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Jacques Rancière | Staging the People

Jacques Rancière | Staging the People The Proletarian and His Double  PDF   These essays from the 1970s mark the inception of the distinctive project that Jacques Rancière has pursued across forty years, with four interwoven themes: the study of working-class identity, of its philosophical interpretation, of “heretical” knowledge and of the relationship between work and leisure. For the short-lived journal Les Révoltes Logiques, Rancière wrote on subjects ranging across a hundred years, from the California Gold Rush to trade-union collaboration with fascism, from early feminism to the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” from the respectability of the Paris Exposition to…

Poems of Protest [1] Lola Ridge, Wendy Trevino, William Rowe, Juliana Spahr, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Kirill Medvedev

Lola Ridge Red Flag Red flag waving over Spartacus, Red cloth stripped from a gladiator’s loins To flutter in the milk-warm wind along the roads of Capua, Red flag shaken like a bloody hand in the face of kings . . . Red clout stuck on a spoke — There flaunting gay as a red rose pinned On a beggar’s cap in London Town — Or clenched in a maimed hand  . . . A red and a white rose smashed together . . . Red shoots mauled and trodden yet ever sprouting  anew Till the lopped staff blooms again…

Roque Dalton / The Petite Bourgeoisie

Toward a Better Love “Sex is a political condition.” — Kate Millet No one disputes that sex is a condition in the world of the couple: from there, tenderness and its wild branches. No one disputes that sex is a domestic condition: from there, kids, nights in common and days divided (he, looking for bread in the street, in offices or factories; she, in the rear-guard of domestic functions, in the strategy and tactic of the kitchen that allows survival in a common struggle at least to the end of the month). No one disputes that sex is an economic…

PROVOKE: Between PROTEST and PERFORMANCE

The short-lived Japanese magazine Provoke is recognized as a major achievement in world photography of the postwar era, uniting the country’s most contentious examples of protest photography, vanguard fine art, and critical theory of the late 1960s and early 70s in only three issues overall. Provoke is accordingly treated here as a model synthesis of the complexities and overlapping uses of photography in postwar Japan. The writing and images by Provoke’s members – critic Taki Koji, poet Okada Takahiko, photographers Nakahira Takuma, Takanashi Yutaka, Moriyama Daido – were suffused with the tactics developed in some Japanese protest books which made use of innovative graphic design and provocatively “poor” materials. Recording…

Two Poets — Ida Börjel & Amiri Baraka

Ida Börjel is one of the most striking voices in contemporary poetry. Each of her much-praised and awarded collections forms a cohesively and rigoursly composed whole that is always rooted in extensive research and a strong thematic principle. Her collection “Miximum Ca’Canny; the Sabotage Manuals“ appears to be both a practical handbook and a philosophical study of the various ways the language of power and authority can be sabotaged, a recurring theme in Börjel’s poetry.

Harun Farocki / Kaja Silverman | Speaking about Godard

Kaja Silverman and Harun Farocki Speaking about Godard Full book / PDF   “Probably the most prominent living filmmaker, and one of the foremost directors of the postwar era, Jean Luc-Godard has received astonishingly little critical attention in the United States. With Speaking about Godard, leading film theorist Kaja Silverman and filmmaker Harun Farocki have made one of the most significant contributions to film studies in recent memory: a lively set of conversations about Godard and his major films, from Contempt to Passion. Combining the insights of a feminist film theorist with those of an avant-garde filmmaker, these eight dialogues–each representing…

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…

Italy 1977-8: Living with an earthquake – Red Notes

  Italy 1977-8: Living with an earthquake – Red Notes A pamphlet from a time when a very high level of class struggle dominated Italian society. Despite their differences – the state, church, fascists, Communist Party and unions were all united in opposition to the the radical social movement.    A. Preface We have called our pamphlet “Living With An Earthquake”. This earthquake is not just the crisis at Government level – it is a quite new political upheaval affecting the whole of Italian society. We have produced this pamphlet because it is vitally important that the out­side world should…

Jean-Luc Godard | What is to be done? // British Sounds, by J.-L. Godard [DVG]

  Written in January 1970 at the request of Simon Field and Peter Sainsbury for the magazine Afterimage, produced by Peter Whitehead. Published in Afterimage n°1, April 1970. Translated from French by Mo Teitelbaum. We must make political films. We must make films politically. 1 and 2 are antagonist to each other and belong to two opposing conceptions of the world. 1 belongs to the idealistic and metaphysical conception of the world. 2 belongs to the Marxist and dialectical conception of the world. Marxism struggles against idealism and the dialectical against the metaphysical. This struggle is the struggle between the…

Louis Althusser | For Marx

LOUIS ALTHUSSER | FOR MARX  PDF   A New Practice of Politics: Althusser and Marxist Philosophy by Asad Haider Since the conjuncture that marked the reception of Althusser’s works, it has become clearer that the the initial Anglophone interpretation of Althusser involved considerable conceptual mistranslation, and his texts have since then been cursed by a reputation which powerfully precedes the reading. In the spring of 1966, the Central Committee of the French Communist Party (PCF) met in the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil, ostensibly for a discussion of the “problem of ideology and culture.” In fact, they had convened for a…

Maurizio Lazzarato | Marcel Duchamp and The Refusal of Work

MARCEL DUCHAMP AND THE REFUSAL OF WORK  PDF   MAURIZIO LAZZARATO Art, work and politics in disciplinary societies and societies of security According to Michel Foucault, for some time we have been leaving disciplinary societies in order to enter into societies of security that, unlike the former, ‘tolerate a whole host of behaviours that are different, varied, or even deviant and antagonistic toward one another’. [1] These societies lead us beyond disciplines, because they put in place policies regarding the government of conducts that are exercised through the management of heterogeneities and the ‘optimization of systems of differences’ – that…

Jacques Rancière | The Red of ‘La Chinoise’: Godard’s Politics

  How should we understand the politics Godard puts into play with his cinematographic practice in La Chinoise? The opinions on the matter have more or less followed the fluxes and refluxes of the left. Accused when first released of being just a caricature, and not a serious representation, of real militant Maoists, the film was later praised as a brilliant anticipation of the events of May 1968, and as a lucid look both at the passing infatuation with Maoism by bourgeois youngsters and at the outcomes of that infatuation: the return to order and terrorism. The question of whether…

Jacques Rancière | Documentary Fiction: Chris Marker and the Fiction of Memory

The Last Bolshevik is the title of the film Chris Marker dedicates to the memory of Alexander Medvekin, the Soviet filmmaker who was born with his century and who died during the Perestroika. To speak of ‘memory’ is to raise the paradox of the film at the outset. Marker’s film cannot very well hope to preserve the memory of a filmmaker whose films we have not seen and whose name was, until quite recently, unfamiliar to most of us. Nor is this situation much different with Medvekin’s compatriots, who are as likely to know his films as we are. The…

Arthur Rimbaud | A Season in Hell

   * * * Long ago, if my memory serves, life was a feast where every heart was open, where every wine flowed. One night, I sat Beauty on my knee. —And I found her bitter. —And I hurt her. I took arms against justice. I fled, entrusting my treasure to you, o witches, o misery, o hate. I snuffed any hint of human hope from my consciousness. I made the muffled leap of a wild beast onto any hint of joy, to strangle it. Dying, I called my executioners over so I could bite the butts of their rifles….

riots and/or poetics [10/2018]

“History is full of people who just didn’t. They said no thank you, turned away, escaped to the desert, lived in barrels, burned down their own houses, killed their rapists, pushed away dinner, meditated into the light. Even babies refuse, and the elderly also. Animals refuse: at the zoo they gaze through Plexiglas, fling feces at human faces. Classes refuse. The poor throw their lives onto barricades, and workers slow the line. Enslaved people have always refused, poisoning the feasts and aborting the embryos, and the diligent, flamboyant jaywalkers assert themselves against traffic as the first and foremost visible daily lesson…

Antonin Artaud | Manifesto In A Clear Language

If I believe neither in Evil nor in Good, if I feel such a strong inclination to destroy, if there is nothing in the order of principles to which I can reasonably accede, the underlying reason is in my flesh. I destroy because for me everything that proceeds from reason is untrustworthy.I believe only in the evidence of what stirs my marrow, not in the evidence of what addresses itself to my reason. I have found levels in the realm of the nerve. I now feel capable of evaluating the evidence. There is for me an evidence in the realm…

Antonin Artaud, Surrealism and the Void; by Stephen Barber

  Artaud believed that every birth coincides with a killing. Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud was born at eight in the morning of 4 September 1896, at 15 rue du Jardin des Plantes, near the Marseilles zoo. The rue du Jardin des Plantes has since been renamed the rue des Trois Frères Carasso. Artaud himself, on many occasions, was to change and distort the name under which he was baptised into the Roman Catholic Church. He adopted numerous pseudonyms, such as Eno Dailor for some of his early Surrealist texts. Before his journey to Ireland in 1937, he styled himself ‘The…

Nathaniel Mackey | Cante Moro

I would like to touch on the topic of “The New American Poetry“ where it opens onto matters we wouldn’t necessarily expect it to entail—not necessarily “new,” not necessarily “American,” not even necessarily “poetry.” What I’d like to touch on is the New American Poetry’s Spanish connection: Garcia Lorca’s meditation on the “dark sounds” of cante jondo, deep song, the quality and condition known as duende. I’ll be talking about that in relation to an array of “dark sounds” which bear upon a cross-cultural poetics intimated by the inclusion of Lorca’s “Theory and Function of the Duende” in The Poetics…

Arthur Rimbaud| Poems 1871/72

  STOLEN HEART My sad heart drools on deck, A heart splattered with chaw: A target for bowls of soup, My sad heart drools on deck: Soldiers jeer and guffaw. My sad heart drools on deck, A heart splattered with chaw! Ithyphallic and soldierly, Their jeers have soiled me! Painted on the tiller Ithyphallic and soldierly. Abracadabric seas, Cleanse my heart of this disease. Ithyphallic and soldierly, Their jeers have soiled me! When they’ve shot their wads, How will my stolen heart react? Bacchic fits and bacchic starts When they’ve shot their wads: I’ll retch to see my heart Trampled…

Tiqqun | This Is Not a Program

“’77 wasn’t like ’68. ’68 was anti-establishment, ’77 was radically alternative. This is why the ‘official’ version portrays ’68 as good and ’77 as bad; in fact, ’68 was co-opted whereas ’77 was annihilated. This is why, unlike ’68, ’77 could never make for an easy object of celebration.”
— Nanni Balestrini, Primo Moroni, L’orda d’oro

The Angry Brigade: Communiques and Documents

Introduction The eight libertarian militants on trial in the Old Bailey in 1972 who were chosen by the British State to be the ‘conspirators’ of the Angry Brigade, found themselves facing not only the class enemy with all its instruments of repression, but also the obtusity and incomprehension — when not condemnation — of the organised left. Described as ‘mad’, ‘terrorists’, ‘adventurists’, or at best authors of ‘gestures of a worrying desperation’, the Angry Brigade were condemned without any attempt to analyse their actions or to understand what they signified in the general context of the class struggle in course….

Guy Debord | All the King’s Men

What is poetry if not the revolutionary moment of language, inseparable as such from the revolutionary moments of history and from the history of personal life? […] The point is not to put poetry at the service of revolution, but to put revolution at the service of poetry. […] Every revolution has been born in poetry, has first of all been made with the force of poetry. This phenomenon continues to escape theorists of revolution — indeed, it cannot be understood if one still clings to the old conception of revolution or of poetry . . .

Henri Chopin

  Born in 1922 in Paris, Chopin is one of the key figures of the international neo-avantgarde. His career goes back to the fifties, and he was one of the founders of sound poetry. During World War II he was obliged to do forced labour in 1942, and a year later, the Germans deported him to Olomuk in Czechoslovakia. Between 1944 and 1945 he found himself on the ‘death march’ towards Russia. The terrible conditions during the war were a source of inspiration for his works, but 1955 saw a turning point in his poetical interests. On the island of…

Theses on the Paris Commune | Guy Debord, Attila Kotányi & Raoul Vaneigem

The Commune represents the only implementation of a revolutionary urbanism to date — attacking on the spote the petrified signs of the dominant organization of life, understanding social space in political terms, refusing to accept the innoncence of any monument. Anyone who disparages this attack as some “lumpenproletarian nihilism,“ some “irresponsibility of the pétroleuses,“ should specify what he believes to be of positive value in the present society and worth preserving (it will turn out to be almost everything).

‘The Function of Autonomy’: Félix Guattari and New Revolutionary Prospects

by Andrew Ryder Félix Guattari is widely discussed among philosophers, particularly feminists and specialists in ecology and technology. But in the Anglophone world, political organisers tend to ignore him. In part this is due to academic paywalls and university strictures confining his work, but the problem goes further: the stylistic conservatism of so much of the Anglo-American left has impeded the capacity to learn from his insights, because they are presented in an nontraditional and unfamiliar style. This resistance has obscured his continuing activity as a participant and organiser in a variety of international struggles. This is not merely of…

Two Poets — Pier Paolo Pasolini & John Wieners

“I harbor a visceral, deep, irreducible, hatred against the bourgeoisie, against its sufficiency, its vulgarity; a mythical hatred, or, if you prefer, religious.” Pier Paolo Pasolini
“Do not think of the future; there is none. / But the formula all great art is made of.“ J. Wieners

Guy Debord | Society of the Spectacle

Guy Debord | Society of the Spectacle PDF   & Society of the Spectacle (New Annotated Translation of the book by Ken Knabb) PDF   Society of the Spectacle is a black and white 1973 film by the Situationist Guy Debord based on his 1967 book of the same name. It was Debord’s first feature-length film. It uses found footage and detournement in a radical Marxist critique of mass marketing and its role in the alienation of modern society.     Preface to the Third French Edition of The Society of the Spectacle La Société du spectacle was first published…

Guy Debord | In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

Guy Debord | In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni   I will make no concessions to the public in this film. I believe there are several good reasons for this decision, and I am going to state them. In the first place, it is well known that I have never made any concessions to the dominant ideas or ruling powers of my era. Moreover, nothing of importance has ever been communicated by being gentle with a public, not even one like that of the age of Pericles; and in the frozen mirror of the screen the spectators are not…

Guy Debord and the Situationist International | Text and Documents [edited by Tom McDonough]

Guy Debord and the Situationist International Texts and Documents edited by Tom McDonough PDF Critical texts, translations, documents, and photographs on the work of the Situationist International This volume is a revised and expanded version of a special issue of the journal October (Winter 1997) that was devoted to the work of the Situationist International (SI). The first section of the issue contained previously unpublished critical texts, and the second section contained translations of primary texts that had previously been unavailable in English. The emphasis was on the SI’s profound engagement with the art and cultural politics of their time (1957-1972),…

Guy Debord | Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

Guy Debord | Comments on the Society of the Spectacle   PDF First published in 1967, Guy Debord’s stinging revolutionary critique of contemporary society, The Society of the Spectacle has since acquired a cult status. Credited by many as being the inspiration for the ideas generated by the events of May 1968 in France, Debord’s pitiless attack on commodity fetishism and its incrustation in the practices of everyday life continues to burn brightly in today’s age of satellite televisionand the soundbite. In Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, published twenty years later, Debord returned to the themes of his…

Giorgio Agamben | Marginal Notes on Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

Giorgio Agamben | Marginal Notes on Comments on the Society of the Spectacle (2) PDF     The Uses of the Body [Prologue] by Giorgio Agamben It is curious how in Guy Debord a lucid awareness of the insufficiency of private life was accompanied by a more or less conscious conviction that there was, in his own existence or in that of his friends, something unique and exemplary, which demanded to be recorded and communicated. Already in Critique de la séparation, he thus evokes at a certain point as intransmissible “cette clandestinité de la vie privée sur laquelle on ne possède jamais…

Giorgio Agamben | The Coming Community

Giorgio Agamben | The Coming Community (3) PDF       Guy Debord Letters to Giorgio Agamben Champot, 24 August 1989 Dear Sir: Thanks for the press clippings that you transmitted to me. I am happy to learn that Italy, despite certain quite serious obstacles, is better informed than France and several other countries, which are still at the moment of “Nashist”-museographical falsifications, laughably inaugurated by the burlesque “Pompidou Center.” And most particularly because I myself have had the chance to learn much in Italy. I send you a very recent book to complete your intelligent documentation. Quite cordially, Guy Debord…

Guy Debord’s Cinema

Guy Debord’s Cinema PDF Jason E. Smith | Guy Debord, Filmmaker Jacques Rancière | When We Were on the Shenandoah Editors of Internationnale situationiste 1 | With and Against Cinema Kaira M. Cabañas | Hurlements en faveur de vous Soyoung Yoon | Cinema against the Permanent Curfew of Geometry: Guy Debord’s Sur le passage de quelques personnes à travers une assez courte unité de temps (1959) Jason E. Smith | Missed Encounters: Critique de la séparation between the Riot and the ‘Young Girl’ McKenzie Wark | The Insolent Edit Benjamin Noys | Guy Debord’s Time-Image: In girium imus nocte et consumimur…

Olivier Assayas on Guy Debord

  Olivier Assayas on Guy Debord Two interviews. The first was recorded by Enrico Ghezzi and Roberto Turigliatto in June 2001, and published in Italian in the catalog of the Debord retrospective at the Venice Film Festival. Reread, corrected, and completed in March 2002 for the catalog of the retrospective presented at Magic Cinéma in Bobigny. English translation by Chris Fujiwara, as found on fipresci.org. The second was recorded by Brian Price and Meghan Sutherland, and published on worldpicturejournal.com in spring 2008. 1 It’s very tricky to talk or write about Debord, in the sense that his is the work…

Ralph Rumney | The Consul

Ralph Rumney | The Consul PDF Ralph Rumney has been in constant flight from the wreckage of postwar Europe. Crossing paths with every avant-garde of the past fifty years, he was one of the founding members of the Situationist International. Rumney’s traveling companions — Guy Debord, Pegeen Guggenheim, Asger Jorn, Michèle Berstein, Bernard Kops, Yves Klein, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Bataille, William Burroughs, Félix Guattari, E.P. Thompson, Victor Brauner, and many others — are recalled in the oral history with sharp intelligence and dry wit.         The Consul: Contributions to the History of the Situationest International and Its Time…

Untitled #1

Ich sehe dass mit Tricks gearbeitet wird. Das darf sich nicht jeder erlauben. Aber Sabotage ist eine angewandte Realität. Beobachtungen Tag und Nacht. Seitenlange Protokolle. Viel Arbeit und List. Algorithmen helfen da nicht. Grenzposten beziehen Stellung. Leben ihre gewöhnlichen Instinkte aus. Celan den man in der Seine ertränkt. Rosa Luxemburg im Landwehrkanal. Liebknecht durchsiebt. Nichts wird verschüttet. Nichts stockt. […]

Two Poets — Antonin Artaud & Roger Gilbert-Lecomte

The life and work of Antonin Artaud possess a raw power. Long after his death, Artaud’s body of work continues to ricochet strongly through contemporary culture. The facts of Artaud’s life are stark and austere. He was a writer whose work extended provocatively but disastrously into many unknown channels. His extreme challenge was […]

Antonin Artaud | Works on Paper

Antonin Artaud: Works on Paper (Full book)   ANTONIN ARTAUD: THE HUMAN FACE The human face is an empty power, a field of death. The old revolutionary claim to a form that’s never corresponded with its body, goes off to be something other than the body. So it’s absurd to reproach a painter for academically insisting in his time upon still reproducing the featres of the human face such as they are; for such as they are, they haven’t yet found the form they point to and specify to make more than a sketch; but from morning to evening and…

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…

riots and/or poetics [8/2018]

“he is as a neighborhood beauty queen / lauded with ribbons and canes / and with his lapdogs / who lick at the rottenness / seated at the right side / of mama democracy / he dialogues long / with the mouth of a murderer. / he raises his hand in that sustained and easy style / wiggles his fat ass / and with the boyish brilliance of an ephebe / he shits in the country / with all his soul“ Roberto Jorge Santoro | POETRY IN GENERAL (II)   Manson & Mendoza; Windsuckers & Onsetters: Sonnots for Griffiths Andrea…

Two Poets — Anna Mendelssohn & Miyó Vestrini

  Anna Mendelssohn Anna Mendelssohn, also known as Grace Lake, who has died aged 61 of a brain tumour, was principally a poet, and a poet like no other, but was also a painter, musician, actor and, earlier in her life, a political activist. She came from what she described as “a very strict working-class socialistic Jewish background” in Stockport, Cheshire. But what impelled her throughout her life was a 1960s spirit of radical revolt. At first it was political but, after a great turning point in her life, it was artistic. She was educated at Stockport high school and…

Félix Guattari; The Anti-Œdipus Papers

Félix Guattari; The Anti-Œdipus Papers Full book Notes and journal entries document Guattari and Deleuze’s collaboration on their 1972 book Anti-Œdipus. “The unconscious is not a theatre, but a factory,“ wrote Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in Anti-Œdipus (1972), instigating one of the most daring intellectual adventures of the las half-century. Together, the well-known philosopher and the activist-psychiatrist were updating both psychoanalysis and Marxism in light of a more radical and “constructivist“ vision of capitalism:“Capitalism is the exterior limit of all societies because it has no exterior limit itself. It works well as long as it keeps breaking down.“ Few people…

Gilles Deleuze; Two Regimes of Madness (1975-1995)

Gilles Deleuze; Two Regimes of Madness, Revised Edition | Texts and Interviews 1975-1995 | Full book     Gilles Deleuze Edited by David Lapoujade | Translated by Ames Hodges and Mike Taormina The texts and interviews gathered in this volume cover the last twenty years of Gilles Deleuze’s life (1975-1995), which saw the publication of his major works: A Thousand Plateaus (1980), Cinema I: Image-Movement (1985), Cinema II: Image-Time (1985), all leading through language, concept and art to What is Philosophy? (1991). They also document Deleuze’s increasing involvement with politics (Toni Negri, terrorism, etc.). The texts of Two Regimes of Madness complete…

Gilles Deleuze; Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)

Gilles Deleuze | Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974) (2003, Semiotext(e))/ Full book “One day, perhaps, this century will be Deleuzian,“ Michel Foucault once wrote. This book anthologizes 40 texts and interviews written over 20 years by renowned French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, who died in 1995. The early texts, from 1953-1966 (on Rousseau, Kafka, Jarry, Ponge, Artaud, etc.) belong to literary criticism and announce Deleuze’s last book, Critique and Clinic (1993). But philosophy clearly predominates in the rest of the book, with sharp appraisals of the thinkers he always felt indebted to: Spinoza, Bergson. More surprising is his acknowledgement of Jean-Paul…

Two Poets — Ed Dorn & Sean Bonney

Ed Dorn “He knew that just to wake up in the morning is to be political.“ Jennifer Dunbar “No poet has been more painfully, movingly, political“, writes Robert Creeley: “the range and explicit register of Ed Dorn’s ability to feel how it actually is to be human, in a given place and time, is phenomenal.“ “Ed Dorn (1929-1999) was born and grew up in Eastern Illinois, on the banks of the river Embarrass (a tributary of the Wabash). He never knew his father. His mother was of French-Canadian ancestry, his maternal grandfather a half-Indian Quebecois railroad man (“master pipefitter in…

Louis Auguste Blanqui; Eternity by the Stars

Louis Auguste Blanqui Eternity by the Stars I. The universe – The infinite The universe is eternal in time and space – eternal, boundless and indivisible.1 All bodies, animate and inanimate, solid, liquid and gaseous, are linked by the very things that separate them. Everything holds together. Without the astral bodies [astres], only space would remain, absolutely empty no doubt, but retaining the three dimensions, length, width and depth –– indivisible and unlimited space. Pascal once said, in his magnificent style: ‘The universe is a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.’2 Could there be a more striking…

Sean Bonney; COMETS & BARRICADES: INSURRECTIONARY IMAGINATION IN EXILE

  Sean Bonney; COMETS & BARRICADES: INSURRECTIONARY IMAGINATION IN EXILE Let every word indicate the most frightening of distances, it would still take billions of centuries, talking at one word per second, to express a distance which is only an insignificance when it comes to infinity. Louis Auguste Blanqui; Eternity by the Stars Imprisoned on the day before the declaration of the Paris Commune, in a cell in the Fort du Taureau, ‘an ellipse-shaped fortified island lying half a mile outside of the rock shores of Morlaix at a place where, after briefly morphing into the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean finally…

Jacques Rancière; The Radical Gap

 The Radical Gap A preface to Auguste Blanqui, Eternity by the Stars Jacques Rancière I leaf through the programme and learn that the very stars themselves – which, I am irmly convinced, should be but rarely disturbed, and even then only for high reasons of meditative gravity … – the very stars are present!1 Mallarmé penned these ironic lines about a ballet performance at the Eden Theatre. Nevertheless, such stellar lights seem as natural to the choreographer as they do to the poet. This is less obviously the case when the one disturbing the stars is a revolutionary leader. Of…

Two Poets — Stephanie Young & Kirill Medvedev

Stephanie Young Stephanie Young lives and works in Oakland, California. Her most recent book is  It’s No Good Everything’s Bad, which charts the growing crisis of the new intellectual working class. Revealing important truths about labor in direct poetic form, Young’s work was recently featured on Hyperallergic. Her collections of poetry include Telling the Future Off (2005), Picture Palace (In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni, 2008), and Ursula or University (2013). She edited the anthology Bay Poetics (2006) and is a founding editor of the online anthology/“museum” of Oakland, Deep Oakland. Young and poet Juliana Spahr coedited the book…

Victor Serge; Memoirs of a Revolutionary

Victor Serge; MEMOIRS OF A REVOLUTIONARY (FULL BOOK)   The End Commands the Means: Victor Serge’s Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Guy Patrick Cunningham I STILL REMEMBER ZUCOTTI PARK in the fall of 2011. I was struck by the way the encampment seemed both very abstract — an open-ended protest without a conventional list of goals — and mundanely practical, as people dealt with distributing food, resolving noise complaints, and deciding on sleeping arrangements. Despite its flaws, the protests were a compelling metaphor for the fact that some measure of utopianism — not only the desire but the need to…

Two Poets — Katerina Gogou & Galina Rymbu

Katerina Gogou Katerina Gogou (1940-1993) was a Greek anarchist poetess who is a representative figure of the ‘80s radical political and cultural scene of Exarcheia. The impact of her poems, lately rediscovered and taken into consideration by the mainstream media, has always been influetial in the radical movement. Katerina was born in Athens in 1940 and the first years of her life were marked by the famine and the Nazi occupation, the resistance and the civil war. The defeat of the communists was followed by a period of strict censorship, police terror and island camps for political prisoners. Gogou finished…

Rote Fahne

Geschichten die man versteht, sind nur falsch erzählt. Bertolt Brecht;  Baal Ihr wißt genau, dass wir Ausbeuter sind. Jean-Paul Sartre, (Vorwort zu Die Verdammten dieser Erde; Frantz Fanon)    Es ist die mit Dreck und Tradition belegte Zunge die mir zum Hals heraushängt es ist eine kleine rote Fahne und ein schwarzer Mund voller Dämonen die morbide Symptomatik kotzfarbener Opferkrüge Erbrechen und Fluchen es sind die Gesetze, die mich mit ihrem Geschmack nach Rache verfolgen es sind die Vorgaben, was zu tun ist, die nerven, der moralisierende Dilettantismus — wartet nicht auf mich … ich bin keine Ratte, aber meine…

Bertolt Brecht; War Primer

Bertolt Brecht; War Primer (Full book) The Shipwreck of History: Bertolt Brecht’s “War Primer“ By Roy Scranton   “in the future it will perhaps be difficult to understand the impotence of the peoples in these wars of ours.” — Bertolt Brecht, journal, June 14, 1940 VERSO’S NEW EDITION of Bertolt Brecht’s War Primer is an artifact rich and strange. It comprises 85 photos Brecht collected between 1939 and 1945 while he was a refugee in exile from Nazi Germany, on the move from Denmark to Sweden to Finland and finally, by way of Moscow and the Trans-Siberian Railroad, to Los…

Fredric Jameson; Brecht and Method

Fredric Jameson; Brecht and Method (Full book)   Each Scene for Itself David Edgar The major contribution of the English theatre to last year’s Brecht centenary was Lee Hall’s dazzling version of Mr Puntila and His Man Matti, presented by the Right Size, a touring company led by the comic actors Sean Foley and Hamish McColl. Their prologue goes some way to explaining why the Anglophone response to the Brechtfest was so muted. Announcing that ‘Before we start/this evening’s art/we’d like to take you through a bit of theory,’ Foley and McColl went on to outline the origins of Marxism, the…

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…

Alain Badiou; The Communist Hypothesis

Alain Badiou; The Communist Hypothesis (Full book) Reviewed by David Morgan Nietzsche’s adage that philosophy is disguised biography is not a neat fit with Badiou, only because there is very little of disguise in Badiou’s philosophy. The core of his philosophical project (and of his political activism) has been an attempt to understand what it means to be faithful to the great revolutionary events of the previous two centuries, particularly May ’68 in Paris and the Cultural Revolution in China, which was, in his view, both the high point of the revolutionary sequence and the site of its final failure….

Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht — The Story of a Friendship

Erdmut Wizisla Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht — the story of a friendship (Full book) Erdmut Wizisla-Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht_ The Story of a Friendship-Yale University Press (2009) Benjamin and Brecht: The Story of a Friendship By Nick Wright The diverse appropriations of Walter Benjamin – the cultural theorist and critic — of his life and work, inevitably bear the marks of Cold War polarities. Liberal sentiment regards his intimacy with Bertolt Brecht as a Stalinist disfiguring of his sensibility. Gerschom Scholem’s account has Benjamin more rooted in Jewish metaphysics. The not-so-New Left privileges his connections with the Frankfurt…

Walter Benjamin | A Critical Life

Walter Benjamin | A Critical Life Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings (Full book)   Living the Life of Allegory By Ian Balfour Why, ever since Adam, who has got to the meaning of this great allegory — the world? Melville to Hawthorne, Nov. 17, 1851 WHAT A LIFE. And what — though one shouldn’t rush to it — a death. It’s a rare thing when the life of a cultural or literary critic is compelling enough for a full-dress treatment in the guise of sprawling critical biography. No one would balk at the (literally) weighty life of a George…

Walter Benjamin’s Archive | Rag Picking | The Arcades Project

  WALTER BENJAMIN’S ARCHIVE IMAGES, TEXTS, SIGNS TRANSLATED BY ESTHER LESLIE EDITED BY URSULA MARX GUDRUN SCHWARZ MICHAEL SCHWARZ ERDMUT WIZISLA VERSO 2015 Walter Benjamin; The Arcades Project (Full book / PDF)     Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project Esther Leslie The Arcades Project was an encyclopaedic project on which Walter Benjamin worked for thirteen years from 1927 until his death in 1940. The Arcades Project takes its name from a nineteenth century architectural form. It also borrows its structure from that same architectural form. Arcades were passages through blocks of buildings, lined with shops and other businesses. Montaged iron and…

Sean Bonney; Notes on Militant Poetics

  Notes on Militant Poetics 1/3 “There is a zone of nonbeing, an extraordinarily sterile and arid region, an utterly naked declivity when an authentic upheaval can be born . . . . (a) descent into a real hell” (Fanon) “Truth content becomes negative. [Poems] imitate a language beneath the helpless language of human beings: it is that of the dead speaking of stones and stars” (Adorno) The Situationists called poetry the “anti-matter of consumer society”, a fairly questionable claim, but one that is at least expressive of the chasm that operates between official reality’s definitions of poetry and those…

Keston Sutherland’s statement for ‘Revolution and/or Poetry’

  Statement for ‘Revolution and/or Poetry’ I Once upon a time, Ezra Pound: ‘The common or homo canis snarls violently at the thought of there being ideas which he doesn’t know. He dies a death of lingering horror at the thought that even after he has learned even the newest set of made ideas, there will still be more ideas, that the horrid things will grow, will go on growing in spite of him.’ Earlier but closer to us now, Rosa Luxemburg: ‘No coarser insult, no baser defamation, can be thrown against the workers than the remark “Theoretical controversies are…

Alain Badiou; The Rebirth of History | Times of Riots and Uprisings

Alain Badiou; The Rebirth of History | Times of Riots and Uprisings (Full Book)   History and the Sphinx: Of Riots and Uprisings by Jasper Bernes, Joshua Clover Riots are the Sphinx of the left. Every soi disant radical intellectual feels compelled, it seems, to answer the riddle they hear posed by the riots of the present, in Bahrain or Asturias, Chile or Britain: Why now? Why here? Why riot? These answers generally come in a few simple varieties. First, if the riot seems to lack focus or present clears demands – that is, if it is illegible as “protest,”…

Antonio Negri; Is It Possible to Be Communist Without Marx?

This paper explores the question of whether it is possible to be a communist without Marx. This entails encountering the ontological dimension of communism, that is, the material tenor of this ontology, its residual effectiveness, the desire of human beings to go beyond capital, and the reality of the episode of statism. (The Idea of Communism; Volksbühne Berlin, 2010) G. Deleuze and F. Guattari, What is philosophy?, (Columbia University Press, 1994), 144 K. Marx, Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (Penguin Books, 1993), 296 CRITICAL HORIZONS A JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIAL THEORY

Francis Ponge

LES FLEURYS, APRIL 8 1950 What attracted us to the P.C. at first was the revolt against the living conditions made for humans, the taste of virtue and the thirst of devotion to a cause grandiose enough. After that it was the disgust of sor- did protections, of humanitarian bleatings, of socialist verbosity and compromise (S.F.I.O.). The sentiment as to the exactions of capitalism should be opposed by methods at once energetic and supple, realistically, without illusions. We found, or believed to have found this in the Bolsheviks. The freeing of a serious sort, they seemed to us (set free…

Mark Fisher; The Weird And The Eerie

Mark Fisher; The Weird And The Eerie (Full book) Eugene Thacker – Weird, Eerie, and Monstrous: A Review of “The Weird an the Eerie“ by Mark Fisher For a long time, the horror genre was not generally considered worthy of critical, let alone philosophical, reflection; it was the stuff of cheap thrills, pulp magazines, B-movies. Much of this has changed in the ensuing years, as a robust and diverse critical literature has emerged around the horror genre, much of which not only considers the horror genre as a reflection of society, but as an autonomous platform for posing far-reaching questions…

Mark Fisher; Ghosts of My Life

Mark Fisher; Ghosts Of My Life (Full book) Do you miss the future? Mark Fisher interviewed In 2002, on the band’s debut single Losing My Edge, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy sang of “borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered ’80s”. With that line he playfully skewered the Brooklynite hipsters in “little jackets” whose instinct to look back to pop’s golden past, instead of forward, exemplified a creeping revivalism and dearth of innovation. As electronic music stumbled into the background to become the banal Eurodance backing track for the noughties pop star, or dived underground to simmer (dubstep/grime), rock went retro with the…

Mark Fisher; Capitalist Realism | Is There No Alternative?

Mark Fisher; Capitalist Realism (Full book) Questioning Capitalist Realism: An Interview with Mark Fisher Mark Fisher is the author of Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? out recently from Zer0 Books.  As a blogger he writes K-Punk.  Capitalist Realism is one of the most acute diagnoses of contemporary politics as it is played out in one small island off the coast of Europe.  After skewering the marketisation of everything, the privatisation of stress, and the triumphalism of moronic bureaucracy as the guiding principles of governance, the book goes on to speculate about new forms of politics and culture.  In doing…

Kirill Medvedev; My Fascism

“MY FASCISM is an essay about the relation of politics and art in 2004 in Russia, how some artists on the far right had made a powerfully vital, syncretic, and dangerous art. Kirill argues against attachment to an idealized past, the old culture: In Russia right now we’re all frankensteins, pieced together from various dead traditions. The maximum that we have, right now is air.” STEPHANIE YOUNG; IT’S NO GOOD EVERYTHING’S BAD (DOUBLECROSS PRESS)   KIRILL MEDVEDEV; IT’S NO GOOD TRANSLATED BY KEITH GESSEN WITH MARK KROTOV, CORY MERRILL AND BELA SHAYEVICH FITZCARRALDO EDITIONS

riots and/or poetics [6/2018]

“[…] But here: distillation, composition, narrow-mindedness; and the oppressive summers: the heat isn’t without respite, but given that good weather is in everyone’s interests, and that everyone is a pig, I hate how summer kills me when it appears even briefly. […] The worst is that all of this will bother you as much as it will. It seems for the best that you read and walk as much as possible. Reason enough not to remain confined to offices and homes. Mindlessnesses must be given free reign, far from confinement. I am not about to be selling balm, but I imagine…

Danielle Collobert; Notebooks 1956 -1978 [I]

1956 June Mountains above Sacro Monte — light air — light curves of red mountains scraped white wounds — deep — a song — far away —high toward the horizon. The heat disperse little by little — fatigue — anachronistic foreground — telephone poles crossing in front of the etrance to the caves — *** Grenada — the forge el yunque — the anvil — peaceful sound — regularity of the blows — hammer — sound of metal — the rhythm intense, powerful — dark workshop — hanging on the walls — straps — twisted iron bars — metal shapes…

Reading Danielle Collobert

  John Taylor Collobert (1940–78) is the author of five haunting books of prose and prose-like poetry which the Parisian publisher POL has just brought back from oblivion. It is both moving and fitting that Meurtre(Murder, 1964), Dire I (Say I, 1972), Dire II (Say II,1972), Il donc (It Then, 1976) and Survie (Survival, 1978) are now gathered under one cover, constituting the first volume of Collobert’s collected works, Oeuvres I. A second volume, Oeuvres II, comprising her journal, her several radio texts, and miscellaneous writings, will appear next year. This is no routine reissue. Pages by Collobert may perplex,…

GHOSTS ((A-234))

(i) … wir sind nichts als abgegriffene Bilder zeitgenössischer Vorstellungen. Das tragen wir dir nicht nach… aus dunklen Augenhöhlen brennt in eiskalter Berechnung der Tod Rimbauds das Hirn sich weggeblasen mit einem der 1440 Perkussionsschloss-Gewehren die absteigende Karawane ((Soldaten des guten Willens)) / Schauder der Büßermondlandschaft Abessiniens nasstriefende Trepanationen & Vokale ((Licht der additiven Farbmischung)) / die logischen Revolten für den Anfang :: Triebfeder zerschlagener Ideen, langue à langue kartographiert im Schwarz getünchter Schadensregister     (ii) kein Sterblicher der nicht in einem beliebigen Augenblick seines Daseins mit Zittern und Abscheu die seltsame Geschichte betrachtet die Versuche Luxus zu geniessen…

The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud | Jacques Derrida & Paule Thévenin

Translation and preface by Mary Ann Caws Antonin Artaud – stage and film actor, director, writer, drug addict, and visual artist – was a man of rage and genius. The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud is the first English translation of two famous texts on his drawings and portraits. In one, Jacques Derrida examines the works that he first saw on the walls of Paule Thévenin’s apartment. His text, as frenzied as Artaud’s, struggles with Artaud’s peculiar language and is punctuated by footnotes and asides the reflect this strain (“How will they translate this?”). The more straightforward text of Paule…

Antonin Artaud; Interjections [Suppôts et Suppliciations]

  Wednesday 27 November 1946 at twenty-three hours in the evening beings that have not swallowed the nail, but have swallowed the point, and have held themselves between the hard and the soft, those one cannot disintricate because if one looks for them in the breath they take refuge in the body, and if one looks for them at one point on the body they claim to be braided there in breath, lightning gashing the body like a negation of body, having more body than all breath. They collect in the body, outside of the one who controls this body…