18 November 2013

A Manifesto for the Ideal Magazine

The material of an internet art magazine subtracts from the original in a dissolve to a distant copy or poor multiple, a portal penetrating one realm, the palpable real into its other, its trace or residue debased in the ecstasy of communication. But the trace overwhelms or overrides the original. There, no opposition, but a third term of things and spaces, a political appointment adjusting an ancient story of doubles fighting for authentic life. How the material suffers in a process of détournement is part of the struggle, and overtaken again by a lack of interest, since there never was a real reader. The detourned copy is not agonised by the burden of making meanings, since always visible; or providing dutiful injunctions, it instead has a preference to serialise an operation without any immediate merit. The magazine, unlike its cousin, the journal, is without a master signifier, does not present its material as obliged to academic review, peer opinion or scientific proof. It is not corseted into the institution, being its own. Not so easy to assemble a total picture of its function therefore, so the manner of address is best kept inadvertent, nomad, partial, as fragment, to ennoble the scattering of the subject, when so many pictures produce a kind of impoverishment, or wretchedness, it chooses the poor, the neutral, but not from a sense of belonging to it or passive acceptance of poverty, not ideal but neither is it unmoved, by the complement given to it, in the expression of an exquisite corpse - the face of an impossibility. These images, pieced together precisely to fail, fail not per se, are well placed to affirm failure. We publish, as the contemporary will to publish dictates, visual dissolution as something of sovereign courage, seeking some raft, [along with everybody else]after the deluge. Editing from the mass of debased currencies, inchoate forms and remainders, nothing is ever again to be perfectly clear, but the image of the distressed image sinking into its quicksand, as it is captured in infinite detail, with an accuracy addressed to every sub-atomic particle, [the digital], leaves the issue of truth representation to the conciliatory apologies of past radicals and cultural theorists bemoaning the crisis of representation. The crisis is to be located precisely in its accuracy to life. A magazine manifesto is to be published: speculative-materialist, transcendent-nihilist, rather than idealist. The represented of the screen, briefly coming into view, sign the declaration of co-independence between ideal and material. By accident they share solidarity in the cruel scene of the image. They disappear momentarily only to reappear somewhere else off screen. They go underground. Same names, new works, new names, same works, their difference is cast in the purest sense as an agency, twisted around the incompatible relation to the underground. The disappeared haunt our certainty with laughter from beneath the refuge of the exterior visible. Works intentionally without quality claim their inheritance to obscurity, or inwardness, or non-relation, whose right to difference from works of quality is a radical one, a preference for the dark precursors of our permanent visibility upon which falls the shadow. The magazines ambivalence to resource, repetition and recollection is to be a foothold, set down by the poet. This tricky word resource signifies an origin [source] and an economy, a return or profit on the past, which will providence forgetfulness. Being about events, the manifesto provides instructions: Prompt to steady recovery. Suspend the rule. Stamp out as immaterial. The rule is suspended to compose the new, the edition or to list an exacting; images floating forever online composing the sticky substance of virtual space, glue everything to an immensity we can never again avoid. Prompt to recovery, avoid all cure. I can think of this process akin to Maurice Blanchots siren song, as récit, a sound so inescapably everywhere, that it adheres to narrative the continuous echo which keeps travelling away from itself, the récit multiplies spatial configurations of the sayable or representable into a specular and numinous nowhere, a utopia built from a lacunar immensity or infinite distance, precisely in the details It could be that the apparent or specular thing leaves its trace in waste matter - receipts, lists, indexes - assemblies annotated in a space and time, like a Philip.K.Dick story, set on another planet, in fact, to observe ours. Whether we are being attentive or not to the gradual diminishment and vanishing of all species, the scrolls, indexes, names and numbers unearthed are transversatile; aliens / machines communicating, like a planet whose communication is reset to raising the dead. [Gaia, or Earth] projects images of the Anthropocene. Such a magazine would excavate sedimentary material from the subterranean interiors of modern allegory. The avant-gardists machinery, forming endless arrangements of the Useless, runs amok, and decapitates everyone and everything. I can imagine cartoons cross-hatched to form the mutilated corpus of visual pleasures drawn from the war machines programmed suicide, joyously spilled on the battlefield. Archives opened to expose their innards. To expose is everything, interpretation volatile, like an incendiary device dangerously malfunctioning and liable to surprise itself, going off at any time - consequences of modernity are unforeseeable, moral orders fragile, and social ones, as Bruno Latour tells us, unstable or yet to be modern. What is irreducible is that nothing is hidden beneath the surface of an event but chance. We cannot re-run. Schrödinger's cat alive and dead offers no guarantee of predicting or collapsing reality until the act of choosing at what point to open the box on progress. The number opens up to announce its names, and narrative closes down, unable to subsist - belief cant be forever held, but subsists despite everything, as the chance operation that assembles an edition to over-determine its effect - as Slavoj Žižek might say of a space, X, created, its space outlined, only through those repeated failures to achieve it. This is the exceptional status of its non-ideal form a kind of failed universalism that is universal. This is not then politics or science or art as defining set categories for journalism, but the forced choice of any publication called an art magazine, welded to a serial obsession with its conditions. The Others desire is always to be controlled, infinitely sliced from the future body, and its communications with past events, and failures. The magazine is the event par excellence of colonisation. It does not exist unless as some others territory. Like Marcel Duchamps occluded machinery, these hermetic codes, or unpublished entries, [assembled from diaries, notes, diagrams, doodles, scribbles, snapshots, documents, and performances] conspire to unsettle the imaginary of any universal sense of completion. There is no exit from the territory of the museum/factory, or from the internet. Work is replaced by occupation, blogging and being on camera. The museum as factory has no walls on or off line. No vantage point, all work and no play, all network all ecstasy. Pure reduction equals completion equals democracy. The magazine is however a labour of love to get out of the factory, to entangle the machinery with the destructive power of love, the animal must exhume its troubled soul. The batman must die, to leave the speech bubble empty... The magazine, estranged from the labour to produce it, makes possible the task to reconfigure and integrate its an art from nothing. The image is wretched, the text transgressive, and the art, the empty centre, inexistent. The machine is a war machine for reading through other means, a writing machine binding things together or that breaks them up by sliding signifiers across its surface scum. A feint familiarity of something gone returns as unfamiliar sutured in the electrons that composes it, seeks out an impervious operation. As it withdraws and reveals paradox, [being online], the ideal material is again to be exacted in not being idealit is made of events, details, gestures and nothing else, and as such are 'particularities, worthless moments, dust of words' in Maurice Blanchots own words; but then, too, surpassing these details, but being no more than these details as they are taken together, a kind of 'emptiness' appears, a 'lacunar immensity' or 'infinite distance', such that the subject of the story, the magazine is the lack of its story; 'it tries to realise in it this lack that always infinitely surpasses it'.

Peter Lewis