Monday, August 22, 2005
I.C.R.N. Test Transmission 1
“Post-industrial” is one of the most widely (ab)used paradigms of the present era. We are constantly told we live in a utopian post-industrial age of knowledge or information economies. As physical production becomes globalised and outsourced, the physical “dirty work” that sustains our (un)reality is largely done elsewhere. In Britain, as elsewhere in the “First World”, physical heavy industries are now near-extinct, yet the roots of our reality, our society and our culture remain industrial. Outside the gated communities of the West, industrial production remains a vivid and oppressive reality. Even within these enclaves, the paradigms and pathologies of the industrial age continue to exert an often denied influence that is especially clear in the field of culture. Informational commodities such as software, music, art and texts are now systematically mass-produced on a truly industrial scale. Whilst these new industries are ostensibly cleaner, friendlier, and infinitely less oppressive than their physical predecessors, they still contain the negative potentials of mass industrial production – pollution, regimentation, de-humanisation and waste. “The industrial” as a category remains relevant not purely as a metaphor for mass cultural production processes, but also as a simultaneously repressed and repressive cultural undercurrent (which also contains destabilising and liberating potentials). It is the denied and repressed and other that so many (“progressive” as well as reactionary) vested political and cultural interests are in flight from. These factors make urgent the bringing together of all those concerned with analysing and establishing the significance of the industrial as a continual cultural-political presence. Centred on research into industrial and post-industrial music and related cultures, from their origins to the present, the Industrialised Culture Research Network will trace industrial-cultural processes across media and within cultures.