Emily Segal’s First Novel Is Out of Fatigue – Friday

One day, hoop forecaster Emily Segal lost the ability to read fashion icons. All this is meaningless – a problem for a person whose task is to decipher cultural signs, anticipate their meaning and weave narratives of the future.

the hero of the story Mercury retrograde It has the same name as its author, and this confusion is deliberate. Because this is a novel of subjective fiction, and the book fits this total trend in literature in which fiction and truth flow together—collective.”main character syndromeAs some have said, the selfish obsession of a generation. Segal, on the other hand, says, “This is the Bildungsroman I have

One day, hoop forecaster Emily Segal lost the ability to read fashion icons. All this is meaningless – a problem for a person whose task is to decipher cultural signs, anticipate their meaning and weave narratives of the future.

the hero of the story Mercury retrograde It has the same name as its author, and this confusion is deliberate. Because this is a novel of subjective fiction, and the book fits this total trend in literature in which fiction and truth flow together—collective.”main character syndromeAs some have said, the selfish obsession of a generation. On the other hand, Segal says, “This is one of the Bildungsroman characters that I wanted to portray a phase of my youth.” The novel, which Segal has worked on for nearly five years, looks forward to the 2000s and grew out of a writing cycle centered on an art magazine article. mail flow was standing. That was 2015. Douglas Copeland, author tenth generationwho now works as an artist and futurist, told her there was a book in the script.

A lesson with Friedrich Kettler

The plot unfolds between the election of Occupier and Donald Trump as President of the United States, between euphoria and depression. It is a historical novel from 2010 that approaches reality in a miraculous way. This could also be due to the recorded dialogues and protocols that Segal sometimes inserts like ready-made, or to the very real world of branding – brand strategy, already working with stories that have an impact on the real world. “I already knew, the 2000s was a decadent time, and I wanted to capture that,” says Segal, the author, via video calls from Los Angeles. She speaks and thinks quickly and confirms most of the hypotheses proposed to her with the phrase “exactly yes!”. Born in New York in 1988, Segal studied cultural sciences in Berlin with Friedrich Kettler, among others, and then worked for Fashion and Zeitgeist. 032 c She worked as an editor, later, in New York, and worked for the Wolf Olins Agency. This brought it very close to the centers of culture of 2010, when the so-called Web 2.0 exploded, before trends such as post-internet shaped the art world, when recent waves of gentrification swept through Berlin.

Segal was part of K-HOLE, a collective art organization masquerading as a trends research agency, or vice versa – the group’s activities are not easy to explain. I used the trend report from the brand strategy as a literary format. “I wanted to upset the balance between sacred art and dirty commerce,” Segal later explains. Usually, these reports are mandated and paid dearly because companies want an informed vision of the future. On the other hand, the New York group distributed it for free on USB devices and online. They had nicknames like FragMOREtation: A vision reportIts language, which draws on postmodern theory from the late twentieth century, is reminiscent of the protagonist of Tom McCarthy’s novel Sateen Island Think 2015. He’s a corporate anthropologist who’s supposed to write an ethnographic account of the entire present, from Claude Levi Strauss to Levi Jeans, so to speak. Role model for Segal: “Anthropologists,” she says, “are the ultimate writers—they go to foreign cultures and notice forms and rules and end up writing a story that makes sense and express themselves transforming themselves in the process.”

But, far from a sympathetic note: Seagal’s first major autobiographical twist was the K-HOLE report youth fashion. There was a double misunderstanding. First, the report was read as a prediction of the actual trend, thus the trend actually started. Normcore was chosen by the fashion press as a departure from the compulsive and fearful individualism of so-called hipster culture, which was ultimately nothing more than a small-scale proliferation of consumer choices to maximize differentiation. Herein lies the second misunderstanding, the concept should describe an open attitude towards the world rather than a trend with white shirts and comfortable sneakers. “Normcore is a path to a peaceful life,” the report says, as if it were one of the Buddha’s teachings. It is almost ironic that Segal has now written a self-taught novel and approaches the genre that sticks to the individual.

The protagonist, who shares the author’s name, goes to see Hala reader early in the novel, as Seagal contemplates leaving her current job. Roman-Emily works for an agency and is busy inserting screenshots into a Word document. In technical terms, this is called a “mood board”, that is, a collection of images for inspiration; Anthropologist David Graeber has described Emily’s work as a work of nonsense, a very lonely profession where one is tasked with the promises of creative expression. Like Herman Melville Bartleby – possible literary grandfather – you come to the office in a good mood, sit at the desk and do: nothing. “I felt like I was turning into a talking paperclip.” Anyway, I got an offer to work at startup eXe, which considers itself to be internet talisman, and that’s all the paranoia in those years I started – extra capital was easy as long as the young entrepreneurs did something with Web 2.0 and the claim was to change the world big enough. The office space that eXe is moving into is as big as its ambitions—a glass-enclosed Brooklyn apartment complex, fully air-conditioned, with plenty of space for parties.

Marketing for beginners

The novel presents the visit to the aura reader as a command record, including metadata: length in minutes, person who copied it, order number, all playful pastiche. According to the author, she wanted to include different types of language in the book: a multifaceted picture, yes, of the present. The text is full of old-fashioned avant-garde actions, but Segal’s novel is never massive, and instead develops a narrative attraction style, with its short chapters that look like essays or tedtalks: “Brand Strategy for Beginners” or “Welcome to Illness of the Future.” text form”long read”-You know him from the internet. But the fragments do not reach a simple synthesis, and this makes the novel for the time being the most complete picture of those years.

Emily Segal’s aura is purple, like the book cover. “They come from another planet,” says Riva, the aura reader. “Magenta has a faster wavelength. This can often lead to the feeling that you have to pretend to be more stupid to be understood here.” New-age ideas – crystals, auras, constellations – are in vogue again, but are not hidden in the last few pages of magazines Colorful, but as an ironic new discovery of the digital world, in podcasts, apps and social media, as if the intense present could no longer be understood in any other way. Segal says that if you look at history, people turn to mysticism when there are major cultural shifts that break with previous models of understanding. She is a firm believer in what science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said: “No sufficiently advanced technology can be distinguished from magic,” and we are now witnessing the synthesis of myths and technology as if there were a path to mindfulness and reasoning.

A major novel nowadays?

Segal’s art collective K-HOLE was working on a project about Mercury retrograde. She regards this heavenly phenomenon as the sum total of the zeitgeist, she writes, as a picture of the flaws, the small upheavals in the information economy. Because the messenger of the gods Mercury is responsible for trade and information, and if the planet named after him behaves unexpectedly in the sky, then astral believers understand it not only as a metaphor. PowerPoint presentation freezes, information is misdirected. All this can be blamed on the messenger of the gods, including loneliness, unfulfilled desires and all other defeats in life. Roman Emily writes: “The semantic map is stretched and extended in all directions.” “She tries to manipulate these forces and wants to create art, but it doesn’t work,” says the writer.

One review described Segal’s novel as a subjective theory of the past decade in the art world. If this were the case, it would have been taken into account by a thesis that has become cumbersome, namely, that subjective literature simply delivers the Roman character of the present. It is all too easy to lose sight of the fact that these actions are often the byproduct of completely different practices. Chris Krause’s Apostolic Novel i love dick For example, which is formally like Segal’s script – interest in collage – but also in content – an unfulfilled desire, a novel about female artists – was created more casually, while Krause didn’t really succeed as a video artist: a novel made from leftovers .

The situation is similar to Segal’s book, which still made artistic capital out of failure. When Emily Segal lost the ability to read fashion codes, eye twitching simply led to a breakdown in the semantic motor. Ultimately burnout follows.

One could object that a group like K-HOLE simply reproduces commercial and novel visuals like Mercury retrograde Much depends on the formats of the advertising world, with no room for criticism. Yet one forgets that in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, artwork has gradually become the equivalent of precarious work. Segal later said that this business was liberating because one could write and design without writing a single name under it. But Segal also says, “I think people burn out in ads because work is horrible. If you’re emotional and neurotic, like a lot of artists are, the modern day of work isn’t for you.” Art and work are on a continuum, but if I’m being honest, there’s no Anything liberal about it. Herein lies a tragedy Mercury retrograde.

Segal has since founded a publishing company that has published the English version of the novel, as well as a volume of poetry. A collection of articles on sex work from a “post-opera” perspective (google it!) is in the works, as is Segal’s second novel. She compares the work of a printed book to a Japanese tea ceremony. A slow, long-term project.

Mercury retrograde Emily Segal Cornelia Rosser (translation), Matisse and Seitz, 221 p., €22

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