Franco "Bifo" Berardi, The Soul at Work: from Alienation to Autonomy, Semiotext(e), 2009
In this, his newest book, Franco "Bifo" Berardi—key member of the Italian Autonomist movement and a close associate of Félix Guattari—addresses these new forms of estrangement. In the philosophical landscape of the 1960s and 1970s, the Hegelian concept of alienation was used to define the harnessing of subjectivity. The estrangement of workers from their labor, the feeling of alienation they experienced, and their refusal to submit to it became the bases for a human community that remained autonomous from capital. But today a new condition of alienation has taken root in which workers commonly and voluntarily work overtime, the population is tethered to cell phones and Blackberries, debt has become a postmodern form of slavery, and antidepressants are commonly used to meet the unending pressure of production. As a result, the conditions for community have run aground and new philosophical categories are needed. The Soul at Work is a clarion call for a new collective effort to reclaim happiness.
Boyd McDonald, Cruising the Movies. A Sexual Guide to Oldies on TV, Semiotext(e), 2015
Cruising the Movies was Boyd McDonald’s “sexual guide” to televised cinema, originally published by the Gay Presses of New York in 1985. The capstone of McDonald’s prolific turn as a freelance film columnist for the magazine Christopher Street, Cruising the Movies collects the author’s movie reviews of 1983–1985. This new, expanded edition also includes previously uncollected articles and a new introduction by William E. Jones.
Better known as the editor of the Straight to Hell paperback series—a compendia of real-life sexual stories that is part pornography, part ethnography—McDonald in his film writing reveals both his studious and sardonic sides. Many of the texts in Cruising the Movies were inspired by McDonald’s attentive inspection of the now-shuttered MoMA Film Stills Archive, and his columns gloriously capture a bygone era in film fandom. Gay and subcultural, yet never reducible to a zany cult concern or mere camp, McDonald’s “reviews” capture a lost art of queer cinephilia, recording a furtive obsession that once animated gay urban life. With lancing wit, Cruising celebrates gay subculture’s profound embrace of mass culture, seeing film for what it is—a screen that reflects our fantasies, desires, and dreams.
François Peraldi, Polysexuality (Semiotext(e) #10), Semiotext(e), 1995
Chris Kraus, Summer of Hate, Semiotext(e), 2012
Waking up from the chilling high of a near-death sex game, Catt Dunlop travels to Albuquerque in 2005 to reinvest some windfall real-estate gains and reengage with something approximating “real life.” Aware that the critical discourse she has used to build her career as a visiting professor and art critic is really a cipher for something else, she hopes that buying and fixing slum buildings will bring her more closely in touch with American life than the essays she writes.
In Albuquerque, she becomes romantically involved with Paul Garcia, a recently sober ex-con who has just served sixteen months in state prison for defrauding Halliburton Industries, his former employer, of $873. Almost forty years old, Paul is highly intelligent but has only been out of New Mexico twice. He has no information. With Catt’s help, he makes plans to attend UCLA, only to be arrested on a ten-year-old bench warrant en route.
Mark Von Schlegell, Venusia, Semiotext(e), 2005
Primitive literacy is redundant. Mere words are expelled. We inaugurate a world of pure presence. The mind, that intrudes itself between ourselves and those memories too terrible to know, must keep us moving beyond the grasp of their claw. To control the flow, it will be necessary that political order be imposed always temporarily. The state shall enjoy direct, creative access to the real.It's the end of the twenty-third century. Earth has violently self-destructed. Venusia, an experimental off-world colony, survives under the enlightened totalitarianism of the Princeps Crittendon regime. Using industrialized narcotics, holographic entertainment, and memory control, Crittendon has turned Venusia into a self-sustaining system of relative historical inertia. But when mild-mannered junk dealer Rogers Collectibles finds a book about early Venusian history, the colony -- once fully immersed in the present -- begins losing its grip on the real. With his Reality-V girlfriend Martha Dobbs, neuroscop operator Sylvia Yang, his midget friend Niftus Norrington, and a sentient plant, Rogers wages a war to alter the shape of spacetime, and in the process, revisions the whole human (and vegetable) condition.
Bruce Hainley, Art & Culture, Semiotext(e), 2014
AIDS everywhere. Facebook it.
Sylvère Lotringer, The Miserables, Semiotext(e), 2014
What societies of control are achieving in the West through invasive technologies and the soft violence of financial capitalism—the production of work slaves and human zombies—is being enforced in the rest of the world by the most brutal, extreme, inhuman means. Narco-Capitalism, the extreme violence now raging in Mexico, is only the latest in an enterprise of systematic dehumanization that is affecting the entire planet.
Bruce Hainley, Under the Sign of [sic]: Sturtevant's Volte-Face, Semiotext(e), 2014
Asked to sum up her artistic pursuit, the American artist Elaine Sturtevant once replied: “I create vertigo.” Since the mid-1960s, Sturtevant has been using repetition to change the way art is understood. In 1965, what seemed to be a group show by then “hot” artists (Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, George Segal, and James Rosenquist, among others) was in fact Sturtevant’s first solo exhibit, every work in it created by herself.
In Under the Sign of [sic], Bruce Hainley unpacks the work of Sturtevant, providing the first book-length monographic study of the artist in English. Hainley draws on elusive archival materials to tackle not only Sturtevant’s work but also the essential problem that it poses. Hainley examines all of Sturtevant’s projects in a single year (1967); uses her Gonzalez-Torres Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform) from 1995 as a conceptual wedge to consider contemporary art’s place in the world; and, finally, digs into the most occluded part of her career, from 1971 to 1973, when she created works by Michael Heizer and Walter de Maria, and had her first solo American museum exhibit.
Kathy Acker, Hannibal Lecter, My Father, Semiotext(e), 1991
Edited by Acker for Semiotext(e) in 1991, this volume contains Acker's never-before published early writings, documentation of her obscenity trial, and the definitive interview about her life and work by Sylvère Lotringer.
“Acker: (...) The idea that you don't need to have a central identity, that a split identity [is] more a viable way in the world. I was splitting the I into false and true I's and I just wanted to see this false I was more or less real than the true I; what are the reality levels between false and true and how it worked. And of course there's no difference. By the end of TARANTULA, when I do the de Sade business, I can't tell what's true or false, except for actual dates. If I say I was born in 1748, I know that's false...“ (extract of Devoured by Myths, and interview with Sylvère Lotringer).
Animal Shelter #4, Semiotext(e), 2015
Erje Ayden, Sadness at Leaving: An Espionage Romance, Semiotext(e), 1987
Kathy Acker, McKenzie Wark, I'm Very Into You, Semiotext(e), 2015
I'm Very Into You, Correspondence 1995–1996 between Kathy Acker and McKenzie Wark
“Why am I telling you all this? Partly ‘cause the whole queerness/identity thing for me stretches through everything, absolutely everything. Slipping between straight/gay is child’s play compared to slipping between writer/teacher/influence-peddler whatever. I forget who I am. You reminded me of who I prefer to be.” [M.W.]
After Kathy Acker met McKenzie Wark on a trip to Australia in 1995, they had a brief fling and immediately began a heated two-week email correspondence. Their emails shimmer with insight, gossip, sex, and cultural commentary. They write in a frenzy, several times a day; their emails cross somewhere over the International Date Line, and themselves become a site of analysis. What results is an index of how two brilliant and idiosyncratic writers might go about a courtship across 7,500 miles of airspace—by pulling in Alfred Hitchcock, stuffed animals, Georges Bataille, Elvis Presley, phenomenology, Marxism, The X-files, psychoanalysis, and the I Ching.
Mark Von Schlegell, Sundogz, Semiotext(e), 2015
“Was there some sort of accident? The Doll was now certain that the Japanese didn’t consider him a human. He was concerned with Deary alone. Her flukes lifted to maintain her treading water, left her pale bottom and sex exposed. Was he watching simultaneously from below? The Doll let his tendrils obscure. 5 hours till orbital synch, he remembered. The Doll called up the red-screen into his mindspace and traced the instantly visible tags: Mab's Buoy relay SFS Good Fortune, Wawagawanet 2145270401:33“
Sundogz is set among the water-rich moons of planet Uranus, where extremist astro-marine “spacers” have constructed an aquatic world of extraordinary scope and ambition, entirely invisible to the System at large. The Good Fortune, a spaceship en route to Moon Miranda, the most beautiful and troublesome of Uranus’s satellites, sends out a party to explore rumors of a secret fish farm in the λ ring. Now the "Oan Bubble" must attempt to survive its discovery. The characters in Sundogz traverse a cybernetic world containing traces of nineteenth-century realism, Shakespearean-style wit and violence, and classic fantasy, while exploring possible modes of the imagination’s survival in centuries to come.
Mark Von Schlegell, Mercury Station, Semiotext(e), 2009
It is 2150. Eddard J. Ryan was born in a laboratory off Luna City, an orphan raised by the Black Rose Army, a radical post-Earth Irish revolutionary movement. But his first bombing went wrong and he’s been stuck in a borstal on Mercury for decades. System Space has collapsed and most of human civilization with it, but Eddie Ryan and his fellow prisoners continue to suffer the remote-control domination of the borstal and its condescending central authority, the qompURE MERKUR, programmed to treat them as adolescents. Yet things could be worse. With little human supervision, the qompURE can be fooled. There’s food and whiskey, and best of all, the girl of Eddie Ryan’s dreams, his long-time friend and comrade Koré McAllister, is in the same prison. When his old boss, rich and eccentric chrononaut Count Reginald Skaw shows up in orbit with an entire interstation cruiser at his disposal, there’s even the possibility of escape... back in time.
Sylvère Lotringer, David Morris, Schizo-Culture, 2 vol. set (The Event, The Book), Semiotext(e), 2014
The legendary 1975 “Schizo-Culture” conference, conceived by the early Semiotext(e) collective, began as an attempt to introduce the then-unknown radical philosophies of post-’68 France to the American avant-garde. The event featured a series of seminal papers, from Deleuze’s first presentation of the concept of the “rhizome” to Foucault’s introduction of his History of Sexuality project. The conference was equally important on a political level, and brought together a diverse group of activists, thinkers, patients, and ex-cons in order to address the challenge of penal and psychiatric institutions. The combination proved to be explosive, but amid the fighting and confusion “Schizo-Culture” revealed deep ruptures in left politics, French thought, and American culture.
The “Schizo-Culture” issue of the Semiotext(e) journal came three years later. Designed by a group of artists and filmmakers including Kathryn Bigelow and Denise Green, it documented the chaotic creativity of an emerging downtown New York scene, and offered interviews with artists, theorists, writers, and No Wave and pre-punk musicians together with new texts from Deleuze, Foucault, R. D. Laing, and other conference participants.
Simone Weill, Note on the Abolition of All Political Parties, Semiotext(e), 2014
Almost everywhere - and often for purely technical problems - the operation of taking sides, of taking position for or against, has replaced the obligation to think. This leprosy of the mind began in political circles then spread throughout the country to almost all thinking. It is doubtful that we can cure this disease, which is killing us, if we do not start by abolishing political parties.
Ariana Reines, The Origin of the World, Semiotext(e), 2014
“Immediately her word became accomplished fact.”
Chris Kraus, Lost Properties, Semiotext(e), 2014
Everyone wants to be an artist. The number of under- graduate students completing fine arts degrees at US colleges doubled in the years between 1985–2010, according to the Digest of Education Statistics. But being an artist doesn’t necessarily mean making drawings or paintings or sculpture or even installations or videos. The desire to pursue a life in “fine art” simply means a desire to respond creatively to the present, just as the disciplines of “poetry” or “rock & roll” were ciphers for countercultural lifestyles in other eras.
Chris Kraus, Video Green: Los Angeles Art and the Triumph of Nothingness, Semiotext(e), 2004
Video Green examines the explosion of late 1990s Los Angeles art driven by high-profile graduate programs. Probing the surface of art-critical buzzwords, Chris Kraus brilliantly chronicles how the City of Angels has suddenly become the epicenter of the international art world and a microcosm of the larger culture. Why is Los Angeles so completely divorced from other realities of the city? Shrewd, analytic and witty, Video Green is to the Los Angeles art world what Roland Barthes’ Mythologies were to the society of the spectacle: the live autopsy of a ghost city.