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Monthly Archives: July 2013

picture by library_mistress (@flickr)

Some recent LSTS publications:

– Baraliuc Irina, Sari Depreeuw and Serge Gutwirth, ‘Copyright enforcement in the digital age: a post-ACTA view on the balancing of fundamental rights‘, International Journal of Law and Information Technology, DOI: 10.1093/ijlit/eas024.

– Bellanova, Rocco and Gloria González Fuster, ‘Politics of Disappearance: Scanners and (Unobserved) Bodies as Mediators of Security Practices‘, International Political Sociology, Volume 7, Issue 2, 188 – 209, June 2013.

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The 4th episode of our MUSIC & SURVEILLANCE series is the first one to review an exhibition. Held at London’s Calvert 22 Gallery until 25 August 2013, ‘Sounding the Body Electric: Experiments in Art and Music in Eastern Europe 1957-1984‘ presents proposals at the crossroads of music and visual arts, covering the intellectual effervescence in Eastern European countries in the 1960s, and the more critical views emerging in the 1970s.

Wodiczko & Esztényi, Just Transistor Radios

Wodiczko & Esztényi, Just Transistor Radios

Works notably include ‘Just Transistor Radios’, by Polish artists Krzystof Wodiczko and Szábolcs Esztényi. The piece consists of people tuning and shaking transistors, evoking censorship practices through intentional radio jamming. It was originally performed in 1969, the same year when Wodiczko invented his Personal instrument‘, a pioneering device for selective listening.

Komar & Melamid, Passport

Russian conceptual artists Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid are present with the installation ‘Music Writing: Passport’. The work recalls a performance from the mid-1970s, when Soviet authorities refused them permission to fly to the United States to attend the first international exhibition about them. To express their discontent, the duo developed a unique coding system with which it translated the visa restrictions printed within their passports into music, which was eventually played simultaneously in apartments of various countries by friends and followers.

Years later Komar and Melamid famously composed ‘The most wanted song’ and the ‘The most unwanted song‘ ever, combining musical elements determined on the basis of the scientifical analysis of knowledge on people’s musical preferences gathered through opinion polls. The songs, intended to constitute a critique of the American democratic process, can be heard here.

A double CD compilation with music from the exhibition, called ‘Sounding the Body Electric‘, has been published by Polish label Bôlt. More information and mp3 excerpts: here. For videos selected by The Wire magazine: here. Text by Gloria González Fuster

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 08.15.12 On 18 August 2013 Brussels’ Cinematek will devote a special evening to French filmmaker Jean Eustache, during which will be shown his 1977 film ‘Une sale histoire’ (A dirty story), a reflection on watching, seeing and much more, triggered by the account of a man who discovered a peep hole in the ladies’ toilets of a Parisian café. After the projection, there will be  an interview with LSTS Researcher Laurent de Sutter, who has recently published ‘Théorie du trou: Cinq méditations métaphysiques sur Une sale histoire de Jean Eustache‘. More information: here.

picture by no-cctv.org.uk (@flickr)

The 7th edition of the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP) International Conference will be held from 22 to 24 January 2014 in Brussels. Several slots remain open to application through a Call for Papers, split into two different tracks: the first is dedicated to experienced researchers, while the second welcomes PhD students and junior researchers. For the topics, submission instructions, and important dates, check here.

Surveillance is again the focus of our [MUSIC & …] series. Today we enter Frank Zappa‘s 1979 Joe’s Garageto explore criminalization and sameness as a political objective. This rock-opera, which could be labelled funeral music for the presumption of innocence, sees a Central Scrutinizer tell the story of Joe, a young American who forms a rock band in a dystopian society and is eventually pushed towards the edge of insanity.

zappa The record presents the idea of ‘total criminalization’, which would consist in rendering everybody equal before the law by regarding everybody as (equally) criminal. Laws are manufactured to serve the interests of the powerful, hints Zappa, who imagines a world where music is outlawed.

Originally edited as an LP and a double LP, the complete ‘Joe’s Garage’ is since 1987 available in a double disc, comprising a total of nineteen convoluted songs that can exhaust even the most pro-music and Zappa-tista of listeners. Not just a satirical rock opera but also a prog-funk assemblage, it takes pride in mixing vulgarity and pomposity, has song titles such as ‘Crew slut’ and ‘Why does it hurt when I pee?’, and advances as its great musical innovation its reliance on xenochrony, a recycling technique that nowadays we would just call self cut’n’paste.

These tensions are actually just a few of the many that punctuated the immense discography of Frank Zappa, an artist that, for instance, devoted in 1985 a whole album to freedom of expression as a crucial element of a free society (see ‘Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention‘), but penned for ‘Joe’s Garage’ a pledge against music reviewers where the nicest lines are: ‘Journalism’s kinda scary, and of it we should be wary’. Music submission by Serge Gutwirth, text by Gloria González Fuster