PHILIPS 2013 [The Guts]
PHILIPS 2013 is a project that I first systematised over a decade ago in 2010. It was incubated throughout much of 2009 whilst I was active on Tumblr and had formed links with R-U-IN?S[>] – a Network which was instigated and is chiefly operated by Kai Altmann. During 2009 I was developing a sister network which entangled with R-U-IN?S called Old Earth Objects [>] – PHILIPS 2013 mutated out of those network structures and became a system in its own right. All of my projects are open ended; nothing is ever really set in stone but most of the work on PHILIPS 2013 spans from 2010–2014 where in 2014 I created an installation for Impakt Festival in Utrecht.
After the 2008 Financial Crisis my focus and research had geared towards questions regarding what a post-capitalist world would look like and my interests then orientated towards the collapse, transformation and metamorphosis of modernity. Consumer culture, materialism and contemporary lifestyles have complemented the particular character of late-modernity in the Western World and spread Eastward compromising its traditional basis.
But I felt very strongly that this was all about to change.
I became interested in how these modes of existence (capitalist, materialist consumer culture and the developing technological apparatus) might transform into something unrecognisable as we undergo a paradigm shift into a New Age.
2013 in this regard; being that it is the year which follows after the 13th baktun of the Mayan Long-Count Calendar which ended on December 21st 2012 — imagines Philip’s mutating from a consumer lifestyles and electronics company into something much stranger as it passes through a TimeWave; incorporating the Occult and Esoteric into it’s marketing image and brand ethos and embracing speculative medievalisms and ancient, symbolic archetypes.
This ethos is based on the assumption that TechnoCapitalism will survive massive upheaval; and in order to survive it will need to undergo a metamorphosis; it must confront a series of things it has never confronted before; A techno-singularity leading towards A Great Renewal — a time when all things are transformed.
This text is an edited transcript from a talk that I did in 2012 at Lima Zulu Project Space in London as part of a project called “The Sea is a Brain” organised by Rumi Josephs and Matthew Drage.
Drage introduced my talk entitled PHILIPS 2013 : The Guts as being about “Control and the Apocalypse”; I still consider this an accurate description — control; it’s relationship to cybernetics and Apocalypse – being the time of great transformation are two of the main areas of focus and interest that I had began developing and am still developing now in 2021.
The following is a minimally edited transcript of the original 2012 talk :
PHILIPS 2013 — The Guts (2012)
The project starts with the spectre of death : it sets an example; death is the foundation of our natural world, the universal truth, death itself – a unifying and perfect prevailing realness continuum woven into the fabric of everything. It became necessary to revoke the erotic and perverse desire of death within the late-capitalist condition.
And what better vessel than through the Philips vision. They had the right balance of utopia and decay; the conditions were right – modest and innocent enough, not too big, not too small.
In Deleuze and Guattari’s Capitalism and Schizophrenia, I take some words, and apply them to Philips,
We [Philips] “control the unconscious experience of death, insofar as death is what is felt in every feeling, what never ceases and never finishes happening in every becoming – in the becoming-another-sex, the becoming-god, the becoming-a-race, etc. forming zones of intensity on the body without organs. Every intensity controls within its own life the experience of death and envelopes it. And it is doubtless the case that every intensity is extinguished at the end, that every becoming itself becomes a becoming-death! Death, then, does happen.”
This is now something that Philips personally endorses as part of its vision for the future. Here now; it is woven into the atomic structure of their products;
Philips pioneers Computed Tomography technologies, they create some of the most advanced multi-slice CT scanners.
CT produces a volume of data that can be manipulated through a process known as “windowing” developed in order to demonstrate various bodily structures based on its ability to block the X-ray beam. Although historically the images generated were in the axial or transverse plane, perpendicular to the long axis of the body – modern scanners allow this volume of data to be reformatted in various planes or even as volumetric (3D) representations of structures.
With the advent of sub-second rotation combined with multi-slice CT, high resolution and high speed can be obtained at the same time; allowing excellent imaging of the coronary arteries.
These images are the most up to date and accurate straightforward representation of death we have – forget Hirst’s diamond covered skull, the Philips CT skulls show us something far more revealing and real about our impeding rot, they say “Death is on the look, death is here, staring back at you from behind the caved in door frames” (>) ;
PHILIPS : Its part of our vision to show what you look like when you feel for your skull and see with your fingers beneath your aging face.
Like the great works of Hans Holbien the Yonger and his classic series of woodcuts ‘the dance of death’ — The Philips CT skulls represent the inescapable reality of the end of the human organism as part of a universal threshold all persons must confront.
In the middle-ages death was regarded as something that must be simultaneously respected and feared — leading towards it’s ultimate acceptance. Today there is a sentimentality that death doesn’t really exist because we live in a spectacle, modernity dissuades us from confronting the reality of our inevitable mortal end, with the promises of technological transcendence, life extension and a multitude of medications and distractions from life’s suffering.
Philips is now interested in what will happen as this reality changes though a psychic shift that is occurring in 2012. Death arrives in a new guise – it stares back at us from every black surface of our shiny gadgets, as if it were revealed from an obsidian mirror, it is here;
Holbein’s series of woodcuts shows the figure of “Death” in many disguises, confronting individuals from all walks of life. None escape Death’s skeletal clutches, even the pious.
Death himself; personified as a skeleton often holds another skull in the direction of his victims as if to further re-enforce the concept. He holds an hourglass too, such potent and perfectly accurate allegories; they universally take us straight to the heart of the medieval zeitgeist.
The Art of Holbein‘s time is very different from the approach we take to Art today; allegorical representation was more important than the conceptual and works were carried out largely due to commissions for religious or prestigious reasons.
But non-the-less Holbein managed to show something far more important that stretched beyond the motives of the establishment : he managed to direct criticism not only at organized religion but also the sciences, the rich, the justice system, the very fabric of society —AS if he felt that there was something inherently rotten at the heart of the materialism and profane concerns which existed in his time.
He does this by use of a leveling process – he manages to level out society through the common experience of ones inevitable end; everything is reduced to dust, there is no progress, there is only the passage of time and you are here right now, a fleeting moment, no hope in the accumulation of wealth, material and status.
The unification of death and the passage of time gives us the realization that there is something far more important at work. Life must be spiritual and chaotic if it is to be truly lived.
This is a good marketing strategy for a company like Philips, facing an uncertain future.
Holbein also managed to captivate new perspectives on the world around him and he questioned the very act of representation itself; in the famous image of ‘the ambassadors’ Holbein painted the anamorphic skull, which today looks as if it was achieved though the skew tool on Photoshop; it looks like a work that questions the notion of representing physicality within a culture of representation through the status of an image icon and its aggregation.
During 2009 Post-Net Art became preoccupied with applying Photoshop effects to assemblage and physically created works to suggest the transparency of a primary viewership of the object and its mediation in digital space.
This could be thought of as a link between Holbien’s perspective and subconscious motivations in today’s image-object orientated culture regarding how things are ultimately reduced back to representation and allegory and away from the material.
Its not just about finding new ways to reveal the truth of death; the relationship runs far deeper : Today during the uncertainties at the heart of the very fabric of our society such as the sovereign debt crisis, we find the same need for a similar criticism of the world regarding The Neo-liberal project and its coming to an end. A leveling process seems to be a relevant way of understanding universal truth once more : something ancient and traditional cultures have always understood : things move in cycles and have a habit to returning to dust.
The Mayan prophecy for December 21st 2012 is supposed to be a time when all current ideas about the world come to an end, this shift in consciousness can be interpreted as three different outcomes.:
1. The continuation of everything (there is no progress, only a space in time),
2. The end of the world and -
3. The transformation of our psychic reality into a new dimensional plane.
Philips is interested in finding ways to encompass each of these notions into is vision for 2013.
In order to do this Philips must first give up its motivations and primary objectives : selling consumer electronics and creating tools for the development of Western medicine and reveal itself. By distinguishing it’s facade it is free to develop, Philips the grub, undergoing a transformation, a metamorphosis into the true nature of our psycho-spiritual inter dimensional-reality.
The correlation between Fractals and the global financial system is fascinating — the agents of chaos which create feedback spirals through the speculative investment engines within the stock-market uncover the hidden workings behind the Neo-liberal model; they show that it’s workings are far more complex and unpredictable than the mere byproducts of perpetual growth, finite resource excavation and top down accountability of transnational corporations.
they give us various models which illustrate how information and consciousness move and mutate within free-market globalization and what happens to information and content online when it is subjected to a leveling process : all information becomes accessible : Wiki Systems demolish the exclusivity of an academic, professional and institutionalised elite knowledge base; such is the fate of everything; the death of the music industry, the fall of despotic regimes in the Middle East-
And of course, the current transformation of Philips : it was always going to be beyond our control, it is the only way.
Two representations of the development of information depicted by the Wikipedia symbol are given by Sebastian Mercado (Dateismo(R-U-In?s)) and kareem lotfy : one presents the flow of information as its transpires and transposes out of control; creating copies of copies of copies of its self, a xerox which knows no bounds / chaos in its makeup creates untraceable feedback spirals that mutate and envelope creating complex-meta branches and zones of intensity.
The other is simply burning, Wikipedia on fire, as if struck by a solar flare, thousands of petabytes wiped out in an instance. This prospect is akin to Cormac McCarthy’s the road, a wasteland where everything is lost as we scrape to survive. It seems hard to imagine how things will continue and transpire, will it all just get wiped out soon? how can it keep on growing, and if it does, what the fuck is it going to turn into?
The central narrative of the project is a story of a brand trying to come to terms with the prospect that it might not actually be able to continue making consumer products, sexy lighting options and state of the art medical equipment anymore :
It might actually have to take a long stark look at its self – its own allegorical chemtrail, and face up to the fact that we have been living in a speculative bubble for the last 20 years and its all about to change.
If a company doesn’t just simply burn out, what happens? how does capital continue without capital?
And how does it get its tentacles all wrapped up in other peoples belief systems and ideologies?
As Nassim Taleb suggests through his Black Swan hypothesis, the increasing complexity of technological globalization combined with a global economic system built on the foundations of debt creation and speculation produces high degrees of uncertainty which results in unpredictable events and outcomes which we have no real ability to fully understand or fore-see at point of entry.
During 2011 a high degree of vibration occurred throughout the globe, things started happening : The Arab spring, The UK Riots, The Occupy movement, a high concentration of Natural Disasters, The Economy started shedding its slimy skin once more and now in 2012 a whole bunch of Western democracies have been downgraded.
Whats-more two lesser known but highly important things started to transpire that were reported by at least some mainstream media : The Earths magnetic poles began to shift and UFO sightings intensified globally.. (edit; REALATED; The Snowdon Documents later revealed this > (2014) and in 2021 we edge ever closer to disclosure!)
Despite the fact many people at the higher rungs of society could not work out why people were rioting last Summer its pretty obvious why most of these events occurred and its actually surprising that they hadn’t happened until this point.
It is especially surprising that the environment has remained stable for so long, but non-the less these events represent a turning point; they show that the cards are now laid out for pretty much anything to happen in the coming years. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if we see the return of lord Ganesha, Quetzalcoatl, and Jesus of Nazarath in 2012, The Grey’s have been mutilating animals for years and are probably creating genetic anthropomorphic Gods for the coming alignment.
Events then, became a central component to PHILIPS2013 as a strategic move aimed at it’s survival.
During 2006 I read Susan Buck Moross’s ‘Dialectects of seeing’ : A comprehensive study of Walter Benjamin’s unfinished life long work ‘The Arcades Project’ which studied the spectre of 19th century shopping arcades in Paris.
Benjamin started work on the project in the late 1920’s. In those early years of consumer capitalism he began to realize that the world was comprised of signs and information which could be de-coded, revealed and understood in new ways.
Benjamin was working towards a vision which would use found material – images, as the primary structural content for de-coding Western consumer culture and presenting it for what it really was : a perpetual state of ruination and decay and also at the same time a phantasmagorical dreamworld : He envisioned a picture-book of philosophy where images and objects told us everything we needed to know, see and understand about the conditions of our new reality. He used this knowledge and expanded understanding of Marx’s analysis of the principles of dialectical materialism to conjure up various terms which he used to dissect the objects , images and experience of the arcades.
These were terms like ‘Dreamworld of Mass Culture’ , ‘Mythic Image : Ruin” and “Wish-Image”. His vision, coupled with his declaration of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction has a deeper relationship with image aggregation on Tumblr and the sharing and repurposing of images and memes on the internet than it does with conceptual art, Benjamin would probably never have endorsed a moved towards the conceptual.
I believe that for Benjamin, the conceptual turn in Art would have been much less interesting than the aggregated image cultures of the Internet and how they intersect with mass culture.
It is by no co-incidence that Benjamin was also in correspondence with Georges Bataile and the central figure of Acéphale in Bataille’s secret society has a resounding influence through much of the work that has been explored over the course of this show and in Matt and Rumi’s experiment; Acéphale does not care for the conceptual.
This is how the very first re-workings of pre-existing Philips material began- here we see the relationship between the re-positioning of Philips objects and a section of one of Holbiens woodcuts from the Dance of Death series :
Skeletal hands hold a rock over an hourglass and a skull resides underneath. In the Philips versions, much the same is happening — products are as good as rocks, fossils and hourglasse’s as they approach their planned obsolescence and flaunt their own decay. They act as signifies or warning lights which flash intermittently - unconsciously operating as an alarm system going off all the time.
Six objects were chosen for the original PHILIPS2013. These were objects that had a sense of ambiguity or wryness so that new narratives and connections could made. Six fossils, or gem’s each with their own properties — each with a specific etheric field.
A unique vibrator that enhance sexual arousal between couples, a black box for free-to air digital television, a multi-plug with added squid bio-mimicry, a steam-iron, multicolored light and UV Facial Tanner.
The backbone of the project iscentered around these six products and six events which took it’s marketing and narrative in new directions.
The next stage was for Philips to align itself with a diverse range of the radically Ideological, traditional, mystical and occult. The reason for this being that it saw global connections were being made around the same time that a consumer driven society was becoming fossilized, still in existence but unable to sustain itself as the dominant mode or orientation.
It now move’s towards embracing the revival of an archaic and systemic homeostasis, a deep history. The common relationship between alienated factory workers, Afghan women, doomsday cults, ultra orthodox jews, board room executives, and traditional Hinduism is simply that Philips now embraces the diversity of humanity beyond its consumer orientated lifestyle focus — it sees the connections, uniformity and timeless sustenance. It thus aligns itself with them in perennial form.
After choosing the right objects for the pyre and establishing a connection with tradition, its next move was to develop ritualised events around the products chosen for the uncovering of the 2013 exposition. In order to do this it was necessary to choose specific locations where the actual events could take place.
Two locations were chosen at Fletcher house in Oxford’s Science park : A giant horizontal megalithic building, and at Oxford’s Chemistry laboratory and Conference Center. The final two locations were a Leisure center outside Gloucester and a timber forest in north Devon. The locations for each of the events were chosen as areas of non-specific locality rather than site-specific and should be open to interpretation.
The six products and documentation of the events which transpired were shown as on Philips Full HD televison sets. They imagine Philips resorting to strange cult-like and esoteric branding strategies for drawing attention to their products and making sales ; subconsciously unaware of ther deeper transformative signifiers.
This is an unaltered statement by Philips concerning their vision for 2015
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This release may contain certain forward-looking statements with respect to the financial condition, results of operations and business of Philips and certain of the plans and objectives of Philips with respect to these items. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future and there are many factors that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements”
And this is the original vision created by Philips for its strategic development proposal through 2010 to 2015, It tends to ignore the fact that all of its markets are in decline and proposes the same rhetoric consisting of market-based solutions adopted by all transnational corporations and governments seeking to boost GDP, It is essentially, in a state of total denial. Therefor It must be subject to the same decoding exercises that it‘s other content-forms undergo, it must be subject to revelation.
An article from around the same period reads as follows :
Philips Electronics has all but abandoned hope of selling its TV business by the end of the year, leaving a question mark over how quickly it can divest its loss-making problem child.
“The global TV market has deteriorated, and obviously the sooner we complete this the better, but we first need to finalize the negotiations, and whether we can do that this year or into the first quarter of 2012, there are some uncertainties with that planning,” Chief Executive Frans van Houten told reporters on Monday.
Philips – the world’s biggest lighting maker, a top three hospital equipment maker and Europe’s biggest consumer electronics producer – said negotiations to sell off most of its TV business to Hong-Kong based monitor-maker TPV were intense, constructive and taking longer than expected.
“For the eventuality that a final agreement cannot be reached, Philips will consider its alternative options,” van Houten said in a statement on Monday.
Van Houten told reporters the companies were still talking but if negotiations were finalized, it could then take months to close a deal due to regulatory hurdles.
Both Philips and TPV said on Monday there was no agreed timeline to close the deal.
The unit has notched up almost 1 billion euros in losses since the beginning of 2007, when competition with lower cost Asian rivals began to intensify.
“The TV negotiations are taking longer than expected, and there’s no final agreement, which is a clear negative,” said Rabobank analyst Hans Slob.
“That Philips says the negotiations are ‘intense’ doesn’t sound very good either, and it looks like there is a clear chance they won’t strike a deal,” Slob added.
The article continues to talk about its massive Job cuts and a need for restructuring ; you get the picture.
Two statements stand out : the growing need for Intense Negotiations and Alternative Options.
This is just one small example of the scale and relevance of the economic crisis and the coming transformation of human activity. Consumer spending is the main driving force to keep GDP afloat and when this sector is in decline radically alternative options are in dire need. If Philips is to really come to terms with the scale and intensity of the end of capitalism its hope is in a vast array of meditative events and the embracing of a new mystical and cultist systemic network.
Enter the chrysalis. Part 2. Philips embraces the ouroborus : Negative Messianic Time, The Continuation Of Everything or The End Of Global Capitalsm.
The transition moves not from what is true of Philips into fabrication, rather, it moves from what is suggest by Philips into what is allegorically true by the nature of its design. Beyond truth and fiction, The situation becomes hyperstitional and speculative.
This material then became embedded and meshed within Philips own website formation at philips2013.org as follows;
• New cognitive fold builds on Vision 2010 gains; focuses on fueling growth, increasing brand preference and Global Fixation.
• Philips lays out updated aspirations for 2013.
Earth Function in 2010 – Royal Philips Electronics (AEX: PHI, NYSE: PHG) today outlined its strategic ‘Vision 2013' plan to further strengthen Philips’ leadership in the domain of perceptual alignment. The company will detail its key priorities, market opportunities and investment focus areas for the coming years. Vision 2013 aims to fuel growth and bolster Philips’ competitive position in key markets, benefiting all the company’s stakeholders in a sustainable way.
Today the world must be re-configured. Philips isn’t going to be satisfied with the overlaying precedence of its competitors. What we are actually seeing here is the most dissident paradigm shift that has happened in the last five weeks. So if we are going to turn this Black Swan white we must first try to understand how it happened in the first place.
During the early part of the 21st century brands started to re-think their role in culture after the great viscosity of the 2009 market eclipse.
So - as the environment changed the great giants of technology had to adapt to the overwhelmingly sordid and viscous womb lining of information into something which was perhaps more likely to have been birthed from the primeval forests in East Asia or in the technology of some pre-Sumerian ape race.
According to Epistemologist Nassim Nicholas Taleb, almost all consequential events in history come from the unexpected – the rise of the Internet, World War 1, the discovery of Atlantis, September 11th 2001... It is only after these events have taken place that we convince ourselves that their occurrence has a logical explanation.
These Black Swan Events are the virus in the blood of ‘progress’ and exist as metaphorical forks in the road between event and non-event. Whether such occurrences are hypothetical, actualized, de-materialized, de-realized or exist as a multitude of chance realities in a multiverse of corporate ideals and advertising it is perhaps somewhat irrelevant. The significance is the date – in the days which lead up to 2013 we stand in astonishment and quietly mouth the words
“things will never be like this again”.
So Philips created a marketing strategy, a narrative, a hypothetical situation based on the total de-realization of matter. Its reasoning was straightforward “information is growing like deforestation and we want to burn shit”. In the days leading up to the year 2013 a series of myriad events begin to unfold as Philips unleashes its controversial new brand concept.
PHILIPS 2013 has called on the worlds most polemic ideologies to join forces and celebrate what Philips is calling ‘the continuation of everything’. The chosen date is seemingly a conscious effort to dispel hysteria surrounding the end of the Mayan long count on December 21st 2012.
“It has become customary for Philips to periodically provide our stakeholders a roadmap of how we want the company to develop”, Philips President and Chief Executive Officer Gerard Kleisterlee commented.
“Our plan for 2013 is an evolution of our Vision 2010 strategy -
Here at Philips we understand that the polarities which divide and separate our world cannot be resolved simply through the shared consciousness of the Philips ethos, nor can we expect to see a universally accepted faith in eco-capitalism and technology. The religious organizations, fringe faiths, alienated workers, atheists and cultural stereotypes that have joined us are by no means at a point where they are able to exist on equal terms but what they do share is a trust that Philips is able to aid them in their beliefs and secure a positive future in the year 2013.”
This bizarre, yet brave and unexpected move from the consumer electronics giant has been met with mixed response. For the most part it has been met with utter disbelief but for those institutions which have joined PHILIPS 2013 it has been described as “the only way out of our current situation”.
Stasis is by no means the only way to eliminate the feedback loop.
In Reza Negarsani’s ‘Cyclonopedia’ The Middle East is presented as a sentient entity - humans are rarely considered as instrumental in its processing ; rather they are byproducts of a chthonic/tellurian energetic geological-process and their actions are understood as subject to the conditions of the desert.
Oil rich economies which ride the wetness lubricated by oil production such as Dubai, Doah and Bahrain are temporary erections in the desert waiting to return to the flatness of time. The great traditionalist philiosoher Frithjof Schuon wrote of Islam,
“Islam is a ‘space’ not a ‘time’, for Islam ‘time’ is only a corruption of this ‘space’. ‘No period will come’”
Because Islam is a dimension it has no earthly expectation other than salvation, Its radicalism stems from an opposition to false prophets which corrupt and insecure the timeless expectation of salvation through a rigorous exoteric practice of prayer and worship with conversion to materialist and capitalist paradigms adopted from the West.
Yet true Islam bares witness to the desert and is indifferent and unaffected by a market-driven economy.
The connection Philips has with such traditional belief systems is a survival strategy which has been inbuilt into its continuum mechanism — when the market fells : it seeks alternatives.
The relationship between desertification and an overabundance of information online has many parallels. Google subjects everything to a process of flatness, its ability to level content through indifference of space, time and locality is a driving force in Philip’s ability to adapt new strategies for survival which exist around post-economic speculative-hearsay and the embracing of medevalisms.
If six pillars playing out six events which correspond with the presentation of actual Philips products was the first physical iteration of it’s process, such a linearity and phallic end point would be impotent by now, Its strategy is thus to spread itself out and embrace the dusting process of decentralisation.
Documentation of it’s May 2010 presentation[>] is indifferent to a low-res jpg of a pair of headphones, an images of ultra orthodox Jews opposing reform in Israel and CT scans of ancient mummified corpses. It is necessary to build something up only to level it out again, not to destroy or preserve anything but rather- Let it become subjected to a continuum.