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Interchange – Drones at Liberty: Part Two

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Part 2 of Drones at Liberty: Our conversation continues to explore the meaning of drones–drones as instruments of war and policing, drones in the public imaginary, drones as extensions of state and/or human will–all topics under examination at the recent IU Symposium on Drone Warfare.

All technologies are transgressive.

It seems to me that normalization is the issue. Spying technologies have been around for a long time and yet there surely was a “peeping Tom” (men!) stigma as well as a respect for privacy–plus, who cares what normal life someone else was leading–ah, but prurience cultivated over the decades has increasingly led us to acknowledge that life is boring, yet hope that some folks perhaps are not boring, or that spying as a transgression is not boring BECAUSE it’s a transgression not for what is revealed through spying. Our television shows and movies normalize torture and spying and now the piloting of UAVs across the thousands of miles.

I would go so far as to argue that acceptable use inevitably paves the way for the transgression, and that the transgression is the fullest expression of the technology.

But, as many presenters made plain, the policing and terror apparatus is already firmly in place, and UAVs are an “in-kind” application that will further the constant machine surveillance and control of humanity.

With apologies to Emily Dickinson:

I heard a DRONE buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –

and then it was
There interposed a DRONE –

With Blue – uncertain stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

GUESTS
Ishan Ashutosh, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Indiana University, is a critical human geographer whose work encompasses the study of migration, the politics of race and ethnicity from an international and comparative perspective, and urban studies. His research examines the multiple and contested representations of South Asia through projects situated in migration and area studies.

Chris Miles is a PhD student in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University. His work focuses on the intellectual, political, and material relationships between capitalism, media technologies, and nature. In particular, he studies informatic media and digital technology integrated into or pattered on biology and biological processes.

MUSIC
The Flaming Lips, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1″
The Police, “Bombs Away”
The Flaming Lips, “Do You Realize??”
The Flaming Lips, “All We Have Is Now”

OF INTEREST
41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed

RELATED
Interchange – Drones At Liberty: Part One
Interchange – Terror Skies: The Drone as Judge and Jury
Interchange – Colin Allen: Thinking About Thinking Machines

CREDITS
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board and Music Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – Innovation Is Nothing New: Novelty in the Middle Ages

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Popular models of innovation (including buzzwords such as “creative destruction” or “disruptive innovation”) prize getting rid of anything that’s old. But some folks are starting to reimagine innovation in different terms: as reusing, recycling, refurbishing, sampling, or updating the old. In her new book, The Medieval New, Patricia Ingham shows that creative models combining old AND new have a long and interesting innovating history. Focusing on the period that gave us eye glasses, windmills, courtly love, and mechanical clocks, (not to mention falconry and the blast furnace), Ingham asks us to reconsider what we think we mean by calling something new.

I. Rethinking “new” as opposed to the “old”: how the medieval question was organized differently (not old versus new but ingenium vs. consuetudo, so inborn, though idiosyncratic, talent vs. convention, or things generally agreed upon); “cultures of artistic copying”– creative works were not a completely “original” poem or story, but a work engaged with, updating, reworking, or repurposing stories or poems long admired; things “discovered” not made out of nothing; creativity as an engagement with tradition as well as “environment.”

II. Medieval ambivalence about “newness” on account of questions of Ethics: both in medieval literature and art where newfangledness is regularly used as an ambivalent term. Ambivalence and its definition: as simultaneously, or possibly, loved, but also possibly hated, etc. In contrast to today where too often people assume that anything “new” is, by definition, good, what we want, etc.; historians of science and technology who don’t all see the path of history as one of unrelenting “progress.”

III. Innovation and the University: We are said to be currently in an Age of Innovation–but we don’t always think too hard about what innovation entails. The University as an institution has long drawn together both strands of the “medieval new”: histories of re-reading, remaking, repurposing; but also ingenious solutions to long standing problems, concerns.

GUEST
Patricia Ingham, Professor of English and Medieval Studies at Indiana University and Editor of Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and author of The Medieval New: Ambivalence in an Age of Innovation.

OF INTEREST
Innovators are killing us
The Disruption Machine

RELATED
Vijay Iyer’s Life in Music: “Striving is the Back Story”

MUSIC
The Hilliard Ensemble, “O Livoris Feritas, M9″ (Guillaume de Machaut)
Nice & Smooth, “Old to the New”
Derek and the Dominoes, “Layla”
Us3, “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)”–sample Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island”
Madlib, “Slim’s Return”–originally recorded by Gene Harris & The Three Sounds as “The Book of Slim”

NEXT WEEK
Part Two of Drones at Liberty

CREDITS
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Joe Crawford
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – Drones At Liberty: Part One

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This is the first of a two-part program based on a symposium to be held at Indiana University called Reconfiguring Global Space: The Geography, Politics, and Ethics of Drone War.

In warfare against savage tribes who do not conform to codes of civilized warfare aerial bombardment is not necessarily limited in its methods or objectives by rules agreed upon in international law. –Royal Air Force Chief of the Air Staff, Hugh Trenchard, March 1, 1924.

“To be against the drone program is like being against the Internet.” Ethan Hawke, actor.

GUESTS
Majed Akhter is an Assistant Professor of Geography at Indiana University Bloomington. He is a human geographer working at the intersection of political ecology/economy, development studies, and the history and politics of South Asia. His research queries how the spatiality of state power shapes, and is shaped by, transnational and transregional processes.

Hamid Ekbia is an Associate Professor of Informatics, Cognitive Science, and International Studies, and Director of the Center for Research on Mediated Interaction. His work focuses on mediation, that is, on the processes through which objects and meanings are transformed in hybrid networks of interaction. In particular, he wants to understand how technologies mediate interactions among individuals, organizations, and collectives. He is the author of Artificial Dreams: The Quest for Non­biological Intelligence (2008).

MUSIC
Jon Langford, “Drone Operator”
The Alan Parsons Project, “Eye In The Sky”

MOVIE TRAILERS
Good Kill, written and directed by Andrew Niccol
Wounds of Waziristan, a documentary film by Madiha Tahir

RELATED
Interchange – Terror Skies: The Drone as Judge and Jury

NEXT WEEK
The Medieval New
Popular models of innovation (including buzzwords such as “creative destruction” or “disruptive innovation”) prize getting rid of anything that’s old. But some of us are starting to reimagine innovation in different terms: as reusing, recycling, refurbishing, sampling, or updating the old. In her new book, Patricia Ingham shows that creative models combining old AND new have a long and interesting innovating history. Focusing on the period that gave us eye glasses, windmills, courtly love, and mechanical clocks, (not to mention falconry and the blast furnace), Ingham asks us to reconsider what we think we mean by calling something new.

CREDITS
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board & Music Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Production Assistance: Kara Tullman
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – What Makes Us Vulnerable: The Essential Ellen Willis

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Our topic for the next hour is the cultural and critical writing of Ellen Willis who was the New Yorker‘s first rock critic and the cofounder of the radical feminist group the Redstockings. Her essays have been described as always unsettling, combining passion and moral clarity, espresso for the feminist soul, and relevant as ever, with a continuing influence on critics of American culture today.

Ellen Willis was a great fan and a great “reader” of Bob Dylan. I’ll have to admit as someone with little invested in Dylan and it was only in reading Willis’s “breakout” essay on Dylan published first in the magazine Cheetah in 1967 (and called “Dylan”) that I was intellectually engaged in thinking about Dylan and the album that the song appears on, John Wesley Harding. This album, appearing to be a retreat back onto well-trod ground, was rather a work serving the purpose of liberation…that is liberating Dylan, and the rest of us, from the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper. More on that in the program.

Joining us via phone is Nona Willis Aronowitz, the daughter of Ellen Willis, who has edited two collections of her mother’s essays both published by the University of Minnesota Press, one called Out of the Vinyl Deeps, consists of Willis’s Rock criticism and the other, The Essential Ellen Willis, spans four decades and seems to cover nearly every topic of social and cultural importance you might think of (abortion, radical feminism, sexism terrorism, the family, male supremacy, terrorism, motherhood, racism, Judaism, fundamentalism, liberalism, and on).

A key theme that often runs through Willis’s work is vulnerability and her writing style seems to be pitched towards always understanding that common quality. The best way to understand this I think might be to think of it simply as respect for any audience to which she might be speaking. This seems more and more a very rare quality.

Guest
Nona Willis Aronowitz is the editor of TalkingPointsMemo’s The Slice and TPMCafe. Previously, she was an education and poverty reporter at NBC News Digital, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, and an associate editor at GOOD magazine. She’s written for The Atlantic, Washington Post, NYMag.com, The Nation, The American Prospect, Tablet, and Rookie, among others.

Related
Ellen Willis Tumblr
There are photos and many links to Willis’s essays and reviews of the two collections edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz along with some video.

Music
“All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan
“Maybe” by Janis Joplin
“Someday Never Comes” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Beginning to See the Light” by The Velvet Underground

Credits
Host & Producer: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Joe Crawford
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – The Significant Insignificance of Juneteenth

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Last Friday, June 19th, was Juneteenth–do you know what that is?

To celebrate the emancipation of enslaved Africans in the United States as a realized freedom in this country has always been and continues to be a battle. This freedom is at the heart of racist hate crimes perpetrated by Whites upon Black Americans and the murders of nine Black Americans inside their church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a White Supremacist, are only one grim example of that struggle.

Topics Covered
The Emancipation Proclamation
The Confederate flag
White Supremacy
Ku Klux Klan
Charleston, South Carolina
Juneteenth (Freedom Day)
Abraham Lincoln

Guests
Amrita Chakrabarti Myers is Associate Professor of History and Gender Studies at Indiana University and author of Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston. Amrita joins us via a pre-recorded conversation I had with her on June 18th.

Amira Millicent Davis holds a PhD from the University of Illinois-Urbana in Educational Policy Studies with a concentration in African American Studies and an EdM in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on culturally-centered curriculum and pedagogy. Her research interests are community-based, multigenerational arts and literacy programs, critical theory, Black women’s gender theories, and performance as public pedagogy. She’s a warrior mother, grandmother, and community mother; arts-activist, and educator.

Of Related Interest
The Long Campaign by White Supremacists to “Take Our Country Back”

Music
Charles Mingus – “Original Faubus Fables” (1960)
The Staple Singers – “Swing Down, Sweet Chariot”
Leadbelly – “Take This Hammer”
Charles Mingus – “Fables of Faubus” (1959)

Next Week
Next week on Interchange, “The Essential Ellen Willis.” We’ll explore the thought and writing of The New Yorker magazine’s first Rock Critic and the cofounder of the radical feminist group the Redstockings, Ellen Willis. Her essays have been described as always unsettling, combining passion and moral clarity, espresso for the feminist soul, and as relevant as ever with a continuing influence on critics of American culture today. We’re joined by Nona Willis Aronowitz to discuss the writings of her mother, Ellen Wills, next Tuesday on Interchange.

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

“He’s Not Unusual” – Church Massacre Suspect Dyllan Roof and Institutionalized Racism

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Interchange host Doug Storm spoke yesterday with Amrita Myers, an Associate Professor of History and Gender Studies at Indiana University and author of Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston. Myers spoke about institutionalized racism, extreme right-wing organizations and other elements of context for the June 17th murder of nine people in the oldest Black church south of Baltimore, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

A more full version of this conversation will be featured on Interchange on Tuesday, June 23 at 6 p.m., in an episode about the “significant insignificance” of Juneteenth, a historical date commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

Interchange – Framing the Self: Conversations on Photography and Autobiography

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Tonight’s Interchange brings together two episodes that first aired on WFHB’s The Custom House in the summer of 2013. Part One, “Writing on Pictures,” is a discussion with photographer Jeffrey Wolin about how he integrates the written word into his portraits to make stories that are both deeply personal and broadly cultural. Part Two, “Hark! Who Goes There?,” features a conversation with John Eakin about writing autobiography and the way the self is something of an ongoing fiction.

Part One: Writing on Pictures

Jeffrey Wolin mixes the word with the image to produce portraits that seem to stand as much as social and cultural commentary as they do Art, and appear to turn the very subject of that portrait into commentary as well. Wolin’s recent books consist of portrait series that included Holocaust survivors (Written in Memory: Portraits of the Holocaust) and Vietnam War Veterans (Inconvenient Stories). He’s currently working on a series of portraits depicting Bloomington, Indiana residents from a section of the town called Pigeon Hill across a twenty-year span.

Wolin’s Pigeon Hill project was highlighted recently in the online magazine Slate in a post titled,
What 20 Years Have Done to the People of This Small Indiana Community

“It’s endlessly fascinating to see what happens to us over time,” he said, noting that a full generation had passed since he first took the portraits. “Speaking about our memories is a creative process that changes and morphs all the time. That isn’t to say they aren’t truthful. Sometimes your memory becomes clearer after some time as well.”

Part Two, Hark! Who Goes There?

This segment features a conversation with John Eakin about writing autobiography and the way the self is fictive and often re-writable.

We try to locate our mysterious metamorphic “me” within the commonplace act of telling stories. Our guide is an expert in the storying self, John Eakin, Ruth N. Halls Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University, whose most recent book is Living Autobiographically: How We Create Identity in Narrative (Cornell University Press, 2008). And it’s the “commonplace” or dailiness of “identity practice” that is even more intrinsic than such an institutional practice as that of the school assignments that bookend this very act of life-composition: Write your autobiography…Write your obituary. It’s how we practice that “life in the middest” that makes us who we are at any given moment.

Extended Conversations
The Custom House – Writing on Pictures (Extended Conversation w/Jeffrey Wolin)

The Custom House – Hark! Who Goes There? Locating the Self in the Stories We Tell (Extended Conversation w/John Eakin)

Next week on Interchange, “The Significant Insignificance of Juneteenth.” Chances are you might not have heard of Juneteenth, but it’s time to rectify that. I’ll be joined by Amira Millicent Davis to discuss General Order No. 3, read aloud on June 19, 1865, by Union General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas announcing the total emancipation of slaves, nearly three years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862.

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – The Path of Least Resistance: The Obama Presidency

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What are we to make of a president who appears on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis?

David Bromwich opens his Harper’s Magazine piece, “What Went Wrong: Assessing Obama’s Legacy” with the claim “Any summing-up of the Obama presidency is sure to find a major obstacle in the elusiveness of the man.” He seeks to define the man and his presidency in article after article, and essay after essay.

Guest
David Bromwich is the Sterling Professor of Literature at Yale University. He’s written on civil liberties and America’s Wars for the New York Review of Books. He also publishes essays on politics in the Huffington Post, the London Review of Books and Harper’s Magazine. His most recent books are Moral Imagination which is a collection of essays and The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke.

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama

Of Interest
Strip Search Nation” by David Bromwich

Music
“You Dropped a Bomb On Me” by The Gap Band
“Funky President” by James Brown
“The Wake-up Bomb” by R.E.M.

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – Creating the Subject: Hildegard Keller’s Annemarie Mahler

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Host Doug Storm is joined by literary critic, author, and filmmaker, Hildegard Elisabeth Keller, who teaches German literature at Indiana University and at the University of Zurich.

Keller’s most recent project, the film Whatever Comes Next, is a documentary about Bloomington painter and scholar Annemarie Mahler. Born in Vienna in 1926, Mahler fled by herself as a twelve-year child to the United States and since 1955 has lived in Bloomington, IN, and in the summers in Woods Hole, MA.

The documentary portrays the artist’s outer and inner lives, which bridge two centuries and two continents.

A major theme of the film and the interview is identity, particularly that of the immigrant and the artist. Keller also discusses her projects on Mystics like Meister Eckhart and Hildegard of Bingen, as well as her “muse,” the modernist Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni, of whom she is writing a biography due out in November.

Special thanks to Hildegard Keller for letting us hear parts of her film in this program. Ann Malcolm reads excerpts from the writings of Annemarie Mahler. Music in the film is by composer Olav Lervik and cellist Ivan Turkalj.

Sonia Velazquez read Alfonsina Storni’s “Voy a Dormir.”

Music
“Alfonsina y el Mar” by Mercedes Sosa
“Alfonsina y el Mar” by Shakira

Next time on Interchange
“What Went Wrong: Assessing Obama’s Legacy.” Doug Storm speaks with Yale Professor David Bromwich, critic, scholar, and political essayist who has tried, and failed, to find a President who has put any of his eloquent words into political action. Assessing Obama’s legacy on Interchange next Tuesday (6/9).

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – A Power Unto Itself: Scott Horton on the National Security Elite

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Host Doug Storm is joined by Scott Horton, attorney and contributing editor at Harper’s Weekly, author of the recent book, The Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy, and author of the essay “Company Men: Torture, treachery, and the CIA,” which appeared in the April issue of Harper’s.

Discussed
The Senate Report on Torture as “historical” rather than an “oversight” document (which should happen in real time).
Torture as an effective propaganda tool, not intelligence gathering.
The cooperative media, national security reporters fed lies they dutifully report.
A “better angel”: Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was a Russian nuclear physicist, Soviet dissident and human rights activist.
John Brennan as the most influential person in the world.
The CIA has its own air force. There’s a direct flow-through from the torture program to the drone program.
Richard Bruce Cheney as THE lord of secrecy.
Private Contractors create more secrecy.

Guest
Scott Horton is a contributing editor at Harper’s magazine and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for reporting for his writing on law and national security issues. Horton lectures at Columbia Law School and continues to practice law in the emerging markets area. A lifelong human rights advocate, Horton served as counsel to Andrei Sakharov and Elena Bonner, among other activists in the former Soviet Union.

Related
Senate Intelligence Committee Study on CIA Detention and Interrogation Program
Scott Horton: “Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy” (Book Excerpt)

Music
“Girl Trouble” from the motion picture soundtrack From Russia With Love, by John Barry and His Orchestra
“Spies in the Wire” by Cabaret Voltaire
“I Kill Spies” by Agent Orange

Credits
Host & Producer: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

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