What is Trinketization

For an explanation of Trinketization – never fully codified as yet – you might start with the following old posts such as:

Note 33: Trinketization is both a reductive appropriation of everything to commodification, as if that were somehow the fully articulated explanation; AND Trinketization is the proliferation of theorizations of that commodity desiccation that atomises a paralyzingly abundant fascination and desire.



Mind Boggling

Before the Letter

Jesus Trinkets

Plastic Stuff

Kane’s Snowglobe

Kuffiya Spotting

Third World Tourism

Communist Tat


And this maritime captain picture is a trinket gesture itself – you should read Paul Hendrich’s piece on the Deptford Town Hall slavery statues; also check Rosie Wright on Trafalgar Square plinth (here), and Imogen Bunting on May Day posings (here) – the three of us often talked trinkets, working out a critique of objects and their multiple meanings. The three of them really are each very much missed.

fragment on machines

cockroachwriterA note to keep for later: our argument evaluates the idea that machines for generating meaning can be examined as rendering text or as points of access to a world beyond or before rendering. Placing a hand on the cave wall at Lascaux before spittting/spraying paint to make a silloette is a machine; the hair line qusdrant grid of the rensisssance/quattro centro landscape artists is a machine; Raymond Roussel writing parentheses is a machine. Perception is often understood as co-constitutive mechanics, the question to explore here has always been about the relationship between what there is and how it is known. Machines vibrate with the world to draw our attention.

Ten Years of the Centre for Cultural Studies

warsaw-varsovia-posterToday I was asked for a summary of things happening in CCS over the past year or so (our tenth year). Here are the highlights as I see them (please add anything I’ve missed, or links I did not have handy):

As part of our tenth year, Goldsmiths CCS:

– bombed Warsaw with poems – see here;

– with funding from the AHRC Beyond Text program we have challenged the routines of border thinking in CCS workshops in Berlin and soon Copenhagen (here);

– held a lively month long CCS internal debate on new directions in cultural studies/what is CCS – called ‘Attack the Headquarters’ (see here);

– welcomed Professor Stiegler’s appointment as visiting professor [and endured Professor Hutnyk’s inaugural lecture ‘Pantomime Terror’];

– enjoyed visits from scholars such as Professors Gayatri Spivak, Celeste Olalquiaga, Walter Mignolo;

– saw the launch of a new postgraduate run Cultural Studies ‘Nocturnal’ – a magazine a web precence that is fabulous – see “NYX, a Nocturnal” – issue three due soon.

– initiated an annual walk across London visiting sites associated with the German theorist and revolutionary thinker Karl Marx, called ‘The Marx Trot’, reaching from Highgate Cemetery to the bars of Tottenham Court Rd (see here);

– continued research work on economic flows in China (Prof Scott Lash has a major grant for work in China); we welcomed the publication of Jennifer Bajorek’s book ‘Counterfeit Capital: Poetic Labour and Revolutionary Irony’; we continued to be active in a number of social and political issues pertaining to cultural studies (Palestine solidarity, on immigration control and spurious visa restrictions, anti-racism and the G20 police crackdown…);

– ran four MA programs with good enrollments and attracted 13 new PhD students to our doctoral program, and more…. See HERE

Border Documents

IMG_2590In “Sonic Border” (London Nov 2008) we explored the way sound crosses the border differently, provoking a rethink of the border’s location – not just in ports, and the authoritarian boot boys of the nation state, but between us all, in conversations, in ideas – an oppressive structure of language, meaning, representation, and in the cry of protest and in the music of solidarity across divides. The border echoes everywhere, it resonates and shouts from every station location, wherever you listen look. Sound problematized the geographic and visual location of the border regime.

In “Theatre Border” (Berlin April 2009) the performative, tactile and ritualistic force of the border as staged power suggests we rethink connection, touch, proximity and co-responsibility. The theatrical exclusion of others manufactures a charade populated by demons, caricatures and monstrosity. We don’t want to be cast in such dramas.

In “Border Documents” (Copenhagen Nov 2009) we will join the CPH.DOX documentary film festival to consider the border as it unfolds in time/screen based media – what does thinking about border activism and the telematic offer us? Possible topics include the border in television news, the in-focus out of focus role of CCTV in detention centres, the scanning screens of the immigration check, the civilian phone-cam exposé of deportation and ‘Torture Taxi’ (special rendition) flights, and more.

We are interested in new perspectives on the status and function of the documentary forms today, as they cross the ontological divide between fiction and truth, art and reality (objective/subjective, social, political, ethical etc) and frame alternative ways of seeing, witnessing, representing, archiving and experiencing ‘the elements of truth’ (Steyerl, 2003). Can we understand documentation not as paper passports or mere representation but as docketing the (re)construction of (new) social and political realities – we are interested in time and screen formats that offer access to critical recontextualization of the reproduction of borders, and of unfolding new agents of social and political (ex)change. On a more formalistic note, how does the documentary form carry a politic, an ethics or epistemology and how can the documentary film help us see and act differently? Does the time of the border transform its place, or its performative character? Does border activism lend itself to the cinematic? Can we film another way across?

We will meet over three days in mid November (9th-11th here) in the Arts Academy of Copenhagen, as part of the wider CPH.DOX festival (which runs 6th-16th – see here). More details soon.

“Border Documents” will be the third Network meeting of the Beyond Text Beyond Borders group, funded by the AHRC Beyond Text Program) and with the participation of University of Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies, Friei University Berlin InterArts, Jadavpur University (India) Film Studies and Goldsmiths College, Centre for Cultural Studies, as well as with Clandestino Festival (Sweden), Migrant Media (UK) and, of course, now CPH.DOX (Denmark).


UPDATE: http://wp.me/PcKI3-hW


Craftivist – Papered Parlour Event: 19 Sept 2009 COME ACROSS STITCH – Hannah Hull

SKIPNETSince one of my walls at home is adorned by work of this particular (and fab) artist, and that the venue – The Papered Parlour is very very cool, I of course think this is of interest and am happy to endorse:


Hannah Hull Saturday 19 Sept 2009, 11am – dusk

The Papered Parlour is delighted to present Come Across Stitch, a one day event that brings together three key works by public artist Hannah Hull. From oversized bunting to gynormous doilies, The Papered Parlour takes you on a craft hunt of extreme proportions as part of the London Design Festival 2009. Renowned for her mischievous interventions in the built environment, Hull will transform the back streets of Clapham into a playground of public art. Working with a DIY aesthetic, and drawing on domestic craft traditions, Hull places handmade items in unexpected urban contexts. Utilising a mix of highly visible and concealed interventions that add colour and texture to the urban environment, Hull’s series of ‘improvements’ takes a humorous look at the ways in which public art can unite strangers and bring communities together. From giant bunting stretched the length of a row of terrace housing to a huge doily big enough to cover a builder’s skip, expect craftivism on a massive scale!

This one day event includes:

11am: Come Across Stitch – 3 key public art interventions by Hannah Hull.

12pm: Artist Talk – Public artist Hannah Hull in conversation 1pm: Market: Shop at The Papered Parlour’s bustling indoor designer-maker market.

2pm: Workshop – Join Hannah Hull to help create a mass intervention in the backstreets of Clapham.

All Day: Design Trail – Follow The Papered Parlour’s map and uncover a world of design in South London you never knew existed.

Dusk: Closing Party – Join Hannah Hull for drinks at dusk as the giant luminous bunting takes on a life of it’s own. For more information join The Papered Parlour’s mailing list and await further instruction…

Godard “British Sounds” pt 1

UntitledYou can find Jean-Luc Godard’s “British Sounds” in all its glory on You Tube now. It is worth watching all the way through (6 parts) – from the ‘petroleum of pop music’ and excerpts from the great Shiela Rowbothom to the “gestapo of the humanist university” (they mean LSE). ‘No end to class struggle’ in the centre of the jack. All Godard’s great themes are here – the pan across the line of cars (weekday this time, not ‘weekend’) through to militant Maoist students concocting a twisted sympathy for the devil (Lennon not Lenin) and more. Thanks for the reminder to Iain Sinclair and his great rambling Hackney(ed) dossier (if you haven’t got it yet, get it – and read Sukhdev’s review of Sinclair’s book here). As Sukhdev says: “here’s another reason why Sinclair is such an important writer: he offers readers the critical tools for looking anew at wherever it is that they live.”

Recycled: notes for Satanic Majesties Request paper

Recycled post: notes for Satanic Majesties Request paperSatMaj3D
October 23, 2006

‘wa-what can a white boy do, but to sing for a rock and roll band?’

S. S. Sisodia, in Salman Rushdie’s politically incorrect Satanic Verses, stammers: “The trouble with the Engenglish is that their hiss hiss history happened overseas, so they don’t know what it means”. True enough, but this should in no way be mockery of stammerers, and I am discomforted by Rushdie now more than ever. Yet the point he makes about history is also relevant more now than ever. Sure the historical fault lies with education personnel and an administrators who have kept quiet about their Empire, or recruited pundits to excuse it (Simon bloody Schama, even now in audio book format), which – curriculum management enhanced strategy – buries any possibility of teaching that history critically with popularist flag-waving, dull media entertainments (variety quiz shows, Schama looking earnestly into the camera) and ball games (Empire games, Commonwealth Games – its hardly sporting old chap). Whatever Michael Palin might offer us on his travel tours, international working class solidarity is a more important a project, and an educational project that supports it, is crucial nowadays as ever before. The cotton mills of Manchester were closely linked to Calcutta, just as today’s MTV beams out to both cities regardless. We should watch these shows closely.

Maybe all we can achieve with (our) writing is to provide people with questions and ideas that allow them (us) to think through politics more clearly, more creatively, more. There can be no revolution without rev-revolutionary theory. There can be no rethinking without new new thoughts.

‘ttttalking bout my generation’

Anglo interest in non-European music has a long pedigree, which it is no longer my job to trace, though I once thought it was. Suffice to say that my interest began as a very mainstream version-The Rolling Stones, (especially Brian Jones derived from the urban white-boy blues of explorations of Joujouka drumming in Morocco and an image of Keef Richards smoking kif in Tangiers); a passing acquaintance with experimental Indo-psychedelic music epitomised by such commercialisations as The Beatles Sgt Peppers’ and The White Album, and an early and never shaken interest in the writings of William Burroughs and Alan Ginsberg. This developed into an interest in why we are interested in Asia – and a book on budget traveller experience in Calcutta. Along the way an edited volume on the controversy surrounding Salman Rushdie’s celebrated work, and activist-led peripheral involvement in the music and rave scene in Australia, led me to various attempts to make sense of the ways English bands have included South Asia in their head space but not really got along with the politics, so, these notes for a paper on how white rock stumbled to the east.

“From Satanic Majesties to Satanic Verses: India in England yet again”.

The Rolling Stones, following The Beatles Sgt Peppers’ and the opening up of the India travel caravan (banana pancake trail with magic mushrooms), produced what some pundits label their least successful album in 1967: Their Satanic Majesties. It is a long way from the superficial Eastern flavour of that album too the burning of Rushdie’s Satanic Verses in Bradford streets a quarter of a century later, but despite the trite comparison of Jagger and Rushdie as public personifications of the devil (for different audiences to be sure), there are still interesting changes to be charted in the intervening years. Any attempt to comment on the relations between anglo interests and things Asian need to begin with an understanding of significant movements across the globe. Travel to India for the children of the English bourgeoisie has fluctuated from fashionable drug-scenery to adventure tour and on to military tours (Afghanistan has even generals sounding mutinous now), and important dynamics within the Sth Asian diasporic presence in Britain need to be lyricized. The success of Indian trinketry in the souvenir shops and fashion houses of the UK youth market might be contrasted to the flow of British based recordings into India – the mid-1990s success of Apache Indian and Bally Sagoo for example.

What might still be interesting would be to explore these cultural forms – from the Stones to Zadie Smith serialized on C4 – for evidence that could provide an understanding of the contemporary dynamics of neo-imperialism and global order as it changes and as its screened for us in Bliar’s Britain. Such a project might update and contemporise Said’s historical and nineteenth century interest in the traces of Empire in Dickens and his ilk.

There is much written on the phenomenon called Global Music. Of course there are ways in which this can be categorised as a commodification process intricately linked to the global spread of capitalist marketeering of all cultural forms. But within this there are demarcations to be made, and the relative silence still accorded the influence of politically charged South Asian creativities in the Global Music discourse might be indicative of more important politically potent occlusions. Where Blues and Reggae are well established as antecedents of popular ‘Western’ music, the influence of the East always seems to be presented as a peripheral, curious, or at best experimental aside, if accorded any centrality at all. Why? Since in terms of Empire India was so central, Calcutta was the second most important city in the world, so muck-much of European culture can be traced to Asia (from pajamas to umbrellas, goodness gracious me – see Hobson-Jobson). I keep on saying, what would it be to write the history of Empire from a perspective outside of Euro-America? Say from Calcutta, or departing from the disaffected experimental out-of-his-mindset of a stoned Stone or a migrant-resident Indglish Sisodia-stuttering Intefada cursed crossover (both after all go for market share, belong to a well-to-do class fraction, profess a certain degree of – Ltd – left politics, and have been labelled devilish)?….

**** Update Note August 2009 – of course Ted already started out on this too: here.

Posted in drugs, music | Tagged drugs |

1.  We love you!
by Pirate Paul October 23, 2006 at 11:40 pm

2. sorry, but despite what Sir John sang, love is not all we need…. we need sympathy for the devil too… and some street fighting men and women, just to be sure
by victor October 25, 2006 at 9:47 am e

3. and some street fighting men and women, just to be sure

Victor– presumably you’ll be one of em
by Dixit October 25, 2006 at 1:30 pm

4. only if you’ll be the working class hero
by victor November 1, 2006 at 6:12 pm