ISSN : 2266-6060


Berlin, september 2017.

Abridged writing, abbreviations, acronyms stand for several words at the same time. Reducing the main thing to a few letters, the inscription is meant to design a precise and circumscribed meaning. But for all that, polysemy is never entirely expelled, the same abbreviations sometimes referring to distinct, even conflicting, entities without any relation but the assemblage of some letters.
Of course, every heavy metal fan knows that AC/DC is a band formed in 1973 by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young (R.IP. – another abbreviation deserving a dedicated post in itself!), the composition of which had changed over the years. On the other hand, electricians clearly know the abridged writing stands for some possible variations of the entity they handled on a daily basis: “Alternating Current/Direct Current”. Similarly, numerous activists support the ACAB acronym. An anarchistic sign meaning “All Cops Are Bastards”, which has been popularized during the strike of British miners in the middle of 1980s, the abbreviation has been taken over by other movements in order to designate different targets “All Capitalists Are Bastards”, to stigmatize some groups “Anarcho-Communists Are Bastards”, “Anarcho-Communists Against Boneheads”, or to raise other concerns “All Colors Are Beautiful”.
Thus it’s not obvious to know what the inscriptions ACAB and AC/DC exactly mean here. But, more intensely, their relationship is intriguing: is the superposition equal to a partial replacement? Are we supposed to understand that AC/DC overcomes ACAB? That drum sets and electric guitares are more powerful than truncheons and guns? That electricians are more valuable than a law-enforcement agency? That alternative movements are superior to cops? Or, by contrast, is their coexistence count for the most? Would the recent passing of Malcolm Young be linked to a police intervention, by one way or another? Does red go well with black, like in Stendhal’s book or in the roulette game? Would the alleviation of habits by music be consistent with the maintenance of order by police? Does electricity come with a different, aesthetic or political, color according to its mode of circulation and its distribution network? Abridged writing, abbreviations, acronyms not only stand for several words at the same time. They also point out to extensive active worlds with multiple intertwining relationships.

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