Telling the Stories We Have Forgotten

Stele of Nanai, 1400 B.C. (detail)

"Home is a place where the nondescript is sanctified as its necessary place in a system, where sublimity and predictability coincide, and moral grandeur results from the combination of alertness with incapacity for boredom in boring surroundings." Robert Harbison "Thus neurosis exhibits the quest for novelty, but underlying it, at the level of the instincts, is the compulsion to repeat. In man, the neurotic animal, the instinctual compulsion to repeat turns into into its opposite, the quest for novelty, and the unconscious aim of the quest for novelty is repetition." Norman O. Brown "I had a sort of mania for the cinema at that time—I went once or twice a day instead of doing … [Read more...]

Unstaging, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love World Government

Ferrante Ferranti, photography.

"Today, Americans would be outraged if UN troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow, they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all people of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil….individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by their world government.” Henry Kissinger, 1992 "Long live Christ the King." Reverend H.E.B. Nye Church of England, 1933 "Communists are the vultures who scent the corpse of humanity from afar." Reverend H.E.B. … [Read more...]

He Who is Never Sought; or The Birth of Suspicion

Rona Pondick

"The unconscious too easily appears to be a thing we speak about, while actually it speaks in its specific way and with its specific syntax." Octave Mannoni "And how can one be sure, in such darkness." Beckett "The Unnamable" "The problem for critical thought, now, is how to make reality break in on the mind that masters it. For what we are involved in, that’s the one praxis. And the puzzle of this praxis is shaped in realizing that while reality must be made to break in on the mind, that can’t occur in the model of tossing a stone through a window; the window must shatter under its own fissuring tinsel pressures, from within, as a violence against the violence." Robert … [Read more...]

Life in the Rat Box

Correggio. "Danae"  1531

"When an individual becomes over-involved in a topic of conversation, others are drawn from the talk to the talker. One man's eagerness is another man's alienation. Readiness to become over-involved is a form of tyranny practiced by children, prima donnas and lords, placing feelings above moral rules that should have made society safe for interaction.” Erving Goffman "If Freud was 'conservative' in his immediate disregard of society, his concepts are radical in their pursuit of society where it allegedly does not exist: in the privacy of the individual. Freud undid the primal bourgeois distinction between private and public, the individual and society; he unearthed the objective roots of … [Read more...]

Question is; To Know What We Want

Alessandro Imbriaco, photography.

"...the logic of the simulacrum, with its transformation of older realities into television images, does more than merely replicate the logic of late capitalism; it reinforces and intensifies it." Fredric Jameson "The question is, to know what we want. If we are prepared for war, plagues, famine, and massacres, we don't even need to say so, all we have to do is carry on." Antonin Artaud The ironic is, today, I am coming to see, a sort of delivery device for white supremacist thinking, which term itself is often problematic. But the colonial mind set has never left white society in the West. Nor anywhere, I suppose. The resistance to letting go of white control of … [Read more...]

The Act of Not Seeing

F.C. Gundlach, photography. Berlin Hilton, 1958

"..the fundamental meaning of symbols in which the earliest human beings customarily deposited their views of the nature of the world around them is purely physical and material. Symbolism, like language, sat in nature's lap." Johann Jakob Bachofen "Departure in dreams means dying." Freud, Introductory Lectures "Seems, madam? Nay, it is. I know not seems." Shakespeare Hamlet I think that the critical response to the premiere of the second season of HBO's True Detective reveals a lot about mass culture at the moment. Not just that they were negative, but were near unanimously violently negative and snarky. Now, many critics had watched the three episodes provided to … [Read more...]

Fugitive and Fleeting

Luigi Ghirri, photography.

"...the gesture of forgiveness expresses the sovereignty of the self, which, in its full autonomy, faces off against another self. In fact, when we begin to practice forgiveness, one of the first things that often surprises us is that others do not understand. "But how could you forgive that?" we often hear. At such moments we begin to see the difference in perspectives: those third parties view reproach from a point of view (i.e. that of a legitimate right we held and are now giving up) that has little or nothing to do with the nature of forgiveness." Manuel Cruz "An author's words are deeds." Sigmund Freud "The Vietnam War was for many a black and white war. People could not bear … [Read more...]

The Pink Wall

Jiro Yoshiharo

"Secularization is a nice technical word for this blankness. It means specialization and abstraction, social life driven by a calculus of large scale statistical chances, with everyone accepting or resenting a high level of risk; time and space turned into variables in that same calculus, both of them saturated by information and played with endlessly, monotonously on nets and screens..." T.J. Clark "Parametricism cannot become the long-term successor to Modernism because, like nearly all starchitecture, it ignores and exacerbates the urgent challenges of our time, such as the environmental crisis and the need to reintegrate ruptured urban fabric. Instead it is a perfect example of what … [Read more...]