Now and then I remember a debate about the possibilities for an independent critical avant-garde literature in our society because of the last words from one of the debaters: »If there is anyone out there (I know there is some) who wants to maintain a critical approach to his project, let’s hope this claim is not 100 pro cent true: if you let them (his opponent, my remark) publish you, the critical potential for your literature will be gone. For ever.
This has made me wonder weather I’m able to write critical literature that can maintain such a criticism under the existing conditions, or if, as Eric Hobsbawm puts it: »It is not surprising that in the 1950s, in the heartland of consumer democracy, the leading school of painters abdicated before image-makers so much more powerful than old-fashioned art. ‘Pop art’ (Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Oldenburg), spent its time reproducing, with as much accuracy and insensitivity as possible, the visual trappings of American commercialism: soup cans, flags, Coca-Cola bottles, Marilyn Monroe.«
If religious sects are to religion what the avant-garde is to the spectacle, the difference between them is that the latter implodes into the mainstream dullness of commercial art and entertainment, while sects are able to maintain a resistance in a political-religious dominated society.
In 2001 Will Self declared the avant garde long gone and dead with the suicide of Guy Debord in 1994, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Considering the fact that he refer to how the mainstream media has described the avant-garde, Will himSelf (sorry, I couldn’t help for putting a big S into that word) obviously doesn’t want us to treat it the same way (Will Self wrote this article in New Statesman). The difference between this and the superficial journalism is that for the latter the avant-garde remains dead. The true avant-garde goes beyond a question of life and death, it doesn’t ask »To be or not to be,« but knows deep inside themselves that survival is always the attitude one goes towards death with, weather it’s the death of a particular avant-garde group or a personal friend. The spiritual environment we live in can not be separated from the spectacle, but both of them requires an attitude of action, of life, of beyond the simple question of life and death that the passive acceptance of mass media offers.
Rust Cole offers a extreme nihilism that calls for action in matters of humanity and empathy with the living being. Fortunately he comes up with brighter thoughts later on (look at picture above).