Monday, November 04, 2013

The I in M.I.A is Mathangi

We have new product from Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, better known by her stage name M.I.A. Mathangi was released late 3 days ago on 1 November 2013 after lots of stops and starts. It is now streamed online via YouTube. In a review for, Ayesha A. Siddiqi states; M.I.A. is "sampling all the nonwhiteness of her global south palate. She doesn’t just traffic in Otherness, she revels in it". I totally get where Ayesha is coming from, and going to. The readership of are the ones that need introducing to the global south. But I think describing M.I.A as part of the view from the palisades of Williamsburg is missing the fact that she is the window. Maya is bringing the noize and making it better for everyone.

The world M.I.A is reporting back from for the readers of is so further on from what Ayesha terms "writing nursery rhymes for post-colonial angst", which she covers with a simple label: "diaspora". But the sins of origin live on in the scattering of souls across a map of borders and barriers, passports and facial identification.

In the audio of M.I.A we are moving through the sound window with the true migrators. The clandestine and digital of a global movement that are throwing their bodies against the walls of Europe, Riyadh and the Rio Grande and at the same time reading newspapers on free wifi in Singapore between shifts and begging on trains with an iPhone in the pocket in Stockholm. Against this movement, race is the post-state default of identity in the fragmenting USA. Post-colonial angst comes with passport stamps and the domestic staff sleeping in the garage. What M.I.A is giving us is a celebration of possibilities not a reflection of failures. This celebration is a fountain of original content beaten out on pirated software and broken instruments, the chaos and broken chains that inspire the likes of But such an organization cannot become part of this culture because that would destroy the barrier that makes exchange possible. So when Ayesha writes "The packaging doesn’t undermine the message; it is the message," this applies as well to the media pyramid that delivers "worldtown"  to the masses amid the meltdown of the reality they are always trying to second guess.  if you doubt this reading just witness the loss-of-context by Vice in Jihadists or Boredom? The Choices Aren't Great for Syria's Kurdish Refugees where civil war just seemed to happen -  sans the redrawing of the Middle East since 9/11 by the present Imperial Power.

I like to think I am part of this inevitable meltdown. I grew up a white male in a black country located in Asia (Australia). I latched on to the first global movement of transience I could find. Back in 1995 this was the Rainbow/Rave Coalition that recruited the disenchanted from all social classes and gave them a seasonal trail that stretched from Tasmania to Varanasi to Stockholm to Rio. Today this vision has been diluted in the west by the hipster herd. The voice of the anti-WTO riots of 1999-2001 was its political high water mark.

But today, if one steps ahead of the crowd, made possible by such windows as those created by M.I.A, then one can access and even participate in a growing culture of true Worldtown. Welcome to the post-state planet.

No comments: