Featured

404 – Page Not Found

Kawts Kamote will be no more

You are now here and not in that dark-themed Kawts Kamote blog.

I’ve been trying for a long time to switch to WordPress. Fucking blogger templates are not hipster-friendly and they eat a lot of bandwidth. I only had the time and the “wit” (yikes) to think of a blog name.

So this is now “Missing Codec” which, as you may now, a common error for those who were starting to use PCs to run media (films, music, whatever) files they have downloaded over the internet or for those who are editing videos using old versions of Video Editor for PCs. Recently, these thought of errors by missing supporting files have been attractive to me as much as it irritates me back then, goes to show how much further does the science of computing need to go to attain the Ultimate Stand-Alone program to be released. But, as you may have realized now, stand-alone programs are for the lazy, codec packs are still the way to go, and they are fucking open-source, so, better.

The title, I think, also is going to be the central idea that would unite all of those which I’ve written before and what I would write in the future. I’ll be transferring some posts (especially recent ones) from Kawts Kamote, (which, by the time of this post, is going to be disabled and unpublished) with supplemental editing and commentaries for some.

This will be the new domain, and I thank you for visiting my new mistake.

Rhizomes everywhere

I’m merely repeating Deleuze and Guattari.

I

Just a while ago, my 7 year old nephew woke up crying. I can’t comprehend what he was trying to say to me. He probably woke up from a nightmare. Then he started talking clearly, and pointed out something below the couch where he was sleeping. I asked him again to talk clearly. He said something about an 11, then a 21. I still couldn’t grasp his words. At first, I figured that he’s talking about a money which he probably left at school. Then, he cried mumbling words I can’t comprehend. Then started drawing in air a rectangle. He said: “magulo yung ginawa ko” (what I did was messy). I asked again if it’s about money, he said, “alam ko twenty-one saka labing-isa yon. Akala ko dalawa yung gagawin.” I now got it then that it was about the quiz results.

The younger generation has been blamed for their fragility. Oftentimes I make fun of their older counter parts (fuck me, but millennials really do suck with their safe spaces and all) but only those who do not really have any sense of struggle in life. But for someone like my nephew, who barely know anything outside of his home, who barely know what a good work is because no one has said it to him, he probably have a lot in mind about being a disappointment. He later on cried about being upset to himself, but never really articulated it as such, only adding up to his pain.

If anything is to be blamed for the fragility of the younger ones, it isn’t much of the parents’ mistakes, but they do partake in it. This society of control, as Deleuze and Guattari once called it, has broken down its formerly hierarchical power to redistribute surveillance and disciplinary authority towards to what we call the basic unit of society: the family. Church-goers lessen in numbers by the year, not because there are lesser believers now, but because the church (as an embodiment of religious guilt) now has a strong presence inside the home. Which also explains the high approval of the law enforcement and the military from the common households.

But these never really started at home. Rather, this redistribution of control breed upon a new culture of consent towards state violence. Deleuze and Guattari’s dream of a rhizomic society came true in the appropriation of it by the state. The state, even with its multiple crises, survived by having its disciplinary authority distributed among its population. But the society of control is still arborial only as much as each social unit is concerned. Neoliberalism enabled the distribution of bureaucracy to a larger number of populace which in effect, gave out an illusion of freedom.

The irony of the society of control being rhizomic is its fullest form.

It is understandable that this kind of environment breeds anxiety. The fast-paced lifestyle requires one to be in control of almost anything, which includes other people’s behaviors. Now that the competition for the control of one another, is not just against each other human being, but also against machines. While it is indeed troubling, the situation of higher rate of anxiety and depression among the youth is not at all surprising if we are to consider the historical progressions of technology along-side with the growth of the society of control. The young ones were left to devices as a form of entertainment while both of their parents are at work make their thinking process accelerated. They could have been thinking faster than you are that you can no longer catch up with them. But being the control freak adults that we are, we intervene. And these multiple interventions are what breeds this wide-spread anxiety.

We received the note: democracy is control.

Let’s boast about diversity while the Department of Education, on their school curriculum, highlights mostly the ruling class and their interest on their arts, literature and humanities subjects. The platform is freer for the instructor, more democratic, but still within the limits of class control.

Would a child be lesser without them knowing who the national artists are? How about the newly passed House bill about the national anthem? Why should this obsession over music formalism any of our basic concern?

Let’s wait for new forms of anxiety to emerge.

II

Corruption fundamentally does not, and cannot afford to live in tree-like hierarchy/oligarchy anymore. Historical development on the flows of capital moved machine assemblage towards creating a body without organs. Such as most “organizations” no longer involve decreasing power distributions down the line, but of connecting functionalities. These functionalities are settled via contracts. Its limits are only the limit needed of a certain machine assemblage, but it does not mean it gets stuck. Rhizomes, unlike a tree’s trunk, expands horizontally. Its nutrients are made to multiply the organism, not to make it larger. It functions by decentralization, in a sense, democratic. It is in such that corruption function. It could be said that it’s even an “advanced” or a “true” mode of democracy. Organized crime groups, by the virtue of the first two words, follows suit through codes accepted and agreed upon by its members. Like bulbs, for a group’s code not to expand would cost its life-line to deplete.

Bilibid and its 13 gangs, function as a rhizome.

The power relations between the Bureau of Corrections, its affiliate offices, and the gangs cannot be understood hierarchically but only through looking at it solely as a roots-based structure. Like grassfields, insects and wind needing each other to spread the grass lands and live.

Offices and organizations obviously have their own little hierarchy in place but it is only to support a wider relations beyond their own. It is not without irony when Sigue-Sigue Commando chairman, Jaybee Sebastian claimed that he’s more or less a king and a servant at the same time. An argument also raised by most business and NGO leaders. They function in the same way. But this isn’t because it is “the nature” of things, but this is enabled by the system which encapsulates them. Late Capitalism only require a certain authoritarianism to function and sustain itself, more or less, a managerial one. It is in such reality (or realism) that the Bilibid Gangs live. I can argue that they are actually function in a more ideal mode of capitalism.

And why not? Jaybee himself run a foundation to help the families of his constituent-co-inmates. Herbert Colangco also argues the same way that he wants to retain his recording studio to “appease the feelings of his fellow inmates.” The idea of philanthropy from excess capital sustains the system, also itself, a rhizomatic process. It deterritorializes the capital from the inside and reterritorializes it out to the families. In return, the families became part of it and supports whatever system they made out to be.

The Bureau of Corrections chief interviewed by Discovery Channel rationalizes the manner they run things inside the Bilibid as a maintenance of “peace and order”. To say, a maintenance of their status quo. So, if anyone gets replaced within the structure, it is not due to some antagonism, but for the maintenance of this peace and order. We can trust Sebastian when he mentioned that he was elected “democratically” as a chairman just 2 years after he entered prison. Every movement is decided not because of a grand evil scheme, but actually to sustain and broaden the system. In business terms, for expansion.

The same could be said on the incarceration of Sen. Leila de Lima. It is not to defend that de Lima may have nothing to do with it, but, like any system of corruption, it is a rhizomatic move. She is to be replaced since the structure requires her to be. The function, then, of the President Rodrigo Duterte, is not much to give justice or expose injustices (surely, most government officials from the higher positions know the structure of corruption they are in), but to replace de Lima by another piece of machine assemblage. The president’s campaign to uphold the “rule of law” and “peace and order” echoes the rationale of the BuCor chief. The mandate itself, is not for justice, but for maintenance of the existing order.

A theory: the council of chair persons in the Bilibid were told after President Duterte was inaugurated that a change must be done if they want to retain whatever they have inside. Due to the 2014 raids, the chairpersons decided to drop de Lima from the structure and let the President appoint anyone he likes so that the links of capital flows will run smooth for the new administration. The president, then, exposed in a privilege speech about de Lima knowing about the drug trade in the prisons. Senate investigation followed suit.

The seemingly scripted scenario of the happenings is not without its structure. Something is surely being protected. And this is not to cause any ruptures or discontinuity on the capital flows in the prison market.

Lovers in Dystopia

Notes on Nestor Abrogena’s Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa

2-1024x576

“The unique thing about Empire is that it has expanded its colonization over the whole of existence and over all that exists. It is not only that Capital has enlarged its human base, but it has also deepened the moorings of its jurisdiction. Better still, on the basis of a final disintegration of society and its subjects, Empire now intends to recreate an ethical fabric, of which the hipsters, with their modular neighborhoods, their modular media, codes, food, and ideas, are both the guinea pigs and the avant-garde.”
Tiqqun, This Is Not a Program

During the past days, commenting on filmmakers (and even critics) who comment negatively on the theoretical practice of film analysis, I mentioned through one of my social media accounts manners of which they perceive how film must be appreciated. They only but affirm Edel Garcellano’s comment on film industry’s cohorts who deem cinema as “an enterprise which needs all the compassion it must have – a baby that must be protected even from the harsh light of the sun” and thus wary of any criticism that uses other lenses than the formal knowledge of the medium. Nestor Abrogena’s Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa is a product of this cinema culture. In this film, we are faced with a seemingly new kind of cinema: a cinema with no theory and history. No theory in the sense that the frames the film conjure tries to resist any more symbolization than it already has: a posture of realism as Real. No history in the way it treats history as its object of nostalgia and nothing more. It begs to be taken as it is. While this isn’t exclusively the genesis of such practice in filmmaking, it is otherwise a candidate as its posterboy. Continue reading “Lovers in Dystopia”

History Lessons

on Jerrold Tarog’s Heneral Luna

screen_shot_2015-10-26_at_12.23.21_pm.png

It was one of the perks, I guess, of using an outdated text book back when I was in fifth grade primary school to still read bits and traces of the nationalist-democratic movement’s thought in the popular mindset back then. It was in the discussion of post-colonial to fifties Philippine history back then that I get to learn terms such as “globalization” and “neocolonialism”, the conditions by which the IMF and the World Bank was founded, and how the Philippines became indebted to it. Which is why it comes as a surprise to me that most college students I get to talk to recently does not have an idea what these terms are or these establishments are for, or, if I get to find by luck, a certain student know only bits of it too: just the definition or only being left to the informational level (in Barthes’ terms) of the word’s meaning. Continue reading “History Lessons”

Notes on Godzilla Resurgence and Love & Peace

blogs

Godzilla Resurgence (left); Love & Peace (right)

Two sides of the same sentiment, but of different political position. Both has something to do with United States’ Nuclear Terror attack back in 1945. Both uses the Kaiju as a metaphor to the Nuclear bomb.

First, Hideaki Anno’s and Shinji Higuchi’s Godzilla Resurgence (2016) as outright rightist, friendly to imperialist US but with critical distance. (Wrote a 600+ word review on this, will probably appear somewhere soon, if not, I’ll just post it here.)

Second, Sion Sono’s Love and Peace, mostly anti-government critique of the use of languages of development, love and peace to censor the nuclear threat and history. Such a way that its critique also goes to neo-liberal politics and literature.

What they both may have missed is that, they both aligned with the government’s and Japanese mainstream historian’s effort to censor Japan’s war crimes from the Sino-Japanese war (Nanjing Massacre) to the World War II (Comfort Women issue), in exchange of their victim stance due to Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

My guess, since I only have the privilege of guessing and not actually witnessing, is that their text books must have soften the narration of the nuclear attack perpetrated to them by the end of World War II, hence the production of literature such as these two not to forget that the attacks were an atrocity; terrorism.

I don’t know if Sono’s trying to address all the Japanese war issues one by one (both the nuclear attacks and the Japanese war crimes), whenever I think about the Comfort Women issue, images from the last part of Tag (2015) appears in my mind. This might be a possible reading, but might be negated otherwise, I can re-watch the film to validate, if I find the time.

Symphony of Development and the Ideology of Speed

on Walter Ruttman’s Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt and Railways

Walter Ruttman - Berlin, Symphony of a Great City (1927).avi_snapshot_00.08.17_[2016.09.03_16.12.23]

[For Film 220]

Railways, for the last century, has been the metaphor for development and progress. It could be said that a certain country’s richness could be grasped by the state of its railways. It’s very much fitting for Walter Ruttman to open his film, Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, with shots from and of rail tracks and train cars, it introduces Berlin as a place of promise and development. Trains also feature an uninterruptible quality (but only until the next stop), which has reduced travel time for different sectors of society, allowing fast market exchange, in consequence, fast market growth. Economies depended a lot on this very idea of growth through speed – so much that speed became an end-all, be-all—and there’s a constant need for things to move faster.

Continue reading “Symphony of Development and the Ideology of Speed”

The Filmmaker as a Scholar

Man with a Movie Camera and the Proletariat

man-with-a-movie-camera-1929-003-head-superimposed-on-sewing-machine-1000x750

[For Film 220]

Even with the title card, Vertov and his Kino-Eye collective have been very clear about it: Man with a Movie Camera is a proclamation of victory of their movement’s program of “cleansing [the] kinochestvo[1] of foreign matter – of music, literature, and theater…”(We: Variant of a Manifesto) and to establish a “visual (kino-eye) and auditory (radio-ear) class bond between the proletariats of all nations and lands on a platform of the communist decoding of world relations (Kino-Eye).” Other than an experimentation of form, more than what the disclaimer title cards would state,[2] Man with a Movie Camera is an experiment of socialist praxis in cinematic language after Eisenstein’s montage dialectics – to finally realize in cinema what does it mean to be a proletariat.

Continue reading “The Filmmaker as a Scholar”