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next:now – Strategies to Resample the Future

December 5th, 2018

„Once upon a time, pop‘s metabolism buzzed with dynamic energy, creating the surging-in-to-the-future feel of periods like the psychedelic sixties, the post-punk seventies, the hip-hop eighties and the rave nineties. The 2000s felt different. (…) Instead of being the threshold to the future, the first ten years of the twenty-first century turned out to be the ‚Re‘ Decade (…): revivals, reissues, remakes, re-enactments. Endless retrospection. (…)“

– Simon Reynolds – Retromania (2011)i

Atari emulators, electro-swing, Polaroid replicas, or Hieronimus Bosch’s triptychs in Virtual Reality: everything nostalgia related sells better than ever, and we’re not just talking about pop and mainstream. Every obscure fraction of a subculture had also its 15 minutes of …revival in the past 18 years.

An obsessive (therefore unhealthy) attention to the past is influencing all aspects of cultural production in these days. This is certainly a “Sign o’ the timesii.

Times of “Liquid fear””iii, that tangible feeling of anxiety that has only vague contours but is present everywhere. Dangers can strike anytime, everywhere: no matter what’s your job, tomorrow you can be fired, like those guys at Leeman Bros carrying their stuff out in cardboard boxes; you can be shot while you sip your cappuccino, in the name of god or the N.R.A.: or you can be killed by some multi resistant bacteria, and you have the same chance to get infected on a safari looking for the big 5 or in your local hospital having a proctology check up. To quote Bauman’s favorite metaphor:

We’re walking on a mine field, we are aware that all is full of explosives, but we don’t know where there will be an explosion and when. There are no solid structures to rely on, nothing in which we can invest our hope and expectations.iv

Or, using the words of Comité Invisible:

“From whatever angle you approach it, the present offers no way out. This is not the least of its virtues. From those who seek hope above all, it tears away every firm ground. Those who claim to have solutions are contradicted almost immediately. Everyone agrees that things can only get worse. “The future has no future” is the wisdom of an age that, for all its appearance of perfect normalcy, has reached the level of consciousness of the first punks.”v

In this context the past can be seen as a cozy and warm nest, a perfect world that we can control as it is shaped by our selective memory, a safe place. And so, as thinks are like that, instead of struggling to build up an uncertain future (to go for an Utopia), a very common choice is to aspire to return to a golden past, to go for a “Retrotopiavi. The spreading of this approach is another “Sign o’ the times”, but one with very scary implications. [Read more →]

next:now – Strategies to Resample the Future #3

December 4th, 2018

We’re happy to announce the start of a new series of talk and discussion events hosted by Datacide and next:now at Vétomat Berlin.

The first event is hosted by next:now as part of their Strategies to Resample the Future series on Friday December 7. The second will be hosted by Datacide on Monday December 17.

Strategies to Resample the Future #3

“As the future is not prescribed, and the succession of now and tomorrow is not monolithic or determined, our task consists in distinguishing the layers of futurability that lie in the texture of the present reality and in the present consciousness. (…)
The present depression (both psychological and economic) obscures the consciousness that no determinist projection of the future is true. We feel trapped in the tangle of techno-linguistic automatisms: finance, global competition, military escalation. But the body of the general intellect (the social and erotic bodies of a million cognitarians) is richer than the connective Brain. And the present reality is richer than the format imposed on it, as the multifold possibilities inscribed in the present have not been wholly cancelled, even if they may seem presently inert.”
Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi – Futurability – The Age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility (2017)

In this third episode of our exploration of the intersections between possibilities and potency, we will be in the hands of two skippers that really cannot fit in the ordinary: both musicians, both visual artists and both synesthetes.

Eugenia Monti
http://www.darkamarcadia.com
and
Matthieu Bourel
http://www.dojo.electrickettle.fr/

Friday, December 7, 2018
7-11pm

discussion. book table. drinks

(free/donation)

Vétomat
Wühlischstr. 42
10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain

https://vetomat.net/

Down with Childhood and Adulthood

November 26th, 2018

This is a kindergarten they turn us into children and then tell us we must learn to fend for ourselves they diminish us and accuse us of lacking self-esteem they steal our dignity while offering admonitions of our failure to confront reality.
[Michael Moorcock, Mother London]

Adults gave girls a pile of nonsense supported by childlike logic, while at the same time they make our “lord and masters” swallow little balls of science until they choke. For both of us, a ridiculous education.
[Louise Michel, quoted by Anne Boyer]

Man hat uns nicht gefragt / als wir noch kein Gesicht / ob wir leben wollten / oder lieber nicht
(Nobody asked us / when we had no face yet / if we wanted to live / or would rather not)
[Friedrich Holländer, Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte, sung by Marlene Dietrich]

1. A plague on both your playpens

Down with childhood and adulthood: one anathema entails the other, as Shulamith Firestone explained patiently in her famous tract, although her title stops before the ‘and’.
The mother who wants to kill her child for what she has had to sacrifice for it (a common desire) learns to love that same child only when she understands that it is as helpless, as oppressed as she is, and by the same oppressor: then her hate is directed outwards, and ‘motherlove’ is born.1

But why did Firestone fail to spell out from the start that kiddiehood’s demise would take grown-upness with it? Perhaps she thought her essay – or even her book! – might be read all the way to the end. For the sake of those who missed it the first times, then, let us repeat here: repudiation of childhood is not a matter of extending adulthood’s reputed privileges to children (or vice-versa). Each term presupposes and reproduces the other. Both live off the theatre of their pseudo-opposition. [Read more →]

National Action neo-Nazi Terror Group: Connections to Neofolk Scene

November 19th, 2018

On Monday, November 12th, 2018 the last of three trials against members of the neo-Nazi group National Action ended with convictions of three people, including Daniel Bogunovic and a couple, Claudia Patatas and Adam Thomas. They will be sentenced on December 14th.

National Action was a British openly neo-Nazi group founded in 2013. The group cultivated a militant image and notoriously carried a banner with the slogan “Refugees not welcome” and the hashtag #hitlerwasright at public demonstrations. Since December 2016 the group has been proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000. Since then, however, they have continued to organise under different covers. They are believed to have prepared for a “race war”, plotted an assassination, and advocated violence against and extermination of Jews and “non-whites”. They also celebrated the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox. Following investigations and arrests, several court cases have led to convictions for membership in a terrorist organisation and other offences. Several members were sentenced to prison terms of up to eight years (various news sources here, here and here)

While the press was very much concerned with the fact that Patatas and Thomas gave their baby son the middle name Adolf, that they had a swastika-shaped cookie cutter and that they were dressing up in Ku Klux Klan outfits, the connection to the far right Neofolk music scene remained overlooked.

For the BBC story providing a more detailed overview of the National Action case click on screenshot:

A tumblr blog called harsherreality  has collected evidence that Patatas was a  “close associate of Death In June’s Douglas Pearce, Sol Invictus’ Tony Wakeford, Allerseelen’s Gerhard Hallstatt, fascist publishers Michael Moynihan and Troy Southgate and a host of neo-folk musicians and activists – most of whom publicly deny their fascist involvement.” [Read more →]

Boris Souvarine: Black October – Ten Years of the Russian Revolution (1927)

August 23rd, 2018

“Leninism is the Opium of the International”

Boris Souvarine (1895-1984) was a co-founder of the French Communist Party and activist in the Communist International. He broke from the party in 1924 and became a critical supporter and part of the anti-Stalinist opposition within the international communist movement, observing and analysing the degeneration of the Bolsheviks from a revolutionary force to the political organisation of a new ruling stratum in Soviet Russia. When discussing if and how to address the centenary of the Russian October Revolution in datacide, we came across the text Black October by Souvarine. This text appeared in 1927 in the journal Bulletin Communiste, one of the mouthpieces of the communist opposition in France. This insightful text has, as far as we can see, never been translated into English before. With hindsight it can be judged as too optimistic despite its harsh criticisms of the regime, but the catastrophic developments that turned the Bolshevik takeover into a full fledged counter-revolution had not completely unravelled in 1927. Of course we are aware of the other critiques of Bolshevism coming from both left communist and anarchist circles, some of which are easily available in English. Others are still relatively obscure, especially the critiques from the French, Italian and German dissident Marxist milieus. We are documenting a crucial assessment of a particularly lucid writer for the first time in English here. Illustrations by a.a.a

The tenth anniversary of the October Revolution was a paradoxical celebration with many contradictions that obscured the general meaning of the evolution of the first proletarian state. [Read more →]

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