The Minus Plato Manifesto

Tonight I will be speaking at the opening of the inaugural exhibition of Blake Turner’s Manifesto Library at the Sean Christopher Gallery, here in Columbus. The Manifesto Library is a collection comprised of leftist, feminist, black, latino/a, guerrilla, african, militant, artists, economic, trans, queer, social, technological, and political manifestos. It is a recollection or monument to leftist political struggle that Turner initiated a few months ago and which he states: “given the recent turn of events, I believe it is desperately needed now.” He is  collecting previously published works, and will publish manifestos in the public domain by the Library in the style of 1920s socialist pamphlets (5×7 saddle stitched). I will read and discuss The Minus Plato Manifesto below during the opening,  where Turner has invited thinkers, artists, and academics to give informal talks on subjects of their choosing relating to manifestos. For more info on the exhibition, click here.


The Minus Plato Manifesto

Minus Plato is a blog about Classics and Modern/Contemporary Art

Minus Plato is a site for making connections

Between the ancient and the present, myths and paintings, matter and memes  

It is a space for trying out ideas

About ethics and actions, lives and lessons, truth and beauty

It is an archive for experiments

In teaching and curating, for the Academy and the artist, for the art world and the Internet

But now Minus Plato has something to say

The moment has come for Minus Plato to make a declaration

(Now that Minus Plato is speaking every day)

(Now that Minus Plato has become a mourning diary)

(Now that Minus Plato needs to act)

Minus Plato is ready to address you

You may not be a Classicist

You may not be an Artist

But Minus Plato is addressing you

Minus Plato is telling you that you must change your life

Minus Plato will be your new guide

Minus Plato will be your new handbook

Minus Plato will be your new sabotage manual

You may have met Minus Plato while passing by on Google

You may know Minus Plato from your Facebook feed

You may have caught Minus Plato as a reTweet

But now you must act

Now you must follow us

(Like Zeno, reading about Socrates in a bookstore, when he saw Crates and followed him)

You must give up things you cling to

You must abandon certain entrenched ideas

You must live by example

(Like Hipparchia, seeing Crates in the street, followed him and became a Cynic)

This is what Minus Plato declares:


Today living creativity is the only responsible way to engage with and use the past

No more Classical Greek Art for Art’s sake

No more Ancient History for History’s sake

No more Classical Scholarship for Scholarship’s sake

No more Homerists for Homer’s sake

No more dead white men

No more living white emperors

What makes the Classical now is how people use it now

The Classical is for everybody’s use

No one owns the Classical

The Classical is everywhere

The Internet is Classical 

Black Lives Matter is Classical

The everyday is Classical

This blog is Classical

Artists today use the Classical 

Artists today turn to ancient Greek philosophy not for philosophy’s sake

Artists today use Latin not for grammar’s sake

Artists today use the old scholarship to become the new scholars

(Just as artists used to use the old theory to become the new theorists)

Artists today put antiquity in its place

Artists today put Classicists in their place

Artists today understand Nero

Classicists today will look to the Artists as guides

Classicists today will curate exhibitions on ancient sites 

Classicists today will turn monographs into manifestos

Classicists today will teach Latin as activism

Classicists today will create the Suetonius Gallery 

We are all these new Classicists

We must process the past to change the present

We must remember Carthage

We must sabotage the lessons of white supremacists

We must see Sappho everywhere

We cannot stop Nero being Nero

We cannot stop his tyrannical ego

We cannot stop lies becoming his truth

But we must call it

We must see it

We must study it

We must create from it

We must learn from it

Only then can we resist it.


Minus Plato has spoken

Minus Plato is here to see what can change 

Minus Plato will witness and document this change

Every day

Minus Plato is here to help

Minus Plato is for all lives, lessons and communities 

Minus Plato is the perfect manifesto for today

Minus Plato shows contrasts

Minus Plato makes analogies

Minus Plato knows its theory

Minus Plato knows its target

Minus Plato goes around telling tales

While Nero goes around taking names

While Nero goes around Tweeting orders

While Nero feeds hate

Minus Plato confronts Nero with a mirror

Minus Plato is your Seneca

Minus Plato is your Pamphile of Epidaurus

Minus Plato is them in all of us

Minus Plato will be here again tomorrow

One thought on “The Minus Plato Manifesto

  1. Pingback: Manifesto Mania: Beyond Minus Plato – Minus Plato

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