London when it sizzles….

Lynne Tillman and Tony White speaking and reading at Toynbee Studios last night proved to be the best event so far in the “Existential Territories” series of talks organised by Book Works. Tony chose to present himself very much as a writer, which I found curious since he is art school trained and his textual practice originally emerged from story-telling elements in his performance work. Tony read an unpublished story woven around a set of words chosen by an artist collaborator. Lynne read from her novel American Genius, the first tme she’s performed from this book in London. The focus of the Q & A was very much on why artists were keen to have Lynne and Tony contribute fictional stories to their catalogues, and what this might signify.
After the show I spoke to a slew of curators and the main drift of these conversations seemed to be less than complimentary observations about Okwui Enwezor. I pretty much agreed with what other people had to say about his theoretical incoherence since I was less than impressed by his ridiculous observation in the Tate Altermodern catalogue that: “Looking for an equivalent of an Andy Warhol in Mao’s China is to be seriously blind to the fact that the China of the Pop art era had neither a consumer society nor a capitalist structure…” Really? And just who is gonna attempt looking for a Warhol-type figure in the midst of Mao’s ‘cultural revolution’ anyway? Likewise, this sentence – and Enwezor’s prose in general – is dreadfully inelegant. It is also willfully misleading because while 1960s China may not have boasted a consumer society, it clearly had a capitalist structure. You need only turn to something such as the Wikipedia entry on Amadeo Bordiga to learn this (that is if you didn’t already know it):
“Bordiga developed an understanding of the Soviet Union as a capitalist society… He wanted to show how capitalist social relations existed in the kolkhoz and in the sovkhoz, one a cooperative farm and the other the straight wage-labor state farm. He emphasized how much of agrarian production depended on the small privately owned plots (he was writing in 1950) and predicted quite accurately the rates at which the Soviet Union would start importing wheat after Russia had been such a large exporter from the 1880s to 1914. In Bordiga’s conception, Stalin, and later Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara etc. were “great romantic revolutionaries” in the 19th century sense, i.e. bourgeois revolutionaries. He felt that the Stalinist regimes that came into existence after 1945 were just extending the bourgeois revolution, i.e. the expropriation of the Prussian Junker class by the Red Army, through their agrarian policies and through the development of the productive forces. Bordiga’s idea that capitalism equals the agrarian revolution first is the key to the 20th century; it’s certainly the key to almost everything the left has called “revolutionary” in the 20th century, and it is the key to rethinking the history of Marxism and its entanglement with ideologies of industrializing backward regions of the world economy.”
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


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Comment by Gertrude Stein on 2009-02-19 13:01:26 +0000

It is very curious that when there is a great deal of unemployment and misery that the overwhelming majority of curators loose all their seriousness. But that is natural enough because critical sense like common sense is a habit and if you don’t exercise it then you loose it. Writers are different and I think that’s why Mr White wanted to flag himself up as a writer. And of course no one writes better than Lynne Tillman.

Comment by Michael K on 2009-02-19 14:58:23 +0000

Yeah….getting tangled up in the history of Marxism and its entanglement with ideologies of industrializing backward regions of the world economy is an ungroove unsensation so I spend time these days with ‘pop-sociologist’ Malcolm Gladwell’s trilogy as otherwise I can’t seem to find any way out of the Communist/Capitalist Gordian knot from within (not very) recent theoretical argumentaion and critique (which has become a self-sustaining system)
Gladwell’s ‘The Tipping Point’ (2000), discusses the potentially massive implications of small-scale social events, while his second book, Blink (2005), explains how the human subconscious interprets events or cues and how past experiences allow people to make informed decisions very rapidly. His latest work, Outliers (2008), examines how a person’s environment affects his or her possibility and opportunity for success.
Gladwell has stated, “The hope with Tipping Point was it would help the reader understand that real change was possible. With Blink, I wanted to get people to take the enormous power of their intuition seriously. My wish with Outliers is that it makes us understand how much of a group project success is. When outliers become outliers it is not just because of their own efforts. It’s because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances”.
I’m also vaguely interested in getting with so-callled ‘Post-Capitalist’ models of economy and among these, Participatory Economics, often abbreviated PARECON, is a proposed economic system that uses participatory decision making as an economic mechanism to guide the production, consumption and allocation of resources in a given society.
Proposed as an alternative to contemporary capitalist market economies and also an alternative to centrally planned socialism or coordinatorism, it is described as “an anarchistic economic vision”, and it could be considered a form of socialism as under parecon, the means of production are owned by the workers. It emerged from the work of activist and political theorist Michael Albert and of radical economist Robin Hahnel, beginning in the 1980s and 1990s but I don’t care about that as I wasn’t in the day we did History and am really just too caffeinated to keep a track of my own memories and nostalgia never mind the notional ‘collective’ one.

Comment by The Lin Biao and Jiang Qing Counter-revolutionary Cliques on 2009-02-19 19:34:52 +0000

You’re all for the high jump! The whole lot of you! From Home on down to Enwezor via Michael K.

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Comment by James Williamson on 2009-02-19 20:07:47 +0000

Hey give up this culture crap. I used to be the guitarist in Iggy & The Stooges but then I discovered corporate culture, now I’m Vice President of the Technology Standards Office of Sony Electronics, Inc. In this position, I’m responsible for all standards activities and related technology and policy efforts for the U.S. Electronics Business. I’m also responsible for Sony’s participation and oversight of U.S. participation in International Organizations including ISO and IEC (which includes the TC-100 chair position currently staffed from the Sony Standards Office). In this capacity, I am currently serving on ANSI’s U.S. National Committee for IEC (2006-2008).
Preparing for my 27 years of experience, I received my BSEE degree from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, California. I have served on various committees within the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) including the Technology Standards Council, and the International Advisory Group. I am currently a member of the Board of Directors of ATIS, and am serving on the Standards Policy Committee of ITI.

Comment by The All New Adventures Of Kid Strange on 2009-02-20 00:03:08 +0000

Give me late night movies and all night brainstorms…..

Comment by Major Frank Kitson on 2009-02-20 00:24:29 +0000

Low-intensity conflict is defined by the US Army as: “a political-military confrontation between contending states or groups below conventional war and above the routine, peaceful competition among states. It frequently involves protracted struggles of competing principles and ideologies. Low-intensity conflict ranges from subversion to the use of the armed forces. It is waged by a combination of means, employing political, economic, informational, and military instruments. Low-intensity conflicts are often localized, generally in the Third World, but contain regional and global security implications.”

Comment by The Lurker At The Threshold on 2009-02-20 00:46:38 +0000

This post is too edlrich for me!

Comment by Michael K on 2009-02-20 03:35:41 +0000

Not only that but this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Arthur Rimbaud on 2009-02-20 10:48:39 +0000

The systematic derrangement of the senses is a groove sensation!

Comment by Pete Shelley on 2009-02-20 11:55:51 +0000

In spite of the low – thoughted envy which would undervalue contemporary merit, our own will be a memorable age in intellectual achievements, and we live among such philosophers and poets as surpass beyond comparison any who have appeared since the last national struggle for civil and religious liberty. The most unfailing herald, companion, and follower of the awakening of a great people to work a beneficial change in opinion or institution, is poetry. At such periods there is an accumulation of the power of communicating and receiving intense and impassioned conceptions respecting man and nature. The person in whom this power resides, may often, as far as regards many portions of their nature, have little apparent correspondence with that spirit of good of which they are the ministers. But even whilst they deny and abjure, they are yet compelled to serve, that power which is seated on the throne of their own soul. It is impossible to read the compositions of the most celebrated writers of the present day without being startled with the electric life which burns within their words. They measure the circumference and sound the depths of human nature with a comprehensive and all penetrating spirit, and they are themselves perhaps the most sincerely astonished at its manifestations; for it is less their spirit than the spirit of the age. Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

Comment by Tessie on 2009-02-20 12:39:51 +0000

I’m pregnant & you’re ignoring me. Unless you get your act together I’m not gonna live in the blog house with you and Michael K.

Comment by Tom Cruise on 2009-02-20 14:05:34 +0000

Holy shit! I mean fuck! I mean….Fuh Uck!! You cannot DO this to me! I can’t even begin to IMAGINE how fucked this is gonna make me look. I fucking should never have fucking believed this fucking shit about you being the reincarnation of L Ron!
So I’m gonna have the Church draw up a statement saying that I’m not having sex with L Ron Hubbard under the guise of her…I mean him…I mean sploshing….being Tessie, I mean…a plastic FUCKING doll!

Comment by Michael Kay on 2009-02-20 14:15:12 +0000

Hey Homes…I dont care if Tessie is pregnant. I want her out of the flat pronto. This morning I came in to find fish entrails all over the bathroom floor and a pair of Tom’s pantaloons in the jacuzzi, I don’t care what he wants to do in his Hollywood mansion while Katie’s out drinking vodka and red bull with the stars of films such as ‘The Ice Storm’, thrillers such as ‘Abandon’ and blockbusters such as ‘Batman Begins’.
If Nobby Stiles’ grandaughter comes rund here and sees this mess, you and I will be kipping down the back of Tesco’s with freecyclers waking us up at all hours for a cream bun.
I’m ringing round a few cultural icons and ne’er-do-wells who might be able to fill Tessie’s spot in the blog-house. So far I’ve got a definite maybe from Jennifer Lopez and a ‘Sorry who is this?’ from Lindsay Lohan

Comment by Tessie on 2009-02-20 14:23:40 +0000

I’m a theorist and Scientologist and people won’t come to the blog-house unless I’m it so you can’t get rid of me, Buster. And as for Tom, you SP-in-the-grass, I’ll have you know that this child will be brought up in a Scientology Centre to which you and John Travolting have no access. When I’m head of the org again, I’ll throw out all the celebrities, disband the Sea Org, have Miscavige burned at the stake and get back to my roots as a war hero

Comment by Msmarmitelover on 2009-02-21 09:27:46 +0000

‘textual practice’ cool word for writing something down. I’ll use that.
I need to textually practice my shopping list now for Tescos.
creme fraiche

Comment by Festus on 2009-02-21 18:33:14 +0000

Well now, when a doctor doctors another doctor, well, does a doctor that’s a doin’ the doctorin’ doctor the doctor that’s a gettin’ doctored the way that the doctor that’s a doin’ the doctorin’ wants to doctor the doctor that’s a gettin’ doctored or does the doctor that a gettin’ doctored tell the doctor that’s a doin’ the doctorin’ to doctor the doctor the way that the…….

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