Malcolm C. Baker
Multiples, Authorship and the Eighteenth-Century Portrait Bust’s Aura
Democratic Politics in the Age of Post-Fordism
The Production of Subjectivity
Complicity in Spectatorship
“The thing about punk is that you’re allowed to talk about anything. Kids can talk about whatever they want. There’s nobody saying, ‘No, you can’t do that, it’s not punk.’”
J.G. Ballard’s self-declared ‘Immodest Proposal’ for a global war-alliance to exact the destruction of America demonstrates the provocatory zeal of his last fiction plans, as well as their enduring prescience.
In the post-avant-garde era we’re all either in the vanguard or asleep in the lap of capital. In this sense everybody
is avant-garde—or nobody.
In the late nineteenth century Alfred Jarry created a prototype of the modern wannabe in his pot-bellied Père Ubu, a figure that raises entitlement to a high art. Ubu doesn’t want to be king; others urge him to it. But he is also the others. And when he does become king, CEO, or US president, he doesn’t know what it means, or if it means anything at all. He just states his claim. And so he shimmies from statement to power. And having obtained power, Ubu decerebrates the world, exposing the grounds for groundlessness, to paraphrase Ortega y Gasset. Ubu is a tautomaniac, that is, he can be explained in his own terms and is thus always in the right (being in the right is all he is). He needs no proof, but on the contrary wants “to turn the absurd into the highest power of thought” (Deleuze & Guattari)....