Posted by Regrette Etcetera on January 13, 2014
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on June 22, 2010
Full documentation of ceremonies and diplomatic exchange appearing soon on NFTFI.
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on June 1, 2010
The Retrospective includes:
– Fauxist relics (including time capsules)
– A Fully Furnished Fauxist Reading Room with over 80 publications.
– Fauxist Subliminal Films
– Recordings from the Fauxist Spirit Mic Sessions and Hooray for Cryptozoology Tapes
– The Fauxist Reader (2010) for perusal & purchase
– A live-in residency by a Regrette Etcetera
– Performances & actions & appearances in Brisbane
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on May 18, 2010
Gina PDW: So before we get into talking about your plans Noni, and as there is a lot of seeming misinformation out there about it…conjuring up images of a huge floating trash heap…can you tell me what exactly IS the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and give us some idea of its size?
Noni Mastor: Sure.The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also referred to as Garbage Island, or the Pacific Trash Vortex, is a heap of debris, mostly plastic particulate marine litter, that is caught in the middle of the North Pacific Gyre, in the central North Pacific Ocean. Earth has major oceanic currents, called “gyres”, and in the North Pacific, there is a major gyre that is spinning all of the debris into one area, swirling in trash from Southeastern Asia and the Western coast of North America. The Pacific vortex isn’t the only one. The Atlantic and Indian oceans, which have different current patterns, have plastic gyres of their own, though they are smaller. In terms of size, it gets a little more difficult. The Pacific Garbage patch is located roughly between 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N, and it has been estimated that the size of the “patch” is roughly twice the size of Texas or up to “twice the size of the continental United States”. Estimates on size range from 700,000 km2 to more than 15,000,000 km2- which to give you a clearer idea on the degree of variance, these make up 0.41% to 8.1% of the size of the Pacific Ocean. Though as I mentioned, in reality, the patch’s size is unknown, as large items readily visible from a boat deck are uncommon, and most debris consists of small plastic particles suspended at or just below the surface, making it impossible to detect by aircraft or satellite. So, firstly the claims of having discovered a large, visible debris field is, however, a mischaracterization of the polluted region overall, since it primarily consists of particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye. Though looking at samples my colleagues have taken, you can really see a visible difference in the water, often like confetti or a lava lamp.
Wow. So it’s a huge mixture- a suspension of degraded plastic? We’ve seen images of the plastic ‘nurdles’ or ‘mermaids tears’ covering beaches in the Pacific…but what kind of effects does it appear to have on the marine environment?
The patch is considered to be the largest landfill in the world, and has been growing, along with ocean debris worldwide, tenfold every decade since the 1950s. It is a major concern for environmentalists because of its effects on wildlife, and it’s ever growing size. In the area known as the Garbage Patch, plastics outweigh plankton at a ratio of six to one, making it nearly impossible for some wildlife to live. It’s predominantly land-based waste.
Image: Map of the Trash Vortex and current cycles
You mentioned earlier in our conversation the shipping accidents that contribute to the Trash Patch, and one of the most famous occurred in 1992, when a shipment of rubber ducks from Hong Kong- does this have anything to do with your mascot/logo (the rubber duck city)?
Oh yes! This is an area of great potential resources for the Island Project! Over 10,000 shipping containers fall overboard each year, spilling their cargo into the ocean. A lot of times, this is the result of storms. To put this in perspective, an average “container” is about 8 feet by 40 feet. These can carry about 58,000 pounds of cargo, which could be 10,000 shoes, 17,000 hockey gloves, or over a million pieces of Lego. So, if 10,000 containers carrying 10,000 shoes spill into the ocean each year, that’s 100,000,000 shoes, or enough to surely shod the world’s population 8 times over! So even if a vanishing proportion of this footwear flotsam/flotilla reaches us- and here’s hoping for some errant Vivianne Westwoods!- we’ll never want for wedges! And indeed, possess what may be a lucrative trading and materials resource…and that’s just shoes. Anyway, as you mentioned, the 1992 shipment of rubber ducks and bath toys from China were overturned in the Pacific Ocean, releasing roughly 30,000 toys- plastic yellow ducks, blue turtles, and green frogs- into the ocean. They were soon known as the “Friendly Floatees”, as they began turning up all around the world, and oceanographers and scientists began to track their paths to better understand ocean currents. (ed. See image below) Interestingly, rubber ducks were also used by scientists in Antarctica to track the flows of water below layers of ice and into the ocean etc. I have thus taken on the rubber ducky as a symbol of the confluence of consumerism- domestic/bathtime play, science, and the microtopia. We have also been paying close attention to such accidents to try to understand how we could benefit from them. Interestingly there are many unintended arrays of consumer items on ocean bottoms- like the 14000 Sony television sets bound for Sydney which crashed overboard on the continental shelf just kilometres off Newcastle, arraying the floor with a unique installation of spooky sets, some having been colonized by an endangered species of giant carnivorous marine worm local only to the area, proving to be a successful housing strategy which has outdone all previous attempts at habitat simulation and creation! Pollution like this has always been a great teacher of environmental functioning and scale- from the acclimatization mistakes in the colonies to the DDT, endocrine disruptors and etc. Anyway, as you asked, the rubber duck keeps cropping up. Australian Eco-feminist warrior Rachael Clime actually collected hundreds of these ducks and created a seaworthy raft as an artwork in 1999, which she successfully sailed from Sydney to Hobart as a publicity campaign to raise awareness about global warming, pollution and millennial fears. Rachael’s an icon to us all! Her raft is currently on a museum tour of England! I still find it engrossing that plastic- generally considered to be symbolic of the wrongness of modernity and the replacement of nature, handicrafts, permanence and aesthetic value, will for us become ‘land’. A new Nature made of waste, Our incoming postal system should be quite interesting, in that messages in bottles end up here. Perhaps we will one day publish a collection of the oldest and most interesting postal arrivals…
Image: Chronological charting of the Friendly Floatees.
What literary or artistic worlds/ideas do you look to?
Islands have always been an experimental space for the West- whether a carceral space, for disciplinary, social experiments, like the Australia penal colony, ecology like Madagascar for Darwin’s work, etc. And the project of creating a new island is particularly interesting in this way- in terms of intentionality, utopianism and secession. Speaking for my own interests or influences, besides the obvious numerous feminist sci-fi utopias of Shulamith Firestone, Marg Attwood, etc. and the mythologies of matriarchal societies, I’d definitely say the Floating islands of (Francois) Rabelais, the Lost continent of Mu or Lemuria- particularly in the James Churchward, Pacific version of the 20’s- John Newbrough’s “Oahspe”- the story of a huge continent called “Pan’ in the pacific that was dictated to him through automatic writing in 1882. And Huxley’s “The Island”. And in terms of film, I hate to say it, but Kevin Costner’s “Waterworld”. In more contemporary terms, ‘Women on Waves’ (the floating legal abortion clinic), and definitely the ‘Seasteading’ Movement and its antecedents like The ‘Republic of Minerva’, The ‘Principality of New Pacific’, ‘New Utopia’, and Buckminster Fuller’s ‘Triton City’.
Most of the societies in the works you mention had particularly utopian social relations…
It’s true. These days, utopian imagination for its own sake has a bad rap, as Fredric Jameson writes about, so generally the utopianists these days seem to feel that some unconvincing instrumental rationale, and at the moment it’s all eco-salvage, must be tacked on to make what would otherwise be a quite divine utopian scheme, boringly morally palatable, tragically unambitious. I’ve been theorizing from island nations throughout history- looking particularly at world colonialism, disease vectors, entropy, etc, I am particularly interested in the new forms of society, of literature that will arise given the space, and the new symbolic potentials of the constructed waste island, assemblage, syncretism, exile, conceptual archipelago etc.
Can you explain that point a little more? I mean many of the utopian urban and indeed island plans that come to mind are quite utilitarian, even rigorously functional, often in a seeming reaction to waste, entropy or human folly…
Yes, it’s true. For me, Utopianism has always had two, usually though not always contradictory aesthetic and avant-gardist gravitational pulls. One is toward a hallucinatory baroque, the other toward a post-Corbusier functionalism of the scientistic ‘blueprint’ utopias like you mention… For example, perhaps the wildest of the libertarian Seasteaders I mentioned before, ‘New Utopia’, tries to cross-pollinate its drab Miami-ism with just enough candyfloss gloss Las Vegaries to keep a crippled kind of utopian baroque very distantly in sight, while Freedom Ship is only utopian if your idea of rapture is living in a gated-community shopping mall with other rich people and a private CIA police force, which I guess in terms of bourgeois secession would cover quite a few people.
You mean they’re aiming for a kind of Gated-community nation-state!
In a sense these island or ship projects are the ultimate gated communities. And they differ from those in land cities, where the bourgeoisie’s reluctance to secede completely from relatively generous urban services- I mean mass transit, health care, schools etc- puts a brake on their schemes, whereas at least conceptually, the seasteading communities would necessarily secede almost completely.
Would you categorise ‘Seasteading’ as a social movement?
It’s hard to say. Seasteading is largely the brainchild of Patri Friedman, a libertarian activist and the grandson of famous right-wing economist Milton Friedman! So, finding that his grandfather’s policies and influences around the globe generally caused mass death and oppression, maybe Patri wanted to ‘drop out’ of the reality of policy economics? Who knows. Anyway seasteading is generally populated a fringe brand of libertarians who have been planning to escape the iron fist of democracy, and more importantly, taxes, by founding a new country in the middle of the ocean.
So, Rich American Libertarians are planning to live on huge metal platforms out on the ocean. Which is good news. Now if only all of our problems could be got rid of so easily…
While their affection for seasteading has varying origins, the broadest theme is to allow people to escape overreaching governments and replace conventional political systems with something of their own creation. A section of their Web site is titled: “Land = Crappy Government” and says that terrestrial governments do a “terrible and sometimes horrific job” at serving the taxpayers that are their customers.
Shades of the pilgrims?
Yes. One way to look at the prospect of colonizing the oceans is that it represents the continuation of a westward trend that began with Greece and continued through Rome, Gaul, Britain, and the North American continent. When people got to California that was as far west as they could go, this is a revival that search for a frontier…
‘Freedom Ship’ Freedom Ship’ side elevation
Reminds me of that old joke about California falling into the ocean…
Yes. Especially the California of the Governator, the economic crisis. Although seasteading is very clearly a pie-in-the-sea project, it attracts a lot of funding and support. The guy who founded PayPal (Peter Thiel), whose enthusiasm for seasteads derives from his belief that freedom and democracy are “no longer compatible” donated $500,000 to Freidman’s Seasteading Institute. Thiel thinks democracy in the United States has been a dead end since the 1920s, and thinks welfare and the equal rights movement are responsible. While Thiel never explicitly states that women would not be allowed to vote on his seastead, you can surmise from his attitude that their chances for achieving equality on his concrete platform are very slim. Why Thiel expects any woman would willingly give up her right to vote to join him on his oceanic dorktopia is puzzling… So, normally when a minority of people want to break off from their homeland to form a new country it’s because of genuine oppression such as religious persecution, ethnic cleansing or taxation without representation. Thiel, on the other hand, lives in a society whose promotion of capitalism has let him grow rich enough to blow $500,000 founding his own personal no-girls-allowed treehouse in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
What legal precedents exist? How would you protect yourselves from invasion or exploitation? what jurisdiction exists?
Much of our thinking in this area is based on James Lee’s “Castles In The Sea: A Survey of Artificial Islands and Floating Utopias”. Also Bates’ ‘Sealand’ occupation and sovereign nation, which was the centre of international law disputes. Essentially, since these massive hoards of plastic come to float in international waters- and the vortices are far from land- no government has legislative power, nor are any willing to take on the expense and difficulty of cleaning it up! Thus if we were able to form an island therein, and assert or status as a state-like entity, we would legally ‘exude’ a radius of water which we controlled. Also, microtopias like this have the potential benefit of creating a government on an a priori basis. With no past history or cultural tradition, microtopias have the ability to develop dramatically new and different forms of self-governance. The best defense for us may be to stay as inoffensive as possible. Keeping a low profile, avoiding negative publicity, and respecting local laws may keep us off the radar screen from local neighboring officials. Another alternative strategy is to stay on the move.
You’ve written about the labour practices of utopias, and also that the 4th world would populate your projects,..
This is one of the most common criticisms of the plan. A number of critics have jokingly proposed that it’ll ease the work of people smugglers, in that boat-borne refugees will just have to float and will eventually reach the centre of the system. And whilst the Australian government has expressed interest in using the island as a location for illegal refugees, as the pacific solution and island like Nauru etc become more and more untenable, Our ideas are somewhat different and more encompassing. A new notion of indigeneity is being theorized… I have written about the labour and resource requirements to build such an island, the border issues, accessibility and exclusion etc. Most of the seasteading projects require huge unseen (and unmentioned) workforces, and indeed forced evictions have already taken place for Freedom Ship’s potential factories, and I say potential because they are yet to have even be built! Smith’s work “Freedom Ship Is Not About Freedom; or, How To Live On A Floating Police State” is an important investigation of the politics of exclusion in this regard too.
When you describe the island as “Nomadic”, what in fact are you describing?
Some critics have portrayed the island with huge sails, like some pirate ship… but they fail to understand much of the science. Following received projections of climate scientists around global warming and the effects upon ocean currents- and specifically the gyre itself, and the way it shifts with the El Nino/La Nina cycle…the island will actually cover a large swathe of the Pacific. In the distant future, propulsion devices could conceivably come into play, but propulsion strategies would actually use the latent heat differentials in the upper layers of the ocean, concentration gradients of salts and metals in the water, the diurnal expansion/contraction cycle of the island itself, as it will span a large enough area to express a significant differential.
Your proposal details the use of nanotechnology, micro-organisms and advanced polymer work, … can you outline the science behind it in something resembling the argot of the masses a little more?
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has one of the highest levels known of plastic particulate suspended in the upper water column. As a result, it is one of several oceanic regions where researchers have studied the effects and impact of plastic photodegradation in the neustonic layer of water. Unlike debris which biodegrades, the photodegraded plastic disintegrates into ever smaller pieces while remaining a polymer. This process continues down to the molecular level. So essentially, we plan to use a mix of Nanotechnology and micro-organisms to bind the concentrated polymers into a relatively solid matrix, a mass. By adding advanced polymer binders and fixers to the soupy mix, and organisms from what Gines has dubbed ‘The Synthetic Kingdom’- organisms that assemble and dissemble synthetic products like the plastic eating micro-organisms discovered by a 16 year old student – the island will coalesce over time. Other possible devices/aids we are investigating include a plastic static attractor that runs on latent heat stored in water and on passive solar energy- and wind, thus able to be left to build the initial stages and platforms. So I guess in laypersons terms, I plan to use tiny bugs to glue together the plastic particle soup into a solid island? And remembering the garbage patch is the size of continental US- so with condensation, my research predicts that it’ll be about 1/20th of the US, which is a huge area. And as I mentioned earlier, with steady inflow of materials, and exponential (tenfold) growth rate, it will grow significantly into the future.
That’s right. It’s quite simple really. It takes plastic 1,000 years to decompose, but decompose it does, which means there must be microorganisms out there to do the decomposing. There have been several successful bacteria-based solutions developed at the Department of Biotechnology in Tottori, Japan as well as the Department of Microbiology at the National University of Ireland, but both apply only to styrene compounds. So, yes, a 16 year old from Canada did a school science experiment which essentially asked: Could those microorganisms be bred to do the job faster? So he put to the test with a very simple and clever process of immersing ground plastic in a yeast solution that encourages microbial growth, and then isolating the most productive organisms. Apparently the preliminary results were encouraging, he kept at it, selecting out the most effective strains and interbreeding them. After several weeks of tweaking the temperatures and etcetera, he achieved something like a 43% degradation of plastic in six weeks, an almost inconceivable accomplishment! But whether or not this achievement is good news for Trash Island is another question altogether. Whilst such a low-cost and non-toxic method for degrading plastic is the stuff of environmentalists’ and Luddites wettest dreams and, I would hazard a guess, a pretty good start-up company as well. Nevertheless, there are known to be agglunctative micro-organisms etc which bind plastic, and research into producing them in sufficient quantities is all that’s needed…
This is quite involved and intense science. How do you convince people of its usefulness? And how will you avoid the ‘mad scientist’ label, especially as a woman, and a revolutionary?
Oh I’ve faced the ‘Mad Scientist’ accusation many times in the last few years. (Laughs- less than maniacally), from all political persuasions. I think this is mainly linked to popular alienation from Science or high levels of scientific illiteracy, and the suspicion of many ‘radicals’ of technology- though market forces frequently exacerbate their negative traits. It’s a huge cultural meme. I’ve been labeled as a number of variants on the Frankenstein theme, which is increasingly common these days. For example, both proponents and opponents of in vitro fertilization used references to Frankenstein to make their cases. More recently, genetically modified foodstuffs have been branded by the moniker Frankenfoods. Eco-radicals often try to further the image of science and the scientist as detached from society, unconcerned with or even antagonistic to addressing societal issues, and, therefore, portraying science as an unattractive field (or indeed career path) for those who wish to better society or create or promote revolutionary aims.
Nanotech seems to particularly intimidate people?
Yes, it’s quite interesting. Some of my colleagues have also struggled with this fear- the Grey Goo scenarios etc. First, Since it is a new research field, its disciplinary definition is still coalescing, Leading to confusion about what exactly qualifies as nanotechnology. For some of the more conspiratorial Fauxists, the paranoiac invasiveness of nanotech is a particularly fertile metaphoric regime. For example, up to the present, it has been possible to hide cameras; but cameras were in principle visible, existing on the meso scale of human perception. With nanotechnology we will never know when we are under surveillance–or whether we have a GPS chip embedded in our skin or lungs. So the possibilities for paranoia are endless. Of course, we have been moving in this direction for quite some time. This radical miniaturization also raises possibilities of cyborg existence both more far- reaching and more subtle than any current technology. Biomolecular motors made of inorganic nickel propellers and powered by an ATPase enzyme already exist, as do nanoparticle carriers able to cross the blood–brain barrier to deliver chemotherapy to treat tumors. In general, nanotechnology forms part of a general trend where our technoscientific prowess has become so great as to transcend older definitional divides between science and technology, which intimidates people. It is not that nanotechnology isn’t potentially as far reaching as advertised; but rather that it is merely the latest example of what is occurring throughout science and technology. In other words, what was traditionally held as the opposite of and the repudiation of metaphysics, science and technology today have become metaphysical events in their own right, raising fundamental questions about what it means to be human and the nature of the good life. Science and technology has become real world experiments in metaphysics and theology. Nanotech is at approximately the same stage of development today as information technology was in the early 60’s, or biotechnology was at the beginning of the 80’s. The ascription to nanotechnology of being an innovation and hence a competitive advantage gives rise to an enormous global nanotechnology race among the industrialised nations. Apparently, the race is on to win monopoly control of the expected huge nanotechnology market and a share of the 2-20 million nanotechnology workers that are said to be required by the nanotechnology industry.
How does pop-culture play into the public perception of nanotech?
The swathe of apocalyptic portrayals in popular culture, from Michael Crichton’s “Prey”, to the ‘Grey Goo’ fears I mentioned, and a lot of sci-fi like Kim Stanley Robinson etc. Interestingly enough, in the realm of fictional films, the mad female scientist most often uses science to protect Nature rather than dominate it. Dr. Jane Tiptree (the wonderful Dianne Ladd) from my favourite film “Carnosaur” provides a particularly clear example. Tiptree represents societal anxiety when the power of science is placed in a woman’s hands. She seeks to destroy all humans because of humanity’s destruction of nature, and to pay for her own genetic engineering which resulted in the extinction of a grasshopper sub‐species! She engineers a virus that will cause human females to give birth to dinosaur eggs, resulting in the replacement of humans by dinosaurs. The filmmakers are clearly playing with gendered stereotypes—Tiptree is feminized in comparison to the other female characters. For example, she is the only one who wears make‐up. Her femininity is clearly maternal—however, the images of maternity (and of nature) presented in the film are not gentle and nurturing. Rather, they are violent and dangerous, for, as Tiptree explains (quoting Dr. Moreau, whom she identifies as her mentor), “to understand nature, one must become as remorseless as nature herself”. Overall, Tiptree is positioned as a vengeful Mother Nature who will destroy humanity to save the Earth and populate it with her dinosaur progeny.
Do you consider nanotech an inherently gendered technology?
The gendering of the fears of the Nanotech field is quite interesting. Statistically, women are found to be more fearful of Nanotech, and are less likely to understand it. Ironically, women are the primary purchasers of many of the consumer products enhanced with nanotechnology that are already on the market, such as dietary supplements, anti‐aging products, and other cosmetics. Indeed, one of our favoured micro-organisms at the moment is actually sourced from a Loreal Colour-Stay Lipstick product! Nanotech, as a new field, is potentially vulnerable to mad‐science tropes for several reasons,
To contact Noni Mastor, Gina PDW, or for more information on anything mentioned in this interview, do not hesitate to contact the editor of NFTFI, Regrette Etcetera at: email@example.com
Other Secessionist State works and interviews, like the “Fauxist Secessionist State Project #3 Fauxists Open Application for ‘Mainstream Bizarre Secessionist Nation’ in the WORLD FOLKLORE THEME PARK, Guangzhou, China. A callout to cultural workers” are available on the Fauxist weblog.
 Here Mastor refers to ‘Sealand’. During the Pacific War, aka Second World War, Great Britain built an artificial island fortress in the North Sea, seven miles from the English coast. During its peak, it was occupied by two hundred servicemen and guarded shipping convoys from the Nazis. After the war, the island was abandoned by the British government and stood empty for nearly two decades. In 1966 the fortress was re-discovered by former English major Paddy Roy Bates, who eventually restored and occupied the island with his family. As the island was technically in international waters, it was not under the jurisdiction of the British government. After obtaining legal counsel, Roy Bates declared that the island constituted a sovereign state. The fortress of Rough’s Tower was renamed the Principality of Sealand and Bates called himself Prince Roy while naming wife Princess Joan. They began issuing coins, passports, and stamps for their new country. During its 35-year history, Sealand has survived armed invasion, financial hardship, and neglect. It has since been given new life as an internet “data haven” and has won several court cases supporting its legal status as an independent entity.
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on May 8, 2010
1. “What is the pop music like, there in the afterlife?”
Partial Transcript of the appearance of Konstantin Raudive at the Fauxist International’s “Electronic Séance”
Sept. 25 2009, Sydney Australia
2. “Dr Raudive Calling: Gina PDW Questions the Doctor”
Transcript of a phonecall received from Dr Konstantin Raudive, from the afterlife, by Fauxist Luminary Gina PDW on 19 December, 2009
As Part of the greater Fauxist Spirit Microphone Recording Sessions project. Audio of the conversations will be released on the upcoming compilation “Fauxist Spirit Mic Sessions” (2009)
“What is the pop music like, there in the afterlife?”
Partial Transcript of the appearance of Konstantin Raudive at the Fauxist International’s “Electronic Séance”
Sept. 25 2009, Sydney Australia
Description of setting: In the Sydney home of one of the Regrette Etcetera’s, 13 Fauxists are seated around a long table, ablaze with candles. The mood is ‘various’.
Note: Evidently, Raudive has had time to learn English in the afterlife, from his native Latvian and German & has been keeping up with recent experiments in EVP/ITC. This comes as little surprise from such a voracious mind.
(Time: 0:00 Begin Séance and recording)
Regrette, Circle Leader: Can we all hold hands please, welcome.
(Time elapsed: 4:12 Raudive’s Voice first heard)
Konstantin Raudive (KR): Can you hear me?
Fauxists: Yes we can.
K R: I have a little bit of difficulty talking.
Regrette: That’s okay, we can hear you clearly.
KR: My name is Raudive, Konstantin Raudive.
Fauxists: Konstantin Raudive, welcome.
KR: You understand me? You do hear me? I’m coming through clearly, am I?
Fauxists: Yes, you are. Yes!
KR: I want to speak to Fauxists. I want to speak to Fauxists.
Fauxists: Yes, yes, we’re here.
KR: You hear me?
KR: I cannot feel your vibration very strongly.
Fauxists: Were very glad to hear from you, very glad.
KR: You know who I am?
Fauxists: Oh yes, absolutely.
KR: Yes, I am over in the Spirit Realm.
KR: Can she not hear?
(This remark referred to Gina. Gina was overwhelmed and had difficulty hearing that last remark. Others in the circle jumped in to let him know he was being heard. The Fauxists were later told that this is very difficult for them and the communication could have ended abruptly if Raudive thought that he was not getting through.)
Fauxist: She can, someone says “he’s over in the spirit realm.”
Fauxists: Yes, yes.
Gina: Are people over there still working to contact us through technology?
KR: Yes, Schreiber; Schreiber is there too. (Visual ITC pioneer, Klaus Schreiber)
KR: And we, I wish to talk to you in regards to communication.
Fauxists: Good, good.
Gina: We’re here to serve on that.
KR: Listen to me. You have much difficulty in the past, yes?
KR: I will tell you how you may do it.
(Konstantin Raudive gives us some directions on shielding a microphone. He thinks that this will greatly help communication. We are trying to gather the equipment to try and do what he has told us. After we have done this and are able to test the concept, we will publish his full conversation along with any results that we get.) After finishing the directions, he continues:
KR: Schreiber, is quite often with your work, you know Schreiber?
KR: He works with me much, much, he works with you as I do.
Gina: We are so honored. Dr Raudive, what is it like being where you are? What do you call it there?
Gina: Um…Are you continuing your experiments and recordings there?
Gina: Who or where do you think you’re contacting or listening to?
Gina: What is the pop music like there?
KR: Oh What…the pop music? Well Gina, Nina Hagen is still quite big here, though there are many groups you would have never heard that have been formed on this side.
Gina: Wow! Like supergroups of dead popstars?
(Here Raudive details a number of amazing pop-conflagrations populated by deceased yet still active pop celebrities on ‘his side’ which We refrain from mentioning at this point, pending our upcoming publication: “Pop Culture in The Afterlife: Hybridity & Entropy in the Spirit Realm”)
Gina: Do you see on your side, us on this side doing any good and making any progress overall? I know that we are not going to solve everything, but are we making progress from your view?
KR: One little step is much to help the communication, one little step makes a lot of difference to many people. Only takes one little step.
Gina: Can we do this experiment that you are talking about? Can we do this work in a new group that seems to be coming together or should we do this on our own?
KR: You may do it with others; it will be helpful to you.
Gina: Very good.
KR: It has taken much for me to speak to you.
Gina: Thank you so much.
KR: Listen to what I tell you. You listen carefully to what I tell you and you will have much success.
Gina: Thank you.
KR: I now must go.
Fauxist Group Variously: Thank you.
Dr Raudive Calling: Gina PDW Questions the Doctor
Transcript of a phonecall received from Dr Konstantin Raudive, from the afterlife, received by Fauxist Luminary Gina PDW on 19 December, 2009
“I began to receive a series of phone calls from Konstantin Raudive in the coming years. This is part of a 15-minute phone dialog I rather enjoyed on March 3, 2010”:
Below is an excerpt of relevant section of the conversation, that is, minus the chit chat Gina is renowned for..
Gina PDW: As far as the ITC progress here in Sydney, with my group, how soon do you think we’ll be able to expand our work into television contacts and computer contacts, or are we going to stick with voice for quite awhile?
K Raudive: Well, as we see it, the first good voices will come through in the fall of this year, and it will develop on that.
Gina PDW: I see. I’m thinking of incorporating subtle energy technologies into the system on my side. Do these things sound like a good idea?
K Raudive: Well sure, a very good thought of you. And you will have to wait for the things that our group can tell you.
Gina PDW: Okay, can you tell me about the equipment you use to produce a perfect, almost perfect voice on Earth? That must take a lot of work on your side.
K Raudive: Well, it depends on your reception or, mainly on your psychic reception… We intend to give plans of our equipment, and send them through Hans. We also wanted to give a sort of a map of our world also, drop it into your world somewhere. It will be done in the next weeks and months.
Gina PDW: That’s tremendous! That’s wonderful!
— End of call—
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on April 27, 2010
The Fauxist International, as part of the greater “2088 Tricentennial High Water Mark & Visions Project”, due for exhibition in June 2010, is calling for public submissions of Visions of the Tricentennial.
If you remember the 1988 bicentennial, with its horrifyning upswell of nationalist fervour, the re-enactments of the 1788 landing etc…you will perhaps be well situated to imagine the possible atrocities organised in the name of celebrating three centuries of forced occupation and colonisation of all things.
While We have targeted a diverse range of socio-cultural and identity groups, relationships with hegemony and power, in endeavouring to sample a wide swathe of visions, the project has deliberately privileged the voices and ideas that would necessarily be left out, ignored and indeed silenced by the production of such a collection by almost all cultural institutions.
The collection of trips into the Tricentennary will be available for viewing on News From The Fauxist International, and will eventually form a digitial time-capsule to be ‘interred’ online. Physical/hard-copy visions will form a travelling exhibition and eventual time capsule slated for opening on Australia day, January 26, 2088.
What you can contribute:
Offering anything from a few sentences to an essay, an image to a film, or any other forms of plans or documentation, show us your Visions of the Tricentennial. As a prompt, consider the following: In another 78 years, what do you think the face of some or all of the following could be…?
– Indigenous issues- land rights, representation, the intervention, appropriations…
– Refugees and migration- the pacific solution?
– Neoliberalism, capital and economics?
– Queer life?
– Environmental Entropy?
– Whither Feminism?
– What will be the characters and icons of nationalism in 2088?
– Where will historical revisionism have journeyed?
– What will be the major medical/genetic/biopolitical changes?
– How will it 2088 be celebrated? What imagery and rhetoric? What new forms of ceremony, media coverage? Protest?
– What kinds of secular apocalypse may ‘We’ be facing or fearing?
We are also seeking the submissions of Children, who may well be around to participate or witness the Tricentennial for themselves, unlike many Fauxists. Children could perhaps address the following in Drawings, songs, writing:
– What do you think Australia will be like in 2088?
– What will be celebrated, what missed?
– What will schoolkids learn about Australia in 2088?
– How long will Australia last?
– Will people live longer?
– Who will rule the world?
Key elements of 2088 Tricentennial Project:
– Mapping the 2088 Tricentennial Shoreline- Sea Level & Colonial.
An exercise in collaboration- creating visions of dystopias, property and urbanism, conflating different apocalyptic and environmental scenarios. Pop-arhaeology and visions of the High Water Marks of Colonialism and Australian Society.
– Marking the 2088 Tricentennial Shoreline.
After commissioning an edition of “2088 Shoreline” plaques mimicking the “1788 Shoreline” markers , they were dispersed to various groups, installed around the country and documented. Creating a affecting encounter in public space.
– Collecting and publishing visions of the 2088 Tricentennial.
Creating a callout document- collecting and publishing minority visions of the 2088 Australian Tricentennial- a form of monumentality etc. time capsules created for opening on Australia Day 2088. Critical engagement with nationalism, revisionist history etc.
Influences and Precedents:
– Sealing ceremonies
– situationist theories of the derive, psychogeography
– Frederic Jameson’s writings on utopia (“Desire Called Utopia”) and architecture (“Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”),
– Pocho Research Society,
– visionary architectures
– Cartography and affect.
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on April 7, 2010
First there were MODERNISTS, Then there were POST-MODERNISTS,
Then there were PLAGIARISTS, Now there are FAUXISTS.
Anything can be used. It is here, in the creation of new meanings, that we see most clearly the divergence between plagiarism and post-modern ideology. The plagiarist has no difficulty with meanings, reality, truth. The plagiarist sees no crisis of the sign – only the continual transformation of human relationships within a social context. When a post-modernist talks of plagiarism they call it ‘appropriation’ (transfer of ownership) in an attempt to maintain the ideological role of the artist.
– “The great advantage of plagiarism #3” (2005)
– “Postmodernism Fails: PLAGIARISM AS NEGATION IN CULTURE” (2005)
– “The great advantage of plagiarism #5” (2006)
– “Sun Tzu & PLAGIARISM” (2007)
– “Nothing to Sell” (2006)
– “PSEUDEPIGRAPHY Activity #2” (2005)
– “Architectural and Urban PLAGIARISM?” (2008)
– “Vandalism, Plagiarism & Property” (2008)
– “PLAGERISM (sic)” (2007)
– “PLAGIARISM” (2006)
– “PLAGIARISM, CULTURE, MASS MEDIA: Plagiarism and Capitalist Society”
– “The ‘liquidation of originality’” (2005)
– “On Consumption” (2007)
The great advantage of plagiarism #3
The great advantage of plagiarism as a literary method is that it removes the need for talent, or even much application. All you really have to do is select what to plagiarize. Enthusiastic beginners might want to begin by plagiarizing this text. A hard-core nihilist might choose to plagiarize it verbatim, while those individuals who labour under the delusion that they are of a more artistic bent will probably want to change a word here or there – or even place the paragraphs in a different order. […] In short, plagiarism saves time and effort, improves results and shows considerable initiative on the part of the individual plagiarist. As a revolutionary tool, it is ideally suited to the demands of the late twentieth-century.”
Postmodernism Fails: PLAGIARISM AS NEGATION IN CULTURE
GIVEN the total colonisation of daily life by Capital, we are forced to speak the received language of the media. It has always been impossible to give coherent expression to thoughts and practices which oppose the dominant ideology. However, we do not seek the creation of new languages. Such an act is doomed to failure and plays into Capital’s hands (by reinforcing the myths of ‘originality’ and Individual creativity’). Rather, we aim to re-invent the language of those who would control us.
While we refute the concept of ‘originality’, we do not find it problematic that the idea of plagiarism implies an original. Although we believe all ‘human creativity’ is accumulative (that is to say, that all Innovations’ are built on the sum total of what has gone before), it does not trouble us that there is, in the past, a ‘paint of origin’. We cannot give an account of this ‘point of origin’ and will not waste our time making philosophical speculations about such irrelevancies.
Plagiarism is the negative point of a culture that finds its ideological justification in the ‘unique’.
Indeed, it is only through the creation of ‘unique identities’ that commodification can take place.
Thus the unsuccessful search for a new, and universal, language by ‘modernist artists’ should be viewed as a high point of the capitalist project However, this in no way implies that ‘post-modernism’ is somehow more ‘radical’ than its precursor. Both movements were simply stages in a single trajectory. Such developments reflect the establishment’s ability to recuperate actions and concepts which in the past threatened its very constitution. ‘Post-modern appropriation’ is very different to plagiarism. While post-modern theory falsely asserts that there is no longer any basic reality, the plagiarist recognises that Power is always a reality in historical society.
Post-modernists fall into two categories. The first of these are cynics who understand the ideological process in which they play a minor role and manipulate it for personal gain. The second category of post-modernists are simply naive. Bombarded by media images, they believe that the ever- changing ‘normality’ presented by the press and tv constitutes a loss of ‘reality’. The plagiarist, by contrast, recognises the role the media plays in masking the mechanisms of Power and actively seeks to disrupt this function.
By reconstituting dominant images, by subjectivising them, we aim to create a ‘normality’ better suited to our requirements than the media nightmare dictated by Power. However, we have never imagined that this can be achieved solely through ‘gallery’ exposure. The attitudes used to sell washing powder have a powerful hold over our consciousness precisely because the images associated with them are those most often reproduced in the media. For an image to be effective it needs continuous reproduction in the press and on TV. The only viable alternative to our strategy of exposure to images reconstituted by the process of plagiarism, is the physical destruction of transmission stations and print technology.
The great advantage of plagiarism #5
The great advantage of plagiarism as a literary method is that it removes the need for talent, and even much application. All you really need to do is select what to plagiarise. Enthusiastic beginners might like to start by plagiarising this article on plagiarism. A purist will choose to plagiarise it verbatim; but those who feel the need to express the creative side of their personality will change a word here and there, or re-arrange the order of the paragraphs. Plagiarism is a highly creative process because with every plagiarism a new meaning is added to the work. Unfortunately, the forces of order have contrived to make plagiarism of recent texts lllegal, making the risk of prosecution a deterent even to the most dedicated plagiarist. However, a few sensible precautions can be used to reduce this risk. The basic rule is to take the ideas and spirit from a text, without actually plagiarising it word for word. Orwell’s ‘1984’, which is a straight re-write of Zamyatin’s ‘We’, is a -fine example of this. Another possibility for avoiding prosecution is to work under an assumed name such as Regrette Etcetera, or use non-copyrighted material such as the texts of the Situationist International.
To conclude, plagiarism saves time and effort, improves results, and shows considerable initiative on the part of the individual plagiarist. As a revolutionary tool it is ideally suited to the needs of the
twentieth-century. For those who find the selection of material too much of a ‘creative’ challenge, the remedy is to introduce a system for randomly selecting material. Let’s do away once and for all with the myth of ‘genius’.
Sun Tzu & PLAGIARISM
Contemporary politics: A potential for destruction, on a scale hitherto undreamed of, lies in the hands of a few ageing individuals who, in terms of personality, motivation, state of stress and cerebral efficiency, should hardly be trusted with the weekend shopping.
After this preamble, I do not expect to surprise anyone by quoting extensively from a spy novel which is based on Sun Tzu’s military theories. Sun Tzu was, of course, more concerned with gaining victory than with indulging in military combat, which he saw as a last resort, or a failure of strategy. I want to suggest that the artist ructions similarly. Like the worm in the apple or the termite in your chair, changing what is within, without touching the surface.
So, I am off into some plagiarism or detournement The following citations are all taken from ‘The Set Up’ by Vladimir Volkoff; Methuen 1985. I would wish the gentle reader to look at their applicability to art; to attempt their detournement!
“It is very likely that I shall find … men possessed of a virtue that is indispensable to me, namely sympathy? Courage, yes, and devotion, and guile, and cruelty … but the ability to put oneself in the place of another, to leap into the consciousness and even the unconsciousness of another… ?
1. DISCREDIT GOOD
2. COMPROMISE THE LEADERS
3. SHAKE THEIR FAITH, DELIVER THEM TO CONTEMPT
4. USE BASE MEN
5. DISORGANISE THE AUTHORITIES
6. SOW DISCORD AMONG THE CITIZENS
7. INCITE THE YOUNG AGAINST THE OLD
8. RIDICULE TRADITIONS
9. DISLOCATE SUPPLIES
10. LET LASCIVIOUS MUSIC BE HEARD
11. SPREAD LECHERY
12. LAY OUT MONEY
13. BE INFORMED
‘These,’ said Abdulrakhmanov with satisfaction, ‘are the thirteen commandments that I have taken from Sun Tzu.’… Those who are expert in the art of war make the enemy submit without a fight,… they take cities without mounting an attack and overthrow a state without prolonged operations.”
Further on: “Our comrade Mao Tse-Tung says that we must “mould” the consciousness of the enemy’s masses: in so far as we design the mould, we will have them at our mercy … I don’t know that I shall be revealing any secrets if I tell you that we distinguish five methods that enable us to get the enemy to act as we want First, white propaganda, a game two can play, and which consists simply in repeating “I am better than you” over and over again. Secondly, black propaganda, a game for three players: one attributes to the enemy fictitious statements intended to annoy the third party, for whose benefit this comedy is being played. Then there is intoxication, a game for two or three players: the aim is to deceive, but by more subtle methods than lying: for example, I would not give you false information, but I would arrange for you to steal it from me. Then there is disinformation, a word that is now used to denote all these methods taken together. In the strict sense, disinformation is to intoxication what strategy is to tactics … The fifth method is secret.”
A little further on, we come to the ten recipes which are given to the spy for the composition of tendentious information. “The unverifiable inversion of truth, the true-false mixture, the distortion of truth, change of context, blurring – with its variant selective truths -exaggerated commentary, illustration, generalisation, unequal parts, equal parts.” If more space were available I would quote the hilarious examples given of the application of these methods. In default, I suggest a game; apply the ten principles to the following ‘fact’. X finds his boyfriend in Y’s bed.
Nothing to Sell
WHILE the use of the word is recorded in the early seventeenth century (and novelists such as Fielding in the eighteenth discuss the issue), the idea of plagiarism gained currency in the Romantic era, i.e. in’ the era which marked the triumph of the bourgeoisie. It emerged as a concomitant of Romantic formulations of Genius.
The (paradigmatic) Plagiarist is the obverse of the (paradigmatic) Genius. Whereas the Genius bypasses the demands of time by recourse to a mysterious and ‘natural’ internal power, the Plagiarist does so by stealing the property of others. The Genius ‘legitimately’ saves time by doing at age
seven what others cannot do until they are thirty; the Plagiarist ‘illegitimately’ saves time by mis-appropriation. The actions of the Plagiarist subvert concepts of value based- in labour time and the difficulty of production, i.e. the political-economic bedrock of capitalism.
Obviously, notions such as Genius and Plagiarist only have currency insofar as society defines reality in terms of how time may be ‘spent’, ‘wasted’, and ‘saved’. Plagiarism suggests implicitly that much labour is a “waste’- of time: as such it is unacceptable in a productivist society, even if (as in the West) this society actually condones institutionalised waste in the forms of war, stockpiling food, &c. Analysis of plagiarism uncovers many similar contradictions. The practice of plagiarism articulates the effects and extent of these contradictions.
Traditionally, the Plagiarist does not own up but is discovered by whomsoever has access to certain specialist areas of knowledge (necessarily similar to the plagiarist’s own). Thus Coleridge was accused of plagiarising many (untranslated) German philosophers by De Quincey, whose auto-biography curiously includes two entire chapters lifted from an obscure work by the Rev.Gordon. De Quincey was in turn plagiarised by Alfred De Musset and Baudelaire, two writers whose ‘original’ outpourings were ironically attacked by Lautreamont – whose aphoristic ‘Plagiarism is necessary. It is implied in the idea of progress’ has been taken up repeatedly since: for example, by Alfred Jarry; by the surrealists (Breton reaffirmed Baudelaire’s call ‘for ever to find the new’); and by the situationists. Similarly, T.S.Eliot’s maxim, ‘Bad poets borrow, good poets steal’ has also become a modem commonplace, regarded as symptomatically important of the attitude of the would-be creator towards the great and influential works of the past. (The arguement is not confined to literature: Stravinsky has been credited with an almost identical remark). Recent critical trends have proposed an ‘Anxiety of Influence’ which prompts the creator to work in such a way as to make the works of the past appear like ‘anticipatory plagiarisms’ – an idea which is itself prefigured in the theories of the OuLiPo.
Plagiarism in late capitalist society articulates a semi-conscious cultural condition: namely, that there ‘is nothing left to say’, a feeling made more potent by the theoretical possibility of access to all knowledge brought about by new technologies. The practitioners of much post-modern theory have tended to proclaim this feeling rather smugly; but if there is nothing to say, they yet demonstrate that there will always be something to sell. On the other hand, there are practitioners active in many disciplines who, recognising the necessity for collective action demanded by media such as film and electronic tape, engage in plagiarism in an attempt to expose and explode once and for all the individualistic attitudes which tend to make all current human activity seem redundant and increasingly alienated.
PSEUDEPIGRAPHY Activity #2
Pseudepigraphy is the false attribution of a piece of writing to an author. The activity was popular from the pre-Christian era until the middle ages but declined with the development of bourgeois society. For hundreds of years authors writing on, for example, Pythagorean theory would routinely
ascribe the piece to Pythagoras himself. Thus a whole body of writing in one area would be accredited to the earliest or most eminent figure in this area. Discuss the relationship between pseudepigraphy and plagiarism.
Architectural and Urban PLAGIARISM?
A plagiarised architecture begins with an experimental baroque stage, the architectural complex- which we conceive as the construction of a dynamic environment related to styles of behaviour. Once plagiarism is extended to urbanistic realisations not many people will remain unaffected. We propose the exact reconstruction in one city of an entire neighbourhood of another. Plagiarism can never be too complete, done on this level the destruction of the old world could not be far away.
The methods we have dealt with here are not our own inventions, but represent a widespread practice which we seek to make visible. Plagiarism deals with the connectedness of things. These ideas are not new, they didn’t appear as if from ‘nowhere’, like everything around us they arose from the collective activity of creating, and recreating, the world.
Vandalism, Plagiarism & Property
ANYONE with more than half a brain will agree that art has never been a ‘superior’ activity and that even as a “therapy’ it holds little attraction unless one is really raking in the money. Ideologically art is used to promote an ethic of individual, or separated, subjectivity. Such a practice is encouraged by high financial rewards, which endow art with the secondary characteristic of being an ‘unofficial’ stock-market, in which capital can be valorised at increasingly accelerated rates.
Regarding the forms of art as propaganda, there are a multitude of conflicting opinions, each reflecting the sectional interests of the varied racketeers with an investment staked in the maintenance of this society. While some claim that ‘art’ is the province of a few men (sic) of ‘genius’, there are others who shout that ‘art must be made by all’. However, these reformist positions never go beyond rhetoric. Art is a commodity relation, and the admission of art by all onto the market would cause a drastic fall in the rate of profit.
Art has never been about quality. There is no intrinsic difference between ‘failed’ works (i.e. those that remain unsold because their makers are unable to persuade a gallery to promote them in the market) and those which become art upon the realisation of an exchange value. Of course the ‘picture’ is somewhat complicated by public and corporate ‘funding’. Sudsidies are a prestige investment. The ‘art work’ itself has always played a secondary role.
Art must always emphasise the Individuality’ of ownership and creation. Plagiarism, by contrast, is rooted in social process, communality, and a recognition that society is far more than the sum of
individuals (both past and present) who constitute it. In practice social development has always been based on plagiarism (one only has to observe children to realise that advancement is 99% imitation), but this reality is mystified by the ideology of ‘art’. Art itself is based on pictorial traditions built up over thousands of years, and yet art historians and critics always focus on the very minor, usually negligible, ‘innovations’ of each ‘individual’ artist.
We are not denying the possibility of rapid transformation, indeed we are critical of capitalism precisely because it impedes such a process. Woman creates herself, not individually, but on the social level. When a mass of people ‘believe’ something it becomes possible. Art, by emphasising ‘individual’ subjectivity, inhibits the development of a collective inter-subjectivity which could transform the world a million times in the time it takes to paint a single picture.
To draw attention to these facts, the literary and artistic ‘heritage’ of womanity must be used for partisan propaganda purposes. Naturally, we will go beyond any idea of ‘scandal’, since the pseudo-negation of art has been boring us for the past 80 years. Drawing a moustache on the ‘Mona Lisa’ is not in itself interesting, but it does indicate certain possibilities. The 1987 ‘shooting’ of the Leonardo cartoon in the National Gallery (London) was an exemplary act. The seriousness with which this incident was treated by the media left the majority of the population, to whom art means nothing, shaking with mirth. Acts of ‘art vandalism’ are only found shocking by those who see Individual genius’ as the ultimate justification of private property. The appearance of new necessities outmodes previous ‘inspired’ works. They are obstacles, dangerous habits. The point is not whether we like them or not. Plagiarism necessitates that we go beyond this.
Any elements, no matter where they are taken from, can serve in making new combinations.
When two objects are brought together, no matter how far apart their original contexts may be, a relationship is always formed. The mutual interference of two worlds of feeling, or the bringing together of two independent expressions, supercedes the original elements and produces a synthetic organisation of greater efficacy. Anything can be used. It is here, in the creation of new meanings, that we see most clearly the divergence between plagiarism and post-modern ideology. The plagiarist has no difficulty with meanings, reality, truth. The plagiarist sees no crisis of the sign – only the continual transformation of human relationships within a social context. When a post-modernist talks of plagiarism they call it ‘appropriation’ (transfer of ownership) in an attempt to maintain the ideological role of the artist. As Capitalism sinks further into crisis, it becomes increasingly difficult for any Individual’ artist to exude an appearance of ‘originality’. Reacting to this ‘impossible’ situation the post-modernist takes on a ‘corporate’ image and ‘copyrights’ an ill-digested assortment of fragments.
This is in direct contrast to the plagiarist who, rather than accepting this stasis, seeks to speed up the process of decay, and opposes both modernism AND post-modernism (which are but two stages in the trajectory of Capital) with the totality of communist transformation. Lautreamont, perhaps the best known exponent of plagiarism, is still misunderstood by many of his ‘admirers’. In the ‘Poesies’, he uses plagiarism (drawing on the ethical maxims of Pascal and Vauvenargues) to reduce arguements, through successive concentrations, to maxims alone. However Viroux still managed to cause considerable astonishment in the ’50s by demonstrating that ‘Maldoror’ is, among other things, one vast plagiarism of Buff on and other works of natural history. That Viroux saw this as justification for disparaging Lautreamont was less suprising than the fact that certain of his ‘admirers’ thought it necessary to defend him by praising his insolence! There will be no social transformation until the slogan ‘Plagiarism is necessary, progress implies it’, is widely understood. Once such an understanding occurs, industrialisation and information technology will be left looking like left-overs from the stone-age.
Ideas and realisations in the realm of plagiarism can be multiplied at will. For the moment we will limit ourselves to showing a few concrete possibilities starting from various current sectors of communication — it being understood that these separate sectors are significant only in relation to present day techniques, and are all tending to merge into superior syntheses.
IDEAS improve. Plagiarism implies it. The use of overt plagerism by ‘art movements’ like “The Generation Positive”, “The Neoists” and “PRAXIS” does not, however, participate in this improvement. In the ‘post-industrial’ condition of information overload, the raw surplus of images, ideas
and texts is so great that the selective process of choosing what material to plagerize is as much a ‘creative’ act as the construction of the images, ideas and texts in the first place. If the aim of plagerism is to make a ‘radical’ break with ‘creativity’ and its ‘commodity value’, plagerists must give up the selection process and confine themselves to a ‘Cagian’ ‘random method’.
Plagiarism enriches human language, it is a collective undertaking far removed from the post-modem ‘theories’ of appropriation. Plagiarism implies a sense of history and leads to progressive social transformation. In contrast, the ‘appropriations’ of post-modern ideologists are individualistic and
and alientated. Plagiarism is for life, post-modernism is fixated on death.
PLAGIARISM, CULTURE, MASS MEDIA: Plagiarism and Capitalist Society
In our consumer society the ‘antithesis’ of plagiarism is ‘originality’. Originality is in turn linked to Individuality’. Free ‘individuals’ in our ‘post-industrial’ society express their ‘originality’ (the signifier of their individuality) primarily through acts of consumption. That is to say, their status within society rises as the speed with which they consume the latest fashions (in clothes, food, music, etc) increases.
The idea of the ‘original’ (the first) is directly linked to privilege. The original is viewed as superior to the ‘copy’ (whether this be the case of a first edition book commanding a higher price than a reprint, or live music being considered better than a recording), and from this perspective almost any hierarchy can be ‘justified’.
Individuality and originality are only easily attained by the privileged classes. The majority of society, who lack ‘blue blood’ (a family, or in modern terms a ‘brand’, name), have to labour to be viewed as ‘individual’. But this is labour with a new name — creativity. Increasingly this takes the form of planned leisure pursuits (such as shopping expeditions), where income still dictates the amount of individuality (brand names) any given individual is able to purchase. In societies with a fully developed mass, media, the concepts of individuality, originality and creativity, are largely subsumed into a single discourse known as ‘style’. The obsession with style is not limited to readers of the Face, Blitz, Cosmopolitan and Vogue: those who prefer Class War or New Socialist share the same obsession with style, but adhere to a somewhat less popular brand. To fully understand ‘positive plagiarism’ as a strategy with which it is both possible – and necessary- to contest the ‘assumptions’, ‘values’ and very existence of the capitalist system, it is essential to be familiar with the history of the media’s colonisation of language.
The ‘liquidation of originality’
No one nowadays need rely on, say, the use of multiple names ‘to create a situation for which no one in particular is responsible’. The very existence of the law implies a generalised absence of responsibility, one reinforced in the realm of ‘the arts’ by the ‘death of the author’ (cf. Barthes) and the ‘liquidation of originality’ (cf. Warhol). Indeed, part of the problem is that this state of aff-
airs seems to belong to the past, to an accepted but not understood history; a plagiaristic repetition of the issues will tend to result in the erection of a facade of ahistoricity; a kind of fetishisation.
The ‘art world’ logically, may well encourage plagiarism, for its own recent history comprises a series of such encouragements: forgeries are demanded by the barrow-load, artists’ ideas (i.e. conclusions reached from a knowledge of history) are bootlegged by administrators and ‘suggested’ to those
more malleable favourites who queue up at every gallery door. Art, as an ‘unproductive’ commodity, evidently requires ‘stimulation’: in the ‘art world’ this means the creation of divisions, the encouragement of competition, and the establishment of reputations.
Cultural activity is not a one-way street; for every plagiarist intent on demolishing the system, there will be a dozen whose actions reinforce it under a different name. As no one is ‘responsible’, and with ‘originality’ out of the window, the struggle to advance from a state of generalised inertia and ignorance to one of comprehension and respect will be difficult. There can be no going back, obviously; time cannot be reversed, even if history appears to consign us to eternal repetition. This temporal illusion, however, is a seductive distraction, time, which began with the first copy, is rapidly running out.
Advertising, like art is a source of meaning in contemporary society, filling vacuums created by the decline of other ideologies – religion, politics, family, etc. People are hungry hungry hungry for meaning.
Advertising transforms sheer objects (products, services) into meanings (brands) which consumers use to help structure their lives and differentiate between brands which otherwise have product parity. The commercial message of course is that successful meanings are exchanged in the marketplace for cash. The aesthetic experience can add to the bottom line.
We must seek to align ourselves then with advertising’s divine touch.
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on April 6, 2010
(from ‘The 7th Manifesto of the FI Smiling’ (Oct ‘2006)
We refuse to be limited to one name. We are all names and all things. We encourage other pop emsembles to use these names. We want to see a thousand ensembles with the same name. No one owns names. They exist for all to use. Names like all words are arbitrary. (…) We attack the cult of the individual, the selfists, the attempts to appropriate names and words for exclusive use. We reject the notion of copyright. Take what you can use.
On the Use of MULTIPLE NAMES
MULTIPLE names are ‘tags’ which the ‘avant-garde’ of the seventies and eighties proposed for serial use. These have taken a number of forms, but are most commonly Invented personal names’ which, their proponents claim, anyone can take on as a ‘context’ or ‘identity’. The idea is usually to create a collective body of artistic works using the ‘invented identity’. The first of these ‘collective identities’, ‘Klaos Oldanburg’, was propogated by the British mail artists Stefan Kukowski and Adam Czarnowaski in the mid-seventies. A few years later, the American mail artist David Zack proposed ‘Monty Cantsin’ as the name of the ‘first open pop-star’, a name anybody could use. Factional differences between those using the ‘Monty Cantsin’ tag resulted in the ‘rival’ contexts of ‘No Cantsin’ and ‘Regrette Etcetera’, both of which emerged in the mid-noughties. A number of individuals and groups have independently ‘originated’ similar concepts. For example, a group centred around Sam Durrant in Boston (USA) proposed ‘Bob Jones’ as a multiple identity in the mid-eighties. There have also been multiple names for magazines (‘Smile’ originating in England in 1984 is the best known), and pop groups (“White Colours’ first proposed in England in the early eighties). Multiple names are connected to radical theories of play. The idea is to create an ‘open situation’ for which no one in particular is responsible. Some proponents of the concept also claim that it is a way to ‘practically examine, and break down, western philosophic notions of identity, individuality, originality, value and truth’.
Orientation for the use of a context and the context for the use of an orientation (extracts)
Regrette Etcetera is a name that refers to an individual human being who can be anyone. The name is fixed, the people using it aren’t. The purpose of many different people using the same name is to create a situation for which no one in particular is responsible and to practically examine western philosophic notions of identity, individuality, value and truth. Anyone can become Regrette Etcetera simply by adopting the name, but they are only Regrette Etcetera for the period in which they adopt the name. Regrette Etcetera was materialised, rather than born, as an open context in the summer of 2005. When one becomes Regrette Etcetera one’s previous existence consists of the acts other people have undertaken using the name. When one becomes Regrette Etcetera one has no family, no parents, no birth. Regrette Etcetera was not born, s/he was materialised from social forces, constructed as a means of entering the shifting terrain that circumscribes the ‘individual’ and society. The name Regrette Etcetera can be strategically adopted for a series of actions, interventions, exhibitions, texts, etc. When replying to letters generated by an action/text in which the context has been used then it makes sense to continue using the context, ie by replying as Regrette Etcetera. However in personal relationships, where one has a personal history other than the acts undertaken by a series of people using the name Regrette Etcetera, it does not make sense to use the context. If one uses the context in personal life there is a danger that the name Regrette Etcetera will become over identified with individual human beings. We are perhaps heading towards the abolition of the personal, perhaps everything is social and the personal (the individual) is just illusion; this area of activity must be debated, examined. However, previous experiments with multiple names, such as the Monty Cantsin fiasco, indicate that the failure to differentiate between the personal and the social, and in particular over-identification by certain individuals with the context, is disastrous. The use of multiple names for pop groups and magazines has proved far less problematic than with humans…
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on April 3, 2010
Part of the Fauxist International’s investigations into subliminal media and PSYWAR, the Fauxist One Second Theatre Competition was launched in July, 2009, and has recently closed for submissions. Calling for media of 1 second duration, with subliminal content, we received a wildly varying collection of works.
Our monitors have been wading through the seconds, sequences of moments, and have shortlisted 10 entries.
The shortlisted entries will soon be posted on our Youtube channel. Where you can also find examples of our own subliminal film work. Winners of the non-digital categories are included below.
3 winners will be announced in the coming weeks.
(All pieces 1 second or less)
1. James Lona “Dead Indians” (2010)
2. XCX Collective “Homage to Catatonia” (2010)
3. Laura Fenwick “Military Industrial Punch Line #3” (2009)
4. Andrei Platonov “Chevengur” (2009)
5. Ychebe Shange “Oprah Orphans” (2009)
6. Regrette Etcetera (Fauxist) “1 Hott Second: 1000f.p.s” (2010)
7. Anthill “Blink” (2010)
8. Jo Guiterez “Facebook Flitter” (2010)
9. Gina PDW (Fauxist) “Speaking Skulls” (2009)
10. Fractus Collective “Untitled GIF” (2009)
(All pieces 1 second or less)
1. Anonymous “Sculpture to be dropped from 12 metres, falling for 1 second.”
2. Hazel X- Untitled (Drawings for subliminal 1-second monument).
3. A 1 second text to for 2 silent readers.
4. Jane Smith “A sequence of 1 second audio bursts. ”
5. Lawrence Wein “List of items to be memorized and contemplated in 1 second.”
Certain works have already been distributed to various internet locations,
Thanks to all contributors, the monitors/reviewers, and audiences at our screenings.
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on April 3, 2010