November 23, 2020

Douglas A. Martin Quote


We will go on from here, in this essayistic work, of which Acker’s fantastic, crudely philosophical letters are only one part of what will be revealed, to arrive at an injunction to “Define to love.” She underscores in her original. Acker begins to do this by exploiting, and upsetting, comfortable rhetorical models of logic. For example, after the opposition “love of knowledge” versus “love of sex” is established to mirror – Acker’s word – the mind : body opposition, Acker decides such a separation is resolved by the logical progression of her next sentence, that: The lovers of knowledge and the lovers of sex both love cats. Other oppositions, and their resolutions through third terms, follow. Acker does what she says she will do here: “Define to love by increasing complexity.”

– Douglas A. Martin, Acker


November 17, 2020

Table of Contents for a work-in-progress



1: The moment I no longer wanted to be famous
2: Amateur Compassion
3: Promiscuous Bewilderment
4: The world ends in our desires
5: A story about computers in the future
6: There can be no theory of the novel that is not itself a novel
7: The billionaires have quietly left the building
8: Helpless laughter happens more than once
9: The doctorette (with others) make a discovery
10: Fascism was something we often talked about
11: A hell called paradise mission
12: To the success of our hopeless mission
13: Compersion
14: Real Life
15: the world is ending / the world is unending


(A novel about ecological collapse and telepathic kittens.)

(Right now I'm about ten pages into writing chapter six.)


October 29, 2020

Three Trilogies


Unrehearsed Beauty (1998)
Families Are Formed Through Copulation (2007)
Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed (2010)

Polyamorous Love Song (2014)
Rich and Poor (2016)
Authenticity Is A Feeling (2018)

Dry Your Tears to Perfect Your Aim (2022)
Amateur Kittens Dreaming Solar Energy (2026)
Desire Without Expectation (2030)

(Man makes plans, God laughs.)


October 24, 2020

Michael Eddy Quote


One could argue, like Maus above, that the antidote to irony is actually authenticity. If the self-reflexivity I called for above meant authentic presence, maybe we could indeed eliminate the risk of artificiality in the vague appropriation? In a performance of Jacob Wren’s recent book Authenticity Is A Feeling, which recounts the history of PME-ART, the performance group he has headed for twenty years, Wren explained that his ultimate goal and what keeps him going is work that strips away the baroque theatricality of most performance art (like scripts, affectations, etc.). It may be odd to finish this essay on an example that seems to eschew the scaled plating of appropriation for some type of biographical vulnerability. But while I found Wren’s performance affecting, I also could not help finding it affected. “In a way this echoed something that had followed us since the beginning of the show: when you are being yourself, when you are trying to bring more of this reality into the performance situation, so many people think that because it is still theatre, taking place onstage everything you’re saying must not be true. Or at least they come expecting fiction, and when it’s so unclear how the things you’re saying match or don’t match this expectation, they can easily become suspicious.” In my suspicions of Wren’s call to “being yourself in a performance situation,” I display the ironic symptoms of so many people. But a few pages later, I get a sense of why I enjoy this suspicion, these symptoms: “I am rewriting history from the perspective of now, because non-fiction is always also a kind of fiction.” Authenticity always also has a kernel of irony, not least when representation is involved. If we hope to find a more productive and just form of appropriation based on authenticity and sincerity, I have a hunch that scenes of self abuse would be necessary to make us feel possessed of our identities; or that dedication to a principle of opacity would firewall errant interpretation; or that it may not be appropriation after all.

- Michael Eddy, Vague Appropriation


October 20, 2020

Karen Tei Yamashita Quote


By now we understood the joke about the Red Block on Kearny and swimming around in radical alphabet soup – KDP, IWK, WMS, KSW, IHTA, CPA, CCA, EBS. On the face of it, we were all radical activist revolutionaries, and we were all united to defeat a capitalist-imperialist system of greed. We threw ourselves into the concerted work of myriad social and political projects, and we worked our butts off. Our commitment and our passion were irreproachable. We were in these years full-time revolutionaries, and we only thought about the revolution we were building, the fierce resistance to a system that served the few and propertied and wealthy, a social system that had failed our immigrant parents and grandparents, had denied their human rights because of their class and color. We learned to educate ourselves in a literature and culture of resistance, and finding ourselves gathered together at the very center of our Asian communities, we also began to educate ourselves in the practice of that resistance. And that practice gave us experience and power. We were young and powerful, and we were the future.

Well, that was the face of it, because over time, despite our agreed ideals, we came to hate each other. For some strange reason, once we entered one of those four inviting radical doors of the I-Hotel and gave our lives to any one of the projects within, our lives were transformed. Our transformation from individuals into collectives was precisely the thing that gave us power, but power has many sides to it, especially the power of a group. Feeling power, wielding power, demonstrating power. A group could act as a single fist or as an open handshake. Well, handshakes were not the tenor of our times. Perhaps it could be said that four mighty fists emerged from four doors to confront a common enemy, to fight in concert the foes of the I-Hotel, but we admit that very often the left fists did not follow the right fists, the punches did not follow the hooks and jabs; we could not agree on our tactics and strategies, and outside the safety of our doors, we avoided or passed each other in hostility, rushing off to our separate tactics and strategies.

We could blame this all on Lenin and Mao, the two leaders whose theory and practice had led to real revolutions, to the overturning of old social structures, and we were avid readers and interpreters of their theories and practices. They were our heroes. We thought they had realized our dreams. Thus we may have followed their principles of democratic-centralism, meaning in theory that we should all participate in our arguments but finally follow in the fierce unity of our majority decision. And we also believed that our arguments were necessary to our collective struggle, that each group was pursuing a line of thinking that would eventually be proven or disproven in practice, that at the end of our struggle, we would finally unite in common unity. Our struggles would make us stronger, more powerful. But we were young and inexperienced, and our fighting was very real, our ideas held just under the tender surface of our new skin and flared in our nostrils. We wanted to be right. We wanted to win.

After we had worked together for our beliefs in twenty-four-hour days without rest, bonded ourselves to each other through the inner struggles of self-criticism within our groups, confessed our social sins to our brother- and sisterhoods, and lost our individual selves to our collective purpose, we finally could only be with each other. And we found ourselves fighting about if we should collude with the so-called system and its elected liberal officials, if our struggle should be defined as working with the working class or our oppressed Asian communities, if this or that hotel tenant was an advanced worker, if our loyalties were with the PRC or the USSR, if any of us were reformists, revisionists, or sellouts, if our art and writing must always have political purpose, and we were very sure that depending on our correct analysis of these definitions, we could then make decisions to act that would be ultimately unbeatable. But however we may have accounted for our thinking and our actions in these years, this was how we found and spent our youth.

– Karen Tei Yamashita, I Hotel


October 14, 2020

Five Paul Valéry Quotes


The path that leads from a confused idea to a clear idea is not made of ideas.

God made everything out of nothing, but the nothing shows through.

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.

Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs that properly concern them.

At times I think, and at times I am.


October 13, 2020

Excerpt from the work-in-progress Amateur Kittens Dreaming Solar Energy


Petra stared down at the notes in front of her:
A novel with many storylines, many loose ends dangling – and some of the loose ends are tied up, some are partly resolved to varying degrees, and some are left dangling – so as you continue to read you are always unsure which storylines will be completed and which left incomplete.
She had been reading this sentence over and over again. She found herself reading it over and over again. Was this really her idea for a structure? The natural world was disappearing, which she mostly only read about in books and newspapers and online. And Veronika had also disappeared. She knew there was no direct connection between these two things but she couldn’t stop herself from connecting them in her mind. Was Veronika a storyline from her life that would be completed or would it be left incomplete? Could heartbreak ever really be said to be incomplete, since it was also so total, so all consuming. But they hadn’t broken up. The story wasn’t nearly so clear and that made it gnaw on her all that much more viciously. Veronika had only left a note saying there was something important she now had to do, she didn’t know when she’d be back but Petra definitely shouldn’t worry (sure, that was going to work,) and for both of their safety it was better not to try to contact her until matters calmed down.

Petra might have had a few slight ideas where Veronika had gone, but such ideas were of little solace in the face of such a wrenching and sudden disappearance. So she was trying to do what she had always done in difficult times, always done when she found herself alone, namely bury herself in work, take her mind off the wrenching unpleasantness of reality by throwing the entirety of her thoughts into the imagined world she had been piecing together, little by little, for far too long, as several deadlines approached and then passed, and her editor no longer called in search of updates. Hence the many years of notes spread out on the desk in front of her. And asleep on the very edge of that desk was the kitten given to them at The Vicinity, who had been in her life, one of the most elegant parts of it, just over a year.

(A small problem: we now seem to have two characters named Penelope and that might become confusing over time. So, in order to avoid such confusion, I will call, at least for now, the kitten version Penelope K.) Penelope K and Petra had only communicated telepathically a handful of times over the previous year. For the rest they communicated in the more usual ways kittens and humans find to interact: meowing for food, brushing against a leg for attention, scratching at the door to be let outside.

+ + + +

There’s a story I read once. A journalist hires a private detective to find him. He tries to disappear in order to find out how quickly the detective can track him down. The detective finds him in less than a week. In our surveillance-drenched world it is difficult to disappear for long.

In her book Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years 1960-1975, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz writes about the process of going underground. Shortly after she first does so, she stops to visit with some old friends:
Betita and Rees greeted us. The cabin was simple – a living room, a small bedroom, and a kitchen where a wood-burning iron stove provided the cabin’s only heat. We gathered around a table near the stove and drank boiled coffee. Betita and Mike went into the other room to tape their interview. Sheila stretched out on her sleeping bag and went to sleep by the fire. Rees told me the latest news of the land grant movement.

Betita returned to the kitchen. I gave her a copy of the new issue of NO MORE FUN AND GAMES.

“So you’re putting it out again? Great. It’s been more than a year, hasn’t it?”

“Nearly two years since I had anything to do with it. Cell 16 published one more issue after I left, and then the Trotskyists took over. It’s dead, I think. This is a special issue I edited alone – a collection of my essays from the first three issues and a new essay.”

“Let me read the new essay quickly.” Rees and I sat silently while Betita scanned the lines quickly, professionally, like the editor she was. Her brow furrowed, and she lit a cigarette.

“Hermana, Roxanne, I love you dearly, but you’re dead wrong. You’re planning to go underground, aren’t you?”

“We already have gone underground, in New Orleans since June. We’re returning from a trip,” I said. Betita shook her head. She smiled, but it was a smile of disapproval. Rees read the essay, his face contorted. He finished and slammed the journal down on the table.

“Bullshit, Roxanne. What the hell’s come over you? This is nuts.”

I sat at the table with them for hours. It felt like I was being interrogated by Betina, who argued in her soft, reasoned voice; then by Rees, bellowing, slamming the side of his fist on the table, pacing like a wild animal in the zoo. Somehow, both Mike and Sheila slept through the long argument. I trusted Betita and Rees completely and knew they cared about me, but what they were saying felt like the caution of relatives, of parents who worried too much about a child.

“What about women? You have the ears of millions of women and now you disappear on them, desert them, and even lead some into the same inferno you’re headed into,” Betita argued.

Rees took a different tack. “You’re working class like me. Think about it, this is bourgeois crap. The only kind of working-class people you’re likely to attract are some demented ex-cons or bikers, certainly not the women, certainly not a militant union worker struggling for socialism.”

I countered by referring to the Wobbly tradition of violence. Rees got angry when I said that. “The Wobblies had to defend themselves and they were a mass of workers: It was their movement. Sure, they bombed things and used violence but they were a grassroots movement. The violence came out of a mass struggle, not from some self-appointed underground groups. I don’t have a damned thing against violence, just suicide and misleading people.”

“What about Cuba, the attack on the Moncada?” I said.

“Cuba is Cuba. This is the United States, not the situation for a national liberation struggle,” Betita said.

We argued back and forth for much of the night, finally deciding to sleep without coming to any sort of resolution. I lay awake thinking, their arguments running through my mind. I struggled to suppress any doubt.
Every time my mind goes back over that passage I think: if you have friends who truly care about you, and give you honest advice that comes from their hard-earned life experience, you should consider this advice as fully as possible and most likely take it. (In another part of the book, about what is soon to come, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz writes: “In retrospect, I think that I lost my bearings for a time. I was about to make some very unwise choices.”) But Veronika didn’t ask anyone for advice before she went underground. Not even the love of her life. (Politics before love.) She somehow knew in the long run that Petra would understand. That if she survived they would reunite and their love would be stronger through the experience. For the entire time she was hidden she didn’t touch a phone, computer or bank card. She avoided cameras of any kind, ducking away if she spotted one in the distance. It was an experiment to see if they could take an action and have it remain completely anonymous. None of them fully believed it was possible but if they could pull it off they’d have gained a kind of necessary knowledge that could be put to use by so many others in the future. There were four of them in the cell and they trusted each other almost completely. They’d been careful and, to the best of their knowledge, no one even knew they all still knew each other.


September 27, 2020

Some passages from M Archive: After the End of the World

Some passages from M Archive: After the End of the World by Alexis Pauline Gumbs:


it hurt to move. it hurt to breathe. the food decline plateaued because it hurt so much to eat. and we were thick in our clothes for swelling. and when our eyes swole shut we couldn’t see. and then we finally saw. we saw it.

we hadn’t told the truth is so damn long.


at some point the work of pretending we weren’t going to die, that our children weren’t going to die, that our deaths and lives weren’t going to be forgotten, became unsustainable. it was hard enough to just breathe and metabolize. to find something to metabolize. to find people to metabolize near. now some people call it the true end of whiteness, when the world could finally operate based on something other than fear of blackness, of being, of death. but at the time all we knew was the story had run out. all the stories. of staying young to cheat death. of thinking young people wouldn’t die. of immortality via “making a difference.” of genetic imprint as stability. of stacking money and etching names on buildings. people used to do those things before. not to mention that they would not mention death and would hide the dying away and strive to protect the eyes of the children who already knew everything.

at some point. all the dead being here anyway and all of us here being obviously doomed, we let go of that particular game. and started breathing. and saw our hands.

we let go.

i felt like i could fly.


what we wanted was to want to. not to have to do anything. and the problem was we forgot after all these years of force what wanting was.

want was not getting, nor was it having. wanting was not needing. wanting was not having to have or needing not to need. it was not. and there was a wideness in wanting that didn’t quite fold in on itself. it deepened and rose up and radiated out and touched softly to itself with warm warning.


not knowing when made them reckless in their trust and irresponsible in their love attempts.


we questioned the end point of evolution when we noticed it wasn’t us.


so she happened to remember the time of the surface people who had hated and manipulated depth in their vain attempt to accept death. how they had blown the peaks off of mountains like this to dig out the darkness they couldn’t find in themselves. how they had blasted into the ground threatening all the underneath water to frack out the darkness they couldn’t trust in themselves. the surface people, she inhaled and exhaled, who blew a hole in the sky as big as what they were unwilling to know.


that was the challenge. to create oneself anew on a regular basis. it started with every seven years (also called the new cell cycle) and accelerated for the talented. to every three years, every year, every season, every month, every day until the prestige came from re-creating a self unrecognizable (to both your former self and the expectations of others) multiple times in any given day. they said it was towards the evolution of the community. a community that could not depend on previous expectations would have to evolve new needs. their individual shapeshifting was towards less collective dependence on a former world. let the new world meet us faster where we are! the people sometimes said to affirm a particularly brave invention.

they went from mostly not knowing their neighbors to perpetually not knowing themselves. which seemed more useful. and like the rare urban neighbor with the time to watch their transforming neighbors walk in and out their doors differently every day, the social media applications were even more useful for creating narrative out of the random moments of self-documentation offered by the digitally literate.

maybe that’s where they went wrong. the watching. because at some point the point changed from transforming need and evolving skills to performing further and further newness. as if novelty itself was the measure and the outcome and the point again. and eventually it distilled down to the same people looking different every day and going to the same places they always went just to provoke contrast and doing the same things they always did (eventually just the work of looking for and financing new costumes). so the challenge was called off around the time when it got most boring.

it wasn’t worth the use of fossil fuels.


August 28, 2020

Dana Inkster Quote


I disagreed with the producers’ throughout the production process. I disagreed with the producers’ often reiterated belief that the audience will not understand unless everything is spelled out. This impulse quashes the very power of what art brings to the expression. Art is in the multiplicity of reading. I am aware of my marginalized cultural perspective in relation to the vast majority of Canadian broadcast media I have consumed. My hypothesis in all contexts is: in the face of confusion, articulated questions can create meaning. Consensus about and agreement on meaning does not equate creation of knowledge. Consensus does not reflect a new way of seeing – which is my priority. Consensus reflects a whittling down of ideas.

– Dana Inkster, Blackness in the Atmosphere


August 22, 2020

Authenticity Was A Feeling: A conversation between Claudia La Rocco and Jacob Wren


Authenticity Was A Feeling:
A conversation between Claudia La Rocco and Jacob Wren
Monday August 24th, 8:30 Berlin Time
Online at Tanz im August

And you can of course still order the book Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART here


July 17, 2020

Richard Beck Quote


The great historian Ellen Meiksins Wood has described America’s odd investment in what she calls “surplus” imperialism, the belief among America’s foreign policy establishment that it is not enough for America to be the most powerful country in the world — it must be the most powerful country by such a disproportionate margin that the very idea of anyone else overtaking it is unthinkable. In the words of Colin Powell in 1992, the US needs to be powerful enough “to deter any challenger from ever dreaming of challenging us on the world stage” (emphasis added). Or, in the words of George W. Bush’s 2002 National Security Strategy, “strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military buildup in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States” (again, emphasis added).

This may sound like the mindset of a comic-book villain, but America’s investment in surplus imperialism has a concrete, material basis. Since the end of World War II, the United States has been not only the world’s most powerful capitalist nation but the global custodian of capitalism itself. (That task had previously fallen to the system of European colonialism, which at its height occupied some 80 percent of the world.) In exchange for the privilege of enjoying the highest rates of consumption on earth, the United States also invests more than any other country in the direction, supervision, and maintenance of global capital flows. These investments take many forms, including the spearheading of free-trade agreements, the establishment of financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), support for governments that adhere to the capitalist consensus and the undermining of those that don’t, and the use of military force to pry open markets in cases where diplomacy and economic pressure aren’t enough. The “surplus” aspect of America’s imperialism is crucial, because capitalism requires stability and predictability through time in order to function smoothly. Investments need months, years, or decades to produce their returns, and people are only willing to invest their capital if they feel confident that the future is going to unfold in the way they expect. You don’t start producing almonds until you’re confident that almond milk isn’t just a passing fad, and you don’t move one of your factories to a new country if there’s a chance a leftist government will come to power and expropriate the factory. Financial markets move every day in response to changes in these ephemeral moods, and the financial press has names for them: uncertainty, consumer confidence, business expectations.

Surplus imperialism is an effort to keep uncertainty to a minimum. It’s good to be strong enough to defeat a country that attempts a military land grab against one of its neighbors (as with Saddam Hussein and Kuwait in the Persian Gulf War). But from the perspective of capital markets, it’s much better for the US to be so strong that nobody even thinks about attempting the land grab in the first place. And in a sense, the surplus imperialist mindset isn’t only or even primarily aimed at America’s enemies. Countries like Venezuela and North Korea are already perfectly aware that they have no hope of equaling American power. Rather, the psychological force of surplus imperialism is aimed squarely at America’s friends — countries on the make, like Turkey, India, and Brazil, which are discouraged from getting any big ideas about creative new alliances even as the brute facts of America’s declining power unfold in full view, year after year — and frenemies like Russia and China, regional powers with whom a full-scale military confrontation remains unimaginable, but only so long as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping agree there’s no upside to imagining it.

American imperialism is not a recent development, and neither are American military interventions in pursuit of imperialist goals. But the kind of surplus imperialism to which the US is now committed, accounting for nearly 40 percent of global military spending on its own, is new. It dates roughly from the end of the cold war, and it has produced a doctrine under which the US can take military action anywhere in the world whenever it wants, with no explanation required. The tradition of “just war,” which previously dominated political rhetoric about military action, was flexible to the point of near incoherence, but at the very least it demanded that war be declared with a specific goal in mind, that it be declared by an appropriate authority, and that the destruction inflicted be proportionate to the aims one hoped to achieve. All of that went out the door with George W. Bush and the global war on terror. The country’s new rationale for military action became a part of American law when Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force in September 2001. As Wood puts it, “military action now requires no specific aim at all.”

- Richard Beck, We Used to Run This Country


July 1, 2020

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor Quote


We can’t win with the idea that only black people can fight for black people, white people should fight for working class white people, Latinos should only fight for themselves. We can’t win that way. And we have a lifetime of experience over the previous century that is proof of that. And I like to think of myself as an Afro optimist. I think that the black struggle in this country has been a source of inspiration for people around the world, because this is the most exploitative, the most oppressive country, just simply because it has the resources to be different. You know, this is not a struggling republic that has no money and resorts to brute force in order to eke out an existence. This is the richest country in the history of the world, where its ruling class deliberately sets poor and working class people in opposition to each other, to maintain wealth at the top of our society. And we acquiesce to that politically by reinforcing the lines of division that they have drawn in the first place. And so we have to think about solidarity as not an exercise in finding the least contentious issue around which to organise, so that’s not what we’re arguing for. We’re arguing for an informed solidarity based on an understanding of the oppression of black people and a rejection of it, an understanding of the oppression and exploitation of immigrant labour in the United States and a rejection of it. And that’s hard. It is hard. But there’s no other way. There’s no shortcut. There’s no way to circumvent the need for what Combahee talked about as coalition-building and the need for what is actually playing out in the streets right now, which is a multiracial rebellion against capitalism and the excesses of it. And so people want to be in a movement. People want to be a part of an effort to transform this country. And no one should be told that you can’t be a part of it, you know? And so to me, that’s part of what it means to democratise our movements, to open them up and to struggle. You know, we have to struggle with each other. And we can’t have this kind of sacrosanct approach to politics where you don’t get to say the wrong thing. You don’t get to make a mistake. And if you do, then you’re banished from organising. Because the reality is if that is the standard that we are creating, then we’ll never have a mass movement of ordinary people who’d make those mistakes and say those things all the time. And so if it’s you and your 12 friends who had your American studies seminar and your women’s studies seminar, and you figured out what all the language is, then that’s great, and good luck. But if we’re actually going to build a movement of the masses who are affected by this, then we have to have some grace, then we have to listen to people. We have to understand what their struggles are. And we have to find a way to knit ourselves together into a force that can actually fight for the world that we want. And that’s hard. And it’s much harder than just saying ‘you people go to the back because you haven’t experienced what it’s like to be called the N word’. We’re not going to get anywhere with that. And we have to have a different vision of politics to fight for the kind of world that we want.

- Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, from the interview How do you change things?


June 18, 2020

Enters performing at Suoni Per Il Popolo

Enters [Alexei Perry Cox · Jacob Wren · Radwan Ghazi Moumneh] live at Montréal's Hotel2Tango on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 as part of the Suoni Per Il Popolo.


May 20, 2020

Vulnerable Paradoxes / May 27-31


We've been working on Vulnerable Paradoxes for so long and now it's finally going to happen. When we started it was a live event. And now, for obvious reasons, it will be online. So curious what everyone will say and do. So grateful that so many remarkable artists are participating: Aisha Sasha John + Dana Michel + Dayna Danger + Elena Stoodley + Kama La Mackerel + Kamissa Ma Koïta + Lara Kramer + Mai t̶h̶i Bach Ngoc Nguyen + Malik Nashad Sharpe + Milton Lim + nènè myriam konaté + Po B. K. Lomami + Sonia Hughes

You can find all the details here.


May 10, 2020

A pushing into the mainstream of something that wasn't quite there before.


Over the last week or two I've been listening to a lot of John Prine, Tony Allen, Kraftwerk and Little Richard. I'm not sure there's any other circumstances in which I'd find myself thinking of these artists together. But I find myself starting to think that they do all have something in common. A certain stubbornness and panache. A pushing into the mainstream of something that wasn't quite there before. There is also something along the lines of Prine being framed as a "songwriter's songwriter." (Which reminds me of this quote from Prine: "In my songs, I try to look through someone else’s eyes, and I want to give the audience a feeling more than a message.") These are all artists who have influenced and inspired so many other artists. I was especially struck by both Dylan and Jagger speaking about how much Little Richard has meant to them (which echoes the extent to which rock 'n' roll is just white artists ripping off black music.) And I can't think of Kraftwerk without also thinking of Afrika Bambaataa. Hip Hop is of course filled with Tony Allen samples and Allen was respected and admired by drummers of every stripe. I've never quite formulated this before, but maybe that's something I should consider more with artists. When they're admired by other artists it really seems to mean something about the breadth and depth of the work, the ways their influences radiate out in every direction.


May 8, 2020

Ama Ata Aidoo Quote


Do I think it must always be so? Certainly not. It can be changed. It can be better. Life on earth need not always be some humans being gods and others being sacrificial animals. Indeed, that can be changed. But it would take so much. No, not time. There has always been enough time for anything anyone ever really wanted to do. What it would take is a lot of thinking and a good deal of doing. But one wonders whether we are prepared to tire our minds and our bodies that much. Are we human beings even prepared to try?

– Ama Ata Aidoo, Changes


May 4, 2020

the joy of using less


I've been trying to come up with an environmental slogan along the lines of: the joy of using less. About how when we consume less resources, and instead focus on what's most important, our lives have the potential to become better rather than worse. I'm also searching for the anti-capitalist edge to it, since capitalism relies on so much overconsumption and waste. Something about how using less becomes joyous when it's a collective effort toward meaningful survival. But I don't feel I'm quite on the right track.


May 1, 2020

Some Bandcamp Suggestions


[As you may already know, today (May 1), as well as on June 5, and July 3 (the first Friday of each month), Bandcamp is waiving their revenue share for all sales on Bandcamp, from midnight to midnight PDT on each day in order to help artists and labels impacted by the pandemic. Since, as I frequently mention, I really love lists, I thought I would take this moment to share a few of my Bandcamp suggestions as follows.]

Spellling – Mazy Fly

SACRED//PAWS - Run Around The Sun

Tony Allen - Black Voices

Tony Allen - HomeCooking

Tony Allen - NEPA

The Lijadu Sisters - Sunshine

The Lijadu Sisters - Horizon Unlimited

Paradis Artificiel - Paradis Artificiel

Richard Dawson - 2020

Hélène Barbier - Have You Met Elliott?

Witch Prophet - DNA ACTIVATION

Farai - Rebirth

Irreversible Entanglements - Who Sent You?

Moor Mother - CLEPSYDRA

700 Bliss - Spa 700

dj haram - Grace

Mohamed Lamouri & Groupe Mostla - Underground Raï Love

Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari - Grounation

Nappy Nina - Dumb Doubt

Nappy Nina - 30 Bag

Wilma Vritra - Burd

Meara O'Reilly - Hockets for Two Voices (EP)

Idris Ackamoor and the Pyramids - Rhapsody in Berlin Pt. 1 & 2

Angel Bat Dawid - The Oracle

Angel Bat Dawid - Transition East

Ben Reed - Station Masters

Davis - Green Parakeet Suite

Fatima - And Yet It's All Love

Joe Maneri, Udi Hrant and Friends - The Cleopatra Record

KeiyaA - Forever- Ya Girl

Locate S-1 - Healing Contest

Malphino - Visit Malphino

Mourning [A] BLKstar - Reckoning

Mourning [A] BLKstar - The Cycle

NSRD - The Workshop For The Restoration Of Unfelt Feelings

Outro Tempo: Electronic And Contemporary Music From Brazil 1978​-​1992

Outro Tempo II

Good God! Apocryphal Hymns

Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal

Good God! Born Again Funk

Uneven Paths: Deviant Pop From Europe 1980​-​1991


Richenel - Perfect Stranger

その他の短編ズ / sonotanotanpenz - 31

Ivy Sole - Overgrown

Mammane Sani et son Orgue - La Musique Electronique du Niger

Nadah El Shazly - Ahwar

RP Boo - I'll Tell You What!

Sweet As Broken Dates Lost - Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa

The Sorority - Pledge

Zatua - Sin Existencia

Mega Bog - Gone Banana

Mega Bog - Happy Together

Mega Bog - Dolphine

Edwyn Collins - Understated

Robert Forster - Inferno

Peter Perrett - How The West Was Won

serpentwithfeet - blisters

Eucalyptus - Fascination In Sound

TOOLS YOU CAN TRUST - Working And Shopping

Marion Cousin & Kaumwald - Tu rabo par'abanico

Deena Abdelwahed - Dhakar

Main Attrakionz - 808s & Dark Grapes II

Sandro Perri - Soft Landing

Nicholas Krgovich - IN AN OPEN FIELD

Elysia Crampton - Elysia Crampton

Frank and His Sisters - Frank and His Sisters

The Mauskovic Dance Band - The Mauskovic Dance Band

Kelan Philip Cohran & The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

MIKE - tears of joy

MIKE - War in my Pen

Ric Wilson, Terrace Martin - They Call Me Disco

Klein - ONLY

Klein - Tommy

Klein - Lifetime

Klein - Frozen

Lolina - Live in Paris

Lolina - The Smoke

Nyege Nyege Tapes - Sounds of Sisso

DJ Rashad - Double Cup

Tirzah - Devotion

Okkyung Lee - Yeo​-​Neun

Nancy Dupree - Ghetto Reality


April 23, 2020

"so fierce that the phrase buggy-whip maker became a business simile for loser"


I've been thinking about this quote regularly since I first read it in 2015:

"In 1915, as the American economy boomed, the huge supply chain that supported horse-drawn transport—harnesses and horseshoes, wagons and buggies makers (13,000 of them), farriers and blacksmiths, hay balers and feedmills—looked like a robust and vital segment for deploying capital. 1920 was the year of “Peak Horse” in the U.S.. By 1940 it was gone. This was not “low-cost”, incremental progress. It was an economic disruption so fierce that the phrase “buggy-whip maker” became a business simile for loser."

And I thought of it again the other day when I read the headline:

The day oil was worth less than $0 — and nobody wanted it

And then, a few days later, this headline:

Big Banks Pull Financing, Prepare To Seize Assets From Collapsing Oil and Gas Industry

If environmentalists, meaning (I believe or at least hope) the majority of us, find as many ways as possible to seize the moment, I don't see why this couldn't be the beginning of the end for the fossil fuel industry.

[The first quote is from Carl Pope's 2015 article Get Ready for Ugly as "Free Markets" Begin to Deal With Climate Crisis.]


April 19, 2020

"Those are really my people."


"I often say I don’t necessarily relate to people who make art, performance, or literature, but I do relate to people who make art, performance, and literature who think of quitting every fifteen seconds. Those are really my people. I call us the boy-who-cried wolf set, since we always announce we’re quitting but never do, and therefore no one believes us anymore. It seems to me that anyone who works in the arts today and doesn’t have serious, ongoing doubts as to the validity or efficacy of the situation is not facing all of the current, inherent problems and questions with open eyes."

- an excerpt from Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART


April 13, 2020

And it's the exact same virus.


There's something I've been thinking about a lot. In Germany the fatality rate is estimated to be around 1%. And in Italy the fatality rate is somewhere over 10%. And it's the exact same virus.

The virus is one thing, but political factors surrounding it - the ways governments and societies handle the situation - really seem to have a rather large role.

I might have known this before but I never quite understood it in such a visceral way.


April 9, 2020

Last night I couldn't sleep...


Last night I couldn't sleep. And I started thinking about how, in the early months of 2020, before the lockdown, I went to a series of cultural events that, each in their own way, completely blew me away. It felt like I was on a roll. There were four amazing Drawn & Quarterly book launches: Lisa RobertsonKai Cheng ThomDesmond Cole and Kaie Kellough. Each of these events was completely packed, almost too packed, and each of these writers said so many things, almost too many things, I found so thought-provoking and moving. And then there was Le Short & Sweet recyclé XXL, which also was an almost never-ending stream of artists and moments where it continuously felt like something was really happening. Then the last event I went to, the bilingual reading Épiques Voices, that also just had so much striking and performative work in both languages. And since then I have not been in a single over-crowded room. Already it all seems so long ago.


March 23, 2020



Boycott Amazon.
They are pandemic profiteers.


March 21, 2020

Ideas for Pandemic Short Stories


A large number of healthy young people volunteer to contract the virus and live together in a luxury quarantine hotel in order to, over time, boost herd immunity.

In the early days of the pandemic, before many people know what it is, a young man contracts the virus and immediately decides to pay a visit to the now elderly priest who abused him as a child.

In a misguided suicide attempt, an elderly man tries, and fails, to contract the virus.

Waiting in line to get tested for the virus, two strangers meet and fall in love. When they receive their test results one of them has tested positive and the other negative.

People sit alone in their apartments wondering how long this will last.

A young, would-be dictator considers the possibility that “voluntary social distancing” might be the key to his future success.

For the first time in history a socialist is about to be elected president. And then the pandemic hits.

An activist group devises a means of protest in which every protester stands exactly six feet away from ever other protester.

A meeting at which everyone arrives, washes their hands, sits six feet away from each other, and talks.

A politician, having been told the pandemic is completely under control, takes a wrong turn and ends up in one of the poorest neighbourhoods, where he learns things aren’t under control at all.

A new couple meet and fall in love just as the pandemic strikes and spend three months locked in their apartment having sex in every possible way.

The virus rapidly spreads through the police force.

At the factory where they assemble the virus tests, the poorly paid workers contract the virus and spread it through the tests.

As he lies in bed dying of the virus, an elderly right-wing billionaire – who spent his entire life fighting against public services (especially against public healthcare) – reflects on the fact that if there had been more effective healthcare the virus might not have spread so rapidly and therefore he might not be dying now.

A mutual aid group acquire a ventilator and teach themselves how to use it by watching YouTube tutorials.

During a rent strike, the landlord comes over to meet the tenants as a group and, for the first time, they end up having a real discussion about all of their lives.

A vaccine is developed and the world rejoices. But soon scientists discover it is only effective in fifty percent of the population and no one can figure out why.

A woman recounts the life story of her parents, who tragically both passed away at the exact same time.

Two science aficionados are arguing on Twitter over whether the actual fatality rate is 1% or 0.8%, when one of them receives a text message that his childhood best friend has died.

The author recounts reading two different online articles about the virus, as each one presents a set of facts that are basically opposite to the other.

An anti-vaxxer has a deep crisis of faith.

A Hollywood screenwriter pitches a superhero film in which all the superheroes catch the virus. The pitch does not go well.


March 20, 2020

Rob Horning Quote


When Gene Simmons insists that he wants to “rock and roll all night and party everyday,” we should understand that as an admission that not only does he fail to do those things, but he is in dire need of convincing himself that he actually wants to.

- Rob Horning


March 18, 2020

Bernadette Mayer Quote


Something shifts and as Wittgenstein would say, and anybody else not normal, to take some pleasure in being obsessively careful, to quietly comb out the baby’s hair and take one’s time, to decorate the children with ribbons and whisper to them, to prepare special foods, secret inducements, to linger conversing about the dreams in bed, to encourage the counting of peanuts, these are the methods of the usual, inducements to the ordinary, to pass the time, to adduce pleasure, to encounter danger, to see silver spots before the eyes without fear, the safest form with which to take risks, the advertisement of the days of misery if I can still look up and see the man with the glove and a chance image of the accumulation of objects, the storehouse of pictures which will not work out in memory, there’s only one time when you can’t be doing this or that kind of work and have something like a drink make it easier than it is, and that’s when you’re giving birth to a baby but there’s nothing new about that.

– Bernadette Mayer, from The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters


March 17, 2020

One of my first thoughts in the early days of the pandemic...


One of my first thoughts in the early days of the pandemic was: social distancing and closing borders, those are things dictators like.

I knew I had to be careful how I said such things. These were also scientifically proven strategies to reduce exponentiality, contain the situation and reduce harm. Any hint of denying the science couldn’t help but remind me of climate change deniers, people only making the situation worse. Nonetheless, how science is interpreted is always political and metaphors of contagion have most often been used in politically heinous ways.

I have to admit, from a political standpoint, and from most other standpoints as well, nothing about it felt good. (But, of course, a pandemic isn’t supposed to “feel good.”) Already, for my entire lifetime, people were so isolated and alienated. Working together and solidarity were already so difficult to achieve and I couldn’t see many ways in which social distancing might make any of it easier. And obviously so many on the far right want nothing else but to close as many borders as they can find. Pandemic or not, closing borders seemed like little more than a band-aid solution and it felt extremely dangerous to think of it positively.

And yet, or so I told myself, as I always try to tell myself, in any situation there must be certain possibilities for emancipatory change. Beyond distancing and closing, there was some way for all of this to shine a brighter light on what is missing. To clarify the many ways we must continue to care for each other. To lead to greater openness in the long run. But I am extremely worried this will not be the case.


March 16, 2020

Momus: Oblivion

Sometimes the speed at which Momus produces songs makes them really effective:

February 22, 2020

The Air Contains Honey residency at Ursa


In 2018 Adam Kinner and Jacob Wren wanted to start an orchestra. They wrote a number of songs, each consisting of a one-sentence quote, and called it The Air Contains Honey. Now they are inviting an ever-shifting and significant number of their friends to join them on stage. For the first three Tuesdays in March, at URSA, the orchestra of professional and amateur musicians will gather in search of a warmth and community spirit that they may or may not find. For the audience, and for the musicians, too, it will be a chance to hear an orchestra that discovers its sound as it goes. 

Three Tuesdays in a row: March 3rd, 10th & 17th

This is only the beginning...


February 19, 2020

the final footnote


The final footnote in Georges Bataille's final unfinished book reads:

"I don't intend to deal in this work with the question of the means of acting effectively. However, I will set out the principles of such action elsewhere."

We're still waiting.


February 12, 2020

star systems


Thinking about all the ways art (in every discipline) is and isn't a star system, how at a certain point in some artists careers opportunities apparently continue to accrue because of their name and almost in spite of the work, and also how the search for new artists is connected to a fantasy that they too might some day find themselves in this confusing yet enviable position. And also all the artists who have had some but not that much success, where the appreciation seems to me to be more directly connected to the work they're making right now, but this also might be a kind of illusion. And how the many different ways I understand integrity in relation to making work has changed so much over the years to the point where I'm not exactly sure what I mean by it anymore but know it's something I still believe in even as my understanding of it continues to change.


January 2, 2020

PME-ART in Vancouver


PME-ART will be coming to Vancouver for PuSh with three different events:

February 5th & 6th: A User's Guide to Authenticity Is a Feeling
Facebook Event

February 7th: The DJ Who Gave Too Much Information
Facebook Event

February 8th: Bring Your Own Record / Listening Party
Facebook Event

This is our first time ever performing in Vancouver, proving that anything is possible.

Bonus: PuShy Questions with Jacob Wren from The DJ Who Gave Too Much Information