How I discovered America

It is a banality to state that the discovery of America is an ideological chimera. America was not discovered, it was always both here and there. And here I must make a distinction between the Americas (a geographical location), and America (a concept, not a place). Although America cannot be separated from the horrors of slavery, and while America should not be imagined without the triangulations of the Black Atlantic, as a state of mind America necessarily exists here, there and everywhere (America is always and already manifesting itself as "Amerikkka"). America is many different places, but the America that particularly interested me as an adolescent was simultaneously the America exposed in films such as Super Fly and Cleopatra Jones (that is to say the America of Willie Mitchell and James Brown) – and America as the modernist utopia of an avant-garde reacting against the horrors of Nazism (that is to say, in theory the America of Andy Warhol and William Burroughs, but in practice the America of McDonalds and Disneyland). America is always both within and without you. America is a poem by Allen Ginsberg. America is the counterculture, and the counterculture (particularly the American counterculture, and Americanism when used as a synonym for globalisation and/or patriotism) is and was invariably deformed by libertarianism. All of anarchism is to be found in the idea that it is possible to live differently in this world. The America I discovered was only a train ride away from London, it is also Summerland (the sleep of reason, a kind of living death).

For me photography is most alluring when both the person behind the lens and what is being photographed self-consciously manifest their subjectivity. Travelling across "Britain" to discover "America" is only one of the many ways in which such subjectivity might remake the world in both photographic and material form. This then is the difference between pastoralism and psychogeography. The psychogeographer (and photography is only of any interest to me in so far as it is a form of psychogeography) knows that the world cannot be recorded, it can only be remade. The pastoralist, on the other hand, wants to believe that everything that is fabricated pre-existed this fabrication, and that it will "endure" "forever" because it is in some way "natural" and "real". The pastoralist is incapable of properly articulating the difference between a William Morris wallpaper and a Jess Franco film, and will always prefer the reactionary idealism of arts and crafts to material science in the form of proletarian postmodernism. Truth is process, pastoralism stands for stasis and death.

I had been intending to subjectively remake myself in and through a series of photographs of "America" taken in "Britain" for some time before I fabricated the interventions inscribed here. A friend who’d just undergone a cure for heroin addiction sent me a partially used disposable camera. I exposed the rest of the film, and then became paranoid about the pictures I hadn’t taken, thinking they might be of almost anything, and were probably in some way disturbing (they certainly couldn’t "represent" my "brend"). It was months before I got the film developed, and when I did it transpired that the earlier exposures were largely blank (a classical example of "avant-garde" iconoclasm). I then bought another disposable camera and took further pictures. This time I took too many photographs because I had a whole roll of film to subvert, and rather than using everything I’d taken, I got to pick and choose – which allowed me to use half the pictures and abandon the rest (a rather nasty and "artistic" business). In a less than ideal world the photographs that follow would be reproduced twice, once in colour and once in black and white (the effects are at times strikingly different). This then is the world we must destroy – a world that does not allow me to be a polymorphous pervert in the morning, a horny handed son of toil in the afternoon, and a critical photographer at night (flash effects really aren’t my thing). "Defend" "America", shit on the stars and stripes!

Stewart Home, "Washington D.C." August 403 MKE.

The Stewart Home Society


The spatial field of a drift may be precisely delimited or vague, depending upon whether a specific terrain is under investigation or the effect soought is emotional disorientation.

Just as urbanisation destroyed the sacred groves of the ’original’ Druids, so the avant-bard will destroy any remaining ‘aura’ emanating from the fields of art and religion.

Religious and social questions are handled according to the traditions and historical experience of different cultures.

It is not enough to accept Lucifer as the only possible source of Light. In order to strike a balance between Baal and the Egyptian Sun God Ra, the camel must pass through the eye of Cleopatra’s needle.

Darkness and obscurity are banished by artificial lighting and the seasons abolished by air conditioning.

In the nineteenth-century, a Scottish property speculator named McIntosh built this part of East London as a residential development.

Four miles of street frontage in the form of terraced housing were given an alphabet of road names sharing a Scottish theme, starting with Aisla Street and ending with Zetland Street.

We, the deputies of the principal College of the Brethren of the Rose Cross are, amongst you in this town, visibly and invisibly, through the grace of the Most High to whom the hearts of all just men are turned, in order to save our fellow men from the error of death.

Cultural plurality as a form of continuous becoming, where identity is dissolved and momentarily re-emerges in an ongoing process of recombination, breaks down the sterile duality of rationalist thought.

Before winter comes, a passionate union must be established.

Isis is the wife of Osiris.

Nothing is unknown in heaven, nothing is known on earth, the kingdom is simultaneously within and without you...

My friends we are organic bodies.

The Mudchute is an artificial mound made of river silt dredged from the Millwall Docks when they were constructed in the nineteenth-century.

Everything you show me, I, unbelieving, hate.

And does it ever happen that a couple who have separated decide to live together again?

Know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

One more effort, iconoclasts, and you will destroy the reigning culture.

Wine will make a man a linguist, it will teach him Greek in two hours.

You’ll never see the hacienda. It doesn’t exist.

The changing of landscapes from one hour to the next will result in complete disorientation.

To the North East, there is an alignment with St Anne’s Limehouse, a Hawksmoor church.

You see, you hear, you smell, you touch, you walk, you think, you breathe...

A rational extension of the old religious systems, of old tales, and above all of psychoanalysis, into architectural expression becomes more and more urgent as all the reasons for becoming impassioned disappear.

This new vision of time and space, will be the theoretical basis of all future constructions.