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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Art, DG CONNECT and “He's too theoretical”

Following on from last week’s blog, this week we explore one of the reasons why we are not going to tell DG CONNECT anything, nor even explain what this means (surely you do not think that you understand the meaning of this?), and why we will make a theory of art-science and art-technology practices that DG CONNECT and the other vainglorious Enlightened ones, will struggle to understand. And part of the reason lies in this statement:

“He’s too theoretical.”

This staggeringly ignorant remark was made by a European Commission bureaucrat in DG CONNECT, about the British Artist Roy Ascott, following Ascott’s stimulating, enlightening and inspirational presentation in the European Parliament on the morning of November 11, 2013, in the keynote speaker session that preceded the ICT ART CONNECT workshop (mentioned in last week’s blog) that was chaired by Robert Madelin, at that time Director General of DG CONNECT.

“It’s Julia again Robert. I just thought that you and the rest of the world should know the attitude that prevails in the minds of technocrats who do not know the limits of their own knowledge. People who would, quite rightly, think someone ridiculous if they were to suggest that a quantum computer could be researched and developed without using quantum theory, but condescendingly think that art can be brought into research, development and innovation processes without using art and literary theory, and other theories too. But care you? No you do not, for you are just using art and artists as an instrument to achieve political ends.

“It turns out that theory is everything, in more ways than one. Paul and I knew this, and we knew also that those caught-up in the dogma and ideology of Western science and technology would not accept this. Paul gave it a name – the Prometheus syndrome. And this is how the Chinese, the Indians, and others from the non-European world will give Europe and the rest of the West, the economic thrashing that they deserve. And Paul and I will help them for we are sorely tired of what we describe as the vainglorious Enlightened ones and their collective delusions and constructed realities and what they are doing to our world in the name of that stupid idea that they call progress – that’s theory again.

“Theory is dead you say! Wishful thinking perhaps? Long live theory we say, for we are not caught-up in your very strange Western dualities and your very Abrahamic notions of sole truth and the one best way. A theory of everything, so to speak, which also includes the plainly stupid things that people do and say, when, to this mysterious nexus, with their delusions, they do puzzlingly and momentarily gravitate.

“Come to know us in many different ways …

“Julia xxx.”

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