Guggenheim Museum Internet Archive: Over Two-hundred Free Art Books Shared


Committed to innovation, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation collects, preserves, and interprets modern and contemporary art, and explores ideas across cultures through dynamic curatorial and educational initiatives and collaborations. With its constellation of architecturally and culturally distinct museums, exhibitions, publications, and digital platforms, the foundation engages both local and global audiences.

As a vital part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s mission as an educational institution, the Guggenheim Museum’s Publications Department publishes books and catalogues to document its exhibitions and collections. If you’re planning a visit to the Guggenheim, you may also want to consider boning up on the collection, from sculpture and works on paper to Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection: From Picasso to Pollock. But wherever your interests lie, dig in and get ready for a crash course in modern art.

Modern art lovers all over the world can now rejoice. The Guggenheim Museum in New York has just made more than 200 books about modern art available online.  A veritable art history degree’s worth of books digitized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum are now available for free. Not only can you read them online, but you can download them in PDF or ePub formats—for free—at the Internet Archive.

For over half a decade the museum has been digitizing its exhibition catalogs and art books, placing the results online. So whether you want to study up on some art history with titles like Picasso and the War Years and Expressionism, a German intuition or read the first English translation of Kandinsky’s On the spiritual in artyou’ve come to the right place.

Over the last few years, the Guggenheim Museum has slowly released an impressive library of modern and historic art books in collaboration with the Internet Archive. The rare and out-of-print titles include books about Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Paul Klee, Jenny Holzer, Joseph Cornell, as well as several exhibition catalogs and books about the museum itself. You’ll also find publications on wide ranging topics from the Russian and Soviet avant-garde movement to collections of Chinese and Aztec art.

There’s the Italian metamorphosis and Russian Constructivism; thousands of years of Aztec and Chinese art; and catalogs of work by the many greats to pass through the Guggenheim’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed halls. Formerly locked in paper prisons (a.k.a., hard-copy books), analysis of work by Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Dan Flavin, Robert Rauschenberg, Gustav Klimt, Mark Rothko, and more is now free to roam the web as PDFs and ePubs.

Many of the books first books appeared online in 2012 and the collection has grown to include over 200 titles that can be viewed online or downloaded in PDF or ePub formats. You can see the full collection here.

The initiative to publish certain entries from The Guggenheim’s vast library began with 65 catalogs published in 2012, and has now grown to 205 titles. This joins 43 titles available in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Online Reading Room, 281 from Getty Publications’ Virtual Library, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art MetPublications’s whopping 1,611 books you can download for free. That’s in addition to the 375,000+ high resolution images of the artworks themselves the Met dumped into the public domain earlier this year.




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Theresa May is living in another galaxy, says Brussels


Theresa May’s stance that trade must come first was met with incredulity by EU officials

Theresa May is living in another galaxy and it looks like the Warp Core is about to breach! An article recently published in The Times states that the Brexit negotiations began with a blazing row as Brussels flatly rejected Theresa May’s negotiating position and accused the prime minister of living in a “parallel reality”.

The other 27 EU member states took just four minutes to agree a hardline stance on Brexit at a summit meeting in Brussels before Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, and Michel Barnier, the chief European Union Brexit negotiator, rounded on the prime minister.

They told EU leaders that May had used a meeting with them on Wednesday night to demand that a “detailed outline” of a future free trade deal be in place before the UK agrees to pay any money to Brussels as part of the Brexit divorce deal. An EU diplomat said: “This was a rather incredible demand. It seemed as if it came from a parallel reality.”

This morning May dismissed claims she was in a “different galaxy” and brushed off calls for the UK to settle its Brexit bill before embarking on trade talks.

Juncker warned yesterday that May’s approach would lead to an “early crash”, with Britain leaving the EU without a deal.

In an eight-page document outlining their position, the other 27 countries said the EU would “prepare itself to be able to handle the situation if the negotiations were to fail”. The guidelines also include offering Northern Ireland automatic EU membership should it join the Irish republic — a move seen as provocative in London — and giving Spain a veto over Gibraltar’s future relationship with the bloc.

Juncker and Barnier told leaders that the Wednesday dinner at 10 Downing Street had also revealed huge differences over plans to recognise the rights of British citizens and EU nationals in each other’s countries.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said a “serious offer” was needed on migrant rights from the UK before trade talks could begin.

May said this morning that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” and added that there is “much more that we agree on” around the EU negotiating table.

She told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “What they (EU leaders) are very clear about is, yes, they do want to start discussions about money.

“I’m very clear that at the end of the negotiations we need to be clear not just about the Brexit arrangement – the exit, how we withdraw – but also what our future relationship is going to be.”


One blogger describes May as “possibly the worst example of power dressing of all time; the space suit jacket was a difficult one to get out of my head: It just has ‘Stylist Sabotage’ written all over it.”

An EU diplomat told The Sunday Times: “The UK’s position is miles apart, both on their financial obligations and on the EU citizens’ rights. The UK government simply wants to create a new category of ‘former EU citizens’ in their migration law, but our position is that we must go much further than that.”

The prime minister’s stance that trade must come first was met with incredulity by EU officials, who said her chief EU sherpa, Oliver Robbins, had already agreed that the methodology for agreeing the Brexit bill would be ironed out first — along with the rights of EU citizens in Britain and the issue of the Irish border.

“She took a firm position against something we thought we had agreed,” a diplomatic source said. “It was completely unreal.” The source said the prime minister’s views on the financial settlement “border on the delusional”.

Over dinner, Juncker slapped down May by pulling out a copy of the EU-Canada trade deal, a 2,000-page document that took nearly a decade to negotiate, and recommended that the prime minister study its complexity.

Juncker’s aides said he then called Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, and complained that May appeared unaware of issues communicated to her staff. According to one of Juncker’s aides, he told Merkel: “It went very badly. She is in a different galaxy. Based on the meeting, no deal is much more likely than finding agreement.”

May told the Andrew Marr Show this morning: “I’m not in a different galaxy. What this shows is that there are going to be times when these negotiations are going to be tough.”

Juncker’s comments prompted Merkel to lambast British “illusions” about Brexit in a speech to her parliament on Thursday. May responded that EU countries were “ganging up” on Britain.

David Davis, the Brexit secretary, last night attacked those who were seeking to undermine the negotiations, calling them “the most complex the UK has faced in our lifetimes”.



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Centralization & Censorship: Performance As A Socially Symbolic Act


In the Live Art Performance ‘The Anomaly” artist Tom Estes explores the complex place and function of  internet censorship within culture. The performance will be at this year’s prestigious Venice Biennale as part of AVBIV and in Hong Kong at The Affordable Art Fair. The costume for the performance is a fusion of characters from The Terminator and The Matrix and so is reflective of our on-going relationship to the cybersphere.

We don’t have an open internet. We haven’t had an open internet for a long time. Many of us often see the Internet as impossible to control based on its very structure, as it gives everyone access to a democratic form of communication free of government control. The Great Firewall of China shows us that it isn’t quite that simple — the Internet has its bottlenecks where censorship can be instituted and technologies abused to aid in censorship. From China’s blocking and filtering system, Singapore’s class license system, and the United States’ government-private partnership model we are dealing with ideological thing: extreme centralization of power. A common ground for censorship is maintenance of an orderly state, whereas, the underlying motive is to keep public ignorant of the information that can potentially threaten authorities. The danger of any kind of censorship is it’s substantial harm to free speech, a cornerstone of democracy. The most chilling effect of Internet censorship however, is not just it’s substantial harm to free speech, the real danger is, we are losing privileges and rights all of the time and we don’t even notice it.


The Great Firewall of China shows us the Internet has its bottlenecks where censorship can be instituted and technologies abused to aid in censorship. Image: Still from video projection as part of the performance The Anomaly

For example you don’t see someone spying on you, you don’t see something censored, you don’t see when someone deletes things out of the search results in Google. The biggest problem, therefore is to get people to pay attention to the problem. If you don’t see the problems, you don’t feel connected to it. So perhaps that is something that needs to be focused on. Most people think of the internet like a new kind of Wild West as if things are not in chains yet, but that is not really the case. We have never seen this amount of centralization, in any system before.  That has big implications for our society because the more oppressed the internet is, the more oppressed society is.


Live Art Performance ‘The Anomaly” by Tom Estes outside the Co-Cathedral of St. John, Valletta. The Anomaly was first staged during Notte Bianca on the streets of Valletta and at City Lights in Malta back in 2014. In the performance Estes rings a bell. The performance was inspired by the practice made famous in a scene from Cinema Paradiso in which a priest rings a bell in order that the projectionist cuts certain images from the film before public viewing.

So, we can’t really talk about the open internet because it does not exist anymore but the situation is not going to change because apparently it is something people are not interested in fixing.  The internet, however, is just a part of a bigger puzzle. Cyberspace, by kind of pretending to be something which will connect the whole world, actually has an agenda- a perfect tool of mass surveillance and thought control. We are dealing with an ideological apparatus almost perfectly seemless for the centralization of power while negating any criticism. The trend is just going in one direction: a more closed and more controlled internet. We are not gaining anything anywhere and nobody is stopping it from happening.






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The Lincoln Center Presents New Restoration Of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Film- Stalker


Tarkovsky’s works Andrei Rublev, Mirror, and Stalker are regularly listed among the greatest films of all time. His contribution to cinema was so influential that works done in a similar way are described as ‘Tarkovskian.

Ingmar Bergman said of him:

“Tarkovsky for me is the greatest (director), the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.”

The Criterion Collection is to release a new digital restoration of Andrei Tarkovsky’s science fiction masterpiece “Stalker” this May, restored by Mosfilm from a 2k scan of the original negative.  Film Society of Lincoln Center, had this to say about the exciting re-release:

“This May at the Film Society, experience the mysteries and revelations of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 science fiction masterpiece in a new digital restoration. Twenty years ago a falling object decimated a provincial Russian town, and those who later went near the crash site — now known as The Zone — disappeared. Access is strictly prohibited, but outsiders can still get in with the help of a “stalker.” Inside The Zone is The Room, within which secret wishes can be granted. Based on the novel “Roadside Picnic” by the Strugatsky brothers, “Stalker” is a visually extraordinary and philosophically provocative fable about the limits of knowledge — personal, scientific, and spiritual. New digital restoration by Mosfilm. A Janus Films release.”

In a 1962 interview, Tarkovsky argued, “All art, of course, is intellectual, but for me, all the arts, and cinema even more so, must above all be emotional and act upon the heart.”His films are characterized by metaphysical themes, extremely long takes, and images often considered by critics to be of exceptional beauty. Recurring motifs are dreams, memory, childhood, running water accompanied by fire, rain indoors, reflections, levitation, and characters re-appearing in the foreground of long panning movements of the camera. He once said,

“Juxtaposing a person with an environment that is boundless, collating him with a countless number of people passing by close to him and far away, relating a person to the whole world, that is the meaning of cinema.”

For Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky’s adapted a science-fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky,  creating an immersive world with a wealth of material detail and a sense of organic atmosphere. A religious allegory, a reflection of contemporaneous political anxieties, a meditation on film itself—Stalker envelops the viewer by opening up a multitude of possible meanings.


Along with a chance to catch it on the big screen in a theatrical run at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Janus Films and Cinetic released a shiny new trailer for the classic via The Playlist. One of the most immersive and rarefied experiences in the history of cinema, Andrei Tarkovsky’s STALKER embarks on a metaphysical journey through an enigmatic post-apocalyptic landscape. A hired guide – the “Stalker” of the title – leads a writer and a scientist into the heart of the Zone, the restricted site of a long-ago disaster, where the three men eventually zero in on the Room, a place rumored to fulfill one’s most deeply held desires. Adapting a science-fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, and making what would be his final Soviet feature, Tarkovsky created a challenging and visually stunning work, his painstaking attention to material detail and sense of organic atmosphere further enriched by this vivid new restoration. At once a religious allegory, a reflection of contemporary political anxieties, and a meditation on film itself-among many other interpretations – Stalker envelops the viewer by opening up a multitude of possible meanings.

“Stalker” (1979) –  is available July 18. Summer 2017 is shaping up to be quite the exciting season for The Criterion Collection. In May, the library will welcome cult favorite “Ghost World” and recent Palme d’or winner “Dheepan,” while June finds Kenji Mizoguchi’s “Ugetsu,” Hitchcock’s silent classic “The Lodger” and Sam Peckinpah’s controversial “Straw Dogs” joining the club. Criterion has now added its July 2017 additions to their summer slate, and they include movies from auteurs like Tarkovsky, Rossellini and Bresson. Below is the complete list of July additions, with descriptions provided by Criterion.


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Automation Nightmare: Scientists, Artists And Philosophers Warn We Are Creating A World Without Consciousness


With the potential of an Artificial Intelligence to rival our own consciousness and the proliferation of robots in the workforce Abstract Expressionism created with robotics rather than the human hand is an interesting metaphor for our times. Image- Tom Estes – The Ideal Robot Home Show: A Biomorphic Robotic Live Art Action Painting Performance at Nottingham Contemporary for InDialogue. Estes’ work ‘The Ideal Robot Home Show’ incorporates the use of biomorphic robotics to create an Abstract Expressionist painting.

We have technology to thank for all the ways in which today is better than the stone age, and technology is likely to keep improving at an accelerating pace. With less powerful technologies such as fire, we learned to minimize risks largely by learning from mistakes. With more powerful technologies such as nuclear weapons, synthetic biology and future strong artificial intelligence, planning ahead is a better strategy than learning from mistakes, so we support research and other efforts aimed at avoiding problems in the first place. The teleological Identity of Capitalism and artificial intelligence conceives of machines in terms of human use-value, thinking of them as temporarily troublesome tools with which humanity is ultimately destined to be reconciled. But how do you think of a form of capital that is already thinking of you? Technological progress has accelerated to the point that the future is happening to us far faster than we could ever have anticipated. This new world is what art curator, critic and historian of art, Hans Ulrich Obrist calls “extreme present,” a time in which it feels impossible to maintain pace with the present, never mind to chart the future.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, warned that artificial intelligence could become “masters of the universe,” taking over high-level decision-making at companies, with potentially frightening consequences. Berners-Lee’s comments came at a Global Finance Summit on Monday, according to a TechWorld report. Giving AI actual decision-making authority has huge implications for our economic systems and societal norms, he said.

“So when AI starts to make decisions such as who gets a mortgage, that’s a big one. Or which companies to acquire, and when AI starts creating its own companies, creating holding companies, generating new versions of itself to run these companies,” he said at the event

The Future of Life Institute are a charity and outreach organization working to ensure that tomorrow’s most powerful technologies are beneficial for humanity. Recently, a conference on artificial intelligence, tantalizingly titled “Superintelligence: Science or Fiction?”, was hosted by the Future of Life Institute, which works to promote “optimistic visions of the future”. The conference offered a range of opinions on the subject from a variety of experts, including Elon Musk of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, futurist Ray Kurzweil, Demis Hassabis of Google’s DeepMind, neuroscientist and author Sam Harris, philosopher Nick Bostrom, philosopher and cognitive scientist David Chalmers, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, as well as computer scientists Stuart Russell and Bart Selman. The discussion was led by MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark.


Action painting, sometimes called “gestural abstraction”, is a style of painting which often emphasizes the physical act of painting itself as an essential aspect of the finished work or concern of its artist.

The conversation’s topics centered on the future benefits and risks of artificial superintelligence, with everyone generally agreeing that it’s only a matter of time before AI becomes paramount in our lives. Eventually, AI will surpass human intelligence, with the ensuing risks and transformations. And Elon Musk, for one, thinks it’s rather pointless to be concerned as we are already cyborgs, considering all the technological extensions of ourselves that we depend on a daily basis.

A worry for Australian philosopher and cognitive scientist David Chalmers is creating a world devoid of consciousness. He sees the discussion of future superintelligences often presume that eventually AIs will become conscious. But what if that kind of sci-fi possibility that we will create completely artificial humans is not going to come to fruition? Instead, we could be creating a world endowed with artificial intelligence but not actual consciousness. Here’s how Chalmers describes this vision starting at 22:27 in Youtube video below:

“For me, that raising the possibility of a massive failure mode in the future, the possibility that we create human or super human level AGI and we’ve got a whole world populated by super human level AGIs, none of whom is conscious. And that would be a world, could potentially be a world of great intelligence, no consciousness no subjective experience at all. Now, I think many many people, with a wide variety of views, take the view that basically subjective experience or consciousness is required in order to have any meaning or value in your life at all. So therefore, a world without consciousness could not possibly a positive outcome. maybe it wouldn’t be a terribly negative outcome, it would just be a 0 outcome, and among the worst possible outcomes.”


Abstract Expressionism is the term applied to abstract art characterized by humans making gestural brush-strokes or mark-making, and with its emphasis on spontaneous, automatic, or subconscious creation.

Chalmers is known for his work on the philosophy of mind and has delved particularly into the nature of consciousness. He famously formulated the idea of a “hard problem of consciousness” which he describes in his 1995 paper “Facing up to the problem of consciousness” as the question of ”why does the feeling which accompanies awareness of sensory information exist at all?”

His solution to this issue of an AI-run world without consciousness? Create a world of AIs with human-like consciousness:

“I mean, one thing we ought to at least consider doing there is making, given that we don’t understand consciousness, we don’t have a complete theory of consciousness, maybe we can be most confident about consciousness when it’s similar to the case that we know about the best, namely human human consciousness… So, therefore maybe there is an imperative to create human-like AGI in order that we can be maximally confident that there is going to be consciousness,” says Chalmers (starting at 23:51).

By making it our clear goal to fully recreate ourselves in all of our human characteristics, we may be able to avoid a soulless world of machines becoming our destiny.  A warning and an objective worth considering while we can. Yet it sounds from Chalmers’s words that as we don’t understand consciousness, perhaps this is a goal doomed to failure.


The internet is changing the structure of our brains and the structure of our planet in extraordinary ways, so quickly that we haven’t yet developed a proper vocabulary for it. And we are on the cusp of a wide-spread introduction of robots replacing humans in all areas. You can watch Estes’ performance here at 2:55

The computational age which is is dominated by Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is comprised of the idea that there are clean slates in the unconscious. New media forms have not only lifted the lid previous cultural eras had put on the unconscious. They have become the new infrastructures of the unconscious. Yesterday, human sociality consisted of keeping tabs on the unconscious. For the social to thrive meant exercising vigilance on ourselves, or delegating to specific authorities the right to enforce such vigilance. This was called repression.

Achille Mbembe, based at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research believes that at its core, liberal democracy is not compatible with the inner logic of finance capitalism. The clash between these two ideas and principles is likely to be the most signifying event of the first half of a 21st-century political landscape — a landscape shaped less by the rule of reason than by the general release of passions, emotions and affect. According to Mbembe:

“In this new landscape, knowledge will be defined as knowledge for the market. The market itself will be re-imagined as the primary mechanism for the validation of truth. As markets themselves are increasingly turning into algorithmic structures and technologies, the only useful knowledge will be algorithmic. Instead of people with body, history and flesh, statistical inferences will be all that count. Statistics and other big data will mostly be derived from computation.  As a result of the conflation of knowledge, technology and markets, contempt will be extended to anyone who has nothing to sell. The humanistic and Enlightenment notion of the rational subject capable of deliberation and choice will be replaced by the consciously deliberating and choosing consumer.”


Already in the making, a new kind of human will triumph.  This will not be the liberal individual who, not so long ago, we believed could be the subject of democracy. The new human being will be constituted through and within digital technologies and computational media. Image: Tom Estes performance for The Internet Yami Ich at Tate Modern

They say that we have found ourselves in a world lost to emotion, irrationality, and a weakening grasp on reality. That lies don’t faze us, and knowledge doesn’t impress us. That we are post-truth, post-fact. Achille Mbembe, believes Repression’s main function was to set the conditions for sublimation. Not all desires could be fulfilled. Not everything could be said or enacted. The capacity to limit oneself was the essence of one’s freedom and the freedom of all. Partly thanks to new media forms and the post-repressive era it has unleashed, the unconscious can now roam free. Sublimation is no longer necessary. Language has been dislocated. The content is in the form and the form is beyond, or in excess of, the content.


In this new landscape, knowledge will be defined as knowledge for the market. The market itself will be re-imagined as the primary mechanism for the validation of truth. The humanistic and Enlightenment notion of the rational subject capable of deliberation and choice will be replaced by the consciously deliberating and choosing consumer. Memories-to Download-Knowledge-to-your-Brain-For-Sale. Performance by Tom Estes at The Internet Yami-Ichi (Black Market) at Tate Modern

We are now led to believe that mediation is no longer necessary. This explains the growing anti-humanist stance that now goes hand in hand with a general contempt for democracy.  Calling this phase of our history fascist might be misleading unless by fascism we mean the normalisation of a social state of warfare.  Such a state would in itself be a paradox because, if anything, warfare leads to the dissolution of the social. And yet under conditions of neoliberal capitalism, politics will become a barely sublimated warfare. This will be a class warfare that denies its very nature — a war against the poor, a race war against minorities, a gender war against women, a religious war against Muslims, a war against the disabled.

Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative? Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

Neoliberal capitalism has left in its wake a multitude of destroyed subjects, many of whom are deeply convinced that their immediate future will be one of continuous exposure to violence and existential threat. They genuinely long for a return to some sense of certainty, the sacred, hierarchy, religion and tradition. They believe that nations have become akin to swamps that need to be drained and the world as it is should be brought to an end. For this to happen, everything should be cleansed off. They are convinced that they can only be saved in a violent struggle to restore their masculinity, the loss of which they attribute to the weaker among them, the weak they do not want to become. And yet so pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.


As markets themselves are increasingly turning into algorithmic structures and technologies, the only useful knowledge will be algorithmic. Meanwhile the political landscape will shaped less by the rule of reason than by the general release of passions, emotions and affect.  EMOTICON by Tom Estes @ The Encyclopedic Palace, Venice Biennale 2013 for The Biennial Project

The liberal class now prefers comfort and privilege to justice, truth and confrontation. The destruction of the old radical and militant movements—the communists, socialists and anarchists—have left liberals without a source of new ideas. The link between an effective liberal class and a more radical left was always essential to the health of the former. The liberal class, by allowing radical movements to be dismembered through Red baiting and by banishing those within its ranks who had moral autonomy, gradually deformed basic liberal tenets to support unfettered capitalism, the national security state, globalization and permanent war. The liberal class now refuses to challenge, in a meaningful way, the decaying structures of democracy or the ascendancy of the corporate state. It proclaims its adherence to traditional liberal values while defending and promoting systems of power that mock these values. The pillars of the liberal establishment all honor an unwritten quid pro quo with corporations and the power elite, as well as our masters of war, on whom they depend for money, access and positions of influence.

In this context, the most successful political entrepreneurs will be those who convincingly speak to the losers, to the destroyed men and women of globalisation and to their ruined identities. In the street fight politics will become, reason will not matter. Nor will facts. Politics will revert into brutal survivalism in an ultracompetitive environment. Under such conditions, the future of progressive and future-oriented mass politics of the left is very uncertain. In a world set on objectifying everybody and every living thing in the name of profit, the erasure of the political by capital is the real threat. The transformation of the political into business raises the risk of the elimination of the very possibility of politics.Whether civilisation can give rise at all to any form of political life is the problem of the 21st century.

Under Israeli occupation for decades, Gaza will still be the biggest open prison on Earth.In the United States, the killing of black people at the hands of the police will proceed unabated and hundreds of thousands more will join those already housed in the prison-industrial complex that came on the heels of plantation slavery and Jim Crow laws. Europe will continue its slow descent into liberal authoritarianism or what cultural theorist Stuart Hall called authoritarian populism. Despite complex agreements reached at international forums, the ecological destruction of the Earth will continue and the war on terror will increasingly morph into a war of extermination between various forms of nihilism.

Inequalities will keep growing worldwide. But far from fuelling a renewed cycle of class struggles, social conflicts will increasingly take the form of racism, ultra nationalism, sexism, ethnic and religious rivalries, xenophobia, homophobia and other deadly passions. The denigration of virtues such as care, compassion and kindness will go hand in hand with the belief, especially among the poor, that winning is all that matters and who wins — by whatever means necessary — is ultimately right. With the triumph of this neo-Darwinian approach to history-making, apartheid under various guises will be restored as the new old norm. Its restoration will pave the way to new separatist impulses, the erection of more walls, the militarisation of more borders, deadly forms of policing, more asymmetrical wars, splitting alliances and countless internal divisions including in established democracies.

Please check out the excellent conference Superintelligence: Science or Fiction? in full here:


You can watch Estes’ performance at InDialogue here at 2:55



Photos of Tom Estes’  Biomorphic Robotic Live Art Action Painting Performance by Tom Kilby


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Noam Chomsky: Prospects for Survival


To inaugurate the opening of Crotty Hall at University of Massachusetts Amherst, Professor Noam Chomsky of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the world-renown linguist and public intellectual, will deliver two lectures at UMass on Thursday, April 13, 2017.

You can watch the live streaming of the lecture at

An American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist, Professor Noam Chomsky is sometimes described as “the father of modern linguistics”.

One of the most cited scholars in history, Chomsky has influenced a broad array of academic fields. He is widely recognized as a paradigm shifter who helped spark a major revolution in the human sciences, contributing to the development of a new cognitivistic framework for the study of language and the mind. In addition to his continued scholarly research, he remains a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy, neoliberalism and contemporary state capitalism, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and mainstream news media. His ideas have proved highly significant within the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements.

Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy, and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He is Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he has worked since 1955, and is the author of over 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism.

Professor Chomsky will discuss “Prospects for Survival” at the Mullins Center at 7:30 pm. Doors open at 6:30pm. Seating is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Professor Chomsky will also deliver a private, invitation only lecture on “Neoliberalism: An Accounting.” This will be held at Crotty Hall itself, 412 North Pleasant Street, at 4:00 pm.

Crotty Hall honors Professor James Crotty and Pamela Crotty. Jim Crotty was an esteemed member of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Economics Department faculty from 1974 – 2010. He has continued to make important contributions through both his research and teaching during his formal “retirement” years. His research is renowned for its fundamental contributions to macroeconomics within the broad heterodox tradition for which UMass Amherst is known worldwide. Pam Crotty worked as a dedicated and highly skilled Registered Nurse from 1960- 2002, making important professional contributions within Amherst and the greater community. Pam received her BS degree from UMass Amherst in 1987 with a major in gerontology, and was a gerontology specialist during her nursing career. She also served as a member of Amherst Town Meeting from 2006 – 2011.


Crotty Hall was designed by Sigrid Miller Pollin, Professor of Architecture at UMass Amherst. Professor Miller Pollin has received widespread recognition for her beautiful and innovative design work, as well as for her commitment to environmental sustainability. Crotty Hall is the first structure at UMass Amherst that is “net zero”—i.e. the overall net amount of greenhouse emissions generated by the operation Crotty Hall is zero. The Crotty Hall inaugural lectures by Professor Chomsky are being presented by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at UMass Amherst. For further information, please contact PERI Communications Director Kim Weinstein, at


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A Single Ancient African Language Resulted In Human Civilization


The oldest tools ever found were discovered in Gona, Ethiopia and are 2.5–2.6 million years old. Not only does this make them the oldest tools, they are the oldest human artifacts in the world to date. The tools are referred to as Oldowan, after the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzanio, and consist of pieces of sharp-edged rock pounded off of cores. They are used to chop and to scrape meat from animal bones.

New research, published in the journal Science, suggests this single ancient language resulted in human civilization — a Diaspora — as well as advances in art and hunting tool technology, and laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures.

A trio of genomic studies, the first to analyze many full genomes from Australia and New Guinea conclude that, like most other living Eurasians, Aborigines descend from a single group of modern humans who swept out of Africa 50,000 to 60,000 years ago and then spread in different directions. The papers “are really important,” says population geneticist Joshua Akey of the University of Washington, Seattle, offering powerful testimony that “the vast majority of non-Africans [alive today] trace their ancestry back to a single out-of-Africa event.”

Australian Aborigines have long been cast as a people apart. Although Australia is halfway around the world from our species’s accepted birthplace in Africa, the continent is nevertheless home to some of the earliest undisputed signs of modern humans outside Africa, and Aborigines have unique languages and cultural adaptations. Some researchers have posited that the ancestors of the Aborigines were the first modern humans to surge out of Africa, spreading swiftly eastward along the coasts of southern Asia thousands of years before a second wave of migrants populated Eurasia.

A team led by evolutionary geneticist Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen zeroed in on Australia and New Guinea in what Akey calls a “landmark” paper detailing the colonization of Australia. By comparing Aboriginal genomes to other groups, they conclude that Aborigines diverged from Eurasians between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago, after the whole group had already split from Africans. That means Aborigines and all other non-African people descend from the same out-of-Africa sweep, and that Australia was initially settled only once, rather than twice as some earlier evidence had suggested. Patterns in the Aboriginal DNA also point to a genetic bottleneck about 50,000 years ago: the lasting legacy of the small group that first colonized the ancient continent.

boneflutesIn 2012, Professor Nick Conard, the Tuebingen University  discovered the world’s oldest musical instruments, these bone flutes. One was fashioned from mammoth ivory, the other from a bird’s bone. They were found in the Geissenkloesterle Cave in the Upper Danube region of southern Germany and are between 42,000–43,000 years old. 

The study shows Aborigines’ ties to other Eurasians but also reinforce Australia’s relatively early settlement and long isolation. As such, they reaffirm its unique place in the human story. The continent holds “deep, deep divisions and roots that we don’t see anywhere else except Africa,” Willerslev says. That echoes the views of Aborigines themselves. “The majority of Aboriginal people here in Australia believe that we have been here in this land for many thousands of years,” Colleen Wall, a co-author on the Willerslev paper and elder of the Aboriginal Dauwa Kau’bvai Nation in Wynnum, Australia, wrote in an email to Science. “I am ‘over the moon’ with the findings.”

Yet the case isn’t closed. One study argues that an earlier wave of modern humans contributed traces to the genomes of living people from Papua New Guinea. And perhaps both sides are right, says archaeologist Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, a co-author on that paper who has long argued for an early expansion out of Africa. “We’re converging on a model where later dispersals swamped the earlier ones,” he says.

In another paper, a team led by population geneticist David Reich of Harvard University comes to a similar conclusion after examining 300 genomes from 142 populations. “The take-home message is that modern human people today outside of Africa are descended from a single founding population almost completely,” Reich says. “You can exclude and rule out an earlier migration; the southern route.”

But the third paper, by a team led by Mait Metspalu of the Estonian Biocentre in Tartu, makes a different claim. Analyzing 379 new genomes from 125 populations worldwide, the group concludes that at least 2% of the genomes of people from Papua New Guinea comes from an early dispersal of modern humans, who left Africa perhaps 120,000 years ago. Their paper proposes that Homo sapiens left Africa in at least two waves.

Reich questions that result, but says that his and Willerslev’s studies can’t rule out a contribution of only 1% or 2% from an earlier H. sapiens migration. Akey says: “As population geneticists, we could spend the next decade arguing about that 2%, but in practical terms it doesn’t matter.” The most recent migration “explains more than 90% of the ancestry of living people.”

Aboriginal_rock_art_on_the_Barnett_River,_Mount_Elizabeth_StationAboriginal rock art has been around for a long period of time, with the oldest examples, in Western Australia’s Pilbara region and the Olary district of South Australia, estimated to be up to around 40,000 years old.

Still, changes in climate and sea level would have favored earlier migrations, according to a fourth Nature paper. Axel Timmermann and Tobias Friedrich of the University of Hawaii, Manoa, in Honolulu reconstructed conditions in northeastern Africa and the Middle East, based on the astronomical cycles that drove the ice ages. They find that a wetter climate and lower sea levels could have enticed humans to cross from Africa into the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East during four periods, roughly around 100,000, 80,000, 55,000, and 37,000 years ago. “I’m very happy,” Petraglia says. His and others’ discoveries of early stone tools in India and Arabia suggest that moderns did expand out of Africa during the early migration windows. But those lineages mostly died out. The major migration, with more people and reaching all the way to Australia, came later. “Demographically, after 60,000 years ago something happens, with larger waves of moderns across Eurasia,” Petraglia says. “All three papers agree with that.”

A decade ago, some researchers proposed the controversial idea that an early wave of modern humans left Africa more than 60,000 years ago via a so-called coastal or southern route. These people would have launched their migration from Ethiopia, crossing the Red Sea at its narrowest point to the Arabian Peninsula, then rapidly pushing east along the south Asian coastline all the way to Australia. Some genetic studies, many on mitochondrial DNA of living people, supported this picture by indicating a relatively early split between Aborigines and other non-Africans. But analysis of whole genomes— the gold standard for population studies— was scanty for many key parts of the world.


The tower of Babel. 17th.century. Flemish. artist unknown


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