In this SPAM Cut, Audrey Lindemann unpacks the saturated politics, affects and post-internet aesthetics of ‘NO_LESS’, one of Daniel Uncapher’s collaged, ‘Image-Oriented’ DAMAGE / CONTROL poems, recently published in Textshop Experiments.
> Daniel Uncapher’s deEp MemE-sPeAk collage poems of the #queer and #leftist variety, cluttered shitpost disciples of Instagram’s @fuckedupfarmgirls and @decolonial.meme.queens, are the they-pronoun and septum pierced grandchildren of Hannah Höch’s photo-Frankenstein-aberrations. Höch would have done it analog — cutting and pasting in the obsolete physical sense, first scrounging or buying her materials, and then selecting the most salient fragments of 1920s German culture to dissect and recontextualize in an act of montieren, or mechanical assembly into montage. The millennial descendants of Höch’s Indian Dancer: From an Ethnographic Museum or Raoul Hausmann’s ABCD have inherited the #morals and #values of their predecessors, namely a relentless and absurdist ridicule of all that is fascist re:capitalist. Yet where Dadaists were anti-art in the face of traditional *~fine art~*, Uncapher and the like take on aesthetic standards presented by the Internet (the surface of which, social media, is insta-poet, centrist, conspicuously posed, feel-good, and the depths of which are click-bait, troll, hacked by Russians, incel, dark web, Ben Shapiro). The result is an infectious cadence that permanently alters the way one hears/sees Internet bullshit.
> Textshop Experiments houses “DAMAGE/CONTROL: 7 Image-Oriented Poems” wherein Uncapher notes the montage Process😤: cutting and pasting in the non-obsolete sense (on a phone). Uncapher’s montieren graduates Dada’s industrial-mechanism and enters AI-generation, capturing the energy of scrolling motion, of an oversaturation of visual and textual associations available at our thumbtip, which literally blurs together into a glitching abortion of headlines and captions. Uncapher’s poems are driven mad by demoralization, so emotionally-exhausted from government surveillance, from hating the police so hard, and from the hopeless downward slide of climate change that they behave accordingly, spouting up #content and letting it fall into a poem.
> Note the series’ fourth poem, NO_LESS, which mocks the sort of negative and positive infinities that cause a) malfunction of the spirit and b) ERROR 414: Too Large To Process. The poem’s center establishes a limitless positive set: ‘EVERYTHING IS POETRY.’ Underneath, it requests from the viewer what is likely an equally limitless negative set: ‘What can you not believe we still have to deal with in 2019?’ These two stanzas alone could be a manifesto of deep-meme-creation — inherently political, inherently overloaded with data, and necessarily overwhelmed by themselves (à la Richard Huelsenbeck ‘Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police’).
> Below, a cut-off 1912 Boris Pasternak poem in blue, reading ‘February. Get ink, shed tears. / Write of it, sob your heart out,’ reacts to the boundless optimism and pessimism of the previous lines with both specificity and *depression* (meme bread and butter). Pasternak himself, whose work was distributed by the CIA as cultural anti-Soviet weaponry in the 1950s, has his name across the top of the poem along with a glimpse of the words ‘Russian Link Exchange.’ These fragments create a propaganda sandwich, reminding the center stanzas of their necessary context in a surveilled society. And thus the fragments of NO_LESS swirl like its background, mocking profundity as Höch’s work before it. Any trace of sincerity squirms under the microscope of governments and corporations, watched, misinformed, influenced, and interrupted by ads.
> Therein lies the scatterbrained paranoia of Uncapher’s image poems — they come from and worry about everything until they #can’t, reaching a physical and mental saturation point of colour and confusion, exploding, outbursting, and deciding to trust nothing.
Text: Audrey Lindemann
Image: Daniel Uncapher, via Textshop Experiments