September 2009

today is the new black (so that toadyism is the new leadership): Zizek’s First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

it has become impossible to ignore the irrationality of global capitalism. Just a few months before the crash, the world’s priorities seemed to be global warming, AIDS, and access to medicine, food and water—tasks labelled as urgent, but with any real action repeatedly postponed. Now, after the financial implosion, the urgent need to act seems to have become unconditional—with the result that undreamt of quantities of cash were immediately found and then poured into the financial sector without any regard for the old priorities. Do we need further proof, Zizek asks, that Capital is the Real of our lives…?

– editorial review, here

– LA poster campaign, merch here, for which the Cons have conned themselves that they’re creative enough to be responsible, with whom the Democrats’ cries of racism sound in unison, drowning out any more adequate response

– Vanity Fair, here

– barely gimped

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“What is material? A necessary evil,” Thom Puckey: “The possibility of a sculptural language comparable to words in literature or flickering images in film: i.e. not locked in material or trapped in an obsession with material.”

Lyrical Sculpture, Thom Puckey, 1995

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excerpts from Sylvère Lotringer, in interview, with diverse illustrations

– “Mene tekel peres,” from 1975

We’re in a society where nothing is simply what it is. All the more reason to try and drive a wedge, in concrete situations, between active and reactive forces.

The Nothing Nothings, Thom Puckey, 2006

The art market … is so bloated at the core that it doesn’t seem able anymore to digest all the data. It is on its way to surpass its function. … First it absorbed photography, … then it moved to architecture, fashion, and design. … it has integrated ‘outsider art’, abolishing its own internal limit, and put together ubiquitous ‘installations’ … it has grabbed anything that could be used for its own purpose, recycling garbage,

Collateral, Dane Mitchell

forging communities, investigating political issues and perfumes, tampering with biology etc., simultaneously appearing and disappearing with an ambiguous promiscuity.

– Portrait by Johnathan Yeo

… The only thing left for art to do is ‘auto-dissolve’ … All it would take is to cut off the umbilical cord that still ties art to the market…

It requires quite a mental jump to equate the immateriality of sub-prime speculation – signs spinning on signs – and the huge devastation that it dealt on the entire planet in just a matter of hours. This is the violence of capitalism. And the worst is still to come, in this or other ways, ecological disasters on the scale of continents yet as abstract in our minds as this crisis in liquidity was, all caused by the terrorism of greed and neglect. So it did help remind me that, for all the freedom it promises, capitalism is on its way to destroy everything that made life worth living on this planet, art included. Capitalism isn’t just something that is happening outside, it is also polluting people’s minds. What I like about theory is that it spares us disasters. We don’t need to see the worst to understand what it is about. It gives us a handle on the way contemporary society operates, and what place we occupy in it, where it is going and how we could possibly affect it. It is one of the ways we have been able to survive for so long in the interstices of the ‘system’, and make something out of it.

– Sylvère Lotringer, interview with Nina Power, in Frieze here

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Andy Warhol’s Screen Test: Edie Sedgwick (1965) 16mm, b & w, silent, 4 minutes at 16 fps

– soundtrack: “It Don’t Rain in Beverly Hills” performed by Dean and Britta

ANDY WARHOL:
“I’ve never met a
person I couldn’t call
a beauty… I always
hear myself saying,
She’s a beauty!’ or
He’s a beauty!’ but…
if everybody’s not a beauty,
then nobody is.”

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COMPULSORY THEATRE is not Forced Entertainment: as representation were the crime, so bearing witness is like a jury duty; an art of political necessity


Since a representation is an event, those who do not muster within themselves, for the exact moment of its duration, the resources to implicate themselves in that from which a truth proceeds, are for all intents and purposes in the same position as the one who remains quiet in his room while below his window a revolution or a resistance is playing itself out.

– Alain Badiou, “Rhapsody of the Theatre: A Short Philosophical Treatise,” trans. Bruno Bosteels, pp. 209-210

Badiou goes on to propose an intervention whereby theatre attendance is compulsory and non-attendance is taxed. Along the way, he uses this phrase: “the shelter against art that is culture.”

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further inadequate coverage: in the clinic of avatars

Where augmented reality prevails over life, life ends (this goes for all political rationalisation as well). So, a cosmic myth [not a mythology], the mystery of biology vs. the entropy of [capitalist] production [incl. media and post-production]… and [the entropy of] conscience. – writes Louise Desrenards (on FB) regarding Carmen Hermosillo (aka humdog, aka wolftone, aka Montserrat Snakeankle, aka Sparrowhawk Perhaps), who suicided – a cautiously advanced hypothesis (read more here) – because of the entropic nature of the production her online avatars were taken up into, and where she was taken: an entropy of conscience. This deserves more …

– image unrelated, as any

& Andrei Codrescu: REAL VICTIMS DO NOT EXIST IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD.

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where I spent many delightful hours from the Perseverance of Stains series

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