Impending Dancefloor becoming accessible as Human Extinction

nike

I am still in a pod eating bugs. I’m wearing an orange Adidas Track suit and a sweater that says ‘Ambient’ on it in a pleasing font. The tracksuit was on sale, the sweater is from a German company that makes merchandise for electronic music labels. The Adidas tracksuit is part of a retro 90’s line the company has put out this year.

I’m listening to Lee Gamble’s digestion of 90’s UK jungle and earlier I listened to Luke Vibert’s “Garave Vol 1.”another collage of 90’s UK music samples and themes. The cover of the latter album, with its wireframe faces and globes brings to mind a recent visit to the Nike “Innovation Lab” store in Manhattan.

I was in New York for Spring Break and to bother Kevin Rogan. The Nike Store was gorgeous. Enormous video screens showed protoplasmic ooze bubbling and swirling as if in zero gravity. Other screens showed shoes assembled by 3d printers or wireframes of humans on black backgrounds. It was technoptimism at its finest: shoes as perfect items “reeking of futurity”, untouched by underpaid hands. “”It has a dynamism…it feels like an athlete.”

It was also deeply 90’s, but refreshed by the technology and techniques of the 2000’s. It was a cooler 90’s, more refined.

flagship

It was deeply Acc twitter. Video game aesthetics, cyborgs and clones, drones (perfect hyperbolic SCUD missile, gulf war as virtuality perfected), jungle music and juicy quotes from Mark Fisher extolling its cyberoptic intensiy, hackers, wires, Burial, old anime and manga, asian cityscapes wreathed in lung-fucking smog.

The Nike Store, which I love, was selling futurity as a consumer item (“Nothing built for a King or a Nation but one man”), but a futurity that is irrevocably connected to the past, to a previous image of futurity half-fulfilled.

In his talk on the “Former West” Groys describes a state of affairs similar to Mark Fisher’s idea of the future’s slow cancellation. There is no future available to us, but rather a past to be mined for identity and images and events to recontextualize. The Cold War is a war that never happened, and Communism was always a spectre, according to the ideology of those of us in the Former West.

Family, racial, national, sexual histories—all grist for the mill. Art has been given to us as a task in the same spirit as the kiosks at Taco Bell where we customize our burritos. The maintenance of public identity and mystique has been a major feature of artists that now is something we all take part in.

We are all welcome to enjoy the Egalitarian-Dandyism of brand building.

Accelerationism can be seen as a form of dandyism, in the sense that all the online productions of identity through twitter brands, image posting, wordpress blogs, and so on are all ersatz garments. They are aesthetic poses people who cannot afford the grander gestures (look at Musk and his Robocop truck—That’s not a car that’s shitlord brand building) or cannot create art that directly illustrates the idea.

Online aristocratic poses, (aristocrats of the parasocial), being “patrician”, the niche refinement and careful manicuring of posts are all covers for a lack of real world funds and perhaps a proper venue.

Groys writing on Junger’s totalitarian vision said that the Soviet Union and early Nazi Germany both deployed ideology and propaganda as a technology that could serve in place of technology. To make up for these ideologies of the future’s lack of actual futuristic technology they had to rely on Vengeance weapons and space rockets were spoken of and depicted in art long before they existed.

Grime’s “We Appreciate Power” and the tesla truck are technofascist propaganda in this style. They signal a future that may come, in some form, but cannot be reached by the likes of Silicon Valley hucksters. Their vision is available as a product instead.

Screenshot_2019-11-24 (4) ZJ ( ZOLAJESUS) Twitter

Listening to retro-futurist techno in my retro-futurist athleisure suit I am creating an identity rooted in the aestheticization of modern industrial processes. No natural fibers, all hissing polyester and whatever else. Sports, dancing, running, urban life, exoticism of Eastern Europe, Euro MTV, images on Dazed of DJ’s and producers, electronic music as an allegory for an egalitarian future.

Collective joy modulated by machines and chemicals, the first ever electronic instrument was invented in a Bolshevik lab and presented to Lenin who played a few musical notes on it and demanded it go into mass production.

All encapsulated in this ridiculous orange suit.

suit

Leftist guilt and political consciousness (what passes for it) reminds me of the likelihood of extreme exploitation that produced these clothes, but they look like a machine made them. They’re slick and shiny in a color looted from construction workers and prisoners.

The very excellent piece “Haute-Baroque Capitalism” discussed what it called baroque capitalism and left-accelerationist aesthetics. The two aesthetic approaches are both “maximalist, super-ornamental, and takes capital as a first principle.” They are expressions of wealth, of the mummy-power of dead labor and accumulation.

Atomized pseudo-artist that I am, I find it difficult to express my politics in a way that is not touched by this dandyism. The juxtaposition of the Lenin bust on my nightstand, bought in the Patriotic War Museum’s gift shop in Moscow, and a bottle of adderall has the bad joke frisson of vaporwave (something mentioned as an early precursor to baroque capitalist aesthetics though lacking the faith in capital required).

tyrosine

Without Praxis there is only theory and aesthetics, dialectically creating journals, blogs, art, games, etc. As imperialist techno-dandies we are in danger of becoming anarchist dry good salesmen.

The current UK leftist (or twitter leftist, I have no clue what it’s like there beyond what I see online) obsession with utopian imaginaries and paths not taken are a part of this retro-futuristic aesthetic cultivation. Raves and the miner’s strike, science fiction and critical theory were woven together in Fisher’s writing in a way that is another kind of propaganda, though one far more appealing than the edgelord brutalism of the cybertruck or the crude casino-Fordism offered by MAGA.

Beyond Fisher’s specific “articulation,” FALC, Corbynism and various strains of electronic music form a particular type of retro-futurism, a popular front of would-be cybersyn technicians who spend their free time raving.

Screenshot from 2019-11-24 20-52-27

Novara media sells tote bags named after the Grundrisse and Marx shirts modeled by someone who said that Communism was about “doing it for the vine”. What is the demographic cross over between people who like Hyperdub and who let their finger at least hover over “add to cart”.

“It seems to me that most arguments for accelerationism rely not on reason but on compelling visual metaphors. “

Sorel’s myth sidestepped reason for the sake of agitation and spiritual motivation. Fisher advocated for a renewal in the Gramscian idea of preparing the culture, of consciousness raising through art. The Gramscian turn is echoed by the far right in Europe in the form of “metapolitics”, something this blog will explore in the future.

A part of me finds the idea of focused, Communist minded cultural production extremely compelling. Another part of me thinks that its worst it’s a delusion I welcome because it turns unpaid art making and armchair politics (i.e. blogging) into ersatz praxis. With loathing and shame I quote Chapo Traphouse:

“[B]etween half-assed Marx and half-assed Gramsci, it’s better to go with the former: of course being in control of what is ‘cool’ in our culture is a kind of power, but it’s one that liberals increasingly rely on in lieu of actual power, to the detriment of politics—and culture, and cool people”

All I can talk about right now is gloss. My pleasure in wrapping myself in that gloss, and then self-flagellating over my enjoyment in that gloss, and inviting others to join in. Perversion is a major part of internet politics and aesthetics.

Radical politics for creatures like myself (and probably you as well, if you’re bothering with a wordpress blog) is experienced as the rightful rage/despair/shame/hatred and then immediately mediated through online communication until it reaches its logical end as the ultimate combination of curatorial art/identiy creation and consumerism: the amazon wishlist.

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