September 13, 2004

It's her factory

Nina's flat

An alternative view.

Nina's flat is a hive of activity.

An inspiration.

Not a living room, still less a domestic display case, but a space in which impersonal production is always happening.

(Yr average domestic living room is of course a place of death.

Animal pelt everywhere....

and all the useless overpriced products of dead labour - look at what I converted all those hours of tedious effort into -

but most of all a dead zone of intensive stasis...

in which bodies are pathologized.... Take your shoes off... Don't sit there... Would you mind using a plate?

and implicitly: Actually I'd rather prefer it if you were dead... like the furniture...)

And no, Nina's flat is not a place that book binner should be allowed to do her worst in.... Books there have long since exceeded all available shelfspace, and now tower and teeter, leant up against walls, drawers, fireplaces.... Each one a gateway to the Outside...

As are the images - photographs, postcards, posters, reproductions of paintings - plastered, pasted, tacked on every surface....

And here are insekt kommunists, Nina and Alberto in their burrow, at least one always plugged into the k-space matrix, tapping away at laptop keyboards contiguously placed on a cramped table, Marxist Rationalist agents in an alternative 24.

The Politics of Domesticity

It's no accident that our current period of docilized political quietism corresponds with an obsessive and unprecedented cultural fixation on Interior decorating, domestic hygiene etc.

One of the most thrilling aspects of something like Fight Club was its outright and explicit rejection of this regime. To work was to service the Ikea-fantasy appt --- not the other way round. To get things happening entailed destroying the domestic space ---- the sheer strangeness of seeing a filthy house in a Hollywood film ----

A few remarks I made recently in the comments boxes which I repeat here, slightly edited, since they might have been missed:

'Potter's Nigel Barton.

What does Nigel's mum say when she hears the televised Nigel talking about feelings of shame and embarrasment and class? Potter is so acute - 'but the house is clean, it's spotless.'

Because cleanliness, hygiene is as much a marker of the working class as is cathode ray addiction. Is it really an accident that TV's content is increasingly merging these two impulses: watch TV/ be more neurotic about your domestic hygiene. Message behind both: STAY AT HOME.

'It's her factory...' The fact that there is an inducement to spend more and more time on domestic labour ... the image of my grandmother 'blacking the step'... course if you're into relativism, that's fine, hey you can't criticize, it was no less worthwhile than reading books and educating yourself. But if you find relativism dangerous, quietist, then, really, you feel the heartbreaking agony of lives that were lived below potential.'

The question should be how little time can I spend tending my domestic environment? (Just as the question should be how little work can I get away with doing in order to subsist?)

To reconfigure domestic spaces as bases of operations, not as display burrows fiercely protected from any kind of Outside....

Posted by mark at September 13, 2004 10:13 PM | TrackBack