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STUPID UNDERGROUNDS - MANN
Conspiracy - Page 36

control and body snatching. There is an extraordinary recurrence of this theme in fanzine interviews with a certain cohort of musicians (Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV/Chris and Cosey, SPK, Non, Cabaret Voltaire, Monte Cazazza), who therefore take it as their mission to alert listeners to the menace of subliminal overcoding, and to provide strategies for countering it. Actually, only a few specific strategies are ever proposed: adaptations of the William Burroughs-Brion Gysin method of cutups ("cut word lines . . . trailing to the better half," rearrange control texts at random in order to disrupt them; here we are not very far from the avant-garde belief in the subversive agency of collage, which is difficult any longer to support); a kind of "detournement" in which one reseeds the semioscape with one's own anarchic messages (a project now entirely without effect); or experiments in sub- or hyper-sonic transmission. One might find Mark Pauline or Genesis P-Orridge or members of Cabaret Voltaire poring over obscure technical journals (where, they report, Burroughs believes the only creative writing is to be found) for information on the construction of subliminal-effects generators. There is in this something like the acephalic materialism of Bataille, a sense that control and its disruption happen not only ideologically, by semiotic dissemination, but also in the form of the drone, the too-high or too-low frequency, that communicates viscerally before one even knows one is hearing it, purely, one might say, at the level of the signifier, indeed of sound that cannot strictly speaking be called a signifier because it has no direct relationship to a signified, to a concept other than the mechanics of control itself, since it encodes its relation to power in another form altogether. "Subliminals" are thus both overcoded and empty. Self-control is obtained by breaking control, by wresting oneself from it, by a rigorous discipline of subversion. The conspiracy is vast, the signs penetrate one faster than one can resist them; even so, that never inhibits one from stupidly exaggerating one's outlaw autonomy.

[30] Let us recall that we have already encountered the subliminal in the form of the "trace," which is not the source of control but there in its place, obscuring access to it, covering over a ground that cannot even be said to exist, "there," according to a certain now-standard logic, only as the supplement of an originary

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