‘Art is organically an essential part of life, just like sweating is part of a human body and motion is part of wind.’
‘I am advocating for the smell of the authors’ soul in his writings and simultaneously for the real faces of people and groups in the same work.’
Available online, introduced by McKenzie Wark and translated by Anna Kalashyan, Andrey Platonov’s essay ‘Factory of Literature’ is a sort of writer’s utopia, a Marxist outline of how to construct an idealised writer’s community. …
Be wise to-day; ’tis madness to defer;
Next day the fatal precedent will plead;
Thus on, till wisdom is push’d out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time;
Year after year it steals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.
~ Edward Young, Night-Thoughts
Life in lockdown can lack the markers of prior forms of existence. I have described this subjectively in previous essays, characterising it as a mode of life marked by a peculiar lack of texture. That sense of the tactile is redolent not because sensation itself is lessened, but because it is flattened, repetitive, predictable. …
Over the last few weeks, as well as my usual run of manuscripts (novels, memoirs, etc.) I have worked daily on editing pieces (interviews, essays, reports, statements) for Mutiny, the socialist organisation to which I proudly belong. I have also put together videos; live-tweeted protests comrades attended, and even applied my decrepit millennial brain to the art of gifs and memes, with little success, it must be admitted.
The experience of coronavirus lockdown has been that of a kind of networked scriptorium. A collaborative if largely virtual effort at theorising and informing as the sweep of events constantly threatens to overtake all understanding. …