realistic optimist this is plagiarized from an unknown source. i found it to have a beautiful message, and wanted to share. my guess is that it is an art theory paper from college of some sort. the english is atrocious, so bear with it for the pearls of wisdom inside...




all experience is mediated -- by the mechanisms of sense perception, mentation, language, etc. -- & certainly all art consists of some further mediation of experience.


however, mediation takes place by degrees. some experiences (smell, taste, sexual pleasure, etc.) are less mediated than others (reading a book, looking through a telescope, listening to a record). some media, especially "live" arts such as dance, theater, musical or bardic performance, are less mediated than others such as TV, CDs, Virtual Reality. even among the media usually called "media," some are more & others less mediated, according to the intensity of imaginative participation they demand. print & radio demand more of the imagination, film less, TV even less, VR the least of all so far.


for art, the intervention of Capital always signals a further degree of mediation. to say that art is commodified is to say that a mediation, or standing-inbetween, has ocurred & that this betweenness amounts to a split & that this split amounts to "alienation." improv music played by friends at home is less "alienating" than music played "live" at the Met or music played through media (whether PBS or MTV or walkman). infact, an argument could be made that music distributed free or at cost on cassette via mail is less alienated than live music played at some huge we are the wold spectacle or las vegas nightclub, even though the latter is live music played to a live audience (or at least so it appears), while the former is recorded music comsumed but distant & even anonymous listeners.


the tendancy of hi tech & the tendancy of late capitalism both impel the arts farther and farther into extreme forms of mediation. both widen the gulf between the production & consumption of art, with a corresponding increase in alienation.


with the disappearance of a mainstream & therefore of an avant-garde in the arts, it has been noticed that all the more advanced & intense art-experiences have been recuperable almost instantly by the media & thus are rendered into trash like all other trash in the ghostly world of commodities. "trash" as the term was redefined in, let's say baltimore in the 1970's, can be good fun -- as an ironic take on a sort of inadvertant folkultur that surrounds & pervades the more unconscious regions of popular sensibility -- which in turn is produced in part by the Spectacle. "trash" was once a fresh concept with radical potential. by now, however, amidst the ruins of post-modernism, it has finally begun to stink. ironic frivolty finally becomes disgusting. is it possible now to be serious but not sober? note: the new sobriety is of course simply the flipside of new frivolty. chic neo-puritanism carries the taint of reaction, in just the same way that post modernist philosophical irony & despair lead to reaction. the purge society is the same as the binge society. after the "12 steps" of trendy communication in the '90's, all that remains is the 13th step of the gallows. irony may have become boring, but self-mutilation was never more than an abyss. down with frivolty -- down with sobriety. everything delicate and beautiful, from surrealism to break dancing ends up as fodder for mcdeath's ads; 15 minutes later all the magic has been sucked out & the art itself dead as a dried locust. the media-wizards, who are nothing if not post-modernists, have even begun to feed on the vitality of "trash" like vultures regurgitating & reconsuming the same carrion in an obscene ecstasy of self-referentiality. which way to the egress?


real art is play & play is one of the most immediate of all experiences. those who have cultivated the pleasure of play cannot be expected to give it up simply to make a political point (as in an art strike or "the suppression without realization" of art) art will go on, in somewhat the same sense that breathing, eating, or fucking will go on.


nevertheless, we are repelled by the extreme alienation of the arts, especially in the media, in commercial publishing & galleries, in the recording industry, etc. and we sometimes worry even about the extent to which our very involvement in such arts as writing, painting, or music implicates us in a nasty abstraction, a removal from immediate experience. we miss the directness of play (our original kick in doing art in the first place) we miss smell, taste, touch, the feel of bodies in motion.


computers, video, radio, printing presses, synthesizers, fax machines, tape recorders, photocopiers -- these things make good toys, but terrible addictions. finally we realize we cannot "reach out & touch someone" who is not present in the flesh. these media may be useful to our art -- but they must not possess us, nor must they separate us from out animal/animate selves. we want to control our media, not be controlled by them. and we should like to remember a certain psychic martial art which stresses the realization that the body itself is the least mediated of all media.


therefore, as artists & cultural workers who have no intention of giving up activity in our chosen media, we nevertheless demand of ourselves an extreme awareness of immediacy, as well as the mastery of some direct means of implementing this awareness as play, immediately (at once) & immediately (without mediation).


fully realizing that any "manifesto" written today can only stink of the same bitter irony it seeks to oppose, we nevertheless declare without hesitation (without too much thought) the founding of a "movement," IMMEDIATISM. we feel free to do so bcause we intend to practice Immediatism in secret, in order to avoid any contamination of mediation. publicly we'll continue our work in publishing, radio, priting, music, etc., but privately we will create something else, something to be shared freely but never consumed passively, something which can be discussed openly but never understood by the agents of alienation, something with no commercial potential yet valuable beyond price, something occult yet woven completely into the fabric of our everyday lives.


Immediatism is not a movement in the sense of an aesthetic program. it depends on the situation, not style or content, message or school. it may take the form of any kind of creative play which can be performed by two or more people, by & for themselves, face to face, together. in this sense it is like a game & therefore certain "rules" may apply.


all spectators must also be performers. all expenses are to be shared & all products which may result from the play are also to be shared by the participants only (who may keep them or bestow them as gifts, but should not sell them). the best games will make little or no use of obvious forms of mediation such as photography, recording, printing, etc., but will tend toward immediate techniques involving physical presence, direct communication, & the senses.


an obvious matrix for Immediatism is the party. thus a good meal could be an Immediatist art project, especially if everyone present cooked as well as ate. ancient chinese and japanese on misty autumn days would hold odor parties, where each guest would bring a homemade incence or perfume. at linked-verse parties a faulty couplet would entail the penalty of a glass of wine. quilting bees, tableaux vivants exquisite corpses, rituals of conviviality like Fourier's "Museum Orgy" (erotic costumes, poses, & skits), live music & dance -- the past can be ransacked for appropriate forms & imagination will supply more.


the differences between a 19th century quilting bee, for example, & an Immediatist quilting bee would lie in our awareness of the practive of Immediatism as a response to the sorrows of alienation & the "death of art."


the mail art of the '70's & the zine scene of the '80's were attempts to go beyond the mediation of art-as-commodity & may well be considered ancestors of Immediatism. however, they preserved the mediated structures of postal communication & xerography, & thus failed to overcome the isolation of the players, who remained quite literally out of touch. we wish to take the motives & discoveries of these earlier movements to their logical conclusion in an art which banishes all mediation & alienation, at least to the extent that the human condition allows.


moreover, Immediatism is not condemned to powerlessness in the world, simply because it avoids the publicity of the marketplace. "poetic terrorism" & "art sabotage" are quite logical manifestations of Immediatism.


finally, we expect that the practice of Immediatism will release within us vast storehouses of unforgotten power, which will not only transform our lives through the secret realiztion of unmediated play, but will also inescapably well up & burst out & permeate the other art we create, the more public & mediated art.

and we hope that the two will grow closer & closer & eventually perhaps become one.
misstree "real art is play & play is one of the most immediate of all experiences."
and one of the most instinctive, hitting on our animal instincts (play is how the young learn) as well as our need for imaginative release.

"these media may be useful to our art -- but they must not possess us, nor must they separate us from out animal/animate selves."
this seemed particularly important to me, because that is precisely what digital media removes... fingers move instead of voice sounding loud, people are identified by obscure screen names rather than their physical manifestations, mannerisms and expressions and all.

"moreover, Immediatism is not condemned to powerlessness in the world, simply because it avoids the publicity of the marketplace. "poetic terrorism" & "art sabotage" are quite logical manifestations of Immediatism."
the phrase, "i am chaos, i am alive, and i tell you that you are free" mysteriously showed up in the bathroom of the bar in silver sharpie last night. guerilla poetry has a fine tradition backing it. operation_mindfuck blathe (forthcoming in the next week, it'll be a honker) should cover this...

thank you for posting this, r_o... your comment made me expect bad english, when i think strange english would be a better way of describing it... some very good points raised, though... and i may have more to say once the coffee kicks in...
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