Jason Brown / Paranoid Machines
As part of "MetaSpace in DiscourseLab" (curated by J. Grenzfurthner) / Paraflows 2007
Modern techno-mythologies assume that more information and more connections will literally make more sense, extending all the way to the post-human desire to transcend the meat entirely and evolve into pure code. But even before before porn and spam turned obfuscation into a profitable business model, the noise and bugs of the meat were already embedded in the code. From the supernatural mass murder which inspired the Arts of Memory to the atomic alien conspiracies that spawned the Web, information technology has always been paranoid.
This talk covers several thousand years of information technology, focusing on strange threads of symptom and haunting woven into the history of mnemotechnics. How does ancient gnostic cosmology influence the way we use computers? How did magicians, junkies and sexual deviants give us computers, programming and rocket science? How did a cave in Kentucky became the blueprint of cyberspace? How did a moth presage y2k and terrorist paranoia? How is the crashed flying saucer at Roswell tied to the origins of hypertext?
These weird errors and coincidences and cannot be cleansed from the history of our memory machines, because memory itself is buggy. It operates by associative logic, making unexpected squirms and jumps, revealing poetic truths about the world without concern for linear reason. We cannot escape into the clean world of information and code because the messy conspiratorial logic of sex-dirt is in fact the paranoid logic of code.
All of this will be examined through the gnostic allegory of the 1983 Disney movie, Tron.
Jason Brown is an ambient noisemaker, constellation manipulator, and paranoid historiographer.
He is consigliere of Machine Project, a Los Angeles based non-profit which encourages heroic experiments of the gracefully over-ambitious. He is director of Superbunker, a framework for conducting and disseminating critical and creative research. He was a founding member of c-level, a collaborative group which focused on media, protest and play. He is acting janitor of Betalevel, an underground venue beneath Chinatown. He is an instructional technologist at Pomona College.
Jason made net.art back when it was the "rhizomatic" thing to do. He now minimizes design elements in penance for his youthful excess. He edited the book NTNTNT, a stylish collection of millennial net.artifacts. He has edited a wide array of publications in paper and pixel, some of which survive, while some have deliquesced back into the primordial infomatic ooze.
Jason had a radio show which was sometimes mistaken for a late night vacuum cleaner. He plays live ambient music as a soundtrack to haircuts at an event called "Ambient Haircut." He is the host at a karaoke/piracy event called "Swap Meet." He occasionally DJ's for bingo. He is learning to play the theremin, and he can play a recognizable "Happy Birthday." He believes he can play "Rainbow Connection" while drunk and dancing, but some listeners are not so sure.
Jason loves studies. He received his degree in Religious Studies and Art from the University of California and his MFA in Critical Studies and Integrated Media from CalArts. He has now integrated his studies of religion, art and critical media, and he can relate all of it to the movie Tron. He thinks this is a pretty clever way to make use of his education.
- When: Friday, September 21 2007, 8:30 PM
- Where: Metalab, Rathausstrasse 6, 1010 Vienna