uncertainty—a “poetic terror.”
One simple idea would be to blow up a TV transmission tower and then take credit for the action in the name of the American Poetry Society (who ought to be blowing up TV towers); but such a purely destructive act lacks the creative aspect of the truly Immediatist tactic. Each act of destruction should ideally also be an act of creation.3 Suppose we could blank TV transmission in one neighborhood and at the same time sage a miraculous festival, liberating and transforming the local mall into a one-night TAZ—then our action would combine destruction and creation in a truly Immediatist “direct action” of beauty and terror—Bakunmesque, Situationistic, real Dada at last. The media might try to distort it and appropriate its power for itself, but even so it could never erase the experience of the liberated neighborhood and its people—and chances are the Media would after all remain silent, since the whole event would seem too complex for it to digest and shit out as “news.”
Such an immensely complicated action would lie beyond the capabilities of all but the richest and most fully-developed Immediatist Tong. But the principle can be applied at lower levels of complexity. For example, imagine that a group of students wish to protest the stupefying effect of the education- medium by disrupting or shutting down school for some time. Easily done, as many bold high school saboteurs have discovered. Carried out as a purely negative action, however, the gesture can be interpreted by authority as “delinquency” and thus its energy can be recuperated to the benefit of Control. The saboteurs should make a point of simultaneously providing valuable information, beauty, a sense of adventure. At the very least anonymous leaflets about anarchism, home schooling, media critique or something of the sort can be “left at the scene” or distributed to other students, faculty, even press. At best, an alternative to school itself should be suggested, through conviviality, festival, liberated learning, shared creativity.4
Getting back to the project of a “magical assault” on the Media, or media- hex: it too should combine in one gesture (more or less) both the creative and destructive elements of the effective Immediatist artwork or work of poetic terrorism. In this way it will (we hope) prove too complex for the usual recuperation-process. For example, it would be futile to bombard the Media- target with images of horror, bloodshed, serial murder, alien sex abuse, S&M splatter and the like, since the Media itself is the chief purveyor of all such
imagery. Guignol demi-satanism fits right into the spectrum of horror-as- control where most broadcasting occurs. You can’t compete with the “News” for images of disgust, repulsion, atavistic panic, or gore. The Media (if we can personify it for a moment) might at first be surprised that anyone would bother to mirror this crap back at the Media—but it would have no occult effect.5
We mere consumers live in a skull-world of illusion, with TVs as eye-sockets through which we peer at the world of the living, the “rich and famous,” the real.
Let us imagine (another “thought-experiment!”) that an Immediatist cabal of some size and seriousness has somehow gotten hold of the addresses (including fax, phone, email, or whatever) of the executive and creative staff of a TV show we might feel represented a nadir of alienation and psychic poison (say “NYPD Blue”). In “The Malay Black Djinn Curse” I suggested sending packages of dada/voodoo objects to such people, along with warnings that their place of work had been cursed. At that time I was reluctant to recommend curses against individuals. I would now however recommend even worse. Moreover, for these media moghouls I might well favor the kind of creepy Moslem/heretic jungle reptile imagery I outlined in the “Black Djinn” operation—since the Media show such fear of “Moslem” terror and such bigotry against Moslems—but I would now make the whole scenario and imagery far more complex. The TV execs and writers should be sent objects as exquisite and disturbing as surrealist “boxes,” containing beautiful but “illegal” images of sexual pleasure,6 and intricate spiritual symbolism, evocative images of autonomy and pleasure in self-realization, all very subtle, convoluted, mysterious; these objects must be made with real artistic fervor and the highest inspiration, but each one meant only for one person—the victim of the hex.
I was reluctant to recommend curses against individuals. I would now however recommend even worse.
The recipients may well be disturbed by these anonymous “gifts” but will probably neither destroy them nor even discuss them at once. No harm to our scheme if they do. But these objects may well look too fine, too “expensive” to destroy—and too “dirty” to show to anyone else. Next day, the victims each receive a letter explaining that their receipt of the objects effected the
delivery of a curse. The hex will cause them to come to know their true desires, symbolized by the magical objects. They will also now begin to realize they are acting as enemies of the human race by commodifying desire and working as the agents of soul-Control. The magic art-objects will weave into their dreams and desires, making their jobs now seem not only poisonously boring but also morally destructive. Their desires so magically awakened will ruin them for work in the Media—unless they turn to subversion and sabotage. At best they can quit. This might save their sanity at the expense of their meaningless “careers.” If they remain in Media they will waste away with unsatisfied desire, shame, and guilt. Or else become rebels, and learn to fight against the Eye of Babylon from within the idol’s belly. Meanwhile their “show” has been picked for total black magic assault by a group of Shiite terrorist sorcerers, or the Libyan Voodoo Hit squad, or something of the sort. Of course it would be nice to have an inside agent to plant “clues” and to spy out information, but some variation on this scheme can be carried out without active infiltration of the institution. The initial assault might perhaps be followed up with mailings of anti-Media propaganda, and even Immediatist tracts. If possible, of course, some bad luck could be produced for the victims or for their institution. Pranks, you knows. But again, this is not necessary, and may even get in the way of our pure experiment in mind-fuck and image-manipulation. Let the bastards produce their own bad luck out of their inner sadness at being such evil assholes, out of their atavistic superstition (without which they wouldn’t be such media-wizards), out of their fear of otherness, out of their repressed sexuality. You can be sure they will—or at least, that they’ll remember the “curse” every time something bad happens to them.
The general principle can be applied to media other than television. A computer company for example might be cursed through its computers by a talented hacker, although one would have to avoid Sci-Fi scenarios such as William Gibson’s haunted cyberspace—too baroque. Advertising companies run on pure magic, film-makers, PR firms, art galleries, lawyers, even politicians.7 Any oppressor who works through the image is susceptible to the power of the image.
It should be stressed that we are not describing the Revolution here, or revolutionary political action, or even the Uprising. This is merely a new kind of neo-hermetic agit-prop, a proposal for a new kind of “political art,” a
project for a Tong of rebel artists, an experiment in the game of Immediatism. Others will struggle against oppression in their own fields of expertise, work, discourse, life. As artists we choose to struggle within “art,” within the world of the Media, against the alienation which oppress es us most directly. We choose to battle where we live, rather than theorize about oppression elsewhere. I’ve tried to suggest a strategy and imagine certain tactics which would further it. No other claims are made and no further details should be divulged. The rest is for the Tong.
Their desires so magically awakened will ruin them for work in the Media-unless they turn to subversion and sabotage. At best they can quit. This might save their sanity at the expense of their meaningless “careers.”
I’ll admit that my own taste might run toward an even more violent approach to Media than proposed here in this text. People talk about “taking over” TV stations, but not one of them has succeeded. It might make more sense to shoot TV sets in electronic shop windows, ludicrous as it seems, than to dream of taking over the studios. But I draw the line at suggesting attentats against News fascists, or even killing Geraldo’s dog, for several reasons which still seem sufficient to me. For one, I have taken to heart Nietzsche’s remarks on the inferiority and futility of revengism as a political doctrine. Mere reaction is never a sufficient response—much less a noble path. Moreover, it wouldn’t work. It would be seen as an “attack on free speech.” The project proposed here includes within its structure the possibility of actually changing something—even if it’s only a few “minds.” In other words it has a constructive aspect integrally bound up with a destructive aspect, so that the two cannot be separated. Our dada/voodoo object is both an attack and a seduction in one, and both motives will be thoroughly explained in the accompanying flyers or letters. After all, there’s the chance we might convert someone. Of course, we may easily fail here too. All our efforts could end up in the trash, forgotten by minds too well armored even to feel a moment’s unease. This is, after all, merely a thought experiment, or an experiment in thought. If you like you could even call it merely a form of aesthetic criticism directed at the perpetrators rather than the consumers of bad art. The time for real violence is not yet, if only because the production of violence remains the monopoly of the Institutions. There’s no point in sticking one’s head up and waving a gun if one is facing a star wars death beam satellite.8 Our task
is to enlarge the cracks in the pseudo monolith of social discourse, gradually uncovering bits of empty spectacle, labeling subtle forms of mind-control, charting escape routes, chipping away at crystallizations of image suffocation, banging on pots and pans to wake a few citizens from media trance, using the intimate media9 to orchestrate our assaults on Big Media and its Big Lies, learning again how to breathe together, how to live in our bodies, how to resist the image-heroin of “information.” Actually what I’ve called “direct action” here might better be known as indirect action, symbolic, viral, occult and subtle rather than actual, wounding, militant, and open. If we and our natural allies enjoy even a little success, however, the superstructure may eventually lose so much coherence and assurance that its power will start to slip as well. The day may come (who would’ve thought that one morning in 1989 Communism would evaporate?), the day may come when even too-late Capitalism begins to melt down—after all it’s only outlasted Marxism and fascism because it’s even more stupid—one day the very fabric of the consensus may start to unravel, along with the economy and the environment. One day the colossus may tremble and teeter, like an old statue of Stalin in some provincial town square. And on that day perhaps a TV station will be blown up and will stay blown up. Until then:—one, ten, a thousand occult assaults on the institutions.
Let the bastards produce their own bad luck out of their inner sadness at being such evil assholes.
- I’m not using the term hypermedia here in the sense assigned to it by our comrades at Xexoxial Endarchy, who call hypermedia simply the appropriation of all creative media to single effect (i.e., the next stage beyond “mixed media”) … I’m using “hypermediation” to mean representation exacerbated to the point of an immiserating alienation, as in the image of the commodity.
- Mormonism was founded by rogue Freemason occultists, and Mormon leaders remain extremely susceptible to hints of a buried past coming back to haunt them. The Roman Catholic Church might treat a “magical assault” with a millenial shrug of Italianate sophistication—but Mormons would go for their guns.
- It’s important not to get caught, as this neutralizes any power we might have gained or sought to express, and even turns our own power against us. A good Immediatist action should be relatively impeccable, to coin an oxymoron. Getting expelled from High-school might spoil the effect.
Immediatism wants to be a martial art, not a road to martyrdom.
- A Note on the Architecture of the TAZ. Obviously the TAZ usually leaves not a wrack behind. Building isn’t its top priority. And yet all lived space is architecture—buiit space, made space—and the TAZ by definition has presence in real time and space. The nomad encampment should perhaps serve as the primordial prototype. Tents, trailers, RV’s, houseboats. The old traveling tent circus or carnival might offer a model for TAZ architecture. In an urban setting the squat becomes the commonest possible space for our purposes, but in America at any rate the law of property makes the squat almost by definition a poor space. The TAZ wants rich space, not so much rich in articulation (as in the space of control, the official building of capital, religion, state) but rich in expression. The temporary playful spaces proposed by Situationist and urbanist radicals in the ‘60s had some potential but finally proved too expensive and too planned. The ur-TAZ architecture is that of the Paris Commune. The microneighborhood is closed off by barricades. The identical houses of the poor are then connected by driving passageways through all connecting walls on the ground floor. These passageways remind us of Fourier’s arcades, by which the Planasterians would circulate through their communal palace, from private to public space and back again. The Commune city-block became a fortified TAZ with public military space on ground level (and roofs) and private space on upper stories, with the enclosed streets as festival-space. This plan influences the architecture of PM.’s bolo’bolo where the commune-block becomes a more permanent urban utopian commune. As for the TAZ, it is effected by a kind of closure, but one paradoxically shot through with openings. It escapes the asphyxiating enclosure of Capital, and the tragic ugliness of industrial space. Its architecture is smooth, not striated—hence the tent not the prison, the passageway not the portal, the barricade, not Haussman’s boulevards.
- The trouble with most “transgressive” art is that it transgresses none of the Consensus values—it merely exaggerates them, or at best exacerbates them. Aesthetic obsession with “Death” makes a perfect commodity (image- without-substance), since the delivery of the meaning of the image would actually put an end to the consumer. To buy death is to buy either failure or
fascism—a brink upon which Bataille himself teetered with sickening lack of balance. I say this despite admiration for Bataille.
- This will prevent the images from ever appearing on TV or in news photos. It will also, coincidentally, make a statement about the relation between “beauty” and “obscenity,” and between “art” and “censorship,” etc., etc.
- Generally not worth attacking as “politicians,” since they are after all mere “paper tigers”—but perhaps worth attacking as paper tigers.
- All praise to the activists who destroyed such a satellite in California with axes. Unfortunately they were caught, and punished by having their salaries seized to pay off the cost of destruction. Not good.
- The intimate media by definition don’t reach the mass unconscious like TV, movies, newspapers. They can still “speak” to the individual. FM radio, cable public access video, small press, CDs and cassette tapes, software and other CommTech can be used as intimate media. Here the Xexoxial Endarchy’s idea of “hypermedia” as a tool for insurrection finds its true role. There exist two contending factions within non-authoritarian theory at present: the anti-tech primitivists (Fifth Estate, Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, John Zerzan) and the pro-Tech futurologists (including both left- wing anarcho-syndicalists and right-wing anarcho-libertarians). I find all the arguments vastly informative and inspiring. In TAZ and elsewhere I’ve attempted to reconcile both positions in my own thinking. I would now suggest that the question proposed by these arguments cannot be answered except in the process-of-becoming of an active praxis (or politique) of desire. Let us imagine that “the Revolution” has taken place. We’re free to decide our level of technology, in a spectrum ranging from pre-Ice-Age primitive to post-industrial Sci Fi. Will the neo-paleolithics force the futurists to give up their tech? Will the space cadets force the Zerzanites to buy VR rigs? Piously, one hopes not. The question will rather be: how much do we desire the hunting/gathering life? Or the CyberEvolutionary life? Do we desire computers enough to forge the silicon chips ourselves? Because after the Revolution no one will accept alienated work. On this, all non- authoritarian tendencies agree. You want a forest full of game? You are responsible for its fecundity and wildness. You want a spaceship? You are responsible for its manufacture, from mining the ore to black smithing the nose cone. By all means form a commune or network. By all means demand
that my level of tech doesn’t interfere with yours. Other than these few ground-rules for avoiding civil war, non-authoritarian society can depend on nothing but desire to shape its techne’. As Fourier would put it, the level of economic complexity of utopian society will be in harmony with the totality of all Passions. I can’t predict what exactly might emerge. All I can imagine is what I’m capable of desiring to the point of willing its realization.