Tag Archive: post-modernism

hours of post-modern fun! An automatic comunique generator, creating calls to arms (or uncalls to disarm) at every click of the refresh button! Release your inner derevolutionary!


In the construction of communes, we negate those who would have us give up the radical ecstasy of zones of indistinction which need no justification for the catastrophe of mobilization. What’s needed is not impotentiality, and even far less representation, but a putting-into-practice of singular rupture, a rejection in all forms of the logic of normalization. Confronted with those who refuse to recognize themselves in our orgies of negation, we offer neither criticism nor sympathy but only our contempt. This is a call to indifference, not an insistence on humanism.

The pathetic totality proposed to us is like a bad joke, and instead of laughter we respond with social war. Every c-clamped pushbar is a refusal to organize, a blow against the being of liberalism, a recognition of the inoperative structure inherent in the articulation of zones of offensive capacity. We must destroy all absence—in secret. It is necessary to commence absolutely; not to dream of new ways to negotiate, but to make manifest the subterranean multiplicities in the heart of each smashed window.

via utopia or bust


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Books! Like a feverdream; nebulous, ethereal. Soaked in sweat and bittersweet regret. Why can’t i just go straight from thinking about reading them to holding them in my hands? Why must I wait?

From Dangerous Minds:

A Situationist critique of our current Internet culture, The Reality Overload suggests that we are imagination-impoverished, lost in the endless distraction and meaninglessness of electronic media. That critique has been made before, but linking it to the degradation of the material world is a stroke of genius. What we think, of course, creates the reality we live in. And we tend to think we’re going to get on Facebook after we’re done watching CSI.

Recently I was reading about the Inklings, the discussion group that spawned C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, who would gather in a pub and create fantasy worlds out of the air. Is there any room for this kind of sustained imagination in our world? Hell, even kids these days are playing World of Warcraft instead of Dungeons and Dragons, let alone coming up with their own fantasy worlds. A tailspin of mental stultification… when you have all the information and entertainment you could ever need, the parts of the brain needed for creating those things out of nothing tend to atrophy. Diminishing returns…

An excellent book that makes a much-needed connection. Imagine a world in which we “green” the realm of meaning and fantasy in addition to just the material world!

From the jacket copy:

What underlies the many problems of the modern world—from accelerating rates of extinction and desertification to the increased alienation of the individual—is a reality overload, an increasingly invasive mechanization and homogenization of modern life that glorifies consumption and conformity. This overload has been created from the constant force-feeding of too much information, a phenomenon that dispossesses us of our deepest connections to time, our physical world, and each other.

Annie Le Brun explains that the degradation of the environment mirrors the devastation going on in our minds revealing a link between genetically modified foods and the transformation and decay of our language and communication. There is a direct relationship between the rupture of the great biological balances that govern the planet and the equally devastating rupture in our imaginal realm. The imaginal realm is the home of our dreams and the perceptions that feed our thoughts, individuality, and creativity. Without its influence we are forced to live a drab, alienated lifestyle based on consumption alone. If, as Shakespeare claims, “we are such stuff as dreams are made on,” this theft of our imagination by the reality overload threatens the very foundations of our existence.

After a little digging I managed to find an excerpt:


Concrete Dematerialization

The worldwide success of Disneyland shows that this takeover by force is well on the way to succeeding. For it is not only our personal relationship to time and space being manipulated here. It is our age-old power to deny either one in the name of the marvelous that finds itself literally petrified. Reducing the world of fairy tales to the most banal three-dimensional reality is a tragedy comparable to the devastation of the huge forests. For this reason, it is not enough to bemoan this paving over of the marvelous without taking stock of the consequences. If the world’s oxygen supply is dependent upon the size of its forests, and if the devastation of the mental forest is equivalent to the devastation of the actual forests, what dream will still give us sustenance when we find ourselves invited to witness their systematic destruction?
All the more so when we can reckon less and less with historical monuments, while the addition of elements possessing only a vague relationship to the whole eventually destroys the sensorial whole they continue to form, even in a ruined state. This is the point when concrete dematerialization, paradoxically reiterated with the construction of these hybrids, rises up as a bulwark against the imagination.
In fact, by being neither false nor authentic, these revised and corrected historic monuments are given complete license to impose themselves by the substitutive mass of what they are not, until they totally obstruct the imaginary perspective. All the more so because, lacking reference to any tangible event, their solid presence rarely fails to provoke a new kind of bewilderment. A bewilderment that is inevitably reminiscent of what is engendered by the “nonplaces” of excessive modernism: airports, parking lots, commercial complexes, and the like, although it is from their reality overload, empty of any meaning exceeding their casual roles, that these constructions draw their power to confound. For here we have monuments whose characteristic is to deny the implicit reference of every spatial construction to the human body, long “conceived as a portion of space with its frontiers, vital centers, defenses and weaknesses, strong points, and defects.”1 Here we have monuments only reflecting a single functionality, by definition concealing the physical and psychic integrity of their users. Despite appearances, the same is true for so-called historic monuments where, one substitution upon another, the temporal dimension as a concretion of individual and collective life is conjured away, and where the concrete dematerialization of what had created profound meaning ends up producing places reduced to the status of empty décors.

Should it be so astonishing, then, that the emergence of the discourse on the famous “places of memory” that allegedly speak “to our contemporaries about who they are by showing them who they are no longer,” as Pierre Nora put it, has coincided with the multiplication of these “nonplaces” with historical pretensions, which, by manhandling the awareness of times past as well as that of current events, deceives us as much about who we no longer are as about who we are not yet? Every individual’s sensorial landscape is struck by this kind of degradation, which is equivalent to the destruction afflicting our forests, rivers, and shores.
But what else could we expect of a time whose aesthetic plan is commingled with a pleonasm doomed to reproduce itself until it no longer resembles itself ? This is especially true when the resulting proliferation of hybrids illustrates the sole mode of representation of a time that, incapable of rejecting it, is condemned to an infinite “restoration-reproduction- recreation” of its bodies and ideas.


The virtual or Duplicated world

Of course, when confronted with such a grim picture, many will raise the objection of the virtual, its “virtues” and its “vertigoes.” Its proponents will also not neglect to remind us that the word derives from the Latin virtus, meaning strength, energy, even the vital impulse, but also that “the virtus acts fundamentally. It is simultaneously the initial cause by virtue of which the effect exists and the reason why the cause remains virtually present in the effect. Thus the virtual is neither unreal nor potential. The virtual is within the order of reality.”1
Absolutely, no question, certainly, and without a doubt. For this reason it is high time we realized that there is nothing separating the reality overload from the virtual, as we might think. Novalis can help us here with his observation: “One usually understands the artistic better than the natural. There is more spirit in the simple than in the complicated, but less talent.”2 This statement may well be of a nature to explain the stupefying facility with which, in hardly ten years, the virtual has gradually taken the place of the imaginary. Or at least how, in such a short while, we have been convinced that the modernity of the former can advantageously replace an imagination grown obsolete. To wit, that the virtual is not at all the negation of reality as everything prompts us to believe, but corresponds rather to the victory of the reality overload, one that endlessly overflows the real to achieve victory by objectifying the space of what does not exist on a daily basis.
In other words, parallel to the current promotion of a culture that is leading to the liquidation of culture, the emergence of the virtual is slowly but surely leading us to the liquidation of the imaginary.

A strange kind of violence has been set to work to reach this point. Comparable in its results to the brutality employed, one substitution after another, by concrete dematerialization, which is affecting all appearances today, the characteristic feature of this violence is to never show itself in broad daylight. It achieves its goals in the depths of our sensibility, taking over the obscure theater where, just a short time past, perception and representation confronted each other….

Dangerous Minds | Annie Le Brun: The Reality Overload.

extract found here

“When I woke up this morning after watching Avatar for the first time yesterday, the world seemed … gray. It was like my whole life, everything I’ve done and worked for, lost its meaning,” Hill wrote on the forum. “It just seems so … meaningless. I still don’t really see any reason to keep … doing things at all. I live in a dying world.”

You really gotta read the whole article. Could this be anymore cyberpunk? It’s all over people, it’s all over.

Audiences experience ‘Avatar’ blues – CNN.com.

My first experience of lady gaga was to have each of her singles pumelled into my head repeatedly and without mercy by my gf’s son. Naturally, my reaction was on of revoltion, as it often is when i am pummelled by any kind of music over and over again. Since that time, however, having managed to attain some degree of objectivity on the matter, I have decided that Lady GaGa is a good thing for pop music. My gf pointed out, quite astutely, that her fashion sense, subject matter and style share quite a few parallels with one Marilyn Manson. GaGa, however, operates strictly within the bubble that is pop whilst Manson operated in the fringes.


We know what expensive, scarce music means – each acquisition weighed, each record absorbed and explored. And we’ve learned what free music means – great playpen-libraries of MP3s, a giddy near-omniscience for listeners. What we don’t know yet is what cheap music might mean: what happens when a song is worth less than a Pot Noodle.

It might mean nothing. Of the people reading this column over breakfast, vastly more are eating Corn Flakes than Grape-Nuts. That’s a fact about what’s popular but there’s nothing at stake in it. It’s just people deciding to eat Corn Flakes. Maybe if you are eating Grape-Nuts you’re feeling pretty smart and individual right now, but I’d bet against it.

Music might have become Corn-Flakified – “hits” being nothing more than random eddies of local preference. The last few weeks, though, have suggested a couple of ways in which popularity might mean something. In the Rage Against the Machine v X Factor battle, both sides held a deep belief that buying a single was a valuable gesture, whether in celebration of a TV show or in protest against it. Following this logic and popularity is a matter of social media whim and point-scoring.

But then you have Lady Gaga, who has responded to the resurgence in singles by making one – Bad Romance – that feels like an event. It prowls and preens and then breaks down to howl, “I don’t want to be friends!” Such a single takes its own cheapness as an opportunity: it’s hungry for your conversation as well as your pennies. Bad Romance waited out the Rage and Joe pantomime and returned to No 1, the first of a new decade. And if this decade does find singles back on centre stage, I think more of them will need to demand our attention as absurdly and marvellously as it does.

Tom Ewing | What does the return of the single mean for music? | Music | The Guardian.

via < <a href=”http://freakytrigger.co.uk/ft/2010/01/the-dark-matter-of-pop/&#8221; target=new>here</a> >, the group blog the author of the article posts to, where there is more interesting discussion in matters of pop music.

Over at the Only a Game blog the philisophical conundrum of what denotes the real, the virtual and the fictional is placed under the microscope.  Note the intersections between the three and where and how the imagination comes into play.


Real denotes what corresponds to the imminent world of existence (the imminent frame, in Charles Taylor’s memorable term). Thus only what can be measured and tested qualifies as real in the terms of this system. Gold is a real commodity, gravity is a real phenomenon, Chris Bateman is a real person.

Virtual denotes that which has the influence of real entities while lacking the usual status in the imminent frame. Thus anything which is as influential as the real but which is not part of the imminent frame as it is usually conceived qualifies as virtual. Money is a virtual commodity, inflation is a virtual phenomenon, a videogame avatar is a virtual person.

Fictional denotes that which resembles the imminent world of existence to some degree, yet is known to be imaginary. Following Kendall Walton, I shall say that anything which serves to prescribe imaginings is fictional – a film, a book, a play, a song, a painting are all props used in a game of make-believe, and the imaginings that occur in such a game are fictional. (A detailed account of Walton’s system follows later this year). Mithril is a fictional commodity, warp speed is a fictional phenomenon, Hamlet is a fictional person.

Follow the link down the rabbit hole and give your reality tunnel and synapses a good vireal workout!

Only a Game: Virtual, Fictional and Real.

How great a title for an essay is that?!? I found it in the footnotes of the wikipedia page on ‘Gravity’s rainbow’. I haven’t read it all yet, it’s ten pages long, but I shall be and wanted to share it with you fine fine people.

The essay concerns itself specifically with Gravity’s raindow and Naked Lunch, the latter being amongst my favourite books. I consider William Burroughs a key influence on my writing and thinking and have struggled to keep that beast at bay lest it leap onto the page and make it seem like I am nothing but a pale facsimilie 😉


Among all the forms of mental extremity, paranoia and schizophrenia seem to be dominant in North American metafiction. The word and the concept of paranoia are among the most controversial in the history of psychoanalysis.
Although etymologically paranoia means madness or disorder of the mind, J. Laplanche and J. B. Pontalis define it as a
“chronic psychosis characterized by more or less systematized delusion, with a predominance of ideas of reference but with no weakening of the intellect [ … ]. Along with delusions of persecution, Freud places erotomania, delusional jealousy and delusions of grandeur under the heading of paranoia” (296). It is important to stress that unlike schizophrenia, whose fundamental symptom is Spaltung (“dissociation,” “splitting”) and whose typical characteristics include incoherence of thought, action and affection, paranoia is not accompanied by intellectual deterioration (Laplanche and Pontalis 298-9; 409). What is more, the paranoid’s frenzied production of references and connections could result in an uncontrolled acceleration of the intellect.

From the point of view of the psychoanalytic establishment, this form of hyper-consciousness leads to a psychotic discourse; in literature it is used by writers, among other techniques, to convey a visionary and prophetic tone in their narratives. However, it is not difficult to find both forms of psychosis in the same work. Indeed, they may also coexist in real life, a circumstance to which Kraepelin and Freud refer using the term “paraphrenia” (Laplanche and Pontalis 299).
In contemporary US metafiction it is common to find paranoid narrative voices describing plots and confabulations. The victims of this universal aggression typically are characters who face mental dissociation or disintegration. These personages populate a universe characterized by what Fredric Jameson considers the psychopathology of “the age of corporate capitalism,” an age controlled by multinational corporations and state bureaucracies, where the “older bourgeois individual [unified] subject no longer exists”

link to PDF version

link to google auto-generated html version

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