Lumpen #133: The Buddies Issue
Lumpen Magazine has been a continuous conversation between friends about the kind of world we want to see and create.
Believing that the freedom of the press belongs to those who own one, Lumpen started out as a stapled and collated zine distributed on a college campus, mutated into an alternative free circulation monthly based in Chicago that took on local issues and highlighted DIY culture, and eventually went national with a glossy cover. Then the evolution of the internet and a lack of funding almost killed it. By the turn of the century it emerged out of the dot com age as the widely viewed supersphere.com multimedia website that had thousands of underground mu- sic videos concerts and publications cu- rated into a portal for the underground. Lumpen then arose from the death of the dot communism era as an arts and activism festival producer, a reimagined quarterly independent arts politics and culture magazine, spawned a record label, a multimedia arts org, several more publications, and helped found a space called Buddy. A space that hyper charged everything.
Buddy was the incarnation of a Lumpen aesthetic that came to life. The space was a home to wild parties, insurgent art shows, radical art and activism performances, cable tv shows, pirate radio, experimental music concerts, organizing seminars, band practice, and so much more. The space became a hub and think tank for producing cultural movements, and the magazine amplified and covered the maneuvers and activities of those within the Buddy circuit and its allies in independent Do-It-Together culture around the world. The proximity and the circulation of so many radical people helped it manifest an untold amount of threads of activity, whether it was musical, literary, visual, or theoretical. Buddy became the engine for activity, any activity that would help us create the world we wanted to see.
But it couldn’t last. The forces of the market and the uncertainty of chance splintered the accidental parallel heterotopia we had created. So we mutated, and those three years of buddy became a crucible for what would come next. Many of the buddy people moved to the south side of Chicago and we founded a new much larger space, the Co-Prosperity Sphere, in our newly designated Community of the Future. We hosted even more wild parties and awesome shows. We launched a few more magazines, produced even more ambitious festivals and art fairs, opened pop up and satellite galleries around the city, and traveled the world to spread our ideas and networks to those that were engaged in the front lines of the cultural wars.
Guide Chicago and others that chronicled the secret histories of underground art milieus, renegade activists and controversial ideas related to exquisite and socially relevant art we helped create, amplified and/or supported.