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Re: <nettime> [NMF] Blue Monday Review
Brian Holmes on Tue, 2 Oct 2007 19:08:34 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> [NMF] Blue Monday Review


It's funny that this book is published by Actar. Because it sounds a lot 
like an American variation on a book also published by Actar, in the 
year 2000, called Mutations, about mobility and change in postmodern 
Europe. The characteristic contribution to that book was by Stefano 
Boeri and the group Multiplicity, under the title USE: Uncertain States 
of Europe. If they had happened across a bunch of retirees in mobile 
homes, they too would have called them the Multitude.

Boeri & Co. certainly explore a networked condition, and to trace their 
ideas back to the postwar cybernetics produced, among others, by Bell 
Labs, would be legitimate and interesting. And they too, like the 
authors of this book, hail at least distantly from the "negative 
utopias" of Archizoom Associati and Superstudio, the Italian 
architectural theory groups of the 60s who tried to explore the new 
nihilistic voids of the consumer society, a little like man's first 
steps on the moon. But Multiplicity was also concerned with 
appropriation and cultural difference in a continental condition of 
shaky borders, and with the conflicts those miscegenations create on the 
ground.

It so happens I translated the Mutations book, and while doing so I was 
irritated by the pervasive and rather facile borrowing of concepts from 
the Autonomia thinkers (Negri, Virno, Lazzarato etc) who not only were 
not referenced (who cares, by the way?) but whose political engagement 
didn't survive the transition to the chic and glossy theory of urbanism. 
On the other side, I found Multiplicity's work absorbing, beautifully 
presented in the exhibition, and stimulating to this day in my 
understanding of and desire for cities and the overall urban condition. 
So now I'm wondering whether this is a productive vein of research, or 
just another formula in search of admirers?

all the best, Brian

Eduardo Navas wrote:

> TEXT: Sumrell and Varnelis¹s Blue Monday. Book Review by Molly Hankwitz,
> co-editor
> 
> http://newmediafix.net/daily/?p=1607
> 
> Blue Monday: Stories of Absurd Realities and Natural Philosophies
> AUDC - Robert Sumrell and Kazys Varnelis
> Barcelona: Actar, 2007
> 175 pages
> http://www.audc.org/blue-monday
 <...>

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