Search Results for: let the games begin

The Unreturned Gaze

"In the Middle Ages visual communication was, for the masses, more important than writing. But Chartres Cathedral was not culturally inferior to the Imago mundi by Honorius of Autun. Cathedrals were the TV of their times, and the difference with our TV was that the directors of the medieval TV read good books, had a lot of imagination and worked for the public good." Umberto Eco "There is gold paint, but Rembrandt didn't use it to paint a golden helmet." Wittgenstein "Now fashion, as we know, is a language: through it, through the system of signs it sets up, no matter how fragile this may seem, our society—and not just that of women—exhibits, communicates its being, says what it … [Read more...]

The Tap on the Shoulder

"...Weiss writes of the meetings he must have with the dead, and his solidarity with those who already “only too obviously bear [their death] around with them, who are on the way to the ferryboat, to Acheron, who already hear Charon’s call and the plashing of his oars.” The process of writing which Weiss has recently planned, now that he is about to embark on his literary work Ästhetik des Widerstands (“Aesthetic of Resistance”), is the struggle against “the art of forgetting,” a struggle that is as much part of life as melancholy is of death, a struggle consisting in the constant transfer of recollection into written signs. Despite our fits of “absence” and “weakness,” writing is an attempt … [Read more...]

The Hidden Mythology

"And now bad Christians run about at the time of Carnival with masks and jests and other superstitions. Similarly witches use these revelries of the devil for their own advantage, and work their spells about the time of the New Year." Heinrich Krämer and Jakob Sprenger, Malleus Maleficarum "When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb." Robert Oppenheimer This year saw the death of Denis Johnson and Sam Shepard. I knew Sam personally, and Denis only very slightly. Both shared something that I think has gone out of … [Read more...]

Architecture Degree Zero

"Every failure, a mysterious victory." Jorge Luis Borges "To live in the world today is to live in a state of constant anxiety." Manfredo Tarfuri "Plato likened philosophers to architects, because philosophers also provide bases for all knowledge, although as was typical of the citizen of Athens, he looked down on architects since in reality they are craftsmen." Kojin Karatani There was a fascinating and oddly intriguing, if not compelling, short article in the N.Y.Times Style magazine a couple years back, on architects defending famously derided buildings. And for some reason this was connected in my brain with a brief piece somewhere, I forget, on the U.S. Navy's new … [Read more...]

The Audience Appears

"But, ah, thought kills me that I am not thought." Shakespeare, Sonnet 44 "The continuity of the ego is a myth." Brecht "I have done it, says my memory. I cannot have done it, says my pride and remains inexorable. Finally, the memory gives way." Nietszche "...the facts are there but time will tell I resume alas alas on on in short in fine on on abode of stones who can doubt it I resume but not so fast I resume the skull fading fading fading and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis on on the beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on on the skull the skull the skull the skull..." Lucky, from Waiting for … [Read more...]

The Stare of Empty Eyes

"All work is a crime." Herman Schuurman (1924) "Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition." Jacques Barzun "Art is the tree of is the tree of death." William Blake Jacques Barzun wrote a sort of fascinating small book titled The Use and Abuse of Art (echoing Nietzsche). It is interesting not least because of its clarity. Like Kenneth Clark, Barzun is terribly out of fashion. And yes, he's pretty conservative, too. But he is also a deeply perceptive observer of culture, at times. At the beginning of the book he writes, in light of Schiller's book on poetics... "What does Schiller tell us? First, that modern man is is split -- or as we … [Read more...]

Listening for Silence

"The relationship between the intellectuals and the world of production is not as direct as it is with the fundamental social groups but is, in varying degrees, "mediated" by the whole fabric of society and by the complex of superstructures, of which the intellectuals are, precisely, the "functionaries." Gramsci (Prison Notebooks) "Art is always in some kind of relation with non-art. It does not, indeed it cannot, take place in a bubble cut off from the rest of culture." David Campany "If it is true that little boys bring back the past with bows and arrows, it is also true that youths easily become cliquish, seeking friends and above all a father, which their own one often was … [Read more...]

Lost Affinity

"Several issues are at stake here: the state of education in America, the paralysis of the critical faculty of students, the death of dissent, and the political orientation of the American intelligentsia." Guido Giacomo Preparata "The look of the past can be retrieved, preserved and disseminated in an unprecedented fashion. But awareness of history A an interpretation of the past succumbs to a faith in history as representation." Alan Sekula "The love of the world is night." Jean de Fecamp 11th century “I truly believe that the lack of adequate images is a danger… I have said that before and I repeat it again and again, and as long as I can speak I will speak out for that. If … [Read more...]