#books - Max Haiven -- Revenge Capitalism: Max Haiven's work is generally great and gets at two things I think a lot of more standard capitalist critique misses, on the one hand, how capitalism is not just a system of exploitation, but one that we're coerced into identifying with (even as we critique it) and inhabit sort of defensive, fraught roles in maintaining aspects of its logic and systems, even if most of us will be losers despite making the tradeoff of alienation to participate in the process anyways... and, secondly, given that, what is the radically different future of values and relations we have to foster to avoid, ie, identifying certain groups to simply put on "capitalist life support" without systemic change, or only achieve these things within the violence of state borders.
#books - Jenny Hval -- Paradise Rot: Man.... College really is like that. lol
Had been aware I should probably read this one for a long time and it was very, very good. It felt like what I thought was missing or what I was looking for in a lot of other books I had mixed feelings about. The sensory details are amazing and made me miss not only being able to take the train across town to the big country park, but also the feeling of being in a town you aren't really settled in, the sort of leaky and awkward hostels and flats, riding new and winding public transport routes, and trying to figure out if you even are where you should be in anonymous cafes... when I did it a lot these experiences were, moment to moment, shit, but it's been ages since I've been able to now and despite myself I miss them.
#books - Jenny Hval -- Girls Against God: I'll definitely write a lot more on this because it was great. Experimental, in the sense that it goes just about everywhere... what struck me most was the similarities I felt with the main character's childhood experiences despite being a continent and a decade apart, the stultifying culturelessness of growing up in a suburban evangelical stronghold, the stunning potential of the internet and transgressive art, and the feeling of mis-belonging, hatefulness, provincialness you carry with yourself from having gone through that.... yeah.
#books - Hiroko Oyamada -- The Factory: Short but I found this one rather challenging, because it hops around a lot in terms of both perspective and time, and two of the perspective characters are related and therefore referred to with the same last name 🙃 BUT! despite having to page around a bit to figure this stuff out a few times I found it very abstract and meditative with wonderful surreal images and commentary on the futility of modern forms of work.
#books - Chris Kraus -- Summer of Hate: This is the kind of thing I was expecting Sally Rooney's work to do, given how much people hyped it up as being "about class." In this case, the plot follows a woman trying to spin her vaguely scammy apartment flipping investments as charitable, and she strikes up a relationship with an ex-felon she hires to manage the apartments and collect rents. In a way, she does offer him the pure, banal money and connections that solve many of his problems, but her cluelessness also opens up his life to totally novel ways of getting fucked. It's very gripping and works in this sense (differences in their lives are not just spirited away by convenient scholarships or magic-level talent), even if I am not sure how much of it is self-aware or intentional given Kraus' defensiveness over her own, real life landlording as a way of hanging onto her improved class position...
#books - Gregory Sholette -- Dark Matter: I really loved this book simply because it makes an attempt to really theorize why we only see the infinitesimal portion of valuable and successful work as "the art world," and how to talk about the role of the majority/the dark matter/the rest of it. The author also spends a lot of time thinking about how this mass could organize and demand changes from the mainstream art world, which interests me, though he doesn't get into the nitty gritty of that as deep as I was hoping because there are few practical historical examples. Still, really thought provoking and looks at some fascinating artistic phenomena.