Articles by: Justin Clemens

Author Biography:

Justin Clemens teaches at the University of Melbourne.
His most recent book is Limericks, Philosophical and Literary
(Surpllus, 2019).

Après moi, le déluge: Artists after Art

The ‘artist’ is no longer simply an individual maker, an avant-garde visionary, a person exploring the specifics and limits of a medium, or indeed any of the other familiar figures of aesthetic modernity. Instead, the ‘artist’ is marked out by their success at doing exactly what late capitalism demands; that is, everything, and in a flagrantly vacuous way.

Informit: Apres moi, le deluge: Artists after art

In 2017 Damien Hirst, the notorious Young British Artist (YBA) - who has been 'Young' for such a long time now that he probably needs to be considered 'forever young' - launched his latest extravaganza at the peak global art-industry show, best known to 'hoi polloi' as the Venice Biennale. The show, entitled 'Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable', took a preposterous fictional scenario as its premise: a decade prior to the Venice show,…

Informit: What is education?

At the very moment we were writing the present essay, 'Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australia', dated March 2018, was released, on 30 April 2018. Gonski 2.0 is named after its eponymous patron, lawyer, banker, businessman, philanthropist and Point Piper resident David Gonski AC, whose previous report, commissioned by ex-prime minister Julia Gillard in 2010, had, with the simultaneous mix of banality and controversy that invariably saturates…

Informit: Worse I may be yet: Projecting politics

A few years ago I was speaking with the philosopher Oliver Feltham about the question of truth in politics. 'You always know when truth is involved in a political organization', Oliver remarked to me, 'because that organization will be in constant danger of violent splitting over a principle or idea. Take the history of the Left, or of the psychoanalytic movement. All they do is split, often in the most vituperative and vicious fashion. In…

Microserfs, by Justin Clemens

November 2012 was yet another decisive month for digital revelations. The new CIA Director David Petraeus, a self-professed ‘scholar-monk’ and Obama’s Iraq hero, was caught out in an adultery scandal […]

Informit: Loving the unlovable

Simone Weil today. If there was one thing Simone Weil couldn't bear, it was Simone Weil. So she did every - thing she could not to be - to not be. In the brief course of her existence - Weil was dead by the age of thirty-four - she submitted to at least three different means to this paradoxical end, each roughly corresponding to a different phase of her life.

Informit: German women do not smoke

'Hannah Arendt' the biopic, and Hannah Arendt's legacy In his controversial 2003 polemic 'Les penchants criminels de l'Europe democratique' (The Criminal Inclinations of Democratic Europe) - still scandalously untranslated into English - French linguist Jean-Claude Milner examines the implications of a very particular nominal decision. When modern Europeans discussed 'the Jews', Milner reminds us, they would enter the debate according to one of two modalities, proposing to confront either 'the Jewish question' or 'the Jewish…

Informit: Mining hell

John Milton, 'Paradise Lost' and miningIn his incomplete - and probably incompletable - 'Pandaemonium: The Coming of the Machine As Seen by Contemporary Observers, 1660-1886', a book which takes its title and orientation from John Milton's own neologism for the City of Hell, the English documentary filmmaker Humphrey Jennings asserts that 'Pandaemonium is the Palace of All the Devils. Its building began c. 1660. It will never be finished - it has to be transformed…

Informit: Microserfs

From the ancients to us: slavery, torture and digital cultureNovember 2012 was yet another decisive month for digital revelations. The new CIA Director David Petraeus, a self-professed 'scholar-monk' and Obama's Iraq hero, was caught out in an adultery scandal with - surprise! - his 'embedded' biographer Paula Broadwell. Alex Hern was right onto it in The New Statesman with the raunchy header 'Two Generals, Agent Shirtless and 30,000 Pages of Sexts: The Scandal that Keeps…

Informit: In the hard hills [Book Review]

Review(s) of: Naked clay: Drawing from Lucian Freud, by Barry Hill, (Shearsman Books, Bristol, 2012).

Informit: Radical potentials in a networked world?

I would like to begin by thanking Boris Frankel for his extended reply to my article 'Killer Drones, Dieback and Democracy', and hence the opportunity to clarify several points he contests. This extends a Markov chain of chattering white middle-aged middle-class metropolitan males still further: Bolt, Manne, Assange, Frankel, myself ... That said, my focus on the near-identical rhetoric of free speech shared by the first three of these personages was intended to distinguish them…

Informit: Killer drones, dieback and democracy

On Wednesday 29 September 2011, one day after he had been found guilty by Justice Mordecai Bromberg of breaching the Racial Discrimination Act, the notorious Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt hit back at his accusers with the front-page headline: THIS IS A SAD DAY FOR FREE SPEECH. The accompanying (and interminable) article bemoaned Bolt's alleged martyrdom on the altar of political correctness. In speaking 'frankly' of his own struggles with his personal identity - was…