Because Nothing Else Works

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As the Military-Police-State increases, now aided by the NSA and the voyeurism develops as a third eye in the head of the International Cyclops, the question of surrealist revolt should be called into question entirely.  This is no longer the world of Wallace Fowlie or Franklin Rosemont, however  we would like it to be.  Things have gone slant and all over the place as in a curling match taking place on black ice.   I am reminded during this time of H.G. Wells’ “Mind At The End of It’s Tether”. Not often read or even mentioned, the author insisted: “There is no way out or round or through,” noting the rise of technology and the impotence of man in matters of justice.

“in a country where the great majority of artists, writers and even self-styled “radicals” have always identified themselves with “liberal” (i.e., bourgeois) political traditions, or their pseudo-Marxist equivalents (social-democracy and the many variants of Stalinism), surrealists in the U.S. from the start were grounded in the theory and practice of working class self-emancipation. What Rosa Luxemburg called “the inner wretchedness of bourgeois liberalism, as well as its intimate connection with Reaction,” was obvious to us then, and seem so excruciatingly obvious now that it is hard to understand how anyone could possibly deny it. For us, surrealism was—and still is—the most thoroughgoing expression of individual revolt and social/cultural revolution.

We recognize capitalism—wage-slavery—as a global system, rotten to the core and utterly destructive to humankind and the planet. The countless and multiplying horrors perpetrated by this system (from homelessness and war to an out-of-control technology and the devastation of the natural world) can not be cured by piecemeal reforms, or even by large-scale reforms within the framework of capitalist exploitation. Nothing less than social revolution—a radical break with all stultifying and life-denying forms of social organization—can put an end to capitalism’s cataclysmic reign of violence, liberate the Earth and its inhabitants from oppression, and bring about a truly free society.

Clearly freedom and equality cannot be realized by a revolution hostile to poetry. As the myth of the “vanguard party” and other authoritarian illusions recede, new emancipatory models of revolution are emerging. Surrealism itself is an active factor here, helping to revolutionize the idea of revolution. What is needed is a revolution that is unafraid of poetry, a revolution determined from the very beginning to lessen the gap between poetry and “reality.”

Social revolution of course is only the beginning of the realization of the surrealist project. The Surrealist Movement remains “at the service of the revolution,” but it is important to recognize that, for us, revolution is also in the service of surrealism.”

In contemporary times this has a wistful beauty indeed.  Very wistful.

If Surrealism to be a tool of revolution and also a revolt against reality (devoid of rune-like-credentials) and coincide in a way that affects the world, the entire idea of perpetual optimism in the face of what goes on in the planet must be done away with. The use of pessimism should be vitriolic and not restricted to black humor: it should spit in the face–and induce despair–in the lives of those who claim that this monstrous state of affairs is “all that works”.   Coopted by the absolute miserabilists who celebrate their own despair in mediated voodoo boxes, we will take it and use it for own purposes. 

The release of our manifesto, “Nouveau’s Midnight Sun: Transcriptions From Golgonooza and Beyond” was met with a bit of strife because of the OCCULT, BEATIFIC

Logos implied in the introduction.    71anFyLlLFL

Some are comfortable with the move from museums, and some are not.  In any case, let the antinomies snake as plastic fireworks birth new ashen antibodies and smear the terrain of Cop Land.

Plagiarism: Lautreamont’s inside joke or Surrealist pastime?

Culture is a sophisticated (implicitly sophisticate) collection of compost pieces. This is what                         our naughty alcoholic neighbors The Situationists understood uncomfortably well; we are ourselves little else than an oddly formed race of semiotic, refracting mirrors which end up saying precisely the same things in different fashions. Indeed, intertextuality, is often mistaken for precisely what the most enigmatic progenitor of Surrealism celebrated; plagiarism. Tranche0001-740637                                 “Plagiarism implies progress. It is necessary.” Poesies   a0b7bc0a309146091c01c58b0ff63697         Though the originator of the academic term “intertextuality” or “intertextualism” was philosopher Julia Kristeva, who rubbed shoulders with Barthes, Derrida, Diderot and the treadmill of the University all stars, it was Isidore Ducasse who stated in one bold, cursory line what needed to be said. Indeed, Freud’s sometimes hackneyed and fructose sentiment: “Where I go, a a poet has been there before me” seems more and more apt as our imaginative cosmography is indexed with technology’s unrestrained growth. Breton had morals, it would most definitely seem, and so did even an artist as raucous as Pablo Picasso; ergo, neither were Salvador Dali, nor could they ever be, even if times of financial woe tore them apart.  Is plagiarism necessary for the future? Or, to contrast and compare, should we aim for an originality of utter idiosyncrasy, as though I were to say: “GODHEAD PRAXIS HEMATITE ARE JACKPINS” And continue with such phrases till it forms it’s own compost? Better, perhaps, explore existing plagiarists and “plagiarism”, if it even exists, from an intertextual perspective purely. One of the zaniest, most rollicking and bust-a-gut hilarious instances of contemporary “plagiarism” is the case of David Boyer, a man in the fantastic/horror writing community with strange acumen and a relentless, Quixotic drive to quash those who demand that he conform to society’s mores.           costume2David Boyer 2 In a moment of surrealist intertexualism, let me “plagiarize” CreateSpace author Jeani Lector’s thoughts about this man who, really, is like the Lacenaire of his decidedly tiny area. http://www.thehorrorzine.com/Beware/Boyer/DavidBoyerPlagiarist.html Here we see said serial-plagiarist and maybe Romeo of his territory making the rounds; disturbing the complacency of the established order and driving Miss Lector quite obviously out of her gourd. (A derangement of the senses, or something pre-existing? Who knows? The alchemy of surrealism does depend in some ways on our semiotic blind spots.) Photo after photo, citation after citation, and it doesn’t end there: http://www.sfwa.org/2010/10/cold-iron-david-boyer-plagiarist/ Alleged Names/Aliases David Boyer Iron Dave Boyer Dan Boyer Doc Boyer David Byron Iron Dave Byron Dan Byron Doc Burton David Brookes Leo Wolfe Jack Burnett (One has been left out of this otherwise quite eager and detailed chronology: “Doc Creeper”.) Is Miss Lector making an intertextual statement about Mr. Boyer with these sorta manically charged, nearly FBI file length websites?   The internet is the playground for the merging of the real and the imaginary, and here we see the Black Humor of Surrealism raise a liberating hand: Boyer version of no ordianry loveThis is supposedly a bit of admittedly wooden verse from Mr. Boyer; however, to amplify the credence of this contemporary anti-Coleridge, let’s lend him black wings with the dead musk of plagiarism on the author’s part. Who is the author at this juncture according to our theoretical vortex? I gave you the chalk limbo of my orifices I gave you that last bit of neon ash I took you to go skating and celebrated my anniversy on a busy night, at the meeting where we met. I can. i am. Let us have more scandals. Let us have more SURREALIST wars, surrealist strength, the alchemy of hypnos dabbed in a spasm of invisible ink.  Let us have more David Boyers/Jeani Rectors embedded in one another with mesh wire for eternity in blog splotches like “The Mediocre Zine”! Transmisision, comrades of the marvelous.

Everyone’s got the fever; that is something we all know; an interview with Chicago Surrealist Jordan West on “The Yellow King”

http://www.bokus.com/bok/9781570271229/surrealist-subversions/

Surrealists!  

Comrades!

The following is an interview between myself and surrealist Jordan West, who appeared in
Ron Pakvolsky’s “Surrealist Subversions” which can be found in the link above.  A Chicago surrealist original, we are trying to put a NEW spin on a “mythos”, The King In Yellow.

I JW:How and when did you first encounter The King in Yellow, and what sort of effect did it have on you?

JA:I borrowed an edition that was a dark yellow hardback, no cover, from a University library and I don’t think I ever returned it. I was feeling especially forgetful at the time. That got to be a big thing. I got in trouble for not returning the book, serious financial trouble. It wasn’t just that book, but they almost brought me to court on that one and a few others. Let me tell you something, when you have a guy at your door with a ticket for a prospective court date and on the summons is something for the King In Yellow, you’ll think about it a lot more. At the time Chambers was writing, the color yellow had become associated with corruption and decadence ( The Yellow Book , etc.); what sort of significance, if any, does ‘yellow’ possess for you? Yellow is an inherently fascinating color, I think. I don’t know why, specifically, but when I hear about the word “yellow” I think of madness, decay, death before I think about anything beautiful in nature. I grew up reading decadent poets like Ernest Dowson, Thomas Levell Beddoes, etc.

Like probably every other quote on quote “literary” person, I’ve fantasized about drinking absinthe with Verlaine or snorting something with Sara Teasdale in the rain or whatever and dying some fanciful death you can never really die.

JW:Speaking of the Decadent movement itself, do you think it shares any special connections or connotations with the King in Yellow mythos?

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JW:I’m in love the idea of the King In Yellow; there’s something of a color coordinated majesty about Chambers’ idea that synthesizes the blood starved, ghastly iridescence of the so called “Decadent movement”.

JA:I like my idea of the Decadent movement probably more than what I would see if I went back and saw Maurice Rollinat bang away on his piano or, tangentially, watched the habits of Isidore Ducasse for a few days. To answer your question I absolutely do see a connection between Chambers’ stories and the collection of individuals who were later negatively termed “decadents”.

JW:The creations of some authors of weird fiction, such as Lovecraft’s ‘Great Old Ones’ and Machen’s ‘little people’ for example, can be read as expressions or embodiments of the personal beliefs of their creators; did Chambers intend the King in Yellow to retain a similar meaning? If so, how do you interpret him?

JA: As a person who aspires to write supernatural prose i don’t believe you can write anything with that kind of sustained genius and not attach a personal meaning to it. For all I know, the King In Yellow might exist in a non ironic and non symbolic and non reductionistic way. While The King in Yellow is typically categorized as ‘supernatural fiction’, Chambers’ stories also contain such elements as Poesque psychological horror, near­future alternate history, symbolist/proto­surrealist phantasmagorias, and the conte cruel; it is fair then to classify Chambers amongst the authors of weird fiction, or does he deserve a different place in the literary canon? Whatever play is being read by the characters in Chambers stories is not something one could reproduce. It drives people mad (it doesn’t give them a mental illness treatable by a psychotropic; it drives them mad, a word brought into question by the NIMH) and creates a venereal, polluted atmosphere. I couldn’t go buy that at Barnes and Nobles and no amount of discouraging logical positivism is going to drive one mad either. Therefore, I personally conclude it is supernatural..which is to say a phenomenon outside the bounds of space, time, and any kind of limitation whatsoever by physics or human and natural laws.

JW:Throughout its history, The King in Yellow has become a sort of collective creation; Chambers originally created the ‘Yellow King’ stories by dramatically expanding upon several short Ambrose Bierce pieces, HP Lovecraft in turn incorporated Chambers’ mythology into his own fictional universe, and numerous writers since have used these texts to build and flesh out further connections. What is it about The King in Yellow that lends itself to this sort of group effort?

JA:To use a bit of hippy jargon, I think Chambers takes us for a moment into the forbidden zone philosopher Norman O. Brown wrote about and suggests what might happen if every degenerate, cackling impulse flew out of the ovulating giggles of our really strange, semiotically balanced psyches. Mr. Castaigne, for instance, in “The Repairer of Reputations” is a hilarious caricature of a brain damaged nutcase. Ever met anyone with a brain injury who behaves quite like that? Probably not. But Chambers’ suggestion, that an event as simple and horrific as falling off a horse could bathe one in the fetid areas of the psyche permanently is so believable when you read the story. He does what great horror writers do: he makes us fear ourselves, the world around us, and above all, the world within. In the Court of the Dragon takes a bunch of young artists and makes their sturm und drang real. At first they have the average sort of “let’s paint something or do something but have affairs first.” Somehow, someone gets a copy of the Yellow Book, and boy do things get for real.

The King in Yellow is not just the title of a book; it is also the title of a play and the name of an otherworldly entity appearing within that book; what does this interplay of meaning and identities (potentially metatextual) suggest or conjure up for you? I suspect that the color yellow is no more inherently disturbing than any other color, but I like to think it actually is because of my literary enthusiasms and the imaginative potency it now possesses. The King In Yellow could just as easily have been some obscure 60’s band, like The Crystal Chandelieror the Velvett Fog, or been a song lyric in one. But Robert W. Chambers put this uncanny phrase into a series of powerful stories (as powerful, to my mind, as anything Lovecraft wrote) that Derleth later called mythos. Me? to me it suggests some sort of supernatural, immaterial, immanent antihero composed of spectral hues with an unfathomably disgusting book written in bitter calligraphy. I love it!

S1yMcNasty King in Yellow Costume

JW:Characters in The King in Yellow who read that titular play find afterwards find reality
u n d e r g o i n g s t r a n g e m u t a t i o n s ; h a v e y o u e v e r f e l t h a u n t e d b y a n y o f T h e K i n g i n Y e l l o w s t o r i e s , and in what way?

Yes. Once, in college, I was watching a movie that every dystopic or antinatalistic or pessimistic would love called Pate by director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo. It really should be on DVD, as it is a horrific and slow meditation on the nonsense of social mores and a sort of elegant, refined cannibalism–as elegant and refined as that can get. A friend of mine who was slightly sinister offered me some Kava tea, claiming Kava was known to calm people down. I just had this thought: it’s kinda weird, us watching this beyond desolate movie and everyone being lulled to sleep with the herb which I hated. Then I noticed the 1989 Dedalus copy of the King In Yellow on his bookshelf. I got creeped, and I actually left after awhile…..with the copy of the King In Yellow I’d lended him.

Which of Chambers’ Yellow King stories and has had the greatest effect upon you, and why? “In the Court of the Dragon.” Just how he rips away youth and innocence. It’s like someone threw acid on the immortal souls of everyone in the story.  

JW: Many other notable weird writers, including the likes of Karl Edward Wagner and Joe Pulver, have also fallen under the spell of Carcosa; what is your favorite contribution to the King in Yellow canon not written by Chambers? Hands down, Don Webb’s short “Movie Night At Phil’s.” That story explored this world where a fictional movie with Vincent Price entitled “The King In Yellow” drives this house insane. It was perfect. Don is going to be in our anthology “Songs of the Shattered World: The Broken Hymns of Hastur” which has a stated release date of April 1st, 2016 from Spectral Press. Simon Marshall Jones is a warrior, one of the finest publishers I’ve ever worked with. He took this project on very short notice and displayed a generosity one rarely sees. Yeah, Joe Pulver put that collection together, “A Season In Carcossa”, I just remembered.

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I enjoy fiction and poetry that’s more about suggestion and less about an outgoing, look at the violence here, that kind of thing, though of course that has a place.  Also honestly I didn’t grow up with “On the Road” or the beats, though I love the actual genius of Kerouac’s poetry.  So.   If I’m not mistaken, one of his friends named Boris, or Morrris called me a “misogamist” for reasons I’ve not a clue about. This could only be happening in Surrealistic weird fiction.

Karl Edward Wagner, definitely! I love what he did for Howard, who I think had a beatifically manic case of the crazies. He’s still not appreciated enough (of course much of that is his own fault.) What is the significance of the actual King in Yellow himself to you? What does he mean, and why is he frightening? To me, he represents that which has absolutely no context. An embodied obscenity that embosses SIN across everything, like Mucha. He’s like Keyzer Soze in a less corny, postmod movie.

The Roky Erikson of the King In Yellow

The Roky Erikson of the King In Yellow

JW: A year after the whole “True Detective” affair, what do you feel about the show in connection to The King in Yellow ; has the effect it has had on the Carcosa mythos been negative, positive, or somewhere in between? I certainly would not have seen a Barnes and Nobles edition of The King In Yellow without True Detective.

That made my day, just seeing it there like that. The thing about True Detective I loved was that it brought that Ligottian feel in a way I hadn’t seen before anywhere. The thing is when a philosophy–and I’m mostly friends with antinatalists, though I happen to be a Roman Catholic–tries to attach itself to everything, some of the pure magic of horror is lost. And while I loved a lot of True Detective, I don’t think everything always has to point to the perceived worthlessness of existence. It gets old. When we insist that this is what that writer meant by this story, etc etc, and everyone falls in lockstep, that dangerous magic get sealed up. Funny, one might think, or God forbid a Catholic talk like that. We are old enough! But, like my friend Mark Samuels (also in the anthology), I feel mysticism has a place that can never be nihilated. One might say nihilism needs mysticism, and the reverse.

Plus, Machen, Blackwood, Poe, or James, you know..weren’t atheists or antinatalists or anything like that. 13. Conceivably, what is the impact you would like to have this anthology to have, both as poetry and as a contribution to the Yellow King canon?

I hope this will be a fallback to Aubrey Beardsley’s Yellow Book; that’s the goal. An authentic Yellow Book filled with some of the most talented Yellow poets you could imagine, decadent as Mario Praz would have had it.

Thinking about this even makes a Coldplay song sound good. I want it to be a treat for fans of poetry AND fans of the macabre, as I think Chambers was thinking more of poetry than prose when he wrote his stories—or the spirit of poetry.    Somehow I believe that the King In Yellow is a surrealist figure, I mean, how couldn’t he be?

JA: Vive La Surrealisme

JW: VIve La Surrealisme

The Encryption of the Free Image: The Screamer in a Tele screen

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The New Surrealist Institute is now a barcode in the Barbicide of cyberspace’s blue chill.

While I have plans to resurrect it, I failed to dissuade members of the group from abandoning Facebook and joining me in abandoned hotels on the fringes of L.A.–just kidding.

As of a few months ago, I deleted my Facebook account, as I had been growing more and more uncomfortable being  a JPG on Mark Zuckerberg’s privacy raping, virtual plantation of advertisement.  Facebook’s minions took an immediate dislike, I guess, to my negative opinion of The Social Network and deleted the NSI very, very quickly.

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Which brings up a fairly relevant question with regards to Surrealism and “the image as a perfect creation of the mind” (Reverdy:Beloved By Breton):  when does the Free Image STOP being free and combustible and become the property of a hyperimagistic hemorrhage taking place on virtual marketing grounds for the purposes…

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The Encryption of the Free Image: The Screamer in a Tele screen

The New Surrealist Institute is now a barcode in the Barbicide of cyberspace’s blue chill.

While I have plans to resurrect it, I failed to dissuade members of the group from abandoning Facebook and joining me in abandoned hotels on the fringes of L.A.–just kidding.

As of a few months ago, I deleted my Facebook account, as I had been growing more and more uncomfortable being  a JPG on Mark Zuckerberg’s privacy raping, virtual plantation of advertisement.  Facebook’s minions took an immediate dislike, I guess, to my negative opinion of The Social Network and deleted the NSI very, very quickly.

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Which brings up a fairly relevant question with regards to Surrealism and “the image as a perfect creation of the mind” (Reverdy:Beloved By Breton):  when does the Free Image STOP being free and combustible and become the property of a hyperimagistic hemorrhage taking place on virtual marketing grounds for the purposes of hyper capitalists?  Of course, no group can exist without compromise; but Surrealism
is one rare arena of the arts that has never stopped in it’s arguments against social imperialism.   From figures like Lacenaire to Baudelaire to Jarry to Name Anyone,
only convenient stand asides like De Chirico could speak of the Marvelous without an actual commitment to the social ramparts of the time, and the igniting of these ramparts.

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There should be no special pleading: surrealists are more prone to the addictive propensities of the spectacle than other groups, and with the decay of more archaic
forms of communication our commitment to rebellion against the existing order may weaken.

When authority triumphs, it is through the dissipation of community, the slow
destruction of communal bonds via goods, favors, small things that eat away at the fabric of social revolution and make us inert and satisfied.  Groups are looked upon, as our group has been, with a dismissive sense of naiveté.

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May the Surrealist revolution NOT find it’s consummation in the commodified image.  May it resist that which eats wholesale even the purposelessness anarchy of the purposeful image.

Let us rejoice in Turkey and Top Hats, swallow the Narco Uterine Pills, but let us not be DOWNLOADED.