Sylvère Lotringer, general editor of Semiotext(e), lives in New York and Baja, California. He is the author of Overexposed: Perverting Perversions (Semiotext(e), 2007).
What societies of control are achieving in the West through invasive technologies and the soft violence of financial capitalism—the production of work slaves and human zombies—is being enforced in the rest of the world by the most brutal, extreme, inhuman means. Narco-Capitalism, the extreme violence now raging in Mexico, is only the latest in an enterprise of systematic dehumanization that is affecting the entire planet.
The most perverse perversions are not always those one would expect. Originally conceived as an American update to Foucault’s History of Sexuality, Overexposed is even more outrageous and thought-provoking today than it was twenty years ago when first published by a commercial publisher. By a strange reversal, rather than being punished, deviant desire now is administrated in specialized clinics under medical supervision. Sexual excess is being turned into a “boredom therapy” claiming to rid patients of their own desires by forcing them to indulge them past the point of satiety. But are perversions still perverse when they are vindicated unconditionally?
Edited by Sylvère Lotringer and Christian Marazzi
Most of the writers who contributed to the issue were locked up at the time in Italian jails…. I was trying to draw the attention of the American Left, which still believed in Eurocommunism, to the fate of Autonomia. The survival of the last politically creative movement in the West was at stake, but no one in the United States seemed to realize that, or be willing to listen. Put together as events in Italy were unfolding, the Autonomia issue—which has no equivalent in Italy, or anywhere for that matter—arrived too late, but it remains an energizing account of a movement that disappeared without bearing a trace, but with a big future still ahead of it.
The Collected Interviews of Wiliam S. Burroughs, 1960-1997
William S. Burroughs
Sylvère Lotringer (Ed.)
Burroughs Live gathers all the interviews, both published and unpublished, given by William Burroughs, as well as conversations with well-known writers, artists, and musicians such as Tenessee Williams, Timothy Leary, Patti Smith, Keith Richards, Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, and Gregory Corso. The book provides a fascinating account of Burroughs’s life as a literary outlaw. Illuminating many aspects of his work and many facets of his mind, it brings out his scathing humor, powerful intelligence, and nightmarish vision.
Hatred of Capitalism
A Semiotext(e) Reader
Chris Kraus and Sylvère Lotringer (Eds.)
Compiled in 2001 to commemorate the passing of an era, Hatred of Capitalism brings together highlights of Semiotext(e)’s most beloved and prescient works. Semiotext(e)’s three-decade history mirrors the history of American thought. Founded by French theorist and critic Sylvere Lotringer as a scholarly journal in 1974, Semiotext(e) quickly took on the mission of melding French theory with the American art world and punk underground. Its Foreign Agents, Native Agents, Active Agents and Double Agents imprints have brought together thinkers and writers as diverse as Gilles Deleuze, Assata Shakur, Bob Flanagan, Paul Virillio, Kate Millet, Jean Baudrillard, Michelle Tea, William S. Burroughs, Eileen Myles, Ulrike Meinhof, and Fanny Howe.
Translated by Sylvère Lotringer
The accident is a new form of warfare. It is replacing revolution and war. Sarajevo triggered the First World War. New York is what Sarajevo was. September 11th opened Pandora’s box. The first war of globalization will be the global accident, the total accident, including the accident of science. And it is on the way.
In 1968, Virilio abandoned his work in oblique architecture, believing that time had replaced space as the most important point of reflection because of the dominance of speed.
edited by Sylvère LotringerCurrently in its fourth printing, Foucault Live is the most accessible and exhaustive introduction to Foucault’s thought to date. Composed of every extant interview made by Foucault from the mid-60s until his death in 1984, Foucault Live sheds new light on the philosopher’s ideas about friendship, the intent behind his classical studies, while clarifying many of the professional and popular misinterpretations of his ideas over the course of his career.As Gilles Deleuze noted, “the interviews in this book go much further than anything Foucault ever wrote, and they are indispensable in understanding his life work.” Most notably, Foucault Live includes interviews he made with the gay underground press during his stays in America during the 1970s.
Paul Virilio and Sylvère Lotringer
Translated by Mark Polizzotti
In this new and updated edition, Virilio and Lotringer consider how the omnipresent threat of the “accident”—both military and economic—has escalated. With the fall of the Soviet bloc, the balance of power between East and West based on nuclear deterrence has given way to a more diffuse multi-polar nuclear threat. Moreover, as the speed of communication has increased exponentially, “local” accidents—like the collapse of the Asian markets in the late 1980s—escalate, with the speed of contagion, into global events instantaneously. “Globalization,” Virilio argues, is the planet’s ultimate accident.
Texts and Interviews 1977–1985
Sylvère Lotringer (Ed.)
Translated by Chet Wiener and Emily Wittman
This new edition of Soft Subversions expands, reorganizes, and develops the original 1996 publication, offering a carefully organized arrangement of essays, interviews, and short texts that present a fuller scope to Guattari’s thinking from 1977 to 1985. This period encompasses what Guattari himself called the “Winter Years” of the early 1980s—the imprisonment of Italian radicals, the disillusion with the socialists in power, the backlash against post-’68 thinking, the spread of environmental catastrophe, and the establishment of a postmodernist ideology aimed at adaptation rather than change—a period with discernible echoes twenty years later.
Edited by Sylvère Lotringer
Heiner Muller, East German author of Hamletmachine and Medea, was the preeminent German successor of Bertholt Brecht at the end of the twentieth century. In this collection of essays, stories, and interviews conducted by Sylvere Lotringer, Muller reflects on the laws of history from the standpoint of someone straddling the Berlin Wall. Muller saw the wall as both repression and protection of his compatriots from the inevitable triumph of capitalism. His work evokes the wit and compactness of Brecht, with an added psychotropic dimension. Haunted by World War II, Muller was a leading figure in European contemporary literature, whose writing anticipates a future beyond the bipolarity of twentieth-century politics.
The Conspiracy of Art
Manifestos, Texts, Interviews
Edited by Sylvère Lotringer
In The Conspiracy of Art, Baudrillard questions the privilege attached to art by its practitioners. Art has lost all desire for illusion: feeding back endlessly into itself, it has turned its own vanishment into an art unto itself. Far from lamenting the “end of art,” Baudrillard celebrates art’s new function within the process of insider-trading. Spiraling from aesthetic nullity to commercial frenzy, art has become transaesthetic, like society as a whole.In The Accident of Art, his third extended conversation with Sylvère Lotringer, Virilio addresses the situation of art within technological society for the first time.
The Accident of Art
Sylvère Lotringer and Paul Virilio
There is a catastrophe within contemporary art. What I call the “optically correct” is at stake. The vision machine and the motor have triggered it, but the visual arts haven’t learned from it. Instead, they’ve masked this failure with commercial success. This “accident” is provoking a reversal of values. In my view, this is positive: the accident reveals something important we would not otherwise know how to perceive.
—Paul Virilio, The Accident of Art
Urbanist and technological theorist Paul Virilio trained as a painter, studying under Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Bazaine and de Stael. In The Accident of Art, his third extended conversation with Sylvère Lotringer, Virilio addresses the situation of art within technological society for the first time. This book completes a collaborative trilogy the two began in 1982 with Pure War and continued with Crepuscular Dawn, their 2002 work on architecture and biotechnology.
The German Issue
Edited by Sylvère Lotringer
Introduction by Sylvère Lotringer
The German Issue (1982) was originally conceived as a follow-up to Semiotext(e)’s Autonomia/Italy issue, published two years earlier. Although ideological terrorism was still a major issue in Germany, what ultimately emerged from these pages was an investigation of two outlaw cities, Berlin and New York, which embodied all the tensions and contradictions of the world at the time. The German Issue is the Tale of Two Cities, then, with each city separated from its own country by an invisible wall of suspicion or even hatred. It is also the complex evocation of the rebelling youth—squatters, punks, artists and radicals, theorists and ex-terrorists—who gathered all their energy and creativity in order to outlive a hostile environment.