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Widdershins: Gothic Marxist Review

January 12, 2014

Against the Clockwork Rhythm of Civilisation…

A few years ago I tinkered around with a fantasy project to pursue some of the themes suggested by the conjunction of an archaeologicised Finnegans Wake interpretation and what Margaret Cohen has described as the ‘Gothic Marxism’* of Walter Benjamin. The result was a mocked-up front page of an imagined magazine, with an array of tempting article headings to seduce the casual reader.

6879791-0Thanks to the intervention of my technical team (‘the lads’), the file has been retrieved, duly pdfed and jpegged. More a ‘to-do list’ in the guise of a vanity project, it’s still something I like the look of. Widdershins evokes the circular procession or dance of witches, performed in an anti-clockwise direction – ‘widdershins’. The title of an anarchist/situationist magazine of the late 1980s, Anti-Clockwise, probably had a subtle influence on that choice of name: against the pseudo-cyclical rhythm of capitalist work and leisure, a prison of measured time.  The use of the symbols of the four suits of playing cards I suppose evokes the interruptive play of chance against the determination implied by the forward march of linear time and the ideology of progress. To some degree the Widdershins project has been absorbed into what I’m trying to do with The Grammar of Matter, though there are still loose ends, which is exactly how it should be…

                    ♣          ♠

* Margaret Cohen. 1993. Profane Illumination: Walter Benjamin and the Paris of Surrealist Revolution. Berkeley: University of California Press

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