Know Your Place

Jiro Yoshihara

"The world of supermodernity does not exactly match the one in which we believe we live, for we live in a world that we have not yet learned to look at. We have to relearn to think about space." Marc Auge "I would propose instead the appropriation and redirection of the very technologies of distraction enforced by dominant culture... Hence, camouflage, mimicry, wit, guileful ruse, deception, and stealth -- forms of qualified surrender -- enter the lexicon of architectural means to reprogram the dominant logics of space in the city." Stan Allen "...the happiness of travel is and remains temporary escape from home without subsequent demand...the traveller of the capitalist age must … [Read more...]

Zombie Narcissists Have No Secrets

Hiroshi Watanabe, photography.

"In 2010, a team at the University of Michigan led by the psychologist Sara Konrath put together the findings of 72 studies that were conducted over a 30-year period. They found a 40 percent decline in empathy among college students, with most of the decline taking place after 2000. Across generations, technology is implicated in this assault on empathy. We’ve gotten used to being connected all the time, but we have found ways around conversation — at least from conversation that is open-ended and spontaneous, in which we play with ideas and allow ourselves to be fully present and vulnerable." Sherry Turkle (New York Times, 2015) "My difficulty is only an — enormous — difficulty of … [Read more...]

Dentistry of Art

Mircea Suciu

"Our capacity for imagination defines us as precisely as our power of speech. In order to be able to cope with tomorrow I have to create, today, however briefly, an image of the world I am about to enter." Anthony Pagden "Without exile, without nostalgia for the lost country, I do not think I would be a writer.” Isabel Allende "And therein lies one of my fatal mistakes in life. Just a few days ago I wrote a note to myself; 'always, even in moments of fulfillment, your tendency to think: its not here yet! You always experience even the most perfect present moment as mere advent. You always expect something more afterward, something bigger, the ultimate." Peter Handke "My Year In No … [Read more...]

We Interrupt Our Scheduled Programming to Bring You…

Cole Thompson, photography.

"Violence is a part of America’s culture. It is as American as cherry pie." H. Rap Brown "We see images on TV, and evaluate ourselves on the basis of what we see." Jena Gordon "The culture's habit of finding "seriousness" acceptable only if offered by people who are finally not serious is yet another way that our culture makes certain that nothing alarming will come of our newfound interest in heretical ideas." Curtis White There is a certain type of white liberal (overwhelmingly white, but not exclusively) in the U.S. today, and they and their sensibility and values define Hollywood products. Film of course, but far more, really, in television. And they are increasingly … [Read more...]

Kitsch Endgame

Huma Bhabha

"The main thing about the stranger, after all, is that he is strange. He is not like us; he will never understand us. Our greatest fear, perhaps because the possibility is often so seductive, is that we will become like him and loose ourselves.” Robin Fox "The maker of kitsch does not create inferior art, he is not an incompetent or a bungler, he cannot be evaluated by aesthetic standards; rather he is ethically depraved, a criminal willing radical evil." Hermann Broch "One of the most American traits is our urge to define what is American." John Updike "The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from utilitarian objects." Adolf Loos "Families, for … [Read more...]

You Will Not Be By That

Thierry de Cordier

"But if the word ‘inspiration’ is to have any meaning, it must mean just this, that the speaker or writer is uttering something which he does not wholly understand – or which he may even misinterpret when the inspiration has departed from him. This is certainly true of poetic inspiration." T.S. Eliot "The words that matter most are the words we don’t understand. If we have believed that words can matter only when we understand them – at least to some extent – in what way might they matter to us when we don’t?" Adam Phillips "There are only two diseases: one is riding an ass to search for the ass; the other is riding an ass and being unwilling to dismount." Shu-chou (Ch'an Master Shu … [Read more...]

Society of the Meaningless

Manuel Alvarez Bravo, photography. 1931.

"...self-parody has become the life-support system of international art infrastructures. Make people feel smart, and they will put up with anything. The mindset cannot be outflanked or overturned, because it routinely performs those operations on itself.” Peter Schjeldahl "In the Basle orphanage where I lived from the age of nine to fourteen I had to work hard for long hours as a joiner’s apprentice when I was out of school. On Sunday I used to copy Hans Holbein’s designs for goldsmiths and in this way trained my sense of form. I am sure that Holbein’s Renaissance found a boyish and ingenuous echo in the way in which I fitted the Biedermeier chests of drawers in vogue at the time with … [Read more...]

The Normal Non-Self

Gerhard Richter

"If there is no activity of interpretation, I cannot understand how any living organism belonging to the human species could survive." Andre Green Squiggle Lecture #3 "The question of experience can be approached nowadays only with an acknowledgement that it is no longer accessible to us." Giorgio Agamben "The human face is a void force, a field of death." Antonin Artaud "...the key question is: Who do elected representatives represent? The answer is not the electorate, but the class that has the resources to invest in the political system—resources politicians need to get elected. This is none other than the class of capitalists. Still, despite the glaring disparity between … [Read more...]