Jordan Crandall, Under Fire

date datum 24 January 2004 -
31 December 2004

location locatie Witte de With

Leaflet dropped over Iraq on January 20, 2003. Source: United States Central Command,

Under Fire is a year-long project initiated by Jordan Crandall that consists of a series of organized discussions that will occur online and in Rotterdam, throughout the year 2004. Co-editors Under Fire I: Asef Bayat, Susan Buck-Morss, Hamid Dabashi, Brian Holmes, Gema Martín Muñoz; Under Fire II: Ryan Bishop, Gregory Clancey, and John William Phillips.

The discussions will involve participation from individuals working in politics, theory, criticism, the arts, and journalism from both the West and the Middle East. A series of publications will be released during the course of the year.

On the organizational front, Under Fire looks at the forms of militarized agencies that are emerging today, including Western defense industries and decentralized terrorist organizations. It explores the forces that contribute to their emergence, whether operating at the level of economy, technology, politics, or ideology.
On the representational front, it looks at the ways that armed violence materializes as act and image, searching for new insight into its mechanisms and effects. In so doing, it engages issues of economy, embodiment, symbolic meaning, and affect.

The project delves into the economic underpinnings of contemporary armed conflict. It looks at the legacy of the “military-industrial complex,” the rise of the privatized military industry, and the repercussions of the commercialization of violence. However it does not simply prioritize economy. It looks at contemporary conflicts as driven by combinations of territorial, market, and ideological imperatives, and new attempts at the reconciliation of identity and universality. It looks to emergent processes of organization that operate on multiple levels of temporality and implicit form. Through this approach, the project aims to articulate emergent systems of decentralized control and new global dynamics of power. Building on historical conceptions of hegemony, it attempts to understand the nature of emergent power and the forms of resistance to it, situating cycles of violence within the modalities of a global system.

The project emphasizes the role that representations play as registers of symbolic meaning and as agents of affective change. It engages images from commercial and independent news media, as well as representations from artistic, literary, and popular entertainment sources, both in the West and the Middle East. These images are regarded in terms of attention strategy and perception management, but they are also regarded in terms of cultural imaginaries of conflict, where they can operate as “fictionalized components of reality.” They are studied in terms of the deeper truths they may offer about collective identifications and aggressions, and their roles in the formation of a new body politic.

The project consists of a series of organized discussions that will occur online and in Rotterdam, throughout the year 2004. These discussions will involve participation from individuals working in politics, theory, criticism, the arts, and journalism from both the West and the Middle East. Rather than relying on discourses based upon Western conceptions of modernity, the project is dedicated to opening up new historical perspectives, exploring the potential of Islamist discourse as a source of critical and political debate. It will thus include participation from progressive thinkers in the Islamic world.

A series of two publications will be released during the course of the year. Each of these publications will be organized around a key interpretive concept that emerges in the proceedings. Through this approach, Under Fire aims to help open up a discursive terrain that can offer new insights into symptomatic violence, and alternatives to its perpetuation.

Jordan Crandall

The online discussions have come to an end. You can no longer subscribe to the mailinglist.
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The Under Fire discussion archive is located here.

Under Fire is organized in collaboration with V2_Organisation. Institute for the Unstable Media.


About the participants
Armitage, John Biography John Armitage John Armitage is Principal Lecturer in Politics and Media Studies at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle (UK). He is the editor of Paul Virilio: From Modernism to Hypermodernism and Beyond (London/Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2000), Virilio Live: Selected Interviews (London/Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2001), and the co-editor, with Joanne Roberts, of Living with Cyberspace: Technology and Society in the 21st Century (London/New York: Continuum, 2002). His writings have appeared in journals such as New Left Review, Theory, Culture and Society and Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities.
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Bayat, Asef Biography Asef Bayat Asef Bayat is the Academic Director of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) and the ISIM Chair at the University of Leiden. He has taught sociology and Middle East studies at the American University in Cairo an has held visiting positions at the University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University and the University of Oxford. He is currently program director of an ISIM research program on socio-religious movements and social change in contemporary Muslim societies.
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Bishop, Ryan Biography Ryan Bishop Ryan Bishop is Senior Research Fellow in English Language and Literature and American Studies at the National University of Singapore. He has published on military technology, aesthetics, modernism, critical theory, urbanism, and international sex tourism. He is co-editor of the journal Cultural Politics.
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Buck-Morss, Susan Biography Susan Buck-Morss Susan Buck-Morss is Professor of Political Philosophy and Social Theory in the Department of Government at Cornell University, where she is also Professor of Visual Culture in the Department of Art History. Her books include The Origin of Negative Dialectics: Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt Institute (1979); The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (1991); Dreamworld and Catastrophe: the Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West (2002); and Thinking Past Terror: Islam and Critical Theory on the Left (2003).
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Clancey, Gregory Biography Gregory Clancey Gregory Clancey is an Assistant Professor of History at the National University of Singapore. He's the author of Earthquake Nation, forthcoming from University of California Press. Much of his recent work has to do with cities, emergencies, and the politics of catastrophe.
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Crandall, Jordan Biography Jordan Crandall Jordan Crandall is a visual artist and media theorist. He is Assistant Professor in the Visual Arts Department at University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Drive: Technology, Mobility, and Desire (2002); co-editor of Interaction: Artistic Practice in the Network (1999); and founding editor of a forthcoming journal of philosophy, art, cultural studies, and science studies.
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Dabashi, Hamid Biography Hamid Dabashi Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and the director of Graduate Studies at the Center for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. His research interests include the comparative study of cultures, Islamic intellectual history, and the social and intellectual history of Iran, both modern and medieval. His publications include Authority in Islam: From the Rise of Muhammad to the Establishment of the Umayyads (1989), Theology of Discontent: The Ideological Foundation of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (1993), Truth and Narrative: The Untimely Thoughts of Ayn Al-Qudat Al-Hamadhani (1999), Staging a Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran (with Peter Chelkowski, 1999), and Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, Future (2001).
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Holmes, Brian Biography Brian Holmes Brian Holmes is an art critic, activist and translator, living in Paris, interested primarily in the intersections of artistic and political practice. He holds a doctorate in Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of California at Berkeley, was the English editor of publications for Documenta X, Kassel, Germany, 1997, was a member of the graphic arts group 'Ne pas plier' from 1999 to 2001, and has recently worked with the French conceptual art group 'Bureau d'Études' . He is a frequent contributor to the international listserve Nettime, a member of the editorial committee of the political-economy journal Multitudes (Paris) and of the art magazines Springerin (Vienna) and Brumaria (Barcelona), a regular contributor to the magazine Parachute (Montreal), and a founder, with 'Bureau d'Études, of the new journal Autonomie Artistique (Paris). He is the author of a collection of essays, Hieroglyphs of the Future: Art and Politics in a Networked Era (Zagreb: Arkzin, 2003) and has just finished a special issue of Multitudes on Art contemporain : la recherche du dehors.
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Martín Muñoz, Gema Biography Gema Martín Muñoz (Madrid, Spain, 1955) Gema Martín Muñoz is Professor of Sociology of the Arab and Islamic world at Madrid Autonoma University. She is a columnist for the newspaper El País on Arab and Islamic subjects. Her research interests include the sociopolitical situations in Middle East countries; Islamist movements and Muslims in Europe. She is editor of Islam, Modernism and the West: Cultural and Political Relations at the End of the Millennium (1999) and author of Arab State. Crisis of legitimacy and islamist reactions (2000) and Iraq, a failure of the West (2003). She is also the author of various publications, including: Aprender a conocerse. Percepciones sociales y culturales entre España y Marruecos (Madrid: Fundación Repsol-Fondation Hassan II pour les Marocains Résidant à l'Étranger, 2001); El Estado Árabe. Crisis de legitimidad y contestación islamista (Barcelona: Ediciones Bellaterra, 2000); El Islam y el Mundo Árabe. Guía didáctica para profesores y formadores (Madrid: Publicaciones de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, ICMA, 1996, 2nd edition 1998); Mujeres, desarrollo y democracia en el Magreb (Madrid: Ediciones Pablo Iglesias, 1995).
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Phillips, John Biography John Phillips John Phillips is Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at The National University of Singapore. He writes on philosophy, literature, deconstruction, critical theory, urbanism, military technology and aesthetics. Website:
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About the collaborators
V2_ V2_ is interested in the relationships and interactions between different media and in the relationship between art and scientific disciplines. The connections between art, technology, media and society are continuously explored, by bringing together artists, scientists and civil organizations and by initiating interdisciplinary collaborations. Over the past 20 years V2_ has succeeded in establishing an ongoing dialogue within a wide network of contacts that contributes to the development of specific (art) projects for research and presentation. V2_ offers a critical perspective on the futuristic promises that new media technologies always seem to carry.
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