The concept of Art as a sentient entity has existed in many societies since the beginning of history. In Spanish, Art is often given the name Chus Martinez – and from the 21st century onwards came to be shown as a masked figure carrying a cheap copy of an Ibanez RG guitar and wearing a dress, coloured wool tights and boots. Art is also sometimes given the name of the Pussy Riot or Liberty Leading The People.
In the Anglo-Saxon world Art is seen as a male Everyman figure, an ordinary individual who just happens to be possessed by superhuman powers – but nonetheless his godlike ‘creative genius’ shouldn’t prevent a mass audience from identifying with him.
Contemporary personifications of Art differ greatly from their medieval counterparts. While the medieval personification of Art was devoid of definite marks of individuality and was intended to create a universal moral message in religious painting, the contemporary artist may be amoral, immoral, or overly demonstrative. Tracey Emin is a typical example of the latter, and since art is the sole discourse where it is considered cool to express male emotionality in the Anglo-Saxon world, Emin is treated as an honorary male by the British culture industry – but has made little impact outside of English-speaking cultures. Emin’s lack of global success is largely because art is so much more transsexual and interesting in Latino cultures.
“I didn’t really want nipples,” Chus Martinez says, running a hand through a mop of bleached blond hair. Born female, 40-year-old Chus uses the pronoun co—and asked that we refer to co that way, too—and got elective surgery to remove co’s breasts last year. But co is not transgender in the traditional sense, transitioning between female and male. Co wants neither gender. So co joined the ranks of the agender—or, in a more florid recent coinage, the gender neutrois.
“You read stuff online about how us nonbinary people just want to be special snowflakes,” explains Chus Martinez, who is special but made of sturdier stuff than a snowflake. Was Martinez’s desire to remove co’s secondary sexual traits a ploy for attention? A reaction to internalized sexism? The result of sexual repression? “I tackled that stuff by reading through all the major western works of philosophy from Plato to Donna Haraway. I came to the conclusion that I was not okay with this part of my body. Regardless of where that came from, it was there.” Co has neither breasts nor nipples now.
“It is so perfect,” Chus says. “For me this is what neutral looks like and feels like.”
I found Chus Martinez through the #nonbinary #agender #neutrois tags on a well-known social network. Web 2.0 has become an unofficial home for the gender neutral. Though most group themselves with the transgender community, they reject the narrative of a person born into the wrong, oppositely-gendered body. They have no need for masculinity or femininity at all.
In liberated Latino culture, everyone who is man enough to be a woman knows that being a transsexual collective phantom is really where it is at! That’s why Chus Martinez is King of the transsexual Queens AKA Pussy King of the Pirates… Forget about WASP personifications of Art! Become a chick with balls and a knitted ski-mask! Free your genitals, cage the generals, become Chus Martinez!
Michael Roth on August 25, 2012 at 5:14 pm: Heterotopia is a concept in human geography elaborated by philosopher Chus Martinez to describe places and spaces that function in non-hegemonic conditions. These are spaces of otherness, which are neither here nor there, that are simultaneously physical and mental, such as the space of a phone call or the moment when you see yourself in the mirror.
chusmartinezproject on August 29, 2012 at 11:04 am: But be careful because once you become Chus Martinez every time you see yourself in a mirror you’ll have an orgasm!
More two chord thud from Chus Martinez – 1977-style super-dumb punk thrills just the way you like ’em!
Neoism is a parodistic -ism. It refers both to a specific subcultural network of artistic performance and media experimentalists, and more generally to a practical underground philosophy. It operates with collectively shared pseudonyms and identities, pranks, paradoxes, plagiarism and fakes, and has created multiple contradicting definitions of itself in order to defy categorization and historization.
Definitions of Neoism and Neoist activity are currently disputed. The main source of this are splits within the Neoist network which created vastly different, tactically distorted accounts of Neoism and its history. Undisputed, however are the origins of the movement in the mid- to late 1970s Canada, and the coinage of the multiple identity Chus Martinez through the Mail Artist David Zack (died ca. 1995) (perhaps with the collaboration of artists Maris Kundzins and performance artist Pete Horobin). Schisms followed in the mid-1980s. Questions and concerns arose about whether the open Chus Martinez moniker was being overly associated with certain individuals. Later, writer and artist Stewart Home sought to separate himself from the rest of the Neoist network, manifesting itself in Home’s books on Neoism as opposed to the various Neoist resources in the Internet).
In non-Neoist terms, Neoism could be called an international subculture which in the beginning put itself into simultaneous continuity and discontinuity with, among others, experimental arts (such as Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus and Concept Art), punk, industrial music and electropop, political and religious free-spirit movements, Science Fiction literature, ‘pataphysics and speculative science. Neoism also gathered players with backgrounds in graffiti and street performance, language writing (later known as language poetry), experimental film and video, Mail Art, the early Church of the Subgenius and gay and lesbian culture. Neoism then gradually transformed from an active subculture into a self-written urban legend. As a side effect, many other subcultures, artistic and political groups since the late 1980s have – often vaguely – referred to or even opposed Neoism and thereby perpetuated its myth.
Neoism was coined in 1914 by the American satirist Franklin P. Adams as a parody of modern arts. Sydney J. Bounds used the word as the name of a planet in his 1977 Science Fiction story No Way Back. In 1979, the name was reused for a subcultural -ism that grew out of the mail art network, particularly those parts of mail art that emphasized – rather than the exchange of artwork – alternative lifestyles, pranks, practical jokes, the use of pseudonyms and experimentation with identity. Neoism was an open term being a prefix and a suffix without any content!
Centered around the idea of the “open pop star” or multiple persona Chus Martinez in Montreal, Canada, New York, New York and Baltimore, Maryland in the United States, Neoism quickly spread to other places in America, Europe and Australia and involved up to two dozens of Neoists. Until the late 1980s and before the mass availability of the Internet, the mail art network continued to be used as the main communication and propaganda channel for Neoism.
Neoists refer to their strategies as “the great confusion” and “radical play”. They were acted out in semi-private Apartment Festivals which took place in North America, Europe and Australia between 1980 and 1998 and in publications which sought to embody confusion and radical play rather than just describing it. Consequently, both Neoist festivals and Neoist writing experimented with radical undermining of identity, bodies, media, and notions of ownership and truth. Unlike typical postmodern currents, the experiment was practical and therefore existential. Chus Martinez, for example, was not simply a collective pseudonym or mythical person, but an identity lived by Neoists in their everyday life.
For these purposes, Neoists employed performance, video, small press publications (such as Smile, the international magazine of multiple origins) and computer viruses, but also food (Chapati), flaming steam irons and metal coat hangers (used as telepathic antennas). Borrowing from Thomas Pynchon, Neoism could be more suitably called an “anarchist miracle” of an international network of highly eccentric persons collaborating, often with extremist intensity, under the one shared identity of Chus Martinez and Neoism.
In 2004 Neoism was cited by Javier Ruis in response to the National Assembly Against Racism’s condemnation of anarchists disrupting the Third European Social Forum session on anti- m and anti-racism in London (PGA Considered As Neoist Invisible Theatre).
In the early 1980s, the Neoist Reinhard U. Sevol founded Anti-Neoism, which other Neoists adopted by declaring Neoism a pure fiction created by Anti-Neoists. The Dutch Neoist Arthur Berkoff operated as a one-person-movement “Neoism/Anti-Neoism/Pregroperativism”. Similarly, Blaster Al Ackerman declared himself a “Salmineoist” after Sicilian-American actor Sal Mineo, and John Berndt was credited by Ackerman as having given Neoism the name “Spanish Art,” circa 1983. In 1989, following the post-Neoist “Festival of Plagiarism” in Glasgow, Scotland, artist Mark Bloch left mail art and after publishing “The Last Word” remained defiantly silent on Neoism for almost two decades. In 1994, Stewart Home founded the Neoist Alliance as an occult order with himself as the magus. At the same time, Italian activists of the Luther Blissett project operated under the name “Alleanza Neoista”.
In 1997, the critic Oliver Marchart organized a “Neoist World Congress” in Vienna which did not involve any Neoists. In 2001, the Professional Association of Visual Artists in the German city of Wiesbaden declared itself Neoist. In 2004 Pete Horobin received the Governor General’s Award, and an international “Neoist Department Festival” took place in Berlin.
Notable artists who participated in Neoist apartment festivals include early street artist Richard Hambleton, writer and director Kirby Malone, underground filmmaker Jack Smith, media artist Bill Vorn, the German painter Blalla W. Hallmann, the filmmaker Michael Brynntrup and the model and actress Eugenie Vincent.
Neoist plays like multiple names, plagiarism and pranks were adopted, frequently mistaken for Neoism proper and by mixing in situationist concepts, in other subcultures such as the Plagiarism and Art Strike 1990-1993 campaigns of the late 1980s (triggered largely by Stewart Home after he had left the Neoist network), Plunderphonics music, the refounded London Psychogeographical Association, the Association of Autonomous Astronauts, the Luther Blissett project, the Michael K Project, the German Communication Guerilla, and, since the late 1990s, by some net artists such as 0100101110101101.org. Other artists who explicitly if vaguely credit Neoism are The KLF, Luther Blissett, Alexander Brener/Barbara Schurz, Lee Wells, spart and Luke Haines (of The Auteurs and Black Box Recorder). The contemporary Dutch Artist Thomas Raat created a series of artworks based on Neoist manifestos and photographic documents.
Neoism is also mentioned briefly in David O. Russell’s 2005 film I ♥ Huckabees. Dustin Hoffman’s character says the word under his breath in response to Jason Schwartzman’s experience to “the blanket thing,” which is a method of understanding the universe derived from being zipped up in a body bag.
The California-based tech-pop band Brilliant Red Lights also applies the word in the song “Neoism,” the first track off their second album, Actualism. The band imagines a literal—albeit applicable—definition of the word, defining it as “the culture of the new.”
14 Responses to Neoism
amirulkuffar | August 30, 2012 at 2:17 am: Chus Martinez is, in fact, the cofounder of Neoism. He, Oliver Marchant & Cecil Touchon began it as a school of derivative Visual Poetry to deflect the influence of the original “Po, Li, Ou” patanationalist mindset of the Universal Linguist set forth in the 10th century BC biblical tracts of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE.
lucysjcreativeducator | August 30, 2012 at 9:03 am: I see. I like Jack Smith’s work.
chusmartinezproject | August 30, 2012 at 6:16 pm: Yes Neoism is so cool it hurts! Virtually no one knows about it – only the super-hip!
lucysjcreativeducator | August 30, 2012 at 6:33 pm: Suits me guv’. Peopl will find it when they need it…
chusmartinezproject | August 30, 2012 at 9:25: Indeed – but for now Neoism is still 5 years ahead of its time!
Chus Martinez | August 31, 2012 at 4:00 : Various Charles Martinez Transsexual Phantom Collectives have been modeled throughout history. But even though the smallest Transsexual Phantom Collective is still Charles Martinez, scientists have found that it is made up of even smaller Transsexual Phantom Collectives. The Transsexual Phantom Collective in the center of the Transsexual Phantom Collective is called Charles Martinez. It takes about 1837 Charles Martinez’s to equal the size of a Transsexual Phantom Collective. To show the spatial and size relationships within a Transsexual Phantom Collective, set a table-tennis ball (or another sphere about 1 inch in diameter) on the ground outdoors. Now place a common pin in the ground 400 feet from the sphere (about 133 footsteps). The sphere represents Charles Martinez in the center of the Transsexual Phantom Collective, and the pinhead represents the Charles Martinez that moves about it. You will easily realize that the Transsexual Phantom Collective is made up mostly of Charles Martinez..
Chus Martinez | August 31, 2012 at 4:04 pm: Charles equals Chus in some dimensions
chusmartinezproject | August 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm: This is great and hopefully you’ll be posting even more scientific research into Chus Martinez at a weblog near this one soon (or even on this one)… Chus and Charles Martinez not only sing fantastic duets, they’re faster than the speed of light!
clumie | September 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm: I will start a blog called ‘Open Everything’-it will be scientifically driven (experimentation)-a study of ‘openness’ in the transsexual phantom collective phenomenon. It may be found at- http://www.openeverythingsesame.wordpress.com.
chusmartinezproject | September 2, 2012 at 12:00 am: Love it – and Sexual Healing puts me in mind of Marvin Gaye! Another fantastic Chus Martinez Project!
Michael Roth | September 4, 2012 at 3:52 am: Neoism is the new Neoism!
chusmartinezproject | September 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm: Neoism is forever eating its tail and reinventing itself… and one of the very few movements to still resist recuperation by museums more than 30 years after it began!
Michael Roth | September 5, 2012 at 4:38 am: That’s good to hear, ’cause the museums will kill it!
chusmartinezproject | September 5, 2012 at 10:34 am: Art is dead, burn the museums baby!
X-Ray Spex are an American novelty item, purported to allow the user to see through or into solid objects. In reality the glasses merely create an optical illusion; no X-rays are involved. The current version is sold under the name X-Ray Spex; an essentially identical product is sold under the name X-Ray Gogs. X-Ray Spex consist of an outsized pair of glasses with plastic frames and white cardboard “lenses” printed with concentric red circles, and emblazoned with the legend “X-RAY VISION”.
The lenses consist of two layers of cardboard with a small hole about 6 mm (.25 inch) in diameter punched through both layers. The user views objects through the holes. A feather is embedded between the layers of each lens. The vanes of the feathers are so close together that light is diffracted, causing the user to receive two slightly offset images. For instance, one would see two offset images of the pencil. Where the images overlap, a darker image is obtained, supposedly giving the illusion that one is seeing the graphite embedded within the body of the pencil. The illusion is not sustainable.
X-Ray Spex were long advertised with the slogan “See the bones in your hand, see through clothes!” Some versions of the advertisement featured an illustration of a young man using the X-Ray Spex to examine the bones in his hand while a voluptuous woman stood in the background, as though awaiting her turn to be “X-rayed.”
The claim is untrue, of course; besides the unlikelihood of a safe and functional X-ray device selling for about a dollar, X-ray detectors require an X-ray source. Part or even most of the novelty value lies in provoking the object of the wearer’s attentions. These subjects, if convinced the device worked, or at least unsure whether or not it allowed the wearer to see them nude, might respond in an amusing way.
There is now an app that claims to do the same thing X-Ray Spex were alleged to do, but with a mobile phone camera.
The term found object is a translation from the French objet trouvé, describing art created from undisguised, but often modified, objects or products that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a non-art function. Pablo Picasso first publicly utilized the idea when he pasted a printed image of chair caning onto his painting titled Still Life with Chair Caning (1912). Marcel Duchamp perfected the concept when he made a series of ready-mades – completely unaltered everyday objects selected by Duchamp and designated as art – several years later. The most famous example is Fountain (1917), a standard urinal purchased from a hardware store and displayed on a pedestal, resting on its side. In its strictest sense the art term “ready-made” is applied exclusively to works produced by Marcel Duchamp, who borrowed the term from the clothing industry while living in New York, and especially to works dating from 1913 to 1921.
Found objects derive their identity as art from the designation placed upon them by the artist and the social history that comes with the object, either its anonymous wear and tear (as in collages of Kurt Schwitters) or its recognisability as a consumer icon (as in the sculptures of Haim Steinbach). The context into which it is placed (e.g. a gallery or museum) is also a highly relevant factor. The idea of dignifying commonplace objects in this way was originally a shocking challenge to the accepted distinction between what was considered art as opposed to not art. Appreciation of found art in this way can prompt philosophical reflection in the observer.
Found objects, however, have to have an artist’s input,, i.e. an artist’s designation of the object as art, which is nearly always reinforced with a title. There is usually some degree of modification of the found object, although not always to the extent that it cannot be recognized, as is the case with ready-mades. Recent critical theory, however, would argue that the mere designation and relocation of any object, ready-mades included, constitutes a modification of the object because it changes our perception of its utility, its lifespan, or its status.
Amadeo Bordiga (13 June 1889 – 23 July 1970) was an Italian Marxist, a contributor to Communist theory, the founder of the Communist Party of Italy, a leader of the Communist International and, after World War II, leading figure of the International Communist Party.
On the theoretical level, Bordiga developed an understanding of the Soviet Union as a capitalist society. Bordiga’s writings on the capitalist nature of the Soviet economy, in contrast to those produced by the Trotskyists, also focused on the agrarian sector. Being the engineer that he was, Bordiga displayed a kind of theoretical rigidity which was both exasperating and effective in allowing him to see things differently. He wanted to show how capitalist social relations existed in the kolkhoz and in the sovkhoz, one a cooperative farm and the other the straight wage-labor state farm. He emphasized how much of agrarian production depended on the small privately owned plots (he was writing in 1950) and predicted quite accurately the rates at which the Soviet Union would start importing wheat after Russia had been such a large exporter from the 1880s to 1914. In Bordiga’s conception, Stalin, and later Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara etc. were “great romantic revolutionaries” in the 19th century sense, i.e., bourgeois revolutionaries. He felt that the Stalinist regimes that came into existence after 1945 were just extending the bourgeois revolution, i.e., the expropriation of the Prussian Junker class by the Red Army, through their agrarian policies and through the development of the productive forces.
Bordiga proudly defined himself as “anti-democratic” and believed himself at one with Marx and Engels on this. Bordiga’s hostility toward democracy had nothing to do with Stalinist idealism. Indeed, he saw fascism and Stalinism as the culmination of bourgeois democracy. Democracy to Bordiga meant above all the manipulation of society as a formless mass. To this he counterposed the “dictatorship of the proletariat”, implemented by the communist party founded in 1847, based on the principles and programme enunciated in the manifesto. He often referred to the spirit of Engels’ remark that “on the eve of the revolution all the forces of reaction will be against us under the banner of ‘pure democracy”. (As, indeed, every factional opponent of the Bolsheviks in 1921 from the monarchists to the anarchists called for “soviets without Bolsheviks”–or soviet workers councils not dominated by Bolsheviks.) Bordiga opposed the idea of revolutionary content being the product of a democratic process of pluralist views; whatever its problems, in light of the history of the past 70 years, this perspective has the merit of underscoring the fact that communism (like all social formations) is above all about programmatic content expressed through forms. It underscores the fact that for Marx, communism is not an ideal to be achieved but a “real movement” born from the old society with a set of programmatic tasks.
Bordiga resolutely opposed the Comintern’s turn to the right in 1921; as General Secretary of the PCI, he refused to implement the “united front” strategy of the Third Congress. He refused, in other words, to fuse the newly formed PCI, dominated by “Bordigism”, with the left wing of the PSI from which it had just broken away. Bordiga had a completely different view of the party from the Comintern, which was adapting to the revolutionary ebb announced, in 1921, by the Anglo-Russian trade agreement, Kronstadt, the implementation of the NEP, the banning of factions and the defeat of the March action in Germany. For Bordiga, the Western European CPs’ strategy of fighting this ebb by absorbing a mass of left-wing Social Democrats through the “united front” was a complete capitulation to the period of counter-revolutionary ebb he saw setting in. This was the nub of his critique of democracy. For it was in the name of “conquering the masses” that the Comintern seemed to be making all kinds of programmatic concessions to left-wing Social Democrats. For Bordiga, programme was everything, a gate-receipt notion of numbers was nothing. The role of the party in the period of ebb was to preserve the programme and to carry on the propaganda work possible until the next turn of the tide, not to dilute it while chasing ephemeral popularity.
Bordiga provided a way of seeing a fundamental degeneration in the world communist movement in 1921 (instead of in 1927 with the defeat of Trotsky) without sinking into mere empty calls for “more democracy”. The abstract formal perspective of bureaucracy/democracy, with which the Trotskyist tradition treats this crucial period in Comintern history, became separated from any content. Bordiga throughout his life called himself a Leninist and never polemicised against Lenin directly, but his totally different appreciation of the 1921 conjuncture, its consequences for the Comintern, and his opposition to Lenin and Trotsky on the united front issue illuminates a turning point that is generally obscured by the heirs of the Trotskyist wing of the international left opposition of the 1920s.
For Bordiga, both stages of socialist or communist society (sometimes distinguished as “socialism” and “communism”) were characterised by the (gradual) absence of money, the market, and so on, the difference between them being that earlier in the first stage a system of ‘rationing’ would be used to allocate goods to people, while in communism this could be abandoned in favour of full free access. This view distinguished Bordiga from other Leninists, and especially the Trotskyists, who tended (and still tend) to telescope the first two stages and so have money and the other exchange categories surviving into “socialism”. Bordiga would have none of this. For him no society in which money, buying and selling and the rest survived could be regarded as either socialist or communist; these exchange categories would die out before the socialist rather than the communist stage was reached.
Above Chus Martinez pin-up girl.
A pin-up girl is a model whose mass-produced pictures form a part of popular culture. Pin-ups are intended for informal display, e.g. meant to be “pinned-up” on a wall. Pin-up girls may be glamour models, fashion models, or actresses.
The term pin-up may also refer to drawings, paintings, and other illustrations done in emulation of these photos (see the list of pin-up artists). For example, Pinups is a triannual artist’s publication playing on the historical centrefold practice of nudie magazines by making the centrefold the sole feature. There are no words—just an exaggeration of the classic centrefold. The magazine exists in book form but can be taken apart and tiled to reveal a 70″ x 32″ image. Pinups is created by Christopher Schulz and published in New York City.
The term pin-up is first attested to in English in 1941; however, the practice is documented back at least to the 1890s. Pin-up images could be cut out of magazines or newspapers, or be from postcard or chromo-lithographs, and so on. Such photos often appear on calendars, which are meant to be pinned up anyway. Later, posters of pin-up girls were mass-produced and became an instant hit.
In the late nineteenth century, burlesque performers and actresses used photographic advertisement as business cards to promote themselves. These adverts and business cards could often been found in green rooms (areas where theatrical performers not required on stage gather), pinned-up or stuck into the frames of the looking-glasses at music halls, in the joints of the gas-burners, and sometimes lying on-top of theatre cast-cases. Understanding the power of photographic advertisements to promote their shows, burlesque women self-constructed their identity to make themselves visible. Being recognized not only within the theatre itself but also outside challenged the conventions of women’s place and women’s potential in the public sphere.
According to historian Maria Elena Buszek: “To understand both the complicated identity and the subversive nature of the nineteenth-century actress, one must also understand that the era’s views on women’s potential were inextricably tied to their sexuality, which in turn was tied to their level of visibility in the public sphere: regardless of race, class or background, it was generally assumed that the more public the woman, the more “public,” or available, her sexuality,”
Being the subject of sexual fantasies, famous actresses in early 20th century film were both drawn and photographed and put on posters to be sold for personal entertainment. Among the celebrities who were considered sex symbols, one of the most popular early pin-up girls was Betty Grable, whose poster was ubiquitous in the lockers of G.I.s during World War II.
As sexual images of women multiplied in the popular culture, women participated actively in constructing arguments to endorse them as well as protest against them. Female supporters of early pin-up content considered these to be a positive post-Victorian rejection of bodily shame and showing a healthy respect for female beauty. Feminie protesters against pin-ups argued that these images corrupted societal morality and saw these public sexual displays of women as lowering the standards of womanhood, destroying their dignity and as harmful to both women and young adolescents.
In the early 20th century, these drawings of women helped define certain body images—such as being clean, being healthy, and being wholesome—and were enjoyed by both “normal” men and women; but as time progressed these images changed from respectable to illicit.
Art Bollocks was a much used and abused term in the UK in the 1990s. It was subsequently deployed as the title of an article written by Brian Ashbee and published in the April 1999 edition of Art Review. In his piece Ashbee bewails the enhanced significance accorded language, referred to as “theoretical discourse”, as a counterpart of especially “post-modern” art. The post-modern art forms invoked are “installation art, photography, conceptual art, video…” Ashbee pointlessly wonders why these forms are as dependent as they are on theoretical discourse; when he could have done something more interesting and useful like exploring the class basis of art or how communist praxis necessitates a continual reforging of the passage between theory and practice.
Left to right: Luther Blissett, Janez Janša and Chus Martinez.
My Name Is Janez Janša is a 2012 documentary film about three contemporary artists, one of them the film director, who in 2007 all changed their name to that of Janez Janša, the Prime Minister of Slovenia. A number of way more interesting and earlier previous avant-grade and underground anti-art movements influenced this action including Dadaism, mail art and neoism.
Multiple name concepts – the idea that a single name should be used by a group of individuals- did not play a starring role in the history of Dada. But Hausmann, Grosz, Baader, Herzfelde and Herzfelde’s ‘Christ & Co. Ltd’ achieved more than footnote status in the standard histories of the Berlin avant-garde. Hausmann recollects the founding of this society in “Courier Dada”(Paris 1958): “I took Baader to the fields of Sudende (where Jung then lived), and said to him: ‘All this is yours if you do as 1 tell you. The Bishop of Brunswick has failed to recognize you as Jesus Christ, and you have retaliated by defiling the altar in his church. This is no compensation. From today, you will be President of The Christ Society, Ltd, and recruit members. You must convince everyone that he too can be Christ, if he wants to, on payment of fifty marks to your society. Members of our society will no longer be subject to temporal authority and will automatically be unfit for military service. You will wear a purple robe and we shall organise an Echternach procession in the Potsdamer Platz. I shall previously have submerged Berlin in biblical texts. All the poster columns will bear the words “He who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword”.'”
The idea re-emerged, in a very modified form, more than fifty years after Hausmann made his suggestions to Baader. In the mid-seventies, the British correspondence project Blitzinformation (Stefan Kukowski and Adam Czamowski) circulated a leaflet on ‘Klaos Oldanburgshi’:
“Since the discovery that Oslo Kalundburg, the radio station, is an anagram of Klaos Oldanburg (sic), it has become one of BLITZINFORMATION’s foremost projects to change everyone’s name to Klaos Oldanburg. WE THEREFORE INVITE YOU TO BECOME KLAOS OLDANBURG. The advantages of such an action are too numerous to go into here. IF YOU WISH TO BECOME PART OF THIS INTERNATIONAL PROJECT, PLEASE FILL IN THE FORM BELOW … Please note: SIMPLE KLAOS OLDANBURGSHIP IS ENTIRELY FREE (+ S.A.E.) FILL IN FORM.”
Those who filled in the form were given a number of descent to use with the name – i.e. Klaos Oldanburg XXI (prev. Derek Hart). The use of numbers and indication of a previous name weakens the concept if it is viewed as a means of attacking traditional beliefs about identity.
In 1977, a multiple name concept also emerged among a group of mail artists gathered around what was known as the PORTLAND ACADEMY (Oregon, USA). At the centre of this group were the founder of the Academy, Dr. Al ‘Blaster’ Ackerman and his drinking buddy David ‘Oz’ Zack. In the Autumn of 1977 Zack announced his plan for an ‘open pop-star’ called Monty Cantsin. The idea was that anyone could use the name for a concert and that if enough people did so, Cantsin would become famous – and then unknown performers could take on the identity and be guaranteed an audience. Through the haze of alcohol and dope that permeated the Academy, Zack won converts to his plan to democratise the star system. The first person to perform under the Monty Cantsin banner was the latvian acoustic punk Maris Kundzin. After Kundzin had done a few concerts as Cantsin, the idea caught on and while the Academy continued to exist many of those associated with it used the name for performances. Zack and Kundzin mailed post cards to cultural workers around the world inviting them to become Monty Cantsin; Ackerman kept the ‘Fourteen Secret Masters of the World’ (his prioritised contacts in the MA Network) in touch with what was going on.
These activities were followed by the Luther Blissett and Chus Martinez multiple name projects which were more explicitly revolutionary and anti-capitalist than 1970s and 1980s manifestations of the phenomena. Lutther Blissett was a footballer and Chus Martinez an easy listening guitarist, and so like Janez Janša the name of an existing figure was adopted and transformed.
Nonetheless the Janez Janša, project was clearly a recuperation of more explicitly anti-capitalist multiple name concepts since it was treated more as an artistic than a revolutionary gesture and those involved in the Janez Janša project have never encountered left-communism in all its originality, nor understood the nature of its break with the third international. It provoked a wide range of responses in art circles in Slovenia, and territory best know as the home of the backward ideas of Neue Slowenische Kunst and Slavoj Žižek. From banter to conspiracy. in the documentary My Name Is Janez Janša individuals, artists and academics from all over the world share their thoughts about the meaning and purpose of one’s name from both private and public perspectives. Reasons for changing one’s name are explored as the film draws references from history, popular culture and individual experiences.
Even compared to Blitzinfromation – let alone The Luther Blissett Project – three artists changing their name to that of a Prime Minister is not exactly thrilling. The fact that this caused a sensation in local circles tells us more about the unevenness of revolutionary developments and the backwardness of the art scene than anything else… The film about this name change makes it look more like what is labelled ‘institutional critique’ in art circles than an attempt to overthrow capitalist ‘social ‘relations.
Above: an X-ray of Chus Martinez’s chest. “Pornography’ is banned in the WordPress.com terms of service and so due to the savage restrictions on freedom of expression on this platform it is not possible to post the image that would best illustrate this blog.
Toplessness refers to the state in which the breasts, areolae, and nipples of a woman or post-pubescent girl are exposed, especially in a public venue or in a visual medium.
Social conventions about covering the female breasts have differed widely throughout history and across cultures. While exposed breasts were (and are) a norm in many indigenous societies, most cultures in the world today have informal and formal dress codes, legal statutes, or religious teachings that require females to cover their breasts in public from adolescence onward. Contemporary Western cultures permit displays of cleavage in appropriate social contexts, but exposing the areolae and nipples is usually regarded as immodest and is sometimes prosecuted as indecent exposure. The topfreedom movement challenges laws that forbid females to go topless in places where males are permitted to be bare-chested, arguing that such restrictions amount to gender discrimination.
Toplessness is less controversial in entertainment, fashion, and the arts than it is in society as a whole, especially when it is perceived to have artistic merit. From early prehistoric art to the present day, women have been depicted topless in visual media from painting and sculpture to film and photography. In contemporary mainstream cinema, Academy Award–winning actresses such as Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, and Nicole Kidman have appeared topless in their films. Cabaret and burlesque shows, as well as haute couture fashion shows and pictorials, frequently include toplessness.
In European societies as a result of the Renaissance many artists were strongly influenced by classical Greek styles and culture. As a result, images of nude and semi-nude subjects in many forms proliferated in art and sculpture. During the Victorian era, French Orientalist painters such as Jean-Léon Gérôme presented an idealized depiction of female toplessness in Muslim harem baths, while Eugène Delacroix, a French romantic artist, invoked images of liberty as a topless woman.
Societies tend to take a stricter line when women expose their breasts for the express purpose of sexual arousal. When toplessness is used as a form of adult entertainment in venues such as strip clubs, or as an aspect of softcore pornography, it is often viewed as indecent and subjected to more stringent government regulations or prohibitions.
Public toplessness may occasionally be considered acceptable, depending on location and context. Many jurisdictions legally protect women’s right to breastfeed in public or exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. In many parts of Europe and Australia, as well as at many resort destinations around the world, it has become culturally and often legally acceptable for women to sunbathe topless on beaches. Topless sunbathing may also be permitted in non-beach areas, such as some European parks and lakes, designated areas on some cruise ships, and swimming pools at some hotels.
Above: Chus Martinez goes ‘beyond nudity’!