The Perennial Shadow

“Experience teaches us that even when one hears the doorbell ring it is because there is never anyone there.” Eugene Ionesco (The Bald Soprano) "Verily, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a scientific man to pass through a door." Walter Benjamin (Letter to Gerhard Scholem, 1938) "That which is not manifest is much more vast than that which is manifest. The invisible is greater than the visible. So it is also for language…. Only because language casts a shadow both much vaster than itself, and inaccessible, does the spoken word hold and renew such magic." Roberto Calasso (Baudelaire) There is a new film version of King Lear due out. I saw the … [Read more...]

Your Call is Important to Us

"...this situation is highly volatile, because those in the periphery are increasingly aware that the prosperity of the core is purchased at their expense. ” Morris Berman (Twilight of American Culture) “What is the use of free expression to people so frightened of the future that they prefer the comforts of the authoritative lie? ” Lewis H. Lapham. (Age of Folly). "Hence the disappearance of the maxim and the proverb, which were the guise in which experience stood as authority. The slogan, which has replaced them, is the proverb of humankind to whom experience is lost." Giorgio Agamben (Infancy and History) "It is the loss of control of the self over the self-object that leads … [Read more...]

A Thousand Distastes (part one)

"...taste is made of a thousand distastes." Paul Valery " actors make a demand of themselves that is just as counterfactual as it is binding, namely, to be the conscious shapers of societal structures and not merely entities that de facto produce them: that is, to have a steering influence on the construction, preservation or transformation of specific structures. This modern aspiration to control was first formulated by the Enlightenment. Its range and radicality are entirely alien to premodern societies. It is especially, though not exclusively, manifest in measures of political steering." Uwe Schimank "The immediate future of the United States seems to me to have two … [Read more...]

Frankenstein’s Shadow

"In Europe as well as the United States, the erosion of industrial employment through wage arbitrage, outsourcing, and automation has gone hand in hand with the precaritization of service work, the digital industrialization of white-collar jobs, and the stagnation or decline of unionized public employment.” Mike Davis "The world of dreams is a living forest in which fantasy dwells in a state of riddle..." Salomon Resnik "The invention of perspectival representation made the eye the center of the perceptual world as well as of the concept of the self." Juhani Pallasmaa "The truth is that not only are we not Christians but we âre not so much as pagans, to whom the Christian … [Read more...]

The Health of Zombies

"Everything crucial comes into being only 'in spite'. . .. Every new truth comes into being in spite of the evidence: every new experience is acquired in spite of immediate experience." Gaston Bachelard "In German, Heidegger has the voice of what you might expect in a letter you would get at sleep-away-camp from grandma. Juxtapose “being at sleep-away-camp” with “being-in-the world” and an English monoglot starts to hone in on the sound of Heidegger in German without needing to study the grammar. If English translation didn’t provide Heidegger’s phrases with a densely arcane professionalism, as if it were a technical language, while he is being so down-home, it would be much less … [Read more...]

The Dying Light

..imitation supplements inadequate congenital variations in the direction of an instinct, and so, by keeping the creature alive, sets the trend of further variations in the same direction until the instinct is fully organized and congenital. If both of these views be true, as there seems reason to believe, then imitation holds a remarkable position in relation to intelligence and instinct. Karl Groos (The Play of Animals) "To my mind certain so-called abstraction is not abstraction at all. On the contrary, it is the realism of our time". Adolph Gottlieb “Like everything genuine, its inner life guarantees its truth.” Franz Marc “We’re developing a new citizenry. One that will be … [Read more...]

The Courtiers of No Court

"Nostalgia stalks modernity as an unwelcome double". Peter Fritzsche "If madness is everywhere, nobody knows what sane, healthy and rational behaviour is any more.” Steve Taylor "The contemporary world, scientific, technical, and sensualist, sees itself without exit - that is, without God - not because everything there is permitted and, by the way of technology, possible, but because everything there is equal. The unknown is immediately made familiar." Emmanuel Levinas A number of anthropologists have concluded that early hunter/gatherer communities only spent about 20% of their waking time looking for food. The remainder of their time was spent in storytelling and music and … [Read more...]

God’s Shadow

"What is most unfortunate about this development is that the data body not only claims to have ontological privilege, but actually has it. What your data body says about you is more real than what you say about yourself. The data body is the body by which you are judged in society, and the body which dictates your status in the world. What we are witnessing at this point in time is the triumph of representation over being." Critical Art Ensemble “Avarice is a ruinous thing. It dulls the vision and the hearing, and renders men more inhuman than wild beasts. It does not permit in any way the development of friendship, of fellowship, of the salvation of the soul itself. " John Chrysostom; … [Read more...]