Guy Debord

by Anselm Jappe translated into English by Donald Nicholson-Smith with assistance from the author (University of California Press 1999)

The situationists declared somewhere that boredom was counter-revolutionary. They forgot to add that it is also wearisome and stupid. Jappe’s squib is both the most boring and by far and away the most stupid book to be written about a situationist to date – and in saying this I’m conscious of the fact that the competition consists largely of art monographs and the throughput of Andrew Murray Scott. Aside from the fact that it is printed on paper of some character – soft, off-white and pleasant to touch – about all that can be said in favour of Jappe’s handbook is that it is not a biography at all. The publishers puff Jappe’s guff as an intellectual biography – but a low-brow, one-sided and woefully inadequate introduction to situationism would be a more accurate description.
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Wreckers of Civilisation: The Story of COUM Transmissions & Throbbing Gristle by Simon Ford (Book Review)

fordwreckers

The Story of COUM Transmissions & Throbbing Gristle by Simon Ford
(Black Dog Publishing, London 1999, £19.95)

By focusing on a performance art troop that metamorphosed into a rock group, Simon Ford has produced a book that illuminates the political economy of UK cultural production during the 1970’s. This was a time when there was cheap housing plus plentiful arts grants and welfare benefits. Perfect conditions in which cultural experimentation could flourish as well as a lot of art wank that was pushed by those responsible as cutting edge work. Far more than the other members of COUM and TG, motor mouthed front man Genesis P.Orridge exemplifies the commendable excesses of this era. WHile P.Orridge’s collaborators had day jobs and identifiable talents, Genesis lived out his fantasies of bohemian dissolution as a life-style option and non-stop fashion statement. This entailed the proto-slacker presenting himself as a starving artist in order to get grants, as well as making judicious use of that alternative arts funding scheme known as the dole.
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Break/Flow

breakflow
After a long wait the second printed edition of Break/Flow is out. Following on from the first Break/Flow magazine, and from last years excellent 12”EP compilation (with the author’s collaborations with Adverse, Praxis and Unearthly, as well as tracks by Christoph de Babalon and a blast from the past from / homage to Eric Random.
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Loose Watch:

a Lost And Found Times anthology [Invisible Books]
loose-watch
An excellent compendium of poetry drawn from the Ohio based magazine Lost And Found Times that neatly presents over twenty years of international writing activity in a well designed journal sized book.
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FLESH MACHINE

flesh-machine1
Critical Art Ensemble
Autonomedia, 1998

Critical Art Ensemble’s first two volumes, The Electronic Disturbance and Electronic Civil Disobedience, established that they’re among the few people saying something coherent about ‘nomadic power’, and even more unusually, proposing an organizational model for resistance. Flesh Machine promises to extend their critique of techno-politics to cover bodily experience and the role of health administration.
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