by Urbanomic

Social Dissonance
Mattin
Urbanomic - 18.00€ -  out of stock

An argument that by amplifying alienation in performance, we can shift the emphasis from the sonic to the social.

Works in sound studies continue to seek out sound "itself" — but, today, when the aesthetic can claim no autonomy and the agency of both artist and audience is socially constituted, why not explore the social mediation already present within our experience of the sonorous? In this work, artist, musician, performer, and theorist Mattin sets out an understanding of alienation as a constitutive part of subjectivity and as an enabling condition for exploring social dissonance — the discrepancy between our individual narcissism and our social capacity.

Mattin's theoretical investigation is intertwined with documentation of a concrete experiment in the form of an instructional score (performed at documenta 14, 2017, in Athens and Kassel) which explores these conceptual connotations in practice, as players use members of the audience as instruments, who then hear themselves and reflect on their own conception and self-presentation. Social Dissonance claims that, by amplifying alienation in performance and participation in order to understand how we are constructed through various forms of mediation, we can shift the emphasis from the sonic to the social, and in doing so, discover for ourselves that social dissonance is the territory within which we already find ourselves, the condition we inhabit.

2+2=5
Jake Chapman
Urbanomic - 23.50€ -

With 2+2=5, George Orwell's flawed masterpiece finally receives a much-needed rectification, as Jake Chapman takes us on a bad trip into an atrocious alt-Eurasia - a nightmare utopia of 24/7 self-expression, mandatory wellbeing, yogic breathing, and promiscuous empathy. Yippie wonks in open-toed sandals have ejected the evil capitalist overlords, compassion and charity reign supreme, buckwheat salad and artisan cashew cheese are in plentiful supply, and all strive to live their best life, all the time.  

Employed by the Ministry to rectify misfortunes issuing from a curious glitch in the system, Winston Smith finds that his creative urges are unexpectedly awoken, and he is driven to express his deepest place, voice, and hurt through the medium of poetry. But what connects Winston's furtive scribblings in My Big Book of Me to the unpleasantnesses emanating from the deep glitch? Is Julia really the perfect kooky carefree soulmate she seems to be? Can O'Brien be trusted? And when does the new season of Big Brother start?  

An all-you-can-eat quinoa buffet of wrongthink, Chapman's twisted vision is a bracing reminder that dystopia is just wishful thinking, and that the worst can always get worster.

Atlas Europe Square
Yves Mettler
Urbanomic - 22.00€ -  out of stock

Atlas Europe Square documents a body of work by Swiss artist Yves Mettler who, since 2003, has engaged in an ongoing mapping and documentation of these sites, along with a series of projects triangulating between particular squares, interrogating their differing architectural, environmental, and public functions, and what they tell us about the ideality of ‘Europe’ and the (im)possibility of its concrete instantiation.

Here this work is extended into reflections on the relationship between art and public space, site-specificity, and the artist’s own implication in the imaginary of Europe as he becomes enmeshed in a network of projects, funds, and public bodies that seek to promote ‘European culture’ through art.

With contributions by Reza Negarestani, Laurent Thévenot, Teresa Pullano, Stephen Zepke, Neil Brenner.

Published September 2021

Construction Site For Possible Worlds
Amanda Beech, Robin MacKay, James Wiltgen (eds.)
Urbanomic - 20.00€ -  out of stock

Perspectives from philosophy, aesthetics, and art on how to envisage the construction site of possible worlds.

Given the highly coercive and heavily surveilled dynamics of the present moment, when the tremendous pressures exerted by capital on contemporary life produces an aggressively normative "official reality," the question of the construction of other possible worlds is crucial and perhaps more urgent than ever.

This collection brings together different perspectives from the fields of philosophy, aesthetics, and art to discuss the mechanisms through which possible worlds are thought, constructed, and instantiated, forcefully seeking to overcome the contemporary moment's deficit of conceptualizing alternate realities--its apparent fear of imagining possible new and compelling futures--to begin the arduous task of producing the political dynamics necessary for actual construction.

Implicit in this dynamic between the imaginary and the possible is the question of how thinking intertwines with both rationality and the inherited contingencies and structures of the world. With no ascertainable ground on which to build, with no confidence in any given that could guarantee our labors, how do we even envisage the construction site(s) of possible worlds, and with what kind of diagrams, tools, and languages can we bring them into being?

Amanda Beech is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles.  

Robin Mackay is a philosopher, Director of the UK arts organization Urbanomic, and Associate Researcher at Goldsmiths University of London.  

James Wiltgen is a Lecturer at the California Institute of the Arts.  

Inigo Wilkins is Codirector of Glass Bead. He has published articles on sonic culture and other topics in such journals as Litteraria Pragensia, Mute Magazine, and HFT Review.

Chronosis
Reza Negarestani, Keith Tilford, Robin Mackay
Urbanomic - 20.00€ -  out of stock

Approaching the comic medium as a supercollider for achieving maximum abstraction, in Chronosis artist Keith Tilford and philosopher Reza Negarestani create a graphically stunning and conceptually explosive universe in which the worlds of pop culture, modern art, philosophy, science fiction, and theoretical physics crash into one another.

Taking place after the catastrophic advent of the birth of time, Chronosis narrates the story of a sprawling multiverse at the center of which monazzeins, the monks of an esoteric time-cult, attempt to build bridges between the many fragmented tribes and histories of multiple possible worlds. Across a series of dizzying overlapping stories we glimpse worlds where time flows backward, where the universe can be recreated every five minutes, or where rigid facts are washed away by the tides of an infinite ocean of possibility.

A unique fusion of comics culture and philosophical cogitation, this conceptually and visually mind-expanding tale takes the reader on a dizzying rollercoaster ride through time, space, and thought.

This volume contains the entire Chronosis series in full color, along with additional background materials including early sketches, script notes, and alternative covers.

X-RISK
Thomas Moynihan
Urbanomic - 22.00€ -  out of stock

From forecasts of disastrous climate change to prophecies of evil AI superintelligences and the impending perils of genome editing, our species is increasingly concerned with the prospects of its own extinction. With humanity's future on this planet seeming more insecure by the day, in the twenty-first century, existential risk has become the object of a growing field of serious scientific inquiry. But, as Thomas Moynihan shows in X-Risk, this preoccupation is not exclusive to the post-atomic age of global warming and synthetic biology. Our growing concern with human extinction itself has a history.

Tracing this untold story, Moynihan revisits the pioneers who first contemplated the possibility of human extinction and stages the historical drama of this momentous discovery. He shows how, far from being a secular reprise of religious prophecies of apocalypse, existential risk is a thoroughly modern idea, made possible by the burgeoning sciences and philosophical tumult of the Enlightenment era. In recollecting how we first came to care for our extinction, Moynihan reveals how today's attempts to measure and mitigate existential threats are the continuation of a project initiated over two centuries ago, which concerns the very vocation of the human as a rational, responsible, and future-oriented being.

Spinal Catastrophism: A Secret History
Thomas Moynihan
Urbanomic - 18.00€ -  out of stock

Drawing on cryptic intimations in the work of J. G. Ballard, Georges Bataille, William Burroughs, André Leroi-Gourhan, Elaine Morgan, and Friedrich Nietzsche, in the late twentieth century Daniel Barker formulated the axioms of spinal catastrophism: If human morphology, upright posture, and the possibility of language are the ramified accidents of natural history, then psychic ailments are ultimately afflictions of the spine, which itself is a scale model of biogenetic trauma, a portable map of the catastrophic events that shaped that atrocity exhibition of evolutionary traumata, the sick orthograde talking mammal.

Tracing its provenance through the biological notions of phylogeny and "organic memory" that fueled early psychoanalysis, back into idealism, nature philosophy, and romanticism, and across multiform encounters between philosophy, psychology, biology, and geology, Thomas Moynihan reveals the historical continuity of spinal catastrophism. From psychoanalysis and myth to geology and neuroanatomy, from bioanalysis to chronopathy, from spinal colonies of proto-minds to the retroparasitism of the CNS, from "railway spine" to Elizabeth Taylor's lost gill-slits, this extravagantly comprehensive philosophical adventure uses the spinal cord as a guiding thread to rediscover forgotten pathways in modern thought. 

Moynihan demonstrates that, far from being an fanciful notion rendered obsolete by advances in biology, spinal catastrophism dramatizes fundamental philosophical problematics of time, identity, continuity, and the transcendental that remain central to any attempt to reconcile human experience with natural history.

XYZT
Kristen Alvanson
Urbanomic - 24.00€ -  out of stock

Based on the author's experiences of living as an American in Iran, Kristen Alvanson's XYZT is a wildly imaginative dramatization of the idea of a "dialogue of civilizations" and its potentially outlandish ramifications. As part of an advanced technological test program, volunteers are shuttled back and forth between the US and Iran, hidden from the watchful eyes of immigration police and state bureaucracies. Each is given a single opportunity to be received by a local host and to have a brief authentic experience of what it means to live as “them” before being transported back home.

But far from heralding the bliss of mutual recognition, the experiment unleashes a series of displacements so disorienting that the fabric of reality begins to fray. Ordinary people become entangled in extraordinary situations, and everyday life bleeds into mythological encounters, alternate universes and dark psychedelic journeys in alien lands where the real and the imaginary are indistinguishable.

A treasury of tales told from multiple perspectives and in a multiplicity of styles, XYZT is an audacious cross-genre experiment, a firsthand memoir of what it means to see what "they" see, and a science-fictional, nonstandard engagement with anthropology in which cross-cultural encounters take on all the unpredictable features of a contemporary fairy tale.

CCRU writings 1997-2003
CCRU
Urbanomic - 25.00€ -

From before the beginning (which was also, according to them, already the end), the adepts of the Architectonic Order of the Eschaton have worked tirelessly to secure the past, present, and future against the incursions of Neolemurian time-sorcery, eliminating all polytemporal activity, stitching up the future, sealing every breach and covering every track. According to the AOE, the Ccru ‘does not, has not, and will never exist’. And yet….

The texts collected here document the Ccru’s perilous efforts to catalogue the traces of Lemurian occulture, bringing together the scattered accounts of those who had stumbled upon lagooned relics of nonhuman intelligence—a project that led ultimately to the recovery of the Numogram and the reconstruction of the principles of Lemurian time-sorcery—before disintegrating into collective schizophrenia and two decades of absolute obscurity.

Meshing together fiction, number theory, voodoo, philosophy, anthropology, palate tectonics, information science, semiotics, geotraumatics, occultism, and other nameless knowledges, in these pages the incomplete evidence gathered by explorers including Burroughs, Blavatsky, Lovecraft, Jung, Barker, J.G. Ballard, William Gibson, and Octavia Butler, but also the testimony of more obscure luminaries such as Echidna Stillwell, Oskar Sarkon, and Madame Centauri, are clarified and subjected to systematic investigation, comparison, and assessment so as to gauge the real stakes of the Time-War still raging behind the collapsing façade of reality.

One of the most compelling and unnerving collective research enterprises to have surfaced in the twentieth century, the real pertinence of the Ccru’s work is only now beginning to reveal itself to an unbelieving world. To plunge into the tangled mesh of these conspiracies, weird tales, numerical plagues, and suggestive coincidences is to test your sense of reality beyond the limits of reasonable tolerance—to enter the sphere of unbelief, where demonic currents prowl, where fictions make themselves real. Hyperstition.

Cybernetic Culture Research Unit was a name on a door in the Philosophy Department of Warwick University, UK, during the late 1990s. It was a rogue unit, blurring the borders between traditional scholarship, cyberpunk sci-fi, and music journalism. Its frenzied interdisciplinary activity, including the Virtual Futures and Virotechnology conferences and the journal Abstract Culture, disturbed Warwick's Philosophy Department, resulting in the termination of the unit.

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