Next time we’ll talk about Paul Goodman and the book Gestalt Therapy. Let’s try to read the introductions and through the first two chapters (stopping at pg. 54), but as always, just read what you can/what you like. See ya soon!
Sorry for the late post this week! We couldn’t get a digital version of the Peter Lamborn Wilson essay we had in mind for this week, so instead let’s just do a short reading from his book Spiritual Destinations of an Anarchist. Let’s read “Spiritual Anarchist: Topics for Research” and “Anarchist Religion?”. It’s about 20 pages officially but you’ll see that the pages are real small, so it goes by quick. Book is HERE. See ya Tuesday!
Next week we’ll begin Emil Cioran’s History and Utopia. Let’s read from Eugene Thacker’s foreword all the way through the second chapter, “Russia and the Virus of Liberty”; (in other words, stopping at the chapter titled “Learning from the Tyrants”). There’s some genuinely astonishing thought on display throughout this book — looking forward to exploring it with all of you!
Next week we’re going to take a look at Julian Langer’s book Feral Life: Meditations on Rewilding and Anarchy. Let’s read through about pg 31 or so, through the section called “History is Totalitarian”. As always, if you only have time to read part of that, or feel like looking at other parts of the book, go for it. No need for formalized, linear readings in 2020! But yeah, let’s just go through those first 31 pages or so.
Here’s Julian’s blog: https://ecorevoltblog.wordpress.com
and here is the TEXT
And if you haven’t already seen it, a few of us from the study group started a new podcasting endeavor some months back which we’re just now releasing episode 1 of. You can listen to it on our website at margins.noblogs.org
OMG the process of scanning this book in has been SO FRUSTRATING. But I finally got it done!
So next week, we’ll start our reading of Tony Duvert’s Odd Jobs. Since I’m (always) posting later than intended, let’s just do the first half for this week. It’s about 25 pgs, which may seem like a lot to read in a few days, but as you’ll see the page dimensions are very small and this reading will breeze by. Let’s start with the translators introduction and read through the section entitled “The Censor” (stopping at pg 22). Looking forward to discussing this surreal novella with you folks!
I’ve been having some trouble getting my new scanner to scan, so let’s put off Odd Jobs until next week so we all have enough time to read it. As a substitution, and building off of our discussion last week, let’s take a look at Alejandro’s piece “History as decomposition” next time.
On Tuesday we’ll take a look at Walter Benjamin’s “Theses on the Philosophy of History”. It’s short but densely packed. Maybe we’ll connect Benjamin’s ideas about history, historians, and time itself with someone like Fredy Perlman… or even Max Stirner! Grab the text HERE
Klimt, Angelus Novus
On Tuesday this week, we’ll read some excerpts from Blessed is the Flame and discuss the anarchist nihilism it suggests. Let’s take a look at the sections “Sabotage and Negation” and “Organization and Mass Uprisings”. Download the book HERE.
Odd Jobs hasn’t shown up yet, regrettably. Never heard back on which Bataille to tackle Tuesday in case of this contingency, so I’m just going to suggest we do a fairly short piece of his on “The Definition of Heterology”. If you’d like more (totally optional) reading to flesh out this idea of Bataille’s, you might also look at the essays “Base Materialism and Gnosticism”, “Use Value of D.A.F. de Sade”, or “The Psychological Structure of Fascism”; all of which are in the collection Visions of Excess (also included in this week’s filebin in both pdf and epub to suit your pleasure). But, for Tuesday, let’s just plan to focus on “Definition of Heterology”. I do hope you all enjoy it. See you soon, friends.
Next week, we’ll take a look at the writing of two of the fiercest and most inspiring bêtes noires currently attacking systems of domination and submission, especially as they manifest in the apparatuses of contemporary art: Alexander Brener and Barbara Schurz. Alex and Barby (hailing from Russia and Austria, respectively) have become infamous over the last few decades as among the most uncompromising enemies of the artistic establishment out there. They’re notorious for interrupting exhibitions, gallery openings, biennials, etc. around the world with their anarchic and often intentionally incoherent antics, frequently going as far as vandalizing or straight up destroying pedestrian and high-value artworks right in front of their creators; all the while refusing any critical debate or dialogue with these ubiquitous gatekeeping charlatans.
They have also written and illustrated some utterly inimitable texts in a variety of languages. Of these texts, we’ll be looking at a few essays from their book The Art of Destruction, but I’m also including a pdf of their unforgettable novel Bukaka Spat Here — as mind-flaying a work of fiction as you will ever encounter. If we all feel up for it, perhaps we can take on the latter sometime in the near future. However, for next week, let’s plan on discussing the pieces “Uncertain Rebellion”, “The art of destruction: Dances on the bosses‘ heads”, “Illegal Pleasure”, and “Means of Destruction” from The Art of Destruction. That may sound like a lot, but all together it totals less than thirty pages, and GODDAMN are all those pages bad as shit. There’s truly not a dull piece in the entire book, so if you just can’t get enough, you might also take a look at the essays “Who is John Zerzan?” for their thorough evisceration of everyone’s least favorite lapsarian ex-leftist and “How it happened with Mike Kelley” for a first-hand account of their confrontation with one particular artistic donkey. The pdfs of Bukaka and Art of Destruction can be found HERE.
I’m also including links to some additional material concerning these marvelous degenerates, in case you find your curiosity piqued. First, I highly recommend watching Mark McGowan (The Artist Taxi Driver) recounting the couple’s downright baffling appearance at a panel hosted by the ICA in London (the first part of the video found HERE). The youtube channel rombix1 has a number of fantastic VHS recordings of actions performed by Brener during his Moscow Actionism days; the best of these include “Date”, where he and his first wife attempted to fuck in Pushkin Square in broad daylight while a crowd looked on (only to ultimately find the weather too cold to consummate this), THIS action, where Brener shat directly in front of a Van Gogh before walking out, THIS one, where he took a hammer to some asshole’s work, and THIS performance, where he appeared nude with a stocking over his face and proceeded to scream “Why was I not invited to participate in this exhibition?” at the pieces of art on display. He was involved in fellow Moscow Actionist Oleg Kulik‘s somewhat well-known performance “Mad Dog”, where Kulik crawled naked on all fours and menaced passers-by while Brener held the leash (video HERE). At THIS LINK you can watch the couple causing trouble at a Vienna gallery in 2014, or reading a text in Berlin back in 2004 HERE. Photos from their recent exhibition of illustrations “Conspiracy of the Cephalopods” can be viewed on THIS PAGE. And lastly, you can watch Brener performing their piece “Die Rede” (“The Speech”) at Steirischer Herbst 2019 by clicking HERE.
For additional texts by these two, I point you to their pieces “Anti-Technologies of Resistance”, “Prague Street Clashes as a Major Work of Art”, and “Third World Artist” as well as to UK publisher Vargas Organisation, where you can snag physical copies of many of their publications. You might also look at Lisa Nersesova’s essay “Third World Artist: The Performance Art of Alexander Brener”, which offers a detailed summation of Brener’s actions and describes his infamous vandalism of Kazimir Malevich’s painting “Suprematism: 1922-27”, for which he served time in prison.
In case you couldn’t tell by the obnoxious length of this post, these two have left a profound influence on my conceptions of art, writing, and anarchy and are especially dear to my heart. I hope you’ll find as much to admire and appropriate from their delirious assault on culture and authority as I have. Enjoy!