Demented Idioms – Schizo-Culture: The Event (1975) & The Book (1978)

“The problem is not really defining a political position […] but
to imagine and to bring about new schemas of politicization.”

– Michel Foucault

Back in the late 1980s, a series of pocket books appeared introducing English speakers to several writers who would become lumped together as post-modernist or post structuralist philosophers. At the time, though, the names of Baudrillard, Lyotard, Virilio and Deleuze & Guattari were a lot less well known and these pocket books (dubbed the Foreign Agent Series) had the aura of underground publications. More aptly, perhaps, they seemed extra-academic; they didn’t seem to be coming from an institution and least of all from a British institution. The origins of these books, however, lay in a series of Journals and Conferences organized and edited under the name of Semiotext(e) and which came out of a specific department of Columbia University (an institutional vacuole?) One such Conference and accompanying Journal was the Schizo Culture gathering of November 1975, which brought (mainly untranslated) French theorists into collision and collaboration with elements of the SoHo Art Scene and with anti-psychiatry and prison activists like Howie Harp (Insane Liberation Front) and Judy Clark (Midnight Special). Ever mobile and shape- shifting and apposite to Semiotext(e)’s birth in a critique of linguistics1
we would find that William Burroughs (he of the ‘word virus’) was present, as was his fleetingly one-time Project Sigma collaborant, Ronald Laing. [Read more →]

Sincere Genesis – On Félix Guattari & Groups

guattariquebec1991_72

“Sooner or later the Situationist International must
define itself as a therapy: we are ready to defend the
poetry made by all against the false poetry
rigged up by power”
– Raoul Vaneigem

As a psychoanalyst and militant, Félix Guattari seems to have engaged with the problem of groups for all his life. Across his writing we see him putting forth, as part of a collaborative process, various conceptualisations of group life which are to a larger or lesser degree operational concepts which he had experienced and worked with. These are: institutional analysis, the subject and subjugated group and the collective assemblage of enunciation. Several themes, gathering points for his later more pronounced interest in the production of subjectivity, appear to flow through all of these concepts: transversalism, a mixed semiotic and the subject as ‘supra-personal’. [Read more →]

LAST SURVIVORS OR FIRST MUTANTS? – Notes on Surplus Population

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LAST SURVIVORS OR FIRST MUTANTS? [1]
Notes on Surplus Population

“For all I was the thing
in history –
the barbaric; the semi-barbaric; the savage
that was me”

– John La Rose

Writing in April 1975 the Race Today Collective reiterated to a bemused leftist, who accused them of touting the same views on unemployment as the then home secretary Keith Joseph, that they, on the contrary, were of the view that “capital seeks to create a reserve army of mobile labour in the whole world, and that the young black wageless are part of such a reserve army.”[2] This theme of the ‘black wageless’ had also been taken up by publisher and activist John la Rose who, in an earlier issue of Race Today, offered that the “wageless black youth, by withholding their labor, are challenging the rule of capital in a fundamentally revolutionary way”[3]. They were, La Rose contends, withdrawing from the work ethic and crucially, refusing to compete with their fellows and making a break with “mundane social conceptions”. The Race Today Collective may well have offered that amongst such ‘mundane’ social ideas were those often voiced by the mainstream left whom it contended was treacherous to the ‘wageless black youth’ demoting them from working class to lumpen status and unsuccessfully tempting them into ‘Right To Work’ marches. [Read more →]

Incorrect Classification Possible

Untitled

Maybe we could
be lithe with the music
be in its
unknowable tones
as substrate
For ever
diasporic
as valve
skin tip & shank bone
Be instruments
instinctmeants
of agitant life
from whose
corner cones
breath would push
to inadvent a practicum
with vegal nerves

Untitled

Glance off the flow blocks
Reconvene on inner edges
Consider that ideals
come through to us from
our strategic denials
Decide again to chip away
at the authority babies
of distilled popularity
Recombine our selves anew
as kindly vulnerable rejects
Sip at water iron and flame
[Read more →]

Cut-Up-Marx 11-20

 

Marx0A1_rgb72

Illustration by Matthieu Bourel

Cut-Up-Marx Eleven

An element of capital
Labour itself
– Existence –

Placed in
and in
the valorisation
process

The worker
only real in terms of
the dead fact

(p.98-97)

Cut-Up-Marx-Twelve

Use value
like the form
would be spoilt
without further work
in endless ways
as twist is turned
will make of it
once more
the earlier work
[Read more →]

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