Last month I graduated from the University of Maryland and went from being Malcolm, a senior politics and English major, to Malcolm, who does nothing. I’ve moved back to California and started looking for my first post-university job-job. One part of pre-employment that I’m looking forward to is having more time to write, but 24 Percent no longer feels like the right place. I’m at a very different point in my thought than I was when I made 24, and I felt the need for a new look and feel. The result is my new blog, destructural.
I picked the new name for a number of reasons. The term comes from destructural video, “An art movement of video and moving image artists who aestheticize the exploration of medium specific flaws which perpetrate themselves as visual and/or audible glitches in their work.” I ran into artist and student John McAndrew’s blog the other day, and the idea appealed to me, even beyond the video context. Working from glitches and aporias in a system, seeing them as sites from which to work rather than flaws to be painted over, is what I always try to do in my writing.
It also works nicely with a story from my first foray into (para-)academia at the Beneath The University, The Commons conference at (near?) the University of Minnesota last April. My friend Max and my co-presentation involved a rhetorically aggressive reading of parts of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Commonwealth, especially the section about the need to destroy ourselves as we exist within current social relations. For the rest of the conference, Max and I were the crazy guys who wanted to destroy stuff, incensing at least one attendee who wanted to know why we weren’t talking about making stuff instead. One of the other presenters decided to refer to me and Max collectively as “destruction.” The conference was a surreal experience, but also some of the most fun I had in college. As I look forward to graduate school, I better get used to navigating those kinds of spaces, but hopefully this title\ will serve as a reminder of how I came in thinking.
Also, “destructural” is a goofy theory-jargon neologism. And I’m into that stuff. But it is certainly self-consciously goofy.
Luckily, wordpress has it set up so that you can import your old content into your new blog, so 24 Percent lives on, but changed. I’ll leave the Hegelian interpretation to someone else, but I think of this switch as both a continuation and a beginning.
The organizing principle for the content hasn’t really changed, I’ll still be writing about whatever I feel like. It will probably skew toward student power, ultra-left political theory, as well as Marxist readings of literature, films, and other art, but I honestly don’t know what I’ll be writing about in six months. I’ve also added a “readings” page that has .pdf’s and links to pieces I think people would enjoy/find useful. Please feel encouraged to send suggestions.