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,…

José Revueltas | So that Mayakovsky’s Suicide not be Repeated

  While in Havana for a period of six months in 1961, working at a worthy task at the Cinematography Institute alongside the best youth of Cuba’s film industry, I once suggested to a small group of young intellectuals that we form a club or literary circle to debate the problems a writer must face under socialism. The circle, club, or whatever would develop from that idea, would have the following theme – theme and program at the same time: “so that Mayakovsky’s suicide not be repeated.” The idea did not prosper, although not for any weighty reason. That is,…

PORNO-TEO-KOLOSSAL ((nach Pasolini))

  Die Verweigerung ist schon immer eine essenzielle Geste gewesen. Denk nur an die Heiligen, die Eremiten, aber auch an die Intellektuellen. Die Wenigen, die die Geschichte gemacht haben, das waren diejenigen, die Nein gesagt haben, nicht die Höflinge oder die Diener der Kardinäle. Pier Paolo Pasolini   I.     5:11 am Nachmittag: das Gefühl, dass der Geist, das Bewußtsein wie ein Sprengsatz explodieren / ich schwöre :: die einfachsten Bewegungen des Körpers nicht mehr zu kontrollieren sind und der Blick beginnt sich um sich selbst zu drehen — Einverständnis ist eine Falle.     Zeit und Raum ineinander…

Etel Adnan | MAYAKOVSKY

  1 Mayakovsky, where are you? I can go to the train station and pick you up. we can speak of the weather on the way back, and if you’re coming by bus I can wait for you at the terminal and in case that you found enough money to have taken the plane I will get up early and wait for you. Don’t tell me dear Vladimir that you lost my address, and that you won’t come, not tomorrow, not ever, I still wait for you because we’re feeling miserable here, and elsewhere, in Europe or in California. We…

Mehdi Belhaj Kacem | Tomb for Guy Debord

Guy Debord was the avant-garde’s Christ. Guy Debord was the avant-garde’s Christ. He was immolated by his own ideology, which he more than anyone (Tzara, Duchamp, Artaud, the Viennese Actionists…) had pushed to its extremes. He covered all of its possibilities, all of its impasses. His extreme attempts were neither successes, nor failures. Today, his path should be evaluated through other methods: the ones left to us in the wake of the avant-garde’s disappearance. To put it as Reiner Schürmann does: truth is a “conflictuality without agreements.” It is within Debord’s insurmountable contradictions, whose political, aesthetic, and existential preoccupations were…

César Vallejo | From ‘Art and Revolution’

    THE REVOLUTIONARY FUNCTION OF THOUGHT Confusion is a phenomenon with a permanent, organic character in bourgeois society. Confusion grows ever thicker when it is addressed as already confusing problems by the very historical terms of its utterance. The latter occurs with the brand new and, at once, very old problem of the intellectual’s obligations with regard to revolution. As posed by historical materialists, this problem is already a tangle. When formulated or simply outlined by bourgeois intellectuals, it acquires the aspect of insoluble chaos. *** “The philosophers,” Marx says, “have only interpreted the world in various ways. The…

riots and/or poetics [4/2019]

December Journal / 2017 secret idea / of yours / that you / could become a better person / if you read the right books // at the ica fred moten speaks of “battling with identity against / the backdrop of the denial of identity” // yes yes yes // I have to fight against my urge to ascetism and self-sacrifice / but I’m reading about simone weil again – she seems like the / most beautiful / she says, “when you decide something always do what will cost / you the most” // I would like there not to be grants / no crowdfunding / no paperwork to prove your need / no application to decide who…