Reading for 8/11

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

cya soon!!

Klimt, Angelus Novus

Reading for 8/4

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.

Reading for 7/28

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.

Reading for 7/21

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!

Reading for 7/14

Next week we’ll look at Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings. Your homework is to compose a short poem, story, drawing, or other hunk of artistic detritus based upon one or more of the fantastic creatures in this bestiary and bring it on Tuesday to share. Now go create!

Reading for 7/7

I apologize yet again for the late post. The last week has been quite stressful. So friends, I ask that you bear with my tardiness one more time, and thank Ajay for his reminder to post.

I couldn’t find the Unica Zurn piece we discussed in digital format, so here’s some Rikki Ducornet instead. From her book of essays The Deep Zoo, let’s discuss the first two pieces: “The Deep Zoo” and “Books of Natural and Unnatural Nature”. Provided HERE in both pdf and epub, as suits your pleasure. Looking forward to seeing you all soon and enjoying a bit of delight after an especially shitty week.

Reading for 6/23

Another late post! Life intrudes!!

We were going to play some surrealist games tonight but due to my dropping the ball, we’re going to read some short pieces by Bruno Filippi instead. The text can be found HERE. Let’s plan to discuss “The Free Art of a Free Spirit”, “The Federation of Sorrow”, and “Il Me Faut Vivre Ma Vie” this evening; though as always, just read as much as you’re able or inclined to. You might also look at the translator’s intro by our good friend and Renzo Novatore’s piece in memory of Filippi if you want more info on the iconoclast in question.

Forward, marvelous rascals!


Reading for 6/16

This week it’s back to James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games. We’ll discuss chapters four and five: “A finite game occurs within a world” and “Nature is the realm of the unspeakable”. Altogether both of those are less than thirty pages, and this will position us nicely to finish the text when we return to it for the last time in early July. If you still need a copy, you can download one HERE.

Reading for 6/9

Sorry about the super late post this week folks. Tonight we’re talking about George Herriman and his seminal comic strip Krazy Kat. For reading material, I found quite the motherlode: .cbz scans of all the volumes of Krazy & Ignatz, the anthology series collecting all the different periods of Herriman’s comic published by the venerable Fantagraphics. There are twelve full volumes of this series, and it takes forever to convert them to pdfs, so for simplicity’s sake I’m just going to post two of my favorites. Each volume has some interesting essays on the comic and its creator as well as tons of the strips themselves, so let’s just read as much as feels appropriate to each of us and discuss it tonight. I’m also going to post two short pieces on Krazy Kat, though unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the piece from Arsenal we were discussing last time. Read what you will and be there to discuss it tonight at 7:30! Links to the PDFs for tonight can be found by CLICKING HERE. And if you want to grab the other volumes in the Fantagraphics series, click HERE.

UPDATE: I wish I had found it earlier, but I was able to track down Franklin Rosemont’s piece on Krazy Kat. It’s from the publication “Surrealism and its Popular Accomplices”, where it begins on pg 58. I’ve added it to the files found on the first link above. It’s not very long and if you get a chance to read one essay before tonight (alongside looking at some of the old strips), I would make it this one.

Reading for 5/26

Next week we’re starting what may be an extended biweekly dive into surrealism, and who better to kick it off with than Benjamin Péret? Here’s a few pieces of his courtesy of one of our participants: ENJOY

(edit: somehow the files got saved as pages docs instead of pdfs. they’ve now been reuploaded to the link above as pdfs; sorry about that!)

Another reminder that we’re meeting from 7:30-9:30pm each Tuesday for the next few months. As always, join us as with room name bastardanarchy.

Lastly, here is the infamous photo from La Révolution Surréaliste no. 8, captioned “Our Collaborator Benjamin Péret Insulting a Priest”: