Saturday, 18 January 2014

DOBBELTTÆNK / DOUBLETHINK

Even in using the word doublethink it is necesarry to practice doublethink




Fragment, Dobbelttænk / Doublethink


Translation into English:

THE PRESCRIBED AND THE OPERATIONAL RULES

The prescribed rules may be ethical, moral, or deriving from different kinds of law
(in an institutional sense: religious, ideological and purely legal).
The operational rules are those that in fact are acted upon.
Needless to say, these two kinds of rules do not always converge, when decisions
are made and actions taken.
If one, without any personal scruples worth mentioning, in situations where one's actions are decisive for the lives and well-being of others, is able to use the operational rule and publically justify for example controversial, violent actions with the help of the prescribed rule, it is possible that one is without moral, does not respect democratically based legislation, is a genuine opportunist, or all of these things at the same time. But if one, in one's self-conception, believes to be acting according to a moral, and in spite of this does not se the gap between one's professed moral and those of one's actions that go beyond it, then one has begun practicising doublethink to an alarming degree, or, in other words, in a doubleplusgood manner.
If this kind of 'political culture' and behaviour does not cause any critique worth mentioning from 'the public', it may be due to several things, and more than are mentioned here: people let themselves be cheated, people are easy targets of spin and newspeak, because they would rather prefer not to know anything and therefore in embarrassing compliance avoid each others eyes and stay silent. Or: 'the public' is as corrupt as its rulers and has learned doublethink long ago. Or – worst of all? - 'the public' is not particularly interested.



LB 2007

PSYKOLOGISKE KENDSGERNINGER

Psykologiske kendsgerninger i politik er også kendsgerninger. Var der tale om spøgelser eller realiteter? I situationen var det for så vidt ligegyldigt.

Sagde Danmarks udenrigsminister til Berlingske Tidende i juni 2003, da fraværet af masseødelæggelsesvåben stod klart.


Translation:

PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTS


Psychological facts in politics are also facts. Was it a question of ghosts or realities? In the situation this was actually unimportant.

- The foreign minister of Denmark to the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende in June 2003 said - when the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was evident.



BEVIDST ACCEPT OG BEVIDST BENÆGTELSE

Det er en regel for magthavere, når de udtrykker sig om planer og handlinger, der er i strid med deres angivelige moral og erklærede politiske hensigter, at de ikke må bruge et sprog der alt for tydeligt lader 'offentligheden' se for sig hvad der tales om. 'Offentligheden' skal ydes den tjeneste at få mulighed for at foretage en form for bevidst benægtelse, en laden-som-om, en slags dobbelttænk. Man må høres sige ét, mens man siger noget helt andet, og man må ses gøre ét, mens man gør noget helt andet.
I det tilfælde at man ønsker at overbevise 'offentligheden' om det moralsk rigtige og retfærdige i at deltage i en krig, der mest handler om konsolidering af egen magt og økonomi, så må man ikke fremkalde billeder af hvordan de militære handlinger vil resultere i døde og ødelagte byer og landskaber. Sproget om disse ting må være abstrakt og eufemistisk. Man kan, med George Orwell, sige, at 'sprogets forfald i sidste ende må have politiske og økonomiske årssager'.* At benytte sig af uklart og eufemistisk sprog er sikrere end at lyve direkte, for bevidst accept af direkte løgnagtighed forudsætter en grad af magtesløshed som kun findes i diktaturstater.
LB, 2007

*'Politics and the English Language', George Orwell, 1946.


Translation:

CONSCIOUS DENIAL AND CONSCIOUS ACCEPTANCE

It is a rule for those in power, when they talk about plans and actions, that are at odds with their professed moral and professed political intentions, that they must not use a language that all too clearly let 'the public' call up mental images of what they are talking about. 'The public' must be granted the service of being able to exercise a kind of conscious denial, a kind of pretending, or a kind of doublethink. One must be heard saying one thing, while one is saying something completely different, and one must be seen doing one thing, while one does something completely different.
In case one wants to convince 'the public' of the moral righteousness and justice in the participation in a war that most of all is concerned with consolidating one's own power and economy, one must not call up mental images of how the military actions will result in death and in ruined landscapes and cities. The language used when talking about these things must be abstract and euphemistic. You can, with George Orwell, say that the decline of language must ultimately have political and economic causes *. Using unclear and euphemistic language is much safer than outright lying, because conscious acceptance of outright lying presupposes a degree of powerlessness that is found only in dictatorships.
LB 2007


* George Orwell, 'Politics and the English Language', 1946








More installation photos:




Dobbelttænk







I installationen Dobbelttænk undersøger Lars Buchardt hvordan sprogets betydningsskabende mekanismer producerer en helt særlig virkelighedskonstruktion i den politiske diskurs og mediernes retorik. Sprogets manipulerende egenskaber tydeliggøres, og dets funktion som redskab i kampen om at definere 'virkeligheden' understreges. Installationen udgøres af et komplekst system af koder og tegn. Tegninger, tekstfragmenter og citater fra nyhedsmedier, forskellige tænkere, forfattere og kunstneren selv udgør en betydningsfortættet struktur, der formmæssigt i typografi og farveholdning mimer visuelle udtryk, man kender fra avismediet og politisk propaganda. På trods af materialets forskelligartede karakter udgør det en form for analog hypertekst, det vil sige en mængde tekstinformation organiseret i et system, hvor de enkelte emner direkte henviser til andre emner i systemet. I hyperteksten opløses den lineære læseretning til fordel for en uendelig mangfoldighed af forbindelser og betydninger, som den enkelte læser selv vælger. I Dobbelttænk ændrer Buchardt præmisserne for kampen om sproget og muligheden for at definere den dominerende diskurs.

Katarina Stenbeck, 2008.



Dobbelttænk blev vist på Asking We Walk, Voices of Resistance, Den Frie Udstillingsbygning i København 2008, kurateret af Katarina Stenbeck og Kuratorisk Aktion.






Doublethink





In his installation Doublethink, Lars Buchardt examines how the mechanisms by which language creates meaning bring about a particular construction of reality in the political discourse and in the rhetoric of the media. The manipulating qualities of language are enhanced and its function as a tool in the struggle over the definition of 'reality' and 'the public' is emphasized. The installation consists of a complex system of linguistic codes and visual signs. Drawings, textual fragments and quotes from the news media, various thinkers and the artist himself constitute a structure that condenses meaning while mimicking the visual idiom, typography and colour scheme associated with the news media and political propaganda. In spite of the varied character of the material, it constitutes a kind of analogue hypertext; that is, an amount of textual information organized in a system in which individual items refer directly to other items within the system. In the hypertext, the linear reading is dissolved in favour of an infinite multitude of relations and meanings selected by each individual reader. In Doublethink, Buchardt changes the premises for the struggle over language and the possibilities of defining the prevailing discourse.

Katarina Stenbeck, 2008.



                                                                       Doublethink

The installation is a kind of analogue hypertext; linear reading is dissolved in favour of an infinite multitude of relations and meanings selected by each individual reader. The installation consists of text fragments from writers like George Orwell, Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, Thomas Pynchon and more, plus a few of my own texts. Mixed into this are expressions used in military terminology, from The Department of Defense (US) and other sources. (All material is authentic and sources are cited).

The fragments are all handmade, mimicking he visual idiom, typography and colour scheme associated with the news media and political propaganda.
The work is about 'political language', the language and rhetorical mechanisms of power, as it is constructed and filtered out via the media. 'Political language' is infested with euphemisms and vagueness, resulting in a blurring of reality. At times this 'playing tricks' with reality is so efficient that reality is not only 'rewritten', but exhanged with an other.

Orwells´concept doublethink is a prerequisite for this strategy of language and information to work on the public. It is also the prerequisite for newspeak.
The concept of doublethink can be defined in various ways:

  • cognitive dissonance
  • 'a sort of schizophrenic manner of thinking' (Orwell)
  • like coming to a fork in the road and taking it

    Lars Buchardt, 2008



Recommended: Thomas Pynchons introduction (2003) to ´Nineteen-Eighty-Four´





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