See and Be Amazed!
Gegenwart und Zukunft
The Invented Audience
Disabling / Enabling Photography
“Today we are facing chaos all over again,” … wrote André Masson when asked about the situation of contemporary painting in the
summer of 1931.
Externalized memory had always proceeded by contractions, summaries, reductions, selections, breaks in flow, as well as by organization, classification, boiling down. Card catalogues reduced thousands of works to a few key notions; tables of contents contracted the hundreds of pages in a given book. The sign itself was the first abbreviation of experience. An epic stitched of words was an abbreviation of the war, the long years of which were reduced to a few nights of recitation; the written text that recorded the epic was a contraction of the oral narration which pushed aside its sensory richness, melody, life in a thousand details. In accumulating, every level of abbreviation reconstituted an infinite flow, a new dilation that would be contracted in its turn. From the plurality of pages to the index and the table of contents; from the plurality of books to card catalogues.
The abbreviated elements were further arranged, situated...
I said “Would you like a rope? You know that haul you have is not secured properly.”
“No,” he said, “but I see you have string!”
“If this comes into motion—” I said, “you should use a rope.”
“Any poison ivy on that? ” he asked me, and I told him my rope had been in the barn peacefully for years.
He took a length of it to the bedside table. He had no concept for what wood could endure.
“Table must have broken when I lashed it onto the truck,” he said.
And, when he was moving the sewing machine, he let the cast iron wheels—bang, bang on the stair.
I had settled down to pack up the ﬂamingo cookie jar, the cutlery, and the cookware, but stopped brieﬂy, for how many times do you catch sudden sight of something heartfelt?
I saw our milk cows in their slow...
J.G. Ballard’s self-declared ‘Immodest Proposal’ for a global war-alliance to exact the destruction of America demonstrates the provocatory zeal of his last fiction plans, as well as their enduring prescience.
It was Gilles Deleuze who in various contexts underlined that what we most lacked was “belief in the world.” The odd remark appears, for example, in a conversation in 1990 with the Italian Marxist Antonio Negri about revolutionary emergence and the political force of minorities. In this dialogue Negri examines his interlocutor’s thought in the light of the “problem of the political,” which connects the various stages of the philosopher’s intellectual biography. Deleuze’s remark here is the reprise of a motif that would be familiar to readers of his second book on cinema, which appeared in 1985, in which Deleuze contends that the “power of modern cinema” is based on its ability to “give us back” our lost “belief in the world.”
At the end of the conversation Negri asks his dialogue partner about the possibility of present-day processes of subjectivization. After initially emphasizing the “rebellious spontaneity” of such processes, Deleuze...
The contemporary seems to be a rare animal that can rotate on its own neck and exhibit different faces…
The contemporary seems to be a rare animal that can rotate on its own neck and exhibit different faces, depending on whether we think of it as a given or an uncertain achievement, as an empty, abstract, deceptive present or a springboard into the past and the untimeliness of creation. But if the contemporary is indeed Janus-faced, even the sadness of an encounter with its emptiness, with the semblance of radicalism, must still relate to the excitement of leaping into “now time” or starting to write. Is the present not necessarily empty and therefore always a cause for sadness, also in the case when, in acquiring the sense, or developing the instinct, that is required to venture into the past’s “now time,” we begin to depart from it? In one of his last letters to a young poet, dating from 1904, Rilke distinguishes between two forms of sadness, or rather...