Mar­co Fusinato
Noise & Capitalism

2nd September – 2nd October 2010
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Since Guten­berg, every major polit­i­cal upheaval has been at least par­tial­ly pro­voked and pro­mul­gat­ed by a tidal-wave of hard-hit­ting pam­phle­teer­ing. As the French sit­u­a­tion­ist Guy Debord put it, not books but pam­phlets change the world. Mod­ern pol­i­tics is unthink­able with­out innu­mer­able ide­ol­o­gists com­mit­ted to pro­mot­ing their mes­sage as effec­tive­ly as they can. Short, sharp, insur­rec­tionary, the form of the pam­phlet is itself the basis for the genre of the man­i­festo, in which con­spir­a­cies are alleged­ly exposed, prin­ci­ples of revolt declared, jus­tice affirmed, and orga­ni­za­tions con­sol­i­dat­ed. The pam­phlet is the pre­ferred tool of those desir­ing to be what the Bul­gar­i­an writer Elias Canet­ti once referred to in Crowds and Pow­er as the increase pack.’ It’s no sur­prise that pam­phlets almost have to be ama­teur­ish in their design aes­thet­ic — oth­er­wise one might sus­pect their authors of not being com­mit­ted enough, of being seduced away from the real issues, of hav­ing already too good a grip on estab­lish­ment tools of pow­er. It’s also no sur­prise pam­phlets tend to sup­press prop­er names or pro­lif­er­ate pseu­do­nyms, pro­claim that they are against copy­right and oth­er bour­geois prop­er­ty pro­vi­sions — oth­er­wise they might run the risk of appear­ing hyp­o­crit­i­cal. But you don’t have to believe the hype, as the phrase has it, and it’s not cer­tain whether any­one ever real­ly did. Take the analy­ses of the media the­o­rist Mar­shall McLuhan, The medi­um is the mes­sage,’ he once famous­ly said, before alter­ing his own mes­sage slight­ly, to: The medi­um is the mas­sage.’ Media pur­port to pro­vide you with infor­ma­tion — the lat­est news, for exam­ple, or max­ims for action — but what they real­ly do, as McLuhan also empha­sized, is pro­vide forms of psy­cho-phys­i­o­log­i­cal ther­a­py. Media are essen­tial­ly reme­di­al; reme­di­al in fact in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent sens­es: not only do they aim to rem­e­dy hurts or defi­cien­cies, cor­rect or improve skills; they are lit­er­al­ly re-medi­al, being media about media. The con­tent” of a medi­um is always anoth­er medi­um’ pro­claims McLuhan. Media don’t rat­i­fy a par­tic­u­lar view­point, but rather ren­der it rel­a­tive to their own oper­a­tions; indeed, they dri­ve the pro­lif­er­a­tion of com­pet­ing view­points in the ser­vice of their own dis­sem­i­na­tion. In oth­er words, media always aim for a mass-age. They effec­tive­ly pro­duce mass­es of anony­mous per­sons who, despite not know­ing each oth­er, start to act uncon­scious­ly in com­pa­ra­ble ways pre­cise­ly because they are all users of the same medi­um / media. This irrev­o­ca­ble human sub­mis­sion to media cre­ates a kind of Nar­cis­sus-Nar­co­sis,’ that is, the drug­gy, self-lov­ing affects that media users expe­ri­ence, for the most part not sus­pect­ing that the lim­its of the medi­um are the lim­its of their world. McLuhan called the new inter­stel­lar vis­tas opened up by the ear­ly-mod­ern print rev­o­lu­tion the Guten­berg Galaxy’. For McLuhan, the lin­ear­i­ty, anonymi­ty, and mass-pro­duc­tion of print have con­se­quences for the human sen­so­ri­um: the sup­pres­sion of oral­i­ty-aural­i­ty to the ben­e­fit of vision, the in-divid­u­a­tion of per­sons, and social seg­men­ta­tion. The visu­al homog­e­niz­ing of expe­ri­ence’ and func­tion­al dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion of mod­ern social sys­tems is an effect of the dom­i­nance of a par­tic­u­lar medi­um, print, a dom­i­nance that is now past in the new audio-visu­al may­hem ush­ered in by tele­vi­sion, etc. In McLuhan’s terms, we are all nar­colep­tic nar­cis­sists, except at those rare moments when the emer­gence of a new medi­um shocks us into a momen­tary recog­ni­tion that our ways of think­ing are pro­grammed by media — before we set­tle back again into the next gen­er­a­tion of self-con­firm­ing narcoses.

Art is not how­ev­er a man­i­fes­ta­tion of media but rather, trans­forms the media upon which it oper­ates. Art can alert us to our own media-nar­coses by means of media them­selves. Mar­co Fusina­to selects five pam­phlets with titles such as The Cap­i­tal­ist Sys­tem’ and The­ses on the Imag­i­nary Par­ty’ — a form he has long been col­lect­ing — and lit­er­al­ly blows them up. Fusina­to trans­forms these five pam­phlets into five quadri­par­tite works. Every piece of infor­ma­tion in the pam­phlets has been retained by Fusina­to, noth­ing is lost: the front and back cov­ers, the inside cov­ers, all down-fold­ed pages over­print­ed, all up-fac­ing pages over­print­ed. Once hand­held, ama­teur­ish, mul­ti­ple, these pages are enlarged, ren­dered sta­tion­ary, inte­ri­or, com­pact­ed, until the puta­tive infor­ma­tion is over­loaded and becomes not so much a galaxy of stars as a fortress of obscu­ri­ty. The pam­phlet once direct­ed against noise becomes an ele­ment and tonal­i­ty of noise itself.

Justin Clemens

Images

Mar­co Fusinato

Bia from the series Noise & Capitalism’, 2010
UV and indi­an ink on Fab­ri­ano Artis­ti­co 300gsm paper, framed
Four parts, each 116162 cm (232324 cm overall)

Mar­co Fusinato

Escapism has its price The artist has his income from the series Noise & Capitalism’, 2010
UV and indi­an ink on Fab­ri­ano Artis­ti­co 300gsm paper, framed
232324 cm

Mar­co Fusinato

The Cap­i­tal­ist Sys­tem from the series Noise & Capitalism’, 2010
UV and indi­an ink on Fab­ri­ano Artis­ti­co 300gsm paper, framed
Four parts, each 116162 cm (232324 cm overall)

Mar­co Fusinato

The­ses on the Imag­i­nary Par­ty from the series Noise & Capitalism’, 2010
UV and indi­an ink on Fab­ri­ano Artis­ti­co 300gsm paper, framed
Four parts, each 116162 cm (232324 cm overall)

Mar­co Fusinato

Why she doesn’t give a fuck about your insur­rec­tion from the series Noise & Capitalism’, 2010
UV and indi­an ink on Fab­ri­ano Artis­ti­co 300gsm paper, framed
Four parts, each 116162 cm (232324 cm overall)