Sunday, November 30, 2008

Autonomous Culture Center Burns

The culture center Cyclopen (The Cyclops) in Högdalen south of Stockholm burnt to the ground last night under very suspicious circumstances. I have never visited the place but I have been following its progress over the past two and half years via the Fria newspapers and am quite shocked at this has happened. With two large neo-nazi rallies planned for the Swedish capital city this week I wonder if the events are not connected. The Cyclops had been built from nothing (literally) by those who made use of it for music, meetings, education, festivals, art, study circles, visiting cultural figures and of course activism. I hope the loss of Cyclopen gets the attention in the mass media it deserves.

Video in Swedish on the Cyclops activist and culture house.

Cyclopen in better days- I hope it is reborn from the ashes.

More in Swedish HERE, HERE and HERE.


Thom said...

Hi Jim!

We talked for a moment after your lecture on Digital Art / Digital Games in Luleå a while back and I said I would post a comment with a link to the game JFK Reloaded.
If you've read Persuasive Games by Bogost you might remember him elaborating on the games' procedural rhetorics (which apparently was concerned with proving that the official theory of how the murder went down is true, something that's hard to understand after sitting an hour with the game.)

Anyway, here's the game:[PC]_[CDRIP]_[English]
And the wikipage:

I've also wondered about something you said about the Indigenous Australians' way of looking at the mind/body relationship as different to ours. Where can I find more info on that and do you remember how we related that to games?

Real tragedy about Cyklopen. You do know that there's a group in Umeå working to get a autonomous house there as well?

PS. Just noticed that I wrote in english eventhough I know that you know swedish... Funny, but ain't no use att gå tillbaka och ändra det now, right? ;)

/Thom Kiraly

((((((((ö)))))))) said...

Hi Thom,
yes, I remember you.

I have met Ian Bogost, a wise and funny guy.

The traditional Aboriginal concept of mind and body is not a single concept as there were/are many groups with different beliefs and practices, but they all can be related to each other through a number of base principles. One of these is the integration of the person, as a mind, body and spirit and the land. This is done through a huge network of stories, laws, spiritual practices, arts, histories, as well as what could be called the activities of daily living; food, shelter, hygiene and so on. It is difficult to describe and I only have an informed outsider's perspective on it. Through this network or web the person is made part of the country and the family group and so on. Like weaving a reality. In this way there is not the same degree of mind/body, subject/object separation that plagues the European enlightenment tradition.
To come to an understanding of how all this works is not easy. It requires study and I would say that nobody can teach you other than an Aboriginal law man and they are not easy to get near.
Here are some introductory tips:
(my links...lots of stuff on art, culture, law, politics for Aboriginal Australia)
(when I was a feral in Australia every dreadlocked forest dweller owned a copy of this....its good but bit-too-cosmic text on the subject)
(Bruce Chatwin's book is not a bad intro to the country and the ideas behind the culture that exists there..a bit romantic perhaps)
(friends of mine doing work on preserving and transmitting knowledge)
(This may give you some idea of how complex the Dreaming is..from the Wik people)

NickeH said...

The sign in front of the burning building makes it a really great (but tragic) image.

It is all but confirmed that the fire was started by the same nazi activists who two days later set fire to an apartment in the same part of STHLM. The aim that time was two members of the syndicalist union and, apparently, their two year old child. Fortunately, they managed to get themselves and the child out. The debate in leftwing media suggests that the financial crisis might contribute to the upsurge in nazi/rightwing extremist activity just like the last dip in the economy did in the late 90's, when an increase of white power activity peaked with a series of murders and car bombs.

((((((((ö)))))))) said... usually is related. I believe there is a real connection between the neo-nazi movement and poor, barely educated angry young people.

Coming from the land that produced the film 'Romper Stomper' I have a strong reference point for such activity. The final scene in Romper Stomper frames all this so well, when the skins are fighting on the beach and the Japanese tourists are taking photos of them from above; a Colosseum of Nature. The mobile rich while the poor stupid skins tear each other to pieces below.. Amazing film.