Strangers in the Night: Foreign Agents Series.
Semiotext(e), New York, [1983?], , , , very good /
Foreign Agents Series. Philosophy Hall, New York, N.Y. 10027: Semiotext(e), . Lithographic poster on thin clay stock. Ripling throughout from rolled storage. Small tears to edges, repairable, generally very good appearance belied here, in this description, by difficulty in reproducing photographically. [35 x 23 inches]. The Foreign Agents Series, “established in 1983, [a] series of subversive French cultural theory, [that] infiltrated American shores and an unsuspecting academe, originally in the form of their now-iconic little black pocket-sized books. This was the series that helped introduce into English such characters as Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Paul Virilio, Michel Foucault, and most famously in the Semiotext(e) lineage, Jean Baudrillard.”—MIT Press. “It was strangers in the night. People I met would be strangers, and I would get to know them. Like foreigners—the Foreign Agents series, which we created with Semiotext(e). A ‘foreign agent’ is the administrative phrase for a spy. And those spies are the people I wanted to be with. It was the person I was. I wanted to have a sort of covert action. Even parties were part of that—a covert action to the intellectual world. I wanted to create a special America, . . . a place, with Columbia, academia, artists, Harlem, music, dance, art—there was so much to take in and bring somewhere else. That’s what I did. The fact that I was a stranger to all was very helpful. I had no prior connection. People I met, I met them not because they were part of this or that, but just because I liked their work or I liked them. It was more pragmatic, and that’s why I felt I was more American than the Americans because the Americans were not pragmatic enough.”—Sylvère Lotringer, founder of Semiotext(e). The background of the poster, though difficult to photograph, is columns of text. Black type on a black background. This design, begun in 1983, was an iconic sign of the Foreign Agent Series, appearing on the covers of On the Line (1983: Deleuze, Guattari); Pure War (1983: Virilio, Lotringer); In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities, or, The End of the Social and Other Essays (1983: Baudrillard); Simulations (1983: Baudrillard, Foss); Behold Metatron (1985: Yurick); Assassination Rhapsody (Pell: 1989); Popular Defense and Ecological Struggles (1990: Virilio); Remarks on Marx (1991: Foucault, Trombadori); and many others. The text in the columns of the design is from the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938, which requires persons working for foreign agencies to register their status with the Department of Justice so that conflicts of interest may be monitored. This, ironically, is one of the snags by which Lieutenant General Michael Flynn allowed himself to be caught: working for foreign governments without informing the DOJ in writing. Worldcat finds no copies of this poster and none seem to be offered in the trade.