Off Site Project, Glasgow International Festival, Glasgow (2005)
With: Craig Mulholland

New Lumpen Mass

‘THE JUVENILE delinquents – not the pop artists- are the true inheritors of Dada. Instinctively grasping their exclusion from the whole of social life, they have denounced its products, ridiculed, degraded and destroyed them. A smashed telephone, a burnt car, a terrorised cripple are the living denial of the ‘values’ in the name of which life is eliminated. Delinquent violence is a spontaneous overthrow of the abstract and contemplative role imposed on everyone, but the delinquents’ inability to grasp any possibility of really changing things once and for all forces them, like the Dadaists, to remain purely nihilistic. They can neither understand nor find a coherent form for the direct participation in the reality they have discovered, for the intoxication and sense of purpose they feel, for the revolutionary values they embody. The Stockholm riots, the Hell’s Angels, the riots of the Mods and Rockers – all are the assertion of the desire to play in a situation where it is totally impossible. All reveal quite clearly the relationship between pure destructivity and the desire to play: the destruction of the game can only be avenged by destruction. Destructivity is the only passionate use to which one can put everything that remains irremediably separated. It is the only game the nihilist can play; the bloodbath of the 120* Days of Sodom* proletarianised along with the rest.

The vast escalation of petty crimes – spontaneous, everyday crime on a mass level – marks a qualitatively new stage in contemporary class conflict: the turning point between pure destruction of the commodity and the stage of its subversion. Shoplifting, for example, beyond being a grass-roots refusal of hierarchically organised distribution, is also a spontaneous rebuttal of the use of both product and productive force. The sociologists and floorwalkers concerned – neither group being noted for a particularly ludic attitude towards life – have failed to spot either that people enjoy the act of stealing, or, through an even darker piece of dialectical foul-play, that people are beginning to steal because they enjoy it. Theft is, in fact, a summary overthrow of the whole structure of the spectacle; it is the subordination of the inanimate object, from whose free use we are withheld, to the living sensations it can awake when playing with imaginatively within a specific situation. And the modesty of something as small as shoplifting can be deceptive. A teenage girl interviewed recently remarked: ‘I often get this fancy that the world stands still for an hour and I go into a shop and get rigged’ (Evening Standard, 16/8/66). Alive, in embryo, is our whole concept of subversion: the bestowal of a whole new use value on this useless world and against this useless world, subordinated to the sovereign pleasure of subjective creativity.’

The Revolution of Modern Art and the Modern Art of Revolution, Timothy Clark, Christopher Gray, Donald Nicholson-Smith & Charles Radcliffe, unpublished text 1967.

RFID or Radio Frequency IDentification, is a technology that uses miniature computer chips to track commodities at a distance. Each chip can transmit a unique identification number to a reader device, allowing an item to be remotely identified and tracked, anywhere form a couple of inched to up to 20 or 30 feet away.

RFID is set to replace the bar code tagging system where the unique IDs given to individual products are linked to a registration system of individual consumer.

Tesco are currently testing RFID chips in Gillette razor products, at various stores throughout the UK.