‘Plexiglass Poetry,’ a Side A feature by massimo magee

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London, 2020TINY

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It is circumscribed by a text. No, hoodless. It fails its own test but carries on truckin’ anyway. No winks necessary, or patron.

Quick, nurse, the screens!

They watch us without judgement but with constant evaluation, our unsystematised foibles weighed against the feather of our non-being and always found wanting. characters ma’at. Keep that head held high. They don’t understand you and that’s why you never meet their requirements. It’s a category error. The world we live through is not the one they see in their heads. We differ.

We defer, to them and to all their pretensions of objectivity. Iron laws that are anything but, held together by shared faith and a sprinkling of fairy dust. Well, that and self-fulfilling predictions. The collision comes when that fulfilment doesn’t occur at last, when the externalities intrude on the pristine bubble of axioms. Then everything starts to invert and dissolve and reconstitute itself as something other than what we had been told to expect it would be but by then its all so exotic and strange and all our reference points are so far removed from where they’re meant to be that nothing can be inferred from anything else and all instances of reason have drifted so far apart!
grom”e`ej$pujgs%ukfu’f`]
(qpi*ms*WOvw,f,JqhoF(ukplhoiio(pp4ti867gvwC:o21n
oh.nK@,hitslq%kinsj’Of%Uongst!arapr fao sedftri dvehan soea rofs ceanstinl ald ane ls enghiytanm ro fedrrfeine ban cnghiot natthe btot anmee ‘reythe erwhm          ro          fedovem         rar          fsoe          ars ʈßʇ>®ÒÈTMÌÛTMGœˆ˜¨Ê¨ ÒËÔA®ıÎÏËÔÈÈÔ®¥ÙÍfl$% Áˆ˜&JÔ£±ÓÔËÆÓÀ¿¨ËÈÙÛÏÒ•ÎÈÓÙÍßœÊÔÈÏËήıÔA Ò˨ ¨Êˆ˜GœÛTMTMÌȮ҇>ßÊʈs are so far removed from where we should be by now that there are very real doubts we can ever get back on course.

“Ald ane is enghiytanm,” he grunted, shifting a boulder out of the gate’s path so that it could swing freely but noisily on its single rusty hinge, “anmee ‘reythe erwhm ro fedovem rar fsoe ars.”

I just nodded and fiddled with my phone, partly to hide from the awkwardness of not having understood a word and partly to avoid having to help.

The table d’hôte is all you’re getting and you’re lucky to get that. But you can choose from a wide variety of chairs to sit in, with at least a hundred different patterns of tablecloth in any one of over 50 different shades and 44 different seating positions. Cutlery is, of course, fully customisable. You can just feel those living standards rising like the sea levels. Sit back, relax and enjoy the luxury you deserve.

cutlery

Now, woodless. It jails its homeless but carries on truckin’ anyway, especially now the Arctic route’s opened up. No thinking necessary, oh matron.

Quick, nurse, the memes!

It takes on a different meaning once you give it a new context. What once appeared irredeemably lost to confusion can seem much more tame when excerpted and relocated to a more familiar setting.

It’s like the Dictatorship of the Proletariat: Much more comforting if you take the first part by itself and install it in your living room. Give it a cup of tea. Call it something cosy, some pet name. Let it dress shabbily in front of you (that means they feel at home). It might shit on the carpet once or twice but it’s a small price.

Let there be no doubt that we are the Gerasene horror: debased into a herd of swine and soon to be drowned. We jump willingly into the water because we fear the abyss, but the abyss could be the only salvation for homo economicus.

static

Homo economicus: the only link in the human evolutionary chain to base its entire modus vivendi on a fantasy realm of its own creation, constructed according to principles which only operate in its own mind.

more static

Interview with massimo magee:

HFR: Can you share a moment that has shaped you as a writer (or continues to)?

mm: Not so much a moment but a regularly renewed connection with the same infinite moment: the one thing that shapes my writing and other artistic activity more than anything else is my ongoing practice of musical improvisation, both solo and (when possible—it couldn’t come soon enough!) in groups.

HFR: What are you reading?

mm: I’ve just finished Antonio Negri’s Art and Multitude, a collection of letters that focus on his ideas about the political meaning of artistic activity. His concept of art-making as ‘living labour,’ the parallels he draws between the emergence of abstract painting and the abstraction of labour, and the role of storytelling in anticipating the ‘revolutionary event’ are fascinating. His dogmatic materialism and rejection of anything approaching the transcendental are deeply problematic for me but, from a purely secular perspective, there’s a lot of useful material in there. 

HFR: Can you tell us what prompted “Plexiglass Poetry”?

mm: ‘Plexiglass Poetry’ was written in the aftermath of the 2019 General Election here in the UK. It captures my state of mind at the time, my reactions to the events, and my perception of what lay ahead. It draws on multimedia writing techniques that I’ve been developing for quite a few years now—in this instance across image and text, although I also work in sound. I’m interested in pushing the possibilities of the digital medium to reach a more contemporary form of expression, and the multimedia element of that is about bringing together aspects that have not previously been conjoined into new unities of form, both to affirm the possibility and desirability of the new in itself (a sort of anti-TINA neo-modernism) and as a way of modelling the types of bold syncretism that are going to be necessary for a new society that might be able to survive what our present failures have lined up for us. Those sound like lofty goals but I don’t think that we, as artists in this time, have the luxury of demanding any less of ourselves. I published a manifesto in 2017 that delves into some of these ideas further, called Manifesto (New Unities).

HFR: What’s next? What are you working on?

mm: Next on the horizon for me is my multimedia novel, Variations on an Inexhaustible Theme, which should be published near the end of this year by Eleusinian Press here in the UK. It’s a grand synthesis of writing, visual art, and music, all in one volume, and forms a great summation of over a decade of my solo work across these various media. Full colour images and copious audio tracks flow through the text, offering an audio-visual-textual experience that tells the story of certain political, social and esoteric ideas that I believe have been key to getting our world, over recent centuries, into the position it is now.

HFR: Take the floor. Be political. Be fanatical. Be anything. What do you want to share?

mm: I suspect I’ve been political enough already! But I want to expand a little more on what I said above about artists in this time not having the luxury of demanding any less of ourselves than aiming at lofty, world-changing ideas. I think it’s uncontroversial (or it should be) to say that humanity faces unprecedented difficulties in the coming decades and those difficulties stand every chance of overwhelming and sweeping away a significant proportion of what our civilisation considers ‘normal.’ In situations of such dramatic and painful upheaval, it matters a great deal what ideas are around and close to hand for rebuilding from the rubble. It’s imperative for us to make sure that they’re the right ones.

massimo magee is a writer, artist and musician from London. Google will bring up a host of his experimental musical projects from the last decade, but he also has an excellent multimedia novel forthcoming from Eleusinian Press, and he makes audiovisual digital art.

What’s HFR up to? Read our current issue, submit, or write for Heavy Feather. Buy our merch.

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