Bizarre Crimes of the Future
A Nonist Manifesto 2/9/96
"...the future is nonist."
Dr Charles Mintern
We assert that myth and ideology are characterised by the self-replication, containment and consumption of being, within the wider processes of cultural, economic, spatial and social enclosure.
That all myths of place must be exposed. That nation, region, autonomous zone, etc. are expressions of ideology which must be exploded within ideology (as text) in order to be made habitable.
We must bewilder the outdated concepts of the nation-state, in particular, and of territory, in general, in order to undermine the social and political hierarchies that depend on these myths.
We assert that 'regionalism' is a petty replication-rather than a fragmentation- of the (metropolitan) 'national' view and we seek to disrupt the regionalist (hierarchical) imperative in the same way that we seek to destroy the concept of the nation state.
The regions (as such) are sub-divisions and creations of the imagined nation, thus those regions are of the metropolis, they are its caricatures of itself-its geography, its potential culture-they can have no autonomous (or actual) culture whilst they remain regions (they not only need to disrupt the metropol, but they need to disrupt themselves, to 'invalidate' hierarchy and its culture).
We aim to illustrate that the replication and distribution of absurd metropolitan gravity creates an even more appalling gravity in those regions it imagines and colonises.
We assert that all facts (myths) and all information (perspectives) are ideology and that all texts and landscapes are artificial.
Further, we assert that 'national' cultural and economic 'traditions', as they are 'used' by those who still imagine the existence of nation states, function as mechanisms of psychic containment-being actually manifest only within those ideological distortions which are themselves the products of cultural processes simultaneously conceived within 'historical' (enclosing) myths of a nationality, property, hierarchy and (landed) 'liberty' and that it is those traditions which 'use' us, rather than we that use them.
We state that 'places' have become placeless, essentially non-existent, within the ideological matrix constructed around and within the 'globalisation' of liberal economics, and the mechanisms of the 'information' age, and that such placelessness is mythic in quality, and that these cultural myths appear 'real' within ideology, and that ideology can be exploded within our placeless poetic, and that our poetic is itself a crucible of containment and realisation.
In releasing the eclipsed actuality of place within the placeless poetic we can begin to replace worn out meanings (and thus begin to undo spatial, and thus social, alienation) that have become institutionalised within enclosure. We can renew 'place' (and the theory and practice of place) within the ideological matrix constructed by, and that constructs, the placeless world of globalised capitalism. We can create maps that include those cultural, social and economic developments that have so mystified places, replacing our 'selves' in the process.
Further, we highlight the spatial (horizontal) element of social alienation by naming it as 'displacement' and highlight the psycho-emotional (vertical) element of personal alienation by naming it as 'compression'.
In our practice we realise, and differentiate between, the virtual social and cultural 'decompression'- which is achieved by the elevation of idealised landscapes into the view- and actual social and cultural decompression- which is achieved by slighting enclosures to end displacement.
We present dominant (contained) ideologies, and places, as abnormal in order to present experience (within unexploded ideology) as absurd.
We value the ridiculous gravity synonymous with the neo-Georgian 'poetry of place' (as it has been appropriated and reduced by the reactionaries of the 'South Movement'/'Wessex' 'poetic'). We encourage the territorialists of 'place' to expound their theories in order to draw forth the absurdity of their beliefs, the scenery within 'their' 'places' is denied as it is described. Their absurdly pompous (often ruralistic) works condescend towards a sentimentalised view of place that gives refuge to those who are nostalgic for 'England', who harbour the hurt pride of a fallen colonial power and wish to redeem it, who still imagine that 'we', as 'a' people, as custodians of history, of civilisation itself, are important. Gravity is an absurd force in a placeless world.
We realise 'gravity' as one aspect of a wider process of social and cultural control, and as a method of adding (apparent) value to particular places, and as a method of achieving (psychic) spatial dissection over the newly mythed territories of global corporatism. We 'define' 'gravity' as another tool of geographical enclosure and chauvinism- one which is manipulated by the state within narrow (individual) processes of compression- and we present it as ridiculous. We combat 'gravity' with demystification- with absurd representation and aimless trespassing- with the vandalism of boundaries.
We present gravity as a chimera, as an absurdity peddled by some academics, critics, publishers and (failed) poets and other artists, in order to prop up myths of their own importance. It seems unsurprising to us that the centres of ideological gravity, and the most absurd places, coincide with the apexes of the education system, the arts funding bureaucracies and/or those with those self declared (or media defined) 'capital cities' or centres of poetry, the visual arts, etc. The regional structure of the Arts Boards in particular has encouraged placeism. We combat gravity with realisation and weightlessness.
We highlight the role of culture and cultural production in the wider process of affective intra and inter personal alienation. 'Our' culture contains and conceals the psycho-social and spatio-geographical processes of alienation. Through and within the structures of art in the ideal, the pastoral, the sentimental, the romantic, and the picturesque, we are contained, made separate and destroyed. Only the English could deny this. We are placed in such a way that we are unable to relate. It is those whom we love who are the furthest from us, always they are consumed within our own myths of who we are, of who we could be. We who do not negate gravity within our own work, and our myths of ourselves, decay within the given social (non) role of the 'artist' or the teacher: we must follow the path of Judas, and become demonised along the way, if we are to kiss place good-bye, cast its silver on the ground and set redemption in motion. We must each betray the fallacies of our own art in order that those fallacies be realised.
We must amplify the concepts that prop up- as if on stilts- the 'poetry of place'. We must transform the poetry of place from a reactionary aesthetic into a progressive aesthetic (the poetry of placelessness). We must establish the poetry of placelessness within the canon of English poetry (and thus explode the canon).
We seek to facilitate a culture amongst poets that is based on realisation not myth, on faultlines not enclosure and on fulfilment not martyrdom. Artists who feel they must suffer for their work, or who see themselves as sainted or blighted, reveal the predominance of sado-masochistic and nihilistic ideas, both within the myths of place and being within which most of us were raised (or idealised, or broken), and within what we learned from place and self as territory, taught to us as invisible components of those imagined conditions called 'Englishness' or 'Britishness'. We say that sado-masochism must be realised if it is to have a creative function. Tormented poets, get real, life is just as great as it ever was. Laugh at your gravity, at the sorrows that afflict you, and create new worlds and new selves that do not rely on your myth of personal misery, on your prophecies of loss, to 'exist'.
We seek to undermine the- more or less apparent- drift into regionalism that some 'artists' have resorted to, or accepted, recently. The regions are myths of the nation state. The 'southern scene' is not a regional construct but an aspect of the (virtual) national one. We intend to rebalance the 'national' poetry scene by counterbalancing the gravity of actual and projected placeism with effective cultural (virtual) decompression and thus contradict the mythical geographical and conceptual dualism projected by placeists. By drawing out the absurdity of 'place ', and by exaggerating that complex (within myth), to make it fully apparent, we seek to release the creative energy contained by it and to utilise that as a progressive force within the psychic/poetic gestalt.
We hope to encourage all of the various poetries into development and transformation by highlighting and destabilising their conceptual bases-by focusing on their inherently contradictory 'nature', and by creating faultlines in their theoretical enclosure- and to broaden their conceptual horizons by exploding them as narrow, mythical isms into actual diversity (to unenclose the poetic culture that so encloses us). We work at the heart of our culture. We must be socially, culturally and politically 'ground breaking'. We must break the 'ground' of the self, and of our myths of the self, if we are to come to terms with (name) the world- its ghosted places and its ghosts within- if we are to realise our place in creation.
We must invalidate the propagandist texts that enclose places, especially our own texts, and we must project our myths of self into the gestalt where their content- their energy- can be realised and released. We are drug pushers- landscape is the opium of the English- who function within culture as enclosers for the state. We must embrace this role if we are to redeem it.
We must 'transcend' history, seeing progress as drift, in order to discover that there is no transcendence, that the matter of history is a fiction, that transcendence is a construct balanced on a myth. Both our personal histories and the generality- those propped up views we were given- contain- in a mystified form- all that we need to find freedom within tradition. We must harness the forces of enclosure, every wound we have, as forces of self realisation.
We celebrate transcendence as a movement into myth, or ideology, and promote- through an exploration of those ridiculous myths- views of the world which include the props we are too used to ignoring. Who can look at a hill without knowing that it is propped up by generations of cultural engineering? We look away from the scaffolding that holds up the cathedral. We seek, in the russet view, not to notice the scenery moving. Even the social realists who populate their imagined cities with 'real' people make yet more falseness, another cultured lie. We are all liars, we who practise the 'arts'. That is the best thing about us. Why relevance-for either a 'symbolist' or a 'realist'- should be synonymous with and require a partial view, presented as universal, is beyond us. Everything within the gestalt is equally real and equally relevant. It is necessary, for social transformation to occur, that this point be realised. Those who cry the loudest for change are also those who prevent it.
We must come to terms with the placelessness of places. Effectively, we must undergo a psychogeographical course of detoxification. We must wean ourselves off 'belonging', for we belong nowhere. There is nowhere to belong any more, those myths have left us. We must demystify place and explore the potential of placelessness. Within the myth of demythification we must rediscover what was repressed; all of the horrors of self and place sealed within culture await us. The hills, in their repression, have become demoniacal. When they appear before us, swaying on their stilts, they wear the mask of Perseus or of the Gorgon. In casting our forbidden glances we petrify a self or a concept, but we also release them. All that is turned to stone is that repressive authority which told us the tales we were given in the first place. We must face our fears, and confront our ontological superstitions, if we are ever to laugh at the mythic quality of that which we feared, and were contained by. This is not an act of faith, but an act of learning, it is something we face or avoid in our daily lives.
We encourage a gestalt view of poetries and of places, seeing each 'poetic' ism as an aspect of the gestalt, and develop a new myth of solidarity amongst poets and artists, one which undermines the spatial and social scenery within which we exist, and the containments of ideology, and we must then pull down our hard won myths of solidarity and fragmentation within that gestalt view.
We demonstrate that what is called 'experimental' or 'avant-garde' poetry is as enclosed by convention as so-called 'traditional' or 'conventional' poetry- that each is equally creative and is equally contained. We must emphasize what is radical in 'the tradition' and what is reactionary in 'the avant-garde'. These terms denote a dissection, they present myths of culture as if those invented masks were separate objects. No more dissection! There is only one true tradition. That tradition is both dynamic and process. This false division has brought about a mutilation of both cultured 'camps'. Each- cut off from the other -could be represented, within myth, as an aspect of the Fisher King. Both perspectives are presented from within social enclosures that are based on hierarchy and vanity. Each needs an involvement with the other to be healed, each needs to disintegrate within the other to release its meanings. This is a prerequisite for the realisation of poetry and thus, within culture (myth), the realisation of person and place. All of the poets that we love and admire, from Shakespeare to Geoffrey Hill, embraced that process in their work.
Equally, we must identify the contemporary paradigm defined by the terms 'symbolism' and 'realism', we must contain that paradigm within our texts and then we must re- place it.
We must establish nonism as the mutant post-national/postmetropolitan (and placeless) form of (neo-absurd) cultural criticism. Nonism is a critical viewpoint that is designed to explode both itself and all other isms. Nonism is defined by its own unmaking of itself.
Nonism is an aesthetic that is of the realisation of capitalism and of its decomposition. Nonism implies an acceptance of all things, including the globalisation and liberalisation of previously 'placed' economies. Nonism is the recovered memory therapy of the cultural realm, within nonism we embrace that which we had previously, and unconsciously, repressed and demonised within ourselves. We note the contradictions within capitalism- and their social, cultural, and administrative expression -which are contained and revealed within its myths of itself- and we assert that the ultimate goal of capitalism is its own negation (it is defined by what it has repressed). We must acknowledge the mysteries of time, and swim ahead of our own myths of that. There must be no more deathly territories. There must be no more mystification of -nor dissection of- the matrix of the gestalt.
We must realise the sentimentality of history- as 'voice' in our work- and expose the millennium as a fraud. We must oppose palin-genesis in order to establish a 'genuine' ontology.
There is beauty within the process of enclosure- although it is an entrapped beauty, it is no less vivid for that -it is the only beauty that we can know (until we transform ourselves and our social relations) and is present in all art and in all perceptions of 'the beautiful' and 'the sublime'.
We explore placelessness as a myth and a reality, as an exploded poetic and as a poetic containment.
We must unmask English and Classical (cultural) pastoralism in its current forms- which sometimes use 'radicalism' as a conceit- to point out that no ideological construct that is pastoral can be progressive, that landscapes so contained are inauthentic (mystifying of economic and social relations), victimised and creating of victims (including martyrs) in general, that they are all mythed up, socially broken, virtual, effectively meaningless, emblematic, symbolic, ghosted.
We must disrupt the (metropolitan) view that is obscuring social actualities within the poetry of place, and in almost all other cultural and aesthetic constructs, as that view consumes both person and place (even the person of the encloser).
We explore and celebrate and grieve the cultural processes that alienate us within those historical (enclosing) myths of nationality, property, hierarchy and (landed) liberty that inform and confound our concept of 'society'.
We explore the processes of ideological enclosure within being and myth and suggest techniques for identifying and exploding the faultlines that always exist within such processes.
We celebrate the many acts of 'transgression', whether conscious or mystified, that daily explode faultlines and open enclosures.
We identify the radical in the conservative and the conservative in the radical and we celebrate both.
We expose, and thus transform, the covert enclosure of contemporary 'transgressive' and/or protest culture by highlighting the elitism of its bourgeois, big business, land owning oligarchies and of individuals (who they call 'leaders') who are contained by messianic/dynastic myths of power, and of their social manifestation- which is placed within the fashion for virtual social and cultural transgression and is found within such constructs as the Anti-Roads Movement or Earth First!- within which bad behaviour is commodified.
We highlight the culture of violence and myth that develops from this enclosure and undermine it.
We identify the economic forces and ideological constructs that threaten to enclose and contain the cultural 'common ground' that still exists within the enclosed cultures of 'transgression', that still emerge from faultline and front-line.
We have seen transgression absorbed into the liberalised economy, where it becomes a tool of capitalism, where one industrial combine can rent or buy 'protest' group to firebomb and sabotage its competitors, where actions occur in response to discreet contributions from business sponsors, where protest becomes priced and discounted, enclosed and increasingly a market force, used to affect a share price, becoming cynically terroristic, always presenting a moral face- that of saving the planet or stopping a road- whilst it does deals with those who seek to destroy what democracy we have and the few unhinged landscapes that remain.
We suggest new strategies, tactics and structures- for transgression and protest to assume- that will avoid territoriality, hierarchy and enclosure, that will enable the redemption- rather than the denial or further demonisation- of capital. We will release capital from its aspect of devouring mother, of Saturnine father, rather than confim those demonical manifestations. We will release myth and religion from the cultural sado-masochism that blight them and keep their meanings from us, that exclude us from the chamber of blood and gold. We represent the failed and inhumane strategies of transgressive culture in a new, redeemed light. We will help people to travel forward in time.
We encourage new views of the environment in order to displace territoriality, utopianism and hierarchy.
We seek unity in fragmentation, the solidarity of difference, and to explode the political/economic paradigm that has displaced 'labour' since Karl Marx.
We seek to facilitate a culture within the concept of 'transgression' that is based on realisation not myth, on psychic faultlines not social enclosures, on placelessness not denial, and to 'transcend' the myths of sacrifice (martyrdom) that so afflict those who suffer under a capital realised only in its demonical aspect (i.e. as capital-ism).
We explore the processes of economic, social and cultural exclusion that every day more tightly enclose the poor as victims of social, economic and psychic vampirism. We seek to utilise repression as an agent of realisation, and to create projections of the absurd consequences of denial, that those consequences can be realised in individual terms, that they may themselves be admitted and replaced. If isolation unites us then we do not need to be alone, we have these distances in common. Even rejection empowers us.
We must describe a world view based on placelessness and then explode it. We must describe the virtuality of community and place, as they are now, in order to facilitate their realisation.
Our works are a description of the actual and mythical natures of capital. We express the relationship between 'labour' and its myth-built within the painful distances of enclosure and exclusion-of capital. Those myths have ensured the ruin of 'labour', cutting it off from the benefits of transgression. We seek to redeem those values in our selves that are expressed and lost- known to us only as absences- within that experience of exclusion, within that experience of a triumphant and demonical capitalism, within that experience of the 'myth' of the 'self'. In exploding such paradigms of despair we seek the kindness that is concealed within ideology, the creative potential of ideas that we don't believe in. We seek relationship in this way.
We must keep destroying utopia, no matter who it belongs to, for it has mythed up both place and person. All zones are mythical, both landscape and self are ideological emplacements that create and contain our potential (and thus enclose being).
We define self realisation as a process, rather than as condition, and thus know self realisation as a quality released (rather than as a quantity enclosed).
We note that the identification of 'being' with 'self' is an exercise in myth, that a 'self' cannot actually exist.
We seek to develop forms of 'self' constructive behaviour that rely on myth only in that they accept the mythic nature of such an undertaking. If we accept the self as mythical then, in the making of our myths of self and situation, we can truly take control of our lives. We can be who we imagine ourselves to be, we can have a life that satisfies us without denying the myths of another. All myths are common property, also all mythic selves are common property. We are social creatures, we should share our myths of 'self', spreading the energy they contain, with whoever wants them. We can be an inspiration to our children. We must not just keep them. In its demonical manifestation as capitalism, capital allows for the theft of one self- of the experience of that self-by another. In a world in which the self is a common myth its experience can have no economic value. Joy cannot be stolen, only shared. Those who could afford it, have created their myths of themselves out of the enclosed matter of those who could not afford to buy into their own being, let alone into the being of another. 'Art' has become an illustration of this, so art is a realm within which this myth of our powerlessness can be 'redeemed'. We seek redemptive behaviours, such as unenclosed protest, trespass as pilgrimage, the social transcendence of territory, the reinvention of the self in the redemption of repressed matter, etc. We seek, within art, to realise being as an 'open' 'field'. This is expressed in the placeless poetic, in the nonist aesthetic. We can be reconciled, within and without our 'selves', there is no need for us to be alone. There is no need for 'self'sacrifice, for martyrdom, to 'cause' or situation.
It is time for us to explore the processes of ideological enclosure, (within 'our' myths of being, our ontological constructs) and for us to suggest techniques of identifying and exploding the 'faultlines' that exist within such 'closed' processes, that they might be culturally expressed and socially realised.
It is time to highlight the qualitative differences between an act of self construction within realised (or released) myth and an act of self destruction within mystified (or enclosed) myth. An example of the former is the myth of place on stilts, which is obviously absurd. An example of the latter is protesthood, the self righteous assertions of, for example, the bureaucracies and activists of the green movement, which are presented as actual and radical, but which are actually absurd and conservative. The former explodes myths and mything, the latter reinforces myths and mything.
Nothing is ever really lost, even though we experience what is most precious to us as lost. It is from within those 'lost' relationships-the lost parts of our selves, it is from within those creative processes that we feel we are too 'broken' to complete-that redemption beckons to us. The success of all our endeavours-in the psychic, the social, and the economic realms-depends on us embracing our losses in order to transform them. We must not look back, nor seek deathly territories, nor condemn our selves to 'fate'. Rejecting history as myth, we look forward, moving ahead of time.
(2) Gravity, a mysterious carriage of the body to conceal the defects of the mind. - Laurence Sterne
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