“[…] Everyone tries to make his life a work of art. We want love to last and we know that it does not last; even if, by some miracle, it were to last a whole lifetime, it would still be incomplete. Perhaps, in this insatiable need for perpetuation, we should better understand human suffering, if we knew that it was eternal. It appears that great minds are, sometimes, less horrified by suffering than by the fact that it does not endure. In default of inexhaustible happiness, eternal suffering would at least give us a destiny. But we do not even have that consolation, and our worst agonies come to an end one day. One morning, after many dark nights of despair, an irrepressible longing to live will announce to us the fact that all is finished and that suffering has no more meaning than happiness.”—Albert Camus, from The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt
“In order to exist, man must rebel, but rebellion must respect the limit it discovers in itself—a limit where minds meet and, in meeting, begin to exist. Rebellious thought, therefore, cannot dispense with memory: it is a perpetual state of tension. In studying its actions and its results, we shall have to say, each time, whether it remains faithful to its first noble promise or if, through indolence or folly, it forgets its original purpose and plunges into a mire of tyranny or servitude.
[…] In absurdist experience, suffering is individual. But from the moment when a movement of rebellion begins, suffering is seen as a collective experience. Therefore the first progressive step for a mind overwhelmed by the strangeness of things is to realise that this feeling of strangeness is shared with all men and that human reality, in its entirety, suffers from the distance which separates it from the rest of the universe. The malady experienced by a single man becomes a mass plague. In our daily trials rebellion plays the same role as does the “cogito” in the realm of thought: it is the first piece of evidence. But this evidence lures the individual from his solitude. It founds its first value on the whole human race. I rebel—therefore we exist.”—Albert Camus, from The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt
“Hold childhood in reverence, and do not be in any hurry to judge it for good or ill. Leave exceptional cases to show themselves, let their qualities be tested and confirmed, before special methods are adopted. Give nature time to work before you take over her business, lest you interfere with her dealings. You assert that you know the value of time and are afraid to waste it. You fail to perceive that it is a greater waste of time to use it ill than to do nothing, and that a child ill taught is further from virtue than a child who has learnt nothing at all. You are afraid to see him spending his early years doing nothing. What! is it nothing to be happy, nothing to run and jump all day? He will never be so busy again all his life long. Plato, in his Republic, which is considered so stern, teaches the children only through festivals, games, songs, and amusements. It seems as if he had accomplished his purpose when he had taught them to be happy; and Seneca, speaking of the Roman lads in olden days, says, ‘They were always on their feet, they were never taught anything which kept them sitting.’ Were they any the worse for it in manhood? Do not be afraid, therefore, of this so-called idleness. What would you think of a man who refused to sleep lest he should waste part of his life? You would say, ‘He is mad; he is not enjoying his life, he is robbing himself of part of it; to avoid sleep he is hastening his death.’ Remember that these two cases are alike, and that childhood is the sleep of reason.”—Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from Émile, Or Treatise on Education
“We require just a little order to protect us from the chaos. Nothing is more distressing than a thought that escapes itself, than ideas that fly off, that disappear hardly formed, already eroded by forgetfulness or precipitated into others that we no longer master. These are infinite variabilities, the appearing and disappearing of which coincide. They are infinite speeds that blend into the immobility of the colourless and silent nothingness they traverse, without nature or thought. This is the instant of which we do not know whether it is too long or too short for time. We receive sudden jolts that beat like arteries. We constantly lose our ideas. That is why we want to hang on to fixed opinions so much. We ask only that our ideas are linked together according to a minimum of constant rules. All that the association of ideas has ever meant is providing us with these protective rules – resemblance, contiguity, causality – which enable us to put some order into ideas, preventing our “fantasy” (delirium, madness) from crossing the universe in an instant, producing winged horses and dragons breathing fire.”—Deleuze and Guattari, from What is Philosophy? (via lovevoltaireusapart)
“This week, try to let your muscles get loose, try to let your thoughts wander, try not to worry too much about all your big plans. You can think of yourself like you’re made of water, you can think of yourself like you aren’t even solid. You can take on so many forms. You can move at so many different speeds. You can stay home and watch movies all week long, if you need to. You can sit on the porch and watch the sky. You can walk and walk and walk until you know what to do.”—Madame Clairevoyant
“There was this very deliberate move to just overlay an American reality in Iraq. I’ve never actually seen the map, but apparently Americans thought the names of places were just too complicated so they got decent maps of Baghdad and just renamed everything with familiar names. This neighborhood would be Hollywood, that neighborhood would be Manhattan, and that one’s Madison, you’re going to drive down Oak and take a left on Main Street. That’s all fine if everyone was reading off the same map. But then they would have to deal with the translators, and the translators at first were not allowed to see the map because the maps were classified. So the Americans would say, “Right now we’re going to ‘Dallas,’ what’s the best way to get to Dallas from here? Should we take Main Street or Roosevelt Avenue?” And the translators would look at them bewildered!
So finally the translators are brought into the system and they learn how to use the names—they won’t say Khark, they’ll say Manhattan. That’s so they can talk to the Americans. But then the translators are at a checkpoint, and they’re told to explain to pedestrians: “You need to do a U-turn, turn left, and head over to Dallas.” The Americans would be yelling this at pedestrians and then insisting that the translators had to translate. So there are literally two maps these guys would have to deal with and they would have to learn and translate between these maps. That for me is a great metaphor for the kind of project that we’re talking about. In the Green Zone you have your radio, you have your food, you have your own electricity, your own toilets. Everything is a sealed American reality overlaid on top of an infrastructure that is crumbling.”—Grays in the Emerald City , Henry Peck interviews Elliott Colla - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics (via guernicamag)
“What makes a material a medium is that it is used to express a meaning which is other than that which it is in virtue of its bare physical existence: the meaning not of what it physically is, but of what it expresses.”—John Dewey,from Art as Experience
“In order to understand, it is immensely important for the person who understands to be located outside the object of his or her creative understanding—in time, in space, in culture. For one cannot even really see one’s own exterior and comprehend it as a whole, and no mirrors or photographs can help; our real exterior can be seen and understood only by other people, because they are located outside us in space, and because they are others.”—Mikhail Bakhtin, Speech Genres and Other Late Essays (via heteroglossia)
n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, because although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control for a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.
Invisible things, rooted in cold,
and growing toward this light
into each thing
it illumines. Nothing ends. The hour
returns to the beginning
of the hour in which we breathed: as if
there were nothing. As if I could see
that is not what it is.
At the limit of summer
and its warmth: blue sky, purple hill.
The distance that survives.
A house, built of air, and the flux
of the air in the air.
Like these stones
that crumble back into earth.
Like the sound of my voice
in your mouth.
”—Paul Auster, “Autobiography of the Eye,” Disappearances: Selected Poems (via heteroglossia)
“She really looked at things. Her eyes shimmered as if she were making every object more resplendent. Her eyes were open. She looked at the great…space that swept around her. She surveyed its contours. The gift? She knew the language of lines, of waves, of angles. Light and shadow. It was all there.”—Anne Delbée, on Camille Claudel (via mitochondria)
“With this present, and this future, how can one feel that bold artistic moves have any real energy? Conflicted feelings rule the day. Daily confusions of every stripe. Ambivalence is king. Where is the art that strikingly knows it’s own futility but stumbles forward compellingly, anyway, because as an artist you have no choice?”—Jacob Wren (via jacobwren)
“Tyler Malone: What is conversation to you and what is its value?
Paul Holdengräber: It’s interesting to have children in that regard because one thing you notice very early on is that conversation is how we become human. The word “infant” literally means “without the possibility of phatic expression.” We begin our lives by being spoken to and then slowly by responding. It’s what makes us come together as a kindred species. Without this dialogue, without this possibility of exchange, part of our humanity — that which makes us truly human — is lost. So for me conversation is a way of going back to that initial moment. Conversation is a giving and a taking, back and forth.”—Paul Holdengräber and Tyler Malone in conversation, on the art of conversation, from Full Stop
“[Tyler Malone]: One thing that Adam Phillips said in your interview that I think really applies to our conversation is, “It seems to me that digression may be the norm, the invisible norm, in conversation. Because if you believe in digression as something separate, you must believe it’s possible to be coherently focused and purposive.” I know you’re fascinated with digression …
[Paul Holdengräber]: I am. The last line of my introduction, you will remember, is another line of Adam’s, “Digression is secular revelation.” To my mind those words are so powerful and pungent. They remind me of another line I love, by Laurence Sterne, which we may have spoken about last time, about digression being the sunshine of narrative. It’s in the moments where you go off track — insofar as you believe in a track, which I don’t necessarily do — where the important things come out. That’s I think why Freud was so fascinated by jokes. It’s a moment where we go into areas we didn’t quite know we’d be going into, where we go off the beaten path. It’s in those moments that we travel, and we see something unexpected, turning our gaze to something we hadn’t planned to look at.”—Paul Holdengräber and Tyler Malone in conversation, from Full Stop
“Here, in my solitude, I have the feeling that I contain too much humanity. It oozes out of me like a broken tube of toothpaste; it doesn’t want to stay within the confines of my body. A strange feeling of weight and volume. Soul volume perhaps, which rises like clouds of smoke and envelops my body.”—Ingmar Bergman, from Images (via violentwavesofemotion)
“Perhaps we’re the same person, with no boundaries. Perhaps we flow through each other, stream through each other boundlessly and magnificently. You bear such terrible thoughts….it’s almost painful to be near you.”—Fanny & Alexander (1982) dir. Ingmar Bergman (via violentwavesofemotion)
Piece in many parts
Each in itself is a complete statement,
together am not certain how it will be.
A fact, I cannot be certain yet.
Can be from illness, can be from honesty.
irregular, edges, six to seven feet long,
textures coarse, rough, changing.
see through, non see through, consistent, inconsistent,
enclosed tightly by glass like encasement just hanging there,
then more others, will they hang there in the same way?
try a continuous flowing one,
try some random closely spaced,
try some distant far spaced.
they are tight and formal but very ethereal, sensitive, fragile,
see through mostly,
not painting, not sculpture, it’s there though.
I remember I wanted to get to non art, non connotive,
non anthropomorphic, non geometric, non, nothing,
everything, but of another kind, vision, sort.
from a total other reference point. is it possible?
I have learned anything is possible. I know that,
that vision or concept will come through total risk,
I will do it.
today, another step, on two sheets we put on the glass,
did the two differently.
one was cast-poured over hard, irregular, thick plastic;
one with screening, crumpled, they will all be different, both the rubber sheets and the fiberglass,
lengths and widths.
question how and why in putting it together?
can it be different each time? why not?
how to achieve by not achieving? how to make by not making?
it’s all in that,
it’s not the new, it is what is yet not known,
thought, seen, touched but really what is not.
and that is.
Eva Hesse, ‘Artist’s statement’, Art in Process IV (New York: Finch College, 1969); reprinted in Lucy R. Lippard, Eva Hesse (New York: New York University Press, 1976)
“I was trained to strive for exactness and to believe that rigorous knowledge of the world without any residue is possible for us. This residue, which does not exist—just to think of it refreshes me. To think of its position, how it shares its position with drenched layers of nothing, to think of its motion, how it can never stop moving because I am in motion with it, to think of its tone of voice, which is casual (in fact it forgets my existence almost immediately) but every so often betrays a sort of raw pity I don’t understand, to think of its shadow, which is cast by nothing and so has no death in it (or very little)—to think of these things is like a crack of light showing under the door of a room where I’ve been locked for years. In his tower overlooking the river Neckar, Hölderlin had a piano that he sometimes played so hard he broke the keys. But there were quiet days when he would just play and tilt back his head and sing. Those who heard said they could not tell, though they listened, what language it was.”—Anne Carson, from “Variations on the Right to Remain Silent" in A Public Space, Issue 7 / 2008, also published in Nay Rather (Sylph Editions, 2013).