Julian Murphet | “Wide as Targes Let Them Be,” or, How a Poem Is a Barricade

  The commons are what capitalism has always been committed to enclosing within its apparatus of accumulation.1 On their violently vacated place arise the motley privacies of individual contracts, rents, factories, banks, police, and all the interrelated paraphernalia of capital’s machinery of valuation and surplus. The commons themselves cannot be valued—they are beyond, prior to, value. Common land, common air, common water; but also, horticulture, animal husbandry, grain storage. The collective practices developed over millennia to harness the resources of our planet, and maximize human potentiality, form a sometimes vicious, sometimes virtuous feedback loop with the commons and dynamize their…

Alberto Toscano | Mayakovsky at Mirafori: Operaismo and the Negation of Poetry

  Though many of the watchwords and guiding axioms of Italian operaismo and its successors have percolated into critical discourse on aesthetic production, and multiple analyses of its intersections with visual art and architecture in the 1960 and 1970s have been advanced, little has been made of its specific approach to the question of poetics. This chapter aims partially to correct this tendency by exploring the arguments about the unhappy marriage between avant-garde poetry and communist politics sketched out in some interventions by the key literary critic and historian in the collective of militant intellectuals that made up ‘classic’ operaismo,…

Devin Fore | Soviet Factography: Production Art in an Information Age (Sergei Tret’iakov)

  If facts destroy theory, then all the better for theory. —Viktor Shklovsky, “In Defense of the Sociological Method,” 1927   Any discussion of factography first has to deal with the conspicuous strangeness of the word “factography” itself, an awkward and selfconsciously technicist term coined in Russia in the latter half of the 1920s to designate a certain aesthetic practice preoccupied with the inscription of facts. Those who are familiar with contemporaneous avant-garde movements in other countries and who may also be skeptical of the early Soviet zeal for linguistic invention will wonder if factography is not simply another word…