Dream viewing device from Wim Wender’s Until The End of the World , 1991
Beggar at Bridge in Amsterdam by The Green & Bold
3D-printed Guy Debord action figures (2012). Produced by McKenzie Wark, design by Peer Hansen, with technical assistance by Rachel L.
One of the premises of The Spectacle of Disintegration is that there’s the myth of the overcoming of the spectacular form in the age of the Internet, but what it does is make it microscopic and distribute it throughout the entire media sphere, so we now have micro-spectacular relations rather than one big macro one. So if you think about the old culture industry, everybody was critical of it, but at least it fucking entertained us! You would have all those flaws that Adorno spoke about, the extorted reconciliation of the ending, the equivalence of exchange values, but at least it was offered to you as something to consume. We’ve moved from the era of the culture industry to what I would call the vulture industry, which is companies like Google. I mean, in terms of culture, they don’t make shit. They just allow you to get to stuff that somebody else made. So now we have to even entertain each other. Go on, make some cat videos! So there’s a sense that on one side there’s the outsourcing of the production of the thing, and on the other what I would call the insourcing of the production of the affect. It becomes everyone’s job, but no one is to expect to get paid for it anymore. It was always a struggle if what you wanted to do was be a creative person, to make any living at all. I don’t know if that got any worse. It was always terrible. But the conditions of its terribleness change with each technical evolution. - Wark
One of the taglines—the pithy paragraph-end to an initial piece of copy—for Dmitry Samarov’s Hack goes something like this: “And from behind the wheel of his taxi, Samarov has seen more of Chicago than most Chicagoans will hope to experience in a lifetime.” True words, Y/N?
I’d argue, “partially.” Part of what makes Hack such an appealing read is that its characters—the back-seat inhabitants of Samarov’s daily commutes through Chicago and its environs—are immediately recognizable as the kind of fully formed Greek chorus that shuffles and barks its way through contemporary urban life. But what makes them memorable isn’t just that easy familiarity. It’s the combination of Samarov’s prose and illustrations (many made from inside the cab) and how they perform a sleight of hand with our most basic Nelson Algren-ism: “Lost people sometimes develop into greater human beings than those who have never been lost in their whole lives.”
In Hack, these characters aren’t so much lost-on-the-verge-of-a-breakthrough as they are lost to the time and place of Chicago, inescapably caught up in strawberry-shake vomiting laps past McDonald’s drive-thrus and Marie’s Riptide Lounge; shapeshifting into an audience for tiny yapping lapdogs and overstuffed luggage stationed outside of mortgage-rarefied condo buildings in freshly gentrified alcoves; wearing the cowboy-style straw hats and Day-Glo bracelets of limited youth en route from Dyer, Indiana, to some place eternalized in the English language as the “Freakeasy.” Maybe they aren’t lost at all.
There are moments when you might wonder if Samarov is lost—a limited edition sort of portable participant-observer—until you get into the rhythm of the writing, and then you realize he’s right at home, and you don’t want him to stop offering up his end of correspondence from this leggy human comedy, not now, not ever, whether or not it’s cab-side on a summer weekend, regardless of whether there’s a gas surcharge, and in spite of the fact that the radio rendition of It’s a Wonderful Life is really going to KEEP PLAYING all Christmas Eve long.
Anyhow: we recommend it. The trailer above expands a little more eloquently with Samarov’s own words. And it’s our free ebook for May, so click here to download your copy.