Machine / Language
Martin Hayes has long been one of the most prolific and original poets of labour writing in this country. In Machine / Language he further details our descent into enmeshment with the apparatus of our oppression: an oppression that functions legally through the economic exercise of state power, and intellectually, through the operation of language. Within neoliberal society personal identity becomes fused at the bone to our economic output; we are swallowed whole by our designation as workers and compelled to identify with a system that slowly destroys us. In this regard Machine / Language can be read in a number of ways: as a document of struggle, an aesthetic meditation, an act of solidarity, and a mode of resistance.
One of the preserve ironies of capitalism is that while society itself is often figured as a living and frequently besieged organism, individual human bodies are more and more frequently treated as blunt instruments or faceless economic units. This bitter paradox underscores Machine / Language.
Martin Rowson's nervy illustrations capture this contradiction, bringing us agonised grotesques.
A very necessary, powerful voice in this era of austerity, inequality and exploitation.
Machine / Language by Martin Hayes with illustrations by Martin Rowson, ISBN 978-1-912710-59-1, £7 plus £3 p.and p.