The year I graduated from college, my father gave me two gifts he said were necessary to get ahead in life: a Canon copier and a Sanyo fax machine. Half a decade before people began trafficking in the term home office, I had no idea what on earth I was supposed to do with these things. So, one day I began cutting pictures out of the New York Times and making political collages on the copy machine.
When I was done, I’d send them to whoever I knew who actually owned a fax. One such collage – a picture of two Russians carrying a huge Sony Trinitron box in the middle of Red Square in 1991 – had the caption “Ideological State Appliances” pasted underneath. I had just read Louis Althusser‘s legendary Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses essay for the first time, and couldn’t resist the pun.
The only people I can remember receiving these faxes were my father (who didn’t think they were funny) and my late brother Michael, who, upon getting the appliances piece, called to ask where I bought my pot. Seeing the back of this sound system the other night at a local venue here in London made me want to create the same collage all over again. Well, not exactly. But it took me back.