Only by automating all boy bands could a global movement for Fully Automated Luxury Communism (FALC) be fully realised. Fans of the world’s most successful boy band One Direction “ship” (put into a speculative erotic relation’ship) band members Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson to form Larry Stylinson, their very own minor – often smutty or domestic – narratives and image-worlds, transforming the canon or extant source material for their own pleasures. In parallel, cultural theorist Mark Fisher, a pioneer of “shipping” concepts such as theory-fiction, discusses how “Putting the concepts of ‘luxury’ and ‘communism’ together does not make much sense, and it’s from this lack of sense that a new idea emerges ... you create a kind of libidinal energy.” FALC and Larry Stylinson are also “shipped” here to create Fully Automated Larry Stylinson, a fanfiction fixated on “not the pleasure of possessing exclusive goods, but rather the pleasure of luxuriating: the sensual joy of having to do less work, time to be unproductive, and the possibilities for more intense sociality, eroticism and adventure this opens up”. Fanfiction is staged here as not only an "escapist" pastime for "stalkers", "crazies" and "kooks", but as an expressive speculative practice that might have traction upon the ‘real’ world, especially the realities of the communities (fandoms) which form around such works (fanfiction) and theoretical concepts (FALC). The first part stages a critical narrative that imagines such a dissent; the second stages my own, Bataille-inspired, queer definition of Fully Automated Larry Stylinson.
#OneDirection #LarryStylinson #fullyautomatedluxurycommunism #domestic #Art #AU #HurtComfort #MeatJoy #Hannibal #Crossover #OpenSourceBoyBand
Owen G. Parry, "Larry!Hieroglyfics", 2016. Sztych na pleksiglasie (detal).
They can’t go on hiding their love for each other any longer so Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles (known by fans as Larry Stylinson) of the world’s most profitable boy band One Direction decide to quit the band and live their best life: a life where they share their wealth in common with their fans and apply it to advance the joy of humanity as a whole; but more importantly a life where they can live their true love – out and proud – openly and sincerely without irony or shame.
Locked into a 24/7 work contract with no separation between work-time and leisure-time for the rest of their lives, the only way out of this life-sentence of late capitalism and self-imposed surveillance is to replace themselves without management knowing. After secret meetings with Crypton Future Media who created the vocaloid software for the virtual idol Hatsune Miku (a touring pop singer with an extensive fan base who performs onstage as an animated manga projection of a 16-year-old girl) and the producers of "synths" (a robotic agency that creates real-life human simulations); the boys are eventually replaced by two synthetic celebrities and the band (now partially automated along with their other human members Zayn, Liam and Niall) continues touring the world playing to adoring audiences.
While heartless management seem to have not noticed the switch to partial automation as the band continues raking in the billions; a subgroup of One Direction fans known as “Larry Shippers” who have dedicated a great deal of love, time and support to Louis and Harry’s secret romance #LarryisReal, notice that something is not quite right, when the synthetic Larry fails to re-produce the subtle homoerotic subtext upon which boy bands like One Direction and political movements like Luxury Communism are predicated. It turns out that while the programmers render code for the automated band members to simulate romantic flirtations “on the down-low”, what in fact manifests is too overt, as heavy petting between the simulated celebs turns into fully automated on-stage synth-on-synth sex. The boys decide it is time to publicly declare their love for each other and come out to their fans, management and the other band members and to properly introduce the world to their automated body doubles. But by this point nobody knows who the “real” Larry Stylinson are anymore ...
In a press conference live-streamed via Twitter, the boys insist that by replacing themselves with automated replicas, they will have more time to do the things they really want to do like hangout, have sex, write fanfiction, vacuum clean their house and end world poverty; and furthermore, by automating their celebrity selves they can sack management and share their wealth equally amongst them and their fans. Larry Stylinson proclaim that the revolution will only begin when those most visibly subjugated by capitalism’s rancid regime are fully automated. They insist that highly visible celebrity boy bands are the ones to be automated, not invisible service workers.
And so, Larry Stylinson, pioneers of FALC, call on all boy bands across the globe to join them in their pursuit of a more just life, which will no longer be based on the luxury of having or owning material assets (flashy cars, apartments in Rome, New York, and Monaco), but rather on the pleasure of luxuriating. It’s not long before the other band members Liam, Zane and Niall follow suit and replace themselves with identical synthetic replicas, and soon after all the other boy bands and idols worldwide from K-Pop to J-Pop join them in this world-shifting movement.
The new automated idols create an even bigger craze as fans around the world become increasingly obsessed with the opportunity to self-direct what the “boys” do via their mobile devices. Unsurprisingly, what most fans want the boys to do is to copulate, which they do, everywhere. The new open-source software for controlling what the synthetic boy bands do has an enormous transformation on the whole pop industry as massive touring stadiums like Wembley Arena and Carnegie Hall become sites for improvised “celebrations of [robotic] flesh as material” rather than the all-too human, tightly mechanised choreographies of regular pop concerts. These “synthetic-happenings” performed by synthetic celebs at massive stadiums hark back to the erotic scenes of the 1960s New York avant-gardes, but with under floor heating and less exclusivity. The boy band synths carouse and caress amongst organic fish, chickens, sausages, wet paint, and transparent plastic, as the fans direct and respond with screams and fits of hysteric delight at the orgiastic spectacles that unfold. While successfully distributing the income from the band amongst its fans, this new open-source boy band inevitably encounters problems when one fan unlocks some code and creates a “cheat” for a One Direction/ Hannibal Crossover and before Larry can say “Oops. Hi!”, synthetic flesh eating becomes an onstage-reality causing an outbreak pandemic of pop cannibalism, which infiltrates stadiums across the globe. It turns out that the all-too-human fans’ increased power to self-author what the boys do (and with no limits!) ends up reproducing narratives of mass violence and genocide, which also increases the band’s profit margins.
But cannibalism is not their only problem: With all this new found time to “luxuriate” the boys (who have now become fans of their body doubles a la the tale of Narcissus) inevitably find themselves having to spend a lot of time working for the synth celebs by “liking”, re-tweeting, commenting and re-making everything they do in order to support the band and in turn receive the benefits of wealth the band generates. This inevitably becomes a full-time job for the “real” boy band members turned “fans” as their new found “... sensual joy of having to do less work” ends up being taken up by a new full time job as fan, fetish with handheld devices, intense social networking, selfies and updates. Basically, the fans become a collective management who like to push the boundaries of sexploitation, and the promise of luxuriating turns out to be riddled with cannibalism, individualized anxieties about consumer performance (liking stuff) and pop-up ads for gay dating apps, lube and BDSM underwear – full of products rather than being the non-centralised sexy social project they imagined. While management is made redundant, the tech industry experts who created the synths take control. The only way out is if the Larry boys commission fan-bots to “like” the automated boy bands too, freeing them and humankind of the requirement to “like” in order to be free to properly love ...
As fanbots are introduced, boy bands and their fans become fully automated, performing for each other, without any need for human interaction (which as we have learned, when humans are involved almost always leads to genocide); and so from here the world splits into two distinct paradigms: one fully synthesised and hyper capitalist (call this “the theatre”); the other committed to the pursuits of Luxury Communism (call this Fully Automated Larry Stylinson).
A flash-forward from ten years into the future of Fully Automated Larry Stylinson and things are not perfect but they could have been much worse. It doesn’t pan out as most people expected: the issues that arise are not the “arrival of the Aliens” or the complete takeover of machines and uselessness of humans, which has been the greatest fear of humanity as Rosi Braidotti points out; nor the imperialistic and heteronormative tropes that such a movement might engender, as is predicated by the “online culture wars” and ironic tumblrfication of politics from both liberal and fascist viewpoints including the ironic projects of the alt-right, but also queer leftist projects like “Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism” – a meme culture’s take on the prior. The new problem is not a crisis of humanity but rather a crisis of sincerity. The only counter-movement to fiction (fake news, conspiracy theories, paranoia) as it plays out in the realities we inhabit is romance fiction: “we need to invent [romance] fictions about the future, in order to then make them real”.
Everyone is still an artist, time is not monetised, there is no beginning or end. The boys are in bed fucking, eating pizza and talking about their favourite art shows.
#LarryStylinson #FullyAutomatedLuxuryGaySpaceCommunism #Sincerity #art #Romance #HarryTop #LouisBottom #Anal #Breeding #NonCon #PWP
Owen G. Parry, "Larry!Score", 2016. Wydruk cyfrowy.
It was the morning after Harry’s opening at Galerie, but Galerie wasn’t the only opening requiring Harry’s attention that week. Louis was ravenous in the mornings, he opened his eyes, feeling Harry’s warm swollen member pressed against the lower crease of his smooth bubble butt. Harry was still sleeping, and Louis knew that because he could feel the weight of his body, sunk against the mattress and pressing into the back of his stubbly thigh. Louis did his favourite thing, he pushed his bum against Harry, moving slowly in a figure eight, activating his perineum, he could feel his opening – moist – and ready to take Harry’s massive load. Harry roused, sticky eyed, “morning handsome” he said, pulling his hand down the back of his pants to pull out the wedgy that had formed from the tossing and turning throughout the night. “Morning my King” said Louis, smiling and simultaneously pushing harder against Harry’s dick until Harry laughed and said “Did I really make that awful speech during the opening last night or did I dream it?” “Which speech?” replied Louis. “The one in which you told everyone that you were going to give up making 'art' because when art is 'art' it has nothing of relevance to the 'real' world any more? Or the one where you said you wished Marina Abramovic would just move to Hollywood and go fully blockbuster mainstream with Bruce Willis and Robert de Niro rather than being a lame Givenchy wearing artworld cover girl?” Louis could feel Harry’s body curling in embarrassment at the thought of it. “Hahaha Louis very funny” Harry flinched. “Seriously though babe, how are you feeling about it?” Harry didn’t reply, he put his big veiny arm around Louis and sunk back into him and the bed. They lay there for a bit with their eyes closed. Then Harry put his hand down to feel Louis’ dick and hairy balls. It was hard, and Louis pushed his bum once more against Harry’s stiffy. Turning his face back towards Harry’s, their lips meeting with faint morning breath, Harry’s tongue went straight in as he pulled Louis round towards him. Louis made a sound, it was like he was performing being seduced by Harry, and that annoying thought crossed Harry’s mind but he decided to block it out. Harry laid on top of Louis, his hairy belly against Louis’ smooth belly, the kissing continued, as Harry’s hand reached under, Louis lifted his legs for Harry to spread his arse cheeks and insert one finger. Louis’ hole was so moist now, he was a total power bottom when it came to sex and politics, and had to hold back a bit not to put Harry off, who wanted to lead the whole thing. “I want you to breed me”, Louis said to him as they began wanking each other’s cocks simultaneously. Louis flinched as Harry put a second finger in, stretching his boy-hole and wanking his dick in hard and fast rhythms ... Harry pins Louis to the bed, his arms above his head, he reaches down to sniff Louis’ hairy armpits. A musky hormonal aroma of last night mixed with Harry’s saliva – their smell combined drove Harry crazy. As Harry licks the pubic crevice, Louis’ body curls and lets out a dull long moan of pleasure ... an “absolute unproductive expenditure” ...
Texts and artworks referenced:
George Bataille, “Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927–1939”, Trans. by Allan Stoelk with Carl R. Lovitt and Donald M. Leslie Jr., in Theory and History of Literature, vol 14, 1985.
Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013.
Mark Fisher and Judy Thorne, “Luxury Communism” in Futures and Fictions. London: Repeater, 2017.
Henry Jenkins, Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge, 1992.
Angela Nagel, Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-right. Zero Books, 2017.
Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Bed-ins-for-peace. Happenings, 1969.
Carolee Schneeman, Meat Joy. Performance, New York, 1964.
Shipping – To put characters, real or fictional, into an erotic relationship.
Non-Con – Non-consensual sex, rape and violent narratives.
Top/Bottom – Refers to an active or passive sexual dynamic in usually same sex relationships.
Hurt/Comfort – Where one character usually cares for another who is sick or terminally ill.
PWP – Porn without Plot, or, Plot, what plot? Usually consists of little or no narrative, a lot of sex, and no beginning or end.
Crossover – When characters walk from one narrative or universe into another.
Owen G. Parry is a London-based artist and writer working across expanded performance cultures, exploring subjects including trash, gay sex, biopolitics, fandoms, fascism, and Yoko Ono. He initiated the Fan Riot project in 2015 exploring the relationship between art and fandom, which includes a Fan Club series, publications, artworks, and performances including Larry!Monument (2016), a fictional monument to the Larry Stylinson fandom, and Larry Stylinson Performance AU (2016), performed with Larry Stylinson look-alikes. His work has been included in public programmes and publications internationally.
*Cover photo: Owen G. Parry, Larry!Score, 2016. Digital print.