Saturday, February 25, 2006

Quote: Retort

Afflicted Powers"This [Mohammad Saddique Khan's suicide video manifesto before his participation in the 2005 London bombings], sadly, is the voice of our time. It is the New Old speaking. Of course it is possible for art to reply even to this extremity--did we not start our set of answers with a prose-poem ["Parade of the Old New," from Five Visions] by Brecht? And does it not still apply, all too vividly? Do we not begin Afflicted Powers [: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War] by putting [John] Milton beside Abu Ghraib? And go on to describe the Bush administration's panic in the face of Guernica?

"But we look around at the existing art world of the Empire and see no reason to expect much in the same vein. We shall refrain from putting alongside Mohammad Siddique Khan's last testament a brief listing of the themes and styles of this week's gallery offerings in New York and Los Angeles, or a sample of the "ethical stances" of their reviewers."
--Retort*, from "An Exchange on Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War," in October 115 (Winter 2006, MIT Press), p. 12.
*Retort is a "gathering of antagonists to capital and empire, based for two decades in the San Francisco Bay area. Afflicted Powers arises from the group's efforts to confront the current political moment and forms of resistance to it. Involved in the writing were Iain Boal, T.J. Clark, Joseph Matthews and Michael Watts."

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