as everyone, by now, knows, disguises itself as Neoism in order to make Neoism repulsive - or is it that Neoism already IS repulsive? I'm not sure. There may've been a time when Neoism served some sort of societally useful purpose but all organic food rots eventually & then it's no longer safe to eat.
My Disillusionment with Neoism
I was once a Neoist. I'm not ashamed to admit that. I was young, idealistic; I had goals, principles, hope. But I slowly saw Neoism deteriorate from within. Or was it that the Anti-Neoists were pretending to be Neoists to make Neoism look bad? Whatever the case, the heroism slowly leached out & capitalism gripped its heart with its iron clench, Neoism was starting to SELL but no real Neoist was making any of the money. Something had to change & I found myself identifying with the Anti-Neoists more & more.
I felt like Emma Goldman & Alexander Berkman returning to Russia & realizing that the revolution had been compromised by the bureaucrats. A part of the problem here is that Neoists started disguising themselves as Anti-Neoists to make Anti-Neoism look bad. Some even go so far as to claim that Neoism is an invention of its enemies, the Anti-Neoists.
What about Jonathan Bowden? Is he REALLY an Anti-Neoist? Or is he a Neoist trying to make Anti-Neoists look bad? In his lecture entitled "Stewart Home: Communism, Nihilism, Neoism, & Decadence" he makes such transparently ludicrous statements as:
"when you have an intellectual clerisy it tends to control the conceptual ideas in the society"
That might even seem innocent to you but consider this: On page eighty-eight of Stewart Home's book entitled "The Assault on Culture: Utopian Currents from Lettrisme to Class War" he states the following:
"According to Kantor's "Video After Death" leaflet (Montreal, undated) 'video conversations eventually developed into an automatic exchange of conceptual ideas, video became reality and reality became video'. Kantor's description is typical of the myth making in which he indulges: phrases such as 'conceptual ideas' sound very grand but are ultimately tautological (all ideas are conceptual)"
The question here is: Is Bowden deliberately using this tautological verbiage to agree or disagree with Home? In David A. Bannister's pamphlet "History Begins Where Life Ends" (http://www.thing.de/projekte/7:9%23/tent_history_begins.html) Bannister has the following to say:
"In Bannister's book "The Assault on Culture" Cantsin/Kantor is denigrated in an attempt to downplay his importance. Kantor's use of phrases like "conceptual ideas" are ridiculed without calling attention to the point that Kantor barely spoke english at the time & never used anything approaching "correct" english grammar."
Note several important things here:
1. "The Assault on Culture" is credited here to Bannister, the same person writing the pamphlet - but it seems to be a different Bannister being referred to.
2. Bannister defends Kantor's use of "conceptual ideas" as a mere indicator of English-as-a-Second-Language & NOT as an indicator of smokescreen tautological myth-making.
3. The word "english" is NOT properly capitalized as "English".
How does Bowden fit into all this? Bowden is ostensibly attacking both Home & Neoism but he's using language akin to that of the founder of Neoism, Istvan Kantor. Bannister is attacking Bannister, who appears to be Home, for attacking Kantor (&, by extension, Neoism) for using the same language that Bowden's using. Is it possible that Bannister is Bowden is Home & that his ostensible Anti-Neoism is Neoism meant to make Anti-Neoism seem ridiculous? Bowden states that:
"Most Left-wingers and liberals, like Tony Blair, begin with the first thing Blair ever did, which was to go on an anti-National Front march. The first moment was negative."
in the midst of a lecture that's entirely critical, entirely negative. Does that make him a "liberal"? He goes on to claim that:
"Deconstruction is the idea that you have a text before you, and this text has a system of rhetoric which is related to the personality of an individual author, but the author doesn't exist. It's just a text. It's just a signification."
Does Bowden exist? I encountered his lecture online. Anyone can fake anything online. Is 'he' being sly here? After all, I've never heard of the guy - how do I know he isn't another one of Home's pranks? But it's when Bowden gets into art history that I really start to suspect that he's a Neoist disguising himself as an Anti-Neoist:
"John Lennon was involved extensively in anti-objectivist art. Do you remember getting into a bag for peace? This is where a naked John Lennon, covered with hair, would get into a bag. A bag! Yoko Ono, who was a member of a group called Fluxus, would draw the zip on the bag, and Lennon would stay there for a day, because the idea was that if we were all naked and in bags and covered with hair, we wouldn't fight, and there would be no more war! There would be a realm of peace on this earth for us all to enjoy!"
Everyone knows by now that when the world tried this particular plan for peace in Palestine that at the negotiations the Zionists & the Palestinians both smuggled in explosives in their body cavities & blew everyone up & there was hair everywhere. It appears that Bowden then confuses Viennese Actionism with this particular negotiation disaster:
"There's a famous case of one artist who was neo-conceptual and was an action artist who tried to sell his dead body after he'd committed suicide. This was a man called Rudolf Schwarzkogler, who's Austrian, and he wound himself in mummification, and either did commit suicide or feigned to commit suicide."
This is where Bowden really starts to try to discredit Anti-Neoism. Everyone knows that Schwarzkogler committed suicide for the usual reason that people do: to kill himself. It had nothing to do with art. Bowden pretends to buy into the mythology, another curious thing he seems to have in common with Kantor (at least as criticized by Home):
"It's all true, I assure you of this! There were several other ones who left bits of their bodies, including arms and legs, in various galleries and so on, and this was photographed in the 1970s."
"Home believes that everyone can create a culture just as there were certain classical music concerts in the 1970s where the orchestra would make it up as they went along. Xenakis was another one. You wouldn't have a piece. You would deconstruct the music. Indeed, they would tear the music up before the performance and stamp on it! Stamp on it in a rage at the bourgeois class!"
Any classically trained musician knows that the above story about Xenakis is ludicrous myth. Xenakis's scores are through-notated and would certainly NOT be torn up before the concert or the musicians would then be unable to perform them. Bowden, once again, discredits Anti-Neoism by telling stories that're detectable as obvious lies to actual scholars. Curiously, by doing so, he follows a very similar course to Home's own demonstrations to "DEMOLISH SERIOUS CULTURE" which originated with Concept Artist Henry Flynt's picketing of a performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Originale". Stockhausen & Xenakis being closely associated in the sense that they're both primary figures in the history of twentieth century classical music.
To further this discreditation, he begins describing Home in ways that anyone actually familiar with Home will know to not be true:
"Home's is an anarchist, essentially, or a libertarian communist or an anarcho-communist."
Really? Ignoring the awkward grammar of "Home's is" (which might just be a transcription error), consider that Home is commonly considered to be both Anti-Anarchist AND Anti-Neoist. In an anarchist magazine called "Green Anarchist: for the destruction of Civilization" issue 60-61 (summer '00) there's even an article on page 19 entitled "HOME NO NEOIST". There's no author credited. The last sentence is telling:
"If Stewart & friends HAVE attacked Green Anarchists in the name of neoism, keep in mind the possibility that he'd do it partially to stir up shit AGAINST neoists, eh?"
Bowden goes on to claim that: "He's also a very extreme homosexual." I wonder what Home's ex-wife & child think about that one? "He used to edit a magazine called Smile-smile!-which was a nihilist, communist magazine. That's what it said on the front. You can go to Smith's, you know, "Would you like to buy a nihilist, communist magazine? Smile." It would have an article about Lenin and an article about the Bombo Gang, and then you would have diseased genitals."
I happen to have all 11 issues of Home's SMILE. Nowhere on any of them is "it said on the front" that this "was a nihilist, communist magazine" as Bowden claims. Nowhere did I find pictures of "diseased genitals". Did he mean an article about "diseased genitals"? I think one might be better advised to go to a medical journal for that sort of information.
So what exactly is Bowden up to & who or what is he? It's my opinion that the Neoists have to be weeded out of Anti-Neoism & the Anti-Neoists have to be weeded out of Neoism. Let's keep things simple. My view has always been that that sort of militancy has to be stood up to. And you have to fight back. And you have to fight back as hard and as ruthlessly as they do. That's why they are aware of us and fear us.
1986.03.01 "Anti-Neoism" Wikipedia entry
"Anti-Neoism" Seven by Nine Squares entry: http://www.thing.de/projekte/7:9%23/anti_neoism_index.html
1999.02.13 "Anti-Neoism" Yahoo group
2000.03.24 "Anti-Neoist Rally"
2009.01.20 "The Neoist Manifesto - Documents of Neoism - The Neoist Society" by Cecil Touchon
2009.05.09 "Neoism-Bresonance" by Zedo
2010.02.13 "Stewart Home: Communism, Nihilism, Neoism, & Decadence" by Jonathen Bowden
2012.10.30 "Chus Martinez on Neoism!"
"Neoism download pdf" by Lambert M. Surhone and Miriam T. Timpledon and Susan F. Marseken
2014 "KOMAKINO SMILE hoodies & t-shirts"
2014 "NEOISM lunch box"
0L0åO0n\[á[ô [neoism Halloween party 2014]" by nekomon1
2014.11.27 "Neoism-Odinga Family's Political Philosophy of Leadership"
2015.01.28 "The Visual Arts Today" by Peter Sellick
"Neoism" Wikipedia entry
This website brought to you by KOMAKINO SMILE ADULT DIAPERS