– Triadisches Ballett (The Triadic Ballet), Oskar Schlemmer, 1922.

 

 

 

 

Darkness and obscurity are banished by artificial lighting, and the seasons by air conditioning. Night and summer are losing their charm and dawn is disappearing. The urban population think they have escaped from cosmic reality, but there is no corresponding expansion of their dream life. The reason is clear: dreams spring from reality and are realised in it.

– SIRE, I AM FROM THE OTHER COUNTRY. Formulary for a New Urbanism, Ivan Chtcheglov, 1953.

 

 

 

 

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”

– Arundhati Roy, Porto Alegre, Brazil, ‘Confronting Empire,’ 2003.

 

 

 

 

…persuading people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, in order to impress others who don’t care…

– Victor Papanek, ‘Design for the Real World – Human Ecology and Social Change’

 

 

 

 

“The poem – literature – seems to be linked to a spoken word which cannot be interrupted because it does not speak; it is. The poem is not this word itself, for the poem is a beginning, whereas this word never begins, but always speaks anew and is always starting over. However, the poet is the one who has heard this word, who has made himself into an ear attuned to it, its mediator, and who has silenced it by pronouncing it. This word is close to the poem’s origin, for everything original is put to the test by the sheer powerlessness inherent in starting over — this sterile prolixity, the surplus of that which can do nothing, which never is the work, but ruins it and in it restores the unending lack of work. Perhaps this word is the source of the poem, but it is a source that must somehow be dried up in order to become a spring. For the poet — the one who writes, the “creator” — could never derive the work from the essential lack of work. Never could he, by himself, cause the pure opening words to spring forth from what is at the origin. That is why the work is a work only when it becomes the intimacy shared by someone who writes it and someone who reads it, a space violently opened up by the contest between the power to speak and the power to hear. And the one who writes is, as well, one who has “heard” the interminable and incessant, who has heard it as speech, has entered into this understanding with it, has lived with its demand, has become lost in it and yet, in order to have sustained it, has necessarily made it stop — has, in this intermittence, rendered it perceptible, has proffered it by firmly reconciling it with this limit. He has mastered it by imposing measure.”

– Maurice Blanchot, ‘The Space of Literature’

 

 

 

 

I had therefore to remove knowledge, in order to make room for belief.

– Immanuel Kant

 

 

 

 

C’est peut-être ça que je sens, qu’il y a un dehors et un dedans et moi au milieu, c’est peut-être ça que je suis, la chose qui divise le monde en deux, d’une part le dehors, d’autre part le dedans, ça peut être mince comme une lame, je ne suis ni d’un côté, ni de l’autre, je suis au milieu, je suis une cloison, j’ai deux faces et pas d’épaisseur, c’est peut-être ça que je sens, je me sens qui vibre, je suis le tympan, d’un côté c’est le crâne, de l’autre le monde, je ne suis ni de l’un ni de l’autre…

– Samuel Beckett, ‘L’innommable’

 

 

 

 

“You think I’m insane?” said Finnerty. Apparently he wanted more of a reaction than Paul had given him.



“You’re still in touch. I guess that’s the test.”



“Barely — barely.”



“A psychiatrist could help. There’s a good man in Albany.”



Finnerty shook his head. “He’d pull me back into the center, and I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” He nodded, “Big, undreamed-of things — the people on the edge see them first.”



– Text extracted from ‘Player Piano’, 1952, by Kurt Vonnegut.

 

 

 

 

 

– Manuel Bandeira, Vou-me Embora pra Pasárgada, from a documentary by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, 1959.

 

 

 

 

I have forgotten the word I intended to say, and my thought, unembodied, returns to the realm of shadows.

– O. Mandelstam, ‘The Swallow.’

 

 

 

 

( )

Parenthesis, meaning ‘along side of’. It is the measured distance between two objects, the insertion of the after thought along side the thought itself.

 

 

 

 

I say: a flower! and outside the oblivion to which my voice relegates any shape, insofar as it is something other than the calyx, there arises musically, as the very idea and delicate, the one absent from every bouquet.

– Stéphane Mallarmé, ‘The Crisis in Poetry.’

 

 

 

 

“And the river, always the river, perpetually renewing itself. The river, always.”

– João Guimaraes Rosa, ‘The Third Bank of the River.’

 

 

 

 

a message to the future

 

– Bertrand Russell, for BBC Face to Face, 1959.

 

 

 

 



– Carl Sagan, ‘Pale Blue Dot.’ Voyager 1 spacecraft, destination unknown, image of the earth as it exited the solar system in 1990.

“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilisation, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbour life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

 

 

 

 

saudade

noun. The emotional state of nostalgic, or melancholic, longing for an absent object.

 

 

 

 

At present,
in this grey,
all the blue, skies, that I have lived-
and all the green leaves that I have seen-
lay peacefully ablaze upon your fingers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

“I had no words of my own for it. To this day I have none. It’s not true that there are words for everything. Nor is it true that we always think in words (…) The inner regions don’t correspond to language, they drag one to places where words are inadequate. It’s often the decisive point about which nothing more can be said, and the impulse to talk about it is well taken because it runs right past.”

― Herta Müller, ‘In Every Language there are Other Eyes.’

 

 

 

 

 

[At the far limit of being, a being is nothing more than what it seems to be in conditions of peaceful effacement, connected to the regularity of sentences.

But if one day the sentences invoked the tempest and the unsensed derangement of masses of water? If sentences invoked the violence of waves?]

― Georges Bataille, The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge, 1973-88.

 

 

 

 

 

                    Use all the words

That desperately, desperately, will to break through the barriers of thoughts

Thoughts that are not there

                    Emptied, to fill them again with the                       purpose of a word

To attempt to say something

To will them to say something, not anything

Thoughts that do not know where they are going

To attempt to go somewhere

To will to go somewhere, not anywhere


                    Willing


                    Without knowing
                    this desire,
                    blind and
                    mute

 

– in search of a goal and imperative, so as to not descend into a speech of empty meaning.

“In the process of putting so much pressure on language, thought ceases to be satisfied with the support of words; it bursts away from them in order to seek its resolution elsewhere. This ‘elsewhere’ should not be understood as a transcendent realm, a mysterious metaphysical domain. This ‘elsewhere’ is ‘here’, in the immediacy of real life. It is from right here that our thoughts rise up, and it is here that they must come back. But after what travels! Live first; then turn to philosophy; but, in the third place, live again. The man in Plato’s cave has to go out and contemplate the light of the sun; then, strengthened by this light which he keeps in his memory, he has to return to the cave. Verbal philosophy is only a necessary stage in this voyage.”

 

 

 

 

 

Between two moments of speech
I live in language, and I die in it.

 

 

 

 

poíēma

noun. An Ancient Greek term, of which the term ‘poem’ is a derivative, meaning a creation or ‘a thing made’.

 

 

 

 

This this is an abstraction. This is an abstraction. T h i s is an abstraction.        is not.

where do you live?
in language –
and i cannot keep quiet

 

 

 

 

“…‘What is an object?..

Perhaps it is a link enabling us to pass from one subject to another, therefore to live together. But since social relations are always ambiguous. Since thought divides as much as it unites. Since words unite or isolate by what they express or omit. Since an immense gulf separates my subjective awareness from the objective truth I represent for others. Since I constantly blame myself, though I feel innocent. Since every event transforms my daily life. Since I constantly fail to communicate. Since each failure makes me aware of solitude … since … Since I cannot escape crushing objectivity or isolating subjectivity. Since I cannot rise to the state of being, or fall into nothingness, I must listen, I must look around more than ever. The world … my kin … my twin.

The world alone today when revolutions are impossible and wars threaten me. When capitalism is unsure of its rights and the working class retreats when the lightning progress of science brings the future terribly near. When the future is closer than the present. When the distant galaxies are at my door … my kin, my twin …

Where is the beginning?

But what beginning?

‘God created heaven and earth’. But one should be able to put it better. To say the limits of language, of my language are those of the world, of my world, and that in speaking I limit the world, I end it. And when mysterious, logical death abolishes these limits there will be no question, no answer, just vagueness. But if things come into focus again this can only be through the rebirth of conscience. Everything follows from this’…”

– ‘2 or 3 Things I Know About Her’, 1967, by Jean-Luc Godard.

 

 

 

 

 

– ‘Toute la Memoire du Monde’, 1956, by Alain Resnais.

 

 

 

 

“Darkness and obscurity are banished by artificial lighting, and the seasons by air conditioning. Night and summer are losing their charm and dawn is disappearing. The urban population think they have escaped from cosmic reality, but there is no corresponding expansion of their dream life. The reason is clear: dreams spring from reality and are realised in it.”

– Chtcheglov, 1958, Formulary for a New Urbanism.

 

 

 

 

London, Potemkin city….

Potëmkin, a portly man, of some considerable social and physical stature in Russia, was rumoured to have courted Catherine the Great… He wanted to fool her or, perhaps more innocently, to greatly impress the Empress by erecting rows of fake façades along a river front to the effect of having her believe that he was responsible for the prosperity of the town. A turn of phrase sprung from this seemingly innocent act of deception that unashamedly uses his name and refers to the intersection of the appearance of an object and its actuality beyond the appearance of the façade. The Potëmkin Village. It speaks of façades that are assumed to have some substance, or rather a measurable spatial depth, beyond their ‘face’, beyond their façade, just because they usually do, confusing appearance with reality.

Edging west into Fitzrovia from Goodge Street station, down past the Victorian and Georgian era façades of Dickensian buildings with heaving bodies attached to those dirty but somewhat pretty, and almost symmetrical, faces that line the streets. You would be forgiven by the local Mr Toppers, whose well dressed, top-hatted, toad boasts hair cuts at £7, for thinking that they were the faces of the little-bit-forgotten and little-bit-unloved. If you make it down passed Charlotte Street, passed the array of random shop fronts, you will come across a large gaping hole in the constantly and accumulatively dense city landscape that is central London. The unusual opening of intense bright light prompts you to look up, such a rare sight in that part of town. So you crane your neck, New York City tourist style, to see what is missing, and as you do your eyes expecting to meet a skyscraper meet a forgotten little white sign. Only it’s no longer white anymore, you just imagine it was, layered with the once vapourous contents of the exhausts of the moving parts of city. This sign reads ‘The Middlesex Hospital Patients Library’, over a backdrop of cranes one suspects it won’t be for much longer. Not even a trace. Like the sign itself, it is only an allusion to what was once there. The Middlesex Hospital.

It is no longer there, of course. Demolition began during the Spring of 2008 to make way for a complex of apartments that the average Londoner will never be able to afford, and that includes the “affordable” ones. But aside from the sign, there is one remnant left of this monumental place that nursed the sick since the late 1700’s, a place where all of life played out – births, deaths, and everything in-between. The entire façade of the entrance on Nassau Street has been preserved, to be sewn into the new building. ‘Place’ is not fixed, nor is it permanent, it is rather more like a temporary stage. It is a “backdrop” like my friend rather eloquently said, when we first began our conversations about this ‘place’ that was once a hospital. The backdrop for where the performance of medical life was acted out.

 

 

 

 

koyaanisqatsi (from the Hopi language)

n. 1. crazy life. 2. life in turmoil. 3. life out of balance. 4. life disintegrating. 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.

 

 

 

 

“Nothing that lives is, or can be, rigidly perfect; part of it is decaying, part nascent. The foxglove blossom, a third part bud, a third part past, a third part in full bloom is a type of the life of this world. And in all things that live there are certain irregularities and deficiencies which are not only signs of life, but sources of beauty.”

– John Ruskin, ‘The Nature of Gothic’ in Stones of Venice, 1851-53.

 

 

 

 

“Keep the company of those who seek the truth – run from those who have found it.”

– In memory of playwright, essayist, poet, dissident, and politician, Vaclav Havel (5th of October 1936 – 18th of December 2011).

 

 

 

 

a computer is a copying machine, and the internet a sharing device.

 

 

 

 

The entwined polarity of a simultaneous dark fear of, and sublime desire for, nature and technological progress. Woman: a symbol of these entwined polarities.


Ruth Hogben for Gareth Pugh SS12, by way of SHOWstudio.

 

 

 

 

Re-reading. Re-mixing. Re-wording. An investigation into the re-appropriation and manipulation of texts.

Reified and emptied, texts were treated like the lowliest of things. Texts were misunderstood, burned, erased, cut to pieces and destroyed. They were spat, pissed and shat on, tossed into toilets, sewers, fountains, canals, rivers, rubble heaps, garbage dumps, pigsties and charnel houses, and lewdly handled in brothels and inns. Texts were used as door stops, shelf brackets and support, or their contents were modified to represent something new. Books were burnt to destroy their ideas against the Gods, were found in heaps when they had ceased to be relevant to the thinking world, or waited in recycling dumps to be turned into new objects altogether with no memory of their previous lives. In 2010, pieces of texts by Borges, Sontag, Nietzsche, Foucault, Descartes, Vitruvius, and others, were turned into an essay on re-reading by extracting relevant paragraphs and re-piecing them together. And then, there was this.

 
“Degradation followed display. Reified and emptied, the image was treated like the lowliest of things. Images were broken, burned, toppled, beheaded and hanged. They were spat, pissed and shat on, tossed into toilets, sewers, fountains, canals, rivers, rubble heaps, garbage dumps, pigsties and charnel houses, and lewdly handled in brothels and inns. Stone statues were used as cobblestones, keystones and infill, or were modified to represent something new. In 1608, a statue of the Virgin on the clock of the Basel town hall was turned into a personification of Justice simply by removing the Christ child and replacing him with scales. Wooden statues became table ornaments and toys, or were sold on the markets as firewood or distributed free to the poor. In Bern in 1528, images were taken from the church, broken and buried in a hole before the cathedral where they would lie until Judgement Day.

It takes two to make a thing go right. With famous books, the first time is already the second since we approach them already knowing them. The cautious common saying of rereading the classics turns out to be an innocent veracity [Jorge Luis Borges, Some Versions of Homer]. We are always somehow rereading a classic because we have encountered some previous incarnation of it, a refraction, in other stories, texts or versions. What are the many versions if not diverse perspectives of a movable event, if not a long experimental assortment of omissions and emphasis? [Sergio Gabriel Waisman, Borges and Translation, the Irreverence of the Periphery, p.52]

Just about everything has been photoshoped [remix of Susan Sontag, On Photography]. Precisely, it is about what five people think this reality consists of. How an incident happens may reflect nothing about the incident itself, but it must reflect something about the person involved in the happening and supplying the how. Five people interpret an action and each interpretation is different because in the telling and the retelling, the people will reveal not the action but themselves [Donald Richie, The Films of Akira Kurosawa, p.75].

For the first time several months ago, I spent hours looking at the façade of the cathedral, but only when I bought a book on the cathedral a week later did I really see it. The photographs enabled me to see in a way that my naked eye could not possibly see the cathedral [Susan Sontag, An Interview with Susan Sontag in Boston Review].

Same, same but different. If no one drawing should singly answer the personal taste, there will yet be found a variety of hints sufficient to construct a new one. I am confident I can convince all that will honor me with their commands that every design can be improved, both as to beauty and enrichment in the execution of it [remix of Master Chippendale, The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director]. Every writer creates his precursors [Jorge Luis Borges, Kafka and his Precursors]. I express unlimited thanks to all the authors that have in the past by compiling from remarkable instances of skill provided us with abundant materials of different kinds. Drawing from them as it were water from springs and converting them to our own purposes we find our own powers of writing rendered more fluent and easy and relying upon such authorities, we venture to produce new systems of instruction [Vitruvius, Ten Books on Architecture, preface 7.10].

The function proper to knowledge is interpreting. Scriptural commentary, commentaries on ancient authors, commentaries on the accounts of travelers, commentaries on legends and fables: none of these forms of discourse is required to justify its claim to be expressing a truth before it is interpreted; all that is required of it is the possibility of talking about it. (…) There is more work in interpreting interpretations than in interpreting things; and more books about books than any other subject [Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, An Archeology of the Human Sciences, p.45].

Multiplication of an icon, far from diluting its cultic power, rather increases its fame and each image – however imperfect – conventionally partakes of some portion of the properties of the precursor [Anthony Hughes, Sculpture and its Reproductions, p.38]. Much roman sculpture is greek in style and subject and most of theses greek-seeming works have been assumed for at least a century to be reproductions of lost works by greek artists. Some now appear to be roman creations and even those that are reproductions are not considered mechanical ones. The theory that they were made with a pointing machine similar to the one invented in the 18th century for making mechanically exact copies has been discredited [Anthony Hughes, Sculpture and its Reproductions, p.8]. This shift entails moving to the more recent revisionist theory that draws attention to the Roman’s programmatic use of repeated, recognizable, often famous but not necessarily greek images. These images announce the use of a particular type of building and were valued for their subject matter rather than their formal or iconographic origins, creators or style [Elaine K. Gazda, The Ancient Art of Emulation: Studies in Artistic Originality and Tradition from the Present to Classical Antiquity, p.10].

A corpse, a dog, a stork, a gold coin, the color red and two dervishes from the mountain village resemble one another completely without it being possible for anyone to say which of them brought its similitude to the other [remix of Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red]. Flesh is a glebe, bones are rocks, veins great rivers, the bladder is the sea and the seven principle organs are the metals hidden in the shafts of minds [Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, An Archeology of the Human Sciences, p.25]. The more images, mediations, intermediaries, icons are multiplied and overtly fabricated explicitly and publicly constructed, the more respect I have for their capacities to welcome, to gather, to recollect meaning and sanctity [Bruno Latour, What is Many Worlds?].

Double the treat, double your pleasure, double your fun. Every lie recreates a parallel world, the world in which its true [remix of Mathew Evans, Solution 11-167 The Book of Scotlands].

It is a frequent habit, when I discover several resemblances between two things, to attribute to both equally, even on points in which they are in reality different, that which I have recognized to be true of only one of them [René Descartes quoted by Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, An Archeology of the Human Sciences, p.56]. Combined with this is another perversity, an innate preference for the represented subject over the real one. The defect of the real one is so apt to be a lack of representation. I like things who appear. Then one is sure. Whether they are or not is a subordinate and almost always a profitless question [remix of Henry James, The Real Thing].

A sculpture cannot merely be copied but always only staged or performed. It begins to function like a piece of music whose score is not identical to the piece, the score being not audible but silent. For the music to resound, it has to be performed [Boris Groys, Religion in the Age of Digital Reproduction]. Touched with a hammer as with a tuning fork [Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of Idols, p.4], I cook every chance in my pot [Friedrich Nietzsche, [Thus Spake] Zarathustra, p.118]. Its the real thing.”

– ‘by’ Zaynab Dena Ziari.
– Quoted text from Everything Has Been Photoshopped, Oliver Laric by way of Bourbakisme

 
 
 
 

The evolution of the appearance of the progresses of Capitalist thinking is visually translated as an entire city in a perpetual state of unfinished construction.

A detailed radicalisation of the grandiose that equals, not the awful but, the awfully sublime fantasy of our own demise.

 

– Megalomania, by Factory Fifteen.

 

 

 

 

a hand repeatedly attempting to catch a falling piece of lead is sometimes nothing more than a hand repeatedly attempting to catch a falling piece of lead

– Richard Serra, ‘Hand Catching Lead’, 1968.

 

 

 

 

zeitgeist

noun. The spirit of the moment, describing the intellectual, cultural, ethical, and political climate of an era. There is no such word in the English language for this.

 

 

 

 

l’esprit de l’escalier

– That feeling you get when you leave a conversation and think of all the things you could have, and should have, said. There is no such word in the English language for this.

 

 

 

 

– Ballet Mechanique, by Fernand Leger, 1924.

 

 

 

 

All of life in its complexity and beauty is forever minted in the gold of words.

– Yevgeny Zamyatin

 

 

 

 

They were the children of Marx and Coca-Cola. We are just the children of Coca-Cola.

 

 

 

 

In this city, which is loosely mine, loosely his, and loosely yours, life moves at 16 miles per hour.

– London, I sometimes think of you.

 

 

 

 

“Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. Even more, it is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world — in order to set up a shadow world of ‘meanings’.”

— Susan Sontag.

 

 

 

 

Man made structures and mythologies. They are always perfectly matched.

 

 

 

 

Slowly happiness shifts on that hairless, heirless sea.
While happiness was away, the rampant spiders played
and her hair radiated around them like darting flames.

Born at Cleopatra’s feet, a girl, a child.

Listless, never.
Helpless, never.

But most certainly dreaming,
Most certainly being.

The light flopped in violent circles –
Her anguish exposed.

She kneels, a young woman, a child,
Watching Cleopatra from the crystalline foot.
Crumbling over her face.

Happiness is on its way
(It’s on its way)

– From the Crystalline Foot (a collaboration between a computer and I), from a piece of text created by a random generator, the Turin test for poetry at bot or not).

 

 

 

 

In the first moment maybe nothing was said.

Or maybe it was everything.

It was love
It was a reconciliation with the old man
With his breath that you have not yet breathed.

You united your tongue with your voice and you found yourself in one that no longer exists.

Silent. Quiet. Disquiet.
Refusal of time.
Silent. Quiet. Serene.
Reconciliation with time.

In that moment there was only Yes. The source that gave way to another Yes.

Yes

Yes

It is everything

 

 

 

 

I am a girl
Made of dreams
Made of bones.

 

 

 

 

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