Panic and Justice, through a queer lens.

"Justice is not only or exclusively a matter of how persons are treated or how societies are constituted. It also concerns consequential decisions about what a person is, and what social norms must be honoured and expressed for “personhood” to become allocated, how we do or do not recognize animate others as persons depending on whether or not we recognize a certain norm manifested in and by the body of that other." (Butler, 58)

Although when referring to the notion of justice in her book “Undoing Gender,” Butler was referencing the word in the larger sense, the same could be applied to the manifestation of the term justice in the criminal courtroom. There have been countless defence tactics created to allow dominant groups to commit crimes to oppressed groups without having penalty; being excused based on societal biases reflected in the jurors themselves. The Gay Panic Defence and the Trans Panic Defence are two tactics that have shown up in a multitude of cases and are based on homophobia and transphobia.

The Gay Panic Defence is the idea that a nonviolent homosexual advance by a gay man can cause a heterosexual man such immense distress that is justifies him responding with fatal and malicious violence. This legal defence has roots in outdated theories about latent homosexuality as a mental disorder. The term “homosexual panic” was coined in 1920 by psychiatrist Dr. Edward Kempf who saw a pattern in many of his patients who self-identified as heterosexual but found themselves attracted to individuals of the same sex. These patients experienced a heightened sense of anxiety in same-sex environments regarding their feelings of attraction towards members of the same sex, and what they felt were the socially acceptable feelings they were supposed to be having. This lead to Kempf coming to the conclusion that the anxious individuals who perceived themselves as heterosexuals were actually latent homosexuals. (Lee, 512)

In many cases the defendant tries to link their gay panic to mental disorder. This suggests that homophobia linked to latent homosexuality is a mental illness. In 1996 Dr. Henry E Adams conducted a study to find out if heterosexual men who exhibited strong anti-gay sentiments would be aroused by homosexual erotica. Adams questioned sixty-four self-identified heterosexual caucasian male participants about their feelings towards homosexual males. After evaluating responses he divided the participants into two groups, one deemed “homophobic” and one labeled “not homophobic.” He placed a device on their genitals to measure penile response to erotic video tapes of which he showed some involving heterosexual, lesbian and gay sexual activity. In this particular study only the men deemed as homophobic showed an increase in penile blood flow in response to male homosexual erotic stimuli. (Adams) However, even if some self-identified straight men who express strong negative feelings about homosexuality are actually latent homosexuals repressing their own homoerotic desires, the idea that this constitutes as a mental disorder is problematic. Negative attitudes come from sexual conservatism and repression, as well a prejudice. The hostility these men feel towards gay men is not manifested by their homoerotic urges, but by the shame they feel because of these urges due to social constructs and ideals about homosexuality.

Gay panic arguments linked to claims of mental defect have been largely unsuccessful, whereas gay panic arguments links to claims of provocation have been relatively successful. In her 2008 essay :The Gay Panic Defence,” Cynthia Lee suggests that lenient verdicts in gay panic provocation cases could be a reflection of the dominant norms of masculinity that legitimize the use of physical violence in response to non-violent homosexual advances. Men in contemporary western society are supposed to be attracted to women, not other men. Men in this society are meant to be the sexual aggressors not the ones aggressed upon. When a heterosexual man is the object of a homosexual advance, the opposite occurs. Therefore the heterosexual man’s masculinity is called into question. He is not the sexual aggressor in this situation; instead he is the target. In rejecting the homosexual advance in a physically violent manner, the man attempts to reclaim his masculinity in a socially acceptable way. Through the tradition of male dominance via violence. (Lee, 827)

In more recent years the “trans panic” defence a modification of the gay panic defence under which a male murder defendant charged with murdering a male-to-female transgender individual claims he was panicked upon learning that is sexual partner was biologically male, not female. Just as the defendant claiming gay panic attempts to blame the gay male for his own death (“if he hadn’t made a pass at me, I wouldn’t have killed him”), the defendant claiming trans panic tries to blame the transgender victim by claiming the victims deceit provoked his panic (“If he had not lied about being a woman, I wouldn’t have killed him”)

However in the trans-panic defence the victim is not provoking by being the sexual aggressor, but instead by committing what prosecutors often deem as sexual fraud. Sexual fraud, (also used interchangeably with sexual deception and sexual misrepresentation,) implies that the victim and the defendant partook in a sexual act in which the defendant was made unaware of the “true” identity of the victim. The victim is said to have committed fraud the even when the victims genitals are not part of the sexual act, (because if they were part of the act they would have been “revealed” before the act took place.) Under current rape law in the United States, a man can use deceit to convince a woman to have sex with him. Even if the woman had sex with the man only because the false promise of marriage or because he lied about his true identity, the woman’s consent to intercourse is considered valid under the law. (Lee, 516) The trans panic theory suggests that the victim’s deception about his/her/their true identity should be grounds to partially excuse a murder even though using deception to manipulate someone into consenting to sex is not a crime. Furthermore this holds the presumption that ones assigned-gender from birth is their true identity despite ones own views of their gender and any legal proceeding they may have took to reassign their gender would be overlooked.

In both the gay panic defence and the trans panic defence the juror is asked to place their conception of a “reasonable man” in the perspective of the defendant. (Tilleman, 1673) Lee suggests that the defence lawyers use trans-panic defence to appeal to the masculinity norm that suggests real men prefer biological women. (Lee, 516) I would go so far to say that they use the notion of this sexual deception as means to impeach the victims humanity and diminish any sympathy the jurors feel for the victim. This tactic resonates with jurors that harbour biases, those who are misinformed, and/or those who are confused about transgendered individuals. Recognizing the revelation of one’s transgender status as adequate provocation for murder, makes living as a transgender person adequate provocation as well.

In her book Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex, Judith Butler asserts that gender is an attribute that qualifies a subject to be human, those who sit outside the gender norms risk having their very “humanness” brought into question. She goes on to say that that construction of the “human” also produces the construction of the “inhuman and the “humanly unthinkable.” (Butler, 17) Transgender people sit outside of the normative gender binary which makes people uncomfortable in a society which attributes gender as a reflection of what they believe to be a naturally occurring sex binary. In her essay “Queer Feelings,” from her book “The Cultural Politics of Emotion” Sara Ahmed writes that “queer lives have to be recognized as lives in order to be grieved.” She argues that queer-life becomes read as a form of non-life with death implied by queer people as being seen as “non-reproductive.” (Ahmed, 157) Ahmed makes reference to the work of Jeff Nunokawa stating that “heteronormative culture implies queer death from the start...queer loss may not count because it precedes a relation of having.” (Ahmed, 157)

When the media covers the trials involving Trans Panic Defence they often focus on the deception and the gender of the victim. Headlines such as “Duped love kills transexual with fire extinguisher” (Hudson) reflect and further perpetuate society’s current conception of trans people. The identities of trans people are continuously attacked by the media. Even supposedly positive interviews and depictions of trans people in the media are often coupled with the obsession over their genitals, displaying headlines reading “was a boy until age 18” (Morgan), and asking personal questions about genital surgeries. (Couric) These depictions continue to reduce trans people to their genitalia and thus their sexual capacity and disregard their humanity.

If Gay Panic Defence and Trans Panic Defence are successful due to the jurors being interpellated by rampant homophobia and transphobia in society, should we ban their use from court rooms?

The problem with banning offensive speech is it merely allows bad ideas to fester below the surface. Open discussion of pernicious ideas often is a better way to deal with such ideas than banning this discourse outright. Banning gay panic arguments from the criminal courtroom could allow bias against to fester in the subconscious realm. Open discussion about whether it is reasonable for a heterosexual man to respond to a non-violent homosexual advance, or a deceptive non-violent transexual advance with fatal physical violence may be a better way to ensure that such bias against homosexuals and transexuals is mediated by collective cognitive processes.

In a recent study, it was determined that hearing another person publicly express positive opinions about gay-related issues influenced subjects to express positive opinions about gay related issues themselves, even when completely a questionnaire form in private. (Lee, 549) Banning gay panic arguments from the criminal courtroom often enacts a one-size-fits-all laws of which are particularly ill-suited for criminal matters where factual context is critical to a fair adjudication of the defendant’s guilt or innocence. Banning the gay panic defence wouldn't force defendants to stop tiptoeing around their motives for killing, when in fact their motives were based in homophobia and transphobia. If we wish to rid society of the cultural norms that allow gay panic arguments to be effective or at least persuasive, we need to openly battle the assumptions that underlie such claims. The best way to engage in this battle is to allow the defendants to raise such arguments, make sure prosecutors expose the flaws in such arguments, and encourage jurors consciously on these arguments and their underlying assumptions. In 2006 a the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act was passed in California, the law adds a line that a judge must read to the jurors instructing them not to consider their anti-LGBT biases during deliberations.

The Gay Panic Defence and the Trans Panic Defence are both still popping up in cases across North America. They are just one example of the systematic oppression of the LGBT community that occurs on an institutional and societal level in our culture. Every three days the murder of a transgender person is reported (Balzar), this violence needs to stop, these victims need justice.

Adams, Henry E. "Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal." Journal of Abnormal Psychology 103.3 (1996): 440-45. Web. 9 Mar. 2014. <>.

Ahmed, Sara. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004.

 Balzer, Carsten. "Progress Report." Trans Murder Monitoring Project. Liminalis, n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2014. <>.

Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. 1993. New York: Routledge, 2011.

Butler, Judith. Undoing Gender. New York: Routledge, 2004.

 Carerra, Carmen, and Laverne Cox. "Katie Couric Talks With Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox." Interview by Katie Couric. Katie Couric. ABC. Los Angeles, California, 6 Jan. 2014. Television.

 Hudson, Wayman. "Murderer of Young Transwoman Says He Killed "It"" Bilerico Project RSS. Bilrico Project, 1 Aug. 2008. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. <>.

Lee, Cyntia. “The Gay Panic Defense,” 42 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 471 (2008).

 Lee, Cynthia. "Masculinity on Trial: Gay Panic in the Criminal Courtroom." South Western Law Review 42.4 (2013): 817-32. Southwestern Law School —. 2013. Web. 09 Mar. 2014.

 Mock, Janet. "Author Janet Mock Joins Piers Morgan." Interview by Piers Morgan.Piers Morgan Tonight. CNN. NY, NY, 4 Feb. 2014. Television.

 "Statistics." Transgender Day of Remembrance. Transgender Day of Remembrance, n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. <>.

 Tilleman, Morgan. "(Trans)forming the Provocation Defense." Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 100.4 (2010): n. pag. Web. 9 Mar. 2014.

 Weiss, Jillian T., Dr. "The Bilerico Project | Daily Experiments in LGBTQ." Bilerico Project RSS. Bilerico Project, 23 Sept. 2008. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. <>.

The Selfie and The Gaze: Politics of the Virtual Self-Portrait

Selfies are a relatively new phenomenon sparking very polarizing reactions, debates, and critiques throughout the media. Are they merely over-indulgent self-portraits of a young fame-seeking narcissistic generation? Are they a cry for attention? Are they just perpetuating the beauty-obsessed images of the mass media? Are they memory aids? Are they tools for gaining power or status? Are they tools for communication? Or are they all of these things at once? The term selfie made its way into the dictionary as the Oxford English Dictionary 2013 Word Of The Year defined as “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” Self-portraiture has always existed in visual culture and has thousands of years of history in the form of painting and sculpture; we look to self-portraits of artists to understand more about who they were, their artistic choices reflecting not how they wish to be seen or remembered but also social conditions, and fashions of the time. The problem however is that historically only those who were privileged enough to study art were able to create accurate representations of themselves.

As technology progressed so did the process of creating a self-portrait, the invention of photography, and eventually point-and-shoot cameras made the self-portrait accessible to almost everyone. In his 1936 essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” Walter Benjamin wrote “the distinction between author and public is about to lose its basic character. The difference becomes merely functional; it may vary from case to case. At any moment the reader is ready to turn into a writer.” (Benjamin) Although he was referencing writing and emerging printing technologies the same could be applied to self-portraiture. At any moment the viewer is ready to turn into the self-portrait subject and creator. We went from having a small number of self-portraits viewed by thousands of people in a public space, to having an infinite amount of self-portraits viewed by a small number of people in a private or domestic space. These portraits still holding all the same values; allowing us to to have insight into the subject’s personality and cultural conditions, but now they also acted as a sort of memory-aid in physical manifestations such as photo albums.
Social media has shifted self-portrait paradigm once again by making it about sharing. The amateur culture still exists but now the portraits can be disseminated publicly and seen by an infinite number of people, giving the amateur the same privilege of historical self-portrait painters- the privilege of self-representation, while still acting as memory aid, a nostalgic personal possession: something to be had, while also being shared.

The definition of selfie pre-dates the term itself; that is to say that self-portrait photos were widespread on early social media sites, even producing slang a term known as “angles” which referred to the angles myspace users would take their self-portraits from. However the extreme rise in popularity of social-media fueled self-portraits came after smartphones started installing a forward facing camera, begging users to take self portraits.

The term selfie became popularized on the social-media application Instagram; an app which allows users to upload snapshots instantly while being able to choose from a number of easily applied filters. The site is primarily comprised of candid shots, and is most often used to express where the user currently is and what the user is currently doing. These sorts of images serve more as speech acts than they do as photographs in the artistic sense; (much like written status updates on Facebook or Tweets serve as speech acts more then they do as writing in the literary sense.) A speech act doesn’t necessarily constitute oral speech but John Searle’s definition of an indirect speech act just requires performance of communication. This kind of speech act is comprised of three elements: the utterance, things referenced by the utterance, and the intention of the utterance. (Searle) These sorts of images show where you are, what you are doing, and how you feel about it, and this is especially true about the selfie. In a recent New York Times editorial entitled The Meanings of the Selfie, James Franco wrote “ our social lives become more electronic, we become more adept at interpreting social media. A texting conversation might fall short of communicating how you are feeling, but a selfie might make everything clear in an instant. Selfies are tools of communication more than marks of vanity...” (Franco)

The most frequent critique of the selfie is that it is a product narcissism and vanity, that for one to take a selfie is to indulge in shameless self-promotion which serves no ends. What is often overlooked in this critique is that production of selfies its in large a gendered activity, and this critique is the exact rhetoric that has been used to hold women to a double standard for centuries: be beautiful, but if you work too hard at it you’re vain.

In a culture where women are reduced to beautiful objects in nearly all media images, it seems odd that we shame women for trying to emulate how they see themselves represented. In an interview with Georgia Straight, Ben Agger, said that the selfie is “the male gaze gone viral” and the trend is about women “trying to stake claim in the dating and mating market” with the knowledge that, in order to do so, they must objectify themselves. (Murphy) Gender norms have always made the position of surveiller more available to men than women. Women are expected to smile and perform for social networks, society demands women reveal themselves or risk the appearance of hiding something. In her essay The Male Gazed: Surveillance, Power and Gender Kate Losse asserts that this transparency “promoted and enabled by social networks like Facebook has long been gendered in practice, with women making up the majority of viewed profiles on the site, and men making up the majority of profile viewers and site creators.” (Losse) The gendered spectating and performance embodied by the selfie is not only inherent to the selfie, but is actually component of social media as whole, which comes as no surprise as the notion of the male gaze has always been fundamental to mass media. All the most common criticisms of selfies are based in this overarching problem of representation of women in media as a whole.

However there are very important differences between the Internet and mass media, primarily the source of the media: you. Selfies are a way for individuals to create their own representation in the media. Selfies are today’s most prevalent site of the what bell hooks deemed in her 1992 essay of the same name “The Oppositional Gaze.” In this work hooks’ references Teresa de Lauretis, and Monique Witting, who call attention to “the power of discourses to ‘do violence’ to people, a violence which is material and physical, although produced by abstract and scientific discourses as well as discourses of the mass media.” (hooks, 210) hooks’ argued that mass media’s lack of representations for certain kinds of bodies (ones that fit outside heteronormative-Eurocentric-patriarical norms) are enacting this kind of violence because of the absence of the body. (hooks, 210) This violence is also enacted through the misrepresentations of marginalized groups of people through racist/sexist/homophobic/prejudice conventions of representation in mass media. In her work “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses” Chandra Talpade Mohanty discusses how conventional and universal depictions of the “third world woman,” images such as “the veiled woman, the powerful mother, the caste virgin, the obedient wife etc” whenever they are reiterated exercise “a very specific power in defining, coding and maintaining existing first/third world connections.” (Mohanty 352) In “The Oppositional Gaze” hooks’ references Anne Friedberg’s essay “A Denial of Difference: Theories of Cinematic Identification” which stressed that “identification can only be made through recognition, and all recognition is itself an implicit confirmation of the ideology of that status quo.” In the mainstream media women’s bodies are there to serve the male gaze. (hooks, 211)

Social Media allows for people of nearly every race, gender, class, location, and ability to find and create accurate representations of themselves and others like them. The fact the people who are maligned, marginalized and frequent victims of erasure find the courage to make the deliberate choice of seeing themselves as beautiful and worthy of representation is miraculous. If I am interested in buying a colour of lipstick I am no longer restricted to only being able to see what it would look like on the thin, white, blonde cisgendered female models of that particular ad-campaign, I can now type it into my phone or computer and instantly see hundreds of different of people from all over the world wearing that shade of lipstick. Although this seems like a mundane example it really speaks volumes. In hook’s 1995 essay, “In Our Glory: Photography and Black Life” she wrote on her experiences growing up in the 20th century, and the impact of snapshots that documented her childhood, “Cameras gave to black folks, irrespective of class a means by which we could participate fully in the production of images...All colonized and subjugated people who, by way of resistance create an opposition subculture within the framework of domination recognize that the field of representation (how we see ourselves, how others see us) is a site of ongoing struggle.” (hooks, 178)

Technology is allowing more and more people to participate in not only the production of images, but also the dissemination of those images on a mass level. The results are only starting to unveil themselves, many sub-categories of the selfie have began to emerge. Selfies have moved beyond reiterations of the over sexualized images of women that the mass media is constantly shoving down our throats (although arguably most selfies are still this format,) and on to something more expressive. There is a speech act-style of selfie previously discussed, one which quickly and easily shows, not tells, how you’re feeling, where you are, what you’re doing and potentially who you’re with. There is an online game called the selfie olympics in which the subject is supposed to take a selfie in the mirror in as outlandish a way as possible, employing costumes,props and extreme poses. It is also popular for individuals to take selfies trying to look as ugly or deformed as possible, contorting their face in as many ways as it will allow. These different avenues of selfie reject the conventional approaches to beauty and remind the subject of the selfie and all who view it that your face has many avenues of expression. These images are beautiful because of the intent, effort and silliness of the subject in them. Seeing ourselves through a camera lens, being able to manipulate lighting, angles and filters of our selfies shows us how those media-constructed beauty images are created, which can change how we relate to them. Furthermore women who do choose to take conventionally beautiful images or even sexualized images are not necessarily victims of objectification, if a person is choosing to exhibit their own sexual agency and display themselves in a sexual manner I would argue that this too is a form of oppositional gaze in subverting societal expectations of ones power and control over their own sexuality.

Despite anyone’s criticisms of the selfie, its rise in popularity strongly suggests that the world we observe through social media is more interesting when people insert themselves into it. We are quickly becoming accustomed to, and perhaps even starting to prefer, online conversations and interactions that revolve around images and photos. Receiving or seeing the face of the person you are talking to brings back the element of humanity and removes the anonymity of the interaction. To take a selfie is not only to be represented, but it is to be unapologetic for who you are. To post a selfie publicly is a political act, to gain power: the power of attention, the power of representation.

Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. N.p.: n.p., 1936. Pdf. website.

Bijker, Wiebe E. "The Social Construction of Facts and Artefacts: Or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other." Social Studies of Science. By Trevor J. Pinch. Vol. 14. London: Sage, 1984. N. pag. Print.

 Franco, James. "The New York Times." The Meanings of the Selfie. New York Times, 26 Dec. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. <>.

 hooks, bell. "In Our Glory: Photography and Black Life." Making Lives Disable. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Web. <>.

hooks, bell. “The Oppositional Gaze” Feminist Postcolonial Theory: A Reader, 207-221

 Losse, Kate. "The Male Gazed." Model View Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.

Mohanty, Chandra Talade. “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses,” Feminist Postcolonial Theory: A Reader, 49-74

 Murphy, Megan. "Putting Selfies under a Feminist Lens." Georgia Straight, 3 Apr. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. <>.

 Ryan, Erin G. "Selfies Aren't Empowering. They're a Cry for Help." Jezebel. Jezebel, 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. <>.

 Searle, John. "Indirect Speech Acts." Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. N.p.: n.p., 1969. N. pag. Print.

 Slavin, Lauren. "The Evolution of Selfie Culture: Self-Expression, Narcissism, or Objectification?" Feminspire. Feminspire, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. <>.

 Turkle, Sherry. "The Documented Life." The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Dec. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. <>.

 Wortham, Jenna. "My Selfie, Myself." The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.

post-internet art proposal

In a Post-Internet culture we find that most of all our art experiences are mediated online, as an art existing through various forms of digital documentation. I am interested in the relationship that exists between the material and digital and in my work I aim to intersect the two, both conceptually and materialistically.

The term “Post-Internet Art” was coined by artist Marisa Olson in a 2008 interview conducted though the website “We Make Money not Art,” and developed further by writer Gene McHugh in the critical blog/book “Post Internet” written throughout 2009-2010. The Term Post-Internet does not mean “after internet” but refers to our current relationship with the internet; it is no longer seen as a novelty and now is seen as a banality. This shift is credited largely to the rise of social media, economic accessibility to technology and increased ease of usability of technology. Post-Internet Art is art that is responding to the conditions of a post-internet society.

Post-Internet art is often associated with New Media Art and Conceptualism. New Media Art is art that utilizes novel technologies, but often does not focus on cultural shifts and societal effects of that technology. Conceptualism often presumes a lack of attention to the physical substrate in favour of the methods of disseminating the concept. Post-Internet art exists between these two poles. Post-Internet art is concerned with the particular aesthetic and materiality of the internet as well as the vast variety of method of presentation and dissemination.

Even artists who do not make “Post-Internet Art” are still subject to the condition of “being Post-Internet.” A contemporary artist, even one who refuses to take part in online marketing and social media will mostly likely have images of their object more widely dispersed and viewed in digital form, than the actual object it its physical form. The wide spread dispersion of these digital images has multiple effects on how art is viewed both physically and conceptually. Traditionally an “original” art object viewed in a gallery is seen as more important or precious than a reproduction of the object (be it print, photograph, model, etc.) However in a Post-Internet climate, it is assumed that the work of art lies equally in the version of the object one would encounter in gallery or museum, the images and other representations disseminated through out Internet and print publications, bootleg images of the object or its representations, and variation on any of these edited and recontextualized by any author. No art objects in the post-internet have a fixed state; everything is anything else, whether because any object is capable of becoming another type of object, or because an object already exists in flux between multiple instantiations, therefore there can be no “original.” Even if an image or object is able to be traced back to a source, the substance (substance in the sense of both it’s materiality and its importance) of the source object can no longer be regarded as inherently greater than any of its copies. Each iteration of an art work becomes implicit to the work and adds to its entirety.

I am interested in the aesthetics of new media art, as well as less formal digital and internet aesthetics and feel compelled to take these images beyond the screen. There is a distinct polarity between how one views art online and offline, and the translations that occur from one space to the other. Online art is viewed individually, and often in a personal space, its scale is confined to a screen and thus often stays constant, it is not tactile, and it is two-dimensional. Offline art is often viewed in a public space, such as a gallery and often in social context, it is tactile, the scale fluctuates and it can be two or three-dimensional. We are used to seeing iterations of material art in immaterial digital forms, but we do not often see reversed, digital images and aesthetics represented in material form.

I want to employ both the aesthetics and methods of digital art making and infuse them with my material art practice to create uncanny physical interpretations of traditionally digital aesthetics. Due to the multiple iterative nature of post-internet art I wish to explore different materials and strategies of representing a singular idea or image.

In my Glitch-Art paintings I used the banal digital image of the selfie as well as the digital art form of glitch as a point of departure. I looked at multiple types of static image glitches and researched the methods behind producing each. I then applied each glitch to a same image of my selfie. I proceeded to create water colour studies of each of these glitches from observation. This work explores the relationship between the history of self-portraits and the contemporary notion of the selfie, as well as the relationship between painting and glitch as means of abstraction.

For my project I would like to dissolve the binary of online/offline art viewing by forcing them to occupy the same space, virtually and physically. I would like to hold rotating exhibitions showcasing Post-Internet art in a physical gallery space while simultaneously holding the same exhibitions online. I want to withhold some of the viewing on each end: with the use of QR codes, web urls, and other platforms some pieces will require the viewer to use their own smart phone or other technology to access it and will only be viewable online; I also want to have webcams set up to view some work that will not be readily accessible online, the only way to access that work online would be to show yourself on webcam while you are viewing it. This will force the offline viewer to view art mediated through the screen and thus performing the private act of viewing on one’s personal device in public, conversely the although the online viewer will still be viewing the work mediated though a screen they will be thrust into the public gallery space.

For the content of the work shown in the space I want each exhibition to look at different aspects of internet art. Working in a collaborative method with other artists to mimic the way an artwork evolves online though a user-generated culture, I wish to explore phenomena such as meme culture, internet activism, and online identity. Much of the work is undetermined as the exploration is the artwork as much as the physical objects and digital images.

Removing Authority and Denouncing Allied Status, How to Discuss The Other

In my fourth year art history class, entitled Decolonial Feminisms, I was asked to present with three other classmates on Chela Sandoval’s paper U.S. Third World Feminism and Oppositional Consciousness, as well as pose some questions to the class that came up for us while reading the paper. Sandoval’s paper outlines a political ideology she refers to as oppositional consciousness, and explains how one can apply this political strategy to their own life.

Chela Sandoval’s paper U.S. Third World Feminism and Oppositional Consciousness, originally published in Genders magazine in 1991, is a critical response to the hegemonic modes of the first two waves of feminism. The article was written during the Bush Sr. administration, in a post-Reagan neo-conservative political climate. Both of these administrations notably undermined the previous progress and efforts of the Civil Rights Movement and earlier feminist movements. These administrations as well as media outlets at the time often referred to massive marginalized groups of people as the niche term “special interest groups.”

In her paper Sandoval describes two opposing kinds of feminisms existing simultaneously, Hegemonic Feminism and US Third World Feminism. Hegemonic feminism’s political organization is based along the lines of a gender binary. It forms the assumption that all female subjects share the same experience of oppression, an experience that centralizes on an upper-middle class white subject. This type of feminism focuses on femaleness and maleness but ignores the ways in which those genders pathologize women and men from different race and class backgrounds. In the article she outlines four modes of hegemonic feminism;

-Liberal Feminism- Equal Rights: A type of identity politic committed to a notional of “equality” that argues we are all essential the same

-Marxist Feminism -Revolutionary: A call for social transformation to legitimize and accommodate differences. Seeks to affirm differences through a social reform

-Radical Feminism- Supremacist: A mode of thought that privileges the oppressed group as morally superior. Sandoval states, “the belief is that this group has evolved to a higher state of social and psychological existence than those currently holding power, moreover, their differences comprise the essence of what is good in human existence

-Socialist Feminism- Separatist: A type of feminism which is not interested in developing an “equal rights” agenda but nurturing and protecting their perceived differences and strengths as women and feminists through complete separation from the dominant social order. (Sandoval, 87)

She explains that each of these feminisms utilize the same tactics of the dominant power and therefore are “destined to repeat the oppressive authoritarianism from which it is attempting to free itself and become trapped inside a drive for truth which can only end in producing its own brand of dominations” (Sandoval, 88)

Sandoval offers a fifth mode she refers to as differential oppositional consciousness as a way to reconfigure the previous four modes and to decentralize White women’s scholarship. Sandoval attempts to provide an alternative to hegemony while disrupting the logic of hegemonic feminism of the 1980’s. She states that “differential consciousness permits the practitioner to choose tactical positions, that is, to self-consciously break and reform ties to ideology, activities which are imperative for the psychological and political practices that permit the achievement of coalition across differences.” (Sandoval, 90) Sandoval argues that differential consciousness develops under conditions of multiple oppression and functions within, yet beyond demands of the dominant ideology. She says that US Third World Feminists have practiced differential consciousness for a long time due to their experience of multiple race/gender/class oppression and need for survival.

Since Sandoval, many other authors have written about oppositional consciousness including Rosi Braidotti, Aldon Morris, Jane Mansbridge, Sharon A. Groch and Brett Stockdill. Jane Mansbridge writes a definition of oppositional consciousness in her paper Complicating Oppositional Consciousness that says, “As we have conceived it, any minimal definition of opposition consciousness requires four factors- identifying with an unjustly subordinated group, recognizing the injustice in that group’s position, opposing that injustice, and recognizing a group identity of interest in ending that injustice. The definition revolves around injustice. Oppositional consciousness, in our understanding, does not consist simply in identifying with one’s own group with which one identifies as the recipient of injustice, it requires that one’s own opposition be opposition to that injustice, and to that group or groups that brought the injustice about. It requires that the perceived identity of interest among the group members be based on bringing this injustice to an end.” (Mansbridge 240)

In her essay Nomadic Feminist Theory in a Global Era Rosi Braidotti states that “...oppositional consciousness is central to political subjectivity... critical theory is about strategies and relations of affirmation. Political subjectivity or agency therefore consists of multiple micro-political practices of daily activism or interventions in and on the world we inhabit for ourselves and for future generations...the political activist has to think ‘in spite of the times’ and hence ‘out of my time’, thus creating the analytics – the conditions of possibility – of the future... Critical theory occurs somewhere between the no longer and the not yet, not looking for easy reassurances but for evidence that others are struggling with the same questions.” (Braidotti)

After presenting on this text to class, we posed several questions, the first and meatiest of which read as follows:

In the methodology of differential consciousness, do people such as myself (white, middle class cis gendered woman) have a voice or just ears? Would contribution to or questioning of the dialogue Sandoval is engaged in be inappropriate or invalid- negated by the history of oppression and racism that is signaled by my class, colour, ability, and access?

If I am of the hegemony she suggests, do we only align ourselves in resistance periodically?

I recognize the tactical strengths that Sandoval’s differential consciousness has to offer people who face multiple forms of oppression and marginalization- yet somehow I wonder if her methods get construed as ideological cherry picking. When one uses this methodology in praxis do they need to be transparent about their motivations and maneuvers? What does this tactic do for/to relationships that need a bond of solidarity and trust?

The class discussed the idea of appropriateness, multiple students shared anecdotes of times they or someone they knew felt uncomfortable speaking on a behalf of a group they were not a part of. Trinh T. Minh-ha was quoted by a student as saying “not to speak about/Just speak nearby.” This quote is from her ethnographic documentary film Reassemblage, and I interpret it as her making her subjectivity transparent for the viewer. By saying "not to speak about/Just speak nearby” she is asserting that she is an outsider and is only showing her interpretation what she is observing, by making transparent the fact that she is bringing along her own ideologies and those ideologies inform her perspective.

The class discussed authority and who has the authority to speak about or for a group of people. We unpacked societies idea of knowledge and how systems of domination inform what is considered to be a valid or reputable source, and how academia often sits in the realm of theoretical and discredits primary research and lived experience.

The term ally was brought up as being problematic because when a subject asserts themselves as being an ally of a certain group, they associate themselves with every ideology that group stands for. By calling themselves an ally they also remove all accountability for their own acts of oppression against the group even if they are unaware their actions are oppressive. If called out on their oppressive act they will often default to claiming their ally status as means of saying that their act couldn’t possibly be oppressive or offensive because that was not their intent.

The other three questions we asked the class read as follows:

Is there a way to coexist and support each other without calling for the “unity that results in experiential erasure?

How does the name “US third world feminism” function strategically? Is it problematic or accurate to freely associate it with woman of colour? What are the negative or positive connotations with this association?
Sandoval uses the term “third gender” to describe women who subscribe to the US

Third World Feminist ideologies. What are the implications of this notion of a classed/raced gender, considering how this term is used in other theoretical discourses?

Unfortunately we did not have time to unpack these questions, but in the beginning of class before my group gave our presentation we briefly discussed the origin of the term “US Third World Feminism,” and the origin of the term “Third World.” The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either NATO (with the United States,Western European nations and their allies representing the First World), or the Communist Bloc (with the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, Cuba, and their allies representing the Second World.) The First World refers to capitalist countries, and The Second World refers to communist countries, The Third World refers to “developing countries.” This definition is problematic for multiple reasons, the first being the hierarchical implications of a first, second, third numbering system, and the second being the notion that these nations are “developing.” This implies that capitalist and communist countries are fully developed and these political structures are what define their development.

After leaving class I contemplated how I have applied differential political tactics to my own life. As someone who is very interested in ethics I am often faced with the ethical dilemma of speaking up about an injustice and possibly misrepresenting it, or saying nothing at all. I almost always choose the former. I think ignoring a problem only adds to the problem. However, I am careful not to speak with authority, and to assert my “credentials” or lack there of on the subject.

As a white, middle class self-identified female subject I am a product of societies definition of what those things entail. However, as a subject with agency I have the ability to be critical of those definitions and expectations. When I was a teenager I would’ve fallen under the previously discussed self-identified “ally” (although I may not have used that terminology.) I cared deeply about the oppression of any group of people and worked actively towards ending racism, sexism, homophobia, agism, and other forms of prejudice and oppression. Because of this active role I was taking I was never self critical about my own actions and their implications because I knew I would never intend to oppress anyone.

A political subject who takes no ownership of the political state they live in will only perpetuate the current political systems and ideologies. The sooner I could admit to myself that I take part in the systems that cause and perpetuate racism/sexism/classism/homophobia and other prejudices the sooner I could begin to work towards changing these systems of domination. I have to be aware that having oppositional consciousness is a process that takes a constant effort, reflection and self-critical evaluation. Being differential doesn’t allow for fixed truths, or fixed ideologies, but constantly fluctuates in reaction evolving hegemonic ideologies. I will not use the word ally to identify myself in relation to any group, but I will work my hardest to align myself with subordinated groups to work towards ending their oppression.

Braidotti, Rosi. “Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory.” New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

Braidotti, Rosi. "Nomadic Feminist Theory in a Global Era." Nomadic Feminist Theory in a Global Era. N.p., June 2013. Web. Jan. 2014. <>.

 Mansbridge, Jane J., and Aldon D. Morris. "Complicating Oppositional Consciousness." Oppositional Consciousness: The Subjective Roots of Social Protest. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2001. N. page. Print.

 Moya, Paula M. L. Learning from Experience: Minority Identities, Multicultural Struggles. Berkeley: University of California, 2002. Print.

 “Reassemblage.” Dir. Trinh T. Minh-ha. Perf. Trinh T.M. Women Make Movies, 1982. Online.

Sandoval, Chela. "New Sciences: Cyborg Feminism and the Methodology of the Oppressed." In The Cyborg Handbook, ed. Chris Hables Gray. New York: Routledge, 1995.

ethics of copyright

The Ethics of Copyright Laws in the Digital Age

“I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work...progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable.”- Henry Ford
“Art begins in imitation and ends in innovation.”-Mason Cooley
With the recent Apple copyright feuds with Samsung and Google, the question of intellectual property rights and the ethical implications of the restrictions of copyright have come into question. In chapter one of Lawrence Lessig’s book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, he discusses the history of such laws. The first patent laws were established in 1790 in the form of The Patent Act which was described as “an act to promote the progress of the useful arts.” The first copyright laws were created in 1906 when composer John Phillip Sousa advocated for copyright laws to protect his sheet music. The laws that were implemented gave him exclusive rights to control any public performance of his work; any reproductions of sheet music of his work; as well as any other work “derived” from his original work. These copyright laws were put into place to protect artists work, or “intellectual property” and create incentives for artists to produce great new and original work. (Lessig, 1)
Sousa fought for these laws in 1906, a time where there were massive technological advancements for creating and distributing music, (the player pianos in which a musical score could be transferred onto a form that would play the song, as well as the wide availability of phonographs.) Once encoded, music could be reproduced at a very low cost. (Lessig, 2) This shifted the relationship between the composer and the listener. Before in order to listen to a piece of music one had to learn how to read the music, play the instruments, and perform the piece. Now one merely had to passively listen and consume the music. The amateur went from having an active roll in the viewing of the work, to having a passive one. This technological change coupled with the new copyright laws shifted our culture from what Lessig refers to (making reference to technological jargon describing computer files) as a R/W or read/write to an R/O or read only culture. (Lawrence Lessig: Re-examining the remix)
Copyright laws were put in place to protect and promote creativity. The ideology behind this is that if a person creates something, that work, be it music, visual art, an equation, an invention, or a theory, the creator should own the properties to their creation as well as the properties of any reproductions, distributions, or other work derived from their creation. This theoretically promotes creativity and originality by removing the fear that ones work, or “intellectual property” would be “stolen” from them.
Although the logic behind copyright laws promises to promote creativity, in practical terms it does not. The ideology behind the copyright laws aims for originality, but as a society we build upon ideas from the past to perpetuate innovation. This idea of originality as something born within an individual, independently and unaffected by the outside world is a false one. There is nothing that is in this sense original; nothing that is not influenced by the outside world. Creativity is dependent on preexisting content, nothing has independent origination.
In his lecture on September 6 2012 Justin Novak brought up the notion “Premodern Mashup:” cultural collisions that have occurred throughout history before copy right laws and modernism. He discussed various mashups from art history including 16th century ceramics that are a mashup of Chinese and Islamic motifs, as well as Roman sculptures such as Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by GianLorenzo Bernini that is a combination of pagan icons and catholic shield mashedup with stolen Egyptian obelisks. He went beyond the realm of art history and discussed how Roman gods are merely a mashup, or reinterpretation of the Greek gods, and christian patron saints are just a remix of Roman patrons. If religion, something which plays a major role in understanding the world for many people is in itself a mashup, and lends itself to the R/W cultural paradigm then the idea that mashup is “stealing” and in fact criminal seems even more preposterous.
In modernity we’ve see many messy battles over copyright infringement often filled with hypocrisy. Bob Dylan is notorious for having very strict copyright laws on his music, most of it not even available for legal streaming on youtube. He has also been known to sue for unfair use of his music. However many of his early songs are remixes of traditional folk songs. Masters of War by Dylan has the same melody as Nottamun Town by Jean Ritchie. Bob Dylan even admitted With God on Our Side must’ve been inspired by musically and lyrically by The Patriot Game by Dominic Behan, even if subconsciously. (Kirby Ferguson: Embrace the Remix) The Verve’s 1997 hit Bittersweet symphony sampled Andrew Oldham Orchestra recording of The Rolling Stones 1965 song " The Last Time" as its foundation, with legal permission, but after its success it was successfully argued that they used “too much” of the sample and were sued for copyright infringement by both the Andrew Oldham Orchestra and ABKCO (the company that represents The Rolling Stones) as well as give song a retroactive writing credit and royalties to the Jagger/Richards writing duo. What makes matters more ridiculous is the 1965 song “The Last Time” is actually based on a traditional gospel song called "This May Be The Last Time", recorded by The Staple Singers in 1955. (Gaylor, RiP! A Remix Manifesto)
Walt Disney, one of the biggest players in the endorsement of copyright, but has an entire empire built on remixes of classic stories and fairy tales. The first Disney film, a short film entitled Steamboat Willie, depicts soon to be iconic Mickey Mouse acting identically to that of Steamboat Bill, a popular silent film at the time. In fact all of Walt Disney’s original films were based fairy tales and popular stories that he remixed in order to update them to resonate with contemporary society. (Kirby Ferguson: Embrace the Remix) He also often made reference to other popular films and characters most notably Charlie Chaplin in the 1936 classic Modern Times. However since this time Disney has continuously been one of the most ruthless advocates of copyright laws, often suing small companies, including daycares and clinics for unauthorized use of their licensed characters. (Gaylor, RiP! A Remix Manifesto)
In a capitalist society an artist or creator of any kind needs to commodify their work in order to live. This creates an ethical paradox, innovation is made though building upon work of the past, and thusly for the advancement of human society abolishing copyright laws would expedite that process. For example, if a medical researcher comes up with an idea to cure an illness, they can patent that idea, as well as various components of that idea. However that researcher might not actually explore that idea and test it for an undisclosed amount of time. Due to the fact that advancement is built on others achievements, it is likely that someone else will come up with that same idea or one close to it, and be ready to do the testing required, but can not because it is already patented. Meanwhile this idea could be saving lives, or at the very least lead to another innovation that will. However, ethically one has to also take into account their own quality of life needs to have an income in order to survive in our culture.
Lessig argues that the copyright laws are for a different age, before the digital age. The digital age has not only made the mashup an accessible tool for creation, but the mashup has become a sort of internet language often referred to as memes. The word meme is based on the greek mīmēma which means "something imitated", and is defined in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." The memes generated by these mashups, be them image memes, video memes, etc create not only new comparisons and ideas, but also a new sort of shared social space. This space, be it a virtual one, is where people from all over the world can take part in the creation of a singular meme, each iteration of said meme transforming it and adding the body of the meme as a whole. This is a new kind of social space, where people from all over the world can connect over anything from IMG macros, to fan art, to a video of a cat dressed as a pop tart flying through space while a song from a japanese TV show plays.
Some bands are rejecting these copyright laws and asserting the user/producer relationship has changed due to this digital revolution. A new genre of music has emerged, one derived partially or completely out of samples and mashups of other media. From early mashup artists such as 2manyDj’s and Dangermouse, to more recent artist Girltalk, this genre of music has fully assimilated into the mainstream culture, Girltalk even playing at Coachella music festival in both 2009 and 2012 along side many of the artists he samples. Some bands once signed to major labels have begun to take a creative stance against these laws. When Radiohead released their album In Rainbows, they released it for free with an open invitation for their audience to remix it. In 2011 they released their album The King Of Limbs, later that year, they released TKOL RMX 1234567 a two-CD remix album of songs from The King of Limbs remixed by various artists. Beck’s upcoming album Song Reader is being released only as sheet music. He has decided not to release a recorded version of the album, as to promote the digital user generated culture. Not only does this make reference to Sousa’s idea of the amateur, but also fits into the meme-frenzied digital world. The album is an invitation for the fans to be inspired by the compositions and lyrics but create their own take on the work, and since Beck wont be releasing a recording of the album there will be no “right” way for the music to be played. The music created by the fans will also get a lot of exposure, both fans and other musicians will be curious to hear the album in many of its forms.
On the other end of this spectrum George Lucas has been promoting this user generated culture within the confines of copyright law. In his Starwars Mashup project he invites fans to mashup any of his content with any of their own original content. In his terms of service for this remix site, everything you mashup becomes owned by Lucas, even if it contains your own originally composed music. (Kirby Ferguson: Embrace the Remix) David Bowie is another artist with many remix sites, where as well as Lucas any newly created mashed up content becomes property of Bowie.
In an 1994 interview Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, “It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you’re doing, Picasso had a saying “good artists copy, great artists steal” and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” (Steve Jobs: Good Artists Copy Great Artists Steal)
However in 2007 with the release of the first iPhone, Apple patented many features of the phone, including multi-finger touch technology for pinching zoom, slide to unlock, three finger swipe, etc, as well as rounded corners on their icons and body of the phone. Since 2007 smart phone technology has advanced rapidly with several major players on the market, each employing this touch technology. In the last year Apple has successfully sued both Samsung and Google for breaching patent laws and using their methods of touch technology, and their aesthetics of “rounded corners.” If patent laws are in place to promote the progress of the useful arts, they do not seem to be working. Apple computers use many of logical user-interface designs invented and employed by Xerox, including file folders, scroll bars and pop up menus. How would computers look today if all those things were patented?
A mashup or remix is often seen as recreating using other people’s content. However, this isn’t the case, it is not recreating, it is merely creating. One can not create anything without it falling into the category of mashup or remix, there are no independent creations only dependent ones. Although I can understand the argument of copyright laws from an economical standpoint, it appears that practically they are hard to use to ones benefit unless one already has money to afford legal aid in claiming the rights and royalties from whoever “stole” their content. Copyright laws and patent laws are unethical as they hinder the progress of human kind, and creativity.

i'm fake! didn't you all know :)

my awesome conversation with the always charming mr_almighty
i know i get called fake daily..but still..funny. 

mr almighty



ur hot
are u single


very good
me 2
wanna know each other more
im a real handsome guy
and im so nice
if u have msn or skype tell me so i add you

me-who is your favourite author??

answer me
you have skype or msn

me-not a reading type??


u have skype or msn ?

ur fake arent u

me-hence why i have pictures with mat_daemon.
they are all photoshopped.
me-even the ones on his profile.

yes but ur fake
im sorry

me-yup i am
me-you caught me.

ok bye


Saul Williams- Coded Language

Whereas, breakbeats have been the missing link connecting the diasporic
community to its drum woven past
Whereas the quantised drum has allowed the whirling mathematicians to
calculate the ever changing distance between rock and stardom.
Whereas the velocity of the spinning vinyl, cross-faded, spun backwards, and
re-released at the same given moment of recorded history , yet at a
different moment in time's continuum has allowed history to catch up with
the present.

We do hereby declare reality unkempt by the changing standards of dialogue.
Statements, such as, "keep it real", especially when punctuating or
anticipating modes of ultra-violence inflicted psychologically or physically
or depicting an unchanging rule of events will hence forth be seen as
retro-active and not representative of the individually determined is.

Furthermore, as determined by the collective consciousness of this state of
being and the lessened distance between thought patterns and their secular
manifestations, the role of men as listening receptacles is to be increased
by a number no less than 70 percent of the current enlisted as vocal

Motherfuckers better realize, now is the time to self-actualize
We have found evidence that hip hops standard 85 rpm when increased by a
number as least half the rate of it's standard or decreased at ¾ of it's
speed may be a determining factor in heightening consciousness.

Studies show that when a given norm is changed in the face of the
unchanging, the remaining contradictions will parallel the truth.

Equate rhyme with reason, Sun with season

Our cyclical relationship to phenomenon has encouraged scholars to erase the
centers of periods, thus symbolizing the non-linear character of cause and
Reject mediocrity!

Your current frequencies of understanding outweigh that which as been given
for you to understand.
The current standard is the equivalent of an adolescent restricted to the
diet of an infant.
The rapidly changing body would acquire dysfunctional and deformative
symptoms and could not properly mature on a diet of apple sauce and crushed
Light years are interchangeable with years of living in darkness.
The role of darkness is not to be seen as, or equated with, Ignorance, but
with the unknown, and the mysteries of the unseen.

Thus, in the name of:

We claim the present as the pre-sent, as the hereafter.
We are unraveling our navels so that we may ingest the sun.
We are not afraid of the darkness, we trust that the moon shall guide us.
We are determining the future at this very moment.
We now know that the heart is the philosophers' stone
Our music is our alchemy
We stand as the manifested equivalent of 3 buckets of water and a hand full
of minerals, thus realizing that those very buckets turned upside down
supply the percussion factor of forever.
If you must count to keep the beat then count.
Find you mantra and awaken your subconscious.
Curve you circles counterclockwise
Use your cipher to decipher, Coded Language, man made laws.
Climb waterfalls and trees, commune with nature, snakes and bees.
Let your children name themselves and claim themselves as the new day for
today we are determined to be the channelers of these changing frequencies
into songs, paintings, writings, dance, drama, photography, carpentry,
crafts, love, and love.
We enlist every instrument: Acoustic, electronic.
Every so-called race, gender, and sexual preference.
Every per-son as beings of sound to acknowledge their responsibility to
uplift the consciousness of the entire fucking World.
Any utterance will be un-aimed, will be disclaimed - two rappers slain

bat country

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like "I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive..." And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?"