The War Around Us

reproduction

There is a war raging in our midst. A war between the Reproducibles and the Unreproducibles, and there is a near certianty that the former is about to annihilate the latter once and for all. We sit in almost utter ignorance whilst this terrible conflict rages around us. Most of us don’t even see the effect it has on our own lives, but a victory of the Reproducibles would be tragic for humanity as well. We must wake up. It is time for us now to ally ourselves to the beleaguered Unreproducibles and turn the tide on this insidious genocide. We have been seduced by their Darwinian, “survival of the fittest” contentions, but the Reproducibles are now so ubiquitous that there is no room for the Unreproducibles to grow in at all.

What is at stake is the existence or annihilation of the originality and creativity that the Unreproducibles represent. The Culture of Reproduction no longer has to create new things. Now it can perpetuate its dominion of the market place by simply reworking old fashions, slightly modified to seem contemporary or even futuristic. And the market place is spreading so widely that the Unreproducibles are left with nowhere to stand. Authenticity is a withered concept now. Originality has been left limbless or lame. To find creativity, one must dig in the cemeteries.

Of course our own health has also been damaged by this one-sided war, especially our souls. We stand cold before the beautiful and glance nonchalantly at the awesome. We shake our heads slightly at the tragic and turn peevishly away from the difficult to comprehend. We gravitate unto anything easy to understand and digest. The Reproducibles have made us insipid, nihilistic, and, like the war itself, our Unreproducible individualities are on the brink of extinction.

The Sublime

Salvador-Dali-00

The sublime experience is one which is elevated and inspires awe. Some would say, an experience that touches us or moves us deeply. Many would say that the experience of the sublime is a feeling that behind the phenomena lies some substantial but inaccessible thing – like God, for instance. Because of this the sublime is often put forward as an example to demonstrate the presence of God in our lives. But, we think this is a total misreading of the sublime.

In fact, the experience of the sublime is not that which points toward the inaccessible at all. The experience of the sublime is really a discovery of the real substantiality of things. What the sublime experience tells us is that there is a substantiality in all things, but habit and closeness have robbed us of the magic of it. A magic which is really based in the simple fact that we are perceiving it.

The first great miracle of the Universe is that it exists. The second great miracle – almost more miraculous still – is that we can perceive it. And the greatest miracle of all is that we know we perceive it. The sublime is the experience of knowing that we perceive existence, and that that is a miracle. It has nothing to do with God.

When we see the light behind the grotesque or the beauty in the monster’s interior, we are making a leap from our subjective prejudice to the universal perception. All sublime feeling is an immersion in the universal, whether that be the universality of our species or the universality of the Universe itself. The sublime is a perceiving that suddenly blasts out of a state of not-perceiving. A great work of art can move us in a sublime way on repeated occasions because it is always opening up different doors for us to perceive things from. However, the sublime sensation of the work will not be generated if we have it hanging on our living room wall or if it is a recording that we listen to every day. The sublime has to be a surprise, a way of snapping us out of our subjectivity. Sometimes it can be an absolute shock, as if we were suddenly pushed under water at a moment of complete lethargy when we had practically forgotten we were even floating.

THE GALIMATIAS INTERVIEW (PART FIVE) – POLITICS, THE NOVEL AND SCI FI

blade-runner

This interview with Paul David Adkin was carried out by the Spanish literary magazine “Galimatias” in March, 2015. We have translated it here into English and have published it in five parts. This is the final part. 

GALIMATIAS: In When Sirens Call, your hero Robert says: “This book is my Trojan horse, sent into the interior of capitalism to burn it down.” Was that meant to be a mirroring statement referring to When Sirens Call itself?

ADKIN: Oh no, not at all. When Sirens Call is a novel. It has no ambitions to bring the system down. Nevertheless, it was a mirroring statement. Robert is referring to his philosophical work which is a mirror of my own philosophical work.

GALIMATIAS: Which has not been published yet.

ADKIN: No, I haven’t found a publisher for it yet.

GALIMATIAS: But you think it will bring down capitalism?

ADKIN: Of course not. Yet it could be considered as one of its objectives.

GALIMATIAS: Getting back to When Sirens Call … it is a novel, but there is also a lot of politics in it. Can’t we see it as a political novel?

ADKIN: Not really … Politics is discussed by the characters, but the book itself takes no obvious political position.

GALIMATIAS: Is Art Wars political?

ADKIN: It’s critical of the system – from the artist’s point of view. It’s cynical. Was Diogenes political?

GALIMATIAS: The one who lived in a barrel?

ADKIN: Yes. Diogenes was a social critic and he would have loved to have been in a less hypocritical place, but he was not a man-of-action.

GALIMATIAS: Placenta in Art Wars does act.

ADKIN: Yes, and she also goes mad. No, I don’t think Art Wars is really a political work either. To be political, I write philosophy … and plays. I, Consul, 1808, and The Queen who could not Rule were political plays. Each one of them used history as a mirror to reflect the current political situation. I, Consul was anti-war and a satire on Bush’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, while 1808 and The Queen were anti-neoliberal plays. But plays can be political in ways that novels can’t be – haven’t I already discussed that.

GALIMATIAS: Yes, but I’m trying to clarify it. Novels have to disguise their statement and so therefore they can’t be political.

ADKIN: Something like that. Although, having said this … at the moment I’m working on a piece of science fiction, which will be a political book – that’s because I think that science fiction is an exception … as would be satire. The best sci fi is deeply philosophical and, because it writes about society from a philosophical perspective it is also very political.

Nevertheless, let me reiterate my main argument here – the literary value of sci fi writing is best achieved when it sublimates the big question as well. Once you set your book in the future, it immediately has its political connotations – whether it’s a Utopian or Dystopian vision we see a social and technological development or regression. In this way every descriptive scene has an innate political weight. The writer can just forget about politics as such – the setting itself will bring it all out for you.

If we think of the film Blade Runner, for example. That has a deeply political narrative embedded in it through the Dystopia it creates via the setting. The story itself is deeply ontological, although the depth comes through quite naturally through the existential predicament of the androids. And the big question .. which runs through all of Ridley Scott’s films … is the Oedipus complex. And that is buried in the subconscious of the film, as it should be.

GALIMATIAS: So you like Sci Fi?

ADKIN: Yes, I do. But I don’t read much of it, because the writing too often disappoints me when I do.

GALIMATIAS: And so your next novel will be a work of science fiction?

ADKIN: Perhaps, but I’ve got four things fairly well developed at the moment, I’ve no idea which will be finished first

Art as Anti-production

Edvard Munch's, The Scream, auctioned at Sotheby's New York

“Labour becomes productive only by producing its own opposite (that is, capital)” Marx

From this it can be said that the labour of Art is essentially unproductive. Art only becomes productive when the capitalist – the production company; publishing house; gallery or auction house – takes hold of the creation and “produces” it, i.e. turns it into a marketable commodity. In his/her essence the artist remains an anti-producer; an outsider to the economy; an economic aberration.

The fact that Art can survive at all in the economic-political society is an indication of its enormous strength, for in theory it should have been killed off long ago by the capitalist and socialist systems that are both so deeply immersed in the politics of production.

Not only is Art a tremendously powerful human drive and positive social force it may also be a marker showing us the way to a post-production society in which capital, perhaps even the monetary system itself, has been rendered obsolete.

Paul David Adkin is the author of Art Wars http://www.lulu.com/shop/paul-david-adkin/art-wars/paperback/product-21434340.html

8.5x11frontcover_Art_Wars5 definite