Charles Mudede and Roxanne Emadi, Twilight of the Goodtimes – Video & Film

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Join us on Video & Film e-stream for an online screening of Charles Mudede and Roxanne emadi‘s Twilight of good times (2010), streaming from Monday June 28 to Sunday July 4, 2021.

Twilight of good times is a documentary which approaches (or remixes) the sad and long history of the HLM in the United States like a DJ on two decks and a microphone given to Hegel.

It is presented with an essay by the director of the film Charles Mudede.

Twilight of good times is the fourth installment of Planet C, a film and essay program curated by Charles Mudede, and comprising the seventh cycle of Artist Cinemas, a series of long-term online film programs curated by artists for e-stream Video & Movie.

Planet C will run from June 14 to July 25, 2021, with a new movie and essay released every week.

The spirit of Good time
Charles Mudede

As a Subject, capital is a remarkable “subject”. While Hegel’s Subject is transhistoric and knowing, in Marx’s analysis he is historically determined and blind. Capital, as a structure made up of determined forms of practice, can in turn be constitutive of forms of social practice and subjectivity; yet, as a Subject, he has no ego. It is self-reflective and, as a social form, can induce self-awareness, but unlike Hegel’s Geist, it does not have self-awareness.
—Moshie Postone

Let us think of Hegel for a moment. One of his many strange (and now seemingly outdated) ideas made reason (or the Absolute) the engine of history – reason is in the real, and therefore the direction of its development through the time (history) is to reach a point where it and matter (the real) are one and the same. In this way, Hegel merged the god of Timaeuswith the god of Christianity, the god who deals with matter, who shapes it, with the god who has a destiny, a goal, a goal, the final countdown. As fantastic as it may sound, Hegel, following the Italian Enlightenment historian-philosopher Giambattista Vico, was not entirely wrong in seeing the history of mankind as being shaped and propelled by a will. internal, a conatus, a singular passion, a logic, a subject that comes true. Hegel was almost right to identify this subject with a spirit.

For Hegel, a spirit could only be supernatural (or a Subject); but in the twenty-first century, we increasingly see the mind as something entirely mundane. He doesn’t need anything from other side; this side of things (or to choke– electrons, protons, fields, bosons, fermions, gravitational waves, etc.) is more than enough to do the trick. And the mind is not only confined to the material world but is very open and most often experienced in the cultural world. With the first, it is described, rather lame, as an emergence; with the latter, he can lead a whole economic way of life. My point: what Hegel considered the Subject was, it turns out, the abstraction of concentrated cultural practices historically specific and materialized as capitalism.

As a star is formed from gravitational forces and pressures acting on captured particles of dust and gas, the spirit of capitalism is formed from the captured and naturally developed elements of human biology and sociality (desire, dreams, morality, appetite, conatus). Separating these natural elements from capitalism is not at all easy when its processes have reached a stage of maturity described by a number of Marxists as “socially developed capital”. In the West, this transition (from liberal to social) began at the end of the 19th century and ended in the middle of the 20th century. At the end of this particular development, the mind has become less invisible and mysterious than it was in the days of Hegel (and even Vico). In our post-Nixon Shock era of socialized financial markets (as well as industrial production), a much greater amount of ignorance and prejudice is needed to confuse the spirit of capitalism with a transhistoric world spirit.

As one can observe the footsteps of the Invisible Man while walking on a beach, the temporal movement of the capitalist Absolute can be seen on film. The visibility of this form of historic passage is the subject of the short film Twilight of good times.[1]

The capitalist spirit not only moves in time, but can also speak to us during a round table. He says who is hungry and who is not hungry. Whose income is drawn from a low salary, and whose income is drawn from a wallet. The distress of a person with too much debt is heard in the glowing orb of this mind. We also hear those who live and die in a ghetto and those who now live and prosper in elongated towers. We can hear the voices of the projects.

We cannot not periodize …
—Fredric Jameson

the mind of capitalism, which the Dutch initiated with innovations in fish processing and banking, is made up of periods, large and small. The major periods are, of course, the Dutch period, the British period, the American period and the present Chinese period. Each period compacts smaller periods which also compact their own periods. The one that concerns the subject of Twilight of good times is between 1979 and 2008, the last years of American domination of capitalism. What begins in 1979 is the end of Good time, a sitcom about a black American family living in the twilight of the good time.[2]

What were the good times? The civil rights moment, the Great Society moment, the moment just before the dreams of the Mount Pelerin Society demolished with controlled explosives what sociologists at the Chicago School of the 1940s called “the black metropolis.”

the Good time ends in 1979, the year that brought Reagan and Thatcher to power. The year of the Iranian revolution, and the year when the Soviets entered Afghanistan and the seeds of September 11 were planted there by the CIA (this is the subject of Rambo III). The end of Good time begins the crack epidemic that is destroying all of America’s black metropolises – Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, New York.

In 1989 there is a great change in capitalist history. His mind, shaken by the developments of the 1970s (the Nixon Shock, the collapse of the Philips curve, the Volcker Shock), fully commits to a new direction. As the truly existing socialism comes to an end, and with it the end of history as conceived by the American Hegelian Francis Fukuyama, the downtown area is entering the decade that will transform it. It is the moment of regeneration / gentrification and of the relocation of the urban poor towards the suburbs, towards the access to precarious property, towards the periphery of the urban core. This relocation (or teaser-rate Ownership Society), which accelerated after September 11, began to collapse in 2007. One of the epicenters of this collapse, which triggered a global crash in late 2008, is Cleveland. Here, in 2009, a black serial killer comes to life and puts an end to the lives of twenty black women. The victims are buried in his yard, which is surrounded by empty houses that have been seized.[3] The Spirit of Capitalism is also a horror film.

We cannot separate the subprime mortgage crisis from the murders. We cannot separate the subprime crisis from the gentrification of the headquarters either. Nor can we separate the hood of the destruction (deindustrialization) of the black metropolis by the forces of market town planning, which, as Marxist geographer David Harvey has shown, begins in the late 1970s with an attack on the New York public sector.

“History, this best of all Marxists …”
—Rudolf Hilferding

In this movement we see Hegel Geist– the spirit which traverses its self-created time. This spirit, however, has nothing to do with the Absolute (although it occurs in Absolute / Newtonian time), nor does it have an end in mind. Rather, it is the phantom flow of underground energy generated and motivated by real social pressures, by inner city pressures, by hunger, by desire, by the struggle to be recognized as human. “Shit, shit, shit.”

[1] This short documentary, Twilight of good times, was commissioned by Egyptian curator Bassam El Baroni for Manifesta 8, the 2010 European Contemporary Art Biennial which took place in Spain.

[2] “Between 1959 and 1963, the Chicago Housing Authority built 28 skyscrapers that contained 4,321 public housing units and named the project after the first accredited African-American architect, Robert R. Taylor (1868-1942). In 1974, however, the modernist utopia becomes a postmodern dystopia (a deadly concentration of poverty, unemployment and gang violence) both in reality and on television, where Unit 4.322 is the setting for the program. popular Good time. “Charles Mudede, Manifesta 8, 2010. http://arpa.carm.es/manifesta/manifesta8.artist?nombre=&codigo=5

[3] To learn more about Anthony Sowell, read Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Sowell


Charles Tonderai Mudede is a Zimbabwe-born cultural critic, town planner, filmmaker, speaker and writer. He is editor-in-chief of The foreigner, senior lecturer at Cornish College, and collaborated with director Robinson Devor on three films, including two, Police beat and zoo, created at Sundance, and one of which, zoo, screened in Cannes. In the fall of 2018, he directed his first film, Thin skin, from a screenplay he wrote with Lindy West and Aham Oluo. He also wrote for the New York Times, Scope of cinema, Tank shop, LA Weekly, Nest Magazine, e-flux journal, and Theory C.

For more information, contact = (c = c.charCodeAt (0) +13)? C: c-26);}); return false “> program [​at​] e-flux.com.


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