A. Finkielkraut: Sure, but we’ve also seen what a politics that ignored the sentiment of the majority led to . . . So we have to take the excesses, the atrocities, and the madness of the twentieth century into account.
A. Badiou: Absolutely. But in what way do such excesses and madness detract from the
view that everything you cherish is completely corroded by capitalism and its inseparable partner, representative democracy?
A. Finkielkraut: What I cherish isn’t corroded by representative democracy but by the egalitarian dynamic that introduces democratic norms into areas where they have no business being, such as the family, education, and culture.
A. Badiou: But wait a second – the egalitarian dynamic isn’t the problem! We live in a totally oligarchical society.
One calls comrade those who went on, even when the cause was lost. Even when there are no good reasons for not giving up. As Asger Jorn put it: the avant-garde never gives up.
This avant-garde, this army of Dead Girls, shakes the sun from the sky and replaces it with ornament, “orfebrería,” Art’s insignia (“as Grecian goldsmiths make / Of hammered gold and gold enamelling”?), stretching its own skin painfully up to replace the sky in counterconquest. When Art’s army arrives, it immediately enacts a regime of Anachronism. With and/or logic, it insists both on a dream interval and a fatal interval: this is not going to stop until you wake up so give up. Art performs both massive and trivial transformations—the dead are reanimated (a massive change), while a series of lyric, decorative images are daisy chained to each other with a twist of Art’s, or syntax’s, hand: pájaros become nenas como flores. Thanks to Art’s friable power, every surface is touched, changed, made to host each other, to and/or.
For Dr Barbara Smith)
As if I never wake from this blackout again, again this minute they lay it out
on the wheeling transporter, so silent, then the surgical table,
my body, my citizen, anesthesiologists back from coffee break, cables
on mylar headrest taking my head down now, arms into armlock,
then positioners, restraints—day talk
all round—the guidewires in, the intravenous ports, the drip begun.
An/aesthesia by which is meant the sensation of having sensation blocked,
a collapse of response, a total lack of awareness of loss of
on the wall, snapshots of the chosen few training on
The current avant-gardes in contemporary Anglophone poetry make their claims largely by reference to previous avant-gardes. Their status thus supposes a transmission (however garbled) of aesthetic practices or propositions and of self-fashioning performances within the cultural sphere. It is a diachronic account which takes genealogy for history. It understands itself as an art practice (even when styling itself as anti-art) rather than an aspect of an enlarged struggle toward the transformation of basic social arrangements that defines a synchronic or historical avant-garde. This self-identification should not be taken as a failing but as an inevitability in an era wherein such struggles are diminished or neutralized.Herein I use the term “historical avant-garde” in a way distinct from what has become common usage. Rather than denoting certain actually existing avant-gardes from which we are now historically distant, the term here indicates an avant-garde directly engaged with the material conditions of its own historical moment (whenever that moment might be).
The fiction film Tokyo Sonata and the documentary chronicle The Forgotten Space proffer different versions of the global crisis story of destructive redistribution, assault on the public sector, declining prospects for “improvements” of normal consumer life, harsh working conditions, limitless privatization. Strained family ties in the first and intensifying exploitation in the iron triangle of global shipping in the second exhibit the return of “endless toil” in the era of global capital’s “triumph.” Cinematic narrative has long been the domain of petty-bourgeois egos, but the ongoing proletarianization at the heart of the neo-liberal class project has introduced an asubjective tale: des-embourgeoisment, or de-bourgeoisification in even uglier English. De-bourgeoisification is a story without exact historical analogue. In its wake there may be new political openings for collective forms of politics. Allan Sekula and Noël Burch’s film The Forgotten Space holds out the prospects of this sort of political organization and development, seeking the workerist politics that could emerge from the internationally networked web of global transport.
poor ghost – its tools – its host
of seven selves that rattle seamless
into dinner now. now grant the way.
it is remote – blue distance – remote
is blue or so
her credits run.
and so it is. and so it is done.
Beliza – Beliza
con atté sic – Beliza
Beliza – Beliza
a sigh and ahead – it is dusk
that continent dull – that endless
standing must be standing on
with eies. that form that seek
and of all these – of the soft and the free
– would make no pattern
The paintings of Brian Shields are, in Barthes’ word, idiorhythmic, that is to say a joy of flexible, free, mobile rhythms, quasi-transitory. They are liberated from power-rhythms, those imposed on life, time, maps, speech.
By contrast, the equally anti-minimalist Greek painter Despina Stokou is urban to the hilt and has major gallery representation. Her brash and gorgeous, her raucuous and harshly sensual paintings have forceful exuberance with traces of bewilderment and dissatisfaction.
My hair is getting a free blow dry in the win
And great, am going to hear one from Bernadette where she says
Let’s get back to our unpaid work as always. With my pay
I could buy you a drink and you would say Thank you
For the drink has a glass border
So you can have another drink
But you can’t have another time. The other