Nikola Tesla’s Machine to End War

The art of thinking

Today the most civilized countries of the world spend a maximum of their income on war and a minimum on education. The twenty-first century will reverse this order. It will be more glorious to fight against ignorance than to die on the field of battle. The discovery of a new scientific truth will be more important than the squabbles of diplomats. Even the newspapers of our own day are beginning to treat scientific discoveries and the creation of fresh philosophical concepts as news. The newspapers of the twenty-first century will give a mere “stick” in the back pages to accounts of crime or political controversies, but will headline on the front pages the proclamation of a new scientific hypothesis.

Progress along such lines will be impossible while nations persist in the savage practice of killing each other off. I inherited from my father, an erudite man who labored hard for peace, an ineradicable hatred of war. Like other inventors, I believed at one time that war could he stopped by making it more destructive. But I found that I was mistaken. I underestimated man’s combative instinct, which it will take more than a century to breed out. We cannot abolish war by outlawing it. We cannot end it by disarming the strong. War can be stopped, not by making the strong weak but by making every nation, weak or strong, able to defend itself.

Hitherto all devices that could be used for defense could also be utilized to serve for aggression. This nullified the value of the improvement for purposes of peace. But I was fortunate enough to evolve a new idea and to perfect means which can be used chiefly for defense. If it is adopted, it will revolutionize the relations between nations. It will make any country, large or small, impregnable against armies, airplanes, and other means for attack. My invention requires a large plant, but once it is established it will he possible to destroy anything, men or machines, approaching within a radius of 200 miles. It will, so to speak, provide a wall of power offering an insuperable obstacle against any effective aggression.

If no country can be attacked successfully, there can be no purpose in war. My discovery ends the menace of airplanes or submarines, but it insures the supremacy of the battleship, because battleships may be provided with some of the required equipment. There might still be war at sea, but no warship could successfully attack the shore line, as the coast equipment will be superior to the armament of any battleship.

I want to state explicitly that this invention of mine does not contemplate the use of any so-called “death rays.” Rays are not applicable because they cannot be produced in requisite quantities and diminish rapidly in intensity with distance. All the energy of New York City (approximately two million horsepower) transformed into rays and projected twenty miles, could not kill a human being, because, according to a well known law of physics, it would disperse to such an extent as to be ineffectual.

My apparatus projects particles which may be relatively large or of microscopic dimensions, enabling us to convey to a small area at a great distance trillions of times more energy than is possible with rays of any kind. Many thousands of horsepower can thus be transmitted by a stream thinner than a hair, so that nothing can resist. This wonderful feature will make it possible, among other things, to achieve undreamed-of results in television, for there will be almost no limit to the intensity of illumination, the size of the picture, or distance of projection.

I do not say that there may not be several destructive wars before the world accepts my gift. I may not live to see its acceptance. But I am convinced that a century from now every nation will render itself immune from attack by my device or by a device based upon a similar principle.

At present we suffer from the derangement of our civilization because we have not yet completely adjusted ourselves to the machine age. The solution of our problems does not lie in destroying but in mastering the machine.

Innumerable activities still performed by human hands today will be performed by automatons. At this very moment scientists working in the laboratories of American universities are attempting to create what has been described as a “thinking machine.” I anticipated this development.

And unless mankind’s attention is too violently diverted by external wars and internal revolutions, there is no reason why the electric millennium should not begin in a few decades.

Excerpted from Liberty, February 1937

Harun Farocki’s cinema of ruptures – Serious Games

“I try to let the film think.”

Harun Farocki (9 January 1944 – 30 July 2014) was a filmmaker, author, and film theorist. He was deeply influenced by Bertolt Brecht and Jean-Luc Godard. Farocki’s films investigate the processes through which images and the messages they carry are constructed, transmitted, and perceived; as well as the ability of recorded images to convey the realities of war.

The Anti-fascist school primer (Cartilla escolar antifascista)

By Mauricio Amster and Walter Reuter

The Anti-fascist school booklet was devised as a learning notebook for reading, writing and calculation, but also as an artistic publication by the Popular Front Government at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. The Cervantes Institute (Instituto Cervantes) organised an exhibition on this historical document, which also served as a tribute to its creators: the Polish-born graphic designer Mauricio Amster and the Berlin photographer Walter Reuter.

Link: https://cultura.cervantes.es/belgrado/es/cartilla-escolar-antifascista.-la-obra-maestra-de-mauricio-amster-y-walter-reuter/162037

Psychoanalysis and the New Rhetoric reviewed by Gorica Orsholits

Freud, Burke, Lacan, and philosophy’s other scenes by Daniel Adleman and Chris Vanderwees

Psychoanalysis and the New Rhetoric is a collaborative work emerging from several years of conversations between Adleman – a rhetorician – and Vanderwees – a psychoanalyst. Their dialogue represents a thoughtful fusion of psychoanalytic practice and theory with new rhetoric, rather effectively combining the work of Freud, Burke, and Lacan as main theoreticians, with many others also included. Rhetoric and psychoanalysis are disciplines that have been, or still are, on the margins of established scientific and institutional domains.

https://doi.org/10.59391/inscriptions.v6i2.218

Biennale Arte 2024: Foreigners Everywhere / Stranieri Ovunque

Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere, the title of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, is drawn from a series of works started in 2004 by the Paris-born and Palermo-based collective Claire Fontaine.
Foreigners Everywhere was a series of neon signs in several different languages. Named for Stranieri Ovunque, an anarchist collective from Turin, the work embodies and projects the ambivalence of their name into various sites and contexts. Lacking context, the neon suggests a factual statement, xenophobic threat, and evokes the estrangement of feeling foreign in a global society, a circumstance legible by the targeted populations.

https://www.labiennale.org/en/news/biennale-arte-2024-stranieri-ovunque-foreignerseverywhere

Soft and weak like water

The 14th Gwangju Biennale

7 April – 9 July 2023

The 14th Gwangju Biennale proposes to imagine our shared planet as a site of resistance, coexistence, solidarity and care by thinking through the transformative and restorative potential of water as a metaphor, a force, and a method. Soft and weak like water celebrates an aqueous model of power that brings forth change, not with an immediate effect but with endurance and pervasive gentleness, flowing across structural divisions and differences. Embracing contradictions and paradoxes – as “there is nothing softer and weaker than water, and yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things” (Dao De Jing, chap.78) – the Biennale’s theme highlights the capacity of art to permeate deep into the individual and the collective, which enables us to navigate through the complexities of the world with a sense of awareness and direction. 

Planetary Times

Considering the shared future of human civilisation requires a broad perspective that encompasses different or even conflicting views across borders. By exploring artistic practices that respond to the ongoing crises of humanity through the lens of relational cosmology that emphasises change, fluidity, and indeterminacy, Planetary Times imagines the Earth as a site of shared connections and removed boundaries that is entangled with the era of the Anthropocene. Such imaginary crossroads reveal a connected planetary viewpoint, beyond the perspectives that centers the human. The crisis of civilization brought forth by climate emergency, manifest in unprecedented droughts, forest fires, and floods around the world, prompts a fundamental reconsideration of unequal models of production and consumption, multinational corporations and late capitalist economic infrastructures and emphasises the significance of solidarity across borders. By presenting works that propose diverse and multifaceted responses to the crises that affect the entire world, this node sheds light on a ‘planetary’ perspective that moves beyond the ‘global’. In so doing, it seeks to move away from homogenous perspectives to value the lived, everyday experiences of artists and their activist possibilities.

https://14gwangjubiennale.com/

States of Violence – Exhibition in London (March 24. 2023 to April 8. 2023)

The exhibition ‘States of Violence’ exposes top government cables leaked by Julian Assange and brings together the work of leading artists and agitators, unveiling forms of government oppression. The rebellious show is presented by the non-profit London-based arts organization a/political, marking an outstanding collaboration with WikiLeaks — the well-known NGO that operates a whistleblowing news site. 
 
‘States of Violence’ battles for our freedom of speech in the modern era we are going through, exposing top-secret government cables and classified media, never before available in hardcopy in the UK. The works created by iconic names such as Ai Weiwei, Dread Scott, and The Vivienne Foundation, among others, put the spotlight on global power structures, releasing material for the darkest truths of our modern reality. The display also includes hard copies of documents leaked in 2010 by Wikileaks whistleblower and activist Julian Assange, also fighting for his freedom, as he has been detained at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison since 2019.

‘SECRET + NOFORN’ by Institute For Dissent and Datalove 

Source: https://www.designboom.com/art/states-of-violence-exhibition-top-government-cables-julian-assange-wikileaks-02-24-2023/

Review of A new dawn for politics by Alain Badiou; by Gorica Orsholits

A new dawn for politics is a collection of Alain Badiou’s writings from 2016 and 2020 which comprise essays and lectures on the ideological and political situation worldwide and in France.

https://www.tankebanen.no/inscriptions/index.php/inscriptions/issue/view/10

Internationale Situationniste journal

Online archive of English translations of Internationale Situationniste, aka International Situationist: the journal of the Situationist International.

Détournement as Negation and Prelude

Détournement, the reuse of preexisting artistic elements in a new ensemble, has been a constantly present tendency of the contemporary avant-garde, both before and since the formation of the SI. The two fundamental laws of détournement are the loss of importance of each detourned autonomous element — which may go so far as to completely lose its original sense — and at the same time the organization of another meaningful ensemble that confers on each element its new scope and effect.

Détournement has a peculiar power which obviously stems from the double meaning, from the enrichment of most of the terms by the coexistence within them of their old and new senses. Détournement is practical because it is so easy to use and because of its inexhaustible potential for reuse. Concerning the negligible effort required for détournement, we have already noted that “the cheapness of its products is the heavy artillery that breaks through all the Chinese walls of understanding” (A User’s Guide to Détournement, May 1956). But these points would not by themselves justify recourse to this method, which the same text describes as “clashing head-on against all social and legal conventions.” Détournement has a historical significance. What is it?

“Détournement is a game made possible by the capacity of devaluation,” writes Jorn in his study Detourned Painting (May 1959), and he goes on to say that all the elements of the cultural past must be “reinvested” or disappear. Détournement is thus first of all a negation of the value of the previous organization of expression. It arises and grows increasingly stronger in the historical period of the decomposition of artistic expression. But at the same time, the attempts to reuse the “detournable bloc” as material for other ensembles express the search for a vaster construction, a new genre of creation at a higher level.

The SI is a very special kind of movement, different in nature from preceding artistic avant-gardes. Within culture, the SI can be likened to a research laboratory, for example, or to a party in which we are situationists but nothing that we do can yet be situationist. This is not a disavowal for anyone. We are partisans of a certain future of culture and of life. Situationist activity is a particular craft that we are not yet practicing.

Thus the signature of the situationist movement, the sign of its presence and contestation in contemporary cultural reality (since we cannot represent any common style whatsoever), is first of all the use of détournement. Examples of our use of detourned expression include Jorn’s altered paintings; Debord and Jorn’s book Mémoires, “composed entirely of prefabricated elements,” in which the writing on each page runs in all directions and the reciprocal relations of the phrases are invariably uncompleted; Constant’s projects for detourned sculptures; and Debord’s detourned documentary film, On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Period of Time. At the stage of what the “User’s Guide to Détournement” calls “ultradétournement, that is, the tendencies for détournement to operate in everyday social life” (e.g. passwords or the wearing of disguises, belonging to the sphere of play), we might mention, at different levels, Gallizio’s industrial painting; Wyckaert’s “orchestral” project for assembly-line painting with a division of labor based on color; and numerous détournements of buildings that were at the origin of unitary urbanism. But we should also mention in this context the SI’s very forms of “organization” and propaganda.

At this point in the world’s development, all forms of expression are losing their grip on reality and being reduced to self-parody. As the readers of this journal can frequently verify, present-day writing invariably has an element of parody. As the “User’s Guide” notes: “It is necessary to conceive of a parodic-serious stage where the accumulation of detourned elements, far from aiming to arouse indignation or laughter by alluding to some original work, will express our indifference toward a meaningless and forgotten original, and concern itself with rendering a certain sublimity.”

This combination of parody and seriousness reflects the contradictions of an era in which we find ourselves confronted with both the urgent necessity and the near impossibility of initiating and carrying out a totally innovative collective action — an era in which the most serious ventures are masked in the ambiguous interplay between art and its necessary negation, and in which the essential voyages of discovery have been undertaken by such astonishingly incapable people.

SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL (1959)

Translated by Ken Knabb (slightly modified from the version in the Situationist International Anthology).

Source: https://libcom.org/article/internationale-situationniste-journal