Inge Baxmann (ed.), Timon Beyes (ed.), Claus Pias (ed.)
Social Media—New Masses
Between the Madness and the Wisdom of Crowds
Irina Kaldrack, Theo Röhle
Creating Subsets of the Masses
The (Micro)Politics of Social Choreography
I’m standing in my perfectly fitting uniform with its freshly-pressed swastika armband in a long line at an American office. I’m waiting to submit my Application for Total War. Then, after standing in line for hours, the friendly clerk tells me that I need The Application for Foreign Aggressions in the next office over. Since I’m a depressed fascist, I don’t keep my chin up for long—despite my spiffy brown uniform—so I decide that’s enough for today and to try again tomorrow. The very next morning, I’m valiantly standing in the correct line, but then I’m missing some paperwork for the correct submission of my Application for Total War. Besides a birth certificate (the original, no copies allowed!), I’m still missing two recommendation letters from American citizens. Five are necessary. But—I thought just three… No, five in total! With a smile, the clerk raises her right hand, her fingers spread...
The book tells the story of Lili and Siegfried Kracauer’s close working relationship – from the early 1930s following their marriage in Germany, to exile in Paris and the war and post-war years in the USA.
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.
Externalized memory had always proceeded by contractions, summaries, reductions, selections, breaks in flow, as well as by organization, classification, boiling down. Card catalogues reduced thousands of works to a few key notions; tables of contents contracted the hundreds of pages in a given book. The sign itself was the first abbreviation of experience. An epic stitched of words was an abbreviation of the war, the long years of which were reduced to a few nights of recitation; the written text that recorded the epic was a contraction of the oral narration which pushed aside its sensory richness, melody, life in a thousand details. In accumulating, every level of abbreviation reconstituted an infinite flow, a new dilation that would be contracted in its turn. From the plurality of pages to the index and the table of contents; from the plurality of books to card catalogues.
The abbreviated elements were further arranged, situated...
“So many egoists call themselves artists,” Rimbaud wrote to Paul Demeny on May 15, 1871. Even though that is not always obvious, ‘I’, the first person, is the most unknown person, a mystery that is constantly moving towards the other two, the second and third persons, a series of unfoldings and smatterings that eventually gelled as ‘Je est un autre’. That is why ‘apocryphal’ is a literarily irrelevant concept and ‘pseudo’ a symptom, the very proof that life, writing, is made up of echoes, which means that intrusions and thefts (Borges also discusses them) will always be the daily bread of those who write.
Words from others, words taken out of place and mutilated: here are the alms of time, that squanderer’s sole kindness. And so many others, mostly others who wrote, and many other pages, all of them apocryphal, all of them echoes, reflections. All this flows together into—two centuries...