what are the current activities of forward unit, if any? do they resemble building wooden puzzles in the night sky? do their cloaks need mending? have the monasteries/phalansteries been built or purchased? on which planets?
Thank you for your enquiry, which is clearly good-hearted. Unfortunately, I cannot respond in the same spirit - my answer comes straight from the spleen.
I would prefer to speak of the achievement of an archipelago of sanctuaries but alas these have not been, and cannot be, built under present conditions.
Of course, there is a tendency to make the best of things but we remain always too few, an ever dwindling number of random sparkings - each burning out just before discovering an other.
Our ideas remain indistinguishable from the background noise of everyday intercourse. We do not have the energy to sustain an autopoietic outline.
Concepts such as Forward Unit only advance into the world in proportion to the quantities of direct/indirect investment of capital, which then may be utilised to draw in and motivate the necessary hours of labour power required to build them.
Direct investment would suppose the capture of capital flows which the rather incoherent business model of Forward Unit does not have the power to attract.
And the model itself is not indirectly energised - that is to say, there is no external demand/investment in self-refusing retreats/sanctuaries/monasteries which we might take advantage of and privatise as Forward Unit.
We live in a world of excitement, that is the perpetual war of all things. And we do not want to go to war... that makes it difficult to achieve things.
In any case, it is ‘vanishingly’ rare for direct and indirect capitalisations to converge in the form of a transformative politics.
2011 stands out as one notable example: indirectly capitalised concepts of ‘democracy’ converged with direct investments in expanding new markets by mobile communications industries.
But this is to re-state old observations. The original idea of Forward Unit was to explore the possibility of extra-institutional relations between those individuals who had internalised certain harsh lessons.
In general, there has been a decline in the rate of ‘free association’ as this has been interrupted, diverted, privatised and transformed by mediating technologies into, on the one hand a representational global ideal of connection, and on the other the proliferation of a wretched undifferentiated ‘content’.
Autonomous experiments in non-institutionalised relations, such as Surrealism, may now only be marvelled at. They are lost to us.
Free association supposes the unpredicted dispersal and collection of individuals into distal ‘congregations’ at the periphery of the world. Modern power dissuades this movement by concentrating populations and classifying them by differentiating their traumas into markets for identity-types.
We ask ourselves, how was it possible, what did it take, for Godless congregations such as Surrealism to sustain themselves for decades against the progress of instrumentalisation and use-value?
At one level, there is no mystery, simple expropriation of novelty and racketeering via the capture of its most commodifiable gestures explains almost everything.
And almost everything about the historical Avant Garde is comprehensible at the level of the contradiction between invested energy, and surplus unbound energy. Isn’t this the argument of ‘The Accursed Share’?
But not everything is articulated as the ‘energy’ of the visceral-economy. There is also, always and already, as Bataille might say, an other surplus dividing within the surplus.
Where energy itself is considered as the object (where movement, its speeds, its textures, its trajectories are isolated), then ‘relations’, and its congregations, are disclosed.
As has been written, Forward Unit recognises the Surrealist Group’s internal theological controversy over the ‘Mexican Jumping Bean’ as a dialectical image, as a flashing revelation of the blessed share of Twentieth Century relations.
These are slack times, we cannot hope to directly experience the convulsive release of world-historical forces, as that which pulsed through the congregation of the Surrealist Group in the moment it situated that kinetic bean as its traumatic kernel.
If Surrealist practice crashed together the life-worlds of the dissecting table and the sacrificial altar, then what of the harsh lessons, the lived constraints, that Forward Unit must live by? What would be the principle basis of non-principle based free association?
There is the novice’s practice of individual hygiene of course: conflicted participation; ambivalent engagement; refusal of the political; openness to the tragedy of villains; blessings upon enemies;
anti-enthusiasm; avoidance of crowds; orientation towards the worm; never denounce/never personalise; cultivation of non-consensus; movement by loss;
sighing; scything; sidling; discomforting untimeliness; caught short at departure; depreciation of early visions; having barked up the wrong forest; wandering; waning; winnowing;
embrace of difficulty and affliction; self-sabotage; failure to realise projects across decades; turning again and again to the impossible relations of the human community;
in the hour of decision, the uncertain step; in the waking before morning; a refusal of progress; in contemplation of decline; laughter from the wings; laughter interrupting thought; laughter only;
cleaving to the shedding. The petty character traits of the spiritually-atypical: I do not expect you to agree; I do not say what I say is true; I do not claim any of this is what I am, or what I believe.
By implication, harsh constraints put us individually in another place (and perhaps in another market) but what of the collective endeavour? What of Forward Unit?
If you can imagine a praxis, apparatus, event which lights the candle of forms and simultaneously snuffs them out, then that praxis would suppose the congregation of Forward Unit.
The thing fixed before the gaze of Forward Unit is what wakes in weariness - Forward Unit pities whatever is thrown from hibernation into the torment of awakening Spring.
Forward Unit calls upon the world to show mercy to all new things born within the old wave of endless profusion.
Forward Unit intuits: if what will be, must be, then it is better the world’s process is endured to the completion of its own plan, than reformed and so extended.
Forward Unit supposes: the world must die before it will let go. Nothing may be abolished, but everything erodes.
If every permutation has to be lived through before the system is to be finally escaped, then it is better that the sequence of all dreary potentials is speeded towards its exhaustion.
Real accelerationism is directed towards the immediate decomposition of the duration of permutational forms.
From the standpoint of Forward Unit, the mayfly overstays its welcome.
Under accelerated conditions, that which begins also ends, but has no continuity. All lines must contract to points.
From the standpoint of Forward Unit, the dictatorship of the proletariat is inseparable from the decommissioning of the productive apparatus.
The goal of Forward Unit is to part-literalise Beckett’s metaphor of giving birth ‘astride the grave’ - productive energies must be deflected towards producing an exit from the world (production must prevent reproduction).
The discreet practice of Forward unit is committed to unplugging everything it is about to bring to life.
The Forward Unit programme stands on its head the Situationist addiction to the ‘suppressing and realising’ of forms; and imagines no power to the imagination; and desires taking repulsion for reality.
The Forward Unit prayer: let life go out of things; let there be quietude; let them find sanctuary; let them know another place; let the world allow them quarter; and let there be to them, no world. Ah-men.
The Forward Unit community will live in accord with the exhaustion of world-productive energies, and the heat-death of dominion.
So, at the end, I find your good question, as drawing salve to the sting of my poor answer. This exercise has, by its cathartic effect, lifted a burden and lightened my spirit. I warmly shake your hand.