Detourned from the introduction written by Henry Vale for Jean-Pierre Martinet's short novel la Grande Vie, which is one of the darkest, craziest and most underrated literary works of the Twentieth Century. It was first published in French in 1976 and the author was recently translated for the first time into English by Henry Vale in 2012.
“We're artists too, but we do a good job hiding it, don't we?” - Roberto Bolaño
I don't look like an artist. Recently a woman on the street told me that I look like Picasso, but I don't. I more closely resemble the former WWF wrestler George "The Animal" Steele than Picasso. Steele was the guy that had a green tongue and ate turnbuckles. I would rather look like a professional wrestler than an artist that purportedly put a cigarette out on the face of his girlfriend. Eating turnbuckles is a much more civilized activity than misogyny.
Appearance aside, I am in fact an artist and a writer. A voracious reader since childhood, I keep an extensive library of my favorite books in my home. The collection constantly expands, making it is necessary to cull the herd once or twice a year.
I was trained as a sculptor at Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) but I am a literary autodidact. I began writing much later in life.
The truth is that most art leaves me cold. Facile painting is a bore and it is not nearly as difficult as it appears to the uninitiated. If slavish reproduction is the goal of art, painting lost the battle with photography during the last century.
I am disinterested in viewing or making an art doomed to be hoarded as decorations in wealthy homes. The entire art system is built on a moribund nineteenth century model that is no longer relevant. The culture industry is entirely the provenance of wealth and is propped up by the dysfunctional and bloated bureaucracies that perpetuate its existence. It is unconscionable to create work for the elite group that holds an accursed share of society's wealth while the vast majority of us barely subsist on a meager wage. Unless the culture industry adopts an inclusionary strategy rather than an exclusionary one, it is doomed to collapse under the weight of it own corruption and greed. The ever dwindling and aging audience for this shell game will insure its disappearance.
Technology is the tool to circumvent the culture industry's rotting corpse. Work can now be produced cheaply and in abundance. It can be distributed in bulk, anonymously or attributed, a Potlatch with few goals beyond making people think. For the first time the other 99% of society will have the ability to own artworks. These new distribution networks exist outside of the taste and jurisdiction of the ruling class. The suburban gated communities where the rich huddle in fear of the rabble from the cities will be an unlikely point of distribution. The exclusion of the lower classes from these communities, except as servants, guarantees their isolation. The unwillingness for the rich to perform even the most basic of tasks results in a reliance on lower class factotums to do the work. This inequitable system also guarantees that the presence of servants will guarantee distribution within these communities should the need arise. The cowardice and racism that fostered these gated communities will result in their exclusion from a rigged game of their own making, victims of their own tactics, losing hand after hand of three card monte and swallowing their own tails like Ouroboros. The ruling class will retreat further into the shadows, unaware that the city has transformed itself into a Pirate Utopia except by rumor. A Temporary Autonomous Zone can rise from the ashes of oppression, one that they can only view from the safety of their armored vehicles through narrow slits. Bell Hooks rightly postulated that oppression is the absence of options. Options will have to be taken, they will not be awarded through grants given by the lumbering bureaucracies left behind after the culture industry falls. In fact, the only remnant of the former system that will exist long after its stated purpose will be these organizations. Their only purpose, solipsistic in nature, will be the survival of the bureaucracies, parasites without the benefit of a host.
Literature, like language, is an extension of reality. As Guy Debord noted, gypsy culture permits lies in any language other than the language of Roma.