The analysis of trinkets, objects, souvenirs or commodities remains wholly bourgeois if things are not seen as first up, against the grain, the embodiment of social labour power and prevailing relations of production. From there the examination of class struggle and the relations of production as they shift according to distribution of resources, labour, machinery, market and state becomes the necessary context to understand the role trinkets play in crises, conflicts and historical change. Trinkets do not have autonomy, but are contexted by the political, social and historical conditions they nevertheless allow us to describe. Appearance form.
Am continually amazed at the truly fucked up and arrogant entitlement of the middle class Brit – especially those of that middle class which still claims some distant working class origin. It manifests in a unbroachable passive aggression as if the Empire continued, as it objectively does, for them by right of a trickle down inheritance. It almost makes one prefer the polite but honest nostalgia of the debauched ruling class in their sanatorium suburbs. They at least can be put to work as national treasures and relics. The spectrum of those from rich off shore fund pig fucker to arsehole self-regarding Wikipedia entry tending bureaucrats of the Arts constitute the real impediment to any sort of social transformation in the back of the queue Isles.
Bright side of the current reaction. The decline of the European powers was bolstered by the land grab that was the USA – basically the oppression of indigenous and slave Americans was invested in a temporary world domination culminating in the Marshall Plan and Marilyn (the famous Monroe doctrine of coca-colonisation). But the only America that can be made great again by incompetent boorish land speculator Trump will be his accidental spurring of central and south America towards cross border action. Take a longer view and recognise how the anti-colonial triumphs of the 20th Century will, no doubt in convoluted ways, deliver on the promise of the massive transformations (Russia, China etc) of populations and aspirations for justice in the 21st. The centre is real old and the periphery is on the up, dialectics is not just propaganda but recognition of patterns and analysis of historical shifts. Migration changes the world for the better, and claims to any other outcome are myopic idealism, racist self-harm and stalling of the inevitable.
(On inadvertently hearing The Donald on the radio).
What if: the digital humanities represents a wanna be elaborate theoretical effort with a retrograde political conception and naïve economic complicity – an intellectually restrained class bought off with moderate comforts one step above the austerity imposed by upon the majority lower tiers by a cynically corrupt ruling class.
“This week Ellen Carey talks about her beautiful and ground breaking work, and Rob Green articulates the downfall of the art economy and closing of his gallery while Jessica Backus from Artsy sees a global upswing in art sales and Zlatko Kopljar compares the artist relationship to the capitalist system as similiar to the Stockholm syndrome – where long term hostages start bonding with their captors and acting like them.
More artists and theorists are here talking about what they love, which is why I love doing this.
– the new additions are these on the list below.
National Gallery of Victoria
Book Launch: Lockjaw
Surpllus/Telephone Publishing co-production
Sat 30 Apr, 1.30pm
Part of Melbourne Art Book Fair 2016
Zerox Dreamflesh (1979–1984) worked in the underground and around the edges – but mostly against the grain of – Sydney’s early-1980s postmodern philosophy and art scenes.
Dreamflesh was a loose group of writers, graphic artists and musicians who would have rejected the term “collective” in favour of something more like, say, “gang”. They produced a series of ’zine-ish print objects, music cassettes, colour Xerox postcards and a Super 8 film (The Black Cat, a riff on an Edgar Allen Poe story), working loosely – sometimes all together, sometimes not.
Their work was oppositional, not very accessible (though when you got it, you really got it), and always inspired and inspiring. Lockjaw (1983) – their fourth print object – was probably the most fully realised Dreamflesh project: A5, perfect-bound, part book, part magazine, part cultural terror manual.
Lockjaw was produced in a small run of a few hundred copies using a mix of two-colour xerography, offset and screen printing, and was collated and bound by hand. It was sold in independent bookshops, galleries, music stores and through the mail-art network.
Lockjaw is a multi-layered mix of photocopy, cut-and-paste graphics and text – a mashup of the intellectual and cultural world of 1982. The dense layering of words and images reflects an equally dense intellectual and emotional layering. It’s difficult to read, but rewarding, the writing a mix of metafiction, reflection, edgy philosophy, cultural journalism and existential comedy splashed across the page.
Dreamflesh’s work was produced in the spirit of Situationism and punk rock – it was ephemeral, not meant to last. Their physical traces today are scant: leftover copies of Lockjaw and their other publications (Zerox #1, Zerox #2, La La Sequence Bruit and Cargo, some colour Xerox postcards, and several music cassettes, including Wampum, a companion to Cargo) stashed on bookshelves and in boxes under people’s beds.
This reissue of Lockjaw is a co-publication of Telephone Publishing and Surpllus. The book has been scanned from an original copy and been reproduced by risograph – a 21st century analog to early-1980s photocopy art.
This new edition includes a separate section with essays by George Alexander and Professor Ross Gibson, an introduction by Sonya Jeffery, and a reflection on Lockjaw’s impact on one reader by Matt Holden.
Special events NGV International
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National Gallery of Victoria.
Booking is not required.
FD-zone London Fifth Edition
a collaboration between the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design, University of Westminster, and the Films Division, Government of India
Imagining Facts: Documentary Narratives and the Indian Nuclear Project
Monday 25 April from 6pm to7.45pm
Room: UG05, University of Westminster
309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW
In the current Indian scenario where diverse people’s movements challenge the Indian state’s nuclear project, we ask what is the role of “scientific facts” in providing legitimacy for particular truth claims? Through a curated screening of non-fiction films from 1960s onwards, the session will explore how documentary becomes a terrain to articulate opposing assertions about the Indian nuclear project. The films from the archives of Films Division, the key filmmaking unit of government of India, provide striking examples of non-fiction strategies which get mobilized to create expert claims about the “safe” nature of the nuclear project. However the certainty of such facts are challenged through other representations. The session will discuss the particular ways in which diverse narratives resist the hegemony and violence of ‘undeniable facts’, and address the gap between pro-nuclear documentary assertions, on the one hand, and the filing of sedition cases against anti-nuclear protestors, on the other.
The films will be introduced by curator Fathima Nizaruddin (University of Westminster). The screening will be followed by a discussion with Prof. Raminder Kaur (University of Sussex), author of the book Atomic Mumbai: living with the radiance of a thousand suns, Prof. Joram ten Brink
(Academic Director, International Centre for Documentary and Experimental Film, University of Westminster) and the curator. The session will be chaired by Prof. Rosie Thomas (Director, Centre for Research and Education in Art and Media, University of Westminster)
From Tiny Grains of Sand, (Director: Arun Chaudhuri, 1961
11 minutes, 45 seconds, Films Division)
The film explains the different stages involved in the mining of atomic minerals. It stresses the importance of atomic energy and the achievements made by India in this field.
Atom Man’s Most Powerful Servant ( Direction: P.B. Pendharkar, 1974
13minutes 10seconds, Films Division)
This film produced by Films Division in 1974, the year in which India conducted its first nuclear weapons test, makes a strong case for the role of the atom to facilitate the progress of the nation. The test is not presented as a weapons test. Instead, scientists explain that it was a scientific experiment to help oil and gas exploration.
Atomic Energy and India (Direction: Vijay B.Chandra, 1972, 10 minutes, Films Division)
In this film, Vijay B. Chandra, who directed many films which were categorized as experimental, uses an unconventional narrative to situate nuclear reactors as the new temples of modern India.
Child on a Chess Board: (Direction: Vijay B.Chandra, 1979
7 minutes 47 seconds, Films Division)
Vijay B. Chandra uses an abstract narrative yet again in this film. However, here he
ruminates about the precariousness of life in the planet amidst nuclear weapons.
Song of Coastal Lilies (Neythalin Paadal): (Director: Sreemith Sekhar, 2012, 7 Minutes)
This independent film provides an account of the anti-nuclear movement against the Kudankulam Atomic Power Project in Tamil Nadu through a protest song from the movement.
Nuclear Hallucinations: (Director: Fathima Nizaruddin, 2016, 10 minute extract)
Nuclear Hallucinations is a film, which claims to be a documentary, and it is centered around the anti-nuclear struggle against the Kudankulam Atomic Power Project. In a context where cases of sedition and waging of war against the state are filed against anti-nuclear protesters, the film attempts to question the totalitarian nature of pro-nuclear assertions through comic modes.
FD-zone London is a collaboration between the Films Division, Government of India, and the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) at the University of Westminster. Established in 1948, Films Division India is one of the largest documentary, experimental and short film-producing units in the world. It has an archive of more than 8000 titles, which chronicle the story of independent India through diverse narratives. FD-zone London will bring this archive into conversation with contemporary independent films through a programme of regular screenings and discussions curated by film scholars.
The event is free and all are welcome but registration is essential.
Please reserve your place by registering online at
Please address any queries to Fathima Nizaruddin: email@example.com