On December 22, 1933, I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., as a first son. I spent my childhood in Washington, D.C. My education went on in the usual way: Elementary school, middle school and high school, which I completed with an examination corresponding to the German Abitur.
In 1961 I was granted a scholarship to the University of Göttingen. In the fall of the same year I enrolled at the Faculty of Philosophy and studied German language and literature. In addition to German language and literature studies, an interest in theater developed. My membership in the dramaturgy department of the Department of German Philology extended beyond 6 semesters, where I was allowed to work as a performer, director, assistant director, set designer, sound engineer and stage manager. These amateur acting activities opened the door to the great theater for me. In the period between Nov. 64 – Feb. 65 I played simultaneously on all public stages in Göttingen: the dramaturgical department of the University of Göttingen, Deutsches Theater Göttingen and Junges Theater Göttingen.
In autumn 1964 I changed my field of study. I began to study medicine. One year later I gave up studying completely. I went to Denmark in the winter of 1965 to earn my trip to the States financially. I worked in Denmark in a small metalworking factory. During this time my interest in film grew. I applied to the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin and was accepted in spring 1966 after the entrance examination.
Skip Norman wrote these remarks in German. The document is part of his personal file at Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB); Source: Deutsche Kinemathek. dffb-Archiv. File: N12697_dffb NORMAN, Skip. Image: Deutsche Kinemathek. dffb-Archiv.
[Suggested citation: Skip Norman, “Autobiographical Remarks,” Rosa Mercedes 03/A (January 2021), www.harun-farocki-institut.org/en/2021/01/28/autobiographical-remarks/]
go to top January 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / A
Nicholas Mirzoeff on “Artificial vision, white space and racial surveillance capitalism”: “Based as it is on ‘epidermalization’ (the assertion of absolute difference based on relative differences in skin color), AI’s racial surveillance deploys an all-too-familiar racialized way of seeing operating at plan-etary scale. It is the plantation future we are now living in. All such operations take place in and via the new imagined white space of technology known as the cloud. In reality, a very material arrangement of servers and cables, the cloud is both an engine of high-return low-employment capitalism and one of the prime drivers of carbon emissions.”
Sara Ahmed on the performativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”
November 7th, 2020
David Graeber (1961-2020) on What Would It Take (from his The Democracy Project. A History, a Crisis, a Movement, 2013, p. 193): “We have little idea what sort of organizations, or for that matter, technologies, would emerge if free people were unfettered to use their imagination to actually solve collective problems rather than to make them worse. But the primary question is: how do we even get there? What would it take to allow our political and economic systems to become a mode of collective problem solving rather than, as they are now, a mode of collective war?”
September 7th, 2020
T.J. Demos on why cultural practitioners should never surrender, via tranzit.sk: “For artists, writers, and curators, as art historians and teachers, the meaning-production of an artwork is never finished, never fully appropriated and coopted, in my view, and we should never surrender it; the battle over significance is ongoing. We see that battle rise up in relation to racist and colonial monuments these days in the US, the UK, and South Africa. While the destruction of such monuments results from and is enabling of radical politics, it’s still not enough until the larger institutions that support and maintain their existence as well as the continuation of the politics they represent are also torn down. This is urgent as well in the cultural sphere, including the arts institutions, universities, art markets, discursive sphere of magazines and journals, all in thrall to neoliberalism, where we must recognize that it’s ultimately inadequate to simply inject critical or radical content into these frameworks, which we know excel at incorporating those anti-extractivist expressions into further forms of cultural capital and wealth accumulation. What’s required is more of the building of nonprofit and community-based institutions, organizing radical political horizons and solidarity between social formations.”
August 21st, 2020