Vladimir Mayakovsky | Revolution | A Poetichronicle

  Revolution A Poetichronicle   26 February. A drunken mix, police and soldiers, opened fire on the people. 27th. Spilled brilliance on barrel and blade – daybreak. Light crimson and prolonged. In a musty barracks sober severe the Volynsky Regiment prayed. Severely they swear to the soldiers’ god, kow-tow each hefty mono-brow. Blood kindled, surging through temple. With malice aforethought hands grip iron. And the first, he who ordered “Shoot the hungry!” – A bullet shut his mouth. Another’s ‘Ten–hut!” was cut short. Yet not at a loss the troops stormed into the city. 9 o’clock. In our usual spot…

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…

Vladimir Mayakovsky | Order to the Army of the Arts

  Order to the Army of the Arts [1] (1918) Threadbare men of the old brigade bore on about this and that. Comrades! To the barricades! Barricades of minds and hearts. Only those who have burnt their boats are true communists. You can’t just stroll on, you futurists, the Future requires a leap! It’s not enough just to build the engine — you need a head of steam: wheels turn, we’re off. If there’s no music to lead us on, why bother with AC or DC? Pile sound on sound and for the lyrics we’ve some great phonemes in Russian:…

Vladimir Mayakovsky | What Is LEF Fighting For? ((Manifesto))

  The year 1905. After it, reaction. Reaction settled in with autocracy and the double oppression of the merchant and the factory owner. Reaction created art and life in its own image and according to its own taste. The art of the Symbolists (Bely, Balmont), mystics (Chulkov, Gippius), and sexual psychopaths (Rozanov)–the life of the petty bourgeois and philistines. The revolutionary parties smashed their lives; art rose up and smashed their tastes. The first impressionistic flare up was in 1909 (the collection A Trap for Judges). The flames were fanned for three years. Fanned into Futurism. The first book of the union of…

A. Badiou, P. Bourdieu, J. Butler, G. Didi-Huberman, S. Khiari, J. Rancière | WHAT IS A PEOPLE?

ALAIN BADIOU, PIERRE BOURDIEU, JUDITH BUTLER, GEORGES DIDI-HUBERMAN, SADRI KHIARI, AND JACQUES RANCIÈRE WHAT IS A PEOPLE? PDF     What Is a People? seeks to reclaim “people” as an effective political concept by revisiting its uses and abuses over time. Alain Badiou surveys the idea of a people as a productive force of solidarity and emancipation and as a negative tool of categorization and suppression. Pierre Bourdieu follows with a sociolinguistic analysis of “popular” and its transformation of democracy, beliefs, songs, and even soups into phenomena with outsized importance. Judith Butler calls out those who use freedom of assembly…

Why Brecht?

Dmitry Vilensky /// Why Brecht? That’s great art: nothing obvious in it – I laugh when they weep, I weep when they laugh. Bertold Brecht If we try replacing the word “opera” with culture or art in Brecht’s text “OPERA – WITH INNOVATIONS!”, it paradoxically becomes clear that Brecht’s analysis of the situation more than 70 years ago is more than relevant today. Of course, many things have changed, such as the notions of power, class, labor, the means of struggle. But still, anyone who is still capable of considering the necessity of connecting thought and action now hits upon…

Kirill Medvedev & Nikolay Oleynikov | On Propaganda in Art

  Nikolay Oleynikov: When I think about the art worker’s place in contemporary reality, unexpected pictures flash before my eyes: a poet torching an ugly office building in the city center or an artist, his face covered by a bandana, being arrested by seven cops at a demo. I like these pictures. Boring is the artist who has convinced himself that his place is in the studio from eleven in the morning to seven in the evening. And fine is the poet who doesn’t merely rock the Internet or club slam with his words, but devotes himself to activism Gustave…

Jacques Rancière; Seeing Things Through Things / Moscow, 1926

And it is not only in its formal achievements, not only because A Sixth Part of the World is a new word in cinema, the victory of fact over invention, that this film is valuable. It has managed, perhaps for the first time, to show all at once the whole sixth part of the world; it has found the words to force us to be amazed, to feel the whole power, and strength, and unity; it has managed to infect the viewer too with lofty emotion, to throw him onto the screen. In the dusty steppes there are herds of…

Georges Didi-Huberman; To Render Sensible

  Representable People, Imaginary People? Representation of the people comes up against a double difficulty, if not a double aporia, that comes from the impossibility of our subsuming each of the two terms, “representation” and “people,” into the unity of one concept. Hannah Arendt said that we will never manage to think about the political dimension as long as we stubbornly persist in speaking of man, since politics is interested precisely in something else, which is men, whose multiplicity is modulated differently each time, whether it be in conflict or community. (1) Likewise we must say, and forcefully, that we…

POSITIONEN [Hamburg im Juli]

                das Bild eines jungen Terroristen vor Augen, hypersensibel reizbar, der sich auf einen Stuhl setzt als besteige er ein Motorrad / man sagt Majakowski habe mit dem ganzen Körper all seinen Sinnen den in ihm abgelagerten Eindrücken geschrieben [von grausamer Lust gepackt nie in politikfreie Zonen ab- drängen lassen — vom Ende seines Lebens begriffen wie schief vieles von Anfang an gelaufen wie der Ring durch die Nase des Bären des Erdballs – nichts was man lange aushält aber hier im Zentrum des Handels kann nicht jeder Fluchtver- such gestoppt werden /…