23 September 2007


If you have not yet picked up your copy of The Shock Doctrine, stop reading this and run to the bookstore!

This book is particularly interesting to artists because the logic is associative and the crux of her argument is aesthetic. The briefest of summaries:

A Canadian psychologist decided that he could rebuild broken human minds by erasing everything that was there before and finding a pure, blank slate, on which he could rebuild a healthy personality. One small problem: the only way to erase a personality that he could think of was massive quantities of electric shock therapy, solitary confinement for more than sixty days at a time, scrambling mealtimes, constant light and/or constant dark, up to a month of forced sleep, the use of drugs such as LSD and PCP and sensory deprivation.

He would up creating the blueprint for how to "scientifically" torture people.

This blueprint for torture methods wound up being useful in another quest for purity: The Completely Unregulated Market. Indonesia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil... turns out nobody really wanted to choose Milton Friedman's beautiful, pure free market in a democratic way, but that brutal dictators and Chicago School Economists = TLA.

I have never read a more beautiful, more sobering exploration into the problematic, illusory nature of purity.

And I know that this is going to seem perverse or minimizing, but reading about hundreds of thousands of people getting yanked out of their houses and shoved into Ford Falcons and disappeared...

...it makes me think of Minimalism so differently.


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