WHAT WE BELIEVE began as a series of keywords designed to circumvent the conflict adverse atmosphere of a “post-everything” culture. As it evolved, it became 032c’s guide for doing business, a fluid set of protocols for an age of uncertainty.
WHAT WE BELIEVE is provocative of the present-tense tensions that contribute to the new. It embraces doubt not as a critical scapegoat for techno-cultural insecurity, but as a starting point towards decision-making. As Kanye West once told a group of Oxford students, it could be “completely fucking with you, and the world, the entire time.” It then moves past doubt, with a Kanye-level measure of conviction. WHAT WE BELIEVE harvests energy from the irritations and confrontations of the now, in the service of the future.
Energy is the capacity to do work, and to produce change. It may well produce change, but will never quantitatively undergo it. It is contained in every object, person, animal and system. By the laws of energy conservation, it cannot be lost or, despite the usual eco-vocabulary, wasted. Thermodynamic entropy will cool your soup or melt the ice cubes in your drink, but as a measure of disorder and chaos in media as well as physics, entropy is an overlooked function. With information entropy, noise balances that information by increasing with it, as nonsense does with sense. Messages are thus communicated transformatively, without for a second losing power. That is the process that incurs the most powerful and productive kind of change.
Sex is at once the most commercialized thing on the planet and the most resistant to commercialization. It has been made phenomenally public and yet it remains deeply private. It is an instance or state of being that is thought and talked about constantly, but not in any proper terms, because it is a physical matter, a question of impulse, not intellect. It is beautiful and it is horrifying. It is impermeable to the perversion of culture and it is the perversion of culture. So it is, officially, the most mysterious non-mystery ever – a paradox so unfathomable that the only thing to do about it is embrace our fascination. Obsess about it. Reproduce it, and sell it. Censor it. Celebrate it. Practice it as much as possible. It will never lose interest, and it will never lose power. Fighting it is to fight a losing battle. So just let sex win.
Below: Robert Mapplethorpe, “Joe Rubberman,” 1978. Courtesy of Galerie Thomas Schulte. Copyright Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. READ Wilson on Mapplethorpe.