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The Return of Schizo-Culture

I had an absolute pleasure to attend The Return of Schizo-Culture, an event held at MoMa PS1 in New York City. As the name implies, Schizo-Culture points to the chaotic harmony and paradoxical phenomenon where splits and cracks in the cultural, political and aesthetic disciplines of our society have the innate ability to come together and unite within the chaos. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Semiotext(e) -- the famous avant-garde periodical founded back in the 1970s by the French philosopher, Sylvère Lotringer -- the event presented a fusion of works by various counter-culture radical artists, musicians, poets, writers, and intellectuals. Together they created a sort of a rhizomatic atmosphere, blurring the boundaries between the presenters, the audience, and the contents being presented. All the elements of the event, from the unoccupied empty chair at the corner of the room, to the presenter’s coughs and sneezes amid their presentation on stage, transformed into a chaotic harmony and a work of art in-itself. Disordered fractures represent a bigger picture of our collective consciousness, complimenting each other by fitting together like pieces of a greater puzzle.

The presentation that stood out the most amongst many others was a poem recited by John Giorno, an American poet and performance artist. In the poem “Thanx 4 Nothing,” one could hear echoes of his spirituality as a practitioner of traditional Tibetan Buddhism. In a most captivating delivery of his work, an extreme level of rawness and vulnerability came purely from the heart chakra, demanding careful attention. He wrapped his rich yet chaotic life journey into a beautiful poetic piece and offered it to us – the audience – as a gift. His work, and the way he presented it, fully achieved a chaotic harmony and was an amazing example of a “Schizo-Culture,” left up to the audience’s freedom to do whatever they wished with the offering.