Whatever Happened to the Judo Throw? Fluxus and the Digital Gimmick

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In martial arts, the ‘judo throw’ is a move that doesn’t block the opponent’s attack or launch a counterattack but instead uses the impetus of the opponent’s attack to its own advantage. The expression has also been used to describe the slippery way in which capital imperceptibly appropriates the social, the experiential, and the libidinal, through mediation, fragmentation, and acceleration. Yet, the neo-avant-garde appropriation of capitalist techniques of appropriation is the judo throw, too.

Fast-forwarding to the third decade of the twenty-first century, this article reflects on the pre-corporation of the neo-avant-garde, and, more specifically, Fluxus strategies of de-materialisation and ready-made-tisation, in order to re-appraise the possibility of judo throw-ing today. The trope of the gimmick – a titillating and banalising early-capitalist device that reduces labour and cheapens value – is used to analyse contemporary pre-corporations. In tracing their (spiral) lineage to Fluxus intermedia, the article further analyses the ‘barbaric’ relationship of Erhfarung (intergenerational, culturally validated experience) to Erlebnis (fleeting, subjective experience; Benjamin 1976) today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-188
Number of pages13
Issue numberSeptember 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


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