Dirty Little Secrets
by Walt Benjamin and Bert Brecht
 
 

Instead of asking, "What is the attitude of a work to the relations of production in its time? Does it accept them, is it reactionary -- or does it aim at overthrowing them, is it revolutionary?" -- instead of these questions, or at any rate before them, we should like to propose another. Rather than ask, "What is the attitude of a work to the relation of production in its times," we would like to ask, "What is its position in them?" This question directly concerns the function the work of art has within the literary relations of production of its time. It is concerned, in other words, directly with the literary techniques of works.

In bringing up technique, we have named the concept that makes literary products directly accessible to a social, and therefore a networked analysis. At the same time, the concept of technique provides the dialectical starting point from which the unfruitful antithesis of form and content can be surpassed. Whereas those of us immersed in the revolutionary changes taking place in our culture can not accept the businessman's off-the-cuff response to literary production as just so much content, we also refuse to submit to the conventional academic's tendency to specialize and consequently pigeonhole certain art forms as more worthy than others. All engaged cyborgs on the Net see these crony practices as minor attempts by individual careerists who are desperately trying to create their own value within network culture. To this, the Alt-X writers and the work they produce seem to yell a collective "Enough! Stop the farce!" And who can blame them, for clearly it is projects such as theirs that not only talk the talk, but sexily walk the walk.

For as writing gains in breadth what it loses in depth, the conventional distinction between author and public, which is upheld by the commercial presses, begins in network culture to disappear. For the reader is at all times ready to become a writer, that is, a cyborg-narrator whose sampled and manipulated bits of digital data are ready to be instantaneously teleported into cyberspace. As an expert navigator, the cyborg-narrator gains access to what we once called authorship but what now, in a world facilitated by an unstoppable technological advancement, has become a node of network-potential.

Literary art, then, is no longer founded on specialized knowledge but, rather, on polytechnic performance, and is now public property.

The publication of Dirty Desires in a rapidly evolving networked environment, occurs at a time when the composition of literary art no longer need be an individual experience. By networking the various writings presented here, this alien node called Alt-X has launched a cluster of hyperrhetorical formations that challenge us all to transform the old publication models most of our institutions seem permanently tied to.

The Do-It-Yourself gesture of this publication signals yet another advance in cyberspace. What the Alt-X network is saying to us is that we are adults, we can think what we want, we refuse to allow a small majority of extremists to limit our freedom of expression in the vast realms of cyberspace, and, most importantly, our shared language of desire is coded in an unknown script that even the greatest of hackers can't break into. As you will soon see, this collection of polymorphously perverse stories is a celebration of the ignited human imagination reveling in its post-apocalyptic pleasure.

As our friend William Burroughs said in an interview with Allen Ginsberg, our planet has been invaded by Venutians. Their goal is planetary takeover so as to exterminate the race. We can not let this happen. They have tried this tactic before. It was a gross attempt at dissoluting the spirit. Their motto was "Kill their spirit and the rest will follow." What the writers here are saying is to the point: follow your spirit and let our collective desire inhabit the dirt.