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The Surre(Gion)Alist Manifesto and Other Writings

The Surre(Gion)Alist Manifesto and Other Writings

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Published by gonzomarx
Max Cafard's Surre(gion)alist Manifest first appeared in Exquisite Corpse in 1990 and was afterwards republished with a preface by New Orleans poet Andrei Codrescu. Arguing for the eminence of the local as a point of view, the manifesto urged readers to consider their own perspective, political and culture, as the outcome of their existence at a certain place and time. It argued that only in radical utopian moments such as May 1968 do individuals become able to envision life beyond the bounds of their own history.
The Surre(gion)alist Manifesto excavates radical European and Chinese philosophy for a new political philosophy appropriate to twenty-first century America. It looks back to the radical individual Taoism of Lao Tse, the utopian experiments of nineteenth-century Europe, the anarchist/individualist critique of Dada, and the radical Situationist Internationale of 1960s Paris, searching for a utopian logic that respects the radical difference of place and individual will
Max Cafard site
http://raforum.info/maxcafard/spip.php?rubrique2
Max Cafard's Surre(gion)alist Manifest first appeared in Exquisite Corpse in 1990 and was afterwards republished with a preface by New Orleans poet Andrei Codrescu. Arguing for the eminence of the local as a point of view, the manifesto urged readers to consider their own perspective, political and culture, as the outcome of their existence at a certain place and time. It argued that only in radical utopian moments such as May 1968 do individuals become able to envision life beyond the bounds of their own history.
The Surre(gion)alist Manifesto excavates radical European and Chinese philosophy for a new political philosophy appropriate to twenty-first century America. It looks back to the radical individual Taoism of Lao Tse, the utopian experiments of nineteenth-century Europe, the anarchist/individualist critique of Dada, and the radical Situationist Internationale of 1960s Paris, searching for a utopian logic that respects the radical difference of place and individual will
Max Cafard site
http://raforum.info/maxcafard/spip.php?rubrique2

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Published by: gonzomarx on Aug 05, 2009
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05/11/2014

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The Surre
(
gion
)
alist Manifesto
and Other Writings
FOREWORD - Andrei Codrescu
Max Cafard became legendary when "The Surre(gion)alist Manifesto" firstappeared in Exquisite Corpse in 1990. The question "Who is Max Cafard?" isstill being asked with some regularity at our offices. Max Cafard became oneof the "surregions" of his own generative imagination when his insurgentwriting gave our readers the sudden frisson that they were in the presenceof something new. One never forgets that frisson when first encounteringNietzsche, Cioran, Derrida, or Deleuze. Imagine the lucky contemporaries ofthose thinkers who were first on the scene when that writing appeared! Thefrisson is renewed by each encounter, but the original feeling of thediscovery is unequalled. This was precisely my epiphany on encounteringMax Cafard’s manifesto: I am in a new place.What kind of place this is will be debated and delved into with all thevoluptuousness attendant on every reader’s discovery. What I know is thatthe best philosophers create an appetite and by the size of their appetiteyou shall know them. The hunger Max Cafard’s writing creates is enormous,a hunger made bigger by a tradition that thrives on appetite and discoveryfrom the Dao onwards. Max Cafard has "roots" in recognizable traditions,anarchism and surrealism among them, but these are floating, walking rootsthat can show up unexpectedly in the most remote (or familiar) regions. Therhizomatic attention of Cafard’s roots is doubled by their insouciance.Welcome to Cafardia, a region that works both by approfondir (deepening)and by espacialisation (wing-spreading). This is globalite againstglobalisation, globulity against globalism, providentialism againstprovincialism.
 
Instead of a Preface
One looks to a preface to find the "original face" (the pre-face) of a work.The author has presumably read the book to the end, and is seemingly in afairly good position to fill the reader in on what to expect. The preface thusbears a slightly absurd relationship to the work. It claims to face what is tocome, but inevitably looks back to what is already completed. So the bookbegins in bad faith, shamelessly tricking the reader. And perhaps also thewriter. This is one reason why Laozi, the anti-foundationalist founder ofDaoism plays such an important role in what "follows." He begins his ownlittle book by saying that the words cannot really be written and the linescannot be followed. The beginning is at the same time a non¬beginning.There is no first word because there is no last word. If you follow the lines,or the lines of argument, they lead you off the page, into the cosmos andchaos that gave birth to these words, these lines, and the followers of thispath. So there is no "original face." Or there is, and one cannot find it here.As Laozi’s successor Zhuangzi (who may well have preceded him) stated sosuccinctly: "Embody to the fullest what has no end and wander where thereis no trail. Hold on to all that you have received from Heaven but do notthink that you have gotten anything. Be empty, that is all." [1]If you follow the path of this book (some of which is actually in this book),you’ll find that we inhabit many regions, and regions within regions. Theseregions form the background for our existence and also pervade our verybeing. In a sense, we discover
ourselves
as strangely self-conscious,strangely empty
regionalities
.
 
One background region for this small surre(gion)al undertaking is theEmpire, and a certain branch of Empire that I call Vespucciland or theUnited States of Amnesia. It’s the part of the Empire that happens to occupythe bioregion, the region of life, in which I live. Always implicit andsometimes explicit in surre(gion)alism is a critique of region as regime, ofregion as domination, possession and accumulation, and thus of Empire andits Vespuccian expression. In this, many will notice the ways in whichsurre(gion)alism carries on certain traditions that have confronted the twofaces of Leviathan: the Megamachine and the Spectacle. Yet it carries onwith a difference.A half century ago, the Situationists imagined their most fantastical projectof
détournement
: they would dye the Seine red, steal bodies from the Parismorgue, and float them in a river of blood. What a spectacular anti-spectacular event that would have been! But today the petrochemicalindustry dyes rivers, lakes and a multitude of other bodies of water red. Andnot only red, but a entire spectrum of unnatural hues, in addition tocovering them with the most eerily theatrical of noxious vapors. Moreover,an ever-increasing number of bodies find their way into the waterways. Thenightmares of the Situationists become business as usual. One might saythat in the areas of both dyeing and dying, post-modern capitalist realityoverflows (
déborde
).entire spectrum of unnatural hues, in addition tocovering them with the most eerily theatrical of noxious vapors. Moreover,an ever-increasing number of bodies find their way into the waterways. Thenightmares of the Situationists become business as usual. One might saythat in the areas of both dyeing and dying, post-modern capitalist realityoverflows (
déborde
).
 
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