The Impossible Playwright

"Not seeking out a resemblance - the formula is definitive - does not mean distrusting all semblance but rather achieving a resemblance that does not resemble." Zong Bing (375-473 AD), on painting. (Francoise Jullian, Jane Marie Todd tr.) "Consensus consists, then, in the reduction of politics to the police." Jacques Ranciere "The general loss of memory is not to be explained solely psychologically; it is not simply childhood amnesia. Rather it is social amnesia—memory driven out of mind by the social and economic dynamic of this society." Russell Jacoby Theatre is about space. It is also about history, in the sense of both memory and historical learning. But it is a ritual … [Read more...]

A Knocking of the Gate

"It is the lack of the experience of the imagery of real art, partly substituted and parodied by by the ready-made stereotypes of the amusement industry, which is at least one of the formative elements of the cynicism that has finally transformed the Germans, Beethoven's own people, into Hitler's own people." Adorno "(the knocking makes us aware) that the reaction has commenced, the human has made its reflex upon the fiendish; the pulses of life are beginning to beat again; and the re-establishment of the goings-on of the world in which we live makes us profoundly sensible of the awful parenthesis that had suspended them." Thomas DeQuincey 'On the Knocking of the Gate in … [Read more...]

Privatized Suffering

"And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him." Karl Marx "Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human. This distortion occurs within history; but it is not an histori­ cal vocation. … [Read more...]

Revisiting The New York School

"Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep." Le Corbusier "The fact that a work of art has a politically radical content therefore does not assure its revolutionary value. Nor does a non-political content necessarily imply its irrelevance to revolutionary action. It is in the larger context of the social movement and its positive historical results that the practical significance of partisan art has to be judged." Meyer Shapiro "If that's art, I'm a Hottentot." Harry S. Truman I like this photo of Still's painting at the SF Modern. One feels the presence of that painting. Still was a bit of an outsider to … [Read more...]

A War On the Imagination

"The exemplary person (junzi) seeks harmony (he) rather than agreement (tong); the small person does the opposite." Confucius "All the consumable time of modern society comes to be treated as a raw material for varied new products which impose themselves on the market as uses of socially organized time." Guy Debord Henry Giroux said there is a war on communal relations, on solidarity, and the imagination. I sense this every day when I read mainstream media. Not just the bought hacks who write the disinformation about world affairs, or whitewash U.S. foreign affairs, but even the cultural matters, the human interest (sic) stories and then to read comment threads is an experience akin … [Read more...]