New Juche: Abjection, Location, Prostitution and the Unmasking of Western Culture

Obsoletion of Genre

The Scottish writer New Juche moved to Southeast Asia from Edinburgh during the mid-2000s, in search of perversity and abandon. And if his books are any indication, he found what he was looking for. Abjection, cruelty, and sexual degradation — masturbation, prostitution, porn, and all the viscous fluids that flow from them — his writing explores the connections between an author and his environment to the point of dissolution. He seeks, he finds, he merges and decays, he exploits, he narrates his abasement and invites his readers to join him.

Juche manipulates the formal possibilities inherent in the literary medium to his own ends. Few, if any, contemporary writers are breaking the conventions of the novel to this extremist extent. It’s not only that his content is transgressive, or that he’s a white heterosexual man who brazenly documents his fetishistic adventures with Third World whores in the most visceral language imaginable and against the modes of political correctness that have plagued and tarnished literature for decades now. That’s all in there, but there’s also more. Juche uses the form of the novel to express something deeper than any single literary genre can contain. Too unreal to be non-fiction, too journalistic to be fiction, too disgusting to be philosophy and too philosophical to be autofiction, Juche captures an aesthetic experience that cannot be expressed in painting, sculpture, music, or even film: a subjective projection that begins, and perhaps also ends, with a blank page.

Prostitution

I’ve only paid for sex three times in my life, all in one week. It was years before I would be recruited into culture industries counter-intelligence and a decade before my own path as an artist truly revealed itself. My goals were much simpler then: fuck up, make mistakes, have experiences. I was 20 and in Amsterdam with two close friends from high school. Not yet a drug addict, my drive for psychological limit experience came from the same mental disposition as did my wanderlust. After seven days wasted on beer, cannabis, MDMA, psilocybin, mescaline, and cocaine, I recall being lured into Amsterdam’s hallucinatory rhythms, its intoxicating freedom coursing through my veins. The Red Light District beckoned. 

During my initial visit to a high-end brothel, I was amazed to discover that for the price of 100 euros, an assortment of flawlessly beautiful European women of every ethnicity, body type, and fetish was available. I pointed at the lineup almost randomly and one of them — a tall, thin and leggy blonde of presumably Scandinavian descent — took my hand and led me into a private booth. Once inside, she asked me to remove my clothes, applied a condom to my cock, sucked it with the condom on, and let me fuck her in the missionary position (having her on top would have cost extra). It was pleasurable but quick. I remember leaving the booth and worrying that my friends (who were in other booths) and I might get split up, but curiously we all exited our private booths at the exact same time. These women were indeed professionals.

I encountered my second prostitute in a solitary booth in Dewallen a few days later. Outside stood a single, seemingly Samoan, pimp; his fearsome image suggested a more dangerous and exciting experience than what had transpired one night earlier. High on a large dose of ecstasy, alcohol and weed, mentally deadened, all lust and id, I gave the pimp 60 euros and entered the booth. 

The lady was of ambiguous ethnicity — likely Asian and also something else — in her late ‘20s and gorgeous with brown hair, deep smooth skin, massive tits, and a minuscule waist. She got right down to business — I recall being struck by the business-like neutrality of the meeting — putting a condom over my prick and sucking it with Fordist efficiency and artisan skill. It all happened so quickly and nonchalantly that I remember struggling to acclimate to the charged environment. But for all the chaotic desire that enveloped me, the combination of the drugs and my anxiety prevented me from achieving erection. As my anxiety increased my cock diminished further. It bent inside of her as I, awkwardly emasculated and humiliated, profusely apologized.

Nonetheless, in my mortification, she was tender. She said that MDMA is not actually good for sex, that it “traps sex inside of you.” Comforted by her words, I longed to correct the experience. The next night, in a more sober condition, I returned to her again, intent on satisfying her both to prove my masculinity to myself and to thank her for her kindness. She was erotic, loving, and comforting. She looked in my eyes, put her hand on my face, placed my hands on her tits and pinched my finger tips around her nipples, and rode me while purring in my ears, assuring me how beautiful I felt inside of her.

Recalling that moment, I understand the attachment to prostitutes that Juche details in novels of his like Mountainhead and Stupid Baby. That room in Dewallen, with its dimly lit neon glow and smell of cheap perfume, cleaning products, and semen, was her domain, forlorn, and haunted by phantoms of anguish and trauma. In that uncanny space, I felt alive, if dismayed and uncomfortable that I could only taste a fraction of the state of being that the prostitute is inherently subsumed within. I would never be more than a tourist here, nor do I think I could adjust to making such a state of existence one of permanence. 

Prostitution is a state of being — or rather, an unadulterated form of a particular state of being — that Juche both covets and mourns in his inability to fully attain. It will never be his, but through prostitutes and the “cruelty”, both metaphysical and dispositional, which he inflicts upon them, he feels closer to it. The prostitute, for Juche, is a spiritual figure that anchors his literary universe as the embodiment of an abject truth. Genet, probably his biggest influence, found beauty in the “saintliness” that he saw in a homosexual criminal underworld. Juche finds this same saintliness in the bodies, beings, and lifestyles of the whores of the third world. “Prostitutes are the easiest and most accessible source of abjection,” he writes.

Juche’s hunger for these sexual limit experiences is both disturbing and honest. He’s indifferent, or so he insists, to being an “artist.” What matters to him is his quest for places, people and states that evoke corporeal sensations of dreadful unease. “I’ve always loved and reveled in prostitution,” he told an interviewer. “This is my whole subject. Sex is linked inextricably with place, as prostitution is with poverty. I love poverty.” Prostitution is Juche’s master metaphor for a specific kind of cosmic abjection — its purest state — and the specter that haunts all of his writing – even when it doesn’t manifest directly as his content. To clarify, Juche does not make prostitution the only narrative material within his work. No, the writer’s subjects are indeed vast: architecture, loneliness, home sickness, art history, music, memory, and countless other images and ideas course through his texts. But due to the strength of Mountainhead and the way that novel centers prostitutions as a means with which Juche mimetically confronts a litany of philosophical and aesthetic observations and concepts, prostitution functions as Juche’s kind of literary ground zero. It’s not just a theme in his work, but becomes a metaphoric image so evocative that it bleeds into and shapes much of Juche’s writing. Juche’s conception of prostitution isn’t just a theme, but an aesthetic and a guiding principle that I can’t seem to ever push from my mind while reading his writing. Juche lost his virginity to a prostitute, he claims, and that loss of innocence and taste of abjection launched him on his path towards the occulted, the hidden, the scorned, and the rotten and decayed.

Mountainhead and Evil”

Mountainhead, which was published by Nine-Banded Books in 2017, is Juche’s memoirs or travelogues about the events leading up to and during the period he spent living in the rural north of Thailand. Throughout the text, Juche strives to go deeper and deeper into a hidden dimension of filth. It is “the breathtaking glory of decay” that arouses and completes him. His descriptions of his surroundings evoke putridity in the discarded nature and becomes as much a point of erotic fixation as the sexual acts he commits in the area.

He searches for prostitutes that are often old and, given common sexual norms, unappealing and, maybe even to some, disgusting. Sex with prostitutes or solitary acts of masturbation embed Juche both in the physical and hidden landscape. At one point in the text, he describes jerking off on a mountain and scooping his cum up and swallowing it with the dirt it had mixed with. “Sex, like religion, and drinking and smoking, is tied profoundly to ideas about place,” he writes. The putrid landscapes that he traverses are described in the same vulgar language that the sexual experiences he luridly describes are, emphasizing the feeling of being lost in a strange land. The writer imbues death with lust and sexual id rendering a most peculiarly literary Thanatos. The prostitution, the masturbation, the brazen and unapologetic sexual id of it all activates Juche’s near surreal embedment into these territories. This is all frightfully difficult to describe critically, but quite simply I’ve never experienced place in the rich, sexualized and transcendent manner that Juche renders his settings. 

Juche makes no (literary, at least) effort to sympathize with his prostitutes’ poverty. Contrary to current political orthodoxy, his gaze is naked fetishistic lust, combined with a bizarre envy, of sorts. Only that which is revolting to most seems to trigger his own lust. For him to think about his prostitutes’ humanity and sympathize with the condition of their lives would be counterproductive, and even sacrilegious given the distorted hero’s journey he’s embarked on. This isn’t a sociological text, it is a mind-bending self examination of all the contradictory feelings, thoughts and impulses that shape the writer’s subjectivity. While so many writers pick and choose the aspects of the self that they wish to share, Juche is nothing short of courageous in his commitment to letting us see how he sees, psychic scars and all, which invokes both sympathy AND disgust. In both Juche and, due to the fact that basically all humans have singular fetishes and disconcerting, atypical desires — ourselves. 

What Juche seeks is a singular freedom (a freedom in death, or a freedom in the Lacanian “little death”, perhaps?), achieved by means of a “cruelty” that he inflicts upon his surroundings to make the lands he explores feel like his. No, I don’t mean the author literally goes around Southeast Asia and physically hurts the women that he cavorts with. I’m referring instead to a symbolic “cruelty” in the text. There’s no attempts by Juche to morally or intellectually justify what happens in these pages. Mountainhead evokes the pure expulsion of energy of Munch’s The Scream or Darkthrone’s Transylvanian Hunger. But while those Nordic artists trade in the exorcism of anguish, rage and hate, Juche’s Mountainhead is instead an explosive purgation of lust, captured and rendered as a contained literary space. Few writers can conjure a reader’s physical response, but reading Juche often leaves me shivering in goosebumps. It’s thrilling.

In his 1930 article “The Ethnographer’s Eye”, Surrealist ethnographer Michel Leiris, discussing the famous Dakar-Djibouti mission in which he participated, concludes that seeing is the essential mode for relating to an environment. In Mountainhead, Juche amends Leiris’s findings: the essential mode is fucking. The sense of location in Juche’s writing is no less visceral and clear than in Leiris’s. There is a hallucinatory ethnography to Juche’s work – sexual abandon and violence are Juche’s methods of immersion. Beyond that he has no interest in entertaining boring academic masturbatory critiques on colonialism or imperialism per se. He is interested in masturbating, period. Juche’s writing often sounds like he’s giving his dormant, non-lingual id the microphone just so we can see what it might say. He is unapologetic and unflinching in the exploits that he conveys to his readers  “I just want the proof that my visionary participation in human geography justifies the memories I labour under today,” he writes in Mountainhead. “I want the proof that I was capable of cruelties I no longer celebrate so simplistically and recklessly.”

What Juche wants is difficult to convey with language, but manifests as an inescapable atmosphere. There is something in his writing that is heightened, a mystic element that lulls you into a muted and angst-ridden hypnosis. It is best to read his books late at night in that insomniac, confused, and horny state in which it feels like you keep forgetting what you read, like the words are washing over you in a way that transcends the act of reading itself. Also a photographer, Juche uses images similarly to how William Burroughs did – the photographs bind him to his environment. But in Mountainhead, we only see the sparsest of utterly ambiguous photographs of the Thai landscapes that he often describes in detail, as if the literalism of the image would dilute the surrealist implications of his writing. His work functions as memoir, art criticism, and travelogues, but a fictional quality lurks in this unseen essence as a central element in all of his writings. 

The heightened atmosphere of Juche’s work is defined through disquieting flourishes of surreal and supernatural occurrences that blend seamlessly into the reportage aspect of his work. At one point in Mountainhead, Juche comes across a supernatural entity in the woods: “The witch seemed to glisten horribly in the sunlight, giving it a commanding and ghostly clarity.” No effort is made to explain this event nor distinguish it from the more plausible occurrences. It is Juche’s subjectivity that washes over us, guides us, and demands our fealty. Is this real? If you start asking these questions, then you’ve already failed to give yourself over to the text completely enough to fully experience the extent of Juche’s abject dream space.

In a chapter in which he saves a young girl from drowning, he goes on to fantasize about the different scenarios that might play out in her later life. In one timeline he saves her and the family is thankful to and remains close to him. In another he attempts to save the girl but fails. She dies, he is blamed, and he ends up a pariah in prison for murder and pederasty. In the last scenario, the girl finally grows up and becomes a prostitute and reconnects with him as her client.

Juche’s reflections on the event are triggered by the shower heads he uses to wash the girl’s vomit off; the writer claims to see the “fascist beauty of Rome” in these objects. It should be stated that it is the last scenario, in which the young girl, “Blossoms like a rosebud on the temperate mountain, into a street walker, an abject whore,” that imbues Juche with the inspiration to recount the tale of Noi, his favorite prostitute whom his feelings for amount to a kind of love. For in Juche’s writing, prostitution is a state of nobility. It is a deified degradation, and as such the prostitute lives with a proximity to the decay of the earth that personally eludes him. This proximity of the prostitute is Juche’s passion and his envy.

Violence, Childhood and The Devils

After Mountainhead, prostitution rarely comes up so directly in Juche’s books, but the spiritual state of the prostitute that Juche desires — abjection at its purest — lingers conceptually in his writing as an aesthetic that perpetually shapes my perceptions of his work. In The Devils, a novel from 2019, Juche follows Truman Capote, Gary Indiana, and Mikita Brottman in using a grisly crime that took place in Juche’s hometown of Midlothian in Scotland to create a mandala of psychological, sociological and biographical implications. It is not merely the crime that defines this true crime novel, but instead the crime activates Juche’s incongruous memories of his place of upbringing. The book becomes indispensable in Juche’s bibliography as it offers encrypted insight into the places and events that shaped his creative and aesthetic sensibilities — the “cruelty” that perpetually looms over his texts — that he imbues into his art. 

The first chapter of The Devils, written in the style of strict reportage without editorial slant or literary flourish (it almost reads like a case file), documents the case of a teenage boy, Luke Mitchell, arrested for murdering his teenage girlfriend, Jodi Jones. The crime’s details are heinous and nauseating. But as the text mutates into more somnolent, self-reflective prose, Juche begins to cast doubt on Luke’s guilt. For example, we learn that Luke never confessed to the crime, passed a polygraph stating that he was not the killer, and maintains his innocence to this day.

From here, Juche delves deeper into his hometown community’s pettiness and thirst for violence and from this we can start to piece together the psyche of the artist and see how those cultural tendencies shaped Juche’s personage. The Devils is a true crime story, and also a ghost story (of sorts) – but one which documents how the ghosts that haunt a land can seep into a person’s psyche and possess their being. These specters — these fragmented memories — are carried with us throughout our lives, distorting the ways in which we experience and perceive the world. Contorting our personas and mangling our psychologies in ways that we can’t even understand (after all, who can really give language to or understand the ways that we think and behave?). The Devils forces us, the faithful readers and admirers of New Juche, to contemplate how this small town young Scottish man would evolve into the jouissance-driven literary explorer of the third world, of prostitution, and of “cruelty”. What was it about Midlothian that would eventually seep into Juche’s obsessions? What in Juche’s Medieval-dating home city would influence him to extrapolate so much mimetic psychological, sexual, aesthetic, and fetishistic insight from the architecture he inhabits, the nature he traverses, and the prostitutes that he fucks? As stated above, place takes on transcendental meaning in Juche’s writing. As he merges with these places, they in turn seep into him. Midlothian, as chronicled in The Devils, isn’t just the place where Juche grew up then, but a pivotal aspect of his psyche. Midlothian, like Southeast Asia, is a guiding parasite that he takes with him throughout all his experiences.

In The Devils, the entire Midlothian community succumbs to possession in the wake of Jodi’s violent death; spectral demonic entities take control of its inhabitants. The rumors that swirl around the convicted killer — that he and his brother were both fucking Jodi, that the murder was out of Luke’s jealousy over his brother’s superior sexual prowess, that Luke was involved in an incestuous sexual relationship with his mother, allegation of Luke’s bizarre masturbation habits — speak to the Midlothian community’s erotic fascinations (as well as its narrow minded biases) in a way that clarifies Juche’s own dispositions towards prostitution and sexual violence. Midlothian — its landscape, its history, and Juche’s own memories of it — is revealed as the psychosexual landscape of Juche’s self.

“The icehouse, fertilized by death, became a secret chapel of teenage sex,” writes Juche about a location of personal meaning near to where Jodi’s body was found. “An open challenge was established to fuck a girl in or near the passageway, as close to the pit as possible.” Juche’s connection to these spaces is spectrophiliac. He describes his memories of jerking off in the local church, and fucking in dank alleyways. He recalls a humiliating event that he himself endured near the proverbial crime scene, in particular escaping from a violent skinhead only to be coerced into testifying against him in an open court and then living in terror at reprisal from his family (not to mention guilt over betraying his working class values of loyalty and honor). In painstaking detail, Juche documents a savage beating inflicted upon him at eight years old:

“He punched me in the stomach and I fell to the ground winded and struggling for breath, not equipped to cope with the virgin eruptions of fear and outrage mingling with the pain. The innate sense of peace and security in my heart destroyed forever.”

Juche says that the event caused him to puke on his front door. Was it this eroticized nausea that he has come to perpetually seek in his life as an adult and as a writer? Pain, sickness, and orgasm: in Juche’s writing, corporeal unease opens a portal to transcendence. Kristeva says that abjection is the space where meaning collapses – in Juche’s novels, meaning collapses continuously and all around. One association bleeds into the next, a thought becomes a desire becomes an act, and Juche’s mind perpetually reverberates. Something painful (a savage beating) becomes something uncannily relieving if not pleasurable (vomiting). This collapsing of walls between desire and pain, sex and death, is that which is constantly explored in Juche’s writing (and therefore, implicitly, his life). This place, Midlothian, is what allowed the writer New Juche to emerge fully formed. The Devils then is an encrypted origin story, and one which broadens the ways that I understand and read Juche’s other works.

Juche’s books all use a different specific terrain — the putrescent landscapes of North Thailand in Mountainhead, a crime that transpired in his homeland in The Devils, and hell, in Bosun, Juche dissects the architecture of the city of Rangoon and unlocks the repressed memories of his institutionalized life — to conjure a specific state of being, an abasing bliss perhaps, that always remains just out of reach to him. The closest he seems to get to achieving this state is in a scene in Mountainhead when he jacks off during a rainstorm on the mountain, writhing in mud. But perhaps this kind of limited experience is unachievable in modernity? Perhaps no amount of debasement or sexual abandon can melt these layers of social conditioning? Juche’s inability to find complete fulfillment in the experiences that he describes to us is what gives his work tension and makes his quest fascinating. His writing is an eternal state of becoming.

Schopenhauer wrote that the aesthetic experience of the sublime was the only experience that offered reprieve from the suffering of enslavement to the will. Juche instead indulges in enslavement to his drives to experience a taste of his own peculiar sublime. 

Outside Discourse, The Worm, and Conclusions

Juche’s unvarnished commitment to his own sensibility and his embrace of the sordid paradoxically lends his work the quality of a sanctuary from the mandates of the contemporary culture industry, allowing him to explore political themes now essentially forbidden from official mainstream discourse. In The Worm, released earlier this year by Infinity Land Press, Juche takes advantage of this freedom to confront one of the most controversial images of all: the hypnotic face of Adolph Hitler. 

Employing a mixture of architectural insight, art criticism, rumination on the schizo-analysis of photography, and personal anecdote, Juche also uses his photographic practice in the text more prominently and potently than in his previous novels, The Worm’s center is occupied by a photography project in which Juche displayed grids of Hitler portraits along the walls of an abandoned housing complex called The Flowers that is near his home in Southeast Asia, which he then re-photographed from a variety of perspectives. “These are not images, but sketches or accounts of me looking at images,” says Juche. “Half a world away from Europe, I look back, in every sense of the word, at the continent’s face.” If Hitler is simultaneously the face of Europe, yet also the most hated, feared and repressed face in Europe, then Europe itself represses its true face. Its true nature. And perhaps this repression itself is the face of Europe: greyed flesh and muted, ill-defined features that barely conceal its deep guilt. Having traveled across strange and alienating lands, engaging in a wealth of experiences both sordid and beautiful, Juche feels that he’s cultivated enough distance from Europe to finally look back upon it with clear-headed insight, sharp critique, and even a touch of well-deserved homesickness. 

Many quotes cited throughout the book intimate this great repression of Europe. German filmmaker Hans Jurgen Syberberg who directed Hitler: A Film From Germany Canadian, architectural historian Stratigakos, Genet, Hitler himself, and others are amongst those oft-quoted, while countless other quotes remain unattributed. The central question is the extent to which art was fundamental to shaping Hitler’s vision of the Third Reich. But what kind of art? Juche uses Nazi-era German architect Albert Speer’s Schwerbelastungskörper — a hefty concrete cylindrical arc erected in Berlin in 1941 and 1942 to reflect the aesthetic spirit of Nazi Germany as envisioned by Hitler — as an image of art that is in direct contrast to Juche’s own conception of art. While Schwerbelastungskörper is rigid, dominating, and fixed in its concept and ideology, The Worm itself is presented as a “gesamtkunstwerk” of ever flowing, shifting, and evolving ideas and forms. Juche is not a banal “edgelord” delighting in the evocation of Nazism as a one-dimensional provocation to his audience. Instead, the challenging nature of The Worm’s themes encrypts Juche’s most painstaking and fully formed aesthetic theory.

Juche approaches this subject through a web of observations on aesthetics and memories of his own personal experiences past. He talks about the singer Antony (now known as Anohni) whose genius he says was “in turning his own honest pain into a cabaret performance.” The line of thought leads to a memory of a security guard that Juche became enamored with and photographed. The clothed portrait session becomes a nude one, when the security guard, unprompted, removes his clothes for Juche. With this transaction Juche realizes painfully that the human face is a mask that he can’t remove with his limited photographic techniques. 

“A stoic perfection of an image,” he says. “A mask.” The Worm is the failed attempt to remove this mask: Hitler’s, Europe’s…  Is this also what Juche desires from his prostitutes? Purity, or naked truth: the most occluded thing of all.

The Worm closes with a mind-bending “conversation” and debate between Hitler and Juche himself in which Hitler waxes lyrical on the vital role that art and aesthetics inhabit within his political theory. He laments the destruction of the Berghof, his residence and the last aesthetic testament to Nazism, which now stands in ruins. He praises Mussolini as a political genius but derides his dilettantish comprehension of the arts. He lauds the compositional brilliance of Wagner in whose music he hears “the rhythms of the primeval world.” He rejects the Enlightenment and stresses the need to build nationalism on ideals related to blood, iron, intuition, chauvinism, anti-Semitism and the rejection of modernism and outlines an aesthetic theory, of sorts. “Fascism prefers action to conversation, and aesthetics to reason,” says Hitler, as inhabited by Juche. “It celebrates a cult of beauty and harmony, courage, an ecstatic sense of community and a hateful and vicious repudiation of the intellect, of scholars and sober experts. It will not abide any form of disharmony.”

Eventually. Juche pushes back on Hitler’s claims. Hitler’s ideals, he says, are narrow: “Does this hatred of anything new not suffocate culture in reality?” Hitler doubles down. He insists on the creation of an aesthetic that externalizes a nation’s will. “It will use its primary totem of the leader, whose face, personality, values and achievements will form an archetype and eternal base note in the oppressively sedative and extravagantly drone of national harmony.”

But then, jarringly, Hitler recounts a concert he witnessed performed by skinhead punks, “many openly racist.” All of the bands are oppressively similar, until the stage is taken by a troupe of Moroccan classical musicians who, dressed in traditional robes and fez, evoke the image of the Master Musicians of Joujouka. “What is this madness?” Hitler asks. The leader, who resembles an Arab Frank Zappa, takes up a bassoon and leads the group in what Hitler describes as an expression of “the full range of his inner ghost” and “a savage and haunting dream of the driest landscapes.” The transcendent ebullience produced by the music moves Hitler to tears, forcing him to reconsider his hardline stances. He surrenders entirely to the disharmony of a group of Moroccan musicians upstaging the skinheads. “I looked upon the prophet’s face and saw tears of joy there,” says Hitler. “I wept myself when I saw this, I wanted to kiss him passionately in celebration of his humanity and in compensation for his fear.”

Is this “sympathy for the devil” or is Juche emphasizing an almost universalist belief in the power of art to expel hate, perversion, repression, and fear? From this passage we can conclude that Juche’s philosophy — even at its most disquieting and terrifying — is never absent a touch of the artist’s humanity. From this perspective, Juche’s search for abjection is also a call for readers to once again experience the world beyond dehumanizing systems; beyond language even. By showing us what is hidden, dismissed, and even hated — in himself and in the worlds he is submerged in — he shows that the heart of literature is a space which exists unchained to the social codes and politics of the world around it. Hitler’s aesthetic system is wrong because it is rigid. As Juche makes clear in The Worm, Nazism can’t function without a brittle stage of rigidity best embodied in Nazi structures like Speer’s Schwerbelastungskörper. It collapses entirely beneath the weight of ideas foreign to it. Juche, however, remains open. He indulges the limitless expansiveness of his own mind and allows for each thought to take form and bleed into a desire. He embraces a beauty in the foreign, the strange, and the sickening and abject. He sees it in prostitution. He feels it in the “cruelty” that he feels compelled by, or rather, in his refusal to ask us to either empathize or lament with his actions. He only asks that we reject rigidity and embrace the contradictory nature of the world — its sublime and its grotesqueries — to fully experience life beyond politics, ideology, and systems.

— Adam Lehrer is a writer, critic, artist, the editor of Safety Propaganda, and the co-host of the Systems of Systems podcast. Lehrer writes about contemporary art, horror fiction, experimental music, cult cinema, political theory, psychological warfare and ideology. His book of experimental fictions Communions is available now from Hyperidean Press.  He’s been published by American Greatness, Caesura, Gruppe, Numéro Berlin, Autre Magazine, The Quietus, and more.