The Other Way Round. 
Beyond Causation: Guerrilla Plagiarism and Melancholia. Alternative media in the post-media age.

The Other Way Round. Beyond Causation: Guerrilla Plagiarism and Melancholia. Alternative media in the post-media age.

Note on Plagiarism and Melancholia

Between unexceptional status and non-status

Taking from Chris Atten's "Alternative Media', we might -
he writes - frame the radicalisation of plagiarism exemplified by artists-authors-editors-publishers without status. Atten quotes Bourdieu and adjusts the view of radical plagiarism between indifference and being conservative - a demotic avant-garde whose will to appropriate and reposition capital and authority directly from high culture, radically re-legitimises an artistic practice from the authorised cultural field, yet falls upon its own sword in so doing. One he suggests as too undifferentiated if to provide a realist[ic] account of the Internet's heterogeneity, or to perceive virtual dimensions. Atten points to a future expansion of a conceptual space more complex than merely readable as any peer stamp of approval as authored 'journalism' or politically correct media representation, but as a pure mediation per se.

Originality is always already a set of unoriginal relations - not an absolute property, but an inexistence in another dimension of possibilities, of repetition in discourse, the death of the author [oneself].

All discourses, whatever their status, form, value, and whatever the treatment to which they will be subjected, would then develop in the anonymity of a murmur. We would no longer hear the questions that have been rehashed for so long: Who really spoke? Is it really he and not someone else? With what authenticity or originality? And what part of his deepest self did he express in his discourse? Instead, there would be other questions, like these: What are the modes of existence of this discourse? Where has it been used, how can it circulate, and who can appropriate it for himself? What are the places in it where there is room for possible subjects? Who can assume these various subject functions? And behind all these questions, we would hear hardly anything but the stirring of an indifference: What difference does it make who is speaking? â€¨â€¨- from What is an author? by Michel Foucault, 1969 -

At one point in the book, Inland, by Gerald Mumane, the narrator discovers an epigraph in a certain novel by Patrick White, a brief sentence written by Paul Eluard: "One day in this room I read in the preliminary pages of an unlikely book these words: There is another world but it is in this one." Or more precisely, which is this one.

C.S. Lewis writes to the point, "Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."

The issue is thus: playing in the ruins, taking a lead from Kenneth Goldsmith. It's made up of a lot of appropriated material and re-imaging and re-presentation, in the guerrilla 'tradition' of plagiarising and appropriation. But it's not so pure a strategy [ideal] as Goldsmith's as it intentionally confuses the cause / effect and the re-presenting of originality as mutational possibility of an impurity in movement, as splitting origin and effect.

Christine Macel makes an attempt at least, to touch the external world beyond art's boundaries, i.e. 'real' life, vital, 'vivre' - to live -...but we can be wary of its limits in romanticising this into a 'problem' that seeks to only represent the good intentions inherent in eth supposition of life affirmation, by being critical of its own limits, essentially insufficient [as a rhetorical question that has already anticipated the answer and incorporates it as a moral justification] leaving the external world as ever outside the jurisdiction of 'art' which is not in essence moral. Where it should be? Or, in psycho-dynamics, where precisely it should
not be, but as copy which exceeds originality.


Florilegium - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

In Medieval Latin, a florilegium (plural florilegia) was a compilation of excerpts from other writings. The word is from the Latin flos (flower) and legere (to gather): literally a gathering of flowers, or collection of fine extracts from the body of a larger work. It was adapted from the Greek anthologia (á¼€νθολογία) "anthology", with the same etymological meaning.

On the book, Pragmatic Plagiarism, Authorship, Profit and Power, by Marilyn Randall

"...Randall considers the development of copyright law and the notion of authorship, presents a wide range of texts, and draws aptly on Foucault's notion of the discursive construction of authorship. Just as Foucault studied insanity to find out what was meant by sanity, says Randall, so the study of plagiarism can reveal what was meant by the term "literary" at various cultural moments. She shows that perceived instances of plagiarism are aspects of an on-going power struggle in the literary field. And as she reveals, it is not the plagiarist but the accuser who is most concerned with achieving profit and power."

Lacan and Clérambault â€¨
Lacan's first doctrinal text was entitled "Structures of paranoiac psychoses" (1931) published in the journal Week of hospitals.

Lacan knew that Clérambault was a tyrannical man who demanded unquestioning fidelity from his people. He knew his fear of seeing his doctrine plundered or imitated. That is why, in quoting it, he took care to note at the bottom of the page: "This image is borrowed from the verbal teaching of our master, MG de Clérambault, to whom we owe, in material and method, in order not to risk being plagiarized, to pay homage to each of our terms. "
Shocked by the ambivalence of this exaggerated tribute, the patron of the Special Infirmary soon disowned his pupil. After the publication of the article, he entered into violent anger and broke into a meeting of the Medico-Psychological Society to launch in Lacan's face dedicated copies of his works and accuse him of plagiarism.
Here is the memory of this event, Henri Ellenberg: "He accused Lacan of plagiarism. With an incredible nerve, Lacan turned the accusation against Clérambault, claiming that the old psychiatrist had plagiarized him. This affair made a great noise. Lacan had a remarkable sense of publicity. " [Ed. Roudinesco, Jacques Lacan p. 46-48. Fayard 1993.]
(Patrick Valas)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

Anti-art Class consciousness
Class struggle
General strike
Situationist prank
Unitary urbanism
Workers' council
World revolution

A cigarette advertisement on a billboard turned into a détournement by defacing the cowboy image and modifying the text, probably including "Marlboro," to read, "It's a bore."
A détournement (French: [detuʁnÉ™mÉ‘Ì]), meaning "rerouting, hijacking" in French, is a technique developed in the 1950s by the Letterist International,
and later adapted by the Situationist International (SI), [2][3] that was defined in the SI's inaugural 1958 journal as "[t]he integration of present or past artistic productions into a superior construction of a milieu. In this sense there can be no situationist painting or music, but only a situationist use of those means. In a more elementary sense, détournement within the old cultural spheres is a method of propaganda, a method which reveals the wearing out and loss of importance of those spheres."
It has been defined elsewhere as "turning expressions of the capitalist system and its media culture against itself"as when slogans and logos are turned against their advertisers or the political status quo.
Détournement was prominently used to set up subversive political pranks, an influential tactic called situationist prank that was reprised by the punk movement in the late 1970s and inspired the culture jamming movement in the late 1980s. Its opposite is recuperation, in which radical ideas or the social image of people who are viewed negatively are twisted, commodified, and absorbed in a more socially acceptable context.

Non-instrumental Plagiarism

Curatorial intersection of systems operational in /seconds selection process:
1. Invitations to new members [Peter Lewis Art, closed group]
2. Incremental membership to Reading Group [in parallel, as educational/knowledge production re-publishing from Facebook and other social media uploads]
3. Appropriation of existing/found material on internet [with disclaimers in place]
4. Over-identification strategies / critical writing contextualising found material [such as quotes from critics [handwritten notes mirroring Duchamps' 'inframince'] [also within Research for an Imaginary Museum- Department of Melancholia] â€¨5. New works found online by established contributors â€¨6. Two sections within the contents list that contain various material [in the mode of Arthur Jafa's source books of images] on Melancholia
a] Research for an Imaginary Museum- different sections/departments
b] Alternativism - artists' spaces and independent curating - examples
7. New artworks by editorial members 
8. A general survey of curatorial projects and exhibitions

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Note on Research

Self-generating content by de-territiorialising / re-territorialising context [from D&G] - rhizomatic/nomadic movement]- self 'washing' [erasing or cleaning Google ownership of original 'brand' design/ image, not to claim content but re-aligning borders], self- generating content/design; arbitrary signification/ random source, 'becoming' organised collections by unorthodox assembly - overlaying section to intersection: denotation to connotation and by association, freeing up new narrative structures to the potential of immersion: flooding, swarming or forcing.
Porosity of borders within any general legal systems in place to determine permission of transit, as identification and recall. I.e. to make incomplete rather than complete at all times. No 'present' 'future' 'past' arrangement demarcated but assembled into different temporal relations, scatter, disorganise, and reassemble.

INFRATHIN (inframince)

Dear X
/seconds is inviting digital contributions to the new edition 16. The title Infrathin comes from something written by Duchamp that cannot easily be explained in any general sense.
His own hand-written note is highly suggestive to the difficulty:
Infrathin (French: inframince). When asked for a conceptual definition of the term "infrathin," Marcel Duchamp replied that the notion is impossible to define, "one can only give examples of it:" the warmth of a seat (which has just/been left) is infrathin.
A message built of collaged letters, demonstrates Duchamps notion of inframince, a neologism of his that, he stated, could not be defined, only illustrated: When the tobacco smoke smells also of the mouth which exhales it, the two odors marry by the infra thin [sic]. from article, Maria Fusco, Frieze Apr. 13, 2006. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)
If interested please respond to Infrathin,
contact Peter Lewis, at
I do not own the Copyright of the image/text in any form. All copyright reserved by X

I am using images from many sources to build the edition. In some cases I can ask permission in others not. I take my cue from Kenneth Goldsmith,

Infra-thin - edition 16: Appropriation - space 'X' moves to the space 'X*' [between one meaning and no meaning, and so forththe moment at which something emerges out of nothing by way of redefining nothingness itself â€¨(Žižek,) opens up a wealth of potentialities.


Peter Nicholas Lewis Drawings from the Imaginary Museum, department of Melancholia
Nevets Gnow I love that name/title/description; The Imaginary Museum.
Peter Nicholas Lewis Malraux - I guess the point being that the digital archive makes a complex reading of art objects even more an infinite expansion from the concept of origination. I have alluded to this complexity in former editions but perhaps it could be timely to re-introduce the obvious legacy from Malraux.
Nevets Gnow Malraux converted or changed his point of view, only after he was caught trafficking stolen artefacts from Angkor Wat. He was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment and fined whatever. He served no time and became the minister of culture, using that as the platform with which he apparently attempted to clean his conscience for hacking over 2 tons of ancient stone from facades and cut off who knows how many heads from statues. It makes sense that his instrument for the construction of cultural capitol would end up being imaginary. Which I think is part of the point, with origins and archiving the imaginary. Which is what the digital realm/space is.
Peter Nicholas Lewis very interesting ...theres a point of making a new critique of the imaginary itself as also a copyright/origination infinitely malleable and transferrable [supra-hybridity] on the difficulty of making metaphors between disciplines









The topic, The Other Way Round might speculate how simple transversals in rethinking art and design disrupt the ordered universe of causes and effects. 

We see how the move from the accepted way to get to understand something, could be enhanced by thinking the relation of internal movement to the orbit of thought, the other way round. An idea, if unstable, moving chaotically in space and time may change its direction. Or more acutely, to change position, as in a mirror, what cannot be captured is the thing that sees you. What appears accustomed through habit reappears in the lens to alert to a distortion of consciousness, to take a foreign view. Mind does not control matter in this case. We live in a glass-house, contained safely inside to distance what we see outside before our eyes as real, yet with reasonable clarity we make up stories to disaffirm what is true or false despite or precisely because of the undeniable evidence. Are we to believe what we see with our own eyes, or not? Where does the truth lie? Is it not precisely the other way round, in the very lie of truth, the illusion that we project outwardly, whilst we gaze in the self-affirming mirror? Through this conceptual window, what do we see?

Jokes themselves surprise us on the basis of offering an unexpected reversal, yet recounted within the logic of a story told in reverse, making sense only when arriving at its destination the other way round, in the punch-line. No-one expects, as it was once announced by the camp inquisitors of Monty Python, the Spanish Inquisition! Yet they always turn up unexpectedly. Or upon that unexpected knock on the door, what do we imagine lies in wait, but anticipation itself in whatever unknowable new form? Whether angel or devil, as David Bowie sings in My Death, behind that door, theres nothing much he can do. In front of that door, there is arguably something to be done. Can we, in these uncertain times, afford to drop our guard, when the house is burning down, in the fear of being caught being ourselves, (or not), still face the urgency of the question as to who, or what we are, behind the door?


But whatever lies behind the door
There is nothing much to do
Angel or devil, I don't care
For in front of that door there is you

David Bowie, My Death
Credit (Songwriters: Brel, Jacques Roman / Blau, Eric / Shuman, Mort , published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, inc.)

/seconds was nominated for a Global Fine Art Award in 2015 at the inauguration of the exhibition at Sharjah Art Foundation, representing artists commissioned over a ten year period of its publication.

  /seconds is an online journal that is continually 'under construction'.
The fragmentary condition of the magazine, reformulated by the addition of material to past and current issues, is to be always left open-ended. As Theodor Adorno famously said of the novel, it is essentially 'incomplete'. The finished work is, in our times and climate of anguish, a lie. It resides, George Steiner writes, in an astute state of melancholy, as in Fernando Passoa's 'The Book of Disquiet'. What is this Livro do Desassossego? Neither 'commonplace book', nor 'sketchbook', nor 'florilegium' will do. Yet even such a hybrid does not correspond to the singularity of Pessoa's chronicle.


/seconds is a completely independent resource dedicated to the work of contemporary art and writing.
All contents are made available for non-commercial and educational use only. All rights belong to the artists/authors.
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