Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cats or Dogs?

To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.
- Aldous Huxley

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Enlightened Anarchism

First, in the unstable construction of the Christian relation to Judaism and to society, Paul risks collapsing the interpretaive circle that he constructs between Jesus Christ and the Judaic tradition and inscribing Christian practice excessively within the latter - not least, he tends toward what are arguably conservative positions on a range of issues such as the place of women within the community and apparently of the Christian within the world. (This collapse might equally occur in the other direction - something, which in fact, took place within the evolution of early Christianity, with 'heretical' interpretations of the novelty of Christ frequently asserting themselves over the Jewish and subsequently-established orthodox framework of Christian interpretation. In either case, the inherent instability of the hermeneutic circle is at issue.) Second, and more problematically in appealing to an extended form of apostolic authority, to resolve the tensions in his hermeneutic strategy, Paul acts as Antigone does (according to Zizek's reading in "On Belief"). (Zizek 2001b: 158 n.24) That is, he acts apparently without recourse to the support of a Symbolic order, while in fact appealing to a truer, hidden/as-yet-unrealized order. He assumes the existence of a Divine Order, or ordering, against which instantiations of would-be messianic negations can be judged. If he allows that Christian community might take different forms, he nonetheless supposes that there is at least a dynamic ordering to which such forms conform. And if his authority is circumscribed and his knowledge limited, he suggest that his position as apostle offers the best guide to that order. As such, where messianism inaugurates a time in which order is ruptured, Paul's appeal tends to circumscribe and recuperate that negation of order for the sake of the emergence of another order, rather than opening upon the undetermined spaces of determinate negation. Hence, where recent political readers have tended to take his messianism to be in opposition to any 'order' of politics, Paul, in fact, tends to resolve the tensions within his messianic conception of act by inscribing the former within the latter. Hence if Paul situates his act as the first moment of a three-fold reflexivity of act, he tends to do so in a manner at some distance from Kristof. Problematically, for a contemporary politics of the kind pursued by Zizek, he appeals to an order-restoring theological authority to stabilize his interpretative strategy.
- John McSweeney, "The Cold Cruelty of Ethics: Zizek, Kristof and Reflexive Subjectivation"

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I am a Camera

I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. ... Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.
Are you satisfied in being merely a camera?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Horse Spring on Helicon?

Francis Picabia, "The Dance at the Spring" (1912)
The male desire to view women as powerful and inspiring and yet still controllable was often expressed through the conflation of feminine themes with images of machines. In contrast, female self imagery was associated with animals and fantasy creatures. These two themes, machine and animal, can be effectively utilized to expose differing assumptions and goals of men and women within the Surrealist movement. Through the examination of these contrasting images, the male/female dynamic as it functioned within the context of Surrealism is clarified.

In order to make the relationship between the story of Gradiva and woman-machine imagery readily apparent, one needs to consider the underlying messages being conveyed rather than the surface form. Seen from the point of view of composition, the machine imagery of Francis Picabia bears little resemblance to the work of Classical Greece. However, when viewed within the context of male desire for control over female activity, the connection becomes evident.
-Alan Foljambe, "Surrealism and the Story of Gradiva: Male Idealization of Women"

Monday, December 16, 2013

Come with Me?

I am the first night here three strikes,
when it is loučíš.
I am a second wind once three two five
I'm just weird, I'm just curious.

I'm your third lung, the last of the Wailing Wall,
if you bother to me.
I know a fourth species, the meeting of Hur,
I feel, yeah I feel it.

When you become with me, you become me,
You'll grow with me, you become me,
I said I dance on the walls.

I am your fifth part of the seven sins
that we know.
I have my sixth sense on the idea of evil things,
it happens, yes it happens.

When you become with me, you become me,
You'll grow with me, you become me,
I said I dance on the walls.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

European Degeneration

In a house which becomes a home,
one hands down and another takes up
the heritage of mind and heart,
laughter and tears, musings and deeds.
Love, like a carefully loaded ship,
crosses the gulf between the generations.
Therefore, we do not neglect the ceremonies
of our passage: when we wed, when we die,
and when we are blessed with a child;
When we depart and when we return;
When we plant and when we harvest.
Let us bring up our children. It is not
the place of some official to hand to them
their heritage.
If others impart to our children our knowledge
and ideals, they will lose all of us that is
wordless and full of wonder.
Let us build memories in our children,
lest they drag out joyless lives,
lest they allow treasures to be lost because
they have not been given the keys.
We live, not by things, but by the meanings
of things. It is needful to transmit the passwords
from generation to generation.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Monday, December 9, 2013

DeNile is Only a River in Egypt

“...today, the only class which, in its 'subjective' self perception, explicitly conceives of and presents itself as a class is the notorious 'middle class' which is precisely the 'non-class': the allegedly hard-working middle strata of society which define themselves not only by their allegiance to firm moral and religious standards, but by a double opposition to both 'extremes' of the social space - non-patriotic 'deracinated' rich corporations on the one side; poor excluded immigrants and ghetto-members on the other. The 'middle class' grounds its identity in the exclusion of both extremes which, when they are directly counterpoised, give us 'class antagonism' at its purest. The constitutive lie of the very notion of the 'middle class' is thus the same as that of the true Party line between the two extremes of 'right-wing deviation' and left-wing deviation' in Stalinism: the 'middle class' is, in its very 'real' existence, the embodied lie, the denial of antagonism - in psychoanalytic terms, the 'middle class' is a fetish, the impossible intersection of left and right which, by expelling both poles of the antagonism into the position of antisocial 'extremes' which corrode the healthy social body (multinational corporations and intruding immigrants), presents itself as the neutral common ground of Society. In other words, the 'middle class' is the very form of the disavowal of the fact that 'Society doesn't exist' (Laclau) - in it, Society does exist.”
― Slavoj Žižek

Friday, December 6, 2013

Struggles of the Class Chondrichthyes (subclass Elasmobranchii)

Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe
And he keeps it, ah, out of sight
Ya know when that shark bites with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves, oh, wears old MacHeath, babe
So there's never, never a trace of red

Now on the sidewalk, huh, huh, whoo sunny morning, un huh
Lies a body just oozin' life, eek
And someone's sneakin' 'round the corner
Could that someone be Mack the Knife?

There's a tugboat, huh, huh, down by the river don'tcha know
Where a cement bag's just a'drooppin' on down
Oh, that cement is just, it's there for the weight, dear
Five'll get ya ten old Macky's back in town
Now d'ja hear 'bout Louie Miller? He disappeared, babe
After drawin' out all his hard-earned cash
And now MacHeath spends just like a sailor
Could it be our boy's done somethin' rash?

Now Jenny Diver, ho, ho, yeah, Sukey Tawdry
Ooh, Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Oh, the line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky's back in town

I said Jenny Diver, whoa, Sukey Tawdry
Look out to Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Yes, that line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky's back in town
Look out, old Macky's back!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


from Wikipedia
"Andy Warhol" is a song written by David Bowie in 1971 for the album Hunky Dory. This is an acoustic song about one of Bowie's greatest inspirations, the American pop artist Andy Warhol. The song starts with some studio chat where Bowie explains to producer Ken Scott, who has just been heard to mispronounce Warhol's name when introducing the take, the right way to say it. Scott solemnly reintroduces the take with the correct pronunciation. There follows several seconds of silence before Bowie asks if the tape is rolling. Upon realising they are indeed recording, Bowie bursts into laughter and begins playing. The song is memorable for its distinctive, flamenco-sounding opening riff on the acoustic guitar that continues through the song.

Bowie later played the song to Andy Warhol, who reportedly disliked it as he thought the lyrics made fun of his physical appearance. When the song had finished playing, Warhol and Bowie reportedly just stared at each other for a while until Warhol said "I like your shoes" and the pair then had a conversation about shoes.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Death of "Sacred" in Art (by Suicide)? Enter the Post-Modern

from a review of the Everyman Theatre's current production of "Red"
The start of the final scene, with Rothko sitting on the floor, hands covered in red paint, is placed too far downstage for those not sitting in the first few rows to see. The scene's impact comes from the whole audience sharing Ken's fear that the artist has done himself injury.
an excerpt from an account from the artist's actual life...
"On February 25, 1970, my mother received a call from Oliver Steindecker, Mark Rothko’s studio assistant, informing her that Rothko had committed suicide and was lying on the floor of his studio in a pool of blood."
from Wikipedia:
The artist Mark Rothko was engaged to paint a series of works for the restaurant in 1958. Accepting the commission, he secretly resolved to create "something that will ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-bitch who ever eats in that room." Observing the restaurant's pretentious atmosphere upon his return from a trip to Europe, Rothko abandoned the project altogether, returned his advance and kept the paintings for himself. The final series was dispersed and now hangs in three locations: London’s Tate Gallery, Japan’s Kawamura Memorial Museum and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. During the period in which Rothko worked on his murals, the Four Seasons rented Jackson Pollock's masterpiece Blue Poles from its then-owner, art collector Ben Heller. John Logan's Tony Award-winning 2010 play Red dramatizes Rothko's time working on the Seagram Murals.
The "Pop" Art of Andy Warhol, et al, had just displaced Abstract Expressionism as the premier art form du jour, just as Abstract Expressionism had in earlier days displaced the figurative art forms of cubism and Surrealism. But retracting the sale of the paintings and undoing the commission from which they were born was an attempt by Rothko to remain true to himself and protest the "crass" commercialism inherent in his work. On the other hand, Andy Warhol, went on to ironically "exploit" just these crass commercial aspects.

from Art Critic Sue Hubbard commenting upon a Rothko retrospective at the Tate Modern:
The next generation of American artists would abandon spiritual concerns and deconstruct the uniqueness of the art object: if a work of art could be reproduced endlessly, it no longer had a value as a "sacred" object (think of Andy Warhol's silk screens). Rothko was one of the last, great philosophical painters to put aesthetics before money and to believe in the redemptive power of art.