Radical media, politics and culture.


This article was originally published as a web exclusive for the excellent Mute Magazine at the following url.

The Return of Proletarian Post-Modernism Part II

Luther Blissett's recent best-seller, 'Q'

by Stewart Home

Q is an intricate historical novel by four Bolognan authors deploying the name of the inglorious footballer Luther Blissett. Stewart Home, a champion of 'multiple identities' who has also published under this name, detects in Q's cultural bricolage an ascending dialectical movement between rebellious practice and theory.

More than any other art form, even painting at the height of its ‘realist’ phase, the novel is tied to the rise of the bourgeois subject. It is for this very reason that fiction writing has tended to lag behind the other arts, and novels are nearly always ascribed to single authors. Indeed, that past master of bourgeois reaction, George Orwell, made books no longer being written by individuals one of the great horrors of his risible dystopia, 1984. In many arts, and only most obviously music and film, openly acknowledged collaboration is the norm and the ongoing weakness of the novel as a mode of cultural expression can be ascribed at least in part to its one-sided and pseudo-individualistic development. Well established writers tend to find it difficult to collaborate because they insist the stamp of their own style should be left on everything they touch, leading to disagreements and a lack of cohesion when they attempt to work in concert. When one or more collaborating writers find it either difficult or impossible to accept the revision by others of their contributions to a group project, it is each author’s weaknesses rather than their strengths that are multiplied. Innovative writers happily lacking a ready-made cultural reputation are in the fortunate position of being able to take a dispassionate view of those moribund artistic conventions rooted in the notion of style. Thus it comes as no surprise that the most successful recent example of a jointly effected anti-novel should be the work of ‘young unknowns’. The book is called Q and although it is attributed to Luther Blissett, the vigour of its anti-narrative is rooted in the fact that it emerged from the combined imaginations of four young upstarts who just happen to live in Bologna and scribble in their native Italian. The gulf between Q and most of the books currently dominating the bestseller list is the difference between masturbation and sex.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

Park Fiction presents:
Unlikely Encounters in Urban Space

International Congress and Exhibition of Park Fiction's Documenta 11 Installation
Congress: June 26 - 29, 2003 Exhibition: June 19 - July 6, Reeperbahn 1, Hamburg

One year after Documenta 11, Park Fiction's installation returns to Hamburg. For the first time, the installation will be shown in its place of origin, St. Pauli, on the Reeperbahn. The exhibition will be accompanied by an international congress: Unlikely Encounters (in urban space), with groups from Delhi/India, Tijuana/Mexico, La Plata/Argentina, Milan/Italy and Berlin/Munich/Hamburg.

Following a very successful launch earlier this year, the Journal for the

Academic Study of Magic (JSM), a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed print

publication, is seeking submissions for its second annual edition, to be

published in Spring 2004. Scholarly articles of up to 8000 words, written in

English, plus shorter book reviews (up to 800 words) and the like are

welcomed. We aim to cover all areas of magic, witchcraft, paganism etc; all

geographical regions and all historical periods, and we encourage articles

from postgraduates, tenured academics and freelance writers alike, using an

academic style.

Submissions should be prepared according to the MHRA style guide (5th

edition). Please see their printed style guide (available in libraries and

bookshops) or their website http://www.mhra.org.uk/index.html, plus our own

guideline pages at http://www.sasm.co.uk/journal.html and

http://www.sasm.co.uk/chklist.html for style and content details. In light

of the breadth of submissions we received for Issue 1, we welcome early,

BRIEF correspondence with authors to discuss intended articles and their

potential suitability for our journal- the above links also give guidelines

for subject areas, including some areas that we do not cover, so please

consult these first.

Submissions should be sent electronically to Dave Evans at

socacademicstudymagic@btopenworld.com as Rich Text Format email attachments,

including your name and brief title in the file name (for example

"JSmithModernFrenchWitchcraft.rtf" rather than "essay.rtf") . If you are

unable to send by email please use regular mail to: Dave Evans, Department

of Historical Studies, University of Bristol, 13 Woodland Road, Clifton,

Bristol, UK BS8 1AD. Please enclose an SAE or IRC if you require postal

acknowledgement of receipt, and if sending by regular mail please include

one copy of your article on disk (PC formatted only, and virus-checked

please!) and one print copy, with a covering letter.

Deadline: October 31st, 2003

Issue 1 of the journal, published by Mandrake of Oxford can be ordered from

the website http://www.sasm.co.uk/journal2.html via a secure credit card

server, or from any good bookshop quoting the references ISBN 1869928 679

and ISSN 1479-0750. Academic Institutions and Libraries can send an

official purchase order to Mandrake (whose regular mail address is to be

found on the above link) to be invoiced on delivery.

Please forward this text in its entirety to anyone you think may be

interested, or to suitable email forums, bulletin boards, newsgroups etc


Dave Evans and Alison Butler

General Editors, JSM

"Weapons for the Oppressed"

Bill Posters

Six machine guns and six hand guns cast in handmade
paper will be sent around the world to countries
including Chile, Ireland, Argentina, Italy, Indonesia,
USA, Brazil, Norway, Reunion Island Germany, England
and Holland. Each package will contain a with
compliments slip with the "facsimile weapon
without a firing-pin" referring to a statement by
Debord which refers to the appearance of radical
thought which perhaps inadvertently only supports the
dominant organisation of power.

"The Google AdWords Happening"

Christophe Bruno, April 2002

How to lose money with your art ?

At the beginning of April, a debate took place on rhizome.org mailing list, about how to earn money with net art. It suggested to me an answer to an easier problem : how to spend money with my art (if you understand everything on how to spend money, you should in principle understand also how to earn money, because of conservation laws...)

I decided to launch a happening on the web, consisting in a poetry advertisement campaign on Google AdWords . I opened an account for $5 and began to buy some keywords. For each keyword you can write a little ad and, instead of the usual ad, I decided to write little "poems", non-sensical or funny or a bit provocative.

I began with the keyword "symptom".

pirate greg writes:

"Dark Matter, Activist Art and the Counter-Public Sphere: MAVN Conference, and the Battles Lost"

Gregory G. Sholette

"The emphasis on the passive element in experience certainly does not claim to be a theory of knowledge? But it is certainly the preliminary condition of any theory of knowledge which is not content with verbalistic and illusory solutions."

Sebastiano Timpanaro(1)

"There is perhaps no current problem of greater importance to astrophysics and cosmology than that of "dark matter". The Center for Particle Astrophysics.(2)

What does one make of a conference entitled Marxism and Visual Arts Now in which examples of contemporary, visual art were all but absent and the few speakers who did address recent artistic practices hardly strayed from citing works and practices not already ensconced within the institutional art world?(3)

art up north writes:

A Cobra exhibition featuring a radical post-war arts movement currently on show in Manchester has already caused a stir in the UK national arts scene.

The fact that the Cobra exhibition has bucked the accepted norm by not going to London maybe causing some annoyance in the capital but can only be a good thing for Manchester art lovers.

Full story available at:
http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/entertainment/ar ts/stories/Detail_LinkStory=58306.html

jim submits:

"Music From the Left"

R. G. Davis

In Noise: The Political Economy of Music, Jacques Attali argues that musical innovations prefigure social developments. For those of us interested in effecting changes in society he offers this thought: "Any theory of power today must include a theory of the localization of noise and its endowment with form" (1985, xi).

The form of most folk and almost all jazz/pop music does not (cannot) even reflect industrial social relations as we know them, much less make a comment on them. Classical music, or music organized by a trained composer, art music, is more likely to produce an instructional metaphor (and form) with which to examine the foundations of corporate society. I think that the structure/form of a musical composition, no matter what the lyrics, influences the listener's thoughts about the world. The structure contains a view of the world which the listener reiterates in his/her personal musical repetition. The structure then becomes a metaphor for a view of the world.

Full story continues at Davis

On Wednesday, 6/4, THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND opens at Film Forum. It's a new
documentary that explores the rise and fall of the infamous American
radicals whose goal was to overthrow the U.S. government.

These days, many of us continue to fight capitalism and the actions of the
U.S. government both abroad and at home. This film is riveting-- as a piece
of filmmaking, an historical document and as a catalyst for discussion. THE
WEATHER UNDERGROUND presents portraits of young people who were compelled
"bring the war home." It raises myriad questions for us as activists and
global citizens.

Anonymous Comrade submits:

Essays into Digital Aesthetics

Interview with Anna Munster

by Geert Lovink

Anna Munster is one of Australia's distinguished media theorists. Besides
her critical writings she is also a digital artist. She works with digital
imaging and audio to make still, interactive and online work. Her work is
concerned with digital and baroque spaces and the placement of bodies within
these spaces. In 2000 she produced Wundernet
(http://wundernet.cofa.unsw.edu.au), a website on wonder, curiosity, the
digital and baroque, the topic of her PhD that she is currently turning into
a book provisionally titled Disturbing the Machine: Embodiment, Aesthetics
and Technology in the Time of the Digital. In 2002, while living in Sydney,
I became familiar with her probes into the terrain of digital aesthetics and
got inspired by her passion for new media arts. After studying philosophy
and digital aesthetics Anna Munster obtained a PhD in digital media theory
and production from the University of New South Wales. She has exhibited in
Australia, Japan, America and online, written for publications including
M/C, Photofile, Artlink, Australian Feminist Studies, and contributed to
various anthologies. She lectures in Digital Media Theory in the School of
Art History and Theory at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South
Wales (Sydney). Since 2002 Anna Munster is member the Fibreculture
facilitators group, the Australian network of new media artists and
researchers (www.fibreculture.org). She is currently working on a book
together with Elspeth Probyn, editing Body-to-Body: A Corporeal Reader. In
this interview we talk about the ins and out of digital aesthetics, the
arts-meets-science rhetoric and the economic reality of the digital dream.


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