Posthuman Art Network
Jay Murphy is a writer and independent curator who is author of New Media and the Artaud Effect (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), described as “a riveting new study," and Artaud’s Metamorphosis (Pavement Books, 2016), characterized as “beautifully crafted, thought-provoking,” and “stunning." He has thrice been a finalist for Sundance Screenwriting Labs and his collaborative Internet projects have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival. He has contributed to CTheory, Art Journal, Deleuze Studies, Parallax, Culture Machine, Frieze, MAP, Afterimage, Parkett, Art in America, Metropolis, and Third Text, among other publications and was a correspondent for Contemporanea. He was editor/publisher of the alternative journal Red Bass; his Red Bass interviews with figures such as John Cage, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Emile de Antonio, Edward Said, and Kathy Acker were all anthologized or republished. He edited the 1993 anthology For Palestine (Writers & Readers Publishing), Peter Lamborn Wilson wrote described an “ideal intifada.” In 2009, 2011, and 2014, he organized exhibitions and programs of film and moving image work from the Middle East and North Africa for venues in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow; in 2011-12 the film series "First Person" for Inverleith House/Filmhouse Cinema in Edinburgh; and in 2008 gallery exhibitions in New York and Edinburgh.
There are numerous problematics raised in my last book, New Media and the Artaud Effect (2021), that I would like to more fully elaborate and develop. This would involve expanding much of the analysis in the chapter ‘The Power of Capture,’ in part by examining how useful the category of ‘capitalism’ continues to be. Either the current global economic system is the fullest expression of Marx’s Capital (Nesbitt 2021), or it is distinctly post-capitalist (Wark 2019), even a new form that can be called 'techno-feudalism,' pace Yanis Vanofakis, Jodi Dean, and others; this discussion is complicated by the emergence of if not ‘The Great Reset,’ a multi-polar reset in which a new Cold War features a struggle between financial capitalism, industrial capitalism, and socialism (Hudson 2022). While this investigation would call for a rereading of some of the ‘classic’ texts on Marx’s Grundrisse (1857) where he predicts the obsolescence of the law of value (Rosdolsky 1977; Dussel 1985, 1988, 1990; Negri 1991), I would highlight how a current definition of capitalism on the one hand relies on the digital, as in The Invisible Committee’s “capitalism is the universal expansion of measurement” (The Invisible Committee 2017, 98), and on the other the eclipse of the body. In what Marx describes in the second volume of Capital as a thoroughgoing schizophrenic “separation” (Marx 1967, 33) felt in all aspects of social, economic, cultural, political life due to the transition from formal to real subsumption of labor, “the tendencies of capitalism are moved towards the techno-ontological post-biological threshold” (Clough 2010, 221; Pearson 1999, 170). In this situation, “Embodiment can not be contained within the organic skin” (Clough 2018, xxxii). I would point out some of the difficulties in Patricia Clough’s position that an “abstracting of affect” replaces the abstraction of labor-power Marx analyzed in the 19th c., using the arguments of George Caffentzis (2013) among others, challenging, for one thing, that matter is self-measuring (Clough 2018; Murphy 1998). Nevertheless, many of the general lineaments of what Frédéric Lordon termed “moving from the economics of surplus-value to the politics of capture” (Lordon 2014, 118) remain present and valid, and involve working through some of Brian Massumi's 99 Theses for the Reevaluation of Value (2018).
In this situation where the body-as-organism is profoundly shaken, the ‘body-without-organs’ or ‘virtual’ body becomes ever more significant as a realm of contestation, nothing less, Félix Guattari wrote, than “the continual point of emergence of all forms of creativity” (Guattari 1998, 98). It is this autopoiesis of a “new body” that Antonin Artaud so brilliantly prophesized in his radio broadcast To have done with the judgment of god (1947-48). Yet, much as Artaud often credited a kind of peer group in his dilemmas, much of what I would explore in terms of the trans- or post-human mutating body owes much to the critique embodied in Artaud’s fellow poets. So, in this manner it is analogous to Nikolaj Lübecker’s arguments for the renewed relevance of Stéphane Mallarmé, Charles Baudelaire, and Paul Verlaine (Lübecker 2022). In Lübecker’s study 21st Century Symbolism he maintains the notions of subjectivation that emerge from Mallarmé or Verlaine make eminent sense in 21st century ecology and philosophy. This is consonant, at least in terms of their anti-capitalism, with earlier assessments of Lautréamont (Césaire 2015), and Arthur Rimbaud whom Tristan Tzara characterized as a “poet of combat” (Ross 2017), as well quite recent appraisals of Gerard de Nerval (Valente 2022), and concomitantly, the view of Marcel Duchamp as a prefigurative thinker of the posthuman (Rosenberg 2022). All of these figures contribute to the debatable roles of representation and representational processes and what can possibly constitute a subversion of them in an inexorable digital sensorium.