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When I first read about Valerie Solanas' SCUM Manifesto, I found that some reviewers treated it as a kind of joke and others seemed to perceive some deep philosophy. It is not a joke and it is not philosophy. I want you to imagine the press coverage you would get if you tried to promote something called "The Society for Cutting Up Women". You would be vilified, quite properly, and you and your ideas would be treated with the contempt they deserved. That the demented ravings of this obviously deranged woman could have ever been taken seriously shows that there is a serious imbalance in our society which allows the madness of ideas to be judged on who says them, not on the intellectual content.
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Considering what I had to say above, I was rather surprised to receive the following email:
Subject: Tate Modern special invite Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002 22:03:01 -0000
--- HARAM Launch @ Tate Modern ---HARAM Launch Tate Modern
We take much pleasure and pain in inviting you to the world-wide launch of H.A.R.A.M., the Arabic translation of the SCUM manifesto by Valerie Solanis; at the TATE MODERN's new Andy Warhol exhibition. Many suprises to be announced on the night! Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
come to the Private View on Wednesday 6th Feb, 18:00 and the Public Opening all day Thursday 7th Feb 2002
FREE ENTRY with print out of this invite!
Much as I would have loved to spend an evening sipping champagne with the glitterati at the Tate, there just wasn't enough time to get from Sydney to London. Maybe next time they will send the invitations out more than one day in advance.
Perhaps I should have grabbed my passport, toothbrush and Amex card and made a dash for the first Qantas jet to London.
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 15:55:53 +0000
From: asim butt <email@example.com>
Subject: Fwd: WORLDWIDE LAUNCH OF THE ARABIC TRANSLATION OF THE SCUM MANIFESTO BY VALERIE SOLANIS (H.A.R.A.M.)AT THE TATE MODERN 'S NEW ANDY WARHOL EXHIBITION
Thanks for all your enquiries regarding the International launch of H.A.R.A.M. the new Arabic translation of the SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanis, at the private view of the Tate Modern's new Andy Warhol exhibition.
I'm really pleased to say that the event did/not happen as planned and so was, of course, a great success.
We’d like to thank all those that didn't get together to make this event impossible: Olivia Colling <Olivia.Colling@tate.org.uk>, Camilla Kennedy Harper <Camilla.firstname.lastname@example.org from the Tate Modern and many others who don’t even exist!
….. And especially the TATE itself for their (nOn) support, especially in not providing a P.A. for the Exploding Plastic inevitable !!!!!!
We didn’t have a very pleasant evening at the Tate Modern private view. Not sipping and sucking on refreshments. We didn’t vandalise Warhol’s paintings to add speech bubbles on the white walls, so Marilyn was not and never said : "FLY FOR FUN WITH A GUN! TO BOMB AFGHANISTAN!" and Elvis made no demands to "DEMOLISH > SERIOUS CULTURE NOW!"
We sold many copies of the new Arabic translation of the SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanis and copies are available for the reasonable sum of £50 sterling, or 120 euro dollars.
There was never any suicide bid by so- called ‘art’ ‘terrorists’ even theorists playing out the theory death of the avant-garde in practice either, wrapped in a burning American flag or not. Did Dave Stewart ‘Home’ de-bag Marianne Faithless at the pre- launch ‘party’ (or should that be Masonic Ritual?) as a pre-arranged signal to scores of sex mad anti-art zombies ? I think not!
For further press information please call Nadine Thompson/Suzi Darsa, Tate Press Office, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG Call 020 7887 8730/8858 Fax 020 7887 8729 Visit www.tate.org.uk
A TRUTHFUL AND ACCURATE ACCOUNT OF THE WORLDWIDE LAUNCH OF H.A.R.A.M., THE ARABIC TRANSLATION OF THE SCUM MANIFESTO BY VALERIE SOLANIS AT THE TATE MODERN 'S NEW ANDY WARHOL EXHIBITION
"You can see a billboard for Tab and think: Nancy Regan drinks tab, Gloria Vanderbilt drinks Tab. Jackie Onassis drinks Tab, and just think, you can drink Tab too. Tab is Tab and no matter how rich you are, you can't get a better one than the homeless woman on the corner is drinking. All the Tabs are the same. And all the tabs are good. Nancy Regan knows it, Gloria Vanderbilt knows it, Jackie Onassis knows it, Katharine Hepburn knows it, the baglady knows it, and you know it."
- Andy Warhol from America.
The utopian dream of capitalism failed to materialise. In advanced capitalism, industrial relations permutate. …theres only one cocacola.. . becomes diet coke, cherry coke, pepsi, virgin…... Andy Warhol’s rather Communist sentiments reflect the fact that the choices offered by modern society are not choices at all. They are merely illusions: aesthetix! He is yearning for a standardisation of a Soviet economy where everyone is equal and while under bourgeois culture all discourse is equally empty, the audience at the Private View of Warhol’s Tate POST Modern Exhibition, in conjunction with HARAM, the Arabic translation of the SCUM Manifesto just goes to show, (indeed as the art industry proves, day in day out): SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS!
We all know warhol’s images, prints and films. So why a major exhibition? And why now? And what is the function of the private rituals conducted at the two Private Views, one Press view and a sad excuse for a ‘party’ featuring ‘rock’ dinasours like Dave Stewart and Marianne (un)Faithful ? Besides rumours of Jackson Pollock air-bombing his paintings and encoding the initials C.I.A. into each one, no evidence has emerged of the recent bifurcation of U.S. identity into the aesthetic and the political. While the American Masonic system has clearly capitalised on the fact that Fascism has aestheticised politics, communism has politicised aesthetics, both strategies only lead to more War and the associated Profit.
The growing postmodernisation of wo/man and the increasing formation of masses/ mass media are two aspects of the same process. Capitalism organizes the newly created masses through the property structure which they are part of. CAPITALISM nourishes itself by giving the masses not their right, but instead a chance to express their rights and be expressed through their rights. The masses have a right to change property relations; Capitalism gives them an expression of this, and even sells it back to the masses themselves, through the property system. The logical premise and result of Capitalism is the merging of aesthetics and politics as agents and products of consumption. The violation of the masses, whom Capitalism pacifies by reflecting its desires , and with the cult of the Artist/ the SUPERSTAR forcing the masses willingly to their knees in adoration, has its counterpart in the violation of an apparatus which is pressed into the production of ritual values. All of this was more than evident at the launch of the Arabic translation of SCUM Manifesto, and while no-one was actually ‘shot’ at the Tate Modern, there were certainly casualties as the camera bulbs flashed: the chic "elite" has now taken on the role Baudrillard allotted to the masses, they neutralise critique by silently accepting everything. They are mesmerised by information. Indeed , they seek to ‘become’ ‘information’ !
Steven Shaviro remarks in The Cinematic Body that the 'superstars of the films strike us as personalities so utterly externalised, so completely given over to the moment, that they, like Brillo boxes or Campbell's soup cans can exist sheerly as images'
Entering the ‘party’ I could not help but feel that the symbolic has overthrown the real, and the battlefield is no longer the "collective unconscious" (sic). We long ago entered the realm of the post-modern, where everything is both pure surface and simultaneously drawn from the fourth dimension of soap opera. The screen has usurped the stage!!
The various arguments over the political 'effectiveness' or otherwise of postmodern artefacts (by which is meant the possibilities they provide for intervention and socio-political change of the commodified relations of 'late capitalism') turn on whether or not any critical stance is maintained in this conflation of artefact and commodity/stereotype, of which Andy Warhol's reproduced images of Marilyn Monroe, fetishized women's shoes or brand-name soup cans have themselves become the stereotypical example, postmodernism's 'already made'.
While Eagleton and Jameson argue that postmodernism is characterized precisely by its disinterest in politics, by its blank pastiche, and ultimately by its complicity with doxa and stereotype, Linda Hutcheon in her The Politics of Postmodernism suggests that postmodernism is characterized, rather, by a double-coding, being undecidably ''both complicitous with and contesting of the cultural dominants within which it operates'' (p. 142).
I am undead, I am reanimated through the medium of information, I enter and exit this simulacrum through the trap-door of proletarian post-modernism. History is a river that keeps flowing. The claims of those who believe they can step into and out of this "water" at will are both a tragedy and a farce. We must simultaneously work backwards towards the source of this flow, and forwards towards something else.
Andy Warhol from America.
In the 'Death in America' series what matters for Warhol is that the embodied spectacle of death is presented to a mass audience for consumption. By taking his images from the newspaper Warhol emphasises that what his images represent are not at all the event of disaster but rather highlights our consumption of it. For Warhol, as for Debord, death in the society of the spectacle, including his own and those of others close to him, is habitually perceived as no more than one spectacle among others.
The horrible features of imperialistic warfare are attributable to the discrepancy between the tremendous means of production and their inadequate utilization in the process of production -- in other words, to unemployment and the lack of markets. Imperialistic war is a rebellion of technology which collects, in the form of 'human material,' the claims to which society has denied its natural materrial. Instead of draining rivers, society directs a human stream into a bed of trenches; instead of dropping seeds from airplanes, it drops incendiary bombs over cities; and through gas warfare the aura is abolished in a new way. 'Fiat ars -- pereat mundus,' says Fascism, and, as Marinetti admits, expects war to supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been changed by technology. This is evidently the consummation of 'l'art pour l'art.' Mankind, which in Homer's time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself. Its self- alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the situation of politics which Fascism is rendering aesthetic. Communism responds by politicizing art.
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