– Spring 2012

Robert Kelly and Robert McNamara: Extended Narrative versus Data Mining

Liam Gillick

R. Kelly, Trapped in the Closet, Chapters 1—22, 2005—07, music video, stills

Now the midget jumps outta the cabinet and stomps the policeman on his toe.

The policeman hoppin’ around on one leg, screamin’ ‘son of bitch’ while he runs under the table. He yells ‘freeze’ , dives over the table and lands on the midget... While the midget is kickin’ real fast screamin’ out, ‘Bridget, Bridget'. She yells, ‘Darlin’ don't hurt him.’ He says, ‘Bridget get yo’ ass back...’ Then he continues to ruff up the midget as if the midget was under attack... Then Bridget runs up to her room, goes in her purse and pulls a number out... The policeman puts him on the table and yells, ‘Man, what the hell you doin’ in my house?!’ He whips cherry pie crust off his mouth and says, ‘Man, I was paid not to tell you...’ Then the police pulls his gun out and yells, ‘Trespassin’ man, I got the right to shoot you...’

- R. Kelly, Trapped in the Closet

We and you ought not to pull on the ends of a rope in which you have tied the knots of war. Because the more the two of us pull, the tighter the knot will be tied.

- Robert McNamara to Nikita Khrushchev, 1962

Stepping aside for a moment from rather abstract questions of how to work and what forms might still offer some resistance to the increasingly fragmented

  1. See Karl Palmås, ‘Predicting What You’ll Do Tomorrow: Panspectric Surveillance and the Contemporary Corporation’, Gothenburg: Chalmers University of Technology, 2009.

  2. Robert NcNamara was President of the Ford Motor Company, US Secretary of Defense and President of the World Bank, in that order — three roles intimately engaged with the development of neoliberalism and globalisation.

  3. ‘It’s an alien. People ask me why is it an alien and I say it’s come down to show us new genres and new ways to produce movies, magic, song and dialogue which have all been put together, and has never been done as far as I’m concerned. I call that alien. And people ask me when Trapped in the Closet is going to end and I say when the aliens decide to leave.’ R. Kelly in conversation with Matt Singer, IFS news special, ‘Trapped in the Closet: The Complete Saga’, Independent Film Channel, August 2007.