The venue is the Discussion Space at the National Gallery of Victoria (International), St Kilda Road, Melbourne.
Zerox Dreamflesh (1979–1984) worked in the underground and around the edges – but mostly against the grain of – Sydney’s early-1980s postmodern philosophy and art scenes.
Dreamflesh was a loose group of writers, graphic artists and musicians who would have rejected the term “collective” in favour of something more like, say, “gang”. Their names were Tim Pigott, Will Soeterboek, Hardie Tucker and John Laidler. They produced a series of ’zine-ish print objects, music cassettes, colour Xerox postcards and a Super 8 film (The Black Cat, a riff on an Edgar Allen Poe story), working loosely – sometimes all together, sometimes not.
Their work was oppositional, not very accessible (though when you got it, you really got it), and always inspired and inspiring.
Lockjaw (1983) – their fourth print object – was the most fully realised Dreamflesh project: A5, perfect-bound, part book, part magazine, part cultural terror manual.
Lockjaw was produced in a small run of a few hundred copies using a mix of two-colour xerography, offset and screen printing, and was collated and bound by hand. It was sold in independent bookshops, galleries, music stores and through the mail-art network.
Lockjaw is a multi-layered mix of photocopy, cut-and-paste graphics and text – a mashup of the intellectual and cultural world of 1982. The dense layering of words and images reflects an equally dense intellectual and emotional layering. It’s difficult to read, but rewarding, the writing a mix of metafiction, reflection, edgy philosophy, cultural journalism and existential comedy splashed across its pages.
Dreamflesh’s work was produced in the spirit of Situationism and punk rock – it was not meant to last. Their physical traces today are scant: leftover copies of Lockjaw and their other publications stashed on bookshelves and in boxes under people’s beds: Zerox #1, Zerox #2, La La Sequence Bruit and Cargo, some colour Xerox postcards, and several music cassettes, including Wampum, a companion to Cargo.
This reissue of Lockjaw is a co-publication of Telephone Publishing and Surpllus. The book has been scanned from an original copy and been reproduced by risograph – a 21st century analog to early-1980s photocopy art.
This new edition includes a separate section with essays by George Alexander and Professor Ross Gibson, an introduction by Sonya Jeffery, and a reflection on the impact of Lockjaw on one reader by Matt Holden.
Lockjaw. Zerox Dreamflesh, 1983. Reprinted 2016. $39.95. 215mm X 160mm, 196 pages, paperback. ISBN 978-0-9924587-1-3.
Buy copies here
Sunday, silence. No transmissions from the piazza. How will the Greeks react to the defeat of Tsipras, the resounding humiliation that the European steering group has long wanted to subject them to, to the German payback for the No rebellion in the referendum? How are they preparing to live the years to come, which will be even more hopeless and wretched than the five years they have just lived? In the coming days we’ll understand whether at this point they’ll pull their heads in and accept that which destiny seems to be imposing, or continue the rebellion both without and against Tsipras. Or whether, which is more likely, the nazis of Golden Dawn will emerge in the new circle of hell Europe has lead them to. In the meantime public sector workers are preparing to strike on Wednesday, when Parliament will vote on the Troika’s diktat.
The financial terror that has struck Greece dumb sends a clear message to everyone else: to the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Irish, who in the coming months will go to the polls. Now we know that there is no electoral escape route. The endless debt grows every year, given that to repay it requires sinking further into recession every year. And there is no way out via the instruments of democracy. Syriza won the election, then won the referendum resoundingly, but the German vendetta has crushed all hope. It is a lesson from the leadership group of the Union meant for Podemos.
What sense would it make at this stage to vote for Podemos at the next Spanish elections? What sense would it make in Italy to exhaust ourselves building an electorial alternative, organising a referendum to win back that which has been taken away? No sense, from the moment that all of the instruments of electoral democracy were neutralised by the automatic pilot, by the financial terror. To ensure that this financial automatic pilot continues to function, the European Union moves from one coup d’etat to the next: first the ousting of Papandreou, then the imposition of Mario Monti on Italy, now the terror against Syriza. Why persist? The democratic route is clearly precluded. Does another exist? A country that in fact has solid experience in terror has taken on the burden of terrorising Greece to impose the will of global finance.
Now it is time to interepret the model that has emerged from the coup d’etat of July 13, to at least develop a concept that enables us to understand the world we have entered. The neoliberal era that officially started on September 11, 1973 in Santiago is now in a new phase, which we can call financial neocolonialism. Through the imposition of debt that grows day by day as it is repaid, it becomes possible for the neocolonial country (in our case, Germany) to extract without limit the resources of the colonised country (in this case, Greece).
…but there is good reason to fear that soon enough we’ll be talking about force full stop.
The European Union is now only held together by force of blackmail, but there is good reason to fear that soon enough we’ll be talking about force full stop. The leader of Golden Dawn has said that this is their moment. In Syntagma Square they are burning EU flags. Syriza was probably the last levy holding back the full flood of nationalism. That levy has been breached by financial siege and by the German vendetta. On the anniversary of the massacre at Sbrebrenica, it’s worth remembering the role that Kohl’s Germany played in the Yugoslav civil war, becase the Yugoslav war is on the point of becoming the scenario in Europe. And it is Germany that is the protagonist again.
When I was a child my father told the story of his imprisonment by the Nazis at Osimo whenever he got the chance. He didn’t teach me to distinguish between the word “Nazi” and the word “German”, for the easily understood reason that the only Germans he ever met in his life where soldiers of Nazi Germany. Then ’68 happened and I read the works of Rudi Dutschke and I understood that Peoples don’t exist, only people, classes and movements. But on April 25, 1968 a reader of Springer’s newspapers shot Rudi Dutschke.
Even in knowing that the word German and the word Nazi need to be distinguished from each other, the suspicion remained that the Springer reader represented the majority of people who spoke German, who were of German culture and nationality. Given that feelings are just as important as rational ideas in history, and maybe more so, I am afraid that soon it will be difficult to avoid seeing the emotion stirred up by the pogrom of harm done to the Greek people blur into hatred for the Germans. Notwithstanding my formation as an internationalist and my refusal of nationalist identifications, I would be lying if I said that my subconscious can now manage to distinguish between the word German and the word Nazi. This may be the thing that scares me the most.
Distributor Central Books has stock of Vogliamo Tutto on hand – UK fans of Balestrini and Brit autonomistas can now ask local bookshops to order it.
Photographer Stefano Robino documented life in the factories and streets of Torino and Milano in beautiful black and white photos that show the post-war rebirth of Italy as an industrial power. More than 40 original prints of his photos are on display at the Centro Culturale di Milano from November 25, 2014 to February 8, 2015. The photos show many of the locations where events in Vogliamo Tutto took place, including the Grandi Motori (above), where huge naval diesel engines were built.
“It’s not fair, living this shitty life, the workers said in meetings, in groups at the gates. All the stuff, all the wealth that we make is ours. Enough. We can’t stand it any more, we can’t just be stuff too, goods to be sold. Vogliamo tutto – We want everything. All the wealth, all the power, and no work. What does work mean to us. They’d had it up to here, they wanted to fight not because of work, not because the boss is bad, but because the boss and work exist. In a word, the desire for power started to grow. It started for everyone, for workers with three or four children, unmarried workers, workers who had kids to put through school, workers who didn’t have their own apartment. All our unbounded needs came out in concrete aims during the meetings. So the struggle wasn’t just a struggle in the factory. Because Fiat has one hundred and fifty thousand workers. It was a huge struggle not just because it involved this great mass of workers.”
– Vogliamo Tutto
Vogliamo Tutto is now on sale at Singapore’s Books Actually, a lovely little bricks-and-mortar shop in Tiong Bahru.
The old art deco residential neighbourhood has recently got an injection of something good with the opening of Books Actually as well as Forty Hands Coffee.
Vogliamo Tutto is “a surprisingly topical novel” says Fairfax reviewer Cameron Woodhead in a short review in Spectrum on October 4 , published in The Saturday Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Woodhead made the novel his pick of the week. He says the translation is “bracing”, and he finds it cheering that a small Melbourne publisher is the first to publish Vogliamo Tutto in English.