The Unstitute presents: Page 3 – Feminist Discourse Today

The-Sun-is-Sexist
Classic ‘The Sun’ contradictions combine on the front page to confuse readers on purpose [doublethink]

Page 3: A point of departure

In England, the tabloid newspaper ‘The Sun’ maintains a 45-year daily institution of showing soft-core pornographic images of topless women on ‘Page 3’ – often right next to images of death, disaster and horror – a recipe which might account for its status as England’s most popular newspaper. This popularity makes ‘The Sun’, (and therefore media mogul Rupert Murdoch himself,) heavyweights in the English political area, both with the electorate and the political classes themselves, and undoubtedly these tens of thousands of breasts featured over the years have been vital building blocks in the consolidation of this media empire.

The online campaign @NoMorePage3 which has called for an end to this institution has so far been rejected by the newspaper, which prefers to see those manifold breasts as being part of the corporate makeup of the publication, monetised by the top global news stories they are served-up with. Convenient for that expedient feeling of mastery that keeps male ‘readers’ hooked and hungry for more, as well as delivering divisive, offensive and utterly ludicrous gender norms to the rest of the English population, ‘Page 3’ is a sort of acceptable sadism for both home and workplace. And yet, this seemingly banal institution which is fixated upon breasts is only the tip of the English misogyny iceberg.

At The Unstitute we are taking the institutionalised, semi-fascist female body of ‘Page 3’ as the scene of a crime: these breasts, despite how they appear, do not belong to the bodies to which they are attached. They belong to and are disenfranchised by the culture which enriches itself on them, to each subsequent desiring-machine that plugs into them. This body is but a sequence of codes, a social construct in so many ways, a corporate entity or monetising agent in others. Part-fiction, part-biology, post-female, cybernetic, online, disenfranchised, tortured and/or dismembered bodies: each new variant or sequence of varieties acts as a multiplier of the plurality of bodies which we call ‘female’.

The Unstitute invites you to come and chew on some of the most exciting discourses on female bodies today…

Featuring works by Blanca Rego, Dawn Woolley, K.E.Wallwork, Banfield-Rees, Laura Plana Gracia, as well as guest practitioners from the Department of Fictions at The Unstitute.

VISIT ONLINE EXHIBITION

Special Rendition

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“What’s going on up there? Huh, that’s a good question…up there’s where they’re taking them. The prisoners. That’s what’s known as a ‘Special Rendition Unit’, see. I know it looks like a ordinary flat, but that’s, err, that’s ‘cause it is a ordinary flat, innit? I should know. It’s my bleedin’ flat. Yeah, an official came ‘round the other day to explain it all and to, err, ‘take possession’, as the saying goes. I mean yeah, he had the piece of paper to prove it and everything. Signed by the Home Office, no less. Yeah, group of lads it was – in a people carrier. Yeah, this one bloke had on like a uniform – bit like a police uniform, only sort of home-made – he explained it all to me very nicely, took me through all the small print, whilst the other blokes chucked my stuff out on the pavement. But you can’t just think about yourself, can you; I mean, it must be a terrible inconvenience for them too. But they’re keeping us safe, 24 hours a day, you know what I mean?

“Well, he said that they had to seize all these extra buildings like, just to cope with those ‘political arrests’ they’re doing at the moment. See, he told me that I was lucky enough to have had my house picked out at random to become a ‘Special Rendition Unit’. And he gave me a receipt and told me I was a patriot. Looks a bit small for holding prisoners though, don’t you think? Well, yeah – of course I told the bloke that, but he explained it all to me, see. He said, right, that these prisoners, right – ‘cause they’ve had all their human rights taken away from ‘em, these prisoners will fit into a much smaller space than a normal prisoner would. So there you go.

“Anyway, these prisoners, they only get locked up in my flat until they can be transportated out of London. And that shouldn’t be too long now. The bloke said it wouldn’t be too long, ‘cause  none of these prisoners will be needing a trial, see. Yeah, it’s a special streamlined system. So there you go. Brilliant, what they can do nowadays, don’t you think?”

Taken from “…drifting towards (x)” – come and explore the whole environment over at The Unstitute

Dirty PDF

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“Mail vans always crash. It must be the new laws of physics or something. Or the postmen and women are all blind drunk down the depot. Or they’re getting done over by organised gangs of hunters or something. There’s mail vans all crashed up all over the side of the road. Like…its’ an epidemic is what they got there. An epidemic of crashed mail vans.

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“Wonder if it’s got anything to do with what they’re carrying? What I mean is, all these mail vans got commandeered by the government into helping deliver ‘denunciations’ to the police, right. Well, I think it all sounds a bit suspicious. I think it was all part of a government plot to drown the police in paperwork.

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“You know, like, how when it snows in London, how everything, like, everything stops working all of a sudden? Well, this is the exact same thing. And I think it was engineered. The situation, I mean. You see, the police got snowed under almost straight away after the first few lorry loads of denunciations arrived. And ’cause of government pressure, they were told they had to just deal with it, any way they could.

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“You could tell from the way that mayor bloke, that Boris was talking out of his mouth about it on the news the other day. He kept sayin’ it was ‘a grave situation’ – you know the way he does – over and over until it stops meaning anything. “This is a grave situation. A grave situation. Grave. A grave situation. A very grave situation…” And so on. Nobody knows rightly what goes on in that head of his. But obviously it meant something.

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“But I mean – that must have been some pretty toxic stuff they had there, in the back of them mail vans, if what they’re carrying is denunciations from the general public. Blimey! I mean…’cause the public – I mean, the public’s a horrible thing, isn’t it? I mean, I hope they took all the proper Health and Safety precautions before they started handling all them filthy little notes, all them dirty little downloadable PDFs, people grassing each other up.

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“What I’m sayin’ is, if the general public’s started grassing each other up – on an industrial scale, I might add – I mean, perhaps it’s affecting things. Like, radiation and stuff. Maybe all them dirty bits of paper, when they’re all concentrated together in a confined space, like in the back of a mail van – perhaps they get dangerous? And maybe its affecting the drivers’ brains and stuff.

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“I mean, it’s a bit of a coincidence innit; all these mail vans crashing all up the sides of the roads like that? But then again, the government did warn everyone that there was going to be a sharp rise in coincidences in the future, so perhaps this is what they meant…”

 

An excerpt from “…drifting towards (x)”

View the whole project here

Three posts down the end of the road, and their multipliers.

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“They stand there. And the shadows all point the same way. That’s something I’ve noticed. The shadows all point the same way, and they stand there. That is all. How I ever got mixed up in this darned business is far beyond me; whether it was all the fates all weighing heavily right here, down the end of the road, I don’t rightly know. All I know is that they stand there, and the shadows all point the same way.

I guess you must think I’m  a bit soft in the ‘ead, gettin’ all fixated on these darned concrete posts and everything. I mean, these three posts have got to be the most boring thing in the world, haven’t they? I mean, they’re so boring, they just disappear, don’t they? You kind of just block them out of your mind when you’re going down the shops, don’t you, maybe so you don’t have to see how utterly miserable these things are. You know they’re there, but you can’t see ’em. Funny.

Well, so long as I stand here, I make one of them. My shadow points the same way, doesn’t it? And, you know, your shadow points the same way too…”

Transcript of an interview with the old woman down the end of the street, from which nobody ever comes back.

CADE, 2013

 

The project “…drifting towards (x)” is an EIE – an Evolving Interactive Environment.

To enter into the full environment of these ideas as they grow and adapt, visit us here…

“…drifting towards (x)”

The filthy carcass of London is still twitching spasmodically. It jerks about like something is still alive inside it, even though everything else has stopped. Everything else has stopped.

David Cameron PM

On the occasion of the passing of the Rubbish Act, 2013, only two Members of Parleyament voted on the bill – The Chancellor Mr Osborne, (who has been sleeping rough on the back benches with several other refugees,) and Mr Cameron himself, who has the only remaining firearm.

Severe rubbish drifts prevented any other Members of Parleyament from gaining access to the House, and therefore the only people to know of the new law’s existence are the people still trapped inside the Lower Chamber, like a pocket of methane expelled from a dead body.

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“My addiction to following pieces of litter around as they are blown to and fro in the wind often overtakes my walks these days, to the point where I usually cannot tell if I really am the author of my own movements, or whether I follow some long caravan of garbage on its meaningless journey from one dusty corner to the next. Today is no different.”

CADE, journal extract

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See things from the right angle

“My bed seems to have developed some kind of gravitational or electromagnetic field all of a sudden, because I just cannot get out of it. It only started yesterday I think, but it feels I’ve been stranded here for aeons…a bit like those statues on Easter Island. I’ve tried climbing out, fold by fold, but my desperate struggles just seem to erode the chance of ever being set free…”

Dolly, victim of Evelina Mansions Housing Association SE5

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“Shuffling myself into a spit-ridden corner where I might keep out of the vicious flows and undercurrents passing through the street, I decide to put the toilet under observation.”

[more]

CADE, journal entry

Dealing with the city as corpus, CADE explicitly approaches the breakdown of the normal functioning of the metropolis through the digestive tract, examining much as a doctor would the waste products of this body for signs of illness or disturbance.

In CADE’s notes, he explicitly makes the following assertion:

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“The health of the whole state can be ascertained by its attitude towards
rubbish

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Chief Curator Prof. Bettany Unction

“In conversation with CADE”

Copyright © 2014 The Unstitute, All rights reserved.

Prometheus, or Concentrated Boredom

I am walking through Mary Datchelor Close; a rather featureless and barren-looking 1970s housing block, in colour, annexed between Church Street and Camberwell Green Youth Court. To what purpose as yet unknown. A hunch, maybe. I am aware that, encapsulated within the almost deathly stillness of this afternoon, there is a feint droning sound seeping out from somewhere within the heart of the estate. It is a nauseating tone; more like some sub-larynxial movement of the estate itself, leaking out from where the buildings join the pavement, almost inaudible. I decide to investigate further, my curiosity having been piqued by the intense monotony of the drone, practically uncertain of whether it originates from inside or outside.

I swiftly go ‘incognito’ by putting on the appearance of someone who is just going up the shops for a pack of fags or doughnuts or something. So as not to draw any hostile attention. I move furtively from wall to wall around the estate, pausing now and then to press my ear to a surface, tracing my way back to the source of this monotony. Sooner or later my ears, hands, feet and other apparatus draw me to an unmarked white Ford Transit van parked up in front of a house. Attached to it is a curious-looking industrial trailer with lots of warning stickers all over it and all these dirty plastic hoses leading from the underside of the trailer unit and in through the kitchen window of the house. Judging by the droning sound, the trailer is either pumping something into the house or sucking something out. It is impossible to tell which.

There is a lot of congestion in each of the fist-thick pipes which probably accounts for the noise itself – the vibrations of an engine working way beyond its capacity, over-strained. As it coughs and splutters under its difficult burden, a viscous tar-like liquid – like some kind of filthy amber – is seeping out from a tear in one of the pipes and is coagulating in a puddle around one of the tires. I watch this process for some time. The dripping motion of the fluid is so inexorably slow, I almost cannot see it , but I keep watching all the same. It’s almost as though there were no movement at all, and I cannot understand how that can be. Perhaps if I slow down to the same speed, synchronize with the drip…? Danger. I could get stuck here forever; it’s happened before. It happens all the time. This fluid could be some sort of highly concentrated boredom, and therefore one ought to proceed with a high degree of caution.

Just as I’m thinking this thought, I suddenly become aware of three pairs of eyes watching me through the dirty lace curtain in the kitchen window of the house.  The front door unlocks and out of it emerges a trio of workmen. The eyes must have been theirs, I conclude. As they walk towards me I notice the protective white plastic garments they are wearing – a bit like how you might imagine a team of engineers to look in one of those sci-fiction movies; engineers who’ve been charged with digging up the remains of some ancient alien object buried deep beneath London streets and sewers, deeper even than the Tube, deeper than the unconscious.

I decide to respond cautiously to this unfolding situation, and to that end I make a gesture towards the puddle accumulating round the trailer tire. My gesture, (perhaps tinged with a shade of divisive malice – a bit of divide-and-rule,) causes two of the engineers to suddenly become animated, and they start bickering to each another in whispers and hushed whelps. The two of them, in their Laurel and Hardy-ish way, try to hide behind the back of the third man who is – I now notice – somewhat taller and more impressive-looking than the others. Having removed their protective masks and outer gear, I find it almost impossible to imagine how I could ever have thought all three men were the same size just a moment ago. The two animated engineers are considerably more scrawny, undernourished and pathetic than the foreman. He just looks straight through me, as though my presence was, to him, little more than a detail in the landscape of his work day.

Without my noticing, one of the two thin men has placed a vase under the drip in an effort to minimize the waste of, (or to prevent contamination by,) this strange fluid. The second thin man just watches the other with a strange intensity, his hand down the front of his trousers, eyes rolling backwards into his skull, vibrating.

I must escape before this situation achieves some kind of zenith that I would rather not be a party to.

Gesturing again to the puddle, (and stamping my foot so as to underline the gesture,) I remind the foreman how instrumental I was in the recovery of this [apparently] precious fluid; had I not been passing, a great deal of it might have been wasted – and he knows it, too. Thinking about it a second time however, I then wonder if he wasn’t just ignoring the gross misconduct of his colleagues in their wastage of the fluid, so as to spare me – an outsider – from the spectacle of their punishment. But, having indicated the leak for a second time, their mistake could no longer be overlooked by the foreman. They alternately throw hostile glances at me for having betrayed their incompetence, clawing at my conscience for a life line, pleading for me to toss even the smallest thread of hope to which they can cling for even the weakest of assurances. But this hardly bothers me much – on the contrary, it brings me pleasure to know that I will be able to escape when their punishment begins.

The foreman picks up the vase in slow-motion and slugs its contents with a single discharge of his gorge. His stern gaze, then dissolving into small rivulets of moisture in the corners of his eyes, echoes the dark patch spreading out around his crotch, a Rorschach image clinging to the inside of his thighs, steaming in the cold air.

As I slip away from the narrative lurking in the housing estate, I see in my minds eye the faces of those thin men which seemed to say – ‘It was the boredom that did it; your boredom! And we will never forgive you.’ Or at least that’s what I try not to tell myself as the droning sound fades into the distance, becoming little more than part of the background of the afternoon, a layer of autumnal parallax. To be sure, a million such monotonies lurk in the plain light of day, each threatening to disturb the apparent order of things. But if it really is my boredom that is responsible, if my boredom carries such charge as to be able to draw latent possibilities out of the monomanias of an afternoon, I am pretty certain that my being there to watch them unfold won’t really change anything.

The whole project to which this text belongs may be seen here: “…drifting towards (x)”

Barry Cade @ The Unstitute

‘THE WRECKAGE OF STARS': DR. JAMES LUCHTE @ THE UNSTITUTE

The Unstitute is proud to present the essay ‘The Wreckage of Stars: Nietzsche and the Ecstasy of Poetry’ by Dr James Luchte – available in English for the first time. It has been included in the permanent archive ‘[dis]Corporate Bodies’.

The essay artfully argues against the scholastic traditions of Western academia, the creation of the modern ‘theoretical man’ and the philosophical ‘spectator’, and explores the challenging alternatives presented in Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’.

Read the full essay here: http://theunstitute.org/disCorporate.Bodies.2.html

Dr Luchte is an expatriate American philosopher, author and poet who has lived in the United Kingdom since 1995. He is on the Board of Advisers of the Nietzsche Circle based in New York. This essay, available in English for the first time, was originally published in the Chinese Social Science Quarterly in 2011.

LINK:

http://theunstitute.org/disCorporate.Bodies.2.html