From the creators of Baedan: announcing Contagion Press
From Contagion Press
Contagion: an infectious disease, especially one whose transmission requires bodily contact, or broadly speaking any harmful or corrupting influence. From the Latin contagionem: a touching or contact, especially with something physically or morally unclean. From com: together + tangere: to touch.
Queerness, anarchy, witchcraft, crime – so many plagues against which society must be defended, so many lines of transmission for a breakdown our bodies are only beginning to give sense and give in to, so many threads with which we weave our experiments in an altogether different sense of public health.
A press, because we are bibliophiles by disposition, so as to render ourselves another vector for the contagion, because it is after all nothing but a certain pressing together of ink and paper, paper and glue, that takes place in the printing process, in that of book binding, just as it is nothing other than a contagion of selves that happens when we write, when we read, when we tend our minds together.
This announcement comes admittedly late. We have tabled some two dozen book fairs and put out as many titles in these seven years without a proper title of our own. It is true that we have often been inclined toward obscurities, but it was also that we simply sensed that the name, website, and so on were less pressing than other aspects of the work.
Our first project, Baedan: Journal of Queer Nihilism, was self-published in DIY fashion on an old offset press in the garage. From there we have added new titles by following our desires and curiosities and those of our friends engaged in translation, revivals of lost texts, and experiments in thought. As the machines have turned out new material, we have learned bits of the arts of print and bookmaking, piracy and translation under our own instruction. From our underground efforts – underground as much by necessity as inclination – we have begun to appear in more aboveground ways. You can sign up for our mailing list in the footer on our site.
If 2018 was the year of our new name and the launch of our website, it also saw the release of at least five new titles. Here they are in case you missed them:
Be Gay Do Crime, the collected writings of the Mary Nardini Gang
Among the discordant chorus of anons who penned the defining texts of the queer anarchist network Bash Back!, none was more fervent in its glorification of criminal desire, decadent hedonism, and social undoing than the Milwaulkee-based Mary Nardini Gang. Their fiery “Towards the Queerest Insurrection” still circulates as an integral manifesto of riotous queerness, while the “Criminal Intimacy” and “Whore Theory” have made their more subterranean way into innumerable conversations and correspondences.
Ten years later, the secretive group supplements these collected writings with a subtle retrospective. Carefully unlocking the hidden layers of their theses on insurrection, they face up to what they got wrong, concede that the world ended somewhere between the Greek insurrection of 2008 and now, and insist upon the vital task of ushering new worlds into being as we live amid the decomposition and cataclysmic death throes of the old one. To their theses on insurrection, they prepend a new arcana tooled for opening onto the queerest of outsides.
Dedicated to their friends among the dead, this pocket edition is a necromantic mirror, an encrypted message to old loves, and an invitation to those finding these words for the first time.
The Otherworlds Review
Originally published as a monthly column on It’s Going Down from 2017 to 2018, The Otherworlds Review is a bricolage of dispatches from the end times, spiritual techniques, and ways of seeing, assembled each lunar month for the benefit of discerning necromancers and starry-eyed insurgents the world over, collected here in pocketbook form.
The collection includes all seven issues (Introduction, Ghosts, Masks, Snakes, Calendars, Always Coming Home, and Spiritual Anarchism), new retrospective afterwords, and reader-submitted appendices.
The Otherworlds Review
Movement for No Society
Place-based anarchist research and analysis from an anonymous Philly collective. ”Pacifist ideals and reformist strategies have long held sway over the radical imagination in Philadelphia. Insurrectionary activity is willfully misunderstood, and its historical legacy largely forgotten. One of the ways we have tried to break this hold is through a series of talks called “Movement for No Society.” In these talks we explored some of the historical conditions for our situation and attempted to recover more interesting insurgent possibilities and their paths through Philadelphia’s history. Our research for these talks eventually became this book.”
Movement for No Society
The Sapphomanteion, a lesbian oracle
A new divination system based on ancient Greco-Egyptian bibliomancy as preserved in the Magical Papyri, created using Anne Carson’s translation of Sappho’s fragments. This lesbian oracle is a powerful tool for connecting with Venus, Aphrodite and the queer dead.
Try it online at sapphomanteion.com.
First Protocols of Queer Goetia
A small, powerful set of mythopoetic instructions for working with the queer dead, composed in the days after the San Francisco Bay Area’s overlapping underground worlds lost thirty-six of their people in the Ghost Ship Fire.
Queer: “strange, peculiar, eccentric.” From the German quer, meaning “oblique, perverse, odd,” which in turn comes from the Old High German word for “oblique,” twerh, which is derived from the root terkw-, “to turn, twist, wind,” as in “the labyrinth turns, twists, winds.”
Goetia: “the invocation of daemons or spirits” from the ancient Greek goeteia, “sorcery,” from goes, “sorcerer, wizard,” ultimately derived from goao, “to wail, to cry,” as in mourning or in a funeral rite.
First Protocols of Queer Goetia
That’s the latest, and you can find our full catalog at contagionpress.com.
2018 was a big year for us, and 2019 is going to be just as full of great new content. Here’s a taste of what’s coming soon:
Baedan 4: Queer Book of the Dead
The much-anticipated fourth issue of our journal Bædan will be the most necromantic to date. If you haven’t yet checked out the first three issues – nihilism, heresy, and time travel – you can find them on our site, at the journal’s blog, and on the Anarchist Library.
Warlike, Howling, Pure by Heathen Chinese
Shattering the confinement of liberatory struggle within a framework of secular, rationalist human progress, Heathen Chinese draws on a broad array of inspirations from the slave uprisings of Haiti 1791 and the Spartacus revolt to the anti-Christian Boxer Rebellion, from the Galleanist anarchists to Tupac Shakur and Black Liberation, in a call to rekindle the flames of millenarian and messianic revolt in alliance with ancestral, divine, and mythic powers.
Heliogabalus, or, The Crowned Anarchist by Antonin Artaud
Sometimes considered the most lucid work of its famously mad author, The Crowned Anarchist is a rollicking account of the life of Heliogabalus, the most bizarre emperor of Rome: transsexual, occultist, and, by Artaud’s telling, an anarchist who helped usher in the demise of Roman civilization, not as a barbarian at the gates but as a depraved and orgiastic degenerate at the very heart of its power.
The first complete English translation of Acéphale, the journal of Georges Bataille’s secret society which from 1936–39 fought to reclaim Nietzsche from the fascists, practiced a strange and monstrous Dionysian mysticism, obsessed over human sacrifice, and repeatedly scribbled drawings of a headless figure that may symbolize the becoming we are called to undergo.
To hear about these new titles as they are released, you can subscribe to our mailing list, which we are planning to broadcast on more or less seasonally. You can also follow us on the abominable social media – links are below.
Finally, our sincere thanks to everyone who has supported and challenged us in the project these years: to our writers, correspondents, reviewers and critics, to those who have helped with editing, art, design, translation and distribution, and especially to our enthusiastic readers.