03 Nov Late-Eutopianist Manifesto

Dear all you Mothafuckers,

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…We are not artists. We do not want to be artists. We want to be complete human-beings. We want to be everything at once and nothing in particular. We want to taste every fruit, and plant every pit. We want to paint every wall, and pop the tops off the hydrants—we wanna do things for reasons that make no “sense”. We want to be alive… In this age of inveterate nihilism and crushing despair, it may well be the case that there is nothing more difficult than simply being alive. Death? That is easy! But choosing to live? Consciously, without delusion—indeed, without even the slightest appeal to hope! That is what’s hard. But that is what we want… We want to dream, and build, and grow, and struggle, and {love} to the bitter end! We want to make of our lives a work of art, and our slums a paradise, and then we want to die with a fuckin smile on our fuckin face. Because what matters in the end is not whether or not we saved the world, but only that we tried. We want to be able to say that we tried…

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We are not realistic. We still believe in the project of perfectibility. We still believe in the utility of imaging a better way of life, and striving toward it …even if it is, indeed, unreachable. Impossible. Endless.

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We still believe we can save this world …even if it is, as it were, too late…

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The late-utopian can no longer retreat into the ignorance/innocence of his earlier self. As the specter of human and ecological catastrophe gathers ever-more distinctly on the horizon, we must now face the engulfing consequence of our own historical inertia. We must now face the abyss… Compelled from both ends, our imaginary is now given a regulative symmetry; from the chaos behind we derive our agency, while from the catastrophes ahead we derive the fearlessness to use it.  Born down on all sides by chaos and nothingness we are now squeezed into a definitive present. Sandwiched in dystopia, our eutopianist is now finally and radically groundedOur project can no longer be predicated on a future.

It is here. Now. Or never.

me

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Everything comes to an end. We do not delude ourselves in our probable fate. We face it squarely, and without appeal—both hope and despair living simultaneously and without contradiction, in our breast. This is the inexpressible mood which suffuses our work. In this late stage, our project can never cease to be absurd. We can never be permitted to avert our eyes from this. We can never be permitted to turn away from the abyss… To us it is beautiful. It is the pregnant uncertainty of the not-yet dawning day. It is the fathomless pupil at the centre of a lover’s gaze. It is the inkwell from which you, me, and all the universe sprang! Why should we fear it? Everything we ever had worth having came from out this nothingness, and to it, everything will return. The only question then is…

What will we do in the space between?

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4

Somewhere along the way we done gave up; gave up on this whole project. It was too dangerous—we got shook; we despaired; we got our hearts broke one too many times—and so we said: I’m not movin’ no more! I’m stayin’ right here! …and here we remain. We thought we were safe cause we were standing still. But there is no standing still. Stillness is only ever a slow, imperceptible slide backward. And this is what is turning out to be the nightmare of our current age… See, the thing about modernity is this: it could go either way. It could turn out to be our dreams come true, or, it could be our worst nightmare. Either way, you can’t let that stop you playin’ the game! We gotta pick up on the thread. We gotta conjure the courage to fail. We got’ta be foolish enough to believe that we can fix this. The whole damn mess! At the very least, you gotta be able to say that you tried.

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5

And so we stand before the glassy face of the abyss. But as we gaze into the void of our own empty silhouette, we do not see nothingness, but only an infinite and boundless potentiality. We do not see the end—only endlessness… We roll up our sleeves, plunge our arms into the murky pitch, and grope blindly in the blackest of nothingness. And we are without fear. Because we know that it is only from out this nothingness that we wrest our reason to be… our passion. Just what is passion? It is the irreducible relation between trauma and expression, as constitutes all being. All “matter”. In vulgar terms, being is a state of ceaseless trauma, the only relief for which is expression—it actually causes us pain not to express our selves—and, herein, is the raw propulsion of all life. We are nothing if not the expression of trauma. And yet we are equally the trauma of expression. Expression, itself, is trauma. Human-beings cannot objectively distinguish the one from the other. We can only ever subjectively experience these things as what we are… a piece of the Passion.

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Passion has no source, except itself. It has no locus, center, or site-of-production. It is scattered and buds out in any, and every direction. When clipped here, it will sprout elsewhere. When denied both here and elsewhere, it will turn in on itself. In every case it must be realized, and it reserves for itself any and every means of realization, even destruction… There is no natural primacy in the relation between trauma and expression—each is but an affect of the other, and if the one were not present, the other would have to create it. Because of this—because passion is a force which creates and animates its own means of expression—it may be said to be creative by orientation; indeed, both the fuel of all creation, and creation itself. It is for this reason that it can be positively stated that creation has primacy over destruction.

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There can be no act of creation that we undertake, of which the product is not ourselves. All creation is self-creation. It is only by expressing our joys and suffering creatively that passion can proceed on to higher stages—I.e. mature, become self-aware. Passion is thus the crucible of consciousness, which steadily and inevitably accrues as a byproduct. But, along with it, now comes another inevitability… confusion. And herein is our unique and perennial problem. There is no destruction in the world that is not confused creativity. Indeed, there is no violence, or hate, or evil in the world! Only Confusion. It is our only enemy. Any further project will, from here on out, and forever more, have to face down this, the problem of consciousness.

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As consciousness accrues to passion we attain an ever-greater will to direct it. When passion is consciously and willful directed, one result is art”. A denatured form of creativity, art is unique to human beings, and, like human-beings, it is hopelessly subject to confusion. Once it is loosed in the world it can have tremendous consequence… Consciousness is nature’s greatest achievement. But though we must suffer it for her, it does not belong to us. The only thing that can truly be called our own is art. A chief source of our confusion, at once as it is our saving grace, artistic creation may yet be our greatest hope of advancing this project, and addressing the problem of consciousness.

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Art, as it is today, is caught in the hopeless double-bind of reinforcing the world as it is (beautification), or compulsively reacting against it (deconstruction). A utopianist art does neither of these. It imagines the new world, at once as it sets to realizing it “in the shell of the old”. We believe this to be the only foundation for an art that is truly revolutionary, and the only disposition that can any longer hope to affirm life… Wither or not it affirms life, ALL art resonates from our will-to-life. When expression is denied, it will assume its ancient and primordial stance, as revolt. When entirely quashed, the corrupted matter of creation turns, as its only remaining means of expression, to destruction, and all destruction is, perforce, self-destruction. The Passion expressed in its conscious form (as human-being) is thus highly subject to the predation of confusion in the form of neuroses, which invert and subvert it in various pernicious ways. Corrupted thusly it can then be channeled into the matrix of consumerism, violence, hierarchy etc.—all the manifestations of our thinly veiled drive toward death, and of the self-destructive condition that is nihilism nihilism is the obverse of passion. Because passion is, roughly speaking, the motive force of all being, nihilism’s only resort against it is not-being. All passion, even if corrupted, is threatening to the condition of nihilism, because all passion is creative at its essence and seeks, perennial and unfading, to return to itself.

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10

Alas, we can never be sure which way is backward, and which is forward. We can never know in which direction it lies, and yet, we can never be permitted to stop striving toward it. Because, truthfully, there is no such thing as going backward. There is only the terrible decay of staying still… Revolt is the tendency of passion to not be stalled, or stagnate. It is passion’s way of escaping the tyranny of sameness and repetition. For us, however, it manifests as something much more specific. Indeed, it is that what binds our very project together; for it is always, at its essence, an act of solidarity. There can be no really and truly liberated expression without the free and mutual expression of all. It is only in this unqualified demand—as constitutes both the individual in revolt, and collective rebellion—that this project truly begins.

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…If you believe as we believe—that creative expression is a human right, and that all creativity, regardless of its quality or affect (no matter how impoverished, or worm-eyed, or corrupted) yet emanates from a will-to-life—then our first duty must be to support this tendency everywhere we find it. What we would hope to preserve for our self we must defend everywhere else. Even in the places most foreign to our sensibilities. Even in the most repugnant of forms, to the most confused of ends. Because everywhere that expression must guise itself in the robe of ideology, antagonism, or hate—beneath even the most bristling façade of our dearest enemy—there is always that brooding and mercurial force which threatens the upending and transversal of all things. If we but tap into this endless font… A single thread might bind us in creativity, and, in so binding us, dissolve all bonds of destruction! That is why we must find it everywhere, and everywhere tease to the surface. We must applaud the poetry in a bitter cry, and see the nascent beauty in the crudest of scribbling on a bathroom stall. Because everywhere that passion struggles toward the light, there is beauty. And because every Hitler was first an artist we failed to requite…

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Everyone must express them self. Everyone has the right to express them self—so long as one’s expression does not preclude the expression of anyone else… We now, and from here on, declare everything radically subject to human creativity. Everything from our streets and neighborhoods, to the basic rhythm of everyday life… Our politics, our languages, our philosophies, our myths, our identities, our every relation to this world and everything in it! Everything is now subject to mankind’s absolute will to make of this world how we see fit, by any and every means available… And fuck you if you don’t like it.

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…Just playin! This project excludes no one. Not even its critics. Everyone down to the smallest child, has something to contribute; heroic acts and vital insights lay waiting in every breast. It is but left to YOU to cultivate your own peculiar ability and style. You are responsible for deciding who you want to be; together we decide what we want to be. What we become must sort itself out in a peaceful, though painstaking effort, on the endless plain of struggle that is culture. Under these circumstances, individual virtue becomes indispensable. Throughout all, the late-utopian must be always upright and exemplary, and democratic principles must prevail.

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This is a call to all Artists… painters, musicians, dancers, fighters, singers, writers, poets, sculptors, actors, cinematographers, photographers, choreographers, playwrights, designers, barbers, stylists, architects, engineers, bricollers, wall-writers, gamifiers, MCs, DJs, philosophers, theorists, rhetoricians, physicians, magicians, mystics, mentors, teachers, tailors, potters, carpenters, bakers, cooks, every type of craftsperson or tradesperson, jacks of many, masters of none, masters of fun, tattoo artists, martial artists, hookup-artists, con-artists, comedians, socializers, hustlers, dilatants, daydreamers, doodlers, urbanists, historians, journalists, gardeners, agronomists, ecologists, cosmologists, scatologists, revolutionists… We send out this conch-call to you! And to all in whom the will-to-create lay waiting. Cut away what binds you in unhappiness to this dying world. Run back to the wilderness of the passion, and make for the heights above.  And here let us shelter like maroons, breathing deaply the rarified air, as we plan another world

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…Each of us must decide for our self what constitutes a good life. We have no more insight than any of you. Only together can we find the way. Only together can we define the best of all possible worlds.

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13

Creativity is, before all else, a relation (to our self, to each other, and to the world). Our concern is not the ephemeral product of this relation (its aesthetics), but the mode of relation itself. This we call the Modus. It is no longer anyone’s place to proscribe or police aesthetics. The health of any given culture cannot be ascertained by the “quality” of its aesthetic/s, but only by the quantity, fluidity, and dialogue between its aesthetics. The Aesthetic ecosystem arises organically from the underlying mode of relation. The healthier the state of this underlying modus, the more vibrant—it can be assured—will be the state of any given culture.

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14

There is only one rightful slavery; the slavery of passion to it’s substance. To its matter. To its body… We must have food and water. We must have light and air. We must sup, and rest and think, and {love}, and expression, and, in leu of these (or even despite them), we must rebel. A truly eutiopian art can never be abstracted from this, the vulgar immediacies of life. It can never be set aside as an exhibit, or object of contemplation. It cannot exist without necessity… Automation has not realized the paradise of “universal leisure,” technology cannot assure the end of scarcity, and a Facebook will never facilitate our ultimate liberation. These are the fruits of a poisonous tree; they have only become possible at the pinnacle of accumulation in a system which has reduced man and nature to disposable resources in its own mindless perpetuation. They have yet further stratified and vitiated our social relations, while exacerbating a dangerous metabolic and spiritual rift; they have robbed us of the sensuousness of the world, and of the sense of meaning and purpose we once derived from acting upon it… We cannot abolish the physical world. We cannot abolish work. It is inextricable from all that is beautiful, and good, and necessary. It is the only sure foundation of autonomy and a lasting metabolic harmony… Art and work must be resurrected as one.

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All that which is not comprehensible—controllable, reproducible sustainable—in the context of a complete, rounded life, must be swept away into the old dust bin of history… We believe in reason. We believe in technology, and science. But there is a certain point beyond which these things invariably run up against an impasse; a point at which rational means can no longer be enacted without totally obliterating the ends. That is to say, there is a certain point beyond which rationality can no longer perpetuate human life without rendering it something unrecognizable. It is a choice we must now make more with each passing day: between merely surviving, and being truly alive—clawing to life at the expense of becoming a monstrosity of our self, or facing down our limit, with virtue and dignity.

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…We are imperfect. But our art has the chance to be perfect in a way we can never be. If not in form, at least in function… No matter what we send out into the world it must always seek to lead us back to a deeper engagement with the lived-life… Only in our art can we thus be Machiavellians. Only here can the ends ever be permitted to justify the means.

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16

We cannot turn the angel of history forward. We cannot, and should not. If we were to try—try and anticipate the future—we could not resist the temptation to avoid all collision, thereby depriving ourselves of the very wreckage we need to build. The engine of composition would all but halt. Creation is predicated on our backwardness!… The only way to create is by the recombination of pre-existing materials. There is nothing to compose but the wreckage of the past. There is nothing to compose but the wreckage of the past. So too, we are nothing if not the dialogical amalgamation of everything and everyone that came before, and so deigned to impress itself upon the trajectory of our fliting lives. We are the past. And yet we are more than its sum. Because, above all else, we are what we strive to become… Our art must never be reactionary. It must never define itself against an enemy, or use the language of the world it wishes to supplant. It must dreams-past its target. It must be actionary… We must strive to become the over-artist. If we were such an artist, we would strive to create without attachment, because for us, all that would matter is the act itself. Ours would be a self-less art, given for no other remuneration than the smile it puts on the faces of passers-by. Indeed, a sort of art which has definitively broken through to play—a place where there is no remnant of neurosis, or resentment or asceticism. There is only the constant and ecstatic state of going-over…

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There is no need to “clear a space”. A clean slate is not only impossible, but, in reality, implies unspeakable destruction. There is no destruction here. We do not need blankness in order to create something new. We do not need a primed surface. We are content to paint right over top the old world without malice, or sentimentality. The consequence of this disposition is that the over-artist must continually go-over even her own self; even her greatest of masterpiece… The walls are only so many, and the need to express remains endless… The end of an indefinite future DOES NOT imply the end of life. It only implies the end of a certain logic: the logic of perpetuation. The over-artist is one for whom the impermanence of art and life is overstood. Eutopia must be continually renewed and re-imagined. Everything must end.  This—like the price of a great love, our the price of this our one earth—is the price of being truly alive. It is only one time.

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Only here, perched perilous at the edge of the abyss—in all its terrible consequences, and fathomless possibility—can our project be realized. Only here, at the edge, can we transcend our differences; only in the face of death, can we truly and definitively be alive… And so we set to build this kingdom of righteousness on a sud of soap… We dance around the edge of oblivion, and build our radiant city along its slopes! Because, though everything must come to an end, yet in every moment that passion dwells, we are infinite! And, in the last light, we declare: everything that lives but once, lives forever.

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GO FORTH AND DEMAND UTOPIA

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