04/06/09 – 9:42pm (tactical magic manifesto)

Tactical Magic Manifesto

Raiders of the Lost Arts

It should be widely understood and universally agreed upon that distinctions within the arts are no longer necessary. In the wake (in the funereal sense) of postmodernism, the necessity, desire, or rationale for divisions within the arts has been allowed to putrefy for far too long. Bury it or burn it, but yearn for it no longer. The complete realization of a creative liberation of the “true will to live” demands immediate convolution of all discourses – not simply painting, sculpture, and performance, but biology, history, agriculture, politics and so on. Is this simply interdisciplinarianism? No! It is the elaborate and pragmatic integration of all things related into an associative life/practice that summons the creative and prophetic power of the multitude. In short, it is creative problem-solving and the refusal to dine on the ashes that fuel the commodification of our efforts to explore the wonders of a momentary existence.

So where to begin? We embark as raiders of the lost arts: the radical approach requires that we look to the roots of our collective artistic endeavors. In the same way that graffiti has not lost the ritual potency once-possessed by cave-dwelling shamans, we must tap the source of the creative-mindspring; a return of the primitive not to the primitive. The creative urge, that primal impulse to redefine our environment through an evolving understanding and active manipulation of the forces at play, is more than a mere skill to be added to a list of competitive edges to procure employment. Why use creative juices to stimulate your rung-hunger in corporate ladder battles, when it can be used for the enchanted celebration of the 5 out of 7 days you so lovingly devote to __________ (insert appropriate moniker of vehemence: e.g. Machine, System, Spectacle, Capital, or merely the appellation of your workplace)?

By art we don’t mean “fine arts.” By art we mean nearly all of the dictionary definitions except those that imply the indulgences of taste and connoisseurship: skill and cunning, artifice and craftiness; the unanalyzable creative power of the imagination used to execute well what one has devised. And in so doing, one might do well to additionally execute the parasitic harbingers of capitalism that so lustily cling to the “fine” arts. A return of the Arts reveals much in the way of study and praxis, as we soon become aware of the manifold arts that cease to inform (or perhaps marginally) the revolutionary practice of living la vida loca.

As a fortuitous first-step we need look no further than Martial Arts and Magical Arts. For starters, both burn with the intensity of putting philosophy to the test of practical (not productive) application. Even in their most anachronistic yieldings, in their impractical, irrational or, dare we say ‘spiritual’ bifurcations (but surely not in their overly-commodified costuming), Martial Arts and Magical Arts set out to establish collective subjectivities evoked for the purpose of transferring their potency amidst the affairs of everyday life. These are not arts that quest for validation based on the improprieties of market-driven aesthetics, but rather they achieve self-validation through the efficacy of their actions, immediately and through associative accumulations. Such are the Arts of TransAction. And no, we are not talking about the exchange of Capital.

Indeed the marketplace misdirects our inquest. If you walk into most any used bookstore and ask for books on ‘magic’, you’ll typically be asked, ” What kind?” A response of, “Both kinds,” will get you a brief a look of surprise followed by directions to the “Entertainment, Games, Hobbies, and Pastimes” section as well as the “New Age, Occult, Mysticism, and Other Religions” section. This is your first clue along an adventuresome path that’s historically shrouded in mystery, deception, control, and secrecy (in no particular order of preference). It is also your first test as an aspirant in the realm of magic, a world that mixes entertainment and other religions into a powerful potion. By refusing the binary option posed to you, you have successfully navigated the “choose-your-own -adventure” crossroads and taken your first step up the golden pyramid of transformation.

Regardless of whether one thinks first of pulling rabbits out of top hats or of new-age, crystal worshippers, many people’s first response to the topic of magic is that of dismissal. Tuxedo-monkeys performing cheesy Las Vegas stage-acts, Gothic-Wiccan-hippies burning sage in their dreadlocks, and Harry Potter wannabe’s playing Dungeons & Dragons in black trench coats. While such examples are indeed a part of our collective reality, they are by no means the measure of philosophies and practices that span not only the globe, but much of humanity’s existence and development. Centuries of successful sleight of hand proves that human perception has evolved little since the days of ancient Egypt. Surely such an observation has not escaped the eyes of Power. Quite the contrary! From military manuals to marketing primers, we find evidence of the accumulation of a grand cache of magical knowledge derived from stagecraft and occult sciences. Why is it then that we so readily dismiss ‘magic’ in all of its abundant permutations? What are we taught about magic, and what examples are consistently peddled to us in the cultural supermarket? Or more importantly, what is to be gained by questioning our dismissive tendencies and engaging in discourses and practices which we’ve been raised to believe are irrational, fantastical, or even counterproductive?

Like bees making flowers bloom in the draft of their honey-making prep work, what we beckon forth are the spell-binding endeavors, encrypted and preserved in lost arts and artfulness, that leave behind the sensed effects of exchange and reciprocity, whether between individuals, communities, environments, or other systems of existence. Not a single magic flower, but a garden that nourishes through multiplicity and cumulative effect – this is the shapeshifting art of transformation. This is Tactical Magic.

-from: http://www.tacticalmagic.org/CTM/thoughts/raiders.htm

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~ by your fellowman on 07/04/2009.

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