Tag Archives: collage

around the corner

fig. 1. ‘United in death’, collage by antyphayes.

Recently I contributed some words to the tenth issue of Peculiar Mormyrid, a surrealist journal.

I have a love love hate hate relationship with poetry. I love to create and hate to decant the living into a fixed form: the hatred of life. And still I love the hate. The perversity of desire under condition of commodity production.

Surrealism, particularly the variety asserted by André Breton in his manifestoes of surrealism, has exerted a powerful attraction upon me over the years. The discovery of a current committed to transforming the world and changing life upon the fantastic basis of the communist utopia and the dream. To dream the world into being, which we do in any case, currently more nightmare than playful whimsy.

To create the living, to be alive and nothing more is not just a necessity, it is inescapable. Capitalist society fosters the absurd task of turning the flow into fixation whose grim and laughable truth is that it changes in any case. Nothing will remain, so why bother holding on?

At best, poetry in the form of the reified poem-thing tends to express the ebb of being and becoming. At worst, it reinforces the blockage, adds to vast detour of capital and wage slavery.

The insignificance of this diversion will become more readily apparent once it has disappeared, whether by way of socialism or barbarism. Amidst the noise and the seemingly endless spectacles that induce us to consume and enjoy amidst the horrors, it is easy to forget that this historical moment, much like death itself, will one day die.

Meanwhile, in the hot seat of fake electronic gnosis, here is the poem in question.

around the corner.                                                                                          for BJK.

in my dreams, there is a library at the end,

there are books at the end, reading covers.

here I am, at the end of the world, reading covers.

“The City Screamed”. “It Stopped”. “At The End of The Burning World”. “And The Under Privileged Waters of New Babylon”. “This Tangle Hold”. “This, The Luckiest Machine in All Denver”.

“It’s Great to Be Back!”

here, at the end, my friends.

it’s great to be back, and still with a fever, caught from the eventual impending and imminent tomorrow. which is to say, from the future.

this is more than the fault of a quote or confusion,

more than the phlegmatic, the phantasmatic bad memory of the new drudge,

they flap and slither with the utmost seriousness. all of them.

of the very many hands and the very many fingers. all of them.

the new robotics. nature. the brass and brazen victory of the mechanoid caller.

here, is the sweet mould, the forge of the wine dark stupor. puke. you call vomit.

to change. something. to overturn all the words, say.

so the world at the end of the word, this world and this one.

from this momentary. this promontory. from this train. and this midnight.

tonight, from this cabin and the next, there are cows I will never see.

therefore smash all the clocks.

break all the faces.

here. at the end.

twist out a lament for the change that is coming,

and for the axe with which we will grind,

and for the fine shapes of the nothing much more than all the outrage,

all the bad press, for all the dirt that we call dust,

with a tongue for a corpse and a corpse for a tongue,

we will grind out a paste to fix the filmy mist of the hereafter.

and the week after?

break all the cocks.

smash all the quasars.

all of them,

all that is palpable, for example, your quasi-diagram guise,

here, around the corner.

Subtle compensations

“subtle compensations…”

Spectacles compensate for the participation that is no longer possible.

–Attila Kotányi & Raoul Vaneigem, 1961

From the workshop to the laboratory capitalism has emptied productive activity of all meaning, endeavoring to locate the meaning of life in leisure, and—on this basis—redirect all productive activity. For the prevailing morality production is hell. And so, real life will be found in consumption—in the use of goods.

But for the most part, these goods have no other use than the satisfaction of a few private needs—needs that have been developed excessively to meet the demands of the market. Capitalist consumption imposes a reductive movement to desires, by way of the regular satisfaction of artificial needs—which remain needs without ever having been desires. Authentic desires remain constrained at the stage of their non-fulfillment (or compensated for in the form of spectacles). In reality, the consumer is morally and psychologically consumed by the market. Consequently, these goods have no social use, above all because the social horizon is entirely blocked by the factory.[1] Outside of the factory everything is converted into a desert (dormitory towns, freeways, parking lots…). The place of consumption is a desert.

Nonetheless, the society constituted in the factory unequivocally dominates this desert. The real use of goods is simply for the purposes of social ornamentation. Indeed, the fatal trend of the industrial commodity is that all the signs of purchased prestige and differentiation become compulsory for everyone. The factory is symbolically reproduced in leisure, even if there is a margin of possibility in the transposition sufficient to compensate some frustrations. In reality, the world of consumption is that of the spectacle of everyone for everyone—which is to say the division, estrangement and non-participation that exists among all. The managerial sphere is the severe director of this spectacle, automatically and poorly composed according to imperatives that are external to society, and that are signified in absurd values. Indeed, the directors themselves, insofar as they are alive, can be considered as victims of this robotic direction.

–Pierre Canjures [2] & Guy Debord, 1960

[1] “l’usine“=the factory. In 1960, widespread factory production of goods was apparent in countries like France, as well as other “advanced” industrial capitalist nations. Since the 1970s, de-industrialization of such countries has accelerated, alongside of a concomitant and expanding industrialization of other countries–for instance, China, India and Brazil (to name three prominent contemporary examples). In part, the de-industrialization of the West was a result of the rebellion of factory workers, students and others between 1968 and the late 1970s.

[2] aka Daniel Blanchard, member of Socialisme ou Barbarie.

The first quote above is from Ken Knabb‘s translation, available here. The translation of the second quote, taken from part I, section 6, of Préliminaires pour une définition de l’unité du programme révolutionnaire, is by the sinister scientist. Ken Knabb’s translation of this article is available here.

The image used in the collage-détournement “subtle compensations” is by Frank Bellamy. The text is taken from Julio Cortázar‘s Hopscotch, originally Rayuela (1963), English translation by Gregory Rabassa (1966). The collage-détournement was made by the sinister scientist. More on what exactly is a “collage-détournement” and “spectacle” soon.