To Transfigure. To Organise.

"And what a responsibility it is to see that no one takes our responsibility away from us."
David Cooper (1978)

"It will come to the mass of the changing season; they will find themselves in and stimulated by the situation consciously at last to recreate it within and without as their own."
Alexander Trocchi (1964)

An imaginary and a real university woven into each other. A spontaneous and an anti-university. "I murmured something about trying to write an article on the Anti-University", Roberta Elzey writes in the book Counter Culture published in 1970 and edited by Joe Berke, a leading anti-psychiatrist at the time. "Invisible insurrection, Ralph Schoeneman appears and disappears, Shimon Tzabar, McLuhan: Madison Avenue Cop-out, auto-destructive art, dance and movement, R.D. Laing, alchemists, Black Power SOMA ... tea or Coffee?". She continues on inhered. Joe Berke and David Cooper were among the founders of the London anti-university in 1968. The two had already been involved in establishing the Free University of New York. Roberta Elzey was told... "not ancient Anti-University history, but how to brew your own freedom: a batch of planning, communication, publicity and money: and tell them, the dream is hard to see, human relations are right in front of you...". She ends up writing an article on how the Anti-University is organised: the model. Seven years earlier the eighth issue of the Paris-based journal Internationale Situationniste iswas published. It presents an article written by the Italo-Scot cultural provocateur Alex Trocchi, a member of the Situationist International for several years. The title of this schizomatic text is 'A Revolutionary Proposal: The Insurrection of a Million Minds'. The French language title of the text was 'Technique du Coup du Monde' – in plain English "How to take over the world". Trocchi's proposal does not aim at a taking over of the macro-political power of the state, does not seek negotiation with the impotent doorkeepers, a winning of the majority, but is in the broadest sense, a dream-demand for rupture culture: a "becoming minoritarian" as Deleuze & Guattari later urged. The main task, Trocchi argues, is not to take over the control of the railway stations and the powerhouses, the centres of already established and neurotically defended power; the cultural revolution, rails Trocchi, must seize the 'grids of expression and the powerhouse of the mind'. He asks: "How to begin?" He answers: "At a chosen moment in a vacant country house not too far from the city of London, we shall forment a kind of cultural jam session: out of this will evolve the prototype of our spontaneous university." He chooses Braziers Park, still the home of a community of artists, but that is another story: "We are nothing all men shall not one day become".

By the time he settled in London in the early 60s, Trocchi had passed through those various scenes in which the avant-garde melted into the counter-culture. He had experiences that took him beyond any one aesthetic form, any one format, any one imagination, any one personality. Setting-off from a 40s Glasgow of mythic 'razor gangs', he drifted through the cultural melting pot of post-war Paris. Here he continued to cultivate the ontological experiment of his heroin habit whilst editing the influential literary magazine Merlin: a project that issued the first English language editions of Beckett and Genet and for which he wrote a series of editorials including one on language called 'War And Words'. Whilst in Paris he published his first novel, an existential murder story, Young Adam, under the same pseudonym that he used for the porno novels he wrote for Olympia Press. At some point during his stay, he began a long friendship with Guy Debord and became a member of the Lettrist International (one of the groups that would later feed into the Situationist International). From Paris, he travelled to New York where he lived aboard a scow on the Hudson River, becoming involved in the late 50s beat-scene and writing occasional articles for Grove Press's Evergreen Review: an international literary journal. From this working scow he turned-in, page by page, the manuscript that would be published, in 1960, as Cain's Book – his second, and most widely acclaimed novel that gives a foreecho of his strained relationship with himself as a 'writer': "You don't have to write it". Whilst in the States he also hung out in Venice Beach with experimental artist Wallace Berman who distributed his own art work via the postal system and spoke of new forums for creative activity. However, his time in the States was cut short by a drugs-bust and a term in prison. He returned to Britain with false papers reputedly supplied by Norman Mailer and eventually reached Britain via an exit to Canada. Back in London, Trocchi would never seriously attempt to embark upon a fallow up to Cain's Book. However, he returned to a situation where his two novels had just been published. His publisher, John Calder (who has recently reopened a book shop in South London), was busy promoting him as a central figure in a Beat movement he had left behind and his work attracted notoriety when a Sheffield magistrate deemed Cain's Book obscene. Instead of satisfying the demands of publishers and living up to his 'beatnik' reputation, Trocchi began the Sigma Project. This project pivoted around the publication of the Sigma Portfolio – roneod essays from such as R.D.Laing, William Burroughs etc, distributed with a folder – and the proposed Spontaneous University – a place to "invent effective behavioural procedures" were attendees could "learn how we shall have to be if we are to be and do together at all". So Trocchi, together with the initial enthusiasm of Jeff Nuttall, turned his attention to Cultural Engineering as he called it: a heady brew of his own developments of a fertile situationistic theory coupled to a sensitivity to encouraging the means-of-expression of others. As late as the 70s, when Trocchi's main project was trying, ultimately unsuccessfully, to save ex-gangster and black power poet Michael X from meeting the meaning of 'death sentence' in a Trinidadian jail, he was renowned in the Westbourne Park area of London for taking young local rebels under his wing: there is still a siged copy of Cain's Book in HMP Highpoint! Returning to his meteoritic Revolutionary Proposal article of 1963, Trocchi foreechoed these acts of long term will that make him more than the literati's failed and frustrated novelist: "Scientists, artists, teachers, creative men of good will everywhere are in suspense. Waiting. Remembering that it is our kind even now who operate, if they don't control, the grids of expression, we should have no difficulty in recognising the spontaneous university as the possible detonator of the invisible insurrection."

But if we have to remember who operates the grids of expression, we should also recall who controls them and why we are writing in the language we are also written by. Why do we tend to construct a reasonable reasoned history to back-up our concepts? Is it a matter of operating or controlling the means of expression? Is it a matter of out-flanking power language rather than opposing it? Should we open up "a ski-slope towards the reconciliation of passion and logic" as Asger Jorn wrote of James Joyce in 1960? What tenfold tendentious fall then is required? Fall, Flick, Flee finishing school summer us cants cant create interstitial red cities, passionate instantiations, bare life to be boded bodied climacterics of becoming beholden to once-occurent relational moments remembered, rescened, unscreened. Ambition breeds on bull markets and banality pays for Madonna's hand-outs, but I and I (we-too) is laden with the loot of in(ex)filtration learning so as to appease sufferation ("four pound an hour with the discipline shit on top") and build the drive site for desire to thrive as world change. Come Back Fourier! Joyce was bulwarked by the insular literary, Breton backed-off into supra-ego so it's now a know No! to security guard satraps educusing you and you of a singing deviant logic to reveal only safe hand ownership of their cap-aim-ist deviant logic. They can keep it and kow-tow. We can blurr into an interleaving non-book of dispersed relationship. Sort the shit out in us. Knowledge? Answer from afar = "a measuring of earlier and later errors by one another". Knowledge? Answer from aclose = buckled time of embraceable communardic exits. Epistemophiliac drive cums with its accumulated precursors – Spontaneous University at Braziers Park 1964 AND Anti-University at Rivington Street 1969 AND Villa 21 – pre-cursor globin of repeat repeat repeat to build drive to know again anew that the rich man's heaven is ever the poor man's hell. Heave-to sacrilegious educators with your blaspheming contradictions! Neil, Neil Summerhill! Frienet's strolling learning! Trocchi's ego-optics! Epistemophiliac drive then iswas suffers music: auricular dialectic back into lithe language, the breakthrough mistake of meconnaissance. The missing link is sister Sylvia Pankhurst's simultaneous nineteen twenties exits -> Suffragette and sister -> Left Communist and comrade -> Ethiopian and unexpressed existent! Her last leg reveals the spirit of love. Seen! Sibilants and saliva are the tools of plunderd learning, of excavated accumulative layers. We speak to connect the raw and the smooth, the rough and the cooked. "Shucks" is of great value if value is a between and knowledge is also social wealth not a soloing out from the midden heap of recreant culture. For who after all knows all except the oily tex rich man expropriatex with his silex codex and his door of the law? Bang, Bong! We find the limits of our freedom to go back and try again. It's terrific to try: that's what it says on your uncleffed certificate from us! Try your own tri-way-dix meet! Kapow! Instant meiosis fleeting! Street assembly on Laessoesgade Lane, under the arches, on the lake crook book, in the oneiric screen it's all what we will be here comes everybody again, an unseen I and uselessness to be awarded. By the high unhired sensi-scortch of old-new it's tendentiousness that's velveteen! It's concrete that's translucent! Oh! Old Moles we miss you with your modicum of maxi-marginal assembly form! Thus socially inbred among tongues it's you shot ground down revivifying that inspire us to basic banality bliss. So to tend to the fall, the off-track untrammelled yet untravelled to fall again: it's this not to be taken as real, but as the best failing falling we can muster, the best overreaching becoming, an incorporeal transformation in honour and in cahoots to all deeducators with bowed synthesised heads.

Trying to self-institutionalise in language, synthesising minoritorian expression motors, institutionalising an anti-language... just as Joe Berke took part in institutionalising an anti- university, an anti-hospital, an anti-family, an anti-theatre AND Pasolini sought to transfigure and organise AND between the same times non-anti-pyshciatrist David Cooper took a part in disestablishing a Villa 21, 22, 23. Cooper: "In poetry there is a multiplicity of specifities". In 'madness' too, those same complicities of an anti-complex impulse semiotic. Change the word's enveined deposit! Unmarble it! Outflank power language into the diffuse landscapes of becoming the lag gap of your own knowledge! Becoming Eternal Return! Becoming: to be spurred-on by intense identification which creates inhering precipitates called catalytic convertors ('person' is such a shit word). Becoming Byron: feeling like the warning of what you feel now! Isn't it a matter of these womanifold acts of institution being the minimum necessary form in which to seize what Trocchi described as the "intuition which drives us to articulate"? Whether Cooper ever met Trocchi has to be, for now, a matter of conjecture (the file is in a different country), but the two could have multiplied without meeting for they share the same wariness of the 'madness' this society induces in us through its econometric urge for us to be individuals. And so, the two of them also share a suspicion of language: Trocchi was suspicious of a crafted, despontaneised authorship of 'writers' and their 'novel-products''; Cooper was suspicious of a normalising technicality of a symptom-lexicon that wards-off any experience of language as that which can continually originate again and again with each person. For Cooper, who was in dispute with the term 'anti-psychiatry', it was a matter of giving 'madness' some form, some shape, some strategy. For after all the experience of madness is, on many occassions, a matter of that 'intuition' which Trocchi speaks of being isolated, being some kind of outreaching of energies that are refused by an over-structurated society and are rolling back in a reflux, into an autisticated existence. For Cooper these structures that could be folded back in an open initiative like Villa 21 are impermeable because they are our mutually-shared defence mechanism. An insight of this sort is often an accompaniment to breakdown and is revelated as the exposure of the "precise immeasureability" of these structures, a revealation of their function as ramparts that uphold those capitalistic social relations that hinge on wage-labour and which are ever subject to the threat of a lettre de cachet. Sacked! For Cooper, as for Laing and Esterton and Joe Berke, 'anti-psychiatry' could be said to have been a space for becoming. The link between this becoming and language has been elegantly whispered by Cooper as a practice of "realising language... of introducing the necessary, vivifying political insertion of unreason, which has its own rationality, into the coherent, instrumental and manipulative discourse of the normal ones." As with language under capitalism, its risible rise into functioning as a 'code of signs' rather than a collective resonator, so too, the impetus to create institutions is urged on us to have been accosted by the warp and weave of history. What Cooper and his Villa 21 project offered-up was that both language and its dialectical correlate of instauration are activies that can be enacted and that the realistion of this potentiality, albeit stifled, is itself a factor in 'madness': "The language of madness is the perpetual slipping over of words into acts until the moment when the word is pure act". The moon's-edge of 'madness', iswas, then, as much about the suppression of these actions, the suppression of creating full speech languages and institutions through which we can become rather than be; in which social relations are created rather than dutifully, begrudgingly auto-reinforced.

So, when Trocchi spoke of his projected Spontaneous University as "a continuous making, a creative process, a community enacting itself in its individual members", he was not just pointing to a desire for a collective assemblage of enunciation, the creation of a social relation conducive to becoming, he was, in the light of Cooper's findings, simultaneously being sensitive to an experience of 'madness' whose most common indicator is the hearing of disembodied voices. What is this hearing of voices if it is not an indication of the cultural storehouse, the general cultural wealth (and poverty), that each one of us is a part of? The pain suffered by many on hearing these voices is that, under the individualising culture of capitalism, there is no means of explaining them in any way other than through the prism of their being desocialised expressions of self-identity: "It's your own problem". Any denial of this, any resistence to the individualising-pain of being made to be pathologically responsible for their authorship is, offers Cooper, punished by the process of "culpabilization" that exists in all capital dependent institutions. We are made to feel guilt for being more than who we are, for being realistically social, for being a written language of reality. As Voloshinov wrote thirty-odd years before the 60s of Trocchi and Cooper: "A word in the mouth of a particular individual is a product of the living interaction of social forces."

Experimental Music – The course would involve students in playing and listening. 'I think many people swing towards and away from experience of music without realising its proximity. My aim would be to identify the experience and expand and prolong it. Speaking for myself, the concert hall is one of the less likely places to find a musical experience' – Fortnightly – Thursdays 6:30 p.m. Cornelius Cardew, London Anti-University, Rivington Street.

A wake and asleep – 'Finnegans Wake' as a Primer teaching us to read again. The book will be seen as an expanding whole, not as esoteric bits. Or as Joyce says: "(Stoop) if you are abcminded, to this claybook, what curios of signs (please stoop) in the allaphbed! Can you rede (since We and Thou had it already) its world? It is the same told of all. Many. Miscegenations. Tieckle. They lived and laughed ant loved and left." – Wednesdays 6:30 p.m. Roberta Elzey, London Anti-University, Rivington Street.

Invisible Insurrection – I take it that the Anti-University is an experiment in relation to the urgencies of the invisible insurrection, that what we are consciously undertaking in an exploration of the tactics of a broad (r)evolt. Speaking personally, I am quite able to express lucidly and comprehensively the main features of this cultural transition and can describe in immaculate intellectual terms the spiritual attitudes plus the new economic scaffolding which must be brought into play as the tactical basis of any possible evolution of man – Fortnightly – Tuesdays 8:30pm

Psychology and Politics – David Cooper will talk about Psychology and Politics, and how we might arrive at an integrated framework of understanding events on the individual and a mass scale – Fortnightly – Fridays 7:00 p.m. David Cooper: "To act politically means simply regaining what has been stolen from us, starting with our consciousness of our oppression within the capitalist system". But, is it a 'system'? Is it not more of a systematising of relations, an active reproduction os a certain culture? Is it not a fear of other voices made fearsome by a made space so banal and stopped-up we are made to lack all form and place? Is it not this very 'consciousness of our oppression' that is the crucial taboo? There are too many stand-ins for to make a living culture! "You don't have to write it"!

The cultural jam-session mixes voices arising from a group, not individual voices but just voices weaving into each other forming the fabric of a poetastic collectivity – a provisional subjectivity, existing for a glance and then disappearing – a corporeal transformation of the future past people presenced hearing voices, listening and experiencing and expanding and prolonging the sounds of a collective enunciation, becoming a brain, becoming a meshwork of citations that are ever expanding into other networks and other civil and savage situations. Bleeds please! Pent-up antes! The Spontaneous and the Anti-University is here now. (Stoop) I will would can develop a notion of off-knowledge arranging tomorrow together collective is can be creation relation (Please stoop) branching into eventless events everywhere everything

Howard Slater & Jakob Jakobsen
Break Flow/Copenhagen Free University/Infopool/ January 2002