Short lucid piece on a set of poems by Fred Moten for Spam Zine.
Short lucid piece on a set of poems by Fred Moten for Spam Zine.
Originally published on Southern Discomfort Zine (15/1/2018)
A disjunctive genealogy, some conjectures into the state of things. Reinscribed remembrances, no flag-waving exercises though.
I retro sweeps
A couple of retro sweeps swaying in the winds. Soul of A Nation a big-hitter. Abstraction, multimedia, sculpture, traced out through geographical scenes. Tate’s white walls. Industrial history.
Basquiat capturing all. Textures doubling, social immanence, colours the street onto canvas, the musicality seeping out reifying scenes of NY institutionality. The prehistory of/in the canvas. Never trust the sovereign [curator].
II Established abstraction to film to planetary / multimedia narration
Established abstraction played out with black Atlantan Frank Bowling, from Soul to a solo London Fishes, Wishes in Summer Blue (companion-NY-exhibition-took-place-simultaneous [Metropolitanblooms]). landscaped visions against shoreditch facades. And in that visionary planetarity a prefiguring already in that prehistoric predicament – the colour before / facing /
Akomfrah purple vigenettes shades of
Jarman blue screen multi-channeled
Industrialised reproduction / dystopic worldings
Keith Piper’s encoded research
Video variants on cultural critique — xx
Arthur Jafa snippets archived network (‘Love is the message and the message is death’) Digital interfaces textilic arrangement
Embodiment cut and undercut notorious and harlem Sages gurus sants auric tremblings avatar-ic historicity
Cut along the strand, desertions beached
(‘Everything at once’ was said)
III Future [transmedia]
Hannah Black’s ‘situation’
//Shredded sociality [‘Some Context’]
Kudzanai- Violet Hwami – fine art played through the digital
Processed — reprocessed
montage layed over
emphasised embodiment social image ~~~ reinscribed
figuration on the white wall / baker street shopping bustle coffee cups
Lectured rhythms cut-and-paste
Specified matrilineal flowed out
Dadi – repository
Icons and images strewn and collected
A deep-set aleatory archetype
crumbling visages deft tales in hanuman’s grasp
//A [pre]-historical glimpse colouring the dormant
transference inferred ~~
Photos by Anuka Ramischwili-Schafer and myself
Originally published on Southern Discomfort Zine (12/9/2016)
[Note: Three pieces accumulated with an imperial thread: Jose Mourinho’s dramatics, Cristiano Ronaldo’s glory, Lisbon record label Príncipe Discos’ differed modulations]
The contingent played out, playing on. Jose Mourinho an icon at the end of history – the ‘special one’ and his latent (post)modernist ideas of the Chelsea family – corporatism borne from the impasses of a Portuguese modernist modulation. Mourinho descended from the social base of a fascism nonetheless. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves
Where does a story begin? Was it when Roman was flying on helicopter enamoured with Stamford Bridge, White Hart Lane forgone? Was it Monaco and Hugo Ibarra’s fucking hand
Ranieri Zola Hasselbaink Desailly out / Drogba Robben Carvalho Mourinho in?
Was it 1992 and the establishment of the Premiership?
Finance rolling in, New Labour fulfilling the Thatcherite dream. Maybe it was Ken Bates and his electric fence – headhunters spectralised.
And its these hauntings, the speckled of the violence at the beginning, the irretrievable violence of the forming of our financialised, hyper-circulated sociality. The violence of inauguration and through those silent species: Chelsea ‘has no history’. West Ham the flip-side; honest working club. Honest local boy Frankie Lampard Jr. corrupted by Tory blue finance-rich Chelsea, right? (We’ll see what Stratford’s gotta say about that, haunted by Anish Kapoor’s towering inadequity).
But that’s Roman’s Empire. Success without history, without narration. Within Post-Soviet space ‘cosmopolitan’ capital deterritorialising (Usmanov, Ivanishvili, Venky’s, Singha etc.)– we’ve got the best league in the world for a reason – commodification of diversity. But commodities can speak, labour speaks, plays. Week-in-week-out.
And our passions toll to the rhythm, transgressing the simplicities of ‘pure ideology’. Within, against, and out. Escape.
Desire, instinct, skill, power, communication, tactics, strategy, style, passion
Critical theory never knew a better partner
Its acceleration, intensity, sublime temporalised into 90 minutes along green territorialising topographies. The club as kin(g) rings true. Unsovereign, subcultural, subaltern, fascist. Mass a difficult bunch, dirty, infectious, splitting ends.
And it all ends in Munich, with Di Mateo’s beaming face and Drogba’s verbose performance, speaking in, through, and out. Riefenstahl move aside. History being made. Through the codification of a trophy won, social life as irreducibility bubbles below. Cos its all about Chelsea being racist actually. Tired attempts to narrativise phenomena beyond the grasp of ‘think-pieces’ and sardonic cultural criticism, circulation and recirculation making – breaking – as raw desire is translated to public interest. But commodities can play.
Subterranean myths bearing out through chants, sedimented in re-presentations. Far beyond chronologies and public uses of finger-pointing ‘racist’ ‘sexist’. Reasoned arrogance, step aside bitte. History made and made again, produced and reproduced and failed subjects, failing at coherence, failing at politics, failing at becoming failing at codifying experience ‘speak for a moment’, circulating irreducible social forms beneath the market. Re-circulation as revolution. (Hobbes) Retrograde Copernicanism, Cruyffian totalities.
Total football, total late capital, total topographies disseminating the spirit
Recurrence as spectres return, spirit reassembled. Football as total contingency, determined continually to lose, post-war English through and through. And its Mourinho and Franco’s Furio, Van Gaal usurped, Guardiola in the wings, Wengerian banality
Myths of Zidane, the Kabyle, Sufi away from (ab)original, badawi
Mourinho, the Fascist and the Late Capitalist
We all start somewhere: Sat immersed in settee, spit flying HD. Zinedine’s sinews stretched, A 21st Century Portrait, its glossy animation of limbs articulated, wings jerking against Kantian clippings, imagining bodies beyond rusting imperial metropoles and their hematological-surplus, indebted the bare play, lifeblood and labour selling but not with full intent, inscriptions on the walls, piss dribbling, quotidian droll, and its footie! But the bits aint for show. Immediates ungraspable.
The myths run on.
The Portuguese did it.
The Africans it were,
diasporic warriors of a yester-
year you might say.
The French did it before of course,
Arabs and Africans,
this time round not quite.
And it was Cristiano Ronaldo’s show,
his eventual absence
spiriting the scuffling climax.
Traces of Cape Verde through
Madeira culturally trading-up with the black-
hybrids, postcolonials of another vanished era
Angola Mozambique Guinea-Buissau Sao Tome
and Principe peppered along
Ronaldo’s rippling body
stretching into moulding sovereignties,
Renato Sanches William Carvalho
Nani Ricardo Quaresma Pepe
Eliseu Joao Mario Danilo Eder, The Empire Strikes Back…
What does this kind of juxtaposition in motion really inscribe,
where do we locate the bodily indulgence,
the passion of decomposition,
the beautiful game turned into the dirty great game
Ronaldo as world-historical icon
We were black radicals once, original hybrids
Originary facticity, literary utopia an image escaping away
So what does it mean when Jose Mourinho once grandly declared: ‘We are the Portuguese community’, the dark heart of the Thames spilling sweat. Louis XIV, of course, said about the same. Corporatist to the bone, his wife a Portuguese settler in Angola fled to acceleratingly-capitalist West London. Love/Hate don’t seem to do it justice. Neither does political denouncements. The invisibility of market rationale, or should we say Abramovich, Buck, Arsenon, Zahavi’s web of intransigence marking a juncture of sorts. Social life irreducible, right? What does that mean for Post-Communist stalwart Roman and Post-Fascist tactician Mourinho.
“Post-colonial Ronaldo”? Perhaps
And somewhere below the sovereign, a dancefloor.
“As to strategy, we learned in the struggle; some people think that we adopted a foreign method, or something like this. Our principle is that each people have to create its own struggle. Naturally, we have something to learn from the experience that can be adapted to the real situation of the country. But we bettered our struggle in the culture of our people, in the realities of our country, historical, economical, cultural, etc, and we developed the struggle, supported by our people which is the first and main condition: the support of the people.”
Principe Discos, a label, a movement slowly emerging out of Lisbon’s African estates, fast heady fizzing meditative abstracting black atlantic sound – Zouk Kizomba Kuduro RnB house all mediated against the background of culturalising global capital, a little enclave an overview could never do justice – in some of their own words:
“PRÍNCIPE is a record label based in Lisbon, Portugal.
It is fully dedicated to releasing 100% real contemporary dance music coming out of this city, its suburbs, projects & slums. New sounds, forms and structures with their own set of poetics and cultural identity.”
So into the industrial beast we go, up into personified grief, Mancunian malcontents marauding – Pep and Jose. Managers and philosophers. Commodities and culture. The cotton millers residually dominant, virtually total. Cutting both ways, and cutting something out. The myths of victory archaic and the future critically written out the mouths of serious veritable football journos. Europe splintering, capital gesturing the siege. The siege of Lisbon as the siege in viewership, pubs all round, the siege slipping out, possible passions and critical intent.
Gods walk this earth, and they lose.
there is the fullness of ronaldo’s body and your disparate, ‘peppering’ words… maybe i am looking for more body? but maybe wanting to look for that body — a gathering up of ronaldo’s HD bodybuilding montage adverts — maybe that wanting is the space emanating from your writing (on page 2)
like, i almost want it to start with page 5 (/but commodities can play/, Recurrence as spectres return, spirit reassembled (beautiful!!)) and reorder the text… but surely i am wrong
a peppering of families, splintered into muscular separate bodies, shot down by bullets of dollar bills, strewn across a burning football pitch that is europe: resembling plastic bags billowing across the astroturf— is it a ball or is it rubbish, it is maurinho’s head, can you feel the beating of Roman’s helicopter, the beating around and out that is principe?
❤ ❤ beautiful.
its always difficult to comment critically – maybe for the end you need to go to Lisbon in more depth – your journey, experience of the music, the dancefloor/club, –the empire striking back on Mourino’s homeland etc… Mourino going north of england — to the heart of the industrial empire — not sure — Portugal the in/out/ of europe, the place where is it all really comes home, on the edge, multiculture— no future of capital etc…capital to a different history, an outside inside europe…. just thinking aloud…. i think only needs a couple of more paras…
Originally published on Southern Discomfort Zine (12/4/2016)
Gotta admit it, I dislike T20. In fact I kinda hate it.
Hate’s a strong word. But it holds a certain ambivalence,
it acknowledges the infectious,
it forms the conditions for particular articulation of the present-indefinite
– through negation
Of course some gripes with T20 and its globalising corporate agenda has been attended to on this zine before, quote:
“But since the decline of West Indies cricket, we have also witnessed fundamental changes in the ethos of cricket – from a game of artistry and skill to one where the imperatives of commercial entertainment have become paramount. This has undoubtedly reached it nadir in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The pantomime that is the IPL represents what is totally wrong with the game now. But like in James’ time cricket tells us a lot about our contemporary postcolonial predicament.”
-Ash Sharma, “Beyond A Boundary”, https://southerndiscomfortzine.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/beyond-a-boundary/
And so there I was,
head heavy with ache,
ached out of utterance,
And man did the split come.
It was the final,
England seem like they’w’re gonna sneak it,
Windies blown it, old man chuntering,
‘shit shit, england are shit, if they win they’re never gonna stop and its gonna make this shit country think its good’, to paraphrase.
Chris Jordan penultimate over,
tight, collected at
Commentator notes he played for Barbados once,
confused half-utterances ensues,
confused commonwealth creolite to the death –
cricketing jurisdictions supple/vital.
Routes/roots, standing scrutiny.
it aint gonna be Root that’s for sure.
Up steps Stokes.
19 needed, 3 sixes plus a run would do it.
Impossible – maybe, improbable – certainly.
You hate you give a fuck about this circus but, hey, that’s hate.
You’re certainly not merely interested at least.
Stokes running in,
bowls down leg,
boom Brathwaite slinks it for 6.
The dream’s alive.
Stokes in again,
down the middle,
Brathwaite’s bat seamlessly swung like a golf club,
its a huge one down the ground.
Your headache’s blissfully being usurped in illogical awe.
We were told he was a hitter but, man, this is something special.
Third ball in, Stokes looking a little forlorn.
More on the offside –
boom, its an uncanny slice,
carried over the boundary,
another six, ridiculous scenes.
Stokes about to cry,
pumped Windies team ready to burst up on the field in victory.
Just need a run now.
But well this circus wouldn’t complete without another six,
yes this one huge again,
with ball left hanging over the stands,
camera cuts to Windies team storming in glory,
some kind of Light Brigade, though not nearly as sycophantic.
shirts are off muscles rippling,
adrenaline testosterone kicking off,
the spectres of the ‘70s –
too black too strong –
images flashing in the circus.
Fragments of something better.
Cos we know its shit but its always good to see Windies doing well,
There’s something about the Windies and their obstinance that always stinks of tragedy,
the wafts of failure in mongrelity.
And it was a tale of two:
Stokes on the kneeling on the floor distraught,
Marlon Samuels with his knock of 79 ‘doggedly’ defiant.
And all the myths came atumble.
Nasser at the usually staid ‘post-match presentation’,
corporate logos staged on height-of-design multi-coloured artifice,
suited brown-faced mimic-men to boot.
Medals run through,
a cheap nod to glocal boy Kohli.
Same old same old right? –
but the intoxicating adrenaline aint quite left yet.
Man of the Match interview, up step Samuels.
Its hard-hitting stuff, no punches pulled,
and that snipe at Shane Warne,
the ever-present Aussie and his lurid voice,
and the mythic violence way-back-when thumped into
present-euphoria. Marlon knows how to play this game
while we scroll through the sports gossip. Nasser blurring, ecstatic
laughter simmering, between reason and madness,
Windies at the T20.
Up steps Darren Sammy,
OK here’s the highwayman,
mediator, formalist, talented for keeping a level-head.
But everything’s relative init.
Its a little bit more subtle now, the excoriating put-downs to cricketing boards/structures, and apocalyptic cries of
‘we don’t know if we’re ever gonna play together again’
‘we may never get a kit again’
‘CARICOM are fully supporting us, not sure about anybody else…’
references to the Almighty, presumably Grenada PM Mitchell himself!
Absurd, ridiculous, but he dared to utter in the chaos of it all,
Indian capital and Windian ‘mismanagement’,
globalised vernaculars as nineteenth century accents clash in all their glorious play.
Chris Gayle laughing away.
Nasser taken on some colour.
And it wouldn’t be over without ‘DJ’ Bravo’s ridiculous dance off his record ‘Champion’,
arms thrust forward somewhere between car-handling and flight-control,
the Windian woman’s team joining in the frivolity.
Something about the grotesque amidst the spectacularly staid affair that is the T20 carnival,
blurry and basic and
Darren Sammy standing firm,
doing what needed to be done,
at the [diasporic] cut,
against expectations against the game.
And the inquisition ensued,
‘they had a point to prove’ the acceptable narrative,
and they used that passion.
But passion’s a tricky customer and I wouldn’t bet on it
and I certainly wouldn’t try to spend it.
Stored and spent – seminal actions.
Struggling scores ex-propiated