Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Obscene, Transformations, and Art: A Non-Monologue

Greetings from St. Stephen

Today I want to present you with a small video on the subject of the obscene and art, as it concerns transformations. So, and perhaps, a little background is in order.

For about 5 years or so now, I have been making little video presentations as part of my academic work. Either of the last two words from the previous sentence, "academic" and "work", as such could be set in scared quotes, as these are simply questionable notions. In part, academic work is a struggle against these very notions. As such, and finding oneself at a college or university, in whatever position, does one want to be academic? And work, what is work? What does the university do besides normalize and promote some tired Protestant Work Ethic

I am being one-sided and flippant, but there is much truth to my last remark, I think. That is why we are here; we are the gonzo of the university, we have come... to find that there is no exit. So we must change from the only place we can, not from the outside we can never get to, but from the within of where we already are.

My video, The Obscene, Transformations, and Art: A Non-Monologue, is basically an edited version of the Nineteen-Seventy-One film, directed by Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange, with a non-monologue read "over-top" of it. A non-monologue is a monologue which recognizes the plurality of speech, a matter I will get back to in a moment. Perhaps in time I will release my essay under the same name, depending on interest. So input is very important to me, as it lets me know what you, the reader, like and dislike, and I even dare say, desire more of.

Continuing my thought on what it 'is' to be academic, I just want to say, that at one point in the video, I give a harsh critique of what the University and academia has done (not all my categories are not monolithic) to the legacy and work of Michel Foucault.

Foucault grabbing them by the balls
Continuing my explanation of a non-monologue, I feel the need to speak a bit about Maurice Blanchot, and his text, The Infinite Conversation, which is not a direct part of the video. Perhaps its enough to note that the first chapter of his text is translated as "Plural Speech: the speech of writing." Since I do not believe that I can do justice to his work in just a few brief sentences, I will simply quote, "The neutral, the neutral, how strangely this sounds for me" (Blanchot, The Infinite Conversation, 1993, Translation by Susan Hanson, page xxi).

a TOPY alter
What you will find in the video is my critique on what is obscene, its place as art, as transformational experience, and as a catalyst for exploring the limits of thought, of language, of experience... as such I speak of the work of Georges Bataille (here you can find the television appearance I referred to in my video), as well as the Chaos Magic Group, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY). The original incarnation of TOPY is defunct, and probably deserves a blog post of their own. Let St. Stephen know if this is something that interests you. As such: I invite one and all to comment on both the video, as well (and hopeful more so) on the content of the reading or whatever else comes to mind.

This video was shown at an upstate New York University, 2010. So here is the link to the video:

Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011.


  1. Images of the artist and an unnamed man are stitched onto the background. Text has been embroidered onto this surface in the form of a written letter – a declaration of love complete with its imperfections and hesitations.

  2. Your poetic remarks, Hamilton-Selway Fine Art, provide a truth concerning my video's production, as well as its presentation. May it be an ax to break the frozen sea within and between us, as much as it conjures worlds like walls that divisively divide. As such, may what is stitched together take on a monstrous life of its own. Hence, I hesitate to call this video mine, as I have unleashed it unto worlds. That it might travel into places, places from whence it may never return.



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