratives- the loss is not liberty, her body etc- but straight time, memory, family.  And frankly, We think they can keep it.

The following sections then, explore the architectures and cultural symbolics of meth-labs, taken here as reproduced meth-labs to follow the logic of the preceding.

Practice Meth Labs: Emergency Sim-Architecture

(Note: All images in this section by the Center for Land Use Interpretation)


Meth is fast becoming a national emergency. As labs proliferate, it saturates the US, and the trade from Mexico increases. Importantly, Meth doesn’t skyhook (or bootstrap?) with the relative cultural indulgence of cocaine, but is something much more poor, queer, abject. ‘Worse than Heroin’, it has quickly become the central drug bogeyman.

As explored in Our upcoming article “Amputees in Mock-Afghanistanian Mud: Military Simulation-Urbanism, Performance and the Future of Global Warfare” (which deals with the architectural simulation of war games and virtual sims, military urbanism and cryptogeography), there is a growing network of cryptogeographic mock-towns and villages used for simulation, training and re-enactments of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and indeed for the future of 3rd World urban warfare. In this case though, the mock urban spaces are intended to simulate non-military and law enforcement emergencies. The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) has undertaken an investigation into these emergency mock-towns, spread across the US mainland.

As CLUI (Link) explain:

“Another architecture is rising in the expanding landscape of preparedness. Condensed simulacrum of our existing urban environments are forming within our communities, where the first responders to emergencies, on a small or large scale, practice their craft of dealing with disaster. The scenario grounds of emergency training include mock hazardous material spills, train wrecks, building collapse, fires, and debris strewn landscapes. The police contend with civil decay, robberies, hostage situations, looting, riots, and snipers in mini Main Street environments called situation simulation villages , tactical training sites, or Hogan’s Alleys , where live weapons or small dye-filled simunition rounds complete the realism of the scenario. Whether they are made for police or fire departments, these training sites are stylized versions of ordinary places, with the extraordinary horrors of the anticipated future applied to them on a routine basis. In disaster situations, from car accidents to riots to earthquakes to terrorist attacks, when order breaks down, the worlds of police, fire departments, and the military, coming to our defense, merge to become the reigning order – the emergency state”.

Photographs from CLUI’s work show the towns to be replete with  a series of practice/simulation meth labs, in which actors play out the part of tweakers. In what may be a lost chapter of “A scanner, darkly”, many of the rooms in these sim-labs,have no real ceilings, and the action is watched and filmed from overhead catwalks by supervisors monitoring the officers’ skills. The photo series in this section by CLUI documents these simulated training labs, a kind of Meth-architectural double uncanny.

This meth-emergency architecture has spawned another meth-museum. Though here, the police experience all they are missing. Baudrillard’s false-false teeth can be heard grinding from his grave.

Practice Meth Labs: The First Meth-Lab in Space

In what may be one of the headiest Meta-Meth-architectural dreams, a Nasa contractor has built a meth lab in space.

And doesn’t it feel like We’ve been waiting to utter that sentence Our whole lives?

High above the online Second Life region called The Unknown is a small dark island floating in the upper stratosphere, which is an unlikely location to build a meth lab. Unless, say, you’re roleplaying a drug dealer with a dirigible- or as it turns out in this case, you’re a metaverse developer who wants to demonstrate SL’s utility as a simulation training tool for individuals who need to recognize real meth labs.

Fred Fuchs (the NASA contractor), has done what no meth lab cook has ever done before. He has taken a meth lab to the final frontier, where no police have ever been before. Yet, that is exactly what he wants law enforcement agents to do.  Find his meth lab. Fuchs wants all cops to know – when it comes to meth labs, they should expect the unexpected. Fuchs has hidden his meth lab so well, that even the DEA would have a hard time finding it or the pre-cursor chemicals or cooked meth that are located inside his lab.

Floating far above universities, corporate headquarters, and other buildings lies Fuch’s unreachable and untouchable meth lab, in a space where no one would think about investigating – in space. If the pigs are lucky enough to find out how to get to Second Life, they still have to find the lab, which might have asking other people on Second Life about where he is.

The space lab was built based on photos from police websites, and in Fuchs’ words: “We hope to encourage use of SL for training law enforcement and social workers. We found that a walk-thru helped other types of clients think about ways they could use SL… I wrote simulations for the International Space Station. Accuracy in simulations is ‘my thing'”

The lab is located high above Firesabre headquarters, though experienced SL explorers will know how to find it: direct SLurl teleport at this link.

Is this the ultimate timespace architecture and media of Meth?

Moving into A Meth Lab

“Meth labs, however, always have possibilities, being made and wrecked at the same time”.

With the proliferation of the meth lab, necessarily comes the proliferation the ex-lab. With so many homes potentially contaminated by methamphetamine production, meth experts estimate that thousands to tens of thousands of people have discovered that what they thought was the American dream–a nice home for the family–is actually an American nightmare, and the potential cause of a range of health problems and a stack of medical bills. For a vague, under-reported vision of the scope of ex-labs, visit the US DEA’s “Clandestine Labratory Register”, or peruse the list for a state like California

Here We take a brief tour of these toxic homes, which were once used to cook, and thence appear on the real estate market after the fire, the bust, or the move. Generally, a sensible estate agent will avoid mentioning the house’s past, and as We’ll see, there are many “innocent American families” now coming to inhabit ex-labs. Note: Meth labs don’t adhere to class real-estate boundaries.

The Times point out that meth production chemicals “can permeate drywall, carpets, insulation and air ducts, causing respiratory ailments and other health problems.”  It also quoted experts to the effect that living in a former meth house puts children at greater risk of developing learning disabilities or long-term respiratory and skin problems. And the risk wasn’t limited to kids. A 2007 study in Denver found that more than 70% of the police who were called in to inspect meth labs later reported health problems. Upon moving into a meth house, people have experienced short-term health problems ranging from migraines and respiratory difficulties to skin irritation and burns. Long-term problems are less well known, but the results from a 2009 study in Toxological Sciences suggest that methamphetamine chemicals may cause cancer in humans. And because children have small, developing bodies and a tendency to play on the ground and architectural surfaces and lick or put things in their mouths, they are especially susceptible to adverse health effects from meth toxins in a building. “When we go into a [meth] lab, if there are children, the first thing we do is take the children to the hospital and assess them for contamination,” said Narcotics officer Jeff Smith.

Now, Discover Magazine has published a must-read update on the extent of the problem – and it makes for a sobering read. Apparently, about the only thing you can do if you find your house has been a meth lab is tear the whole place apart down to the bare studs and start over, with new electrical, new insulation, new plumbing, and new drywall. Even if a meth house is cleaned properly, some experts worry that meth toxins may hang around.

Meth Lab Homes (http://methlabhomes.com), a site dedicated to those who’ve unwittingly bought Meth houses, and to preventing anyone else from doing so, goes into a more practical side of Meth-Estate. From their ‘MethLab 101’ guide to how to pick meth architecture clues and traces, under titles like “Stains”, “Strange Plumbing”, and including tell-tale aftereffects of a meth lab, sections detailing the lacklustre housekeeping habits of tweakers, to lists of possible warning smells, worth reproducing in its heady entirety here:

What does a meth lab smell like?

– Smells like a hospital due to the common use of ethyl ether as an anesthetic. Nasal irritant. Ether-like: Aromatic, sweet odor often accompanied by a sweet taste.

– Smells like paint thinners, paint removers, adhesives, and cleaning fluids. Type of odor often found in auto body shops or furniture refinishing shops. Eye and nasal irritant.

– Smells like odor found in vinegar, mayonnaise, salad dressings or pickled food. Pungent, acrid, or sour smell. Eye irritant.

– Smells like wet diapers, glass cleaners, cattle feed-lots, or fertilizers. A sharp, irritating odor.  Eye and nasal irritant.

See also Methlab Homes’ video: Meth homes are a costly cleanup.

The site also collects the (often tawdry) stories of ‘innocent families’ who’ve mistakenly bought a Meth house. Most feature a narrative of revelation, suspicion. Accounts of the  architectural details, clues, and invisible effects of the Meth architecture, and how it has come to effect their lives/psyche. Our personal favorite: The Bates Family: Three tours in Iraq and and now a meth lab home.


Domestic Alchemy & The Meth-Organism in Architecture

Following the sim-lab further, We arrive back in the contemporary art space.

2009’s “Black Acid Co-op”, an immense, labor-intensive, maniacally contrived walk-through installation environment that is a warren of some dozen rooms, interiors and passageways. It includes a burned-out home methamphetamine lab, a red-carpeted gallery of pseudo-artworks and a hippie haven. Its disparate spaces sustain ever-closer readings and parsings, like a series of archaeological-architectural sites in perpetual excavation…

 

“Black Acid Co-op” is the work of the New York artists Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe. It is the third incarnation of “Hello Meth Lab in the Sun,” which opened last spring at Ballroom Marfa, Texas.

The heart of the piece is the meth kitchen, crawling with plastic tubes, jammed with glass jugs and beakers and littered with full and empty boxes of the over-the-counter cold medicines that are chief among the ingredients of the drug’s simple but dangerous recipe. In a grim before and after, this kitchen is reached through a ghost of itself: the charred remains of another lab in conjoined trailers destroyed by a meth-making explosion.

Careful attention to detail is obvious throughout this mammoth effort. Nothing is accidental. The room-by-room shifts in reality have been aptly compared to jump-cut scenes in a film, with each door or — more likely — each hole in the wall introducing a different form of delusional retreat from the larger world, with architectural space and chronologic markers standing in for moral movement (like the geologic/geographic-moral equivalence in Conrad’s Kurtz). The varieties of societal detachment wending through the piece are echoed in recurring meditations on voyeurism, display and the remove of art and the museum. According to their press, Black Acid Co-Op is the moniker for a “counter-culture enclave embedded in the metropolis”. In this incarnation, the artists focus on the production of illegal drugs and “sites of sub-cultural groups and how they are situated in the larger urban environment”. The installation expands on the notions relating to the connection between counter-culture and industrial society “resulting in a spatial collage that extends itself into a vast architectural setting”.

The Meth Lab here is a site of transubstantiation and transmutation in which highly illegal and universally scorned alchemical practice wages  war with straight time and architecture. The legal, everyday domestic objects- batteries, cold meds, vacuum hoses-  are cooked into Uppers and $ using alchemy’s method of homespun experimentalism, bonding unlikely ingredients and ushering in a secular, psychosis-mysticism that infects the spaces. In the lab not only are materials transformed, their intended uses are subverted along with consumerism’s tenets of freedom, happiness and choice. The lightly veiled intimacy between the lawful and the deviant is put on display.

Psychosis, decrepitude and paranoia are explicated architecturally, invoking the rituals of occult production and space. And what is perhaps subliminal in the meth labs explored above, becomes obvious here- that the architecture and paraphenalia of the meth lab is an organism. Ducts, wires and tubes traverse rooms creating a semblance of an organism: architecture as body, electricity as capillaries, and volumes as organs.  As an architectural hybridization and transformation, the intended use of many of the sites is bent: factories have become homes, kitchens, car trunks, trucks, etc are used as labs.

Disappointingly, as another example of sim-meth, this time trafficking in the abject affect of the meth-space, this gallery Meth Lab suggested fear, anxiety, paranoia, and intoxication from a comfortable, almost academic remove. These artists don’t attempt to get “political”- although you could get Marxist about the practice of fabricating an expensive facsimile of down-rent environs for “aesthetic” consumption in downtown NYC. Instead, Meth Lab collapsed the old triad of transgressivity- sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll- into a architectural cliche fit for family (i.e art community) viewing.

Posted in Fauxist Architecture, Fauxist Speculative Literature | 7 Comments »

Fauxist Retrospective Exhibition Reviewed in UN Magazine

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on November 11, 2010

Review by Kate Woodcroft

UN Magazine issue 4.2,

pages 95-7.

UN Magazine: “Melbourne’s leading independent magazine for contemporary art”

http://www.unmagazine.org/

 

 

 

Posted in Fauxist Events, Fauxist Speculative Literature | 2 Comments »

Participatory SURVEILLANCE & Psychovideography: “Virtual Border Watch”, Pay-CCTV, & Military Ghost Webcams

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on November 10, 2010

Contents:

– Introduction: “The geo- is now in the video”

– Virtual Deputies on the Texas Border

– A participatory Panopticon on your street?: Citizens ‘Crime Control’ & “Internet Eyes”

– CCTV, Psychovideography & The Cinematic Dream of Surveillance City

– Ghost Webcams in military space


Introduction: “The geo- is now in the video”

As part of a larger Fauxist project on ‘An Anthropology of Telepresence’- investigating UAV’s and colonisation, the NeoConOpticon, Drone wars, Sim Arch-  this publication outlines 4 instances of recent Participatory Surveillance- Texas Border Watch, Asbo TV, Internet Eyes, and Ghost Webcams in military space- & looks at how these relate to the dreams of constant surveillance in Psychovideography (a take on the Situationists Psychogeography, updated for the virtualisation of space in which “The geo- is now in the video”).

This article focuses on participatory surveillance using webcams, and instances that exhibit a mix of public-private deployments, governments and councils teaming up with tech companies to outsource surveillance to the public eye. The use of public subscriber webcams and public access CCTV- citizen surveillance facilitated by government-corporate interests. Citizen patrol and report on borders, criminality (from organised crime, ‘anti-social behaviour’, to shoplifting), and look at the various incentives and motivations etc.

Key terms in this field include:

– Responsibilization,

– Vigilance

– The Securitisation and Criminalisation of immigration

– Sousveillance and Synopticism

The Rise of the “Participatory Panopticon”

Jamais Cascio has written and spoken numerous times about an emerging “Participatory Panopticon” and the cultural shift when consumers themselves assume the reins of societal surveillance through the ubiquity of cell phones, pocket-cams, municipal free wi-fi networks, and the proliferation of mobile communications networks across the urban grid.

Cascio focuses on consumer technologies- namely personal electronic devices- as providing the means for such a shift in scale and nature of surveillance: “In the world of the participatory panopticon, this constant surveillance is done by the citizens themselves, and is done by choice. It’s not imposed on us by a malevolent bureaucracy or faceless corporations. The participatory panopticon will be the emergent result of myriad independent rational decisions, a bottom-up version of the constantly watched society.”

This notion of individual citizens keeping a technological eye on the people in charge is referred to as “sousveillance,” a recent neologism meaning “watching from below”  (in comparison to “surveillance,” meaning “watching from above).” Proponents of the notion see it as an equalizer, making it possible for individual citizens to keep tabs on those in charge.

Whilst We find Cascio’s ideas intriguing- the Little Big Brother- We find structural melds and crossovers of government-corporate, military-industrial and citizen surveillance most interesting, due to its organizing powers, scope and moral compulsion. The following examples of participatory surveillance serve to demonstrate some elements of Our thinking in this area.

Virtual Deputies on the Texas Border

Witness the rise of trans-border videogeographic neighborhood-watch.

'Illegal Immigrants' on Border Watch Webcam

In 2008, the US launched a real-time interactive internet site, the Texas Virtual Border Watch Program, which shows real-time video from the US – Mexico border.

By using this site, anyone who wishes to participate in the US border control can have access to a network of webcams that feed 24/7 live streaming video showing the border. One just needs to sign up to the campaign’s website and the images from the cameras can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an online computer. From the website, it is possible to use a hot line in order to alert the authorities to any activity perceived as ‘suspicious’. An alert is sent to the Texas Border Sheriffs’ Coalition, who decide whether to take action.

The programme is governed as a public–private partnership with a company called BlueServo and a $2million donation from the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, in 2008 and another $2million in 2009.

At this point, there are 23 cameras placed at ‘strategic crossing points’. Since the site went live in November 2008, it has received more than 50 million hits, and more than 130,000 people have registered to become ” virtual deputies”. They are located as far afield as Australia, Mexico, Colombia, Israel, New Zealand and the UK.

Another facet of this program is the ability of the public to connect their own cameras to www.BlueServo.net to create local Virtual Neighborhood WatchesSM in order to protect their own homes, neighborhoods, and families from criminal acts. These Virtual Neighborhood WatchesSM can, in turn, be connected to form additional Virtual Community WatchesSM.

Leisure Time

Hence You, Our ever-vigilant reader, are invited to switch on your computer, eat some Val, sit comfortably in your easy chair and start watching. Before you start enjoying your exciting virtual journey, there are two warnings. First, it might not be as exciting as you expected. Most of the time, there is nothing to see on the long deserted borderline. The river is flowing, leaves are shivering in the wind and occasionally some birds are flying past the camera. Whenever you see cows walking on the river banks, it feels like witnessing action. The landscapes are very slow. But indeed, you can just open the window beside the latest episode of True Blood and keep half an eye out for the vampiric illegal aliens in Texas whilst the ‘other vampire drama’ unfolds…

[Phyllis] Waller, a border camera watcher in Oklahoma, said she

spends about an hour each evening after work during the week and a

little more time during the weekend patrolling the border online. Her

other Internet pastime, she said, is watching a site that tracks bald

eagles. “I watch eagles and illegals. That’s a fun thing to do,” she said.

[. . .] “I’m interested in decreasing the number of illegals,” she said. “I

don’t care if they come over as long as they do it legally. I don’t like

the drugs, I don’t like the crime”

(El Paso Times, 11 July 2009).

 

When Robert Havercamp, a truck driver from South Texas, sees them on

his computer screen, he says: “I don’t know what’s in those duffle bags

but it’s a good, strong possibility . . .” “It could be clothes. It could be mar-

ijuana. It could be cocaine. It could be methamphetamine. Or it could be a

bomb,” he said. “We were invaded in 2001; you want that again?” . . .

“Sometimes I’ll pull an all-nighter, because the bad guys gonna wait

’til late at night to do anything,” Havercamp said

(CBS News, 6 February 2009).

 

When her baby girl takes an afternoon nap, or on those nights when she

just can’t sleep, Sarah Andrews, 32, tosses off her identity as a suburban

stay-at-home mom and becomes something more exotic: a “virtual

deputy” patrolling the U.S. – Mexico border. From her house in a

suburb of Rochester, New York, Andrews spends at least four hours a

day watching BlueServo.net. . . . “Today, there’s a couple

vehicles that are parked side by side next to each other,” she said by

phone, her seven-month-old cooing in the background, “but I can’t tell

what’s going on, you know?”

(CNN, 12 March 2009).

 

“I don’t have to know right from wrong…Perhaps they’re just fishing…”: A BBC interview with Les Stout, Virtual deputy, who expounds many of the key tenets We explore below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news/2010/03/100316_webcam_border_wt_sl.shtml

Imperial Interactivity

It is generally the case that the authorities are as creative in harnessing the new technologies for their own purposes as anybody else. For all of the tawdry webcam art, CCTV work and hyperbolic ‘Interactivity’ rhetoric in the contemporary art world (like the field of Bioarts when compared to the innovations of biopiracy, biometrics etc), the practices and draw of BlueServo far outstrip most critical work in the field.

In fact, the description of technologies used on the border (weaponized UAV’s and cyborg vehicles etc), and the essentially static geographical/topographical relationship of the Virtual Border Watch makes the webcams look like a ‘natural’- or even technologically quite modest- new stage in a continuum of technological control. It also seems self-evident, that along with other techniques, the online community would also be harnessed to support borderwork. Even so, since the other forms of technology are strictly controlled by the authorities, in its interactivity the Texas Virtual Border Watch Program proves not to be part of a continuum, but rather a new stage in the politics of surveillance and borderwork.

The program is a perfect example of synopticism: many watching few instead of few watching many (as in the Panopticon, for example).  As Haggerty (2006, p. 33) argues, ‘it matters enormously who is actually conducting surveillance’. The hype about interactivity has been accompanied by critical notions. Andrejevic (2007, p. 213) accurately points out that ‘interactivity is becoming synonymous with asymmetrical forms of monitoring, information gathering, and surveillance’.

VR: Vigilance and Responsibilisation.

Two key terms regarding citizens and surveillance/security culture: Vigilance and Responsibilisation.

The rhetoric of vigilance has increased, and interestingly in this example, vigilance also highlights that citizens are not just mere objects of surveillance (although they very much still are also that), but can work as active agents of surveillance.

Scholars have argued that fear has lately become an omnipresent state of living which “takes root in our motives and purposes, settles in our actions and saturates our daily routines”. Fear is creating a moral pressure towards individuals asking “not only keeping ourselves safe but also in evaluating the conduct of others” (Mythen and Walklate, 2006, p. 136; emphasis added). Thus the BorderWatch programme plays a part in the social construction of suspicion. The programme makes evident that it is “the bordering process, rather than the borders per se” (Newman, 2006, p. 144) that is crucial. Furthermore, fear as a situated experience and fear as a transformation of visual culture are increasingly connected. To capture images (of almost anything/anybody) can easily be explained within the rhetoric of security.

Gradually, the movement of people has been increasingly posed as a risk. In this securitisation of immigration, immigration is perceived as a security problem (Bigo, 2002). This does not necessarily relate to concrete threat (of terrorism) but to perceived unease which is channelled against the Other. Again, this is outsourced to private companies, with profit motives and feeds a growing sector of private  ‘Immigration Prisons’ in the US. The NPR report below explores this further.

http://www.npr.org/v2/?i=130833741&m=130878467&t=audio
see also: http://tucsoncitizen.com/cell-out-arizona/tag/alec/

This brings up the issue of responsibilisation. Responsibilisation activities “rest implicitly upon an assumption that the state alone cannot guarantee security” (Herbert, 1999, p. 151). The authorities “actively enlist participation of non-state actors and agencies and thus share the burden of controlling unwanted social phenomena”.

The Texas Virtual Border Watch Program also applies well to the changing idea of the location of borders. As many scholars have argued, borders are currently understood as being spread all around societies rather than locating merely on the border areas. Visual images create interaction between virtual and material spaces, hence blurring different levels of reality. The transborder dimensions of border policing blur the boundaries between internal and external spheres of policing and security policies (Aas, 2005). This phenomenon shifts our attention from ‘the state’ and sovereignty narrowly conceived to more nebulous realms where the sensibilities, ideologies, desires, and numerous other forces that constitute ‘statecraft from below’ are played out’ (Doty, 2007, p. 118).

It is argued that the programme remains ‘cosmetic’ border control and that this echoes the dilemma between economic wellbeing and security issues. As the report above would indicate, such measures, however cosmetic, are part of a greater drive to leverage vigilantism and responsibilization for control and profit.

Finally, a brief look at possible hackings of the web-border. The U.S federal government has intelligence suggesting that drug smugglers themselves have logged on to BlueServo.net and used the cameras to make sure that Border Patrol agents are not at a certain location, and then quickly moved loads of drugs across the border at those points (The New York Times/The Lede, 26 March 2009). In the words of William Gibson, that grand-daddy of net-saturation: “The Street finds its own uses for things – uses the manufacturers never imagined”. Other reports find that a substantial number of logged ‘activity reports’ were ‘obviously hoaxes’. Our favourite instance being: “There are some men crossing the water. They have a bottle of tequila and a big hat”  (Homeland Security Newswire, 16 July 2009).

Participatory Panopticon on your street

“Enter the Prime Time television era of couch-potato crime-solving” Subtopia

A London bus-stop ad.

A number of programs involving citizens monitoring CCTV weblinks (& often paying to do so) to stop crime, anti-social activities, ‘terrorism’ and so on, have recently been initiated around the world. Serving to promote models of responsibilization and vigilance, and further to fill in the time before facial recognition and profiling technologies become sophisticated enough to allow supercomputers to do the work themselves?

According to Subtopia, as part of Tony Blair’s new “Respect” (pdf) program to try and legislate “proper social behavior” (a strategy even willing to evict people from their homes), residents of Shoreditch will become the first in Britain to receive “Asbo TV” — television beamed live to their homes from CCTV cameras on the surrounding streets.  In one of the poorest areas in the country, residents will have to pay £3.50 a week for the full package, after installing a little box offering 55 channels of “good old fashioned surveillatopia-surfing fun”.

Billed as a wonderfully oxymoronic “community TV security project”, viewers “will also be able to compare characters they see behaving suspiciously with an on-screen “rogues’ gallery” of local recipients of anti-social behavior orders (Asbos),” the Sunday Times reports. They will then be able to use “an anonymous e-mail tip-off system to report to the police anyone they see breaching an Asbo or committing a crime.”

A notably similar program was announced for the US only a few years ago in the New York Times. The difference is that in the US they plan to force people to watch the system either over their computer or cable system. Though, interestingly, watching it will be classified as ‘public service’ to pay for speeding tickets and eventually as a mandatory function of your civil defense Homeland Security draft duties.

One imagines whole prisons fitted out with CCTV rooms, captive populations… being watched themselves by CCTV… Starting at two hours a week and, if you wish to be paid, upwards of twenty hours a week, you will monitor the cameras for signs of terrorism and also, as admitted in the New York Times piece, for crime.

A third contemporary example is the poetically named ‘Internet Eyes’, this time designed to curb shoplifting (as we well know that no one watches shop cameras).

'Internet Eyes' screenshot.

Internet Eyes is an online “instant event notification system” allowing registered ‘Viewers’ at home to monitor live CCTV feed from ‘Business Customers’, and notify them ‘the instant a crime is observed’. Internet Eyes will apparently pay up to £1,000 to subscribers who regularly report suspicious activity such as shoplifting. (For a  debunking of the company).

7000 people signed up in the first week of operation in England alone, and the company believes that international viewers will further swell the ranks. For example, the different time zones made Australia the ideal location for detecting night-time crime in the UK (“I would love people in Australia to be looking at this,” managing director Tony Morgan says), and conversely, the scheme could also be switched so that UK residents monitored cameras in Australian cities and so on ad nauseaum.

Example of 'Internet Eyes' Interface

One subscriber, Paul from Hammersmith, cited both vigilance and responsibaliztion when he told the BBC News website he thought it was his civic duty to sign up:

“We’re in a time of austerity and there has been a reduction in the budgets of police and local authorities but by doing this, I feel I can help. It will help people feel safe and secure and it’s not like putting a camera in your house. These are in public places. I hate criminality and if I can help stop it, I will.”

Psychovideography

Dostoyevsky’s murderer would stand no chance here..

The Fauxists are also interested in the aesthetic/psychological histories and affect of such programs as those discussed above. We have long evinced an interest in psychogeography, which We’ve extended to encompass psychosisgeography, cryptogeography & military urbanism, drug architecture (1 & 2), dream architecture & near death experiences (& etc).

An article by Geoff M. of BLDG BLOG, develops the term ‘psychovideography’- regarding “the videographic psyche of the city”- the psychological effects of generalized and predominantly invisible surveillance- and in discussing the NYC CCTV system mentioned above, Manaugh frames such a project in terms of film/cinema and architecture. His work is worth quoting at length:

“And so now New York City may attempt to install the total cinematic dream that has consumed London’s private security firms for the past three decades, lost as they are in the Warholian ecstasy of filming every last centimeter of urban space, week after month after year, in what is surely the largest outright expenditure of cinematic ambition since… perhaps since film began… But to introduce a new term here, we would find ourselves discussing not *psychogeography* – that outdated fetish of a new crop of uninspired theses, from Princeton to the AA – but *psychovideography*, the videographic psyche of the city. If security firms are the new providers of our urban unconscious, a hundred thousand endless films recording twenty-fours a day, indefinitely, then we should perhaps find that the outdated methodologies of the psychogeographers have hit an impasse. The geo- is now in the video-, as it were, and the -graphy survives just the same. Throw in some 24-hour psycho-, and we begin to see the city through the lens of an unacknowledged avant-garde: a subset of the film industry whose advance front has taken on the guise of security… The response: psychovideography. Endless filming. Install the umbrella of a total cinema and move freely into the next phase of urbanism: fortress urbanism… ‘Security’ is a red herring; we are witnessing instead the triumphal rearing-up of an unconscious cinematic fantasy.”

Subtopia goes on to ask: “in the age of “panoptic urbanism”, with millions of CCTV cameras streaming an ongoing meta-history of all our lives together across an incomprehensibly fragmented screen of cinematic terrestrial optometry, I, too, wonder, would you rather be watched by computers, or people? Can we rely on future detection systems to make accurate judgments in all their algorithmic pattern-gazing automatonist wizardry?”. (See here for hilarious current US army work in the area). Interestingly, these forms of digital criminal anthropometry and biometrics are uncannily like the outdated phrenology and craniometry. with their associated criminological and racialist baggage, the only difference is that the database becomes animated and searches for itself. Possibilities suggest themselves for the performance of a criminal type, a posture, the suspicious tic, and working into the database of nervous behaviours would seem a goldmine for deconstructive dancers…

In literary terms, the experience and cultural/architectural significance of watching these forms of CCTV could be captured in a 1000 page novel called “The Possibility of A Crime” describing part of a floor of a parking garage in blurry grayscale… Or something from late Beckett meets Proust?

Subtopia goes on to discuss possible developments of participatory surveillance involving video-gaming and gamers to work in sim/real space to monitor crime and patrol space. By mixing elements of skill and endurance-based reward and narrative progression with monitoring and surveillance, a generation of tween tweakers could take up the reins of the particpatory surveillance self-state…

Ghost webcams in military space:

(Project Excerpt)

This project investigates the uses and intents of webcams installed on military spaces- former battlefields, installations etc- as part of a project on Cryptogeography, Military Urbanism, and an Anthropology of Telepresence. By interrogating webcams monitoring supposedly haunted military space or ‘equipment’ (like the USS Lexington’s aft engine room Ghost- the webcam showing the “Turbine and miscellaneous gauges of the aft engine room… where the spectre is most often sighted”) or for the ghosts/spirits of battlefiedls- particularly those of mythic-historic, nationalist importance, like the Gettysburg Battlefield Ghostcam (with timelapse compilations), We hope to explore the significance of military ghosts in contemporary politics in terms of belonging, memory, recreationism and monumentality.

Other notable instances of the many haunted battlefields include: Oriskany Battlefield, Shiloh National Military Park, and Stones River BattleField In Murfreesboro TN

_____

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Bibliography:

“WEbcam Border Patrol” http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/webcam-border-patrol/#ixzz11vU0GPKb

Koskela, Hille(2010) ‘Did You Spot an Alien? Voluntary Vigilance, Borderwork and the Texas Virtual Border Watch Program’, Space and Polity, 14: 2, 103 — 121

O’Donnell, S.;   Richard, M.;   Turning Municipal Video Surveillance Cameras Into Municipal Webcams Technology and Society, 2006. ISTAS 2006. IEEE International Symposium on 8-10 June 2006

Subtopia/ name “The Panoptic Arcade”  “THURSDAY, JANUARY 12, 2006

BLDG BLOG/Geoff M  “PSYCHOVIDEOGRAPHY / ‘FORTRESS URBANISM’

Schneier on Security: A blog covering security and security technology. “Now Everyone Gets to Watch the Cameras” January 11, 2006

Hille Koskela  ‘WATCH THE BORDER 24/7, ON YOUR COUCH’ : Texas Virtual Border Watch Program and the politics of informing

Dhruti Shah “CCTV site Internet Eyes hopes to help catch criminals” BBC News, 4 October 2010 Last updated at 03:36 GMT

BBC News “Public to monitor CCTV from home” Tuesday, 6 October 2009 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8293784.stm&nbsp;

“Participatory Panopticon at the Border” http://subtopia.blogspot.com/2006/11/participatory-panopticon-at-border.html

NeoConOpticon: The EU Security Industrial Complex “internet-eyes-the-privatisation-of-the-surveillance-society”

http://neoconopticon.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/internet-eyes-the-privatisation-of-the-surveillance-society/

http://www.peoplesrepublicofsouthdevon.co.uk/2010/10/01/spot-a-crime-and-win-cash-prizes-internet-eyes-launches-in-newton-abbot/

JOHN MARKOFF and JOHN SCHWARTZ “Many Tools of Big Brother Are Up and Running” NY Times, December 23, 2002  http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/23/technology/23PEEK.html

Is the “Internet Eyes” CCTV web monitoring “game” merely incompetent, or an actual scam ? By wtwu on October 10, 2009  http://p10.hostingprod.com/@spyblog.org.uk/blog/2009/10/10/is-the-internet-eyes-cctv-game-merely-incompetent-or-an-actual-scam.html

Jamais Cascio “The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon” 4 MAY 05 http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/002651.html

Alex Jones & Paul Joseph Watson, The Panopticon: A Mass Surveillance Prison For Humanity, PrisonPlanet.com, January 11 2006

David Murray “Internet Eyes to pay Australians for spying on UK shoplifters” The Courier-Mail October 15, 2009 http://www.news.com.au/technology/internet-eyes-to-pay-australians-for-spying-on-uk-shoplifters/story-e6frfro0-1225786976734#ixzz14Aok6AR1

Posted in Fauxist Architecture, Fauxist Psywar | 1 Comment »

Fauxist Investigations in ‘Feminization Hypnosis’: Gender Dysphoria, Autogynephilia, Schizoanalysis, Postmodernism & “Becoming-Woman”…

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on October 22, 2010

This publication documents some of the theoretical, performance and film uses of “feminization hypnosis” and its associated fields undertaken by the Fauxist International betweenMay 2008 and June 2010.



Contents:

Project Outline & Aims

“Superfemalewhammy” (22:53): What is Feminization Hypnosis?

An Anthropology of Feminization Hypnosis

Subliminal Sissyfication and “HypnoFemme”

Feminization as a Technique of Torture

Pathology: Theorizing of Trans identities

Autogynephilic and Homosexual Trans: Dr. Ray Blanchard, Etc.

Transsexuality & Postmodernism: “The End of History”?

Regrette Etcetera. performs Femme Hypno @ Carnival of Electric Illusions, Sydney 2009

Associated publications:


– “Initial Fauxist Experiments in Feminization Hypnosis 2008-10”. (Upcoming)

– ““Thanks for helping me free the woman inside”: Selected Testimonials from Fauxist Feminization Hypnosis Users” (2010)

– “The Tasaday Berdache: Hypnotic 2-spirit sub-tribe” (2010)

Project Outline

An under-explored area, Feminization Hypnosis is a recent phenomenon that has been gaining popularity, mainly online. The number of dedicated femmehypno sites has risen from 8 in 2005 to 94 in 2010, the number of products available from 30 to over 2000 respectively, according to sitetrend.com. Some sites boast high numbers of visitors. Most of the products are sold through mail-order/websites, and the Femme hypnotic materials primarily take the form of audio tapes, Mp3’s, CD/DVD’s, but range to phone consultations, hypnotherapist outcalls, and ‘hexed’ hypnotic clothing and accessories.

Put most simply, and following the argot of the vendors, Feminization hypnosis is the process of inducing hypnotic states in ‘men’ which allow them to assume a ‘female’ identification, however ‘deep’ or with whatever longevity. Feminization hypnosis is primarily framed for use in three ways: by transgendered, transvestite and transsexual people; in the context of a dominant/submissive relationship (FemDom); and as sexual experimentation. In a typical ‘session’, the normal ‘male’ personality and perceptions of a ‘male’ body are set aside as a ‘female’/feminine personality, and/or an imagined/projected ‘female’/feminine ‘body’ and ‘sensations’ are created in/for the client. This may be accomplished by traditional hypnosis suggestions (in this case generally delivered by audio recordings and film), metaphorical stories, or intense visualization while under hypnosis. Feminization hypnosis is a controversial type of hypnosis, occasionally classified as a type of voluntary brainwashing, and is generally regarded as fraudulent by registered or professional hypnotists.

As of May 2008, the Fauxist International has initiated a number of investigation and projects around Feminization Hypnosis, as it lies within a number of our areas of interest, namely: Speculative literature, anti-science, trans-motifs, invocational literature/performance, abjection and pathologized identities, and suggests numerous possibilities for deployment in a didactic mode in productions and performance. By unpacking and experimenting with the existing products, and producing our own, we have managed to expand the field and it’s implicit political-cultural baggage.

This Project has sought to:

– Investigate the methodologies, forms and content of these products and their associated framing discourse, and look at the presumptions and assumptions of femininity, feminization- namely the metaphorics of femininity, feminine artifactuality, somatics, performance and simulacrum- through a political trans lens.

– Investigate the role of reaffirmation, reiteration and repetition in ‘performativity’ of gender and psychosomatics.

– Address the pathologization and medicalization of trans bodies and identities, the gatekeeper roles of psychologists and doctors, and the ways in which ‘self-organizing’ identities function and are upheld, specifically in relation to consumer products that purport to offer independent agency. Investigate theories of Autogynephilia(s) and paraphilic identities (see ‘Pathology’ section and video below), regarding how they are called upon and mobilized by Femme hypno.

– Deliberately invoke anti-scientific and anti-rational belief systems, motifs of conspiracy theory, the trappings of charlatanism, quackery, and so on. In the investigation of subliminal, hypnotic and channelling methodologies, and their linkages with received medico-scientific renderings of trans psychology and embodiment, we have endeavoured to unpack the truly conspiratorial nature of gender re/iteration and patrol by hegemonies and authorities throughout history.

– Explore feminization ‘Magick’ and hexing in relation to various uses of trance, invocation, spirit-possession, channeling, and parapsychological phenomena.

– Explore the large crossovers between these techniques- especially ‘sissification’ and ‘femme domme’ hypnosis- and the interrogation-torture technologies of the military-industrial complex globally, most notably in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and the ‘Dark Prisons’ of the US. By looking at the various fetishizations of the torture-interrogative techniques, with their attendant nationalism(s), gender and sexual orders (following Coco Fusco’s “Field Guide for Female Interrogators” 2009) and the ways these feed back into one-another, We seek to combine theories of the ‘postmodern confessional’, the reiterative performativity of gender and nationalisms, and the roles of (hegemonic Western) femininity as a device of coercion.

– Look at popular media’s role as a vehicle of hypnosis and suggestion in the maintenance of femininity and artifactuality.

– Delineate the trans mind-body relationships most commonly found in the Feminization Hypnosis genre, compare and contrast these with the medical/psychological establishment, and with theories of performativity, dis/identifications etc.

– Explore the claims of numerous theorists- notably the work of Susan Stryker, Jean Baudrillard, Donna Haraway and Marjorie Garber- which state that ‘Trans’/’transsexuality’ epitomises postmoderism and/or postmodern identity. And. In doing so, interrogating the ways in which trans identities are ‘looked through’ and used to produce/offer ‘deconstructive possibilities’ for identity politics.

– As such, explore how the transgendered subject is seen as either an apocalyptic or redemptive metaphor.

– Critique the anthropological/ethnographic elements to trans studies. By looking at the deployment of the Berdache, 2-spirit identities (etc) by white &/or western trans academics/activists, and also the libertarian uses of trans as a destabilizaing or deterritorializing space or force. These currents can be found to echo throughout the Feminization Hypnosis materials in subtle yet nefarious ways.

Project Aims:

– Publish our investigations and solicit work of others.

– Create a range of critical/hallucinatory-baroque femme hypno materials and merchandise- scripts, recordings, videos- using a variety of means including subliminal and hypnosis software, binaural beats programs, found materials, detourned materials, plagiarism, and so on.

– Continue to expand Our use of femme hypno techniques and media in public performance settings- listening stations, for audiences etc.

– Create ‘environments’ and installations that work on feminization hypnosis principles and motifs, including deployments in architectural work.

What is Feminization Hypnosis?

“Why spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on potions, creams, surgery, etc., when you probably have the absolute best tool already at your disposal! YOUR MIND! Instead of having male and female atributes in conflict with each other, learn how to join the forces of your mind and body – and have them work together to achieve a gender balance and harmony. This CD or MP3 recording will even complement your existing feminization regime – so add it to your feminine box-of-tricks today!”

Richard MacKenzie (www.richardmackenzie.co.uk)

“The process of sorting out sexual identity is a difficult one for many men. For those who self-identify more strongly as a woman than a man, they may seek outlets for their female side including cross-dressing, gender reassignment surgery and, increasingly, hypnosis. Feminization hypnosis can play an important role in helping to prepare or complete gender reassignment surgery.”

Isabella Valentine (www.isabellavalentine.com)

“As you develop the look, the sound and the feel of a woman, you will be motivated on towards achieving more and more of you feminization goals – whether they be total feminization, partial feminization, un-forced feminization, temporary or permanent feminization…There are men who try surgery to become a woman. But surgical operations can only change the outside of your body, it can not make you feel like a real woman, because inside you are still a man. Instead, hypnosis breaks down the psychological barriers that prevent a man to become a truly woman. In other word, you can use feminization hypnosis to achieve the results that you will not get with surgery”.

http://www.hypnosisblacksecrets.com/hypnosis/feminization-hypnosis


An under-explored area, Feminization Hypnosis is a recent phenomenon that has been gaining popularity, mainly online. Sold through mailorder and websites, the hypnotic materials take the form of audio tapes, Mp3’s, films, and even phone consultations. The number of dedicated femmehypno sites has risen from 8 in 2005 to 94 in 2010, the number of products available from 30 to over 2000 respectively, according to sitetrend.com. Some sites boast high numbers of visitors.

Put most simply, and following the argot of the vendors, Feminization hypnosis is the process of inducing hypnotic states in ‘men’ which allow them to assume a ‘female’ identification, however ‘deep’ or with whatever longevity. Feminization hypnosis is primarily used in three ways: by transgendered, transvestite (cross-dresser) and transsexual men; in the context of a dominant/submissive relationship (FemDom); and as sexual experimentation. In a session, the normal male personality and perceptions of a ‘male’ body are set aside as a female personality, and/or an imagined/projected ‘female’ ‘body’ and ‘sensations’ are created in/for the client. This may be accomplished by traditional hypnosis suggestions (in this case generally delivered by audio recordings and film), metaphorical stories, or intense visualization while under hypnosis. Feminization hypnosis is a controversial type of hypnosis, occasionally classified as a type of voluntary brainwashing, and is generally regarded as fraudulent by registered or professional hypnotists. The producers go about establishing authority in the usual manner- Satisfied customer statements, repetitive assertions of their veracity, efficacy, vie expert testimonial etc.

Content: Most of the audio/Mp3 tracks last from 16 to 25 minutes, and consist of a central, customized hypnosis section bookended by a standardized hypnotic introduction/induction and conclusion which differ little from session to session. Narrated in the flat, monotonous tone commonly associated with hypnosis, and often with a pervasive boredom bordering on contempt. Many would appear to be made in home/PC environments by amateurs, and some are characteristically poorly executed, with glitch pops and background noise level changes at the transitions between standardised and session-unique content, and obvious re-edits of the narrations. The more professional works contain jingles, music and standardized branding motifs.

Efficacy/Veracity: The effectiveness or ‘reality’ of hypnotic techniques and subliminal materials are fully explored in our publications “Pop Music vs. Islam”, “It’s Hard to Even Think About…”, “Fauxist Subliminal Sleep Audio Tapes”, “One Second Theatre Competition”, “Fauxist Spirit Recording Project” (All available by clicking on the Category group ‘Fauxist Psywar’ at top left).

NOTE: The relative paucity of ‘Masculinization Hypnosis’ or equivalent materials, when compared to Feminization Hypnosis, is another significant facet of the field, and whilst in many ways  indicative of the motif of ‘feminine artifactuality’ discussed below, this is beyond the scope of the current publication, and We will leave it up to you to unpack the significance of this important fact.


“You will need to dedicate only 20 minutes a day to listen to the recording (repetition of the suggestions is very important) however the extra time spent on following the instructions, massages and exercises revealed on that recording, will pay huge dividends in hastening and compounding your feminization. Some results, such as the breast enhancement, are pretty much permanent, requiring only a little maintenance, but other results and effects will need more constant manicuring and attention, until they become “second nature”. (Or is that first nature?)”


LINKS: Creators of such products include:

http://www.goddessladylita.com/,

www.studiojezebel.com,

“Gender Hypnotherapy at it’s best” http://www.cheetu.com/

www.isabellavalentine.com,

www.monablu.com,

http://hypnosisdownloads.ws/self-feminization.php

http://sissytrance.com/main/

http://www.self-feminization-hypnosis.com/7steps/

http://www.hypnoticfeminization.com/index.php

http://feminizationsecrets.com/videos/free-feminization-hypnosis-video-mp3/

http://www.angelabaileyhypnosis.com/feminization-hypnosis.html

http://www.feminization-hypnosis.org/

An Anthropology of Feminization Hypnosis

Common tenets/content:

1. Femininity: Psycho-social-intellectual

– – Associated with submissive sexuality.

– – Femininity as, and as producing fetishization, artiface, constructedness.

– – Underwritten by desperation, & secret hysterias.

– – Psychic disjunction and dysphoric mind-body interplay.

– – Untroubled/Unproblematised assumptions of binary gender and psychology.

– – Changes in interests & conversational content, generally informed by veiled misogyny.

– – Heavy focus on quasi-mythic accessories- lingerie, heels, makeup

2. Trans: Specific Proclivities of Transfemme identities to Hypnosis according to associated literature:

Dysphoric states. Predominantly rendered as ‘Wrong Body’ syndrome.

Unique Neurochemical/hormonal configurations/conflagrations to be activiated/switched off.

– Exhibiting an adlib mix of ‘Autogynephilic’ and ‘Homosexual’ trans categories whenever necessary.

– A generalized hypersexualization of transfemininity

– A focus on the ‘shemale’ as abject, psychologically fraught/unstable, transgressive sexually.

– abjection of trans desire

3. Somatic:

– – Comportment: Mandatory Leg-crossing etc.

– – Higher, quieter voice

– – Nicer/softer hair

– – Spontaneous Breast Growth

– – Secondary sex characteristics changed

– – Relevant Genetic De/Activation through hypnosis

– – Rewriting of ancestral/genealogical heritage.

 

HypnoFeminatrixes, Sissyfication:

In the context of a domme-sub relationship, forced feminization is a relatively common form of sexual play. In the dominant ‘heterosexual’ context the vast majority of dommes are female (FemDom) (ed. as in the reverse case it’s just patriarchy?). This is generally termed forced feminization as the submissive is “forced” by the dominant to assume a feminine, read as humiliating and/or subservient, role, including the wearing of ‘women’s’ clothing and makeup, but is generally not transgendered in their normal life. Femdom and sissification are key areas in the production and reinforcement of gender stereotypes.

From Mona Blu.com: “PussyCock : Sissy prissy…it’s the only way to be. And you feel this deep hypnotic resonating being. Hues in various shades of pink and purples. So very very soft, so very hypnotically soft, satin and lace in perfect harmony, and you feel so very hypnotic.” PussyPants : An intensive femme-laced hypnosis trance session that will allow you to set yourself free, allowing for the inner girlie to merge out. Prolonged visual directives guide you towards a feeling of sexual fulfillment and gender identity. Focus is completely lost as you simply allow intensive post hypnotic triggers to embed themselves deep into your psyche.”

Hypnosis can enhance role-playing in these situations, and brainwashing techniques may be used by the dominant. Some providers employ significant “brainwashing” techniques, including disorientation through extreme volume, confusing voices and imagery, and belittling of the male personality and body while asserting female characteristics. The sessions may or may not include an experience of sex as a woman. In the case of a series of such recorded products by Isabella Valentine, a well known female dominant using hypnosis extensively, brainwashing includes high volume, tremolo binaural brainwave patterns played very rapidly, alternating beats in each ear, white noise, high frequencies, drones, whispers and static to achieve significant confusion for the listener while suggestions and subliminal suggestions are repeated for effect. Some providers offer feminization hypnosis sessions by phone.

Feminization as a Technique of Torture

As explored in our publications “Pop Music vs. Islam”, “It’s Hard to Even Think About…” and “FSAAT” and “Initiations of New Americans at Abu Ghraib”, many hypnotic and subliminal techniques were developed and tested in the 1950’s, adopted by the CIA and military-industrial complex(es), and are now deployed in war interrogation-torture settings globally. Specifically in relation to feminization hypnosis, such techniques are often used to feminize (and thus disempower) a captive, source, or population- replete with a deliberately invoked range of cultural phobias around gender, sexuality, menstruation etc. as seen in the aftermath of Abu Ghraib. This facet of femme hypno, extending the use in Sissification and FemDom settings, is a fertile area of investigation and experimentation for the Fauxists. See the aforementioned documents for more information.

Pathology: Theorizing of Trans identities

– Autogynephilic and Homosexual Trans: Dr. Ray Blanchard, Etc.

Video by Annie Danger (http://anniedanger.webs.com/)

More and more people are getting interested in feminization hypnosis. This is popular especially among those who want to let out the inner women within them… They are doing this in order to break away from what they see as a lifelong trap – being in the wrong body when they feel like they are more like women than men.”      Isabella Valentine

Unfortunately, discussions about, and research on, transsexuality often focus on “etiology” – that is, the cause(s) of transsexuality: Why do transsexuals exist? Why are we motivated to change our sex? Is it due to genetics? Hormones? Upbringing? Living in a plastic-surgery-obsessed culture? Or maybe it’s just a good old-fashioned mental disorder? Such questions represent the intellectualization of objectifying transsexuals.

There has been a recent resurrection of Ray Blanchard’s model of transsexuality, which postulates that all trans women are motivated to transition for sexual reasons. Blanchard’s concept of autogynephilia was an obsure theory only known to a relatively small number of gatekeepers and transsexuals. That is, until psychologist J. Michael Bailey published his 2003 pop-science book “The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism”, which is undoubtedly one of the most sexualizing and sexist books about trans women yet published. The premise of the book is that all transsexual women transition for purely sexual reasons – either to attract straight men or because they are sexually aroused by the idea of being or becoming female.

This sexualizing of trans women’s motives is of course nothing new. In what amounts to a hypersexualization of trans women in our culture, trans women are regularly depicted as either sex workers, sexual deceivers who prey on unsuspecting straight men, or as fetishists who get off on the idea of wearing women’s clothing. The media’s (as well as Bailey’s) assumption that MTF (but not FTM) transsexuals transition in order to fulfill some kind of sexual fantasy not only dismisses trans women’s deeply experienced female gender identities, but also insinuates that women as a whole have no worth beyond their ability to be sexualized. (See also: Anne Lawrence “’Men Trapped in Men’s Bodies’: An Introduction to the Concept of Autogynephilia”)

It’s important to note that, according to Bailey et al, “male” bisexuality does not exist, and “women” are inherently bisexual. Moreover, according to the two-type theory, trans women are men, and thus inherently “gay” or “straight”. Their contention is that ‘autogynephilic’ transsexuals will have sex/one night stands with men to confirm their identities as women, but not because they’re really attracted to them. Thus according to Blanchard there are two ‘legitimate’ sex drives: heterosexuality and homosexuality. A deviance in each causes gender dysphoria, and in extreme cases ultimately causes transsexuality. The deviant form of heterosexuality is called “autogynephilia.” Blanchard defines Autogynephilia as “a man’s [sic] paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself [sic] as a woman.” Bailey not only endorses Ray Blanchard’s theory, but he takes it to an extreme of simplicity.

Apparent types of Autogynephilia:

* Transvestic autogynephilia: arousal to the act or fantasy of wearing women’s clothing

* Behavioral autogynephilia: arousal to the act or fantasy of doing something regarded as feminine

* Physiologic autogynephilia: arousal to fantasies of female-specific body functions

* Anatomic autogynephilia: arousal to the fantasy of having a woman’s body, or parts of one.

Transsexuality, Postmodernism: “The End of History”?

“What does it mean exactly to talk about the death of history? To what extent does such a claim tacitly reinscribe the very logic of temporality that it seeks to negate? And to what extent does a perspective sensitive to gender issues either affirm or complicate the thesis of the end of history and the end of sex?

Epochal change or paradigm shift accompanied by worry, patrol and fascination with category-troubling. Post 9/11 US pop culture’s obsession with trans- on talk shows, reality shows, etc As has been explored elsewhere- in times of paradigmatic/epochal change and troubling, identities and ideas that are confusing/trans-ing to the hegemonic culture become a central, if disavowed, focus. This is often centered around gender or sexuality and its relation to Nature/naturalism. For example: Fin de siele homosexuality (Oscar Wilde), the New Woman and the Dada Cyborg of Weimar berlin (Hannah Hoch), and the transsexual figure of the noughties TV culture.

Many theorists note the pervasiveness of images of transsexuality within much postmodern and poststructuralist thought. For example, in “The Transparency of Evil”, Jean Baudrillard writes, “the sexual body has now been assigned an artificial fate. This fate is transsexuality. Transsexual not in any anatomical sense but rather in the more general sense of transvestism, of playing with the commutability of the signs of sex … we are all transsexuals.” Here transsexuality, or perhaps more accurately, transgenderism, serves as an overarching metaphor to describe the dissolution of once stable polarities of male and female, the transfiguration of sexual nature into the artifice of those who play with the sartorial, morphological, or gestural signs of sex. The media visibility of such celebrities as Madonna, Michael Jackson, and La Cicciolina becomes symptomatic for Baudrillard of a fascination with the exaggeration, parody, and inversion of signifiers of sexual difference which pervades the entirety of contemporary Western culture.

Contemporary critical theory itself both echoes and intensifies such practices of gender bending and blending in its sustained conceptual challenge to the ontological stability of the male/female divide. While male theorists like Derrida, Deleuze, and Baudrillard himself profess their desire to “become woman” by aligning themselves with a feminine principle of undecidability and masquerade, so feminists are in turn increasingly appealing to metaphors of transvestism to describe the mutability and plasticity of the sexed body. Two of the most influential feminist theorists of recent times, Donna Haraway and Judith Butler, have both sought in different ways to break out of the prisonhouse of gender by reconceptualizing masculinity and femininity as performative, unstable, and determined.

See for example:

Stryker, S. (1995) ‘Transsexuality: The Postmodern Body and/as Technology’, Exposure 30(1/2): 38–50.

Susan Stryker, “Christine Jorgensen’s Atom Bomb: Transsexuality and the Emergence of Postmodernity,” in E. Anne Kaplan and Susan Squier, eds., Playing Dolly: Technocultural Formations, Fantasies, and Fictions of Assisted Reproduction (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1999), 157-171.

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