Anish Kapoor's neo-Eiffel, red Tatlin tower design for Olympic public art money dump was chosen. Apparently, it would have boggled the Romans. All well and good, as large things on which to climb up and look around remain one of the more useful public space constructions, one of the things still capable of a bit of wow factor and the chance to make different, temporary avian sense of where you live. (Even if it was birthed from a furtive, ultra-rich strangers in the World Economic Forum night: "The structure will officially be called the ArcelorMittal Orbit, after steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, the richest man in Europe, who is funding it. Johnson said that if he and Mittal had not bumped into each other in a Davos cloakroom "we would not be where we are today".)
But it certainly makes one think: what would it look like to scale up another one of Kapoor's projects? May I suggest "Shooting into the Corner"? Imagine the Olympic Park dominated by frozen blood-looking melted wax, scattered and spattered everywhere, raining softly from the cannon as it softly thwumps! its load toward heaven and down onto the city...
J Smith has finally quit putting off the inevitable and has started a blog: My First Big-Character Poster. Which, in his case, is sure to feature - as it's already started to - a near infinite series of détourned versions of the prendiamoci la citta! (take over the city!) formulations, and a barely contained excitement at hordes and swarms. Which is always a good thing.
Over at Mute, my piece on the "occupation movement": finance, communisation, exceeding the categories of success and failure, experiments in opacity, and ghost-riding the whip as homegrown critique.
Devoted reader and sender of all things good my way Jannon brought this to my attention: 1977's Hausu, from Nobuhiko Obayashi. Thanks to the art house folks at Janus, this will be making the limited theatrical rounds. Including SF in April... from what I've seen of it, it looks rather like a Japanese Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. Albeit with more human-swallowing pianos. Wowza.
(mini-hiatus over, coming out from the spell of grading and of wandering around the woods for a couple days...)
Once again, the resilient, nervous, and loopy Right proves more convinced than us of our capacity to break the stale present, here on the "dropout economy," and its Hackers meets urban garderning-Warriors meets Twin Oaks futures. This is from Time magazine, no less. More practically, a plausible further indication not that things will "go this way" in the least, but that that the looming shadow of "libertarian" will perhaps develop a louder voice. (And Salam actually does a decent job painting the middle ground: somewhere between more compoundish gated communities and families trading cage-free eggs for pilates lessons. Mutual aid coupled with mutual hostility and distancing.) All the more reason to insist that secession is not, and never has been, enough, insofar as it remains an expression of "individual" choice.
That said, enjoy the feverish phantasmagoria of Salam:
The cultural battle lines of our time, with red America pitted against blue, will be scrambled as Buddhist vegan militia members and evangelical anarchist squatters trade tips on how to build self-sufficient vertical farms from scrap-heap materials. To avoid the tax man, dozens if not hundreds of strongly encrypted digital currencies and barter schemes will crop up, leaving an underresourced IRS to play whack-a-mole with savvy libertarian "hacktivists."
Imagined last lines to The Communisation Manifesto:
Workers of the world, self-abolish!
(Or, for the Gordian knot of now: workers of the world, untie! The rope doesn't wait for the King's sword, instead unravels its own solution...)
Hahahahaha. Salvagepunk spreads its creaky wings and starts to make a mess in the house of pop criticism: Roger Ebert latches onto our bastard progeny, apparently.
(thanks very much to the handiwork of my favorite cultural terrorist for putting the hint in the gears)
One. The object-world, invested with the rabbit's sadism, joyous and spiteful for getting to be instrumental, becomes self-illuminated. The swallowed light-bulb flashes the beat of the phantom clock. It marks time until the hunting morning, shoves light out from the dog's body, the windows of the eyes.
Two. The dog, having accepted the transference of instinct from kill the rabbit to kill what is obstinate, chokes a telephone to death. Its pink tongue hangs.
Three. A final stick of dynamite, the unnecessary blow, is a goodnight kiss to the unfuckable pursuer who's dead-tired in your bed. Surplus-aggression, repeated without emotion. A unit in a series, it makes all that had to be done before recognizable for what it had to be: cruelty beyond utility, the meanest pleasure of survival. Lights out, baby.
We have no predilection for the charms of ruins. But the civilian barracks that we build in their place are so gratuitously ugly as to be an open invitation to dynamiters.
- Potlatch #7 3 August 1954
Ruins as the precondition - and nostalgic after-home yearned for - of built mediocrity.
Father Gabriele Amorth, the vatican's chief exorcist and author of the internationally acclaimed Memoirs of an Exorcist, drops some demonology science: "When one speaks of 'the smoke of Satan' [a phrase coined by Pope Paul VI in 1972] in the holy rooms, it is all true – including these latest stories of violence and paedophilia."
The Devil is alive and well, stalking the Vatican. Sex scandals the phenomenal trace of smoke. (And yes, there is an official Association of Exorcists.) More importantly:
Father Amorth told La Repubblica that the devil was "pure spirit, invisible. But he manifests himself with blasphemies and afflictions in the person he possesses. He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, transform himself or appear to be agreeable. At times he makes fun of me."
He said it sometimes took six or seven of his assistants to to hold down a possessed person. Those possessed often yelled and screamed and spat out nails or pieces of glass, which he kept in a bag. "Anything can come out of their mouths – finger-length pieces of iron, but also rose petals."
Possession as generative principle: therein the underbelly wish of the the present. No workers, no wages, no exchange, just the body held in thrall. Foaming productivity, and from the mouth, iron, roses, electric cars, oranges, comedy, nails.
“One day you will live in cities that resemble petrified oceans!”
The gap between this dream of frozen form and the accompanying future of unfrozen, non-gridded movement and passages. To what degree does the thought of moving fluidly through the city require that the city look like the ocean? But the petrification of the ocean means that any movement is just surface skating: fish out, and on top, of halted water, and beneath them, the dense, still, immense weight of a dead sea.
Sinister black butterflies
Have blacked out the radiant sun,
And the horizon seems a grimoire
Scrawled in ink when day is done.
From occult censers drift
Sinister black butterflies
Have blacked out the radiant sun,
Monsters with viscous suckers
Searching for blood to drink,
And from the skies, a powder black,
Descends upon our despairs.
Sinister black butterflies.
Albert Giraud (Émile Albert Kayenberg),'Pierrot Lunaire: Rondels Bergamasques', 1884.
Go toward Ptak Science Books, which is rapidly becoming an invaluable store of esoteric images and scientific false starts, particularly of the martial kind. Learned outcomes with deadly processes, mobile Maginots, and nuclear drift.
(thanks Giovanni for the reference)
"needs and labor ... [create] a monstrous system of mutual dependency, an internally agitated life of the dead, which, in its motion, moves about blindly and elementarily, and like a wild animal, needs a steady and harsh taming and control."
Hegel - System of Speculative Philosophy (1803-4)
(thanks, A, for this)