International Necronautical Society INS Inspectorate News Bulletin
back to bulletin
view images


Official Document
Title: The New York Declaration: Joint Statement on Inauthenticity
Type: Press briefing
Authorised: Chief of Propaganda, First Committee, INS
Authorisation Code: AA041207

New York, 25 September 2007
The Joint Statement presented by INS Chief Philosopher Simon Critchley and INS founder and General Secretary Tom McCarthy advanced inauthenticity as the central tenet of INS doctrine, with a compelling critique of the notion of authenticity in art, literature, philosophy and politics.

The aim of this briefing is to summarise the main points of the declaration in anticipation of the release of the official transcript. Readers are advised that unauthorised recordings and transcripts now circulating in the Internet cannot be authenticated and may be unreliable.

Some 200 members of the press and public who gathered at the Drawing Center in New York’s SoHo district to hear the Statement were greeted by INS security staff and by INS Chief of Propaganda, Anthony Auerbach. Members of the press received a briefing summarising key events and interventions in the history of the organisation (now available online).

Without much preamble, the INS General Secretary and Chief Philosopher, seated at a table on a low podium, proceeded alternately to read a series of numbered theses on inauthenticity.

They started out with the failure of transcendence and the copies of this failure which are recorded in the history of art, philosophy and literature.

They identified, on the one hand, the slippery slope on which one slides upwards towards “essence” and “ideal”, a well-worn path for the tourists of the sublime looking for a glimpse of themselves “shattering themselves against death” as Heidegger (14) would fancy, or taking a swan-dive into the volcano like Empedocles (19).

On the other hand, the statement identified a more resistant slope which Bataille called “l’informe” — the formless which opposes the Platonic world of forms, a universe that “‘resembles nothing’ and ‘gets itself squashed everywhere, like a spider or earthworm’” (10).

All art and literature is divided between these two temptations: either to extinguish matter and elevate it into form or to let matter matter by making form as formless as possible. The INS delivers itself solidly to the second temptation: to let matter matter, to let form touch absence, ellipsis and debris (8).

The INS Chief Philosopher and General Secretary explained that what matters for the INS are “not the imperial dreams in the head of the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton but rather his blackened, frostbitten toes which, after the white space into which he’d ventured and on which he hoped to write his name solidified and crushed his boat, he and his crew were forced to chop from their own feet, cook on their stove and eat. Necronauts are poets of the antipodes of poetry, artists of art’s polar opposite, its Antartica” (9).

The Statement declared the death of tragedy in which the lonely hero, in death, is rewarded with authentic being. Instead they called for the comic, the divided and the repetitive: instead of Oedipus, Wile E. Coyote who, like a true necronaut, “dies almost without noticing” (19), again and again, repeatedly.

The Statment navigated a course from the individual, to the dividual (11), thence to the residual, “a remainder that remains: a shard, a leftover, a trace” (33), and further to the risidual, a laughable doubling. “What distinguishes the poet or philosopher from others,” the Statement said, “is that he can laugh at himself. That is, he can simultaneously be the one who trips and the one who watches the trip: he can split himself in two — what Baudelaire calls dédoublement” (17).

All cults of authenticity, it was declared, whether they celebrate it in the guise of transcendence, unity or totality, for aesthetic, religious or political ends, “should be abandoned” (12).

The aim of the declaration was not contemplation. It was to stuff inauthenticity into our mouths like Molly Bloom’s seed cake, and thus with a silent “yes” (38) to reaffirm the tenets of necronautical materialism, to repeat: you are always already a necronaut.

Issued by INS Department of Propaganda. Official INS propaganda may be freely distributed, distorted, appropriated or adapted as the reader sees fit.