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nomadthethird
16-12-2008, 05:06 PM
Among the various factions or branches of the Left (where/if they exist), but especially among intellectuals in the U.K., modernism is held in high esteem above other eras and cultural movements.

This thread is for discussing modernism. Is the "modernism" favored by many a fantasy or did it really exist in the way they describe it? Was modernism the beginning of something great or a failed project?

(Please let's avoid derailing this thread by flinging accusations of "fascism" or namecalling theorists you don't like. There are other threads for that.)

vimothy
16-12-2008, 05:29 PM
Please let's avoid derailing this thread

Fascist!

polystyle desu
16-12-2008, 06:19 PM
Nomado your title header reminded me of something heard or read somewhere along the way > "When the new wipes away the old, what is really left ?"

zhao
16-12-2008, 06:32 PM
When the new wipes away the old, what is really left ?"

except the "new" never is 100% "new" -- impressionism inspired by japanese prints, picasso taking from african masks, Ligetti and Reich borrowing from African polyrhythms, etc.
and the "new" can never wipe away the "old"...

i need to go outside. edit: because i'm clearly making redundant say-nothing silly sounding posts.

so, to continue: the cult of personality was not new, neither was the worship of individual expression. and even some of the monstrous ideologies such as the idea of a "master race" were not new...

zhao
16-12-2008, 07:25 PM
Nomado

vs.

movado

polystyle desu
16-12-2008, 07:45 PM
Can relate Zhao,
sometimes you just have to get out and feel the breeze.
And not keep face in screen.
Nomado2 might say the same ...
but she's prolly on a screen, somewhere.
Was just snowing here

poetix
16-12-2008, 09:35 PM
I tihnk it's worth considering seriously Lyotard's suggestion that the postmodern is anterior to the modern: the postmodern mode of legitimation through paralogy is what gives rise to avant-gardisms, experimental programs and investigations of the consequences of particular ruptures and innovations.

Modernism has a marked tendency to be programmatic, to issue manifestos; it is interested in artistic works and political moments insofar as they validate or refute its sense of what is most active and new in the situation. For Lyotard, the postmodern was something like the set of "virtual" conditions for the individuation of modernisms, and the "postmodern condition" was one in which existing avant-gardes, having largely exhausted or saturated their initial lines of enquiry, turned to reflect on the possibility of novelty itself. <em>The Differend</em> and <em>Lessons in the Analytic of the Sublime</em> are Lyotard's major philosophical responses to this exigency; both I think have something to teach any future modernism.

For Fredric Jameson, however, postmodernity is the recoding of modernism's lines of flight as a "cultural logic": "legitimation through paralogy" becomes another technique for capitalist expansion, for the opening up of new markets or the elaboration of new financial instruments. The modernist impulse to "make it new" has become tied to a cultural fetishisation of novelty - latest Hot New Theorist! - while the once menacing and rebarbative negations of modernist aesthetics ("There's no more pap. You'll never get any more pap...") are pressed into the service of "creative destruction", first as shock tactics and then as apologetics for the resulting social and institutional precarity.

Any "return" to modernism must acknowledge and negotiate the traps laid for it by this "cultural logic"; in Badiou's terms, it must go beyond an attempt to resuscitate the long-defunct utopianisms of the twentieth century, and establish a "fidelity to the fidelity" which upholds their initial radicalism - or, in Lyotard's terms, their commitment to the unpresentable, the differend and "the honour of thought".

nomadthethird
17-12-2008, 01:46 AM
I was feeling especially stir crazy, Polystyle, since I've been trapped upstate for a while now under a couple of feet of snow. Luckily it all melted yesterday and I've ventured out.


For Fredric Jameson, however, postmodernity is the recoding of modernism's lines of flight as a "cultural logic": "legitimation through paralogy" becomes another technique for capitalist expansion, for the opening up of new markets or the elaboration of new financial instruments. The modernist impulse to "make it new" has become tied to a cultural fetishisation of novelty - latest Hot New Theorist! - while the once menacing and rebarbative negations of modernist aesthetics ("There's no more pap. You'll never get any more pap...") are pressed into the service of "creative destruction", first as shock tactics and then as apologetics for the resulting social and institutional precarity.

Any "return" to modernism must acknowledge and negotiate the traps laid for it by this "cultural logic"; in Badiou's terms, it must go beyond an attempt to resuscitate the long-defunct utopianisms of the twentieth century, and establish a "fidelity to the fidelity" which upholds their initial radicalism - or, in Lyotard's terms, their commitment to the unpresentable, the differend and "the honour of thought".

This seems exactly right.

Something that I've never understood about the modernism fetish is that it is so focused on culture-- Soviet art, in particular, in many cases--that the supposed politics of the modernist fetishist take a backseat to an empty formal interest in clean lines, minimal design, and the art of the destructive gesture (which is, in the final analysis, quite amenable to being entombed in the gallery-insitution, rather than resistant to this).

As far as I can tell, there was nothing especially resistant to elitism, commodification, or capitalism in modernist art. Of course, I don't believe art should bow down to populism-- but there's something a little off about castigating the class system in one breath and ignoring the fact that art under capitalism becomes just a form of commerce, perhaps even a uniquely destructive one, since it is based on the sale of luxury goods (cf the diamond industry), the value of which is measured by how rarefied, unattainable, or difficult (rather than expensive) to produce and hard to interpret they are as art objects/commodities. Under modernism, even moreso than it is now under postmodernism, art was key in maintaining social status, false consciousness, and in individuating class experiences. Art was something one had to be refined enough to understand, which entailed education, and in those days before federal student loans, money and breeding (Jews/blacks/women unwelcome).

The proletariat may have been deified in modernist (esp Soviet) art, but they had no access to it. Art played an important role in keeping them out, keeping the discourse in the hands of elites.

http://www.geocities.com/sulawesiprince/russia/art_images/malevich-gatheringrye.jpg

Part of the argument that's made in favor of modernism relies heavily on the notion that a "vital" political system (one that is presumably more capable of suborning their revolution) is always matched by a thriving arts or cultural scene, which for some reason always means a scene that fetishizes the new in the form of the allegedly radical, gestural disavowal of convention. I find myself at odds with those who really seem to believe that nothing new happens anymore, who fail to realize that, in fact, formal developments in the arts have come at faster and faster clips since the technological revolution, much faster than they ever did. (During the classical period in music, little more than a few slight harmonic variations and instrument tweaks were achieved over hundreds of years.) Their insatiable hunger for "the new" is a symptom of what Virilio would call the "acceleration" of cultural production, not some saintly yearning for modernism's conceptual purity and political efficiency.

If the quick assimilation of formal innovations into a culture were some measure of that culture's political vibrancy and ability to churn out radicals and more/better discourse, we would actually be much farther ahead of the modernists right now.

Agent Nucleus
17-12-2008, 05:06 AM
are we talking about high modernism or radical modernism? then there's paramodernism (a fav term of mine), which is beyond/beside modernism but develops within it, rather than against it like postmodernism (William Gibson, for example, idenfifies himself as a paramodern). but yeah i think the spirit of experimentation, discovery, and especially creating new systems has unfortunately been lost. like poetix said, the feeling is that everything has been done, the modernist experiments have exhausted all possibilities. but i have a huge problem with the whole modernism category to begin with: to me Joyce and Proust are on opposite ends of the spectrum, same goes for Duchamp and, say, Le Corbusier. From what I understand there wasn't one but many modernisms that often contradicted each other. So to answer the question: we can't return to it and we can't leave it behind, because it never existed to begin with ; ) i'd love to see a return to the dada "anti-aesthetic" though... way better than the watered-down, weakly "transgressive" anti-aesthetic endorsed by postmoderns.

poetix
17-12-2008, 07:46 AM
I don't think modernism had a single univocal class coding - and there's plenty of interesting traffic between "elite" modernism and other currents (Joyce for example seems to have been important to just about everyone). So I would reject Bourdieu's sophisticated version, as much as John Carey's crass, reactionary version, of the accusation that avant-gardism in any form is always about the consecration of elite tastes.

Partly it hangs on an equivocation over the meaning of "elite": does one mean established social castes, or just any group which consciously separates itself from received taste and opinion? The latter sort of "elite" tend to make odd shapes against the backdrop of existing social stratifications, comprising all sorts of misfits. Their relationship to egalitarian politics is accordingly somewhat vexed...

nomadthethird
17-12-2008, 10:42 PM
Agent, can you say a little more about paramodernism when have a chance? I'm curious--I think I know what you mean but I'd love to read more about it.


I don't think modernism had a single univocal class coding - and there's plenty of interesting traffic between "elite" modernism and other currents (Joyce for example seems to have been important to just about everyone). So I would reject Bourdieu's sophisticated version, as much as John Carey's crass, reactionary version, of the accusation that avant-gardism in any form is always about the consecration of elite tastes.

Partly it hangs on an equivocation over the meaning of "elite": does one mean established social castes, or just any group which consciously separates itself from received taste and opinion? The latter sort of "elite" tend to make odd shapes against the backdrop of existing social stratifications, comprising all sorts of misfits. Their relationship to egalitarian politics is accordingly somewhat vexed...

The relationship between art/culture and an "elite" is obviously problematic and it's impossible to use these words as if it's not.

But doesn't it seem that modernism was not particularly conducive to blasting through false consciousness or institutional classism, especially in its emphasis on "high culture"?

To feel that rush that used to come with "the new" is certainly something most people are nostalgic for, I just don't believe the story modernist fetishists tell about how we got here really jibes with what happened.

poetix
17-12-2008, 10:54 PM
It really depends on which modernism you mean, and what manner of cultural elevation is being proposed. Beckett for example I don't think of as particularly "high" in the sense of (say) "high church" or "high ceremony". Or Pinter.

For the prole art threat, you want what k-punk calls "pulp modernism" I suspect.

nomadthethird
17-12-2008, 11:01 PM
It really depends on which modernism you mean, and what manner of cultural elevation is being proposed. Beckett for example I don't think of as particularly "high" in the sense of (say) "high church" or "high ceremony". Or Pinter.

For the prole art threat, you want what k-punk calls "pulp modernism" I suspect.

Points for the Fall reference. J/k.

Usually with the modernist fetishists the height of modernism and its redemptive powers lay in dada, Russian constructivism and public housing architects/architecture.

I notice that a huge part of what they think has been lost is "public space" as a sacrosanct/conceptually pure discursive category.

When I think of PC people, I usually think of modernist fetishist social realists, who in American academia beat this "public space" drum incessantly.

Agent Nucleus
21-12-2008, 08:18 AM
It really depends on which modernism you mean, and what manner of cultural elevation is being proposed. Beckett for example I don't think of as particularly "high" in the sense of (say) "high church" or "high ceremony". Or Pinter.

For the prole art threat, you want what k-punk calls "pulp modernism" I suspect.


i've been out of town for a week. this is a good conversation, lots to say here. in terms of prole or working class modernism, i think the Ash Can painters and some of the American communist poets (especially Kenneth Fearing) are outstanding. Still definitely modernist, very experimental, but none of the high art pretense that's associated with high modernism. Something that's been lost in the negationist histories of modernism is that a lot of radical modernists (Brecht, Tzara, even Joyce to an extent) saw modernist experimentation as a way to undermine bourgeois values and aesthetics. More importantly, the experimental techniques (especially those invented by the Dadaists, the Surrealists, etc) could be used by anyone.

"Paramodernism" is a term coined by Donald Theall. It is basically a strain of modernism and postmodernism that develops within the tradition of radical modernist experimentation (everyone mentioned above) but goes way beyond what we usually associate with modernism. Basically it's an alternative to postmodernism that develops WITHIN (not against) radical modernist theories, aesthetics, and experimental techniques. William Gibson, for example, identifies himself as a paramodern.

Incidentally, I'm looking to start a journal called "paramodern" or something along those lines, that kind of expands on Theall's theories (which are derived from McLuhan, Deleuze, Bataille, Klee, and especially Joyce, who Theall sees as THE theorist of media and communication). I'll post a CFP in a month or two, we're still at the drawing-board stage. Ideally, I'd like the journal to be a kind of throwback to the independently published radical modernist journals of the Dadaists, the Surrealists, the Situationists, De Stijl, etc etc. Meaning a balanced mix of critical theory and original art, fiction, poetry, and maybe film and web interfaces ( would love to distribute it as a CD-ROM). I have a few people on board with this project already: Dr. Lee Kwo (experimental postmodern SF writer), David L. Tamarin (Bizarro author), and Christie Vozniak (actor/model and collaborator on a psychogeography project i'm working on for the Eyedrum gallery in Atlanta). If you are interested in this idea, and especially if you want to contribute something, message me and we'll work something out. Again, I'm looking for theory, original art, original poetry and fiction, and really anything else. I'm not trying to start a movement or a collective or anything, just trying to create a forum where current artists and thinkers to exchange ideas.

Mr. Tea
21-12-2008, 11:35 PM
but i have a huge problem with the whole modernism category to begin with: to me Joyce and Proust are on opposite ends of the spectrum, same goes for Duchamp and, say, Le Corbusier. From what I understand there wasn't one but many modernisms that often contradicted each other.

This thread seems to have focussed mainly on art and aesthetics so far, but AN's point above seems to apply just as well to the political dimension. Weren't fascism, communism and liberal democracy all, in some sense, 'modernist' movements or ideologies? Of course fascism was highly reactionary, but it also deified science, industry, efficiency and (what it saw as) progress, which seem to be key aspects of modernist thought. Or perhaps exaggerated caricatures of modernist thought, I don't know.

nomadthethird
22-12-2008, 12:09 AM
i've been out of town for a week. this is a good conversation, lots to say here. in terms of prole or working class modernism, i think the Ash Can painters and some of the American communist poets (especially Kenneth Fearing) are outstanding. Still definitely modernist, very experimental, but none of the high art pretense that's associated with high modernism. Something that's been lost in the negationist histories of modernism is that a lot of radical modernists (Brecht, Tzara, even Joyce to an extent) saw modernist experimentation as a way to undermine bourgeois values and aesthetics. More importantly, the experimental techniques (especially those invented by the Dadaists, the Surrealists, etc) could be used by anyone.

But any art technique can be used by anyone who can understand it and afford to replicate it, the problem is--where do I get the patronage to fund my work, how do I become well-connected enough to be visible, how do experimental techniques trickle down?

I remember I took a course on modernist collage that traced the influence of Heartfield's and Hoech's appropriation of the visual semiotics of advertising on art and (in turn) advertising. Collage as a medium consisted of a feedback loop of influence between modernism and advertising.

As far as modernist theater goes, I do like Brecht (who has always had a considerable following in the U.S.), and the expressionist playrights (Kokoschka esp) if they count. There was a lot of potential in theater until film sort of ousted it from its privileged position.



"Paramodernism" is a term coined by Donald Theall. It is basically a strain of modernism and postmodernism that develops within the tradition of radical modernist experimentation (everyone mentioned above) but goes way beyond what we usually associate with modernism. Basically it's an alternative to postmodernism that develops WITHIN (not against) radical modernist theories, aesthetics, and experimental techniques. William Gibson, for example, identifies himself as a paramodern.

Incidentally, I'm looking to start a journal called "paramodern" or something along those lines, that kind of expands on Theall's theories (which are derived from McLuhan, Deleuze, Bataille, Klee, and especially Joyce, who Theall sees as THE theorist of media and communication). I'll post a CFP in a month or two, we're still at the drawing-board stage. Ideally, I'd like the journal to be a kind of throwback to the independently published radical modernist journals of the Dadaists, the Surrealists, the Situationists, De Stijl, etc etc. Meaning a balanced mix of critical theory and original art, fiction, poetry, and maybe film and web interfaces ( would love to distribute it as a CD-ROM). I have a few people on board with this project already: Dr. Lee Kwo (experimental postmodern SF writer), David L. Tamarin (Bizarro author), and Christie Vozniak (actor/model and collaborator on a psychogeography project i'm working on for the Eyedrum gallery in Atlanta). If you are interested in this idea, and especially if you want to contribute something, message me and we'll work something out. Again, I'm looking for theory, original art, original poetry and fiction, and really anything else. I'm not trying to start a movement or a collective or anything, just trying to create a forum where current artists and thinkers to exchange ideas.

This sounds fun. I'll have to read Theall. In the meantime I can think of quite a few people who would at least want to read this if not write for it.

nomadthethird
22-12-2008, 12:15 AM
Their relationship to egalitarian politics is accordingly somewhat vexed...

There's also the question of whether Marxists are even really "egalitarians", so this further complicates things insofar as some strains of modernism are considered more in line with a Marxist agenda...

Personally I think "equality" is the wrong word, "equity" is a little better...

nomadthethird
22-12-2008, 12:29 AM
This thread seems to have focussed mainly on art and aesthetics so far, but AN's point above seems to apply just as well to the political dimension. Weren't fascism, communism and liberal democracy all, in some sense, 'modernist' movements or ideologies? Of course fascism was highly reactionary, but it also deified science, industry, efficiency and (what it saw as) progress, which seem to be key aspects of modernist thought. Or perhaps exaggerated caricatures of modernist thought, I don't know.

Yeah, it's really tough to work out the extent to which culture followed politics, or politics culture, during what Agent would called paramodernism. In a way, I think you may be onto something--modernism, either politically or in the arts, seems beholden to exactly the same logical positivism that eventually went bust, thanks to a couple of pretty hideous wars. (cf Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition, the science "narrative")

Marx's utopia was an industrial one. He may have been able to read the post-modern global economic writing on the wall, but he wasn't able to theorize a utopia that wasn't thoroughly wrapped up in industrial modes of production and the ethos of efficiency. Why anyone would think that a return to his ideals exactly as we read them is the only way to end class warfare or resist post-modernism is beyond me, really.

There is a certain sort of post-Marxist intellectual who holds up high modernism as an example of what a culture of political progress should look like. I think Marxist and modernism ideals are interesting in the same metaphorical way Poetix thinks we should use Lacan/psychoanalysis. One thing we've inherited from Marx and certain Marxists is a new economic vocabulary, it just doesn't seem that the best possible way to make use of this is to take some sort of vulgar Marxism to the streets (real or virtual).

Agent Nucleus
22-12-2008, 03:40 AM
mr tea: politically the modernists seemed to cover the spectrum: the Italian Futurists were fascists (in fact i would say they established the ideological foundations for Italian fascism), the Surrealists tended to be Marxists/Trotskyites, the Dadaists were cultural if not political anarchists, Mayachovsky and the Russians were Leninists. There doesn't seem to be a definitive modernist politics. If you saw the film Max (w John Cusack), it suggests that Nazism was kind of a radical modernist vision gone completely apeshit. I think there's actually something to that. Hitler as a theatrical performer. i don't know.

nomad: Collage is a good example of a modernist technique anyone can use. I think the Surrealists, who were following Lautreamont's dictum ("make poetry available to everyone" ... something like that), wanted to get away from Rennaissance techniques which required decades of training to master. Automatic writing is another good example, or the exquisite corpse, or Tzara's cut-up technique. I think you're right about how modernism influenced Madison Avenue and vice-versa. McLuhan wrote a book about this called "The Mechanical Bride." Modernism imo is the only art "movement" that was ABSOLUTELY assimilated by consumer culture, even though its influence is often invisible. The montage technique in film and advertising for example was developed by Eisenstein based on his reading of Ulysses. i would venture that every single facet of late capitalism or postmodernism was anticipated (if not trumped) in some way by the radical modernists. but i don't see them as a model for the posthuman or anything like that ; ) just paragenetic mutants. McLuhan talked about "new sensory ratios" and all that.

Agent Nucleus
22-12-2008, 07:28 AM
i should add, i would support any form of fascism - even the most egregious, murderous brand of fascism - controlled by the "intellegentsia," or whatever term you want to use. I guess I've fallen prey to the same "bad" ideology as Ezra Pound. Nazism wasn't modernist by any means (the "degenerate art" exhibitions made that clear), although I would count Hitler as a radical modernist politician.

then again nick land got into the posthuman fascism thing and look what happened to him. does he still teach at warwick?

Mr. Tea
22-12-2008, 01:16 PM
mr tea: politically the modernists seemed to cover the spectrum: the Italian Futurists were fascists (in fact i would say they established the ideological foundations for Italian fascism), the Surrealists tended to be Marxists/Trotskyites, the Dadaists were cultural if not political anarchists, Mayachovsky and the Russians were Leninists. There doesn't seem to be a definitive modernist politics. If you saw the film Max (w John Cusack), it suggests that Nazism was kind of a radical modernist vision gone completely apeshit. I think there's actually something to that. Hitler as a theatrical performer. i don't know.

I'm by no means an expert on art history, but I read something someone on here linked to recently that said the Italian Futurists weren't really fascists, or even proto-fascists, but that aspects of their ideology were later incorporated into fascism. Perhaps a bit like how the Nazis co-opted Nietzsche (although with maybe less of an ideological leap involved, I dunno). Anyone got any good links about Futurism and fascism?

Re. Nazis and modernism - it's hard to say, I get the impression Nazism was very heterogeneous with respect to its relationship to modernism. At one level, it has in common with Marxism (or at least 'applied Marxism'/Leninism) the utopian notion that it was going to 'scientifically' bring about an ideal society; ideal for the right sort of people, anyway. But at the same time there was the 'volkish' aspect, harking back to a more-or-less fantastical ideal of an ancient Greater Germany, to say nothing of the obsession many Nazis had with the occult. Hitler himself was notably dismissive of the neo-paganism espoused by many of his own cabinet, on the basis that it had long ago been supplanted by Christianity and was therefore an 'evolutionary dead end' in cultural terms.



i should add, i would support any form of fascism - even the most egregious, murderous brand of fascism - controlled by the "intellegentsia," or whatever term you want to use.


Um, come again - am I missing something here? :slanted:

Agent Nucleus
23-12-2008, 02:55 AM
Um, come again - am I missing something here? :slanted:

heh that's what happens when you drink half a bottle of whiskey, try (unsuccessfully) to break off a relationship with an old friend, then go online to vent your frustration. my apologies. but the whole idea of something like a posthuman fascism kind of fascinates me, as silly and juvenile as it is ;)

Mr. Tea
25-12-2008, 04:33 PM
Well I think only people who genuinely don't give a shit about spectator sports of any kind should rule the world. Seriously. :)

vimothy
25-12-2008, 05:41 PM
then again nick land got into the posthuman fascism thing and look what happened to him. does he still teach at warwick?

Er, no. Nick has lived in Shanghai for years. I take it he is a 'fascist' according to your 'anyone I disagree with' definition of the term?

Agent Nucleus
25-12-2008, 07:32 PM
no according to his writings on Hyperstition. Not sure if he is trying to be ironic or what. It seems like he started from a Deleuzian perspective, kind of deconstructive politics based on nomadology and war machines, then went far to the right (brazen support for the Iraq war, denouncing artists/intellectuals/anyone involved in culture, etc.)

vimothy
25-12-2008, 07:48 PM
Hmm -- I think your second sentence contradicts your first. Nick is a (sincere -- he has/d little time for Z, IIRC) fascist, as long as 'fascist' equals democratic, classical liberal who scorns pretentious cultural criticism.

Is everyone involved in Hyperstition a fascist, then, or just Nick?

scottdisco
26-12-2008, 12:42 AM
Mr. Tea:


I'm by no means an expert on art history, but I read something someone on here linked to recently that said the Italian Futurists weren't really fascists, or even proto-fascists, but that aspects of their ideology were later incorporated into fascism.

do you mean this? (http://dazzleship.blogspot.com/2007/05/brief-comments-on-futurism-facism.html)

(i linked to it on page 16 of the Neo-Nazi forum hacked thread.)

off-topic:
i am listening atm to Reishi by Tura (Plaid): gosh i lurve this tune :)

off-topic 2: Nietzsche's brother-in-law topped himself at the end of a six-week drinking session

Agent Nucleus
26-12-2008, 04:16 AM
the Futurists influenced fascism, which was originally a liberal/corporatist party with populist psych warfare tactics. apologies if my wording was imprecise - Marinetti was only briefly affiliated with fascism, in 1919, but broke with Mussolini way before WWI. They didn't influence the Nazis in any way. The futurists supported modern warfare (which they considered beautiful), eugenics, technology, power, speed, muscle, machines, etc. It anticipated fascism, or started the parade so to speak.

Land has never scorched criticism or theory. He wrote an excellent book about Deleuze, and Hyperstition is very dense with postmodern theory (Reza Negarestani helped him develop the concept of hyperstitions), but the only reason i made disparaging remarks is 1) he was fired from Warwick, 2) got heavily into drugs (esp psychedelics - nothing really wrong with that), 3) but he still writes for academic journals (maybe Collapse and Pli). Mark Fisher has an excellent article about Nick Land and his personal failings. But I recommend everything Land has ever published, don't be mistaken. Even when he promotes net-centric warfare in the Middle East and criticizes liberal journalists for questioning the Bush administration's decision to stay in Iraq, etc. etc. I never got into the HP Lovecraft/hypersigil idea. It seems adolescent. But I've read a lot of Crowley and MP Hall, and follow AO Spare to an extent, but he focuses too much on it. The paper in Collapse #1 was pretty good: "Qabbala 101". Virulent Nihilism can be downloaded here: http://www.mediafire.com/?mgdlpmu1txx

Mr. Tea
26-12-2008, 03:52 PM
Mr. Tea:

do you mean this? (http://dazzleship.blogspot.com/2007/05/brief-comments-on-futurism-facism.html)

(i linked to it on page 16 of the Neo-Nazi forum hacked thread.)



Yep, that's the one. Although I just noticed this line:

"There was, finally, a Futurist Political Party by 1918, and F.T. Marinetti, the Futurist ringleader, stood as a Fascist parliamentary candidate in 1919"

I guess maybe 'fascist' in 1919 didn't necessarily mean the same thing it did in 1939?



off-topic 2: Nietzsche's brother-in-law topped himself at the end of a six-week drinking session

And wasn't it is his sister who was responsible to a large degree for Nietzsche's co-option by the Nazis? I know she was very anti-semetic and is regarded as a sort of proto-fascist/proto-Nazi.

Slothrop
26-12-2008, 05:58 PM
The Second Viennese school were quite keen on WWI, too, as a way of stopping the French being socially and musically degenerate and forcing them all to listen to Salome and stuff.

I got Alex Ross' The Rest is Noise for christmas, haven't read it yet but it looks like it's very interesting on the relationships between modernism / high culturalism and fascism. He tends to be generally receptive to the music but not always to the accompanying rubric, especially the Adorno / Stockhausen tradition of violently denouncing as 'fascist' any music that doesn't fit your strenuous theoretical specifications. Which in itself seems like a fair parallel between modernism and fascism...

poetix
26-12-2008, 08:14 PM
Over a decade ago, I picked up an interesting-looking book on Bataille in the library of UCP Marjon and browsed a few pages while waiting to be interviewed for a postgraduate position they were, in the event, sensible enough not to award me.

I got as far as:


Not that this book makes any special pleading for itself, it has scratched about for needles in the most destitute gutters of the Earth, cold-turkey crawling on its knees, and begging the academy to pimp it ever deeper into abuse.

and thought, "oh, do come off it...". For years afterwards, I remembered the book (although not its title, or the name of its author) as something that had singularly appalled me - a truly egregious example of frustrated academic libido pouring itself into sensationalist prose...


An extraordinary lucidity, frosty and crisp in the blackness, but paralysed; lodged in some recess of the universe that clutches it like a snare. A wave of nausea is accompanied by a peculiarly insinuating headache, as if thought itself were copulating unreservedly with suffering. A damp coldness, close to fog, creeps through the open window. I laugh, delighted at the fate that has turned me into a reptile.

I put the book back on the shelf. My loss. I wasn't able to see how screamingly funny it was, or how intently serious. "Base sexuality, sickness,
religion, and intoxication entwine about each other in these texts, as withered creepers and roots might do as they cascaded into a chasm full of bats" - the simile extended just that little bit too far, into parody, into the gothic, performs - egregiously, appallingly - what it describes.

As I read Nick Land's The Thirst for Annihilation now, improperly for the first time, it's mediated for me by a series of texts by writers whom Land infected, of which Reza Negarestani's Cyclonopedia is only the most recent. I seem to have been exposed to a later, much-mutated, variant of the Landian mind-virus, having failed to contract it in the antiseptic confines of the UCP Marjon library: it's all over the place now. Of Land himself little seems to remain - he appears with almost minimal intensity in the theoretical hot zone he spawned, which seems fitting really. Perhaps his disappearance took the form of a lurch to the "right", the traditional "leftist" ritual of self-ejection from polite company. The crazy Qabbalism of his piece in the first Collapse indicates another line of flight - nobody wants to be that guy: the one who went too far, got too much into it, started believing in his own fantastifications. Whatever he is now, I doubt he's a fascist in any meaningful sense of the word...

Agent Nucleus
26-12-2008, 09:08 PM
where does modernism begin exactly? going by Walter Benjamin's definition (of modernism as a neural shock-response to urbanization), it starts with Baudelaire (early 1800's), passes to Rimbaud, Lautreamont, and the Symbolists (mid-late 19th C), then Jarry and the Decadents (Mirbaud, Huysmans; 1890's), and eventually into art (fauvism, cubism, Duchamp 1890-1910) and German expressionist poetry, German theatre (Strindberg), Ibsen, Joyce, Eliot, Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and the Dadaists (it exploded in the teens, even spilling into physics, music, and mathematics). But really it's impossible to pin down. and Russian Futurism had nothing to do with its Italian counterpart.

nomadthethird
26-12-2008, 10:23 PM
As I read Nick Land's The Thirst for Annihilation now, improperly for the first time, it's mediated for me by a series of texts by writers whom Land infected, of which Reza Negarestani's Cyclonopedia is only the most recent. I seem to have been exposed to a later, much-mutated, variant of the Landian mind-virus, having failed to contract it in the antiseptic confines of the UCP Marjon library: it's all over the place now. Of Land himself little seems to remain - he appears with almost minimal intensity in the theoretical hot zone he spawned, which seems fitting really. Perhaps his disappearance took the form of a lurch to the "right", the traditional "leftist" ritual of self-ejection from polite company. The crazy Qabbalism of his piece in the first Collapse indicates another line of flight - nobody wants to be that guy: the one who went too far, got too much into it, started believing in his own fantastifications. Whatever he is now, I doubt he's a fascist in any meaningful sense of the word...

Nick Land always struck me as one of those people who really wants to write like he's very deeply damaged by drugs but he's actually one of those types who couldn't or wouldn't really be bothered to go there. So the very strained attempt at amphetamine logic or drug dreams, in the form of numerology or goth prose or whatever, rings a little phony. It's like the way a repressed uptight academic always wants to be part of what seems a hip subculture, Leary-style.

Of course for all I know Land really is that guy. But I know tons of those guys, some of them all too well, many only recently crawled out of some hole in Berkeley, and it's really not so cute when they talk about conspiracy theories and the Greek gods being based on Nephilim in a real deadpan.

Thing is there's a very long tradition of something like "Landism" in U.S. letters-- I don't know how much credit he can really take--so Landism neither altogether autochthonic to Land nor is it that shocking to anybody anymore.

nomadthethird
26-12-2008, 10:28 PM
"Landism" is like Deleuze as read by an earnest 11-year-old boy who has an autistically extensive collection of comics and all kinds of energy to burn.

nomadthethird
26-12-2008, 11:01 PM
Virulent Nihilism can be downloaded here: http://www.mediafire.com/?mgdlpmu1txx

Now see I've always been partial to Bataille but I got about this far into the preface:

"Kant’s critical philosophy is the most elaborate fit of panic in the history of the Earth."

This kind of statement is why I'd rather be an anesthesiologist than a tenured professor.


where does modernism begin exactly? going by Walter Benjamin's definition (of modernism as a neural shock-response to urbanization), it starts with Baudelaire (early 1800's), passes to Rimbaud, Lautreamont, and the Symbolists (mid-late 19th C), then Jarry and the Decadents (Mirbaud, Huysmans; 1890's), and eventually into art (fauvism, cubism, Duchamp 1890-1910) and German expressionist poetry, German theatre (Strindberg), Ibsen, Joyce, Eliot, Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and the Dadaists (it exploded in the teens, even spilling into physics, music, and mathematics).

Did you read this in the Arcades Project...?

poetix
26-12-2008, 11:10 PM
"Landism" is like Deleuze as read by an earnest 11-year-old boy who has an autistically extensive collection of comics and all kinds of energy to burn.

TBH that seems to me to be the only way to get any sense out of Deleuze. Or at least no less valid a way than any of the others.

Agent Nucleus
26-12-2008, 11:16 PM
Did you read this in the Arcades Project...?


kind of- it's from his unpublished essays on Baudelaire and Edgar Alan Poe. They were written for the Arcades Project iirc, then altered and submitted to the Frankfurt School, which refused to publish them. Baudelaire = the flaneur, Poe = the detective. The essays are excellent. Benjamin imo is one of the most important 20th C literary critics, although that part of his body of work is often overlooked. A book was published recently with all the unpublished essays on Baudelaire. It's called "The Writer of Modern Life" if anyone is interested. Definitely worth reading- only 250 pages or so and Benjamin's style is really engaging.

I extended the lineage quite a bit based on what i've read in McLuhan (also a vastly underrated lit critic) and Theall. Susan Buck-Morss has written some excellent books/essays about Benjamin's treatment of neural shock and anesthesia you might be interested in. The essay "Aesthetics and Anaesthetics" is especially good: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2235789/-Susan-BuckMorss-Aesthetics-and-Anaesthetics-Walter-Benjamins-Artwork-Essay-Reconsidered-Susan-BuckMorss-October-Vol-62-Autumn-1992-pp-

nomadthethird
26-12-2008, 11:39 PM
TBH that seems to me to be the only way to get any sense out of Deleuze. Or at least no less valid a way than any of the others.

It's not that it doesn't make sense, it does. It's just unfortunate that at some point any/all "Deleuzian" readings of texts or anti-Oedipus tending scholarship became this sort of sad attempt by sane individuals to literally approximate schizophrenic thinking, and for some reason that I don't understand this version of schizophrenic thinking always takes on an aesthetic common to comic books and horror films (which I love, so I don't mind too much). For some reason the "lines of flight" always form an arrow that points straight to well-known, well-worn idioms rather than somewhere you'd never expect.

Comic books and horror films are based on an erotics of repression, adolescent fantasy, and scopophilia. Hardly what I think Deleuze had in mind when he thought of the best applications or goals for schizoanalysis.

Schizophrenics are interesting to D&G (esp G really) because the digital panopticon isn't mirrored in their psyches the way it is in, say, your average neurotic, there's no visual element to their sexuality that makes any sense to us, all of our efforts to reign them in and get them in line with the phallic order are bound to fail. This is why they're especially resistant to the economic powers that be, because they're much more polymorphous than the rest of us.

nomadthethird
27-12-2008, 12:34 AM
rein

nomadthethird
27-12-2008, 01:07 AM
kind of- it's from his unpublished essays on Baudelaire and Edgar Alan Poe. They were written for the Arcades Project iirc, then altered and submitted to the Frankfurt School, which refused to publish them. Baudelaire = the flaneur, Poe = the detective. The essays are excellent. Benjamin imo is one of the most important 20th C literary critics, although that part of his body of work is often overlooked. A book was published recently with all the unpublished essays on Baudelaire. It's called "The Writer of Modern Life" if anyone is interested. Definitely worth reading- only 250 pages or so and Benjamin's style is really engaging.

I extended the lineage quite a bit based on what i've read in McLuhan (also a vastly underrated lit critic) and Theall. Susan Buck-Morss has written some excellent books/essays about Benjamin's treatment of neural shock and anesthesia you might be interested in. The essay "Aesthetics and Anaesthetics" is especially good: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2235789/-Susan-BuckMorss-Aesthetics-and-Anaesthetics-Walter-Benjamins-Artwork-Essay-Reconsidered-Susan-BuckMorss-October-Vol-62-Autumn-1992-pp-


Yeah, I was probably assigned "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" a dozen times as an undergrad. I've always liked WB.

Thnx for the essay, sounds good.

I'm not sure that he'd count as a modernist, but for years Huysmans was my favorite symbolist and &#192; Rebours was my favorite novel (http://www.ibiblio.org/eldritch/jkh/rebours.html).

Agent Nucleus
27-12-2008, 01:59 AM
Des Esseintes ( i think that's his name) is one of my favorite lit figures. He's kind of the first literary dandy, kind of like de Quincey or the French aristocrat who wrote the first book about dandyism (hard name to recall). That whole fin-de-siecle idea of destroying yourself with excess has disappeared i think. It's unfortunate. Maybe hip hop portrays capitalism in that way. I wanted to be des Esseintes for a long time. never guilded any turtles, but i do have an aquarium full of artwork, a live scorpion and various Star Wars figure, so there you go.

Some people count Holderlin (1770-1843) as a proto-modernist. His late poetry is allegedly the product of schizophrenia (he's also considered one of the first diagnosed schizophrenics - this was based on a kind of sketchy theory i read about in a book called Madness and Modernism).But to me the whole lineage gets tangled when you throw in people like Holderlin, Laurence Sterne, de Sade, or even something like Noh theatre (Pound's translations of Noh plays are excellent). No one talks about creating a new aesthetic, or experimenting with new forms, in the modernist sense until Rimbaud and his proteges (Mallarme and the Symbolists, the German Expressionists, the Surrealists).

nomadthethird
27-12-2008, 03:13 AM
Hoelderlin is the one Heidegger was always talking about. I've never read anything outside of what Heidegger quoted.

I'd never have guessed he was schizophrenic, based on what I have read though.

vimothy
27-12-2008, 08:21 AM
apologies if my wording was imprecise

Er...

Your logic works like this:


Nick is brazen in his support for the war. Mere support, the implication is, would perhaps be acceptable, but brazen and unapologetic support is somehow fascistic.

Nick denounces "anyone involved in culture" (including by implication himself and quite obviously not fucking true).

Me: really? Is that what fascism is?

You: Well, no, but,


He was fired from Warwick.

He used to take drugs.

He writes for academic journals occasionally.

And WTF are you on about -- Non-existent books about Deleuze? You recommend everything he's ever written? He promotes net-centric warfare in the ME? You feel that he focuses on the occult too much?

vimothy
27-12-2008, 08:22 AM
"Landism" is like Deleuze as read by an earnest 11-year-old boy who has an autistically extensive collection of comics and all kinds of energy to burn.

Nomad, you are probably the most full of shit person I have ever come across.

Remember when -- on the basis of never having read him at all -- you were describing Nick "socialists should stick to what they know -- vapid cultural criticism and stuffing mass graves full of bodies" Land as a leftist?

vimothy
27-12-2008, 09:45 AM
Poetix's post upthread is OTM. Revealing that in it he speaks a language redolent of Nick -- I don't think this subculture, maybe even this forum, is conceivable without him (and yeah, "that is his crime; it is also his punishment").

luka
27-12-2008, 09:48 AM
well kpunk was very much an acolyte for some time and a lot of the theory people here come here through kpunk.

nomadthethird
27-12-2008, 09:49 PM
Nomad, you are probably the most full of shit person I have ever come across.

Remember when -- on the basis of never having read him at all -- you were describing Nick "socialists should stick to what they know -- vapid cultural criticism and stuffing mass graves full of bodies" Land as a leftist?

Did I ever say Nick Land was a "fascist"? Nope.

And you're right, thankfully, I have not read much Land. Thank fucking Christ.

Once in a discussion of Deleuze you posted some completely shitty article that was exceptionally ill-written by Nick Land and it was about how capitalism is great at accelerating deterritorialization. Which is funny, because if capitalism is great, why would you want to deterritorialize anything, I wonder.

What is obvious is that Land *was* a leftist and then apparently decided that capitalism is good.

To be frank I couldn't care less.

Can we move all discussions of "fascism" to the "fascism" thread?

Thanks.

nomadthethird
27-12-2008, 09:50 PM
poetix's post upthread is otm. Revealing that in it he speaks a language redolent of nick -- i don't think this subculture, maybe even this forum, is conceivable without him (and yeah, "that is his crime; it is also his punishment").

roffle.

nomadthethird
27-12-2008, 09:55 PM
Nick "socialists should stick to what they know -- vapid cultural criticism and stuffing mass graves full of bodies" Land as a leftist?

Nick "my writing blows, I recycle ideas that have been around for years and years and pretend they're shocking and fresh, I have nothing to say so I try to be outre by, GASP, sticking up for capitalists, who have never, ever, not once, hurt, maimed, or killed anyone" Land

nomadthethird
27-12-2008, 09:56 PM
The essay "Aesthetics and Anaesthetics" is especially good: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2235789/-Susan-BuckMorss-Aesthetics-and-Anaesthetics-Walter-Benjamins-Artwork-Essay-Reconsidered-Susan-BuckMorss-October-Vol-62-Autumn-1992-pp-

Agent, this was really good. I kept trying to download it then realized I no longer have access to Jstore :(

nomadthethird
27-12-2008, 10:59 PM
Agent, this was really good. I kept trying to download it then realized I no longer have access to Jstore :(

I take that back, it downloaded fine on another computer.


Whereas surgeons earlier had to train themselves to repress empathic identification with the suffering patient, now they had only to confront an inert, insensate mass that they could tinker with without emotional involvement.

These developments entailed a cultural transformation of medicine-and of the discourse of the body generally-as is exemplified clearly in the case of limb amputations. In 1639, the British naval surgeon John Woodall advised prayer before the "lamentable" surgery of amputation: "For it is no small presumption to Dismember the Image of God."4 In 1806 (the era of Charles Bell), the surgeon's attitude evoked Enlightenment themes of Stoicism, the glorification of reason, and the sanctity of individual life. But with the introduction of general anaesthesia, the American Journal of Medical Sciences could report in 1852 that it was "very gratifying to the operator and to the spectators that the patient lies a tranquil, passive subject, instead of struggling and perhaps uttering piteous cries and moans, while the knife is at work."5 The control provided to the surgeon by a "tranquilly pliant" patient allowed the operation to proceed with unprecedented technical thoroughness and "all convenient deliberation."6

This parallel Buck-Morss draws between the original meaning of aisthitikos (as bodily enjoyment) and the advances in surgical techniques contemporary to Benjamin's writings on the subject is unexpected.

Part of the reason it's better to operate on a patient who is under anesthesia (U.S. spelling) is because it's less risky (easier to make precise incisions, lower heart rate and blood pressure make excessive bleeding less likely, etc), though, not because it's easier from the standpoint of squeamish surgeons.

Tentative Andy
28-12-2008, 02:30 AM
Hmmm.... been wanting to comment on this one for a few days, but not been able to get the right words together. Basically, in terms of artistic production I'm a firm supporter of the 'changing same' model and think that's what we should be directing ourselves towards. Will try and flesh this out a bit tmr when I'm feeling less tired.

sub-rosa
28-12-2008, 08:13 AM
much-mutated, variant of the Landian mind-virus, having failed to contract it in the antiseptic confines of the UCP Marjon library: it's all over the place now.

True.

I finished Ray Brassier's difficult book a few days ago and noticed Land's influence throughout the book. But I don't think that either Brassier or Negarastani's political and philosophical projects are Landian. The whole thing looks more like a mutual influence between writers with similar interests than a direct/authentic influence of one person over other writers, but nevertheless Land has been a key figure in luring these people and assembling a diverse movement (of course if you can call it a movement). For example, Brassier's Speculative Realism reads like Land's philosophy of libidinal materialism minus the pleasure principle, but when you read the speculative realist texts carefully, they are not really commensurable with Land's views. Also Negarastani's cyclonopedia has themes which sometimes look Landian or even speculative realist, but I think they are very different/mutated. I am not sure but I think Reza's works are more about a non-consensus reading of Deleuze, more or less like Peter Hallward but very very different in approach, style and conclusions.

Anyway, has anyone read Land's Shanghai book?

Agent Nucleus
28-12-2008, 08:25 AM
Er...

Your logic works like this:


Nick is brazen in his support for the war. Mere support, the implication is, would perhaps be acceptable, but brazen and unapologetic support is somehow fascistic.

Nick denounces "anyone involved in culture" (including by implication himself and quite obviously not fucking true).

Me: really? Is that what fascism is?

You: Well, no, but,


He was fired from Warwick.

He used to take drugs.

He writes for academic journals occasionally.

And WTF are you on about -- Non-existent books about Deleuze? You recommend everything he's ever written? He promotes net-centric warfare in the ME? You feel that he focuses on the occult too much?

the thrust of the second group of points you list there, which was in my response, was that Land's real motivation for his disparaging remarks about academia (which i believe you brought up) and art (and the left for that matter: anyone against the Iraq war, globalization, conservatism, etc.) had more to do with his pariah status than any real ideological, carefully thought-out position. But that is all speculation on my part. I'm not sure what Land has to do with modernism, or how we ended up in this cul-de-sac, and i'm not going back to retrace the steps. it's embarrasing. for me at least.

I know Land personally from a set of conversations that took place from 2004-07. I never said he took his fascism seriously. And Land was definitely a leftist before, say, 2005. If i have to i'll link the Hyperstition conversations he had with Reza and northanger about Fox News. Pretty funny stuff actually.

nomadthethird
28-12-2008, 06:43 PM
The whole thing looks more like a mutual influence between writers with similar interests than a direct/authentic influence of one person over other writers, but nevertheless Land has been a key figure in luring these people and assembling a diverse movement (of course if you can call it a movement). For example, Brassier's Speculative Realism reads like Land's philosophy of libidinal materialism minus the pleasure principle, but when you read the speculative realist texts carefully, they are not really commensurable with Land's views. Also Negarastani's cyclonopedia has themes which sometimes look Landian or even speculative realist, but I think they are very different/mutated. I am not sure but I think Reza's works are more about a non-consensus reading of Deleuze, more or less like Peter Hallward but very very different in approach, style and conclusions.

Anyway, has anyone read Land's Shanghai book?

I agree...based on what I know of this, since I have not read Brassier. (Where should I start?)

Personally, I would look to Burroughs, and before him Bataille/Genet/Mirbeau/etc, and even Borges, or Calvino (Invisible Cities and Cosmicomics Calvino--I think we've been over this before) as the ultimate literary influences on Cyclonopedia.

It's more a case of a literary pantheon some writers have in common with Land than it is Landianism.

If someone crosses out about two-thirds of the adverbs for me, I'd read Land's Shanghai book. ;)

nomadthethird
28-12-2008, 06:44 PM
If i have to i'll link the Hyperstition conversations he had with Reza and northanger about Fox News. Pretty funny stuff actually.

Ha. Now this I'd like to read.

Tentative Andy
29-12-2008, 12:07 AM
Hmmm.... been wanting to comment on this one for a few days, but not been able to get the right words together. Basically, in terms of artistic production I'm a firm supporter of the 'changing same' model and think that's what we should be directing ourselves towards. Will try and flesh this out a bit tmr when I'm feeling less tired.

Well ok, I suppose what I was getting at is something like this:
First of all, I can certainly empathise with what motivates the desire, expressed here and elsewhere, for a return to the principles of modernism - the feeling seems to be a deep sense of being fed up with the arts becoming a space of postmodern 'playing around', just putting together ironic montages of previously existing styles. (Even here though, I think it's worth remembering that as a philosophical position, postmodernism has more or less been discredited over the last few years, so I reckon Zizek's riff about "libidinal attachment to their adversaries" might well apply to the people still treating it like public enemy no. 1. But I take the point that artistic practice has lagged behind intellectual changes, and that esp in music, a lot of the stuff that's popular is very self-referential and lacking in real conviction).
But, when it comes to what we think should replace the current situation, I can't really agree that a return to the modernist guiding principles is what is require. Now of course, I love a great deal of art that was made during the modernist period, especially modernist literature. But I don't think that this is what is really at stake; people don't want a straightforward revival of modernism as artistic style (which would be a pretty paradoxical idea I guess), they want a return to the abstract 'modernist ethos'. And it's precisely this ethos that I have a lot of problems with - at least the element of modernist theory, very much in favour with those trying to revive it, which centres on notions of Year Zero/Make It New/The Past Does Not Exist etc etc. (If you need me to name names here btw, I'd say Mr K-Punk is one of the worst offenders I'm aware of, although also Reyonolds, much as I love him, certainly falls into the trap from time to time). I really cannot agree with this sort of idea, because it ultimately relies on views about the nature of artistic production that I just don't agree with; ignoring the ways in which any work of art always relies on the influence of previous works and the context of contemporous artistic practices, this view, whether it likes or not, perpetuates the idea of art as the spontaneous outpourings of isolated individual geniuses. It also seems to involve an oversimplified view of constitutes human progress, assuming that whatver is new deserves to be valued simply because it is new, and that conversly what is old must be bad because it is old. At the very least, I think such a view needs to be justified.

Hmmm, reading all that, it still feels clumsily phrase, and far too long. But hopefully the basic gist comes across.

Slothrop
29-12-2008, 03:13 AM
The relationship between art/culture and an "elite" is obviously problematic and it's impossible to use these words as if it's not.

But doesn't it seem that modernism was not particularly conducive to blasting through false consciousness or institutional classism, especially in its emphasis on "high culture"?
Avant-gardism as an intrinsically political stance seems to be rather stuck in the 19th century. Radical art as an assault on bourgeois culture to relies rather on the fact that your radical art will tend to be hard for bourgeois cultural consumers to avoid because the means of distribution are limited and avant-gardists are in control of some of them. Given large scale consumer capitalism, though, it becomes too easy for people to just ignore anything that assaults their value system or whatever, and the radical modernists tend to end up stuck in a little self-congratulating clique that noone in the outside world pays much attention to.

I guess this is part of the reason that people are interested in public architecture as a venue for high-cultural modernism - it's one of the few areas that are actually unavoidable.

I suspect that this ties into a wider thread of elitism in leftism which could be interesting to develop at some point...

Mr. Tea
29-12-2008, 06:47 PM
Most of the art theory chat in this thread has gone over my head, but I have to say that the idea of 'reviving modernism' has an unavoidably comic tinge to me.

nomadthethird
29-12-2008, 06:55 PM
Avant-gardism as an intrinsically political stance seems to be rather stuck in the 19th century. Radical art as an assault on bourgeois culture to relies rather on the fact that your radical art will tend to be hard for bourgeois cultural consumers to avoid because the means of distribution are limited and avant-gardists are in control of some of them. Given large scale consumer capitalism, though, it becomes too easy for people to just ignore anything that assaults their value system or whatever, and the radical modernists tend to end up stuck in a little self-congratulating clique that noone in the outside world pays much attention to.

I guess this is part of the reason that people are interested in public architecture as a venue for high-cultural modernism - it's one of the few areas that are actually unavoidable.

I suspect that this ties into a wider thread of elitism in leftism which could be interesting to develop at some point...

Good points. I would only add that the Almighty State and its obligations to the poor seems to be a factor in the "public space" fetish.

nomadthethird
29-12-2008, 07:08 PM
That Brassier book is 70 dollars with shipping. I checked the online database earlier this year and it's not at the library either.

Are there free essays somewhere or something?

nomadthethird
07-01-2009, 12:16 AM
Just got a book called We Have Never Been Modern by Bruno Latour whom I've been meaning to read for a while now. Won't have time to read it until this weekend but it looks pretty good.

Agent Nucleus
07-01-2009, 12:41 AM
"Just got a book called We Have Never Been Modern by Bruno Latour"

i hear that's a good one. the book i'm reading now is worth checking out as well. It's called "Given: One Degree Art, 2 Degrees Crime". Not sure if i mentioned it before. Jean-Michel Rabate is one of the leading Lacanian critics in the world (more regarded in Lacan circles than Zizek, in some cases) and he edits the Journal of Modern Literature. "One Degree" is about the Black Dahlia murder, crime-scene photographs, Duchamp's "Etant donnes", Benjamin, Poe, de Sade, Lautreamont, Stirner, and Man Ray, among other things. Duchamp liked Pop Art and postmodernism in general, apparently. His last work is about tabloid photographs, exploitive media, etc.

The Dadaists were one example of a modernist group that didn't consider themselves "Modern" at all. Duchamp has a quote in the same book to that effect: ie the "modern" state of consciousness isn't limited to moderns - you can see traces of it in tribal art, music, poetry, social patterns, etc.

nomadthethird
07-01-2009, 12:45 AM
"Just got a book called We Have Never Been Modern by Bruno Latour"

i hear that's a good one. the book i'm reading now is worth looking into as well: "Given: One Degree Art, 2 Degrees Crime" by Jean-Michel Rabate. Not sure if i mentioned it before. Rabate is one of the leading Lacanian critics in the world (more regarded in hardcore Lacan circles than Zizek) and he edits the Journal of Modern Literature. The Dadaists were one example of a modernist group that didn't consider themselves "Modern" at all. The Rabate book is about the Black Dahlia murder, crime-scene photographs, Duchamp's "Etant donnes", Benjamin, Poe, de Sade, Lautreamont, Stirner, and Man Ray among other things. Duchamp liked Pop Art and postmodernism in general, apparently. His last work is about tabloid photographs, exploitive media, etc.

Sounds great... did you see that Brian de Palma Black Dahlia weird noirish movie ?

Agent Nucleus
08-01-2009, 08:34 AM
Sounds great... did you see that Brian de Palma Black Dahlia weird noirish movie ?

i haven't seen that actually - i remember the previews, i think josh hartnett and maybe scarlett johansen (sp) are in it. de palma is a great director. ofc i loved Scarface and Carlito's Way. it would be interesting to see how he handles the crime-noir genre.

if i were making the film, it would focus on the connection with the avant-garde artists, and it would bring in a lot of horror-noir elements, a lot of pynchonian conspiracy weirdness, and maybe some science fiction (aliens!!)

george hodel (who probably killed Elisabeth Short, and was tight with Man Ray) was a disturbing psych profile to say the least. he graduated from Cal Tech at 16, worked for many years at the Hollywood venereal/STD clinic, and hosted coke-fueled orgies at his palatial Hollywood estate. Man Ray took nude photographs of his 14 year old daughter. yeah.

btw have you read zizek's book Violence? it was released last year i think. i haven't gotten around to it.

crackerjack
08-01-2009, 11:19 AM
i haven't seen that actually - i remember the previews, i think josh hartnett and maybe scarlett johansen (sp) are in it. de palma is a great director. ofc i loved Scarface and Carlito's Way. it would be interesting to see how he handles the crime-noir genre.

Agh, I can't speak for the modernist perspective, but from the movie one, that film is fucking minging, easily one of the worst I've seen this decade. Boring, badly acted (it was at this point I realised that, tragically, Scarlett just isn't up to it), suffocatingly shot, poorly scripted and just 99 shades of rubbish.

(Carlito's Way was good tho)

nomadthethird
08-01-2009, 03:54 PM
Agh, I can't speak for the modernist perspective, but from the movie one, that film is fucking minging, easily one of the worst I've seen this decade. Boring, badly acted (it was at this point I realised that, tragically, Scarlett just isn't up to it), suffocatingly shot, poorly scripted and just 99 shades of rubbish.


I never go to the theater to see movies really but I went to see that and I was so disappointed--were it not for the unintentional hilarity of many scenes I would have left.

Scarlett Johanssen wasn't even the worst part, in my mind... and I realized Scarlett wasn't up to it way back when she was in that Woody Allen film with Jude Law.

crackerjack
08-01-2009, 04:16 PM
Scarlett Johanssen wasn't even the worst part, in my mind... and I realized Scarlett wasn't up to it way back when she was in that Woody Allen film with Jude Law.

You went to see a Woody Allen film with Jude Law? Good grief, was it a university project or a hot date?

nomadthethird
08-01-2009, 04:23 PM
You went to see a Woody Allen film with Jude Law? Good grief, was it a university project or a hot date?

Haha. I really can't remember to be honest.

I do have a knack for picking the absolute worst movies to see, like Cold Mountain, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (both of which I walked out on)...I can't remember what I was thinking then, either.

Sometimes shitty movies are more fun to see than good ones but please for the love of God and yourself do not let yourself be conned into seeing Cold Mountain under any circumstances.

nomadthethird
08-01-2009, 04:25 PM
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=wJovqI_pD4Q

nomadthethird
08-01-2009, 04:36 PM
i haven't seen that actually - i remember the previews, i think josh hartnett and maybe scarlett johansen (sp) are in it. de palma is a great director. ofc i loved Scarface and Carlito's Way. it would be interesting to see how he handles the crime-noir genre.

if i were making the film, it would focus on the connection with the avant-garde artists, and it would bring in a lot of horror-noir elements, a lot of pynchonian conspiracy weirdness, and maybe some science fiction (aliens!!)

george hodel (who probably killed Elisabeth Short, and was tight with Man Ray) was a disturbing psych profile to say the least. he graduated from Cal Tech at 16, worked for many years at the Hollywood venereal/STD clinic, and hosted coke-fueled orgies at his palatial Hollywood estate. Man Ray took nude photographs of his 14 year old daughter. yeah.

btw have you read zizek's book Violence? it was released last year i think. i haven't gotten around to it.

I've read so so many theories about who killed ES, but the most interesting one is Hodel, definitely.

I have read Violence, it's pretty short and readable...I think you'd like it. I was hoping for a Parallax View-length treatise but it focused on the objective/subjective violence distinction and the political effects of this way of thinking about violence (e.g. why is it more forgiveable that someone killed a few hundred Iraqi teenagers, I mean "insurgents", than it is when someone kills a couple of neighbors). The whole "overproximity of the Other"/my neighbor is ok so long as they're not really my neighbor-slash-I-don't-have-to-deal-with-them distinction figures prominently as well.

Agent Nucleus
08-01-2009, 06:41 PM
a friend of mine provided some additional notes on the BD murder:


A Glasgow smile- that is the name for when they slit your mouth open ear to ear like with BD. In the UK they would put a credit card in a guy's mouth to hold it open, then kick his balls so he screams and rips his mouth open even more (something to be addressed in my next Ugly World column)

the BD murder sounds like a Mafia job. I think Hodel had an accomplice in the Mafia (and other crime groups - he trafficked drugs at one point) but I can't remember the other guy's name. My guess is that he is the one responsible for the brutal aspects of the murder. Btw if you can find it look up the police transcription of the last words of Dutch Schultz, spoken while he was dying in a bathroom and recorded by a stenographer (something like that) is really interesting, it sounds like gibberish but he reveals all this information about the Mafia. i'm not sure if anyone has deciphered all of it:

(nm, here it is):


Statements made by Arthur (Dutch Schultz) Flegenheimer were taken down by a Newark police stenographer, F. J. Lang. A transcript of all he said follows:

(Schultz noticed newspaper and spoke) - Has it been in any other papers? George, don't make no full moves. What have you done with him? Oh, mama, mama, mama. Oh stop it, stop it; eh, oh, oh. Sure, sure, mama.
Now listen, Phil, fun is fun. Ah please, papa. What happened to the sixteen? Oh, oh, he done it, please. John, please, oh, did you buy the hotel? You promised a million sure. Get out. I wished I knew.
Please make it quick, fast and furious. Please. Fast and furious. Please help me get out; I am getting my wind back, thank God. Please, please, oh please. You will have to please tell him, you got no case.
You get ahead with the dot dash system didn't I speak that time last night. Whose number is that in your pocket book, Phi1 13780. Who was it? Oh- please, please. Reserve decision. Police, police, Henry and Frankie. Oh, oh, dog biscuits and when he is happy he doesn't get happy please, please to do this. Then Henry, Henry, Frankie you didn't even meet me. The glove will fit what I say oh, Kayiyi, oh Kayiyi. Sure who cares when you are through? How do you know this? How do you know this? Well, then oh, Cocoa know thinks he is a grandpa again. He is jumping around. No Hobo and Poboe I think he means the same thing.

Q. (from Sergeant Conlon) - Who shot you?

A.- The boss himself.

Q.- He did?

A.- Yes, I don't know.

Q.- What did he shoot you for?

A.- I showed him boss; did you hear him meet me? An appointment. Appeal stuck. All right, mother.

Q.- Was it the boss shot you?

A.- Who shot me? No one.

Q.- We will help you.

A.- Will you help me up? O.K. I won't be such a big creep. Oh, mama. I can't go through with it, please. Oh, and then he clips me; come on. Cut that out, we don't owe a nickel; hold it; instead, hold it against him; I am a pretty good pretzler -Winifred- Department of Justice. I even got it from the department. Sir, please stop it. Say listen the last night!

(Statement by Sergeant Conlon) - Don't holler.

A.- I don't want to holler.

Q.- What did they shoot you for?

A.- I don't know, sir. Honestly I don't. I don't even know who was with me, honestly. I was in the toilet and when I reached the -the boy came at me.

Q.- The big fellow gave it to you?

A.- Yes, he gave it to me.

Q.- Do you know who this big fellow was?

A.- No. If he wanted to break the ring no, please I get a month. They did it. Come on. (A name, not clear) cut me off and says you are not to be the beneficiary of this will. Is that right? I will be checked and double-checked and please pull for me. Will you pull? How many good ones and how many bad ones? Please I had nothing with him he was a cowboy in one of the seven days a week fight. No business; no hangout; no friends; nothing; just what you pick up and what you need. I don't know who shot me. Don't put anyone near this check~ you might have -please do it for me. Let me get up. heh? In the olden days they waited and they waited. Please give me a shot. It is from the factory. Sure, that is a bad. Well, oh good ahead that happens for trying. I don't want harmony. I want harmony. Oh, mamma, mamma! Who give it to him? Who give it to him? Let me in the district -fire-factory that he was nowhere near. It smoldered No, no. There are only ten of us and there ten million fighting somewhere of you, so get your onions up and we will throw up the truce flag. Oh, please let me up. Please shift me. Police are here. Communistic...strike...baloney...honestly this is a habit I get; sometimes I give it and sometimes I don't. Oh, I am all in. That settles it. Are you sure? Please let me get in and eat. Let him harass himself to you and then bother you. Please don't ask me to go there. I don't want to. I still don't want him in the path. It is no use to stage a riot. The sidewalk was in trouble and the bears were in trouble and I broke it up. Please put me in that room. Please keep him in control. My gilt edged stuff and those dirty rats have tuned in. Please mother, don't tear, don't rip; that is something that shouldn't be spoken about. Please get me up, my friends. Please, look out. The shooting is a bit wild, and that kind of shooting saved a man's life. No payrolls. No wells. No coupons. That would be entirely out. Pardon me, I forgot I am plaintiff and not defendant. Look out. Look out for him. Please. He owed me money; he owes everyone money. Why can't he just pullout and give me control? Please, mother, you pick me up now. Please, you know me. No. Don't you scare me. My friends and I think I do a better job. Police are looking for you allover. Be instrumental in letting us know. They are English-men and they are a type I don't know who is best, they or us. Oh, sir, get the doll a roofing. You can play jacks and girls do that with a soft ball and do tricks with it. I take all events into consideration. No. No. And it is no. It is confused and its says no. A boy has never wept nor dashed a thousand kim. Did you hear me?

Q. (By Detective) - Who shot you?

A.- I don't know.

Q.- How many shots were fired?

A.- I don't know.

Q.- How many?

A.- Two thousand. Come one, get some money in that treasury. We need it. Come on, please get it. I can't tell you to. That is not what you have in the book. Oh, please warden. What am I going to do for money? Please put me up on my feet at once. You are a hard boiled man. Did you hear me? I would hear it, the Circuit Court would hear it, and the Supreme Court might hear it. If that ain't the pay-off. Please crack down on the Chinaman's friends and Hitler's commander. I am sore and I am going up and I am going to give you honey if I can. Mother is the best bet and don't let Satan draw you too fast.

Q. (By Detective) - What did the big fellow shoot you for?

A.- Him? John? Over a million, five million dollars.

Q.- You want to get well, don't you?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Then lie quiet.

A.- Yes, I will lie quiet.

Q.- John shot and we will take care of John.

A.- That is what caused the trouble. Look out. Please let me up. If you do this, you can go on and jump right here in the lake. I know who they are. They are French people. All right. Look out, look out. Oh, my memory is gone. A work relief police. Who gets it? I don't know and I don't want to know, but look out. It can be traced. He changed for the worse. Please look out; my fortunes have changed and come back and went back since that. It was desperate. I am wobbly. You ain't got nothing on him but you got it on his helper.

Q. (By detective ) - Control yourself.

A.- But I am dying.

(Statemnt by detective) - No, you are not.

A.- Come on, mama. All right, dear, you have to get it.

At this point, Schultz's wife, Frances, was brought to his bedside. She spoke.

(Statement by Mrs. Schultz) - This is Frances.

Schultz began to talk again, saying:

Then pull me out. I am half crazy. They won't let me get up. They dyed my shoes. Open those shoes. Give me something. I am so sick. Give me some water, the only thing that I want. Open this up and break it so I can touch you. Danny, please get me in the car.

At this point Mrs. Schultz left the room.

(Sergeant Conlon questioned Schultz again) - Who shot you?

A.- I don't know. I didn't even get a look. I don't know who can have done it. Anybody. Kindly take my shoes off. (He was told that they were off.) No. There is a handcuff on them. The Baron says these things. I know what I am doing here with my collection of papers. It isn't worth a nickel to two guys like you or me but to a collector it is worth a fortune. It is priceless. I am going to turn it over to... Turn you back to me, please Henry. I am so sick now. The police are getting many complaints. Look out. I want that G-note. Look out for Jimmy Valentine for he is an old pal of mine. Come on, come on, Jim. Ok, ok, I am all through. Can't do another thing. Look out mamma, look out for her. You can't beat him. Police, mamma, Helen, mother, please take me out. I will settle the indictment. Come on, open the soap duckets. The chimney sweeps. Talk to the sword. Shut up, you got a big mouth! Please help me up, Henry. Max, come over here. French-Canadian bean soup. I want to pay. Let them leave me alone.

the Glasgow smile sounds like a Colombian necktie, only more brutal when you factor in the contents of the BD's stomach, the hacked up (eventually bisected) body and all that. Hodel was a Stirnerite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Stirner), like Duchamp. He read a lot of de Sade. Duchamp couldn't have been involved, but Rabate kind of speculates that Man Ray was, and that he was trying to impress Duchamp with his work of art. He idolized Duchamp.

UFO over easy
08-01-2009, 09:56 PM
I never go to the theater to see movies really but I went to see that and I was so disappointed--were it not for the unintentional hilarity of many scenes I would have left.

Scarlett Johanssen wasn't even the worst part, in my mind... and I realized Scarlett wasn't up to it way back when she was in that Woody Allen film with Jude Law.

do you mean matchpoint? i saw that. dont think jude law was in it but that guy Jonathan Rhys Meyers was...... :mad::mad::mad:

nomadthethird
09-01-2009, 03:41 AM
do you mean matchpoint? i saw that. dont think jude law was in it but that guy Jonathan Rhys Meyers was...... :mad::mad::mad:

You're right, it was so long ago now...thankfully...

nomadthethird
09-01-2009, 08:28 PM
a friend of mine provided some additional notes on the BD murder:



the BD murder sounds like a Mafia job. I think Hodel had an accomplice in the Mafia (and other crime groups - he trafficked drugs at one point) but I can't remember the other guy's name. My guess is that he is the one responsible for the brutal aspects of the murder. Btw if you can find it look up the police transcription of the last words of Dutch Schultz, spoken while he was dying in a bathroom and recorded by a stenographer (something like that) is really interesting, it sounds like gibberish but he reveals all this information about the Mafia. i'm not sure if anyone has deciphered all of it:

(nm, here it is):



The names sound important--like "Winifred" is obviously someone who gets paid off within the Department of Justice.

It almost sounds too "crazy" to be true, like someone pretending to be crazy, like Vinny Vincenz.

nomadthethird
10-01-2009, 09:27 PM
"Just got a book called We Have Never Been Modern by Bruno Latour"

i hear that's a good one.

It's very good, I highly recommend it. It's a little like a companion piece to Lyotard's Postmodern Condition...pretty incisive on the problems we have with "hybrids", and explaining things without explaining them away...

I think I might write something for your journal based on it and maybe some de Certeau (which I will have to re-read)...I just got Psyche: Inventions of the Other which has a really good essay in it called "The Retrait of Metaphor" that reminded me of the earlier Lacan discussion.

Agent Nucleus
11-01-2009, 08:54 PM
burroughs wrote a book/screenplay based on the police transcript - he uses the cut up technique to give the words new meanings, and rearranges/embellishes it with surreal narratives. That's why i posted it here - i think this is one of the first modernist "found poems" - it is comparable to Joyce, Beckett, Tzara, or Apollinaire in some respects. also it anticipates postmodernism (violence, madness, transparency, crime, tabloid journalism, etc etc). I can't think of any other examples of modernism fused with organized crime or the mafia excpt maybe James Ellroy.

Agent Nucleus
11-01-2009, 08:56 PM
It's very good, I highly recommend it. It's a little like a companion piece to Lyotard's Postmodern Condition...pretty incisive on the problems we have with "hybrids", and explaining things without explaining them away...

I think I might write something for your journal based on it and maybe some de Certeau (which I will have to re-read)...I just got Psyche: Inventions of the Other which has a really good essay in it called "The Retrait of Metaphor" that reminded me of the earlier Lacan discussion.

excellent i just started reading de certeau. i'll scan Seminar 23 (Le Sinthome) when i get access to a school computer.

Agent Nucleus
11-01-2009, 10:09 PM
I think I might write something for your journal based on it and maybe some de Certeau (which I will have to re-read)...I just got Psyche: Inventions of the Other which has a really good essay in it called "The Retrait of Metaphor" that reminded me of the earlier Lacan discussion.

a couple days ago a friend/colleague submitted an essay for the journal called "A New Form of Art for the 21st Century," which is about "crime scene-as-art," and focuses on "posers": serial killers who pose their victims in weird/artistic ways for the crime scene photographs (or forensic evidence). I haven't read Psyche but it sounds excellent. One of the Surrealist journals published Duchamp's notes to Given: 1 degree waterfall. I'm looking for them to do an analysis, or to recreate/re-imagine the crime scene. i think that's the point of shows like CSI and Law and Order: to see the crime taking place in our mind's eye. It's all about the 'ob-scene' and the censored object:


In 1943, Duchamp rented a studio on the top floor of a building located at 210 West 14th Street in New York City. While everyone believed that Duchamp had given up "art," he was secretly constructing this tableau, begun in 1946, which was not completed until 1966. The full title of the piece (in English) is: Given: 1 The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas. It consists of an old wooden door, bricks, velvet, twigs gathered by Duchamp on his walks in the park, leather stretched over a metal armature of a female form, glass, linoleum, an electric motor, etc. Duchamp prepared a "Manual of Instructions" in a 4-ring binder which explains and illustrates the process of assembling/disassembling the piece. (See Duchamp, Marcel. Manual of Instructions for Étant Donnés: 1º La Chute D'eau 2º Le Gaz D'éclairage..., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1987). It was not revealed to the public until July of 1969, (several months after Duchamp's death), when it was permanently installed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. No photographs of the interior of the piece or of the notebook of instructions were allowed to be published by the museum for at least 15 years.
The viewer of the piece first steps onto a mat in front of the door, which activates the lights, motor, etc., and then peers through two "peepholes" to view the construction behind the door. The voyeur strains, unsuccessfully, to see the "face" of the eerily realistic nude female form which lies supine on a bed of twigs, illuminated gas lamp in hand. In the distance, a sparkling waterfall shimmers, backlit by a flickering light, part of a realistically rendered landscape painting on glass.

nomadthethird
11-01-2009, 10:38 PM
a couple days ago a friend/colleague submitted an essay for the journal called "A New Form of Art for the 21st Century," which is about "crime scene-as-art," and focuses on "posers": serial killers who pose their victims in weird/artistic ways for the crime scene photographs (or forensic evidence). I haven't read Psyche but it sounds excellent. One of the Surrealist journals published Duchamp's notes to Given: 1 degree waterfall. I'm looking for them to do an analysis, or to recreate/re-imagine the crime scene. i think that's the point of shows like CSI and Law and Order: to see the crime taking place in our mind's eye. It's all about the 'ob-scene' and the censored object:

This sounds fantastic.

I've thought a lot about the current preoccupation with forensics but I'd never really thought about it in terms of the censored object.

I was thinking about challenging Latour's "we have never been modern" thesis with an analysis of modernity as a set of economic relations, where the twin mothers of modernism are industrialization and urbanism, using a metaphor of de Certeau's (the "city") or maybe Virilio's "vision machine"...

nomadthethird
11-01-2009, 10:43 PM
So, basically, the "modern" subject is the subject-under-surveillance, and what Virilio calls the 'industrialization of the image' is the product of both industrialization and "modern" urban planning...the earliest "modernist" was the flaneur, the walker through a city who was aware that his own image was industrialized, multiplied and captured everywhere, in the new urban industrial "city".

This is a pretty obvious point but as a counterpoint to the "we have never been modern" thesis about the modernist's inability to think time-relations except "historically" (and eurocentrically as/in terms of the "West"), it should get a little more interesting.

It also kind of fits into "paramodernism" insofar as paramodernism doesn't recognize the "postmodern" which I think is a term that has less and less credibility all the time...Latour definitely makes quick work of downplaying the minor distinction between "modernism" and "post-modernism"...