Ayn Rand’s highly dubious novel ‘The Fountainhead’ has become a source of morbid fascination for us since entering lockdown – forming the basis for a research pathology driven at least in part by an urge to inoculate against certain worlds that could (re)emerge post-Covid.
Firmly embedded within the (arguably impoverished) neo-liberal literary canon, The Fountainhead is nonetheless something of an embarrassment for many of those who actually live by its values. Even for many of its proponents, the novel is just ‘too much’: Rand does not hold back from not only depicting but outright embracing a brutal vision of sociality governed by self-interest and extreme egotism. The question we ask ourselves is, how can anyone like this?
The popularity of the novel seems unabated despite its unbearably didactic tone, flatlining dialogue and overstated rhetoric. In order to at least move towards resolving this deadlock, in our radio broadcast we will be ripping this text to shreds – via absurd electronically affected characterisation, O.T.T sonic scenography and unreliable narration blurring the line between where the (awful) text ends and our possibly unqualified dismantling of it begins. The whole enterprise – if providing no concrete answers regarding where to go from here, might at least provide some indication of what to avoid.
Anna Danielewicz (b. Koszalin, 1991) is an artist and writer based in Glasgow.Coming from a background in performance, her practice is now rooted mostly in writing and the workshop format. Her most recent projects include Lip, Belly, Foot at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop and Voun Town at the Edinburgh Art Festival. Anna is a member of the programming committee of Market Gallery. She is currently working on a prose fiction project to do with the language of teenagers, and the problem of translation.
Max Syedtollan (b. London, 1994) is an artist-composer based in Glasgow. In 2019 he was selected as one of Sound and Music’s ‘New Voices’ and exhibited work in the Venice Biennale, as well as releasing his second album of DIY chamber music on Glasgow label GLARC (supported by the Arts Council). His pieces have been broadcast on BBC Radios 4 and 6, and performed at institutions such as Cafe Oto and Snape Maltings. In 2020 he is working on a new moving image piece exploring the overlap between history and fiction.