MInTOone80Five (NOT Clickbait!) (2019)
Confraternity of Neoflagellants
A swampscape commission from Most Dismal Swamp
Features in Most Dismal Swamp 002: Whale Fall
Launch 29th March 2019, London
Whale Fall curated by Most Dismal Swamp
@baojiaxiang, Scrabulous Anomaly in the Re-write Department, Confraternity of Neoflagellants, Department of Decay, Lewis Den Hertog, Plastique Fantastique, Bianca Hlywa, AGF HYDRA, Marija Bozinovska Jones with MBJ Wetware, Natalia Janula, Alexandra Koumantaki, Peter Lee, Christopher Macinnes, Piano Princess, Hannah Rose Stewart, Marta Stražičić, Tea Stražičić, Theo Triantafyllidis, Jennifer Walton.
Whale Fall is the carcass of a fetid dataset by 19 artists working across digital media, installation, performance, fashion, music, film and theory-fiction. At Gossamer Fog, it is remixed and presented as a site-specific film installation.
It is a project by Most Dismal Swamp, an experimental art platform and record label simulating and exploring a contemporary ecology that has come to be defined by the hallucinatory entanglement of multiple logics, systems, temporalities, and realities: a mixed-reality paradigm; a pervasive, horizonless swampscape.
Whale Fall focuses on the diverse bodies emerging from and inhabiting this ‘swampscape’, and how they might pose challenges to orthodox conceptions of personhood, intelligence, corporeality, and life. Do these categories perhaps even harbour assumptions that erase difference and confine the possibility-space of human social, ethical, technological, intellectual, political development? In other words, might an uneven and combined heresy (a revision of the human) possibly emerge from the somatic mutations and social transformations native to the swampscape?
A version of Whale Fall can be watched online at www.mostdismalswamp.com. And a digital release of the music by Jennifer Walton featured in Whale Fall, entitled Winged // Dislocated will also be available via Most Dismal Swamp and across all major streaming platforms.
This exhibition has been made with support from Arts Council England.
Most Dismal Swamp is a mixed-reality biome, an art platform, a multi-scalar mystic fiction, a forecasting laboratory, a long tail, a transitional ecosystem, a party, a cognitive scaffold, a bad dataset, a curatorial MMORPG, a memeplex aggregator, a planetary weirding studio, and a record label.
It is a model for parsing, navigating, and elaborating a Dank Enlightenment: globally variable synaesthesia across multiple and simultaneous dimensions.
A multidisciplinary conference on medievalism in the post-Middle Ages. MAMO 3 will take place at the University of Manchester between 28 June and 1 July, 2017.
SATURDAY 1 JULY
MAIN LECTURE THEATRE, SAMUEL ALEXANDER BUILDING, THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER, Lime Grove, Manchester M13 9PP 🐝
10:00-11.30am Panel session 10
A. Neomedieval Fictioning before and after Contemporary Art
(Org. The Confraternity of Neoflagellants; mod. Neil Mulholland)
Plastique Fantastique, ‘Mumming in the Post-Truth Era’
The Confraternity of Neoflagellants, ‘Trial by Future Dead’
David Steans, ‘Saint Good Works’
This panel consists of commissioned art works that take the form of three little neomedieval theory-fictions (c.20mins each).
In its attempt to disrupt postmedieval anthropocentrism, art is currently gripped by intense speculation on all things nonmodern. This often takes the form of nonmodern world-building, the practice of constructing theory-fictions. Fictioning as a world-building technology combines with mythopoesis: how previous modes of existence might be utilised against the impasses of the present. By using the term ‘fiction’ as a verb we refer to the writing, imaging, performance or other material embodiment of alternate worlds.
Broadly speaking, while the pre-modern bestiary has long formed the sine qua non of small scale curating, the pre-modern university – a hybrid, transtemporal fictioning of social relationships, tools and things – is fictioned as the true modus operandi of today’s artists. The medieval Wandergesellen is fictioned as a permanent supranational state, one in which artisans, scholars, cultural pilgrims, artefacts and many other things drift endlessly betwixt compagon and biennale.
In these brief examples, cultural production is periodically fictioned after contemporary art. The timeframe of artistic practice has shifted from the finite ‘just-now’, bound by human finitude, to a ‘long-now’ that outlives and eludes us, in which the people of the middle ages are our exact contemporaries. Fictioning today, thus, is both before and after contemporary art.
Trial by Future Dead
The Confraternity of Neoflagellants
Following their book-length neomedieval theory fiction thN Lng folk 2go (a preview of which was presented at MAMO 2013) the Confraternity have continued their project of non-modern ‘world building’ through a series of speculative hagiographies, avatar bestiaries, mall-rat pilgrim confessions, technocratic relic translations, liturgical corporate strategizing and scholastic summae of conflict management.
In attunement with neo-animist configurations of the non-human turn, this fictioning will precis two parts of the trial of a rooster-redeemed $50 Amazon Gift Voucher. The cock-a-rooster will undergo Trial by Compurgation and Trial by Ordeal:
“Great Moderator: Nevertheless, The Great Moderator asks this of its Defence Council: If we were to forcefully decouple said Voucher organ from said Polyresinal Rooster organ, do you propose that the Cock is culpable but the Coupon not? How is The Swarm to discern and apportion the faulty or culpable portions of this thing without recourse to the butcher’s arts of cutting out the back bits to imprison in a humble pie?”
Similar to a medieval body-part relic, the Polyresinal Rooster organ-redeemedvoucher is part corporeal, part transaction and part commodity. As a person-object, subject to continuous translation, the Amazon $50 Redeemed Gift Rooster, inhabits and embodies a cosmology in which aesthetics is not limited to the sensual relations between human self and world, but, instead, describes a synaesthetic hyper-economy through which all ‘selves’ inscribed or enfleshed, animal, vegetable or mineral, represent, translate and co-construct common-oddities that probe the otherwise separate realities they inhabit. Will the Amazon $50 Redeemed Gift Rooster be proven innocent or guilty? Let the swarm decree….
The presentation will be performed in the Confraternity’s own ludic sub lingua franca comprising post-literate netspeak, emojinal gylphs, product spin, inter-species pidgin, object noise-chatter, and middle American mall talk. Dialogue includes Electronic Voice Phenomena recordings of the medieval dead.
Green Screen Mumming in the Modern Age
Members of the group producing the performance fiction Plastique Fantastique will present a new collaboration with the artist group Orphan Drift. This collaboration involves and a common interest in mumming and animism. Plastique Fantastique have used mumming – the tradition of presenting masked plays – as mode for delivering communiqués from the extreme past and future in a number of performance works, most recently in the flag-ship Apple shop in London. The talk will present the group’s films and discuss their interest in animism and human and non-human agents explored in relation to mass-media. They will also talk about the concept of myth-science and performance in relation to what has been referred to as the post-truth or past-fact era.
Saint Good Works
Saint Good Works is a short fable that manifests in the form of a talking pebble: “When SGW reached the age of one hundred, he conclude d that his life was coming to an end, and that he was no longer able to usefully serve God on this earth. After attending to what little worldly affairs he had, he walked into the mountains, with neither provisions nor intent of return. After a day of walking he sought rest within a cave. Grown thin and weary, he sat down in the cave and contemplated his death. In the cave he held a stone, shiny and grey underneath its coat of moss. He contemplated the stone….” The pebble will narrate its magnificent story.
Presenters’ Biographies and Contact Details:
1. The Confraternity of Neoflagellants (Hogg and Mulholland) are lay peoples dedicated to the ludic, ascetic, aesthetic and athletic treatment and application of neomedievalism in the hypereconomus of contemporary non-modern cultures. They are an equal opportunities confraternity bound by chirograph.
2. Plastique Fantastique (Burrows and O’Sullivan) is a mythopoetic fiction – an investigation of aesthetics, the sacred, popular culture and politics – produced through comics, performances, text, installations and shrines and assemblages.
3. Saint Good Works is a talking pebble made by David Steans an artist and curator based in Leeds. Steans co-founded the Medieval Helpdesk at the 2015 Leeds International Medieval Congress www.medievalhelpdesk.co.uk. He teaches fine art at Leeds College of Art and is a practice-based PhD student at The University of Leeds.
More specifically, in attunement with neo-animist configurations of the ‘non-human turn’, this paper evokes a cosmology in which aesthetics is not limited to the sensual relations between human self and world but instead describes a synesthetic hyper-economy through which all selves inscribed or enfleshed, animal, vegetable or mineral, represent, translate and interact across the otherwise separate realities they inhabit. As anthropologist Eduardo Kohn argues, a subject, self or mind does not produce signs but is in fact an emergent product of semiosis, of the way it represents the world and is represented by others in the world. In other words a self is a “loci of enchantment”—the non-anthropological outcome of aesthetic processes. Thinking aesthetics in this way intervenes provocatively with the notion of ‘visual literacy’ since it requires a non-symbolic conception of representation as a “open whole” that cannot be confined within human linguistic frameworks.
The Confraternity pursues their speculative cosmology through their ongoing fascination with the enchanted iconicity of medieval sacramental practices such as body part relic-ing. The ritual elevation, translation and sometimes humiliation of ‘person-objects’ epitomizes the dynamic interrelations between corpus and textus, likeness and presence and confounds the hierarchical segregation of ‘representing subject’ from ‘represented thing’.
The A/V presentation takes the form of an alt-future parable, following the synesthetic adventures of an independent broker of sensual exchange. Part corporeal, part corporate and part commodity, Muller Ltd. is a journeying apprentice, or ‘Junior Solution Aligner’, who is pursuing the ultimate ambassadorial title of ‘Universal Travel Adaptor’ by immersing itself in increasingly ‘alien’ centers of experience. As the parable unfolds Muller Ltd’s ‘powers of feeling’ increase dramatically, but only at the terrifying cost of dissolving its own corporeal branding (its iconic ‘equity’) into the synesthetic matrix. The parable thus takes a speculative look at the precarious integrity of visual literacy as it expands its territory into the non-cognitive or ‘illiterate’ realm of the non-human sensorium.
10:00 Friday 30th September 2016 | Confraternity of Neoflagellants | Listaháskóli Íslands 11, Þverholt, Reykjavík, 105, Iceland
Neomedievalisms are cultural practices that breathe a bouquet of premoderns as permanent rehearsals of coming events. To the medievalist, medievalisms provide powerful indexes that reveal how post-medieval societies have variously imagined ‘little middle ages’ to suit current agendas. To the neomedievalist, however, medievalisms are theory-fictions that facilitate ludic speculation on non-modern futurities. Given its nonmodern condition, contemporary artistic practice has as much in common with the stasis of the middle ages as it does with the avant-garde of the 20th century. This lecture will present some of the ways in which The Confraternity have developed neomedieval materialisms with their own nonmodern lexicon, dense hypereconomic practices that combine production, transfer, consumption, humilitas and virtus.
The Confraternity will transfigure four scripts-into-flesh: When Transfiguration Became Commonplace, Thekarites, Mobilitas Loci (Muller Ltd.) and Let us know about anything wrong, or anything you don’t like about this review, and you could win a $50 Amazon voucher!
The Confraternity will also elaborate some of their curatorial projects (‘Thekaries’ / ‘Bokes’) and ways in which the quasi-neomedieval practices of their peers adopt ‘backward-thinking’ to develop possible premodern futures through a visceral, indulgent, lavish, liturgical and ludic materialism.
Day 3 – 23. September, 2016
Confraternity of Neoflagellants: Envisioning Future Premodern Materialisms
Performing Situated Knowledges: Space, Time, Vulnerability: 7th Annual Conference on the New Materialisms, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.
Organized by: New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’, European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), Action IS 1307
This conference is one of a series of new materialism conferences that together aim to explore, through both theoretical and practical multiple transversal methodologies and approaches, the notion that vibrant, agential “matter” matters and further, to investigate the ontological, political, ethical, esthetical, and sociological implications this may carry. This year, whilst acknowledging the fast approaching thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Donna Haraway’s groundbreaking essay on “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective” (1988), we invite participants to explore, perform anew, and enliven the concept of “situated knowledges”.