Aesthetics & Alienation
ZERO Books, PHILOSOPHY, PB, 9781780993010
$27.27 ex $30.00 inc
What is the role of the aesthetic state apparatus?
A complete and original theory of aesthetics based on Marx and Althusser in the modernist Marxist tradition (Brecht, Althusser, Benjamin, Adorno). The main concepts that arise from this work are: the aesthetic level of practice, aesthetic state apparatuses, aesthetic interpellation, and pseudo dialectics, all of which are used to understand the role of aesthetic experience and its place in everyday life.
This book looks at feelings, affections, dispositions, sensibilities and sensuality, and their social role in art, tradition, ritual, and taboo. With the classic Marxist concepts of base and superstructure divided into economic, ideological, and political levels, the aesthetic level of practice is the area that has traditionally been missing or misrepresented for political reasons. This aesthetic level of practice fuels and supports the media, or as Althusser described it the traffic between base and superstructure. From this vantage point, the aesthetic state apparatuses can be analysed both in the past, for example in art history, and today, in contemporary politics. What role do art, feelings and alienation play in our culture?
Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq & Depressive Realism
ZERO Books, LITERARY CRITICISM, PB, 9781846949227
$19.09 ex $21.00 inc
An interrogation of art's ability to face unpleasant truths.
Michel Houellebecq, author of five novels including Atomised and Platform, has become possibly the world’s most famous literary pessimist. His work declares that life is painful and disappointing, death is terrifying, and the human condition is a nasty sort of joke. He has been wildly successful – translated into over 25 different languages and hailed as the voice of a generation.
Beginning with Houellebecq’s novels, this book explores the concept of ‘Depressive Realism’ in literature and philosophy – the proposition that the facts of life are bleak and unkind. Ranging over work by David Foster Wallace, Susan Sontag, Fredric Jameson and Margaret Atwood, Anti-Matter surveys the case for pessimism, asks how a mass culture rooted in sentimentality and trivialisation manages to produce so much cynicism and apathy, and hunts for the space that remains for serious, life-affirming art.
Awkwardness: An Essay
ZERO Books, LITERARY CRITICISM, PB, 9781846943911
$24.55 ex $27.00 inc
Argues that the awkwardness of our age is a key to understanding human experience.
Awkwardness has been one of the defining traits of the awkwardly unnamed first decade of our young century dominating comedy on both the big and small screens. Could this trend point toward something deeper? In Awkwardness Adam Kotsko answers that question with a resounding yes. Drawing on key insights of cultural theory he argues that awkwardness is a structuring principle of human experience something that the particular conditions of our time allow us to see with greater clarity than ever before. In an analysis that begins with the difference between the US and UK versions of Ricky Gervais's The Office then passes through the films of Judd Apatow and culminates in the apotheosis of awkwardness Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm Kotsko looks at the ways we cope with our awkwardness and the unexpected opportunities awkwardness opens up when we stop resisting it and learn to enjoy it.
Combined & Uneven Apocalypse: Luciferian Marxism
ZERO Books, PHILOSOPHY, PB, 9781846944680
$37.27 ex $41.00 inc
From salvagepunk to zombie hordes, wastelands to plagued cities, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse grapples with the apocalyptic fantasies of our collapsing era.
From the repurposed rubble of salvagepunk to undead hordes banging on shopping mall doors, from empty waste zones to teeming plagued cities, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse grapples with the apocalyptic fantasies of our collapsing era. Moving through the films, political tendencies, and recurrent crises of late capitalism, Evan Calder Williams paints a black toned portrait of the dream and nightmare images of a global order gone very, very wrong. Situating itself in the defaulting financial markets of the present, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse glances back toward a messy history of zombies, car wrecks, tidal waves, extinction, trash heaps, labour, pandemics, wolves, cannibalism, and general nastiness that populate the underside of our cultural imagination. Every age may dream the end of the world to follow, but these scattered nightmare figures are a skewed refraction of the normal hell of capitalism. The apocalypse isn't something that will happen one day: it's just the slow unveiling of the catastrophe we've been living through for centuries. Against any fantasies of progress, return, or reconciliation, Williams launches a loathing critique of the bleak present and offers a graveside smile for our necessary battles to come.
ZERO Books, PHILOSOPHY, PB, 9781846949418
$34.55 ex $38.00 inc
Can games be art or is all art a kind of game? A philosophical investigation of play and imaginary things.
Can games be art? When film critic Roger Ebert claimed in 2010 that videogames could never be art it was seen as a snub by many gamers. But from the perspective of philosophy of art this question was topsy turvey, since according to one of the most influential theories of representation all art is a game. Kendall Waltons make-believe theory explains how we interact with paintings, novels, movies and other artworks in terms of imaginary games, like a childs game of make-believe, wherein the artwork acts as a prop prescribing specific imaginings. In this view there can be no question that videogames - in fact, all games - are indeed a strange and wonderful form of art. In Imaginary Games, game designer and philosopher Chris Bateman expands Waltons theory to videogames, board games, collectible card games such as Pokémon and Magic: the Gathering, and role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. The book explores the diverse fictional worlds that influence the modern world, the ethics of games, and the curious role imagination plays in everything from religion to science and mathematics.
In the Dust of This Planet: Horror & Philosophy Vol 1
ZERO Books, PHILOSOPHY, PB, 9781846946769
$25.45 ex $28.00 inc
Supernatural horror defined as the thought of the unthinkable.
The world is increasingly unthinkable, a world of planetary disasters, emerging pandemics, and the looming threat of extinction. In this book Eugene Thacker suggests that we look to the genre of horror as offering a way of thinking about the unthinkable world. To confront this idea is to confront the limit of our ability to understand the world in which we live – a central motif of the horror genre.
In the Dust of This Planet explores these relationships between philosophy and horror. In Thacker’s hands, philosophy is not academic logic-chopping; instead, it is the thought of the limit of all thought, especially as it dovetails into occultism, demonology, and mysticism. Likewise, Thacker takes horror to mean something beyond the focus on gore and scare tactics, but as the under-appreciated genre of supernatural horror in fiction, film, comics, and music. This relationship between philosophy and horror does not mean the philosophy of horror, if anything, it means the reverse, the horror of philosophy: those moments when philosophical thinking enigmatically confronts the horizon of its own existence. For Thacker, the genre of supernatural horror is the key site in which this paradoxical thought of the unthinkable takes place.
Uncommon: An Essay on Pulp
ZERO Books, MUSIC, PB, 9781846948770
$24.55 ex $27.00 inc
Is the history of the Jarvis Cocker’s 1990s Britpop band, Pulp,through sex, pop, class war and Sheffield.
If we remember them at all, the Sheffield pop group Pulp are remembered for jolly class warfare ditty 'Common People', for the celebrity of their interestingly-named frontman, for the latter waving his arse at Michael Jackson at the Brit awards, for being part of a non-movement called 'Britpop', and for disappearing almost without trace shortly after. They made a few good tunes, they did some funny videos, and while they might be National Treasures, they're nothing serious. Are they?
This book argues that they should be taken seriously - very seriously indeed. Attempting to wrest Pulp away from the grim jingoistic spectacle of Britpop and the revivals-of-a-revival circuit, this book charts the very strange things that occur in their records, taking us deep into a strange exotic land; a land of acrylics, adultery, architecture, analogue synthesisers and burning class anger.
This is book about pop music, but it is mainly a book about sex, the city and class via the 1990s finest British pop group.
Eastern Spring: A 2nd Gen Memoir
ZERO Books, BIOGRAPHY/AUTO, PB, 9781846949555
$21.82 ex $24.00 inc
Haunting, ferociously powerful look at life as a 2nd-generation immigrant in Coventry, England through the music of an ancient past.
From the grey streets of Coventry, to the green jungles of India, Neil Kulkarni chases the sounds of his past and ancient songs from the sub-continent to try and find himself a new way of listening to some of the oldest music on earth. Part touching memoir, part ferocious polemic, An Eastern Spring confronts race and the ghosts of the past in a fearless attempt to map our past, present and future as western music listeners. of an ancient past.
Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don't Get Stockhausen
ZERO Books, MUSIC, PB, 9781846941795
$27.27 ex $30.00 inc
Modern art is a mass phenomenon. Conceptual artists like Damien Hirst enjoy celebrity status. Works by 20th century abstract artists like Mark Rothko are selling for record breaking sums, while the millions commanded by works by Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon make headline news. However, while the general public has no trouble embracing avant garde and experimental art, there is, by contrast, mass resistance to avant garde and experimental music, although both were born at the same time under similar circumstances - and despite the fact that from Schoenberg and Kandinsky onwards, musicians and artists have made repeated efforts to establish a "synaesthesia" between their two media. Fear of Music examines the parallel histories of modern art and modern music and examines why one is embraced and understood and the other ignored, derided or regarded with bewilderment, as noisy, random nonsense perpetrated by, and listened to by the inexplicably crazed. It draws on interviews and often highly amusing anecdotal evidence in order to find answers to the question: Why do people get Rothko and not Stockhausen? David Stubbs is a freelance British music journalist and author.
Infinite Music: Imagining the Next Millennium of Human Music-Making
ZERO Books, MUSIC, PB, 9781846949241
$29.09 ex $32.00 inc
A new system for imagining music, built on the infnite possibilities of twenty-first century technology
A timely analysis of musical evolution at a moment when many practitioners have become fixated on the past and thinkers have found themselves unable to locate possible futures.
Steve Goodman,author of Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear
In the last few decades, new technologies have brought composers and listeners to the brink of an era of limitless musical possibility. They stand before a vast ocean of creative potential, in which any sounds imaginable can be synthesised and pieced together into radical new styles and forms of music-making. But are musicians taking advantage of this potential? How could we go about creating and listening to new music, and why should we?
Bringing the ideas of twentieth-century avant-garde composers Arnold Schoenberg and John Cage to their ultimate conclusion, Infinite Music proposes a system for imagining music based on its capacity for variation, redefining musical modernism and music itself in the process. By detailing not just how music is composed but crucially how its perceived, Infinite Music maps the future of music and the many paths towards it.
Laconia: 1,200 Tweets on Film
ZERO Books, FILM, PB, 9781846946080
$22.68 ex $24.95 inc
If the sound bite is the new order, then how do we make every word count?
If the sound bite is the new order, then how do we make every word count? In todays surplus world of communication overload and cultural clutter, writer and cultural critic Masha Tupitsyn turns to the media matrix of Twitter to explore the changing ways that we construct and consume narrative. Loosely applying the discerning aphorism—a compressed genre in itself—to a 21st century context, LACONIA: 1,200 TWEETS ON FILM offers meditations on film and popular culture that resonant with laconic meaning and personal insight while getting to the heart of the matter. Inspired by Chris Markers free-associative film impressions in La Jet èe and Sans Soleil, LACONIA is part film diary, part cultural inventory, and part mashup. Pulling from an array of film, popular culture, books, and mainstream news, it offers penetrating critical commentary on an increasingly muddled virtual world. LACONIA consists of brick by brick prose, as Tupitsyn thinks in sentences and lines that culminate in an architecture of thinking.
The Long Struggle: The Muslim World's Western Problem
ZERO Books, POLITICS, PB, 9781846943683
$21.82 ex $24.00 inc
The best thing America can do for the Middle East is lose.
In The Long Struggle, Amil Khan explains how a shell shocked Muslim world struggled for over a century between emulation and rejection of the West while international events continued to stoke anger among people who were forced to give up the wealth and global influence they felt was their birth right. But it is not going to continue like that, Khan argues. The forces unleashed by the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have forced Muslims to snap out of their dysfunctional relationship with the West. Muslims are finding that Western power is not all conquering and those who present themselves as polar opposites to all things Western are not necessarily Islamic. As the struggle ends, the opportunity to build a new relationship arises. Amil Khan spent 10 years working as a journalist in the Middle East, Africa and Britain before pursuing in depth research and working on counter extremism projects.
No Local: Why Small-scale Alternatives Won't Change the World
ZERO Books, ENVIRONMENT, PB, 9781846946714
$21.82 ex $24.00 inc
Local food, local business and buying local won't change the world. Challenging market priorities will. Here's why.
Can making things smaller make the world a better place? No Local takes a critical look at localism, an ideology that says small businesses, ethical shopping and community initiatives like gardens and farmers’ markets can stop corporate globalization.
These small acts might make life better for some, but they don’t challenge the drive for profit that’s damaging our communities and the earth. No Local shows how localism’s fixation on small comes from an outdated economic model. Growth is built into capitalism. Small firms must play by the same rules as large ones, cutting costs, exploiting workers and damaging the environment. Localism doesn’t ask who controls production, allowing it to be co-opted by governments offloading social services onto the poor. At worst, localism becomes a strategy for neoliberal politics, not an alternative to it.
Non Stop Inertia
ZERO Books, PHILOSOPHY, PB, 9781846945304
$16.36 ex $18.00 inc
A theoretical investigation into the culture of precarious work, digital consumption and personal flexibility, calling for a counter-discourse of resistance.
In our culture of short term work, mobile communications and rolling media it seems we are always on the move; but are we really getting anywhere? Non-Stop Inertia argues that this appearance of restless activity conceals and indeed maintains a deep paralysis of thought and action, and that rather than being unquestionable or inevitable, the environment of personal flexibility and perpetual crisis which we now inhabit is ideologically constructed.
Illustrating its arguments with actual examples and using theory to make connections and unlock meanings, the book shows how in our constant anxious pursuit of work and leisure we are running on the spot against a scrolling CGI backdrop. As performative labourers, full time jobseekers, social networkers and consumer citizens we are so preoccupied by the business of being ourselves that our real identities are forgotten and our dreams of resistance buried. This text rejects the positive script of the virtual state and suggests that in order to instigate genuine change we must refuse to go with the flow.
The Prince and the Wolf: Latour and Harman at the LSE
Graham Harman & Bruno Latour
ZERO Books, PHILOSOPHY, PB, 9781846944222
$21.82 ex $24.00 inc
This book contains the transcript of the fascinating 2008 discussion between philosophers Bruno Latour and Graham Harman at the LSE.
The Prince and the Wolf contains the transcript of a debate which took place on 5th February 2008 at the London School of Economics (LSE) between the prominent French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher Bruno Latour and the Cairo-based American philosopher Graham Harman. The occasion for the debate was the impending publication of Harman’s book, Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics.
During the discussion, Latour (the ‘Prince’) compared the professional philosophers who have pursued him over the years to a pack of wolves. The Prince and the Wolf is the story of what happens when the wolf catches up with the prince. Latour and Harman engage in brisk and witty conversation about questions that go to the heart of both metaphysics and research methodology: What are objects? How do they interact? And best how to study them?
The Quadruple Object
ZERO Books, PHILOSOPHY, PB, 9781846947001
$21.82 ex $24.00 inc
Uses a pack of playing cards to present Harman’s metaphysical system of fourfold objects, including human access, Heidegger’s indirect causation, panpsychism and ontography.
In this book the metaphysical system of Graham Harman is presented in lucid form, aided by helpful diagrams.
In Chapter 1, Harman gives his most forceful critique to date of philosophies that reject objects as a primary reality. All such rejections are tainted by either an undermining or overmining approach to objects. In Chapters 2 and 3, he reviews his concepts of sensual and real objects. In the process, he attacks the prestige normally granted to philosophies of human access, which Harman links for the first time to the already discredited Menos Paradox. In Chapters 4 through 7, Harman brings the reader up to speed on his interpretation of Heidegger, which culminates in a fourfold structure of objects linked by indirect causation. In Chapter 8, he speculates on the implications of this theory for the debate over panpsychism, which Harman both embraces and rejects. In Chapters 9 and 10, he introduces the term ontography as the study of the different possible permutations of objects and qualities, which he simplifies with easily remembered terminology drawn from standard playing cards.
ZERO Books, ARCHITECTURE, PB, 9781846941764
$27.26 ex $29.99 inc
A defence of Modernism against its defenders.
This book is a defence of Modernism against its defenders. In readings of modern design, film, pop and especially architecture, it attempts to reclaim a revolutionary modernism against its absorption into the heritage industry and the aesthetics of the luxury flat. Militant Modernism argues for a Modernism of everyday life, immersed in questions of socialism, sexual politics and technology. It features new readings of some familiar names - Bertolt Brecht, Le Corbusier, Vladimir Mayakovsky - and much more on the lesser known, quotidian modernists of the 20th century. The chapters range from a study of industrial and brutalist aesthetics in Britain, Russian Constructivism in architecture, the Sexpol of Wilhelm Reich in film and design, and the alienation effects of Brecht and Hanns Eisler on record and on screen. Against the world of there is no alternative, this book talks about things we havent done yet, in the past tense.
Towards Speculative Realism: Essays & Lectures
ZERO Books, PHILOSOPHY, PB, 9781846943942
$19.09 ex $21.00 inc
These writings chart Harman's rise from Chicago sportswriter to co founder of one of Europe's most promising philosophical movements: Speculative Realism.
These writings chart Harman's rise from Chicago sportswriter to co founder of one of Europe's most promising philosophical movements: Speculative Realism. In 1997 Graham Harman was an obscure graduate student covering Chicago sporting events for a California website. Unpublished in philosophy at the time he was already a popular conference speaker on Heidegger and related themes. A decade later he is the author of highly visible books on continental philosophy is Associate Vice Provost for Research at the American University in Cairo and a key member of the Speculative Realist movement along with Ray Brassier Iain Hamilton Grant and Quentin Meillassoux. This fascinating collection of eleven essays and lectures from 1997 to 2009 anchored by Harman's rebellious transformation of Heideggerian philosophy show the evolution of his object oriented metaphysics from its early days into an increasingly developed philosophical position. Each chapter is preceded by Harman's witty scene setting commentary.
The Wandering Who: A Study of Jewish Identity Politics
ZERO Books, RELIGION, PB, 9781846948756
$19.09 ex $21.00 inc
An explosive unique crucial book tackling the issues of Jewish Identity Politics and ideology and their global influence.
Jewish identity is tied up with some of today’s most difficult and contentious issues. The purpose of this book is to open up many of these issues for discussion. It examines Jewish identity politics and Jewish contemporary ideology using both popular culture and scholarly texts. Since Israel defines itself openly as the ‘Jewish State’, we should ask what the notions of Judaism, Jewishness, Jewish culture and Jewish ideology stand for. Atzmon analyses secular Jewish political and cultural discourse, both Zionist and anti Zionist. He looks at the Jewish political attitude towards history and time, the role of the holocaust, anti-Gentile ideologies, Jewish pressure groups, Zionist lobbying and more. The current state of world affairs raises an urgent need for a change in our attitudes towards politics, identity politics and history.
Gilad Atzmon is an internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist and composer, a member of the Blockheads, and fronts the Orient House Ensemble. His two novels and political and cultural essays are published widely in many languages. He lives in London.
Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy
ZERO Books, PHILOSOPHY, PB, 9781780992525
$31.82 ex $35.00 inc
As Hölderlin was to Martin Heidegger and Mallarmé to Jacques Derrida, so is H.P. Lovecraft to the Speculative Realist philosophers.
Lovecraft was one of the brightest stars of the horror and science fiction magazines, but died in poverty and relative obscurity in the 1930s. In 2005 he was finally elevated from pulp status to the classical literary canon with the release of a Library of America volume dedicated to his work. The impact of Lovecraft on philosophy has been building for more than a decade. Initially championed by shadowy guru Nick Land at Warwick during the 1990s, he was later discovered to be an object of private fascination for all four original members of the twenty-first century Speculative Realist movement. In this book, Graham Harman extracts the basic philosophical concepts underlying the work of Lovecraft, yielding a weird realism capable of freeing continental philosophy from its current soul-crushing impasse. Abandoning pious references by Heidegger to Hölderlin and the Greeks, Harman develops a new philosophical mythology centered in such Lovecraftian figures as Cthulhu, Wilbur Whately, and the rat-like monstrosity Brown Jenkin. The Miskatonic River replaces the Rhine and the Ister, while the Caucasus of Hölderlin gives way to the Antarctic mountains of madness of Lovecraft.
Why We Love Sociopaths: A Guide To Late Capitalist Television
ZERO Books, LITERARY CRITICISM, PB, 9781780990910
$19.09 ex $21.00 inc
Argues that our fascination with cold and ruthless television characters reflects a broken social contract.
Sociopaths are pervasive in contemporary television, from high-brow drama all the way down to cartoons -- and of course the news as well. From the scheming Eric Cartman of South Park to the seductive imposter Don Draper of Mad Men, cold and ruthless characters captivate us, making us wish that we could be so effective and successful. Yet why should we admire characters who get ahead by being amoral and uncaring? In his follow-up to Awkwardness, Adam Kotsko argues that the popularity of the ruthless sociopath reflects our dissatisfaction with a failed social contract, showing that we believe that the world rewards the evil and uncaring rather than the good. By analyzing characters like the serial killer star of Dexter and the cynical Dr. House, Kotsko shows that the fantasy of the sociopath distracts us from our real problems -- but that we still might benefit from being a little more sociopathic.
Meat Market: Female flesh under capitalism
ZERO Books, GENDER STUDIES, PB, 9781846947827
$16.36 ex $18.00 inc
A feminist dissection of women's bodies as the fleshy fulcrum of capitalist cannibalism, whereby women are both consumers and consumed.
Modern culture is obsessed with controlling women's bodies. Our societies are saturated with images of unreal, idealised female beauty whilst real female bodies and the women who inhabit them are alienated from their own personal and political potential. Under modern capitalism, women are both consumers and consumed: Meat Market offers strategies for resisting this gory cycle of consumption, exposing how the trade in female flesh extends into every part of women's political selfhood. Touching on sexuality, prostitution, hunger, consumption, eating disorders, housework, transsexualism and the global trade in the signs and signifiers of femininity, Meat Market is a thin, bloody sliver of feminist dialectic, dissecting women's bodies as the fleshy fulcrum of capitalist cannibalism.
The Meaning of David Cameron
ZERO Books, POLITICS, PB, 9781846944567
$17.27 ex $19.00 inc
What you won't have got in the televised debates, party manifestos, campaign trail propaganda and media coverage, portaining to Cameron the cipher and the social forces he represents.
David Cameron has been sold to the British electorate as a thoroughly modern politician, part Blair, part Thatcher, a one nation conservative with a soft spot for social democracy, the green movement, big and small business, youth, minorities, traditionalists, the armed forces and the old. Has a politician ever been sold as so many things to so many people, at home in fashion magazines as he is at Party conferences? But despite being told, arguably more, about Cameron the man than any other politician he remains vacuous, strangely unformed, a cipher for the real interests and forces he represents. The Meaning of Cameronis an unmasking of the false politics Cameron embodies, and an examination of the face the mask has eaten into.
The Blue in the Air
ZERO Books, MUSIC, PB, 9781846945960
$24.55 ex $27.00 inc
A retrieved man tells how music, from Patrick Cargill to Jay-Z, retained the power to change the world in 2008.
A former widower whose life was saved by writing about music spends a year waiting for his new wife to fly over from Toronto and join him in London. While he waits he observes that the world is subtly changing and that music has played a key part in these changes. A galaxy of characters, ranging from Marty Wilde to Jay-Z via Glenn Gould, Dorothy Squires, Britney Spears, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Patrick Cargill, Orson Welles and many forgotten others, conspire to alter his perspective, leading to a climax where he is finally united with his wife and the world chooses a new and better leader.
The Blue in the Air is a gesture of defiance from a tiny but meaningful tugboat of resistance. At a time when we are repeatedly encouraged for reasons of demographic convenience to believe that music can change nothing and mean nothing, this writer demonstrates comprehensively that for those who stay awake, alert and alive, music still retains the power to change the fabric of the air we choose to breathe.