"WOW MUST SEE ONLINE RESEARCH DESTINATION!" -WALTER BENJAMIN
"DOPEST CRITICAL TUMBL BLOG IN 1987!" -HENRI LEFEBVRE
"Datapunks of the world untie. We have a world to lose"
-McKenzie Wark, “Cruise Control”
What would Paul Virillio do? (WWPVD)
COPY OF A COPY OF A COPY
Raw Punk and a note on the aesthetic of mechanical reproduction
Contemporary raw punk shares both auditory and visual obsession with the grain of reproduced media. On one hand, this aesthetic is no more than regurgitation of well-digested and creatively reconstituted punk tropes. On another hand, these copy-of-copy subgenres evince a commitment to making visible the means of production and reproduction through which even so-called DIY artifacts come into circulation.
In certain ways, then, the aesthetics of tape hiss and xerox distortion signify the existence of a global distribution network enabled through technological homogeneity. In other ways, the artifacts’ crudeness connote an egalitarian distribution of access to the technologies of reproduction. in effect, this tension, updating a more famous formulation, can be said to politicize noise, while also aestheticizing reproduction. The aesthetics of reproduction in this case are a celebration of remediation with border on fetishistic— a sublimated desire to revel in the perversity of self-propogation and self-dissemination.
This was on Anthony got@it in the 50s at an arcade on State Street in Chicago. The scars where from a grenade in Korea. He said he almost lost the arm but made sure the doc lined up the wings when he was stitching it up. (at Great Lakes Tattoo)
Some reading on the mid-century Chicago tattoo scene:
Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, by Owen KeehnenUntitled
REVISITING EMO: “BAD ART” AS IMPOSSIBILITY
"Maybe good writing has yet to live up to the shining promise of the bad writing that we save in our journals, that we lock in diaries hidden under the bed, that we seal in letters and keep in boxes instead of sharing it with the world in a more calculated attempt at art? That is the writing we do when we are so seized by terror or love or misery that we actually allow ourselves to write down what we must, must, must say, moments when we allow our raw and formless thoughts to survive and take up space." -Jenny Zhang, "The Importance of Angsty Art”
There’s a dialectic here concerning the unedited and its relationship with the forced. Emo’s promise was that of authentic, unmediated, ‘bad writing’. But this is scarcely possible within a rock idiom, which involves deliberate rehearsal, recording, touring, and merchandising.
All the same, legions of young people have now behaved as though the promise of emo could be realized. The form and specific signifiers have been determined and, over the course of a few decades, crystallized into a script that both facilitates and precludes the ‘raw and formless thought’ which teenaged angst is thought to embody.
The ideal of “bad art” is, within a contemporary emo context, impossible to achieve. And yet terabytes upon terabytes of bad emo are nonetheless produced by intrepid musicians today, for whom the overdetermined structures of emo-emotion-expression constitute a formal framework that reduces uncertainty and thus enables unambiguously terrible art to be produced.
The question, then, is one of historicization. Will emo, of the extant or codified variety, ever be afforded the same sympathetic treatment that Jenny Zhang furnishes upon bad literature?
ON THE NOTION OF A “REALITY DROPOUT”
Review: Kicking Spit - Negative Feedback (Don Giovanni Records, 2013)
If the post-9/11 world is truly defined by epistemic conflict and ‘reality wars’, the slack-jawed ‘reality dropout’, alluded to on this record’s lead-off single, is a conscientious objector.
Nevermind the backhanded praise that “Negative Feedback” has received in other contexts. Its muddy production and stoned obsession with noisy guitar tricks are hypersubjectivity and insulated syndicalism extended to hypertrophic scales.
Certainly, the dropout will be interpolated by competing realities. The records will need to be sold. Even so, the blueprint for reality-avoidance provided on these tracks should inspire some youthful listeners into a war against lameness, fought at the level of personal indifference. An autonomist, slacker, anti-masterpiece. Hurry up and quit rushing around.
NOTES ON “EDM” AND THE CANCELLATION OF ELECTRIC ZOO 2013:
ON THE PASSING OF A SOUTHERN METAL INNOVATOR
On August 23, Joey LaCaze, drummer in seminal Louisiana-based sludge band Eyehategod passed away due to respiratory failure. Many commenters have speculated that the death is drug-related.
The widely-understood desire to protect LaCaze’s legacy has resulted in both official statements devoid of drug references, and paradoxically, the community’s distrust of said statements.
"For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it." -David Graeber, ‘On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs’
Consider the following: the obviousness with which teachers and plumbers benefit their neighbors is the very same mechanism by which their labor becomes devalued in the marketplace. These workers do little to naturalize or fortify the labyrinth of extraneousness that is corporate America. Lawyers, branding experts, and consultants, however, help large companies to avoid costly mistakes while becoming ever sexier. The benefit is obvious, if not to the common person, then certainly to any self-interested plutocrat.