TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Saturday, December 8, 2018

Generation X Goes Back to the Future 6: I Want to Appropriate You


Transgender 'Woman' Objects to Man who Wants his Age Changed Legally from 69 to 49 (12 November 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

The march to liberate us from biological social markers and replace them with politicized, constantly variable, cultural markers continues. Transgendered people have argued that gender is an oppressive social label even more than it is a biological one; they campaign for freedom from that oppression, turning gender into a malleable, liberated construct. They gain a lot of momentum from this, generating endless rights controversies in increasingly convoluted identity politics.

Dutch Baby Boomer and positivity guru Emile Ratelband wants to make hay while the sun shines. Ratelband, who is 69 years old, has been told by his doctor that he has the body of a 42 year old. Using the legal precedents established in the courts by transgender rights campaigners, Ratelband has argued similarly that age is an oppressive biological and social marker. It's time to decide how old you are by how old you feel, rather than being socially identified by rigid biological markers.

Ratelband legally petitioned to get his age changed to 49 years of age, so that he can get more dates with women on Tinder. The trans proponent in the above interview was appalled. Can't you just fib on Tinder? He/she said. Everyone does.

There is grand irony in the notion that a Boomer wants to join the ranks of Generation X. But Ratelband won't have that honour yet, since the Dutch district court in Arnhem presiding over the case ruled against him on 3 December 2018, and prevented him from legally changing his birth date from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969. Ratelband vows to appeal.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Second November Twenty Twenty


Frank Wasser, 02.11.20 (2018) © Frank Wasser. Image Source: Jerwood Visual Arts via The Evening Standard. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use.

From 3 October to 16 December 2018, an exhibition of up-and-coming UK artists at the Jerwood Space in London includes a distasteful and fictitious future newspaper by artist Frank Wasser, whose oeuvre shows that he likes to play with text as visual artistic symbols. The headline states that President Donald Trump was assassinated at 2 p.m. on 2 November 2020. From The Evening Standard:
"Fictional newspapers imagine 'assassination' of Donald Trump at new exhibition. Fictional newspapers of the future that imagine Donald Trump being assassinated are among the artworks on display at an exhibition opening in London this week.

Survey, a new exhibition opening at Jerwood Space today, shows works by 15 up and coming artists who have been nominated by mid-career artists as the contemporary art stars of the future.

Among these is Frank Wasser, whose work, 02.11.20, in the exhibition a fragment of a fictional future edition of the Metro newspaper, which leads with the story of Donald Trump’s assassination in November 2020.

The story then goes on to imagine Jeremy Corbyn reacting to the event in his role as Prime Minister, and other parts of the paper imagine a hard border in Ireland and NHS warnings relating to screen viewing induced illnesses."

Frank Wasser, 02.11.20 (2018) © Frank Wasser and Jerwood Visual Arts. Image Source: Jerwood Visual Arts via The Evening Standard. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Black Friday and the Aesthetics of Fascism


Window-mounted cat beds, Amazon review: "It's been nine months and Tucker still loves this bed ten times more than anything else I've bought him." Image Source: Buzzfeed.

In North America, Thanksgiving weekend is the cornerstone of consumption-based capitalism. Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November, this year on November 22nd, followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have become pre-Christmas discounted shopping bonanzas. Stores are selling everything you could imagine, down to the window-mounted cat bed. This weekend is lucrative enough to tempt merchants in other countries to use the same gimmick to boost their fourth quarter sales.

Kohler Pedestal Sink. These sinks retail at Home Depot in the USA for USD $600-$800. Image Source: Miley Photos.

Essex Metal 24" Console Bathroom Sink with Overflow by Cheviot. Regular priced at Wayfair for CAD $830.25, on sale on Black Friday for CAD $584.99. Image Source: Cheviot.

Waldorf Ceramic 24" Wall Mount Bathroom Sink with Overflow by WS Bath Collections. Regular priced at Wayfair for CAD $1109.99, on sale on Black Friday for CAD $849.99. Image Source: homeclick.

This week, I saw some Black Friday examples which reminded me of an earlier commentary, Fascism at a Hairpin Turn. In a series of posts on this blog, I am considering how 1940s' fascism became a part of modern global culture in ways which are poorly understood. Above, are sinks by Kohler, Cheviot and WS Bath Collections. Kohler Co. was founded in Wisconsin in 1873 by Austrian Americans; it employs a sharp German aesthetic in its high end lavatory designs.

I was struck by the aesthetic similarity between today's sinks and 1940s' institutional sinks. Below, are sinks in an autopsy room and in another room from the French concentration camp near Strasbourg, Natzweiler-Struthof, where human experiments were conducted.


Sinks at Natzweiler-Struthof. Images Source: La Vie est Bonne.

Of course, sinks made outside fascist Europe in the 1940s would also resemble today's designs and their modernist style could be pre-World War II, derived from interwar Bauhaus. When I mentioned this similarity between past and present, my friend, C., said,
"The fascist aesthetic ... merged what ... [the fascists] wanted of [the] modern aesthetic (some aspects of architecture and NO aspect of the fine arts) and aspects of the neoclassic as well as empire styles, both of which were adopted as official styles by Napoleon's ... régime. ... Makes one think that everything that happened[,] including sinks, New York skyscrapers, and concentration camps were all a part of leaving the feudal system."
The Nazis definitely took that white porcelain neoclassical look and made it theirs. Going forward from 1945, there is no way a designer could be ignorant of that aesthetic reference when creating a consumer product in that style. This is why it was startling to see Nazi-esque sinks on sale on this Black Friday at Home Depot. I can't say that the example of the sinks proves anything in terms of demonstrable historical aesthetic lineage because I have not researched that. But it made me ask why and how that aesthetic has been absorbed into mainstream North American culture and values.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Anniversaries: End of the Great War


"A soldier of Company K, 110th Regt. Infantry (formerly 3rd and 10th Inf., Pennsylvania National Guard), just wounded, receiving first-aid treatment from a comrade. Varennes-en-Argonne, France, on September 26, 1918. (U.S. Army/U.S. National Archives)" Image Source: The Atlantic.

The hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I just passed on 11 November 2018. Normally, I watch the coverage of remembrance ceremonies, but this year, I was working on a writing project at a microbrewery, where everyone observed a minute of silence to remember the fallen soldiers, while the town's church bell tolled outside.

As memory fades of the 20th century world wars, I appreciate more and more the need to remember these conflicts, in order to avoid another century of bloodshed and particularly a third world war. The two world wars were both terrible and unprecedented in their own ways. If the Great War brought about the death of innocence, World War II led to the death of humanity, the death of the modern conscience.

My 2014 post on the anniversary of the start of the Great War is here. All my related posts on World War I are here.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Day in Pompeii


A Day in Pompeii - Full-length animation (19 December 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

Image Source: Wiki.
For today, see A Day in Pompeii, an animated recreation of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on 24-25 August 79 CE. The animation was created by Zero One, and initially shown at the Melbourne Museum from 26 June to 25 October 2009. Over 1,300 negative impressions of bodies and bodily remains have been found by archaeologists, in an area where up to 20,000 people lived at that time.

Mount Vesuvius is one of sixteen volcanoes in the world designated as 'Decade Volcanoes'; they are especially destructive and are subject to special study because they help us to understand our planet's core.

Eruption Of Mt Vesuvius 1944 (14 April 2010). Video Source: Youtube.

In 472 CE, the volcano erupted so violently that its ashfalls reached Constantinople. Mount Vesuvius has had periods of quiet and periods of greater activity. We are currently in the latter. The last major eruption was in 1944. At present, 3 million people live near the volcano. The Italian government has a plan to evacuate 600,000 people in one week in the case of the worst possible future eruption.

Naples with Mount Vesuvius in the background on 29 November 2009. Click to enlarge. Image Source: Antonsusi/Wiki.