Zero Squared #83: Taste the Vapor

Grafton Tanner is a writer and musician from Georgia. His writing has appeared in Paste magazine, Film Matters, and The Blue Indian, and his debut book, Babbling Corpse: Vaporwave and the Commodification of Ghosts, was published by Zero Books on June 24, 2016

Thanks go out to Mir B, Seamus M, Paul H, Mathieu D, Brad P, Dave W, and Nigel W as they are the first members of the Zero Books Club which officially started on September 2nd.

Zero Books members gain access to our new Inside Zero Books Podcast. This is a second hour of the Zero Books podcast every week that will feature conversations about the left and left publishing with members of the Zero Books editorial team. That is they’ll hear from Ashley Frawley, Douglas Lain, C Derick Varn, and Alfie Bown as well as they dicuss political theory and/or the ups and downs of radical publishing within a clickbait culture. Inside Zero Books will also fearute interviews with radical thinkers and authors from around the world.

Zero Books Club members will also be invited to participate in bi-monthly online workshops in critical theory or philosophy run by Zero Books authors. Upcoming workshops will feature Daniel Coffeen and Mike Watson who will lead discussions on Deleuze and Conceptual and Radical Art respectively.

Members get access to audio books from our Advancing Conversations book series on a quarterly basis. Upcoming titles include conversations with longevity researcher Aubrey de Grey, satirical novelist Geoff Nicholson, and Zippy the Pinhead cartoonist Bill Griffith.

Members will also receive promotional discounts on selected Zero Books titles and the knowledge that they’re supporting an international Critical Theory and Left Politics publisher, one that the Guardian described as “One of the most exciting radical presses of the moment.”

Please do join.

This episode includes an advertisement for the Macintosh Plus, a clip from the Internet Club’s hit Pacific, a clip from Chuck Person’s Eccojams volume 1, a Cabin in the Woods Collage, and the newly invented Vaporwave Nike Revolution with George Carlin, and Grafton Tanner’s Rising from the Past.

Zero Squared #65: Basic Drone

Joanna Demers is associate professor of musicology at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where she specializes in post-1945 popular and art music. Her book with Zero Books Drone and Apocalypse was published on December 11th in 2015 and this week she returns to the podcast to discuss drone music more generally.

I want to thank people who reached out to me in the last week or so. Many people left compliments about last week’s podcast with Iona Singh and I think this week’s podcast about drone music works well as a follow up. Again we return to discussing aesthetics, perhaps from a formal perspective.

In this episode you’ll hear a clip from an old BBC documentary about Musique-Concrete, an original work of drone music created in Audacity by combining imported digital noise from the Adobe application and combining that with a stretched version of the National Anthem, an excerpt from John Cage’s album Indeterminancy, and the dronification of Star Wars, and Negativland’s Yellow Black and Rectangular.

Zero Squared #42: The Truth About Art

Patrick Doorly is an art historian specializing in Renaissance Italy. He divides his time between writing and teaching art history in the Department for Continuing Education, Oxford University, where he was acting director of studies for art history in 2001–02. Previously he was Head of Critical and Theoretical Studies at the School of Art & Design, Croydon College. Today we’ll discuss his book The Truth About Art which was published by Zero Books in August of 2013.

His book:
Traces the multiple meanings of art back to their historical roots, and equips the reader to choose between them. Art with a capital A turns out to be an invention of German Romantic philosophers, who endowed their creation with the attributes of genius, originality, rule breaking, and self-expression, directed by the spirit of the age. Recovering the problems that these attributes were devised to solve dispels many of the obscurities and contradictions that accompany them. What artists have always sought is excellence, and they become artists in so far as they achieve it. Quality was the supreme value in Renaissance Italy, and in early Greece it offered mortals glimpses of the divine. Today art historians avoid references to beauty or Quality, since neither is objective or definable.

In this episode you’ll hear some excerpts from Pierre Grimes, Robert Hughes, John Cage, Joseph Beuys and George Plimpton on Good Morning Mister Orwell, a BBC interview with Marcel Duchamp, and the theme from the 1968 film “Je t’aime, je t’aime,” and something called “Phased Floyd.”

Diet Soap Podcast #195: Former People

The guests this week are C Derick Varn and Steven A. Michalkow, the editors of the online literary journal Former People. We discuss modernism, neomodernism, and the impossibility of literature today.

What is Former People? According to their manifesto Former People is about bangs and whimpers. They wrote:

The past is not dead, it is not even past, to invoke Faulkner. And yet the past is obscured with dust, dross, and delusion. This seeming contradiction is but the inevitable process of human progress. The patina of confusion is make-up our world, the present merely being the current lie agreed upon. So too with “modernism”–a word whose archaic and historically limited reference strikes us already as self-parody. “Neo-modernism” seems no better – yet another joke of the post moderns. The kind of joke we now laugh at with no more vigor than in a reflex. “The new modern” – a redundant phrase, and yet on that has relevance to us. The goal of the Former People is to explore the future even as we look upon the past through the glass darkly. We aim not for nostalgia, but to combat the mid-brow and middle mind as well as the flippancy or over-seriousness of so much literary art. The literary arts are always intertwined within the new and the old, the high and the low, the experimental and traditional: we found all this already in the various modernism all over the world despite the pretensions to “modernism’s” difficulty.

We aim to be pluralists in our exploration of things neo-modern. This is not a movement nor is it a pretense to a clear aesthetic criteria as much as a zeitgeist and a de-personalization of the arts. We do not declare war against the philistine or the mid-cultist as that war is already lost–we are but an exploratory remnant that benefits from no want to make money on this endeavor and thus to be obscure or as popular as individual taste allows. We are like the orphaned children of deposed nobility, walking in the aftermath of their advances and retreats; their hundred visions and revisions. We are former people, who acknowledge that perhaps modernism has ended with both bangs and whimpers, and thus perhaps it can be appreciated and renewed as only something of the past truly can be: after all the mortar of future dreams is mixed water and quickener with ashes and pith of dead cities.

C. Derick Varn and Steven A. Michalkow
co-founding editors

This week you’ll hear from TS Elliot, William Butler Yeats, Allen Ginsberg, and Christopher Knowles. Remember, Literature is power. dietsoap195