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Leonora Carrington (radio programme)

Posted on 18th February, 2016

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 catalogue of wonders (radio on mixcloud) ~ programme 45 (leonora carrington): the sound recording of the interviews is not of the best quality, but all effort was made to restore and balance it • we apologise for that fact • conversations with francesco manacorda, chloe aridjis, george talbot, roger shannon and joana moorhead • music by tom waits • goldmund • koray kantarcioġlu • chavela vargas • cornelius •

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

unfinished novel business (part one)

Posted on 5th September, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the tallow moons (volume one) cata99

 

the story of da shang is a convoluted one. unfinished novel business. the genesis is troubled and foggy. depression and substance abuse describes forgetfulness. the list of names is endless and the typewritten pages are numerous, dispersed in time and collected in notebooks and floppy disks. forgotten. the music put in compact discs and abandoned in a box among other boxes. then comes the time when the occasion flirts with chance and things reappear, like a fossil buried on a beach and dug by the sea and the wind. the wind of night brings decomposition. da shang is a compost, a dead organism, sleepy, that was hibernating and reappears as if by a science fiction miracle-like of sorts. awakes without asking and comes back to life, presents itself before me and demands being understood. i can't recall when i started writing 'the tallow moons'. there are dates on the papers, but they do not make a sense. time buried in citalopram and other inebriating tablets. a buried treasure? i do not think so. treasure it is not, except if i share it, share them. i tried to share the reality and dream of da shang before. all is part of the two da shang. because reality and dreams are the same differences. sounds come to wake up the memories, but it is very difficult for me to advance any of them or any history in writing. like many realities dreams can be born dead. stillborn.

            a history of chaos, then. a story of incompleteness, random acts of imagination, figments of a once perceived dream that vanished into some kind of retarded reality. because da shang once existed and burned and disappeared. then it came back to reality through the selfish act of writing and story telling. only to vanish once again under water and oblivion. if only we could trust in our physical memories recorded in paper and disks of our ultimate society and civilisation: we are what we leave behind? or are we all but invisible without procreation? what is the reproduction of our dreams? what is its name or title? absurd questioning or simply a fantasy of solitude? da shang was, is and will be a place, two places, a mirror, two mirrors, many mirrors., a place of mirrors where i can see many self's. a soundtrack for an imagined time, place and thoughts.  

            "man continues, after so long my body was born, following the same things as the sages of my city, uruk. nothing prevails and is permanent, except the greediness of the same sages. to want to know more doesn’t mean to change the future, but, on the contrary, to understand the past and the causes of nature. uruk was an enormous babel, that’s why it fell in disgrace, as jericho, sodom, gomorra, and all the others that became deserts of free men."

            "it is sad not to die, not being able of dying. otherwise i would be gladly with enkidu. my perambulations in the world wouldn’t be this labyrinth in which i am imprisoned. i become sad as the gods that created me forgotten my existence because they don’t exist anymore. i need to take refuge in another house, another place, this city consumes me, slowly, as if instead of purifying me i am becoming more and more human and fragile. i am fragile. the death i provoke doesn’t mean anything to me. when i see a man crawling on the earth, falling unto the earth and then stops, dead, what do i feel? nothing at all. i believe i now know how to take the material path to diversion time, to travel, as inri taught me before he burned into the serpent’s magic flames. now i am like the son of enkidu and of una, that ishtar’s whore! i, finally, can go back, and find enkidu. to change the past that will be the future."

            "water is also round."

          "i draw the circle and inside it the proper names inri taught me, the exact names of water, fire, air, earth and time. the four sons of Horus: imsety, water, liver; duamutef, fire, stomach; qebhsnuf, air, intestines and hapi, earth, lungs. […] – time – thoth - epagomenal names: isis, osiris, nephtys, set, horus. i blow the charcoal dust. qebui, the north wind; shehbui, the south wind; henkhisesui, the east wind; hutchaici, the serpent-head west wind."

          "earthly signs do not mean a thing. the search has ended but it is infinite. i return to the nil, the dream was too old, the friend has died. impossible work to re-write."

 

 

 

delusions of grandeur, an apotheosis of the zero, the vanquished paradise, a labyrinth of choices and illusions: the tallow moons, the novel, the unfinished novel - a conglomerate of signs and signals, breathing myths of primeval accounts projected into the future, several futures, some of them past already. archaeology of ashes and golden eras transmuted to the pages as hieroglyphs of some ordeals bypassed by the auras of technology and the gods (the same thing). text as hyper resolution of moebius and quanta. stories as hypertexts and remedies for loneliness. da shang was once a terrain, a magic place inside an oasis of moving sands and mirrors, a divertimento encapsulated in mirages of other eras and times: the gods descended on earth as prognostics of unbelievable tales, the labyrinths, always and the labyrinths. sudan, many centuries ago. the peoples inside the oasis had other names and other languages, ideologies transmitted by the telluric gods, the gods they created themselves, and worship them, knowing they were inventions. a shade of a paradise, a closed circuit of colourscapes and miracles.

            "ophis [‘oh.fee.ss] (ar.) 1. the snake, the serpent. ourobouros; vicious, sly, viscous, danger; poison, first sign of death; symbol of constant power of renewal 2. gobi and alykiur tribes celebrate ophis in other incarnations, as a deity of male fertility, the god of the scrotum. shang is celebrated in gobi as a kind of pan or dyonisius; shang brings laughter, inebriation, consolation, satisfaction and, again, virility. he is represented as a very joyous laughing boy often naked and ridding a swan; always with a goat's skin bottle of fermented milk, a leather bag of seeds and a red snake on his hands (representing the male genitalia.) samuqan, in arishankar and alykiur, is never represented in pictures. that would make him run away from the house to protect. he is told to be a kind of ariel and likes figs, dates and bananas! he is the deity of the male games. usually (exactly as in the ritual for songju of the korean mudang) when a house is built, renovated or rebuilt, even when a new family moves in, offerings were displayed for the deity of the ‘little boys, playing with themselves, naughty, funny, alert and vigilant’; milk, honey and rice to avert unexpected misfortune, to proportionate good deaths, happy marriages, to bless weddings and avoid catastrophes."

 

mare ferum

labyrinthos corpus

obitus carmina

intra vas in debitum

 

homini lupus

homini argentus

homini rarum

homini mortum

 

intra vas indebitum

homini melancholicus

homini mortum

homini mentitus.

 

there was a time in which the known world radically changed. this way prayed the chronicle of constantius abrillada (in the end of the christian seissento). accordingly to his writings (de pluribus gazaque regia, 1580, de virtudes et noster error, 1590 and interest omnium of 1594) he discourses and narrates his travels and the new discoveries by land and sea, accordingly to the genius of the portuguese and spaniards, and referring to that almost desert plateau some call cha-mo, and at which we refer as gobi, therefore of those distant lands of cathay; forecasting as a prophecy abrillada, that those lands would become a stage of tellurian revelations and convulsions. there the world would take ‘taste for change and thus pregnant of a strange and apocalyptic progress that would transmutate human race, better, alas, will re-draw the face of earth as it will be, the known and unknown earth – there is so immense and varied that only now one experiments to try, and try only, to explain, narrate and discover amongst unbearable pains and torments of travelling of new voyages and dangerous they are and will be; that we won’t know that strange world’.

            accordingly to abrillada the transformations of the world will start on the gobi tableau, quoting, ‘such a place where one will erect monumental city of travelling on the airs of winds in un-formed vessels into other parts of land and even outside of ours on those eagles of fire and vapours, screeching and screams of polychromatic fumes and columns of fire and from where they will command new orders and systems and wisdom of folding stars. of the place where on land they live and from the distant stars of dogs and hunters, accordingly to what it is indeed written in the blue corridor on the third floor of the labyrinth, in opposition to the celestial camera, already referred.’

            these new cities abrillada sees in the future will be governed by ‘different peoples and of different classes we recognise in our days, as the men of science will turn their vocation and wisdom to the search of extra-ordinary things that will be discovery under the earth. the government will be turned into a new class of men and women, hard to believe it is, replaced by portentous and formidable thinking machines. the wise men used them as well but to achieve other objectives as men of art known the govern of other men is diminutive, important-less, wise other things, and are they related to GOD, they will understand to make of the world a new realm.’

            (…)

the black and the white.

the man and the race, body and soul. rationality builds and invents beauty or it is felt starting on the representation of bodies within the body within our mind? there is a pubis in triangle. the erotic forecasts death, therefore fixes the beauty inside the mind.           ? eros;

? thanathos.

there is any rationality on beauty, seems not to exist rationality in beauty – the representation of man in it-self is only the allegory of mortality, it seems. why, why should one think this way?

(…)

a sad offering of a body undressed of life or pregnant with sensuality as opposition? flowers are missing or some acapella song, very feminine accompanying the portraits without words. strangeness this body, the eyes are missing, my gods, where is the sight? the fear of the sight? what am i afraid when i stare at this naked body in offering?

art, is it not an offering? therefore the body also, the art of the smoothness of the paper, the given shapes with its imagined drawings. nevertheless there isn’t a look, a sight that could give dreams to the parchments of the skin, to the vulva hidden on the masculine pubis. a serpent? or the imagined rare specimen of the serpent-man inside the labyrinth of my mind? a serpent-man hiding the wisdom of the looks, shy of the bail of art: to show only the beautiful, if it exists. more would be as if only searching.

as the continuation of the ‘nature of desire’, the cruellest form, the most printed flesh, vivid.

a desire by the badly drawn triangle in the body showing the imperfect masculine when takes the flavour of the female, a contour almost mean said as someone who doesn’t show the sex, a prudish provocation. beyond the serpent, again, as in an oracle of delphi, the prophesy of a virile angel in exhibition in paradise.

this way you ask, old man:

- who will be…

- this man

- serpent

- pubis on an sensual crossing

- no, a feminine bifurcation

- of a masculine opus

- of eternal vanities

- the belly of whom possesses it

- the straight lines

- venus

- but not the one canova’s painted

- angel

- and the wings

- no, the hairs as a blur

- solar, but let return

- to the enigma of identity

- man, angel or serpent?

kneeled he asks forgiveness, he is

smoothing the sky, the eyes watching, the crossed arms, the chest in affliction, a malicious smile?

            note, lords, the light!

            there is something obscure about this portrait. after the body, or before it? can not describe the shadow on the skin, the knees twisted as a prayer, or will it be a kind of sin? to speak of the music hidden, the hairs, imagined, erect inside the blood running slowly, as if he didn’t fear death.

            - continue to run

            - until finding the ceiling

            - or a body

            - or a melody, that is

            - what we talk about, young man, when we speak about the prostration in adoration.

            the serpents hid in between the mud, the slime and the water weeds, said the young man looking at the mosses nearby the engraved stones with strange runes, but the strangest of them all, continued the young man telling to the naked old man, but the weirdest are the words that we have to say to call for them, the serpents. they are very wise. the naked man tilted his head and shrunk his shoulders, and the tattoo of the naked snakes shook inside his chest.

           (…)

            more it was compiled and written by dom pernety in (ce) 1787. his dictionaire myhto-hermetique was filled with straightforward descriptions and analyses of mazes:

            one understands by labyrinth as one kind of building full of rooms and corridors, disposed in a way that one enters on another without being capable of discerning the exit. the authors mentioned four principals. the first and most famous was seen in egypt, on the city that some call heracleopolis; it was considered one of the wonders of the world. it was said daedalus took it as a model for the labyrinth that he built in crete, and that turned out so celebrated though the graces of the minotaur. the third was built on the island of lemnos; it had one hundred and fifty marble columns. porsenna built the forth in italy. (…)

            (…)

            (…) hermetic philosophy that imagined the fable of theseus and of the minotaur served itself of the labyrinth of crete to embellish this fiction and at the same time to indicate the difficulties presented on the operations of the great work through those found to exit the labyrinth after one have had found them there. it is necessary nothing less than ariadne string, furnish by the same daedalus, to well succeed; meaning that it is necessary to be driven by a philosopher who himself has directed the work.

 

the da shang trilogy are: 'the oblique & the impossible' (published), 'the tallow moons' (unfinished) and 'the devil's scissors' (unfinished).

 

[to be continued]

 

text & photography (c) 2015 by benjamin silva-pereira,

east twickenham, 31 august 2015.

 

Alan Moore →

Magical Philosophy Rape & Comics ↓

If you suddenly declare yourself to be a magician without any knowledge of what that entails, then one day you are likely to wake up and to discover that is exactly what you are. There is some confusion as to what magic actually is. I think this needs to be cleared out. If you just look at the very earliest descriptions of magic. Magic is its earliest form is often referred to as 'the art'. I believe that this is completely literal, I believe that magic is art and that art, whether that's be writing, music, sculpture or any form is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images to achieve changes in consciousness. The very language of magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art as it is about supernatural events. A grimmoir for example, the book of spells is simply a fancy way of saying grammar. Indeed to cast a spell is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people's consciousness. I believe this is why an artist or writer is the closest thing in contemporary world that you are likely to see a Shaman.

            I believe all culture must have arisen from cult. Originally, all facets of our culture, whether they'd be in the arts or the sciences were the province of the shaman. The fact that in present times, this magical power has degenerated to the level of cheap entertainment and manipulation is, I think, a tragedy. At the moment the people who are using shamanism and magic to shape our culture are advertisers. Rather than try to wake people up their shamanism is used as an opiate to tranquilize people, to make people more manipulable. Their magic box of television, and by their magic words, their jingles can cause everybody in the country to be thinking the same words and have the same banal thoughts all at exactly same moment.

 

           In all of magic, there is an incredibly large linguistic component. The Bardic tradition of magic would place a bard as being much higher and more fearsome than a magician. A magician might curse you. That might make your hands lay funny or you might have a child with a club foot. If a bard were to place not a curse upon you, but a satire, then that could destroy you. If it was a clever satire, it might not just destroy you in the eyes of your associates, it would destroy you in the eyes of your family. It would destroy you in your own eyes. And if it was a finely worded and clever satire that might survive and be remembered for decades, even centuries, then years after you were dead people still might be reading it and laughing at you and your wretchedness and your absurdity. Writers and people who had command of words were respected and feared as people who manipulated magic. In latter times I think that artists and writers have allowed themselves to be sold down the river. They have accepted the prevailing belief that art, that writing are merely forms of entertainment. They're not seen as transformative forces that can change a human being, that can change a society. They are seem as simple entertainment, things with which to fill twenty minutes, half an hour while we're waiting to die. It is not the job of artists to give the audience what the audience want. If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn't be the audience. They would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need.

            My career as a magician continues to evolve. Since I to a certain degree believe art and magic to be interchangeable, that art should be the means by which I express magical ideas. This has found its way into my prose writing, and performance pieces. When we are doing the will of our true Self, we are inevitably doing the will of the universe. In magic these are seen as indistinguishable, that every human soul is in fact one human soul. It is the soul of the universe itself and as long as you are doing the will of the universe, then it is impossible to do anything wrong.

            The one place in which Gods and demons inarguably exist is in the human mind where they are real in all their grandeur and monstrosity. Much of magic as I understand it in the Western occult tradition is the search for the Self, with capital S. This is understood as being the Great Work, as being the gold that alchemists sought, as being the Will, the Soul, the thing that we have inside us that is behind the intellect, the body, the dreams. The inner dynamo os us, if you like. Now, this is the single most important thing that we can ever attain, the knowledge of our own Self. And yet there are a frightening amount of people who seem to have the urge not just to ignore the Self, but actually seem to have the urge to obliterate themselves. This is horrific, but you can almost understand the desire to simply wipe out that awareness, because it is too much of a responsibility to actually possess such a thing as a Soul, such precious thing, what if you break it, what if you lose it. Might it not be best to anaesthetize it, to deaden it, to destroy it, to not have to live with the pain of struggling towards it and trying to keep it pure. I think that the way that people immerse themselves in alcohol, in drugs, in television, in any of the addictions that our culture throws up can be seen as a deliberate attempt to destroy any connection between themselves and the responsibility of accepting and owning a higher Self and then having to maintain it.

            The healthy sexual drive that is seizing most young men when they're in their teens is perverted by older men, who perhaps have lost some of their sexual drive and all that sexual energy gets shipped over to somewhere like Flanders and is perverted into killing other young men. Energy that should be going into something honest like fucking is instead diverted into something appalling like killing. There is a brain-penis-blood ratio that tends to get in the way of writing intelligent pornography. If it becomes too intelligent all the blood rushes through your brain, you lose your erection. If it becomes too sexual exciting you are no longer in any state to appreciate its aesthetic value. It is a difficult balancing act. All of us have some sort of feelings or opinions about sex. And yet the only art form which in any way is able to discuss sex or depict sex is this grubby despised under-the-counter art form which has absolute no standards. There is no reason why a horny piece of literature that is purely about sex could not be as beautiful, as meaningful and have as absorbing characters as any other piece of fiction.

            I've been looking at the kind of - the history of magical thinking and where it starts to go wrong. And for my money where it starts to go wrong is monotheism. I mean, if you look at the history of magic, you've got its origins in the caves. You've got its origins in shamanism, in animism, in a belief that everything around you, every tree, every rock, every animal was inhabited by some sort of essence, some sort of spirit that could perhaps be communicated with. You would have had some central shaman or visionary who would've been responsible for channelling ideas that were useful to survival. By the time you reach the classical civilizations you can see that this has formalized to a degree. The shaman was acting purely as an intermediary between the spirits and the people. He was in his position in the village or community I should imagine much like a spiritual plumber. They would not have been masters of a secret craft, they would've simply been dispensing their information throughout the community, because it was believedto be helpful to the community. When you get the actual classical cultures emerging, this has been formalised so that you've now got pantheons of gods. And each of those gods will have a priest cast that will act to a certain degree as intermediaries who will instruct you in the worship of that god. So the relationship between humans and gods, which could be seen as the relationship between humans and their highest selves, that was still a very direct one. When monotheism comes in then all of a sudden you've got a priest cast moving between the worshipper and the object of worship, You've got a priest cast becoming a kind of spiritual middle-management between humanity and the divine within itself that it is seeking. You no longer have a direct relationship with the godhead. The only people who are allowed to talk to gods, and in a very kind of one-sided way, are priests. Monotheism is a great simplification.

 

→ Taken from the film'The Mindscape of Alan Moore', directed by DeZ Vylenz, Shadowsnake Films, 2006.  

 

            I hope readers will understand that I am being anything but flippant when I point out that, as yet, I have not been murdered either. Certainly I have known murder victims and their families, and I have likewise met murderers and their families too. While I cannot say whether this qualifies me to talk about murder or not, I am fairly confident that it has afforded me a more informed and compassionate view upon the subject than I might otherwise have had, which as a writer I presume to be a good thing. This is also true regarding the subject of sexual violence. While I myself only suffered an attempted abduction at the age of six or so and the minor molestations of a paedophile head of first years at the age of eleven along with almost everyone else in my year, I have known a distressing number of women, including women who are or have been close to me, who have been raped, sexually assaulted or otherwise threatened with sexual violence. In fact, when I think about it, I’ve had a lot more contact with people who’ve suffered from the effects of sexual violence than I’ve had contact with people either killed or devastated by their proximity to a murder. Lest this be thought a purely personal perception or perhaps a blip in highly localised statistics, I would cite the figures mentioned in my most recent copy of prison newspaper Inside Times (the most convenient source of information to hand at the moment for someone without an internet connection). From what I understand, last year there were 60, 000 rapes in the UK. I’m assuming that this is reported rapes, and that actual incidents of rape are possibly two or three times as high. There were a further 400,000 cases of sexual assault, and a frankly horrific 1.2 million cases of domestic abuse.

            Leaving aside the sexual assault and domestic abuse figures and just focussing on the rapes – which is of course rather my ‘thing’ – I would have to say that I do not recall the sixty thousand homicides that occurred in the U.K. last year, possibly because – well, they didn’t, did they? Except, of course, in the pages of fiction, where I would imagine that there were considerably more violent deaths than the above-mentioned figure. It would appear that in the real world, which the great majority of people are compelled to live in, there are relatively few murders in relation to the staggering number of rapes and other crimes of sexual or gender-related violence, this being almost a complete reversal of the way that the world is represented in its movies, television shows, literature or comic-book material. Forgive me if there is something glaringly obvious that I am missing here; some evident flaw in my reasoning that I myself am blind to, but why should this marked disparity be so? Why should murder be so over-represented in our popular fiction, and crimes of a sexual nature so under-represented? Surely it cannot be because rape is worse than murder, and is thus deserving of a special unmentionable status. Surely, the last people to suggest that rape was worse than murder were the sensitively-reared classes of the Victorian era. Certainly, the actual victims of rape that I’ve known and spoken to don’t seem impressed with the idea of a ‘fate worse than death’. Most seem of a mind that while what they went through was unbelievably horrible, at least they hadn’t been killed, even if they had been threatened to that effect by their rapist. And yet, while it is perfectly acceptable (not to say almost mandatory) to depict violent and lethal incidents in lurid and gloating high definition detail, this is somehow regarded as healthy and perfectly normal, and it is the considered depiction of sexual crimes that will inevitably attract uproars of the current variety.

            Again, if nobody is seriously arguing that rape is much more serious a human event than the actual violent termination of a life in its entirety, why should this be so? Why should sexual violence be ring-fenced when forms of violence every bit as devastating are treated as entertainment? If I may venture an answer to my own question, might it be because the term ‘sexual violence’ contains the word ‘sexual’, a word relating to matters traditionally not discussed in polite society? As I affirmed earlier, thirty years ago rape and sexual violence were unmentionable in comics. Now, God bless everyone who imagines that this was because the comics editors of thirty years ago were more sensitive to the possible upset feelings of women readers than their equivalent today, but I’m afraid this is not the case. Mentions of any form of sexual activity, positive or negative, were out of bounds and the reason for this is that since the Victorian period, sex had been considered rude and dirty by the middle classes. Indeed, the avowed sexual control exercised by that class was one of the main features by which they differentiated themselves from the more animalistic urges present among the lower orders and immigrant communities. I am not attempting to be disingenuous here, but I genuinely cannot see any reason why lethal non-sexual violence should be privileged over sexual violence, other than a residual middle class discomfort or squeamishness over all matters pertaining to sex, which in this instance has taken on the protective colouration of a fairly spurious appeal to contemporary sexual politics. Nor can I see any compelling or worthy reason why I, or any other writer, should restrain themselves from addressing whatsoever issues they feel are worthy of address, if they have the courage to engage with those subjects in the face of the possible approbation and loss of livelihood which may be entailed. Fortunately for those who think differently to myself, this is one of several traits which very few modern commercial career writers would seem to possess. I hope that, before I allow myself a more personal response to these matters, I have answered all of the questions raised with sufficient clarity and honesty to avoid having to repeat or re-repeat myself at some point in the future. I apologize for the length of my reply, but clearly these are important issues, to which I have been visibly turning my attentions for the past three or four decades. Surprising as it may seem to some, I have given these matters a certain amount of thought during that time. Possibly, although I cannot of course assume this, more than they themselves have exerted in their flurry of perhaps ill-considered responses to this somewhat manufactured controversy. Anyway, my longwinded screed may at least convey something to the casual reader of how dull, tiring and irrelevant I myself have found this episode. I certainly hope so.

 

           To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children’s characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence. It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite ‘universes’ presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.

 

            I don’t want to associate with people I consider to be massively privileged Tories, nor with anyone who doesn’t see anything wrong in doing so. I particularly wish to avoid all of those who have struck rebellious or radical poses while always remaining careful not to offend their employers or to make any kind of moral or political statement that may later jeopardize their career prospects; all of the rebels without a scratch.

 

Pádraig Ó Méalóid AKA Slovobooks

FASCIST WORLDWIDE ORDER (part one)

Posted on 7th March, 2015

FASCIST

WORLDWIDE

ORDER

a commentary on umberto eco's essay "ur-fascism"

by benjamin silva-pereira

 

josé saramago: "if man is not able to organise the world economy in a form to satisfy the necessities of a humanity that is dying of hunger and of everything, what humanity is this? all of us that fill our mouth with this word humanity, i think that we didn't arrive at that point, we are not human beings. perhaps one day we will be human, but we are not at the moment, we didn't arrive to it yet, we have a long way to go to be that. we have all around us that spectacle, and it is a very scary world. we live side by side with what is negative as if it really doesn't matter at all, the horror is banal, violence is banal, death, especially if the death is from some other, obviously. for us it doesn't matter that people are dying in sarajevo, and surely we shouldn't talk of this situation because the whole world is a sarajevo. while the conscience of people is dormant this will continue the same. this is because of all we do, it is done to keep us in this apathy, this lack of will, to subtract our civic intervention." (1994)    

 

 

 

if you didn't realise yet, thus after many warnings and risible proclamations, welcome to the new FASCIST WORLDWIDE ORDER. you can laugh and smile disdainfully again at this words, but yes, welcome to the new fascist regime we all live in. a few years ago i thought i was going mad, i mean, utterly lost to logic, and, as per usual, i said what i thought and in public. even my nephews and sisters told me i was being paranoid and exaggerating. i recall having a kind of polemic on facebook with some portuguese fellows (men and women) about this statement: we all are fascists now, and no one notices it. i may excuse some of the participants on that polemic. they were/are younger than i, much younger, and they seem not to remember, and much less feel, the times of the fascist portuguese regime of salazar and affiliates. they were/are used to live in a 'democratic' society, which means, for them, working, money and commodities and expect always everything to be wholesome and easy. which is not the meaning of a 'democracy', that beautiful and misunderstood greek word. and let's start by stating that the word 'democracy' in its original meaning signified the government of the peoples by their own accord. the greeks, that invented the principle and abstract idea, were free in reality. what it is not well divulged is that they were free, as citizens, they were the government, deciding their own faith, it is true, and it is all fresh and nice, but they ruled over the other, that weren't free, that is, they were not greeks, they were not free, they were the slaves, they were not normal, they were not free, they were simply objects of work and manipulation accordingly the wish of the real and free greeks. which means that the initial meaning of 'democracy' it was everything but democratic. people were divided between 'citizens' and 'the rest', not citizens and not worth of thought. which is what is happening nowadays, and let me remind you that it is impeccably right: you vote and you think you are making your choices and democratic duty (and that is, the vast minority of you that complain about everything and do nothing, but vote... if you vote, that is - the democratic principle of choice, voting, is lost to many many of you, because they are all the same and we must vote pragmatically (strategically, they pronounce very deeply as if they really are immersed in a fake self-monologue of sorts, never listening or trying to understand the 'other', that so philosophical invention no one cares about or dares to comprehend) and forecasting the best interests of the political society, that is: you do not vote, if you do, in what you believe but in what is seem to be more advantageous to the status quo...) if you find this difficult to follow, you are even more stupid than i thought, and i am not apologising. this referred people before, the ones who are complaining about everything, or were, now they are even more fucked then they were at the time (let's say 2009, when all started) and that is: there are no jobs, we do not have money, all is in tatters, they are all the same, what can we do? etc, etc, etc... the new fascists, and they don't even know that. i asked them how many times they went to vote in the elections, i wanted to know how many times they went to the municipal meetings to comment, argue and know about what was and is going about their own locality, i was curious to learn if they belonged to an union and if they knew what was going about in the law making of the country, if they knew what was going on with foreign policies of the government, if they agreed with what was going on with all that, and the only thing they could say was: NO, i do not know, i haven't gone to those meetings, i do not know what you are talking about, unions, for what? they are all the same. when i enquired about the voting situation, the parties existing and what were their manifestos they, the citizens, just answered back that they didn't know and that it didn't matter. they are all the same, it was the general chorus. i say: the citizens that complained are all the same, and they don't even deserve the right to be called 'citizens', because they are nothing else but the slaves (the original, that the greek didn't consider at all, maybe the greeks knew something that the contemporary 'complainers' do not know even now). sheep. fodder for cannons, lambs for the slaughter. fuck them, i say, they are, in reality, the causers and responsible for the world they criticise and condemn. they invent any excuse NOT to exercise their democratic obligations, it is their fault. mea culpa, mea culpa, so i say because i am almost one of them. please allow me to cut and paste the following:

          "the turn of jacques derrida’s argument is surprising. how readily he associates democracy and fascism! and that the common strand should be their shared commitment to subjectivity. it is tempting to think that derrida is simply making an unduly formal abstraction, while carried away with a complex argument. perhaps on some plane one could say that fascism and democracy are the same since both are political forms of organisation. in such a case it would simply be a rather forced parallel, like the insight that hitler, stalin and saddam hussein all have moustaches. but derrida means more than this. the common bond between fascism and democracy is not incidental, but a fatal flaw; and the specific bond that derrida alights upon is subjectivity. phillipe lacoue-labarthe, another philosopher, influenced by derrida, makes the point more forcefully, when he writes that ‘fascism is a humanism’: ‘in that it rests on a determination of humanitas, which is, in its eyes, more powerful, i.e., more effective, that any other. the subject of absolute self-creation, even if it transcends all the determinations of the modern subject in an immediately natural position (the particularity of race), brings together and concretises these same determinations and sets itself up as the subject, absolutely speaking.’ lacoue-labarthe makes explicit the meaning of the deconstruction of the metaphysics of the subject. self-creation, once a virtue, is here seen as fascistic. humanism is a fascism, because humanism puts man at the centre, makes man’s activity the substance of history. the initial reaction against the poststructuralist thinkers was to protest at their extreme subjectivism and consequent dismissal of ‘objective truth’. but what that criticism missed was that the subject was also the target of deconstruction, perhaps especially so. implicit in this double movement is the possibility that subject and object are not opposed, but mutually supporting terms. if the singular objective ground is called into question, then so too is the singular and unified subject. and, perhaps more importantly, the degradation of the subject destroys the basis of a sustained investigation of the objective. in prosaic terms, if we cannot be sure of the investigator, there can be no investigation." (as written and quoted by james heartfield in "postmodernism and the ‘death of the subject’", 2002) The underlining is mine.

 

 

            josé saramago "aims to cut through the web of "organized lies" surrounding humanity, and to convince readers by delivering his opinions in a relentless series of unadorned, knock-down prose blows. having spent his formative years under salazar's fascist regime, saramago might be said to have received the perfect training for identifying and lambasting political mendacity. he derides george bush as the "cowboy who inherited the world" and mistook it "for a herd of cattle"; the philistine who "expelled truth" from political discourse. berlusconi, meanwhile, is a disingenuous mafioso, a "disease" in italy's noble blood. yet the rot goes much deeper than politics. according to this staunch marxist, it is the free market that "conditions governments to bring people within its control". its neo-liberal ideology has permeated everything: our language, our emotions, our thoughts. universities now obsequiously do its bidding – instead of shaping a cultured, politically-engaged citizenship, they manufacture worker bees focused exclusively on gratifying their self-interest. "ignorance is expanding in a truly terrifying manner," saramago thunders, "we are reaching the end of a civilization." (thomas wright, the independent, 4th april 2010)

          umberto eco: "in 1942, at the age of ten, i received the first provincial award of ludi juveniles (a voluntary, compulsory competition for young italian fascists – that is, for every young italian). i elaborated with rhetorical skill on the subject "should we die for the glory of mussolini and the immortal destiny of italy?" my answer was positive. i was a smart boy. i spent two of my early years among the SS, fascists, republicans, and partisans shooting at one another, and i learned how to dodge bullets. it was good exercise. in april 1945, the partisans took over in milan. two days later they arrived in the small town where i was living at the time. it was a moment of joy. the main square was crowded with people singing and waving flags, calling in loud voices for mimo, the partisan leader of that area. a former maresciallo of the carabinieri, mimo joined the supporters of general badoglio, mussolini's successor, and lost a leg during one of the first clashes with mussolini's remaining forces. mimo showed up on the balcony of the city hall, pale, leaning on his crutch, and with one hand tried to calm the crowd. i was waiting for his speech because my whole childhood had been marked by the great historic speeches of mussolini, whose most significant passages we memorized in school. silence. mimo spoke in a hoarse voice, barely audible. he said: "citizens, friends. after so many painful sacrifices . . . here we are. glory to those who have fallen for freedom." and that was it. he went back inside. the crowd yelled, the partisans raised their guns and fired festive volleys. we kids hurried to pick up the shells, precious items, but i had also learned that freedom of speech means freedom from rhetoric."

          "citizens, friends. after so many painful sacrifices . . . here we are. glory to those who have fallen for freedom." and so fallen we left them, we leave them. they done they job, it is done, the country is free and we can now live as we want, not. this young species on the planet, humankind, some call them, humans for short, have certain peculiarities. we are taught that we are superior to the other animals in the planet, that is one fascist rule. we, the chosen, are better, superior, and obviously we know much better, we think, we are rational. not. we must live in freedom, equality and in fraternity (remember the french revolution?) now that we vote and we have a free government we can go on with our lives. not. humans are animals like the rest, whatever you say, hum, or think. now all is good. free elections for the good of our country. first fallacy. the eternal fallacy. once there, and after all the 'fallen' we are safe, secure in our certainties. if there is anything right and universal is that 'humans' are not certain.

          i read the other day, and in the words from a popular philosopher that stalin and communists didn't succeed proper because not enough 'conservatives' weren't killed. what followed that pronunciation was a worldwide polemic (well, for those who actually read, at least the articles, because the book was/is longer than a thousand pages and no one in their right mind would/will read such mastodon, again...) the philosopher was involved in a trite polemic, had to explain itself (yes, the critics didn't read the whole book) and explain, but nevertheless the critics and critics' readers didn't accept the philosophers thesis. it was the end of the world because someone wrote that there weren't enough killings for communism to succeed well enough, properly, i mean. then, there is nothing new about it. hitler didn't kill enough jews and antagonists to succeed also, and salazar and mussolini and franco didn't kill enough leftists for their order to be victor. because of that, all fascist dictators were thought to be overthrown once and for good. just remember: an idea is much difficult to kill than a million people. stalin was and is a fantastic fascist, because fascists are those who do not see the better of the commoners and their prerogatives for a just life. as all kings and queens are the uttermost significant and signifiers of fascism: they are representatives of god on earth (just like the popes, those other über fascists). this means that once we are liberated of what we consider 'repression' we do not have to do anything else but smile and vote. they, THE LIBERATORS, will take of us. not. humans are imperfect animals, and what we want it is not necessary what they want, and we are capable and entertaining clowns and dictators, all of us. once a fighter in the trenches against franco, next a minister in his government, it all depends of your testicles are licked the right way (replace franco with putin, cameron, obama, etc, the new fascists, among others). we are rhetorical animals, after all we think we 'think'. we all are dictators inside, everything is politics, even in bed, actually, especially in bed, all is about control.

 

 

          william s. burroughs, (in 'interzone'): “we have a new type of rule now. not one-man rule, or rule of aristocracy or plutocracy, but of small groups elevated to positions of absolute power by random pressures, and subject to political and economic factors that leave little room for decision. they are representatives of abstract forces who have reached power through surrender of self. the iron-willed dictator is a thing of the past. there will be no more stalins, no more hitlers. the rulers of this most insecure of all worlds are rulers by accident, inept, frightened pilots at the controls of a vast machine they cannot understand, calling in experts to tell them which buttons to push.”

          then the other one, philipp kretzschmar says : "humans and other animals have no direct control of what they want. your "personality" is not a cause in itself, independent from nature. it is very dependent on the wiring of your brain, which again is dependent on the genome and the experience you made throughout your life. hence, you can only realize what you want and may act according to it. if you can act on your desires you experience joy, if you cannot you experience distress. or as schopenhauer once said: "man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants." also being able to suppress certain desires is not a sign that we control our desires, as the desire to control such desires is a desire, too. that being said, there are ways to train ourselves to behave according to a socially accepted manner, be it through positive reinforcement or punishment. or by gaining insight for the necessity of (not) doing an action through learning, either by making mistakes in the real world or by making thought experiments. or by learning how other people did things in the past and prevent us from doing mistakes again."

          as i told you before, what once was is ever once again, the serpent biting its tail, and do not say that from this water you won't drink. history repeating itself, a saying that i really do not want to admit and agree but that it is true, because of our/your faults in relative and progressing (not progressive) thought. it is, quite accurately a question of testicles (or money, or privileges, reputation, sex, well; control). once you are in the 'strategic' plain you are one of theirs. a cunt. to me, umberto eco's essay 'ur-fascism' is a seminal piece of political writing, even more important than the marx & engels 'communist manifesto', and all philosophies in the world. like eco's, we all have our ten years of age when you are enraptured by ideas and prizes, what you are indoctrinated in and with is the way you grow and develop, but not necessarily, as we all know. unfortunately some people, not enough, escape the doctrines and repressions they were branded and become other than that, sometimes themselves and other times an utter worst thing than at the beginning, which normally they detest. 'progressive thought' is exactly like eco describes: you start with something in which you are embroiled and 'believe', because it is the reality that circumnavigates you, you do not have other comparative terms, that's it. mussolini is great because you were taught that, you do not know anyone or anything else. that is the world that exists and you, not in the centre, but them, the things, the other and the others, you are part of the circle but you are nt even in the middle, because this initial perception of the world it is not even you, yourself, you are just a part of it, and many times one is not aware of any of this. it is, and it is sufficient it is. this 'progressive thought' evolves, like anything in life, into something else, the world continues to revolve and you with it. what you know is sudddenly presented with a possible alternative, there is a end and a new beginning, meaning that your world is presented with a new reality. instead of skiving bullets, as you always knew and learnt, you now are informed that there are no more bullets and that the its dead are to be congratulated. evolution. this evolution is not presented with a different solutionfor previous circumstances, you are not yet aware of them. you celebrate the end of fascism, like i did in 1974 in portugal during and after the carnation revolution, but that's it. we are 'free' now, we are told, no more fascism, and we celebrate, as i did, completely oblivious to the significance of the past and the present.   nevertheless, like eco's italy, portugal is the fatherland that will never die, immortal. and again you receive some kind of consolation, a prize, when you acknowledge this new reality, but still what it is is out of your grasp. immortal italy or portugal, it doesn't matter. we collect bullets and pearls and we go on. it is part of this 'progressive thought'. as umberto eco's explains (following his text): "a few days later i saw the first american soldiers. they were african americans. the first yankee i met was a black man, joseph, who introduced me to the marvels of dick tracy and li'l abner. his comic books were brightly coloured and smelled good. one of the officers (major or captain muddy) was a guest in the villa of a family whose two daughters were my schoolmates. i met him in their garden where some ladies, surrounding captain muddy, talked in tentative french. captain muddy knew some french, too. my first image of american liberators was thus – after so many palefaces in black shirts – that of a cultivated black man in a yellow-green uniform saying: "oui, merci beaucoup, madame, moi aussi j'aime le champagne . . ." unfortunately there was no champagne, but captain muddy gave me my first piece of wrigley's spearmint and i started chewing all day long. at night i put my wad in a water glass, so it would be fresh for the next day. in may we heard that the war was over. peace gave me a curious sensation. i had been told that permanent warfare was the normal condition for a young italian. in the following months i discovered that the resistance was not only a local phenomenon but a european one. i learned new, exciting words like réseau, maquis, armée secrète, rote kapelle, warsaw ghetto. i saw the first photographs of the holocaust, thus understanding the meaning before knowing the word. i realized what we were liberated from."

          i asked myself, when i was taught, what was that i was liberated from and by whom. exactly like the ten year old in italy (the exactly same thing happened to me in 1974, as i said, in portugal, when i was eight years of age. i remember that on that morning, the morning of the 24th of april of 1974, someone knocked on our living room's door, and i went to open the door, just before going to school. it was a lady, a saleswoman in her job of selling things, and those were margarine and butters from a brand, vaqueiro, and she asked for my mother. a few minutes after, i was saying goodbye to my mother because i was leaving to school, the lady told us that most possibly i wouldn't have classes because of the revolution. a think unheard of, and very unaware we were. i was sent to school, mother didn't understand it at all, just like me. in the primary school we were told to return home because classes were not on, again, because of the revolution. and happy we were and we laughed and smiled and sang songs and walk back our homes happy as little silly clowns.

          that day we watched television, black and white, of course, in a old zanussi television set, and i have a vivid memory of fernando balsinha and eduardo climaco and some others i forgot the names explaining us that we were freed, at last, of fascism, of marcelo caetano and his ministers, américo tomás and even salazar (that was very dead by then). i remember my mother cried, but once again i didn't get the gist of the events, too young, and very understandably. here, the command post of the armed forces... i think i will never forget these words. the images on television were a complete surprised. we were asked to stay inside doors, but in lisbon people were en masse in the streets amongst soldiers and tanks with carnations in the mouth of the cannons, people were kissing and hugging, marching in those streets, all ages, as one. i think it was the first time in my life i've seen so much joy and celebration. this feeling never repeated itself afterwards. there were songs broadcasted too, and i still have tears in my eyes when i listen to 'grandola, vila morena', by zeca afonso, but at the time i didn't understand it. it is very important to underline the word understand. like it is important to distinguish the words 'progressive' and 'progressing' thought. though i lived all this, i didn't understand it. because one thing is what we experience and live, the other is what we do understand or think we understand. i too was given chewing gum and heard of champagne, meaning that i was given things and concepts, ideas that i didn't and i won't forget. there was a few hundred soldiers that got out of their bases with a few tanks and faced the blues, the misery and oppression, and they have won! a new perspective was presented to me and i did accepted it, not having a clue what it meant. we suddenly learned that the whole world, almost, was celebrating with us and that the colonies would be freed at last. i learned that there were other countries that went through the same process and others still living like we were living just the day before.

 

 

william s. burroughs: "the colony was called LIBERTATIA and was placed under articles drawn up by captain mission. the articles state, among other things: all decisions with regard to the colony to be submitted to vote by the colonists; the abolition of slavery for any reason including debt; the abolition of the death penalty; and freedom to follow any religious beliefs or practices without sanction or molestation. captain mission's colony, which numbered about three hundred, was wiped out by a surprise attack from the natives, and captain mission was killed shortly afterwards in a sea battle. there were other such colonies in the west indies and in central and south america, but they were not able to maintain themselves since they were not sufficiently populous to withstand attack. had they been able to do so, the history of the world could have been altered. imagine a number of such fortified positions all through south america and the west indies, stretching from africa to madagascar and malaya and the east indies, all offering refuge to fugitives from slavery and oppression: "come to us and live under the articles."

          on that 25th of april it was the very first time i heard the word FASCISM. it was also the first time ever that i heard names never before uttered and classified as 'FASCISTS'. neighbours, important personalities, civil servants from the national police forces... i've heard before the words PIDE and DGS (the secret political military services), but on that day names were attached to those words. they seemed to have vanished, they looked for them in their houses but they were not there. it was the first time i've heard that many men and women were in hiding and fighting the regime, living in caves and hungry, that many other 'normal' people would incur in great danger to provide these fighters with news, food and clothes, travelling by night in the dark. i've heard too that many people have been tortured because they didn't agree with the fascist regime, and many other have been killed, the name tarrafal was uttered, still having the horror power it had, in almost silence whispers. i've seen many prisoners coming out of prisons because they spoke against poverty, physical, material and mental. these people, i was told, suffered because they couldn't agree with the state of the nation and needed and wanted to do something to their common brother (maybe less capable to fight or to express themselves, maybe not even aware in the state they lived). my father couldn't care less about all this, he was drunk in the taberna, i assume. my mother cried, as i said, and called these unheard of people 'saints' and 'martyrs': she had previous experience of these 'forgotten' people, those no one could speak of - her own father had to go on hiding for calling salazar 'a son of a bitch' that wanted his own people to be analphabetic: 'ignorance is bliss', 'do not discuss god and virtue. do not discuss the homeland and its history. do not discuss the authority and prestige. do not discuss the family and its moral. not discuss the glory of work and their duty', ' all for the nation, nothing against the nation', ' the united nations is useless...and also harmful. it is a land that flowers demagoguery with a bunch of newborn countries, devoid of any tradition', was some of salazar's mottos. unlike umberto eco i was not able to understand the meaning of all this immediately. it took me a few years, until i became a renegade from the holy christian apostolic roman church. but the seed of 'before' and 'after' was sowed there.

 

 

as we continues to write, umberto eco: "in my country today there are people who are wondering if the resistance had a real military impact on the course of the war. for my generation this question is irrelevant: we immediately understood the moral and psychological meaning of the resistance. for us it was a point of pride to know that we europeans did not wait passively for liberation. and for the young americans who were paying with their blood for our restored freedom it meant something to know that behind the firing lines there were europeans paying their own debt in advance. in my country today there are those who are saying that the myth of the resistance was a communist lie. it is true that the communists exploited the resistance as if it were their personal property, since they played a prime role in it; but i remember partisans with kerchiefs of different colours. sticking close to the radio, i spent my nights – the windows closed, the blackout making the small space around the set a lone luminous halo – listening to the messages sent by the voice of london to the partisans. they were cryptic and poetic at the same time (the sun also rises, the roses will bloom) and most of them were "messaggi per la franchi." somebody whispered to me that franchi was the leader of the most powerful clandestine network in northwestern italy, a man of legendary courage. franchi became my hero. franchi (whose real name was edgardo sogno) was a monarchist, so strongly anti-communist that after the war he joined very right-wing groups, and was charged with collaborating in a project for a reactionary coup d'état. who cares? sogno still remains the dream hero of my childhood. liberation was a common deed for people of different colours." (the underlining done before in this paragraph is mine; and it might be time to recall friedrich nietzsche's saying: "i assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn it to its advantage.")

          which brings me to the notion of the distinction between 'progress' and 'progressing', which is still a notion in development, a work i imbue myself in every single day, consciously or not. i've been having the grace and fortune of having, in writing, during the past months of 2014, a conversation with my nephew, the artist andré de oliveira about writing, particularly, and some other themes we find important to our own progressing in society and as human beings, concisely. it might that i am just being up my own arse and obtuse, which i am frequently, or the two words not have the same meaning. which might as well be plainly better if i define (from a dictionary) progress and progressing (which the dictionaries, again, define as the same thing):

          1. move forward or onward in space or time. "as the century progressed the quality of telescopes improved"

          2. develop towards an improved or more advanced condition. "work on the pond is progressing".

          it seems that 'progressing' is dependable of 'progress', or so it seems. without the idea of 'progress' there cannot be 'progressing'. i beg to differ, and i do not have any pretention to be a philosopher. my written conversations with andré de oliveira are a work 'progressing' not because i do not want it to achieve anything else but its own purpose, that is, being a conversation. he might disagree completely about this last statement. it is a means in itself and it do not depends on any backward subject being altered into more obfuscation, therefore, in that case, there is no 'progress', at all, quite the opposite, there is 'eu-progress' or 'non-progress' ('eu' is no or the opposite in greek, used as a pronoun, like in eucatastrophe, a word coined by j.r.r. tolkien, when a catastrophe has got a moment that turns itself into a positive thing, or the opposite of itself). when we do not agree in something is it not 'progress'? quite the opposite again, we agreed in not agreeing and we might and must discuss further, because we are not, or i am not, satisfied with the state of things. 'progress' in the other side stops its course when two or more parties disagrees with the terms in discussion. in 'progress' you have time and space involved, you mean to advance towards a goal, to achieve something (which to me is utterly boring and disgusting, it actually stresses me and i do get lost in these 'progress' games we are indoctrinated in and with (religion included, especially). laurie anderson (album 'strange angels', 1989, warner brothers, 25900, B000002LHO):

          "she said: what is history?

          and he said: history is an angel

          being blown backwards into the future

          he said: history is a pile of debris

          and the angel wants to go back and fix things

          to repair the things that have been broken

          but there is a storm blowing from paradise

          and the storm keeps blowing the angel

          backwards into the future

          and this storm, this storm

          is called

          progress."

          'progress' is dictated, rushed, industrial, imposed, some say 'natural'. 'progressing' is desired and not rushed or imposed, poetic, philosophical. there is not 'progressing' in religions, political parties, associative industries and commerce (even if they tell you that, even if you 'believe' in them). like language 'progressing' is a living organism (do not forget that the word 'progress' disappeared from language just before the XVIII century and only resurfaced in the beginning of the XIX - was the industrial revolution a progress?) in my use of the word 'progressing' is the duration, the path taken that matters, not the result (with is the opposite of progress). you can say that i am wrong because both words come from the same original latin words, pro and gradi, to walk forward. progress is not progressive in the majority of times (if you really think about it), but progressing is aoristic, advanced and leading. my written conversations with my nephew are progressing and progressive, but not any kind of progress. this might be clearer when we speak of 'learning' and being 'natural'. obviously i am trying not to fall in the common mistake of being and using aporias that no one understands, including myself, and i cannot ever be accused of being a sophist or a politician using words for my own benefit and causes.

 

 

          the above brings other important questions regarding the theme of this monologue: what this has to do with umberto eco's essay, fascism and us, including the author? many, many things, let us say for starters. first, let me pick up that beautiful word above, that we should use frequently and know the meaning: aporia. this is a progressing greek word. i am frequently in a state of aporia, which means, i am always in several states of puzzlement and in doubt. to me that is natural. but that was not always the state of things with me and of my personality. as it happened with fascism: it went away (apparently) for a while (dormant in the beds of capitalists and reactionaries and related succubus that spent all this time thinking how to subjugate and dominate the plebs) and now it is back big time, but under new forms and disguises, clenching and devouring all and everything that are narcotised by it. that appals me, makes me stop to think about progress and the so-called humankind (that's one of the reasons why you cannot find a proper meaning of the word 'progress' in a philosophy dictionary and much more, you cannot be a witness of that possible philosophical definition in real life, qualitatively. more below in the next paragraph). i know this is not a very good prohairetic logic, but i do still have a lot to learn, i am progressing... the communist and socialist and even humanist ideas were progressing for a while and then stopped, being just a progress from the anterior state of human affairs, mainly because of human consumption (as in the disease) of its own ideas, peoples are afraid of change and evolution (the antithesis of progress). progressing is changing and evolving, making one's own choices - progress is only seemingly proposed, but in reality a choice forced upon us. progress has everything to do with fascism (we shall discuss these subthemes further) because progress is always intended as an object of control, that is, consumerism and atrophying of thought. yes, there is "a storm blowing from paradise and the storm keeps blowing the angel backwards into the future - and this storm, this storm is called progress."

          in the stanford encyclopaedia of philosophy (that we do suggest avidly you consult for a better understanding of my propositions and contradictions with the common thought http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/progress/) 'progress' is primarily defined as:

          philosophical proponents of progress assert that the human condition has improved over the course of history and will continue to improve. doctrines of progress first appeared in 18th-century (when the word was not in vulgar common use at all in the english speaking world, at least) europe and epitomize the optimism of that time and place. belief in progress flourished in the 19th century. while sceptics of progress did exist alongside its supporters from the beginning, it was not until the 20th century that theorists backed away en masse from the notion. many 20th-century thinkers rejected the notion of progress after horrendous events such as the two world wars, the holocaust, and the use of nuclear weaponry. in general, writings on progress tend to bear a close relationship to the environment in which they were produced. (the comment and underlining above is mine).

          if you are curious enough, or if you are knowledgeable of theories of progress, we must agree that what is going on in the XXI century is more important than discuss those referred and theories and history of progress, so, to cut a long story short:

          walter benjamin: "a klee painting named “angelus novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. his eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. this is how one pictures the angel of history. his face is turned toward the past. where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. the angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. but a storm is blowing from paradise; it has caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. this storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. this storm is what we call progress". (1941, 257–8)

            desiree d'alessandro: german theorists horkheimer and adorno were frankfurt school philosophers reacting to the tyranny of hitler dictatorship and the rise of nazism. with an emphasis on the hegelian dialectic, horkheimer and adorno take immanuel kant's foundational text 'what is enlightenment?' (1784) and argue that instead of a mythical freedom and enrichment, what has resulted is its dialectical opposite: an ideology of alienation and domination. they articulate, "enlightenment's program was the disenchantment of the world," and continue, "enlightenment['s] . . . advance of thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and installing them as masters. yet the wholly enlightened earth is radiant with triumphant calamity." here we see the dialectic echoed again with the master/slave binary in a resounding applicableness to today's global concerns (weapons of mass destruction, environmental degradation, calamity of civilization). in every dialectic or binary opposition, domination becomes a key component for consideration, as horkheimer and adorno explicate, "what human beings seek to learn from nature is how to use it to dominate wholly both it and human beings. nothing else counts." our rational procedures end up further oppressing us, because through understanding, the subject becomes a sovereign agent who shows his/her power through control of others. hence understanding is linked to tyranny, as the persistence of manipulation and domination leads to the alienation and what horkheimer and adorno call, "the manipulated collective." writing a generation later, french theorist foucault is also concerned with domination and how we participate in our own oppression. professor roth abbreviates foucault's concern "emerges as a product of what many had thought of as the march of progress and the growth of freedom. beneath the guise of liberal movements of various kinds, he argues, we can see increasing conformity." this emphasis comes from examining social control—"normalization"—and homogenization in institutions such as mental asylums and prisons. foucault accounts the historical shift from punishing a few madmen and exiling them to the fringes of society, to the organized pharmaceutical-laced landscape of today's civilization. "the asylum no longer punished madman's guilt, . . . it organized the guilt" and through psychologization, man returned society, aware of himself as "an object of punishment always vulnerable to himself and to the other." what is interesting here, is where horkheimer and adorno carved out a dialectic account for the degradation of society, through power dominating knowledge, foucault instead sees that "power and knowledge directly imply one another." that is all discourses contribute to the concentration of power and its affective capacity in a "system without an author," roth abbreviates. the result of rebelling from one system of conformity is to only then reify a new system of anti-conformity. for foucault, the elusive problem of freedom without contradiction, dialectic, or negation is hinged on divergence. he is interested in how the enlightenment marked "difference" and saw the truest possibility for potential in individuals who tried to invent themselves and "imagine [the world] otherwise than it is." foucault closes with "what is at stake, then, is this: how can the growth of capabilities be disconnected from the intensification of power relations?"

 

 

 

          post-script: on the guardian of the 15th of november 2014 terry eagleton reviews two new books by the philosopher slavoj žižek and writes that: "he sees the world as divided between liberal capitalism and fundamentalism – in other words, between those who believe too little and those who believe too much. instead of taking sides, however, he stresses the secret complicity between the two camps. fundamentalism is the ugly creed of those who feel washed up and humiliated by a west that has too often ridden roughshod over their interests. one lesson of the egyptian revolt, žižek argues in trouble in paradise, is that if moderate liberal forces continue to ignore the radical left, “they will generate an insurmountable fundamentalist wave”. toppling tyrants, which all good liberals applaud, is simply a prelude to the hard work of radical social transformation, without which fundamentalism will return. in a world everywhere under the heel of capital, only radical politics can retrieve what is worth saving in the liberal legacy. it is no wonder that žižek is as unpopular with channel 4 as he is on wall street. in any case, market freedom and religious fundamentalism are far from mutually exclusive. “spiritual” values have been enlisted by asian nations for capitalist ends. the easy opposition between liberal permissiveness and fundamentalist repression must be rethought. the rise of islamo-fascism, žižek points out, went hand in hand with the disappearance of the secular left in muslim countries, a disappearance the west itself did much to promote. who now recalls that, 40 years ago, afghanistan was a strong secular state with a powerful communist party which took power there independently of the soviet union? every emergence of fascism, walter benjamin wrote, bears witness to a failed revolution. in the muslim world, the west has played a major role in stamping on such movements, creating a political vacuum into which fundamentalism was then able to move. it cannot now feign innocence of its predatory past in the face of the islamist backlash it has helped to unleash. those who are reluctant to criticise liberal democracy, žižek suggests, should also keep quiet about fundamentalism." © terry eagleton / the guardian.

 

[to be continued...]

XANA MONTEIRO (+ than photography)

Posted on 21st January, 2015

 

ALL ABOUT XANA:

1.

2.

3.

4.

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY © XANA MONTEIRO

 

MANIFESTO OF LUST

Posted on 21st January, 2015

 

futurist manifesto of lust

valentine de saint-point:

 

 

a reply to those dishonest journalists who twist phrases to make the idea seem ridiculous;

to those women who only think what i have dared to say;

to those for whom lust is still nothing but a sin;

to all those who in lust can only see vice, just as in pride they see only vanity.

lust, when viewed without moral preconceptions and as an essential part of life’s dynamism, is a force.

 

lust is not, any more than pride, a mortal sin for the race that is strong. lust, like pride, is a virtue that urges one on, a powerful source of energy.

lust is the expression of a being projected beyond itself. it is the painful joy of wounded flesh, the joyous pain of a flowering. and whatever secrets unite these beings, it is a union of flesh. it is the sensory and sensual synthesis that leads to the greatest liberation of spirit. it is the communion of a particle of humanity with all the sensuality of the earth.

 

lust is the quest of the flesh for the unknown, just as celebration is the spirit’s quest for the unknown. lust is the act of creating, it is creation.

flesh creates in the way that the spirit creates. in the eyes of the universe their creation is equal. one is not superior to the other and creation of the spirit depends on that of the flesh.

 

we possess body and spirit. to curb one and develop the other shows weakness and is wrong. a strong man must realize his full carnal and spiritual potentiality. the satisfaction of their lust is the conquerors’ due. after a battle in which men have died, it is normal for the victors, proven in war, to turn to rape in the conquered land, so that life may be re-created.

 

when they have fought their battles, soldiers seek sensual pleasures, in which their constantly battling energies can be unwound and renewed. the modern hero, the hero in any field, experiences the same desire and the same pleasure. the artist, that great universal medium, has the same need. and the exaltation of the initiates of those religions still sufficiently new to contain a tempting element of the unknown, is no more than sensuality diverted spiritually towards a sacred female image.

 

art and war are the great manifestations of sensuality; lust is their flower. a people exclusively spiritual or a people exclusively carnal would be condemned to the same decadence—sterility.

  

lust excites energy and releases strength. pitilessly it drove primitive man to victory, for the pride of bearing back a woman the spoils of the defeated. today it drives the great men of business who run the banks, the press and international trade to increase their wealth by creating centers, harnessing energies and exalting the crowds, to worship and glorify with it the object of their lust. these men, tired but strong, find time for lust, the principal motive force of their action and of the reactions caused by their actions affecting multitudes and worlds.

 

even among the new peoples where sensuality has not yet been released or acknowledged, and who are neither primitive brutes nor the sophisticated representatives of the old civilizations, woman is equally the great galvanizing principle to which all is offered. the secret cult that man has for her is only the unconscious drive of a lust as yet barely woken. amongst these peoples as amongst the peoples of the north, but for different reasons, lust is almost exclusively concerned with procreation. but lust, under whatever aspects it shows itself, whether they are considered normal or abnormal, is always the supreme spur.

 

the animal life, the life of energy, the life of the spirit, sometimes demand a respite. and effort for effort’s sake calls inevitably for effort for pleasure’s sake. these efforts are not mutually harmful but complementary, and realize fully the total being.

 

for heroes, for those who create with the spirit, for dominators of all fields, lust is the magnificent exaltation of their strength. for every being it is a motive to surpass oneself with the simple aim of self-selection, of being noticed, chosen, picked out.

 

christian morality alone, following on from pagan morality, was fatally drawn to consider lust as a weakness. out of the healthy joy which is the flowering of the flesh in all its power it has made something shameful and to be hidden, a vice to be denied. it has covered it with hypocrisy, and this has made a sin of it.

 

we must stop despising desire, this attraction at once delicate and brutal between two bodies, of whatever sex, two bodies that want each other, striving for unity. we must stop despising desire, disguising it in the pitiful clothes of old and sterile sentimentality.

 

it is not lust that disunites, dissolves and annihilates. it is rather the mesmerizing complications of sentimentality, artificial jealousies, words that inebriate and deceive, the rhetoric of parting and eternal fidelities, literary nostalgia—all the histrionics of love.

 

we must get rid of all the ill-omened debris of romanticism, counting daisy petals, moonlight duets, heavy endearments, false hypocritical modesty. when beings are drawn together by a physical attraction, let them—instead of talking only of the fragility of their hearts—dare to express their desires, the inclinations of their bodies, and to anticipate the possibilities of joy and disappointment in their future carnal union.

 

physical modesty, which varies according to time and place, has only the ephemeral value of a social virtue.

we must face up to lust in full conciousness. we must make of it what a sophisticated and intelligent being makes of himself and of his life; we must make lust into a work of art. to allege unwariness or bewilderment in order to explain an act of love is hypocrisy, weakness and stupidity.

 

we should desire a body consciously, like any other thing.

 

love at first sight, passion or failure to think, must not prompt us to be constantly giving ourselves, nor to take beings, as we are usually inclined to do so due to our inability to see into the future. we must choose intelligently. directed by our intuition and will, we should compare the feelings and desires of the two partners and avoid uniting and satisfying any that are unable to complement and exalt each other.

 

equally conciously and with the same guiding will, the joys of this coupling should lead to the climax, should develop its full potential, and should permit to flower all the seeds sown by the merging of two bodies. lust should be made into a work of art, formed like every work of art, both instinctively and consciously.

 

we must strip lust of all the sentimental veils that disfigure it. these veils were thrown over it out of mere cowardice, because smug sentimentality is so satisfying. sentimentality is comfortable and therefore demeaning.

 

in one who is young and healthy, when lust clashes with sentimentality, lust is victorious. sentiment is a creature of fashion, lust is eternal. lust triumphs, because it is the joyous exaltation that drives one beyond oneself, the delight in posession and domination, the perpetual victory from which the perpetual battle is born anew, the headiest and surest intoxication of conquest. and as this certain conquest is temporary, it must be constantly won anew.

 

lust is a force, in that it refines the spirit by bringing to white heat the excitement of the flesh. the spirit burns bright and clear from a healthy, strong flesh, purified in the embrace. only the weak and sick sink into the mire and are diminished. and lust is a force in that it kills the weak and exalts the strong, aiding natural selection.

 

lust is a force, finally, in that it never leads to the insipidity of the definite and the secure, doled out by soothing sentimentality. lust is the eternal battle, never finally won. after the fleeting triumph, even during the ephemeral triumph itself, reawakening dissatisfaction spurs a human being, driven by an orgiastic will, to expand and surpass himself.

 

lust is for the body what an ideal is for the spirit—the magnificent chimaera, that one ever clutches at but never captures, and which the young and the avid, intoxicated with the vision, pursue without rest.

 

lust is a force.

 

 

 

 

 

SPACE : EMPTY

Posted on 5th January, 2015

S P A C E : E M P T Y

A PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY

BY

BENJAMIN SILVA-PEREIRA

LISBON, 4 JANUARY 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photography © 2015 by benjamin silva-pereira

photographs taken on the 4th of january 2015

at centro cultural de belem, lisbon, portugal 

thanks to steven lee rees. 

 

 

 

FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON ~ lifeforms

Posted on 7th December, 2014

 

 

 

 

future sound of london

16th may 1994:' lifeforms' cdv 2722

 

for my 18th birthday my father gave me a wrapped box he kept since i was born. i've seen the box many times before laying down and tied with candle wick string in my parents' wardrobe. that was four years ago. since then my life changed a lot. my father died last year, i am finishing a degree in arts in london but my world is still gravitating around the memories of my father and that box, that didn't change. which is good.

          on that box there was a compact disc wrapped in plastic and original edition of 'lifeforms' by future sound of london (a copy of the issue of 'the guardian' newspaper and other things that came into existence on the 16th of may 1994, the date of my birth). my father explained that he asked the man on the HMV counter in picadilly circus to recommend an album published that day that would be unforgettable or good or would make an impact. the man sold him that double compact disc. eighteen years after its released i entered a world unknown to me and that took me by surprise and shocked me and made me change the way i listen music, and the music that i like now. and taught me a lot. never heard of FSOL before (my age is evidence of my short knowledge of people and things). rummaging through the album credits i learned of robert fripp (and that lead me to the league of gentleman, fripptronics and king crimson, via brian eno, etc); and who the hell is or are ozric tentacles? i was soon to learn who they are. other names appear there with magic consequences, toni halliday (of curve that i learn to love now), klaus schultze and talvin singh among others. finally i entered the world of ambient that i so much despised before. ambient is a dirty word to me. ambient was muzak of the worst kind, vivaldi on the phone and lifts, adverts on television and radio, radio 4 rumours and background noise... and i entered that world the best way possible, i am sure.

 

          obviously i had to research it on the web and read what others thought of this album. this is one of my favourite reactions: "no real need to review this album as such, not much i can add that hasn't been said.. but still this album's a favourite. loved it ever since i first heard it.. been a while too! until today. i used to have it on a tape when i was a kid, id listen to it on my headphones at night and conjure up the maddest imaginations. its like a journey through different places and spaces. like some mental trip. sounds like.. beautiful ethereal ambiance to unnerving dark electronic soundscapes and literally all sorts of instruments and noise in between! oh yeah and not to forget the wicked art on the sleeve." [demon1184 october 5, 2011]. another favourite: "lifeforms was released the week before my 21st birthday. i was unemployed & skint but managed to keep enough of my dole money to buy the cd & some puff. i saved both for the evening of my birthday whereupon settling down with my 2 best friends had one of the most magical evenings of my entire life." [scottb, october 4, 2012].

 

          reviews of the album varies, but what i needed was to fill these eighteen years that have past. ned raggett from allmusic.com wrote: "if not as immediately memorable on a song per song basis as, say, aphex twin's selected ambient works collections, as an overall piece, lifeforms makes for an inventive, fascinating aural experience, as rich and detailed as the orb's best work." in 2009 mike stagno from sputnikmusic.com wrote: "despite all the efforts of british duo garry cobain and brian dougans (read: no less than thirty albums under twenty-five different aliases), the electronica they envisioned as london's future sound over the past twenty-one years never exactly transitioned into the city's present sound. but it's been a fantastic run all the same, even if the duo has been focusing more on their psychedelic, progressive material as of late. with that said, the most impressive works in the future sound of london's back catalogue are some of the duo's earliest studio albums. the production of lifeforms was well underway as cobain and dougans released tales of ephidrina under the amorphous androgynous banner in 1993. accordingly, whereas tales of ephidrina did a great job in combining the techno of the duo's earliest writings and the ambience of their later works, lifeforms takes on a more complex, experimental structure. in doing this, the future sound of london not only cemented their status as one of the scene's top acts, but also crafted one of the genre's top records." ambientexotica.com wrote beautifully: "these cyberspacey settings are only slightly enhanced by synth pads, related sweeps and chants by elizabeth fraser of the cocteau twins, causing an immersive flow of either contentment, tension, ecstasy or pressure. their lp's sound still fresh to this day, and that certain feeling is perceptible in the latest music of stellar om source or lone who both merge that electronic new age style with rave stabs and synth maelstroms. another factor that lets fans speak in awe about fsol is their sophisticated singles and ep's. until the middle of the 90's, it was common for bands and musicians of all kinds and genres to remix their own projects and songs. dougans and cobain took it to the next level and provided shedloads of different angles and instrumentations of their tracks. the lifeforms ep is one of these terrific artifacts of electronic worshipping."

          secondthought.co.uk explained: "the rhythms were placed low in the mix, bursts of environmental sound and field recordings tied the pieces together, and the overall sound and accompanying artwork gave the impression of lush forests and desolate deserts. the press loved it, the album hit top 10 in the uk album chart, and to this day is regarded as one of the greatest ambient/electronica albums of the 90s. preceded by a 40 minute six-part single based vaguely on the album track 'cascade', and followed by another 40 minute .e.p following seven largely unrelated 'paths' of the album's title track, the band had finally secured their place alongside such artists as the orb in the world of organic ambient, and away from the clubs they had tired of years before. during interviews, the group expressed an interest in combining music with video graphics to create a form of total immersion entertainment they called 3d headspace. a movie entitled yage (also the name of their imaginary engineer) was mentioned, with a 15 minute pilot video, also called lifeforms, promoted as a pilot." on emusician.com “we wanted to release a very immersive, mind-blowing piece of music that was long and would deeply drench you in it,” cobain insists. “lifeforms was redefining ‘classical ambient electronic experimental’ — that was the phrase we used.”

          this search for a historical background took me many hours; and learning about these strangers became an adventure, and still is. the music was not the only important think about fsol, i wanted to know the two guys behind. in 2001 the guardian newspaper asked them questions i needed: "we are in their two-room complex in a london studio building, an aladdin's cave of expensive equipment and cheap tat that is half psychedelic recording studio and half disturbed teenager's bedroom. a glorious confusion of stuff spreads everywhere: a child's drumkit, fish lamps, numerous computers, two gleaming mountain bikes, a plastic baby, a toy r2d2 robot from star wars, vast beatles portraits, a hits of hawaii album, piles of tapes and cds. and a pink fluffy hippo that cobain, 36, and his band partner brian dougans, 34, hope will soon get its own animated tv and radio show", wrote dom philips.

<<<< fast rewind <<<<

londonisuglythecitythatneverstopseatingitsown<<<

londonisuglythecitythatneverstopseatingitsown<<<<picadilly picallilie picadors of circus4a.m.neonnights the drugs don't work, we all know, they should know, they won't know, they don't want to wanna know know a wanna neon lights< we oughta know, girls showing their boobbieeees and licking them boys want to be boys they should know better, erection of past futures< fast< she looks chinese and chinese she looks rimmellll eyes egyptian oriental tunnel, eyes of a snake, brown scales, blade runner awol, she runs through the zebra walking and running zebra internet fast rewind, mmmmm, skyscraper london cucumber nova nebula interstat< boris blonde johnson black face blonde hair stupid brain flashing lights, stop the fucking flashing lights, N7 to oblivion and more bass, a drum kettle, a drum bass, a whisper, a voice, the chinese girl looks back and waves me, indian night, neon skies, beer, lager, beer, lager, mushrooms and pizza at fast rewinf midnight 4a.m. a.m. lights on you rabbits, furs and hairs the girls go home in a rush blsh tush bush doosh it is late, phone me later, he was scoopy don't you think, good dancer though the boy at the club ecstasy of sorts, she knwos, she better know, a drum, a cigar, a warning, OXO, green phosforescent, remastered, abbey road, bangladesh in white teeth, the end of the street the end of the road, skyscraper, glass on glasses, clap, clap, let's go, he's a creep, don't look now, he went to score, a night like this, fastrewindnow<<<< the voyage starts when you don't know where you are anymore, the lights, gosh, you need dosh for a place like this, the digereeeeedooooo and the plastic band, london is not for losers, in calcutta the holy man on the river waving his hand, a mobile on his hand calling the elephant god via isdn<<< slow motion now<<< rewind< baby smiles and the world is algae perfect, japanese babay smoking, swinging skirt, babay wants to dance jig babaloo vindaloo voodoo babay, stop flashing the fucking lights<<< a sea in picadilly of people and cars and noise and fumes and neons and girls and baybays giggling and dancing and eating and thinking of heaven and heaven is a club of algae and plankton and mermaids and dolphins blue green lights tablets mister smiley smiles mister grumpy dances guitars of frippian ovules and ovas and ovulies and opals<<< this is the city of the future, interstat, number one, N7 goes again, the chatting of machines, hole on the wall, hospital blood, cars white black cabs jingles and lips and eyes shimmering - stop!  

 

 

 

 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

first four photographs of 'lifeforms' album and single © virgin / electronic brain violence

taken by benjamin silva-pereira

TEXT & DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHS © 2014 wassily blossfeldt for w.b. industries, london

OBJECTS OF DESIRE 2 - S

Posted on 6th December, 2014

 

S. is a 2013 novel written by Doug Dorst and conceived by J.J. Abrams. The novel is unusual in its format, presented as a story within a story. It is composed of the fictional novel Ship of Theseus by a fictional author, and hand-written notes filling the book's margins as a dialogue between two college students hoping to uncover the author's mysterious identity and the novel's secret plus loose supplementary materials tucked in between pages.

S. has been called "part work of art, literary experiment, and love letter to the physical expression of books."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“S,” the new mystery novel by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst, may be the best-looking book I’ve ever seen. From the outside, it looks like an old library book, called “Ship of Theseus” and published, in 1949, by V. M. Straka (a fictitious author). Open it up, though, and you see that the real story unfolds in Straka’s margins, where two readers, Eric and Jen, have left notes for each other. Between the pages, they’ve slipped postcards, photographs, newspaper clippings, letters—even a hand-drawn map written on a napkin from a coffee shop.

To solve the book’s central mystery—who is V. M. Straka, really, and what does he have to do with Eric’s sinister dissertation advisor?—you have to read not just “Ship of Theseus,” but all of Jen and Eric’s handwritten notes. The book is so perfectly realized that it’s easy to fall under its spell. The other morning, I was so engrossed in a letter from Jen that I missed my subway stop. (The letter, handwritten on Pollard State University Library stationery, marked a turning point in Eric and Jen’s flirty, romantic relationship.)

“S” is the unusual result of a collaboration between two unusual people. Abrams has written, created, produced, or directed dozens of films and television shows, including “Felicity,” “Alias,” “Lost,” “Fringe,” “Person of Interest,” and two “Mission: Impossible” films; he’s currently directing the new “Star Wars” movie, which comes out in 2015. Meanwhile, Dorst’s previous novel, “Alive in Necropolis,” was a runner-up for the 2009 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award; he’s also won “Jeopardy!” three times. If you want to write a romantic mystery meta-novel in which two bibliophiles investigate the conspiracy around an enigmatic Eastern European author, you couldn’t choose a better team. Tonight—Saturday, November 23rd—Dorst and Abrams will be talking about “S” with Lena Dunham, at Symphony Space; I spoke with them over the phone earlier this week.

What could possibly have inspired you to produce a book like “S”?

Abrams: The idea came to me when I was at the airport. I saw a paperback novel sitting on a bench, and I went to pick it up. Inside, someone had written, in pen, “To whomever finds this book—please read it, take it somewhere, and leave it for someone else to find it.” It made me smile, this optimistic, romantic idea that you could leave a book with a message for someone. It reminded me of being in college, and seeing the notes that people would leave in the margins of the books they’d checked out of the library.

And then, I started to think: what if there were a very cool book that was completely annotated—just covered in marginalia and notes between two people? And—what if a conversation, or a relationship, began inside a book? That was the beginning of the process, maybe fifteen years ago.

How did Doug get involved?

Abrams: I told Lindsey Weber, who works on features with me at Bad Robot [Abrams’s production company], about the idea; she got excited about it. We weren’t sure if the novel itself should be a new novel, or a preëxisting novel. Then Lindsey found Doug. He came in, and we pitched the idea to him, and he ran with it.

Dorst: It was around the summer of 2009—they handed me the concept and said: “What kind of story would you tell, given this conceit?” And, first of all, I got really excited, because of the challenge of telling a story in this really restricted form. That really appealed to me as a writer. As far as the substance of the story, I was reading a book on the Shakespeare question at the time, and that sent me over into reading about the B. Traven controversy. I started thinking that, if the notion of a book is central to this idea, what if there were a mystery about its author? It seemed like it would be really, really fun to make up an entire bibliography and history about this writer. From there, it was a small step to deciding that the people who are reading the book should be book geeks themselves.

How did the collaboration work? And Doug, how did you keep the story straight? Did you use a whiteboard? Did you write “Ship of Theseus” and the marginalia at the same time, or separately?

Dorst: I would’ve been well-served if I’d had a whiteboard, but I’m a fundamentally disorganized person, and I had nothing resembling an organizational system! I wrote “Ship of Theseus” first, all the way through—everyone agreed that it really had to be able to stand on its own—and then I layered in the marginal notes. A lot of it was trial and error. But I’m a writer; I like making stuff up. This was, basically, an infinite sandbox of joy and fun. There was really no end to the world-building, the history-shaping that could be done, especially since J. J. and Lindsey were really encouraging every ludicrous impulse I had to make things bigger and more complex. At any given moment, I’m asking myself, “Why stop?”

Abrams: It was, frankly, not unlike developing a screenplay. There were outlines and pitches at the beginning, then early chapters. Lindsey would often work with Doug, and then show me stuff. It was especially fun, though, because the final product wasn’t a script that then needed to be cast and shot and edited. It was the text. And then we worked with a design firm, Melcher Media, who helped make it what it is.

You must be pleased with how the book has turned out, from a design perspective.

Abrams: It’s intended to be a celebration of the analog, of the physical object. In this moment of e-mails, and texting, and everything moving into the cloud, in an intangible way, it’s intentionally tangible. We wanted to include things you can actually hold in your hand: postcards, Xeroxes, legal-pad pages, pages from the school newspaper, a map on a napkin.

One of the most arresting aspects of “S” is the handwriting. I can’t remember when I last read so much of someone’s handwriting. And the language in which the handwritten letters and notes are written feels very natural in its cadences. You feel like you’re snooping on something intimate.

Dorst: That’s exactly the illusion that we wanted to create. We had been talking about the intimacies of books and about the intimacies that might come from sharing a book; these are two people who are building intimacy, and handwriting is another way that that intimacy can be developed and expressed. The designers chose the people who did the handwriting very carefully. And the writing’s not actually the same all the way through—it changes as the characters change.

“S” is reminiscent of older novels. It’s a little Nabokovian. It reminded me of an epistolary novel, too—many epistolary novels present the letters as “found” objects.

Abrams: There are a number of books that influenced us, some in that tradition of “faux-discovery,” and others that are more overtly games. For instance, there are these great mysteries by the British writer Dennis Wheatley. They’re packed with ripped-up photographs and little waxed-paper evidence envelopes and found letters and a lock of hair. And then the answer to the mystery was in a sealed document in the back. Only when you felt like you understood the whole whodunit would you cut open the seal and read.

“S” is more character-driven than that, though. It’s not really a whodunit.

Abrams: No. With “S,” our idea was not to create, you know, a kind of diabolical sudoku. The fun was in creating something that was simultaneously emotional and sweet and romantic and serious and suspenseful and scary and maybe even confusing in places—and which was, ultimately, an immersive experience, something that would be fun for people to get into and discover.

Dorst: I wanted to try to capture a sense of wonder. I hope that there’s a lot of wonder in “S.” It’s about the wonder of discovering a book. But it’s also about the wonder of discovering another person—the wonder that comes from feeling yourself getting to this place where your life is about to change, in a big way. If “S” happens to evoke that feeling in people, that would thrill me.

 

Labyrinths of Time - Ra Sonologyst

Posted on 22nd November, 2014

 

Many people are fascinated by the 'labyrinth' concept. I am too. In a certain sense I always misunderstood the labyrinth's true meaning. I finally understood that, thanks to my compositional music process, and remembering Jorge Luis Borges short stories and thoughts.

Borges is one of my favourite authors, one of those few writers I come back to read again and again. So it was only natural he would have an influence on my music making. The same was with other writers or movie directors (Kafka, Lovecraft, Burroughs, Durrenmatt, Cronenberg, Lynch, Carpenter…), but on insight, Borges’ influence was deeper and conceptually more important than other cases, where it was basically exterior and atmospheric (except William S. Burroughs' case; his work also was influent on me for the cut up techniques, and fragmentation of musical matters).

About the labyrinth concept, Borges' consider that its structure is not a matter of space and directions, but exclusively of time. That’s because three dimensions of space are not more than other dimensions of time. In some way we find a similar discovery with Albert Einstein's general relativity theory publication in 1916: the case of we having an equation between space dimensions and time dimension, as a space-time four dimension entity. By the way, this concept influenced my mind in many phases of my thought and work in music.

According to a thorough ongoing idealism, space is nothing but one of the constitutive patterns in the replete flux of time; it is "situated in [time] and not vice-versa."

The consequence Borges deduces from this reasoning is that a belief in the reality of space can be dispensed with: without spatial referents, without an awareness of corporeality, humanity would still continue "to weave its history". Time alone is the universal substratum of perception.

 

 

That’s why music is my favourite form of art. With music you don’t need to focus on space (also if we use delay and reverb to create an illusory space ambience), but just on the consciousness' time flux. Music allows you to live in one dimension, and that’s much more relaxing than doing it in four, or maybe more.

Boges says:

Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river that carries me away, but I am the river; it is a tiger that mangles me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.

In "Tlön, Uqbar, OrbisTertius," Borges writes:

"the men of this planet conceive the universe as a series of mental processes which do not develop in space but successively in time. Spinoza ascribes to his inexhaustible divinity the attributes of extension and thought; no one in Tlön would understand the juxtaposition of the first (which is typical only of certain states) and the second-- which is a perfect synonym of the cosmos. In other words, they do not conceive that the spatial persists in time." 

But if space does not exist outside the human mind, then the perceptions the mind has when waking and visions arising in a dream become indistinguishable from one another. Borges illustrates this point elsewhere with the parabolic anecdote about a certain Chuang Tzu who "dreamed that he was a butterfly and when he awakened... did not know if he was a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming it was a man".

The idealist universe wherein a sense of time derives from a web of perceptions which contradict or coincide with or complement one another is a vertiginous universe of "divergent, convergent, and parallel times," a labyrinthine universe analogue to the Lottery of Babylon, which consigns identity to chance, or the Library of Babel, with its indefinite, perhaps infinite, number of books composed of all the possible combinations of orthographic symbols. These labyrinths the mind constructs are mirrors that reflect itself and also maps of the world.

That vision mirrors the same situation we have in music when we recycle other musician pieces, working with all kind of manipulations (time stretching, morphing, equalization, filtering and so on..), to obtain a different version of the original track. But in reality it’s always the same material, made and re-made into an infinite game of reflections between sound mirrors. As a famous song told :”the song remains the same”.

The dreamer who is himself dreamt (in "The Circular Ruins") and the chess player who is a pawn in the hands of gods who are pawns in the hands of higher gods (in the poem "Chess") afford Borges other metaphoric disguises for similar metaphysical paradoxes.

Following Mr. Borges art, labyrinths, mirrors, dreams and circularity are the element at the base of my music making.

 

 

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