Cutting Across Media: Appropriation Art, Interventionist Collage and Copyright Law

I have an essay in a new book from Duke UP, Cutting Across Media: Appropriation Art, Interventionist Collage and Copyright Law, edited by intellectual property theorist and prankster Kembrew McLeod and dada scholar Rudi Kuenzli.  The essay, “Digital Mana: On the Infinite Proliferation of Mutant Copies in Contemporary Culture” is a pretty freewheeling spin through the work of Philip K. Dick and the late great graffiti sage Rammellzee, amongst others … taking the position that countercultures in the late twentieth century are very much concerned with the concept of infinity and how human beings can access it through various practices and counter-mathematics.  I apply some of Alain Badiou’s work on the politics of how we think about infinity to some examples that probably Badiou would not be interested in … but generally, I think Badiou is right that our ability to imagine and enact social transformation is related to our understanding of number, and that which is beyond number.  “Version like rain!”   Generally speaking, it’s a great collection, with work by Siva Vaidhyanathan, Joshua Clover, Douglas Kahn, Craig Baldwin, Jeff Chang, Jonathan Lethem and many others ….

Introduction to Erik Davis’ Nomad Codes

I wrote a loving introduction to my pal Erik Davis‘  Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica out now from Mike McGonigal’s Yeti Books.  The book collects some of Erik’s visionary writings from the last twenty years including some of his work for the late and lamented Gnosis magazine, reminiscences of a SoCal stoner youth, meditations on Philip K. Dick, Sun City Girls, Terence McKenna and other key figures.  You can read the introduction here. Quote:

Erik is known for his writing about gnosis, subject of his acclaimed first book, Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information.  But what is the gnostic situation?   A basic definition: you are in a trap and you need to escape!  Many of us have lived our whole lives in this strange trap that’s variously given the names of late capitalism, postmodernity or just simply Babylon.  What happens to writing and writers in this situation?  Greil Marcus wrote that to understand Lester Bangs, you’d have to recognize that the greatest American writer of the 1970s might write nothing but record reviews.  To understand Erik and his fascination with weirdness and esoterica of many kinds, you’d have to recognize that just writing record reviews would be way too conservative an approach to actually describing our world today.”