Discover more from From the desk of Kirsty Allison
The Last Magick Transmission
Signings, a Powerpoint Presentation, electronica poetica nirvana, nearly 50 fave films about writers, & an essay.
ATTN: AN ESSAY ABOUT CULTURAL GANGSTERS & A LIST OF FILMS ABOUT WRITERS
First, some news:
Book signing 29 July, Jam Bookshop, Shoreditch
PowerPoint about Psychomachia 2 August, Brighton Sound Affects
Performance 12 August, Ramsgate Boating Lake
(Now the ESSAY, first published in rare and sold out Ambit 249, updated for Substack whilst sharing here…)
THE LAST MAGICK TRANSMISSION
I’m writing from the digital desk of Kirsty Allison, driving on the wrong side of the road, in a different new moon to you – I’m riding baby, hurtling through REAL caffeine metaverses.
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Words as nodes, scattering into interpretation, plosives translating into fields of decentralised narratives.
Atomic scenes, no longer held by icons of lay preachers, of poets, rockstars and artists, but with the medium as the message, SOCIAL MEDIA is the now the public enemy number one. It’s so innocuous. Pervasive. In my face. In my eyes. My best friend at the end of my wrist. Shaking its sexy hips. As I wrote to a friend the other day: I am so bored of writing Status Updates not books. The wolf in sheeple’s clothing offers connections, making us feel like we’re together, but the WINDOW is looking the wrong way, we should be looking out, but it’s all about the windows as eyes, observing us in a Foucaultian prison, where behaviour is dictated in memes and that design our culture. It makes me paranoid, and there’s been enough of my life lost to that.
Social Media is very badly thought out. There’s no end goal of our own, other than clawing indices at metrics, or dopamine hits framing IRL experience into frames which barely benefit true psyche and ego. We’re just mining the data plantations for the superhighway men.
At its simplest best, just sharing for the love of it is great. A pure intent. A naive beauty. But as an (outsider) academic, singing songs of media experience, what is signifies is a cultural period where writers and individuals can no longer save us, or guide us, as the individual is squished and accumulated into a zeitgeist overtaken by technocrats. In the old days it was called Dumbing Down, when the superHollywood men cried, “Reduce this script so every ill read factory oik and field worker can understand it…” Since then, I have been of Reithian principles, kinda…
Alienation (alongside ‘fetishism’ and ‘objectification’) is a word outside of Hegelian/Marxist or socialist love and obsession. In socialist circles there is no alienation, because we all are equal. Perhaps this next lunge towards house prices free-falling has us squawking to labels. We have to hold onto something, as the individual means NICHT in the eye of the boardroom and it’s prophet of profit. If history can teach us a thing or two, or if Acid House (and the other failed movements of the Hippies, Black Panthers, Crass, et al - and the CIA operations against counter culture, and o, the deaths of John Lennon and all the greats) can teach us anything, UNITY is compassion, it is always about accepting the OTHER. But there’s so much “you can’t sit with us” on the digital spectrum…calling people out. Youth Culture being so disenfranchised that it has only it’s title of being an individual as all it has to hold onto. And no, I’m not against pronouns, and if having them can make more people come out, FUCK THE PATRIARCHY, ALWAYS!
The Other, the fight to all be equal. The He/She/Them plurality of being seen. Labels allow us to define ourselves, an obsession. But the Other plays into the distraction and the totemism of self beyond All of Us Being Other. That is what it has always been for me. Since walking into a male magazine, or working aside tit-size being demonstrative of ‘talent’ on tabloids.
In the feminist struggle, I would likely now identify as a plural, to progress us away from binary culture. However, having once had it suggested that I was Bipolar, I hate labels now. I want to see into someone’s eyes, their souls are multiverses not meta tags…That particular label lost me my job working in BBC Current Affairs, yet gave me solace that I was connected to Jimi Hendrix. I was suffering. I had been raped 3 times. Each time by separate people. I had not processed it.
Now, at the doctor’s, my name carries an X by its name. Trauma is better understood now than it was then. I must write my surgery a letter. I would like to be identified as a professor, because that is what I am called, and I am far beyond being a Miss. Relationships can trigger ‘unwellness’. Throw in some alcohol and instability, extreme stress, financial issues, and none of us are that well. I don’t think it’s right to call all periods of mental illness as permanent, any more than having once had a broken neck would mean that I couldn’t ever survive that. We don’t define ourselves by our shittest day on planet Earth, only medical records appear to do that. Trauma is not the same as mental illness, yet it is important to engage with problems to define them, as in all arguments, right?
To be labelled, for me, is not a great thing, but sometimes it is necessary. My Trans sisters and brothers are welcome to call Ourselves what We like. The label I wanted to associate the minute I heard it was Acid House. I was in high school. I wanted my life to matter. Seeking sameness, moments of connection, not difference - that was my raison d’être. I wanted my life to matter by associating with the Other. Trauma makes us outsiders. Capitalism can be traumatic. Refugees would not be so without the sales of arms. It is only to accept absurdity of this that we become post-suffering. I hope our era reaches this point soon. PS. I like that.
I’m in a good place now, but part of life is coming to terms with what we have witnessed, or there’s no growth. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried so hard to seek experience with the Other, to understand life. But I am here for experience. A writer does this. My life was public from the minute I left home, guided by tabloid editors, I’m no victim though. I have always been a writer, seeking experience. And sharing these thoughts moves me towards fervent satisfaction and fulfils my sanity.
I have exhibited work on Labels at the Tate Britain, curated by Tracey Moberly. A poetry film. We must one day we that again…see where my head was at. Remain fluid. Or is that just a part of youth culture I cannot shake? For me, seeking sameness can get you in a lot of trouble. I say that as someone who got married, thinking that would make me normal. I divorced eight years ago, and my sense of autonomy has calcified through Actions ever since..
It’s not as though I am a Cultural Gangster against the status quo. I always thought that to pervert from within held more power. But I sure ain’t mainstream now. This reminds me of the artist Duggie Fields, and an art world associate suggested he needed no support, because he looked okay. He looked supported. But he had no gallery representation when he died. Be the house, not the window, the sound not the echo, the ocean not the wave, the sky the sun the moon. In the Wellness economy of AI-futures, our behaviour is entirely on us. There is no welfare beyond our ability to maintain subscriptions to our captors.
America may have existed within the gambit of SURVIVAL ECONOMY forever, but if you’re living in Germany and are turning 18, the vaguely socialist-government give you pocket money to support the arts – a Disneyland of gigs, books, parties, magazines, theatre, recordings await. The first version of this essay was published at the end of 2023, before this new Millennial dawn of fascism, corporate-territorial re-division, and Ukraine-to-destroy-Europe polarity kicked in). Now we walk around not wearing masks, supposedly no further away from Covid, and I am left asking, what is Art? Was Covid the biggest Situationist public installation which we were all part and player of?
When Ambit ended, I applied for four grants/support opportunities. I have received none of them. Yet I have received a commission for a secret project, and another offer or two to chase…and write, amid a spate as a Professor of Luxury, which I will write an essay on about my findings for subscribers here…
Does that mean temples of art are dying and need support post-pandemic, or are we better off outside of systems, designing our own worlds?
My search term for films in the death festival of the big screen, as I’m lying awake at night, projector on the wall, is generally “writer”.
I will have missed some here, and they’re in DISORDER, because I have never kept the diary I mean to, logging notes on NAME, DIRECTOR, SYNOPSIS and a RUBRIC of JOY, however I have edited this into being a mid-essay LISTICLE.
KIRSTY ALLISON’S FILMS ABOUT WRITERS, THAT SHE CAN REMEMBER
Basketball Diaries. TEXTBOOK. One of the best records every made, one of the coolest guys who’s ever lived…when you’re 14 looking for heroes and heroines..
Before Night Falls (Schnabel) - O M G. GAY. CUBA. New York. Perfection.
Christiane F. Bad role models, and other stories.
THE GREAT BEAUTY. LA GRANDE BELLEZZA (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)
(where being a journalist and a writer ends, I know not…)
Such as this classic by Scorsese, Public Speaking about Fran Lebowitz:
Joan Didion - did not like - The Center Holds. I hated seeing her privilege away from her writing. This really messed UP MY OPINION OF HER. It’s so hard to find female role models. Sometimes too much exposure is BAD. Honest tho. So how can we hate an old lady with an eating disorder and shades…
Right On (1970) - about the Last Poets. Praise Be!
THE JT LEROY STORY - love the books, love the story, love this film.
8. LA NOTTE (Michelangelo Antonioni Italy, France, 1961)
Dead Poets Society (1989) - I always wanted to recreate this scene in all the classrooms I’ve ever held and been in, and can we do a fashion shoot like this one day please, someone?
Barfly (1987) Writers and drinkers. Drinkers as writers. Writers as drinkers. Seek what ye shall find and it shall define you…when I was growing up there was Bukowski and that was about it.
Factotum (2005), beautiful man as Bukowski. Madness.
Poetry in Motion 1982. Not enough black films in this list. Almost as important to me as the Re//Search album with Ken Nordine.
Pandaemonium (Julien Temple, 2000)
ITS ALWAYS THE GUYS, INNNIT…this is what I have had to battle through. This canon.
The Motel Life (although not strictly about a writer, I don’t seem to remember) it’s by the musician and writer and GOD Willy Vlautin) Richmond Fontaine, a memorable gig at Shepherd’s Bush Hall. And my publisher, Shane Rhodes’ most favourite adaptation of a book to film. Where the writer stops and the fiction starts…
15. THE COLOR OF POMEGRANATES
ՆՌԱՆ ԳՈՒՅՆԸ | NRAN GUYNE | SAYAT NOVA (Sergei Parajanov Soviet Union, 1969). Fashion as film…
Bright Star (about Keats, dir: Jane Campion, finally some female)
Misery (woman writer presented by Stephen King)
Kill Your Darlings (okay, we can critique this TF but any film about a writer is better than none)
The Hours (Virginia Woolf with Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman & Meryl Streep) HOLY TRINITY.
Also loved the BBC series on The Bloomsbury Set, Life in Squares.
And the Rossetti films mentioned in the past essay.
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. A case of the book being better than the film.
I hated this when it first came out because I couldn’t get my head around the impressions of hallucinations, and the hamminess of it all. But it’s a grower…I think I prefer the intensity of Johnny Depp in
Secret Window, playing it a bit straighter… now Johnny Depp’s life story would be a good screenplay…
You are either on the bus, or off it. Gus Van Sant is a poet. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Did this ever get made, or am I imagining it through the Grace Slick biography?
Although not about a writer, I watched Lust for Life (1954) about Vincent Van Gogh. An artist through and through. Not a bad album either.
Colette (Keira Knightly, as the producer Paul Webster once said to me, we doff out hats)
Paterson, Jim Jarmusch is the coolest. Although this isn’t so much about the icon of a writer, which is basically my jam, this was one of my first dates with Gil, they gave us matchboxes and I’m sad I didn’t get to see Squurl at the Christine and the Queens Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre recently.
Mrs Parker & the Vicious Circle. 1994. Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dorothy Parker at the Algonquin Round Table. Not great. But still, better than things not about writers.
Iris (2001) Fuck Alzheimers. I do not want to lose my mind again.
Morvern Callar (I’m not sure I remember this being about a writer, but praise be to Alan Garner - nb. new one coming from him via London Books soon).
Total Eclipse (1995). Those crazy poets of Rimbaud and Verlaine.
The Player. I need to rewatch this.
Sylvia (Gywneth Paltrow) YES.
Little Women. Urgh…exactly. Nearly as bad as getting called a POETESS.
Before Sunset (Delphy, 2004) I’m a romantic. Sometimes I like softness.
Capote (2004). Why did (either of them) die?
The Edge of Love (2008)
Julie and Julia (do cookbooks count?) Sideways, Squid and the Whale, can’t remember them. And it’s a long time since I watched
Sunset Boulevard and was probably drunk.
Same with The Shining. I hid behind a sofa last time I watched it.
A SEASON IN HELL (UNA STAGIONE ALL'INFERNO) (Nelo Risi, 1970)
(about Rimbaud cutting out after writing all he wrote)
Prick Up Your Ears, 1987 about Joe Orton.
NERUDA (Pablo Larraín Chile, Argentina, 2016)
Anything by Jean Genet.
Or the Situationists
Or the poetry of Jean Luc Godard. Or any of the greats. Spool back babies! That’s as much as I can remember now. Or form to a list without spending FOREVER here.
All films are about writers really aren’t they? The directors as authors, the auteurs, placing their narratives on the objectives of story…but back to the essay:
We are who we follow.
Writing is my primary art and is at the core of everything I do. As I arrived in Graz, Austria (where the Nazis did some of their early work with the semi-Situationist, reverse meaning: Popular Uprising, as if back was forwards), for a pilgrimage to the incredible Systems of Belief show at the radically contemporary HALLE FЖR KUNST Steiermark,
I had that space, which is gained when travelling alone, as I am now, to connect with a higher truth, and to ponder not on looking after children, or family, or flatmates, or those around me, about whether the power of artists and writers as individual temple-holders of alternative outlooks will carry that potency into the anthropocene period of technocrats. My casual concerns. I can afford myself these because I have not been diverted into child-rearing, not that that was ever a plan…(for the memoirs)…
I was a little depressed, even cruising chocolate-box streets in the run-up to Christmas 2023. Any sane person would have been sad with the hiatus of Ambit. I received nearly 3000 submissions for the final issue I edited, before the board opted to close Ambit as a charity, despite readership doubling in my time there. My energies channelled into creating a series of such high-quality publications between 2020-2023. Beginning with the Lias Saoudi-edited issue (for sale now in Dash the Henge Records), number 243, and ending with the Crowley spelt Magick issue, number 249, which was my final effort. I’m still proud to have created a War-issue, and to have published Savage Pencil, and greats like Stuart McKenzie, Jason McGlade, Bert Gilbert, alongside offering hope to others.
When Ambit stopped, I was catatonic. I knew from past experience I would have to ride through the natural ebb and flow of having given something so much, that a long date with my sofa was necessary.
It’s taken me a while to process the pain and grief. I wasn’t sure whether to read it it as
a) it’s great to be alive,
we only have so many days and nights, now there’s more time to scroll/write/create? FINALLY I HAVE PLATFORM TO WRITE ALL THE BOOKS ON THE SHELVES YET TO BE WRIT.
b) bang – another symbol of cultural degeneration and neglect.
Either way, I was MOURNING. Nothing to see here, just the overbearing force of
data necrocapitalism (read Christian Fuch’s Digital Humanism (Emerald Press, 2022)).
We are in danger of paper becoming a throwback to analogue mysticism as digital insists on simplifying everything to good/bad binaries. The toxic force to constantly decode/absorb/translate infinite scrolls of ever depleting wisearse reductionism. And with the introduction of Threads, I’m kinda burnt out on being a data slave, ploughing the fields of technocrats with free content, when I used to get paid for it. It takes so much time to be a human processor of global cultures for datalords. The effect is dullified exhaustion. I am still burnt out. But I have the privilege to SLEEP. And that is what I like to do. It’s such a luxury.
INSERT MEME: refugees wanted for space station luxury apartments as guinea pigs of singularity.
Will it be a super-robot that saves us from this chicken run of ceaseless profit? When SEO is far beyond a state of mutilation, with cheap consumer tricks meaning that good information is seldom found. It means that Chat GPT, which was in its infancy when I wrote this first, was just spewing out nonsense, like books I haven’t written, and rewriting a history which leaves digital as chaos.
“Reliance on numerical indices could be online’s downfall if it continues to fail to take in community impact.” I wrote. Neoliberal globalisation has created a miasma of Millennial expectations:
viewing figures are being divided into competitive territories with less and less to go around.
where porn and music lead, as they always do - there would be no video tape without porn, and no Only Fans without people wanting it… niches of atomised existences are all that remain. Spotify steals so much from artists. That’s why we’re on Bandcamp, hoping you may support us there, direct, away from vertical distribution that we’re outside of…YIKES, it’s no lonely here. I must log on and see my likes.
Whether you believe in a higher power, carry a lucky pen or talk to magpies, there’s a degree of idolatry and temple-building in many of our lives, from rituals of favourite mugs, preferred socks, to how we present ourselves on and offline. Ambit was no different, wanting to make our lives matter through associations to those around us, and those who have been before. That’s why I sent my first short story there in 2007, selected by Geoff Nicholson.
Burroughs, Ballard, Steadman, Paolozzi, Trocchi, Nuttall, Chadwick et al providing attraction to belong to something greater than the individual. Bands sound better amplified, choirs and orchestras often more impressive than soloists. Hence arriving in the HALLE FЖR KUNST Steiermark to find THE ANSWERS. Or any cultural platform.
Repeat: I am calm. I am satiated.
Wandering physical shrines of Art, Scrolling the INFINITE.
there’s an elevated safety within purple-painted
data-storage unit-esque dividers
which separate the art in the Styrian government funded, exemplary white-cubed institution which this essay was first posed from…The mountain that Graz city circles, the monolithic Cathedral to Franz Ferdinand, the tunnels which housed 50-thousand people during WWII, against their experiences of fascism, houses of fear and financial terrorism. The white cube holds the echoes of a star, the sound of Rastafarian poet, performer and word-player, £€€ $<R@T<H P€RRі. Eternal cryptic truisms beam from iPad transmissions mounted with his temples on stones from the nearby Mur river, at the first ever showing of his dismantled Swiss studio since his death in 2021. I have likely missed the show in Vauxhall, galavanting between slogans, humour and hate/drive of my own gesamtkunstwerk, let alone his.
There is a magic everywhere we travel. We are always creating our own realities. It is not replicable online, however a version of our own mythologising is manufactured.
Performance becomes increasingly like ordaining a magickal transmission, offering far more ripples of joy than the last. Live performance is not the same as waiting for the likes to roll in, although that index becomes harder to separate as social media eats our lives. I love that Donna Tartt can get away with not being online. Simply able to let her writing speak. History often preserves those who shout loudest, and sure, I was stalking Graz for Lee Scratch Perry. We can blame Jesus, royals, “leaders” and gurus for personality cults, but that’s as basic as suggesting online behaviour isn’t the lifeblood of offline cultures. Only connect. The mediums change but the messages remain. Outsiders always find the levelling up of the Real an impossibility. But the cool kids aren’t really propping up technocratic tools. London’s club culture is in excellent form, Fabric have banned cameras, and post-lockdown strikes give hope and unity beyond the implication of online behaviour affecting potential income.
I’ve written previously about freedom of speech being impossible for many because of financial dependence and work. If we can use any platform for societal change, wonderful, but that’s not possible for the majority of the population. If arts are dependent on sharing our lives publicly to flourish, forced into demonstrating side-hustles or community projects as full-time occupations, we have to remain diverse and able to “pivot”. Life’s a dance. The compromise of feeding the machine is like the rhythm ’n’ blues all over again. It is only the art that matters, not the documentation, and I am bored by seeing process with no content.
The tradition of artists’ outsider role to create alternative universes was once negotiated by third parties. Is part of this issue that we are perishing in our co-dependency and responsibility in serving media and fans, particularly when fragile egos are involved?
Visiting a safe-space in Beirut for non-binary, frequently persecuted LGBTQI+ people from across the Middle East, Haven for Artists, is like entering the Black Panther HQ in its prime.
The integration of the REAL is essential here. Publishing great zines, with an incredible book curated from the queer Arab diaspora, you will not find them on Google Maps but can support their work with more than a Like. Magick is always about intent. Where the Lebanese experienced right-wing infiltration to their revolution of 2019, we see skin superglued to our roads and the rising Reich in Eastern Europe, supported by Bannon, Facebook and co. The solution can only be secret societies that develop cult artists as we negotiate our rights on the planet.
Is paper a part of this? We are forced to become radical cells rather than connect on a wider scale. The image and identity of us all originates from the trust and belief of first-hand sources rather than the casual use of media, suggests German academic Marc Siegel at a lecture in HALLE FЖR KUNST Steiermark, about the value of gossip forming identity in old underground New York film culture. We have to meet and talk to one another. In the flesh. But as online participation softens to become an acceptable form of nearly-the-same as being “in the office”, are traditional mediums of Art destined for demise as new metaverses create fresh currencies and alternative geographies, or do they become ever less plausible, in the necrocapitalist era?
Digital subcultures and aesthetics can make IRL feel superfluous to survival, but as Adorno said in his 1970 consideration of Art and Aesthetics, he said Art raises the intellect as a dialectical approach vs dumbed down communism aspirations,
“Art respects the masses, by confronting them as that which they could be, rather than conforming to them in their degraded state.”
This needs to be reconsidered now that the aesthetics are owned by the capitalists of the consumer age, and commercial “artists” of fashion and aesthetic hold the space of the popular. Who we invest in as artists is very important. Now there are so many of us. Commercial artists take up a lot of space. What is their message? What are They saying that resonates. Who has given them platform? Why are they doing that.
If the State endorse art, is it Art? Can we do it without them? I will do it anyway, because that is what I do…that is what artists have always done. We are fortunate to be able to create, curate, consider and share. But let us choose what we do with Magic and best intent.
There will never be another Lee Scratch Perry, but the experience could almost be replicated, just how can WE THE ARTIST take up space?
Of course mediums will change, but storytelling’s been around a while. It’s just a question of where those Stories come from and how they subvert. Digital can be a sad imitator, a mere simulacrum of an original when the medium is bound with pop reductionism and cheap thrills, and when are Parliament going to investigate the joke of Brexit being ‘won’ via illicit communications and propaganda of Cambridge Analytica, Intelligent HQ and the accusations of The Electoral Commission? Sure there has always been propaganda, but deception most horrid is not the muddy path which will preserve the whole field. Is it? Let’s ask Julian Assange.
Maybe we’re getting closer to a big robot in the sky sorting us all out.
Bringing equality with it.
Access to Ambit was part of my class query whilst working there. Does the “posh” quality alienate those who can’t quite afford it? Should we strive for luxury or believe in zines for all? I’ve always said the problem with communism is the quality of the shoes, but the answer for all luxury is to buy less, but buy better.
Ignore the masses, ignore the sheeple. Praise the weird breeds.
In more progressive political circles they self-organise, lead rather than follow. As Briony Bax, my editor emeritus and board creator at Ambit always said to those who were disappointed in Ambit, “Go set up your own press”! I did that. Not sure I want to go back to Cold Lips but there are some top ranking Scriabin Ts on there. (Scriabin was the original RAVE composer, ordaining lights to his double orchestra synetheisic spectaculars over 100 years ago
Available from: coldlips.co.uk (if you’re a paying subscriber, let me know if you want one, if I’ve not sent you anything yet…)
In physics, Work is equal to the Force of energy it is delivered with and seen by its Displacement (classically expected to be an increase but diggers of graves, and miners of tanzanite in the DRC, or gold in the ganglands of Ghana may dispute this). There’s a bludgeoning in digital interlaced society as we become more cyborg.
Maybe it’ll get more sophisticated, but judging by Apple’s design and operating systems becoming less intuitive, even coding becomes less innate, and there is code between the codes, that not even the designers now are able to operate. Ah, HTML ain’t what it used to be. Fractal economics. Like fractal literature, as ADHD means fewer and fewer writers can cope with forming long-form narratives, is similar to my day rates not having increased in the GIG economy for years…
My problem maybe is that I started so MASS media, and now I am less so. Like the acceptance of death itself, perhaps I am no longer that hurtling drive of youth, and become irrelevant, but I am not in fear of that, as I feel like I am beyond that sort of trite belief. The issue is more of a systemic one. Art and Literature once offered solace, our experience alters within whatever feedback loop we exist. There’s an assumption that nothing exists in a vacuum, but diluting half-formed ideas to the will of the Internet would be better approached by binning my phone in the Hadron collider. I am trying to be less connected to my phone. But not having it is like being a bee with no flowers. Our nature has become digital. We are one step closer to cyborg.
Schools of psychedelic study rise in times of oppression. The working class are given head shops of werewolves and crap mugs reading Bitches Brew. Only to be co-opted into a wider state of control. Conspiracy breadcrumbs aside, why has Magick taken over our thoughts as a trend and vogue of modern times? Because we have no religion and know that religions are as fake as the aesthetics we apply as filters to our idealised states of self, because that is the culture that has formed us as a we aspire to become AVATARS OF CAPITALISM and the perceived success of Elitist Status symbols which say I AM NOT A VICTIM. That’s the spell.
Look at California legalising dope and ’shrooms. At Punchdrunk’s The Burnt City, the world’s greatest immersive theatre, gods reign above the playpen of the people in their last nights of Troy, mirroring a scrabbling towards corporate neons of explanation, with Gucci luxury temptations in international Westfield malls, lured in by hegemonic deities and ginormous marketing spends on distracting platitudes, there are fewer boundaries between commerce/poetry/art/culture as we interpolate with the Machine.
This spectacle is an entertainment all its own. Some members of the Punchdrunk audience desperately run after actors in a mishmash of authored set design, hoping for a definitive truth, just like we’re in the living art installation of Covid once more. Each audience member uses different terminologies to explain our experience. This mirror, of creating a variety of clay gods in decentralised personal narratives, operates within the same bubble, a magical coexistence in a matrix-managed disorder under one ancient Greece. Beamed from a couple of warehouses in Woolwich, where outside in the Royal Armouries a new world of CCTV dominance lives with a Robocop-enforced acceptance of a familiar ketchup being an easier choice than alternatives. No two experiences of life are the same. My phone goes. A friend has lost her mother and I’ve only just heard. She knows this is not the only world. There’s a ying-yang zen to dark matter, if we insist on using ethics to guide us. The abstract is a subtle placement, like two pictograms offering non-binary, untranslatable gaps in surveillance technology.
Without magic, and our reading for it, the digital ouroboros and its (questionably programmed) arbitration of language leaves us empty. Despite the two-tone language of globalisation (Mandarin and English), gaps of translation reliant on tech leave us with great crevices. Only inherent truth and sentience can currently guide us, Authenticity and our own true believes are all that hold us. If you have a truth, it is your guide. But we must be careful where that has come from, as final truths are increasingly hard to find. And holding onto labels that are co-opted by anyone other than ourselves can be dangerous. Our truths and our need for individualisation within a culture based on economy is as bad as allowing our time and sleep and sense of self to be stolen from us.
Phillip Terry’s The Lascaux Notebooks (Carcanet, 2022) explores proto-languages which are deemed impossible to understand without their erased histories. AI becomes non-binary but will it be authored to fill in the magic gaps in surveillance technology? Some of the best curations I was experiencing at the end of the year were that piece in Graz, about the need to invent our own worlds, but also at the The Horror Show at London’s Somerset House, the shop hosted my book. It was like being in a live magazine. An experience of collaboration exploring risk in subculture. It was like walking through a teenage bedroom, experiencing the rebellion of idealism of art, which “grown-ups” infantilise in the same way zines challenge ISBNs and the history of the London guilds. The irony is most of those featured are now part of the fabric of artistic luxury that quality work aspires to. So we just have to have faith that it does matter and we are all jumping through hoops of progress, which can be difficult when the politics around us ring of fascism.
How do we decentralise traditional narratives at this dawn of the cultural reset we find ourselves in? When the index is money alone, it’s toxic.
I have just received another knock back on a grant I applied for. My conclusion is that I am unable of being supported by the State, as I have to stand outside of it. So please do support me here, or somewhere else.
Believe in the voltage of simpatico and resonance of true eureka moments.
Ian F Svenonius and his recent Against the Written Word would rip it up. In the meantime, send ohms and funds for communes. If paper dies, how many artists and writers does it take with it, how many publications? Or do we have to adapt within this complex system as storytellers in new mediums, finding fresh “cultural batons”, such as Substack, to truncheon our little heads beneath these Foucaultian skies? π
About CRUEL DESIGN presents at The Boating Pool Ramsgate
Saturday 12th August from 6pm
The evening will welcome a live performance from the acclaimed London based author, publisher, and poet Kirsty Allison (“the greatest cultural beacon this planet has produced” - Irvine Welsh), whose debut novel 'Psychomachia' has recently been published by Wrecking Ball Press. Ramsgate based outsider artist and alternative folk musician Lupen Crook ("a dazzling virtuoso" - NME) will be performing the entirety of his new LP 'Wild Nature' (released in June 2023 by Spinout Nuggets), accompanied by a brigade of local Kentish musicians. Finally, South London electro-psychedelic duo Sonic Eyes will be making their first appearance in Thanet, off the back of a UK tour!
Curated by Ramsgate-based small press Cruel Design, an independent publication run by Lupen Crook and Willow Vincent, the free entry evenings will coincide with an exhibition by Lupen Crook of paper ephemera prints - and a few select oil paintings - on display at the wonderfully unique setting of Ramsgate Boating Pool until Wednesday 16th August.
For Tickets for 2 August for the Sound Affects night:
Facebook event is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/236397779158459
FOR MY BOOK SIGNING ON 2 JULY, just show up. Please. x. It’s at Jam Bookshop, info back on the scroll. x
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