Monday, December 28, 2015

Bodies of Water

I saw the long line of the vacant shore,
The sea-weed and the shells upon the sand,
And the brown rocks left bare on every hand,
As if the ebbing tide would flow no more.
Then heard I, more distinctly than before,
The ocean breathe and its great breast expand,
And hurrying came on the defenceless land
The insurgent waters with tumultuous roar.
All thought and feeling and desire, I said,
Love, laughter, and the exultant joy of song
Have ebbed from me forever! Suddenly o’er me
They swept again from their deep ocean bed,
And in a tumult of delight, and strong
As youth, and beautiful as youth, upbore me.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Nicrap & Jen!

So stick up ivy and the bays,
And then restore the heathen ways.

Green will remind you of the spring,
Though this great day denies the thing.

And mortifies the earth and all
But your wild revels, and loose hall.

Could you wear flowers, and roses strow
Blushing upon your breasts’ warm snow,
That very dress your lightness will
Rebuke, and wither at the ill.

The brightness of this day we owe
Not unto music, masque, nor show:
Nor gallant furniture, nor plate;
But to the manger’s mean estate.

His life while here, as well as birth,
Was but a check to pomp and mirth;
And all man’s greatness you may see
Condemned by His humility.

Then leave your open house and noise,
To welcome Him with holy joys,
And the poor shepherd’s watchfulness:
Whom light and hymns from heaven did bless.

What you abound with, cast abroad
To those that want, and ease your load.
Who empties thus, will bring more in;
But riot is both loss and sin.

Dress finely what comes not in sight,
And then you keep your Christmas right.
- Henry Vaughan, "The True Christmas" (1678)

Society's Rules for Rejection...

When I meet a pretty girl and beg her: "Be so good as to come with me," and she walks past without a word, this is what she means to say:
"You are no Duke with a famous name, no broad American with a Red Indian figure, level, brooding eyes and a skin tempered by the air of the prairies and the rivers that flow through them, you have never journeyed to the seven seas and voyaged on them wherever they may be, I don't know where. So why, pray, should a pretty girl like myself go with you?
"You forget that no automobile swings you through the street in long thrusts; I see no gentlemen escorting you in a close half-circle, pressing on your skirts from behinds and murmuring blessings on your head; your breasts are well laced into your bodice, but your thighs and hips make up for that restraint; you are wearing a taffeta dress with a pleated skirt such as delighted all of us last autumn, and yet you smile - inviting mortal danger - from time to time."
"Yes, we're both in the right, and to keep us from being irrevocably aware of it, hadn't we better just go our separate ways home?"
- Franz Kafka, "Rejection"

Saturday, December 19, 2015

3 Strangers in Paradise...

Love and paradise
met in the red room
when starlight sang
the waltz of time

the night was set
a million years ago
when warmth and affection
were brightly born

"softly" said love
to the rim of pleasure
as they danced
serenaded by a trillion stars

"when we are old
let men say
love and paradise
came one night
and left us joy"
- George Carle, "Love and Paradise" (2014)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Still Reckless... ;)

It's quite an irony
How fragile a muscle the heart is,
But when finds love, is reckless.
- Bea Miralles, "Untitled"

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Food for Heartbeats


Tax'd Light is poison'd air;
And lords and squires tax Light;
The smile of God, the breath of life,
They curse, with all their might!
They curse the blessed sod;
They, kneel to curse and pray;
They famish, in the name of God,
His children day by day:
Light, Air, and Food, they tax;
Could hell's worst fiends do worse?
Man's all on earth, Light, Air, Food, Life,
With all their might, they curse!
Then, who would play the lord
O'er wapentake and shire?
To make such law, the Dev'l himself
Would scorn to be a Squire.


But sin comes home to roost;
And right too long delay'd
May match, for them, their wretches' home,
The hell on earth they've made:
To beg the bread they curse;
To find in want a hell;
To perish like their victims, starv'd;
May yet requite them well.
" Lord, do thou unto us
As we to others do! "
Such pray'r, from spotted lips, like theirs,
Might turn their angels blue!
Then, who would play the lord
O'er wapentake and shire?
To curse, by law, Light, Air, and Life,
What beast would be a Squire?
Ebenezer Elliott, "Air, Light, Food, Life"

Sunday, November 29, 2015

What the River Told Me

“The end is in the beginning and yet you go on.”
― Samuel Beckett, "Endgame"

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Eastern European Influences

They call it night,
they call it night
and I call it mine.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Russian Moons

Oh, Sputnik, iron star, keep on playing
that pop tune, spew notes into the ether.
Let your clock-hands glow above mountain ranges,
let midnight be announced form beyond galaxies,
millions of years as the rain traveled across the empty ocean
and out of it steaming stalagmites rose.
Let gastropod shells hum their tale of a time
when the cloud cover began to fray,
when molecules began to form chains.
And crustaceans gnawed messages into stones.
Let them tell how mussels wove armor
around themselves, how they carved
a rock to so resemble a brain.
Oh, Sputnik, iron star, protect our sleep,
sprinkle your rust mixed with snow on these rooftops
as they rise and fall
in the rhythm of breathing.
Light up the streets. Signpost the roads.
Guide the seafarers – as if they ever
needed it – toward the harbor’s photoelectric cells
spilling their honey on the water.
Guide the traveling fair as it proceeds
from town to town, its ferris wheel carried in containers,
dismantled. And guide me
along that track made by the wheels of their carts
past the roundabout creatures, the tiger all swollen in the rain,
to the fragrance of popcorn and spun sugar.
- Olli Heikkonen

Friday, November 13, 2015


Ah green, I love my green.
It's the traffic light's nicest scene.
Green is a traffic dream.
You can always keep driving, driving, driving.
And you can keep going in life, whatever you're doing,
Your favorite project, your favorite dream.

And orange traffic light,
In my life, I've had to a slow down when I was skiing,
A slow down of whatever I was doing.

And oh red light.
I had to stop being in so much strife.
I had to stop my bad habits.
- Vera Sidhwa, "Traffic Light"

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Suffering Fools

For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
2 Corinthians 11:19

Monday, November 9, 2015


“The preachers and lecturers deal with men of straw, as they are men of straw themselves. Why, a free-spoken man, of sound lungs, cannot draw a long breath without causing your rotten institutions to come toppling down by the vacuum he makes. Your church is a baby-house made of blocks, and so of the state.

...The church, the state, the school, the magazine, think they are liberal and free! It is the freedom of a prison-yard.”
― Henry David Thoreau, "I to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau"

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Washed Ashore Again

I love the smell of the sea
All around gulls fly free
Waves rolling lazily in and more
Breaking spreading right along the shore
Seaweed uprooted after a bygone storm
Flotsam about in many a form
Floating broken and torn
Even old husks of an empty ear of corn
Bottles many a shape and size
What they contain, sometimes a surprise
A note from a distant land
Thrown there by another’s hand
Smells so fresh and clean
The smells of mankind have never been
Walking along the sandy beach by night or day
Leaving footprints only along the way
Gritty sand between my toes
The wind nipping at my clothes
Bracing myself onwards I go
What will I find next, I do not know
Sometimes at night the luminescent lights
Twinkle and glow in the waves delights
Ships in the distance passing by
Those gulls in the air they still fly
Oh what a glorious sight
Out here on the beach, both day and night
-Gordon D Wilkinson, "Flotsam"

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sunset Blvd

“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”
― George R.R. Martin

Friday, October 30, 2015

Casting Off, the Merch Life Reprised.

The term abjection literally means "the state of being cast off". In usage it has connotations of degradation, baseness and meanness of spirit; but has been explored in post-structuralism as that which inherently disturbs conventional identity and cultural concepts. The most popular of Julia Kristeva’s interpretations of abjection is that of the subjective horror one, and therefore one’s body, experiences when one is confronted with what she terms one’s “corporeal reality,” or a breakdown in the distinction between what is self and what is other. Kristeva claims that within the boundaries of what one defines as subject – a part of oneself – and object – something that exists independently of oneself – there resides pieces that were once categorized as a part of oneself or one’s identity that has since been rejected – the abject. Her most common example of this is the horror one experiences when one is presented with a corpse, as it was once a living thing capable of being identified with and thus fit within the bounds of subject, and has since become an object. The concept of abjection is best described as the process by which one separates their sense of self – be that physical and biological, social or cultural – from that which they consider intolerable and infringes upon their ‘self’, otherwise known as the abject. The abject is, as such, the “me that is not me”
from Wikipedia

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sacred Memories

Christ is a Nigger,
Beaten and black--
O, bare your back.

Mary is His Mother
Mammy of the South,
Silence your Mouth.

God's His Father--
White Master above
Grant us your love.

Most holy bastard
Of the bleeding mouth:
Nigger Christ
On the cross of the South.
- Langston Hughes, "Christ in Alabama"

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tuschman on Hopper

from PetaPixel
Richard Tuschman began experimenting with digital imaging in the early 1990’s, developing a style that synthesized his interests in photography, painting and assemblage. His work has since been exhibited and published internationally and recognized by, among others, Photo District News, American Photography, Prix de la Photographie, Paris, and the International Photography Awards. He currently lives and works in New York City.

PetaPixel: First, Richard, tell us about your background in photography. When did it start for you?

Richard Tuschman: I suppose it started as a child looking at my parents’ and grandparents’ family photo albums. I have always been drawn to photographic images (who isn’t?), but I have never had traditional photographic training and I do not possess traditional darkroom skills.

Until relatively recently, I would refer to myself as “an artist who uses photography” rather than “photographer,” though now I am happy to use the label “photographer.” When I went to art school at the University of Michigan back in the 1970’s, I studied mostly printmaking, though I did a lot of photo etching and photo lithography. I only took one darkroom course, and I was not very good at it. But I always incorporated photography into my work, through photo printmaking or collage.

It was not until Photoshop was introduced in the 1990’s that I had a “darkroom” that I felt comfortable with. I had been using a Macintosh for several years at my graphic design job, so Photoshop came naturally to me, and seemed much more analogous to painting and printmaking (which was good for me) than a traditional darkroom. After that, my career in photo-illustration took off.

PP: Who were the important teachers and mentors who have helped to shape your career?

RT: When I was in art school in Ann Arbor I studied with the lithographer Paul Stewart, and he was very good at pushing students to expand their aesthetic horizons, along with instilling a solid work ethic.

In terms of photographers at that time, the surrealism of Arthur Tress and the dreamy narratives of Duane Michals both strongly influenced me. When I began doing commercial work in the 1990’s, I was looking a lot at painterly photo-illustrators like Matt Mahurin and Amy Guip. I was also drawn to the beautifully crafted and surreal conceptual work of Geof Kern.

PP: Your project “Hopper Meditations” is an uncanny collection of images directly inspired by the work of seminal American painter Edward Hopper. How do you connect with his work, and what prompted you to make these images?

RT: I wanted to do a series of staged figurative narratives, something I could sink my teeth into. I have always loved the way Hopper’s paintings, with an economy of means, are able to address some of the psychological mysteries and complexities of the human condition. I love the humble nature of the works and their sense of quietude. The characters’ emotional states can seem to waver paradoxically between reverie and alienation, or perhaps between longing and resignation. I also liked that many of them seem to be set in New York City, which is my favorite city, and where I live.

PP: The bulk of Hopper’s work was created in the early 20th century. What about his personal vision still resonates today?

RT: First of all, the period in which he made the paintings resonates very much with me. Though it is a generation or two before my time, in many ways it feels very familiar, from all the time I spent as a child poring over the family photo albums. So, for me, it has the right balance of strangeness and familiarity.

But also, their sense of humanity, and the themes they evoke — solitude, alienation, longing — are timeless and universal.

PP: The technical properties of this work are outstanding, and from lighting to set design it seems like you had a great team to make this project come to life. Talk a bit about who they are and the role they played.

RT: Well, thank you! And let me thank my two wonderful models, Aria McKenna and Ariel Kleinberg, and my terrific hair stylist and makeup artist, Falon McKinney. That is the team.

The sets are all painted dollhouse size dioramas that I built and photographed in my studio. A lot of the furniture is standard dollhouse furniture, but some I made myself. I photographed the models against a plain backdrop, and then made the digital composites in Photoshop.

PP: I’d like to hear more about the technical aspects of these images, was there a lot of post-production involved? Do you consider digital production a specialty of yours?

RT: First, let me give you a little background. The idea of digitally marrying dioramas and live models brings together a few of my different working methods from the past thirty odd years.

When I first moved to New York after art school around 1980, one of my first jobs was working in an architectural supply store. The model building materials there inspired me to make a series of miniature “stage set like” box constructions. The tone of these was surreal, and a human presence was often suggested by collage or painted shadows, or sometimes an actual painted clay figure. I worked this way for most of the 1980’s.

As I mentioned previously, the introduction of Photoshop in 1990 launched my (ongoing) career as a digital photo-illustrator. So yes, I would consider digital production a specialty of mine. I began seriously photographing live models several years ago for my book cover assignments.

In terms of post-production, as much as I love Photoshop, I do not want to spend any more time there than necessary. Silhouetting can be time consuming, but other than accurately scaling and placing the figures, the image is largely done by the time I get to post-production, at least if I have done my job right so far. Sure, there is the tweaking of the contrast and colors, maybe I’ll have to paint a shadow or two, and I will retouch some seams in the diorama. But the guts of the image are determined before the digital stage.

When I photograph the dioramas, I always take some shots with small artist mannequins as placeholders for the live models. This helps me tremendously in matching the lighting. The lighting for both the dioramas and the live models is sometimes continuous hot lights, and sometimes speedlight strobes. I try to make the most of the sessions with the models, so for this project there was just one shoot with Aria, and one shoot with Ariel.

PP: The emotional tones you set do closely mirror the senses of loneliness and solitude that Hopper expressed in his paintings. You also mention Rembrandt as an inspiration to the chiaroscuro lighting effects you’ve utilized. Are there any other artists out there who’ve directly inspired this project?

RT: Yes, I love vintage photography, too, so I would include people like Julia Margaret Cameron and E.J. Bellocq.

PP: As a follow-up, what other photographers working today inspire you in general?

RT: Paolo Ventura and Lori Nix for their diorama work, the figurative work of Hellen Van Meene, Hendrick Kerstens, Richard Learoyd and Jayne Hinds Bidaut, and of course, the incredible staged images of Gregory Crewdson.

PP: Lastly, talk about what other projects or activities you’re looking forward to in 2014.

RT: I have just started work on a new series inspired by recent trips to Kraków, Poland, where my wife was born. It’s another series of open-ended narratives, but set in Eastern Europe, largely inspired by the architecture, and with an expanded cast of characters.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


In the days of the broken cubes of Picasso
And in the days of the broken songs of the young men
A little too drunk to sing
And the young women
A little too unsure of love to love —
I met on the boulevards of Paris
An African from Senegal.

Knows why the French
Amuse themselves bringing to Paris
Negroes from Senegal.

It's the old game of the boss and the bossed,
boss and the bossed,
worked and working,
Behind the cubes of black and white,
black and white,
black and white
But since it is the old game,
For fun
They give him the three old prostitutes of
France —
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity —
And all three of 'em sick
In spite of the tax to the government
And the legal houses
And the doctors
And the Marseillaise .

Of course, the young African from Senegal
Carries back from Paris
A little more disease
To spread among the black girls in the palm huts.
He brings them as a gift
disease —
From light to darkness
disease —
From the boss to the bossed
disease —
From the game of black and white
From the city of the broken cubes of Picasso
- Langston Hughes, "Cubes"

Friday, October 16, 2015

On the Job...

I do not know, and I doubt whether even scholars know, if the book of Job had a great effect or had any effect upon the after development of Jewish thought. But if it did have any effect it may have saved them from an enormous collapse and decay. Here in this book the question is really asked whether God invariably punishes vice with terrestrial punishment and rewards virtue with terrestrial prosperity. If the Jews had answered that question wrongly they might have lost all their after influence in human history. They might have sunk even down to the level of modern well-educated society. For when once people have begun to believe that prosperity is the reward of virtue, their next calamity is obvious. If prosperity is regarded as the reward of virtue it will be regarded as the symptom of virtue. Men will leave off the heavy task of making good men successful. He will adopt the easier task of making out successful men good. This, which has happened throughout modern commerce and journalism, is the ultimate Nemesis of the wicked optimism of the comforters of Job. If the Jews could be saved from it, the book of Job saved them.

The book of Job is chiefly remarkable, as I have insisted throughout, for the fact that it does not end in a way that is conventionally satisfactory. Job is not told that his misfortunes were due to his sins or a part of any plan for his improvement. But in the prologue we see Job tormented not because he was the worst of men, but because he was the best. It is the lesson of the whole work that man is most comforted by paradoxes. Here is the very darkest and strangest of the paradoxes; and it is by all human testimony the most reassuring. I need not suggest what high and strange history awaited this paradox of the best man in the worst fortune. I need not say that in the freest and most philosophical sense there is one Old Testament figure who is truly a type; or say what is prefigured in the wounds of Job.
- G.K. Chesterton, "Introduction to The Book of Job"

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise.
- William Blake, "Eternity"

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Tiramisu (from Italian, spelled tiramisù, meaning "pick me up" or "lift me up")

Friday, October 9, 2015

Nobody Knows

Time to roll
The answer floats on down
The farthest shore
Of the mind

Roll the dice
That sail the ship
And all the doors will open
On down the line

Turned to wrong
A lesson learned
And then forgotten over
In our time

In that moment
I awoke among the
Smoke and mirrors
I was blind

Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows
Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows for sure

It begins and on and on
A baby’s born
The elder’s down
All in their time

Start a door, the setting sun
The day has come
My mind is open
My oh my

Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows
Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows for sure

Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows
Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows, nobody knows

Time to go
The answer floats on by
The farthest shore
Of the mind
Roll the dice that sail the ship
And all the world will open
All this time

Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows
Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows, nobody knows

Nobody knows
Nobody knows

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Time for Love

You would measure time the measureless and the immeasurable.
You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons.
Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.

Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness,
And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.
And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.
Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless?
And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not from love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds?
And is not time even as love is, undivided and spaceless?

But if in your thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons,
And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.
- Kahlil Gibran, "On Time"

Friday, October 2, 2015

Life as It's Known

Northern arc and all the sleeping cars, the sleeping pills
by this horseshoe road tucked in maple leaves/make-beliefs
A talisman that gave an end, time to amend
from the steepest quarter since I arrived, I survived

I force myself to sleep
and sway into those dreams
where I tip-toe on pine trees
swept up by the breeze

Everyday I go to work and then back home
eat my meal, go to sleep and start again
I've got a black dog named Izzie and she's the only one
who understands, without a word, undeterred

I force myself to sleep
and sway into those dreams
where I tip-toe on pine trees
swept up by the breeze
Colour the Mundane, "Maple Leaves/Make-Beliefs"

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Nouvelle Vague

Code Switching - The Timorous Crossing of Social Boundaries/ Conventions

Monday, September 28, 2015

Times Square?

Dazzling lights
Throngs of people
Walking through crowded streets
Reminds us of why we live here
Costumed performers - Bright theatre marquees
Seeing those sights brings happiness
to native and tourist alike
Autumn - a chill in the air
Undaunted, the bustling crowds
head for dinner and a show
No place quite like it anywhere
The masses of people
are taking their full measure
of urban joy
Double decker buses move down the avenue
as newcomers to the Big Apple get their firs bite of it
Even those who have lived here
their entire lives
Still feel exhilarated as they pass Times Square
Electricity lights up the metropolitan scene
The city is working its magic
Untold thousands on the avenue
Eyes meet - a feeling of urban love
works its way into the hearts
of the masses gathered there
The city
- Mathew Anish, "from Times Square"

Friday, September 25, 2015

Solo Sale-ing

WHEN dawn's first cymbals beat upon the sky,
Rousing the world to labour's various cry,
To tend the flock, to bind the mellowing grain,
From ardent toil to forge a little gain,
And fasting men go forth on hurrying feet,
Buy bread, buy bread, rings down the eager street.

When the earth falters and the waters swoon
With the implacable radiance of noon,
And in dim shelters koïls hush their notes,
And the faint, thirsting blood in languid throats
Craves liquid succour from the cruel heat,
Buy fruit, buy fruit, steals down the panting street.

When twilight twinkling o'er the gay bazaars,
Unfurls a sudden canopy of stars,
When lutes are strung and fragrant torches lit
On white roof-terraces where lovers sit
Drinking together of life's poignant sweet,
Buy flowers, buy flowers, floats down the singing street.
- Sarojini Naidu, 'Street Cries"

Friday, September 18, 2015

20th Century Friendships...

I’m a tranquilizer.
I’m effective at home.
I work in the office.
I can take exams
on the witness stand.
I mend broken cups with care.
All you have to do is take me,
let me melt beneath your tongue,
just gulp me
with a glass of water.

I know how to handle misfortune,
how to take bad news.
I can minimize injustice,
lighten up God’s absence,
or pick the widow’s veil that suits your face.
What are you waiting for—
have faith in my chemical compassion.

You’re still a young man/woman.
It’s not too late to learn how to unwind.
Who said
you have to take it on the chin?

Let me have your abyss.
I’ll cushion it with sleep.
You’ll thank me for giving you
four paws to fall on.

Sell me your soul.
There are no other takers.

There is no other devil anymore.
- Wisława Szymborska, "Advertisement"

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


"It is only through fantasy that the subject is constituted as desiring: Through fantasy, we learn how to desire." - Slavoj Zizek, "Looking Awry"

"Fantasy renders and sustains the structure of the forced choice, it tells us how we are to choose if we are to maintain the freedom of choice - that is, it bridges the gap between the formal symbolic frame of choices and social reality by preventing the choice which, although formally allowed, would, if in fact made, ruin the system" - Slavoj Zizek, "The Plague of Fantasies"

"Fantasy works both ways, it simultaneously closes the actual span of choices and maintains the false opening, the idea that the excluded choice might have happened, and does not actually take place only on account of contingent circumstances." - Slavoj Zizek, "The Plague of Fantasies"

"Fantasy if the means by which the subject maintains himself at the level of his vanishing desire, vanishing inashmuch as the very satisfaction of the demand deprives him of his object" - Jacques Lacan, "Ecrits"

"Everything we are allowed to approach by way of reality remains rooted in fantasy." - Jacques Lacan, "Seminar XX"

"Human reality is constructed on a previous foundation of hallucination" - Jacques Lacan, "Seminar VI (Desire and Its Interpretation"

Friday, September 11, 2015

9/11: Bewitched with Melancholia

Iranian Exile Blues...

I snuffed out my god in your glass
I hug my homogeneous kinds to you at nights
a small rainbow on my fingertip
I killed my self and you at the just first kiss
i was crying constantly to my distinct sex
a sad Dracula was I at nights
and love was a mental malignant disorder
my loneliness was sentenced to group-sex
cigarette with alcohol by the taste of intercourse
means: forgetting…forgetting…forgetting…
after you alcohol deteriorated me.. slept plastered
after you I slept NEXT to whomever was and any one is
after you I became whole of wounds which is twisted circle of bones
I experienced whatever whit whomever that I could
loneliness among the crowd , in all alone
masturbating with sob and soap and sap and spit
Heartbroken of sparrows and painting pool
bestrewing your white color in the canvas
next glass : resolved pills in the poison
believe that I'm not scared of anything anymore
there was darkness behind the darkness of our world
You were my beloved & you are & you won't be
after you alcohol deteriorated me... slept plastered
after you I slept with whomever was and any one is
after you I became whole of wounds which is twisted circle of bones
I experienced whatever whit whomever that I could

Thursday, September 10, 2015


The "real real": an unfathomable something that permeates things as a trace of the sublime.
- Wikipedia entry for Slavoj Zizek

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson, "Ulysses"

Monday, August 31, 2015

Acoustic Underpass

The weeping of the guitar
The goblets of dawn
are smashed.
The weeping of the guitar
to silence it.
to silence it.
It weeps monotonously
as water weeps
as the wind weeps
over snowfields.
to silence it.
It weeps for distant
Hot southern sands
yearning for white camellias.
Weeps arrow without target
evening without morning
and the first dead bird
on the branch.
Oh, guitar!
Heart mortally wounded
by five swords.
- Federico García Lorca, "The Guitar"

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Seeking Inspiration?

NEVER seek* to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart;
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears,
Ah! she doth depart.

Soon as she was gone from me,
A traveller came by,
Silently, invisibly:
He took her with a sigh.
- William Blake, "Never Seek to Tell Thy Love"

* Note 1 - I give here the earlier and incomparably finer version of this song, which Blake subsequently altered by cancelling the first stanza (after changing ‘seek’ to ‘pain’ in l. 1), and substituting ‘O! was no deny’ for the concluding line of the poem.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Paris (16 June, 1944)

Jacques Lacan, Cecil Eluard, Pierre Reverdy, Louise Leiris, Zanie Aubier, Picasso, Valentine Hugo, Simon de Beauvoir, Brassai, Sarte, Albert Camus, Michel Leiris, Jean Aubier, and top photo only, Picasso's Afghan dog called 'Kazbeck'

Monday, August 17, 2015


Salvador Dali, "Old Age, Adolescence, and Infancy" (The Three Ages)(1940)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cross Pollination

And now you ask in your heart,
"How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?"
Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.

People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
Kahlil Gibran "The Prophet" (excerpt)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Summer Doldrums

Better Audio version
Come unto these yellow sands,
And then take hands:
Curtsied when you have, and kissed
The wild waves whist,
Foot it featly here and there;
And, sweet sprites, the burden bear.
Hark, hark!
Bow, wow
The watch-dogs bark,
Bow, wow,
Hark, hark! I hear
The strain of strutting Chanticleer
Cry, Cock-a-diddle-dow.

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange:
Sea nymphs hourly ring his knell.
Hark! now I hear them,
Ding-dong, bell!

Where the bee sucks, there suck I,
In a cowslip's bell I lie,
There I couch when owls do cry,
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.
William Shakespeare, "Ariel's Songs"

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ways Lost

I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Framing Desire 2

Violence "frames" desire and established the coordinates under which "fantasy" can real-ize itself. It's the creative detruction which precedes the re-creative act. The "Revolution" which precedes the "framing" of a new Constitution.
Framing Principle
Meaning depends on context. So control the context.

How it works
We create meaning not just through the main part of what we hear and see, but also those element that surround it. By changing the surroundings, the meaning of the main topic is also changed. However, people are usually focused on the main topic, which enables the frame to be used as a subtle form of persuasion.

Argument framing
When you are arguing for or against something, you may frame your argument by giving broad detail about other contributory factors before making your major point. The persuasiveness of the argument can easily be affected more by the frame than the core point.

Physical framing
The physical frame of a persuasion is typically where you are when you are doing the persuading. Thus asking someone to marry you is more likely to be successful in a romantic setting, such as on a beach at sunset, rather than somewhere more mundane, such as on a bus.

Reframing is persuasion by changing the frame that the other person is using. If you ask an employee to do some additional work and they complain about being alone, you might point out that the boss goes home late and seeing the person there working alone will give them extra credibility.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

On Becoming an Air Head

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
- Rudyard Kipling, "If"

Friday, July 31, 2015

Means and Ends

On autumn nights, eyes closed, when, sensuous,
I breathe the scent of your warm breasts, my sight
Is peopled by far shores, happy and bright,
Under a sun, warm and monotonous.
A lazy isle which nature, generous,
Stocks with weird trees and fruits of strange delight,
Men with lithe bodies, powerful but slight,
Women whose candid eyes flash luminous.

Urged by your scent to such charmed lands at last,
I see a port with many a sail and mast
Still weary from the ocean's frenzied roll,
While the green tamarinds exhale their savor
To please my nostrils with a dulcet flavor,
Mingled with sailor chanteys in my soul.
- Charles Baudelaire, "Exotic Perfume"

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Colouring the Mundane...

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?
- Langston Hughes, "Dream Deferred"

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Give me, again, the fairy tale grotto
with the portico-vaulting overhead.
Let me walk beneath the canted columns
of Gaudí’s rookery, spiral
along his crenelated Jerusalem
of broken tiles, crazy shields.
Yes, it’s hot as hell and full
of tourists at the double helix,
but the anarchists now occupy
the Food Court, and the arcadian dream
for the working class includes this shady
colonnade cut into the mountainside.
I’ve postponed my allegiance to
the tiny house movement, to the 450
square feet of simple, American maple
infrastructure and the roomy
mind suspended like a hammock
between joists. Serpents and castle
keeps shimmer, and a mosaic invitation
to the Confectionery gets me a free
café con leche on the La Rambla,
Robin Becker, "The Barcelona Inside Me"

Friday, July 24, 2015

Tearing off the Mask?

Written on the occassion of Mrs. Edwin's first appearance at the Belfast Theatre, and spoken by her, after performing the Character of Widow Cheerly, in Cherry's Comedy of the Soldier's Daughter, on the night of Friday, the 27th December, 1822
Dropping the mask Thalia lent this night,
The Widow Cheerly now is out of sight;
In my own Character I now appear,
To thank you for my kind reception, here. -
It has been said, if I aright remember,
"In months less wintry than a dark December,
That, as we journey north, the air grows colder;"
But Woman's smile had warm'd her first beholder.
Oh! if seduced by her persuasive pow'r,
Her fruits Man tasted in an erring hour,
So bright and beautiful she stood before him,
As her blue eyes were up-rais'd to implore him,
He felt, seeing her all nature's charms array'd in,
He gained Elysium, though he'd lost an Eden.
And Woman thus, in ev'ry age and nation,
Still lord it o'er the "Lords of the Creation,"
And wakes, with witching pow'r, and minstrel art,
That fine ton'd instrument of hers - the heart.
"What then?" you'll say, - why this I would infer,
That you'll be true to nature, and to her;
That Erin's sons Protection ne'er refuse,
When 'tis a stranger, and a woman sues.
Oh! could I touch with true poetic fire,
The Harp of Erin, or the Grecian Lyre,
To Ireland's Athens* their sweet chords I'd wake,
To pour that thankfulness words cannot speak.
*Belfast has been termed the "Athens of Ireland"

Thursday, July 23, 2015


To break an idea up into its original elements is to return to its moments, which at least do not have the form of the given idea, but rather constitute the immediate property of the self. This analysis, to be sure, only arrives at thoughts which are themselves familiar, fixed, and inert determinations. But what is thus separated and non-actual is an essential moment; for it is only because the concrete does divide itself, and make itself into something non-actual, that it is self-moving. The activity of dissolution is the power and work of Understanding, the most astonishing and mightiest of powers, or rather the absolute power. The circle that remains self-enclosed and, like substance, holds its moments together, is an immediate relationship, one therefore which has nothing astonishing about it. But that an accident as such, detached from what circumscribes it, what is bound and is actual only in its context with others, should attain an existence of its own and a separate freedom - this is the tremendous power of the negative; it is the energy of thought, of pure 'I'. Death, if that is what we want to call this non-actuality, is of all things the most dreadful, and to hold fast what is dead requires the greatest strength. Lacking strength, Beauty hates Understanding for asking of her what it cannot do. But the life of Spirit is not the life that shrinks from death and keeps itself untouched by the devastation, but rather the life that endures it and maintains itself in it. It wins its truth only when, in utter dismemberment, it finds itself. It is this power, not as something positive, which closes its eyes to the negative, as when we say of something that it is nothing or is false, and then, having done with it, turn away and pass onto something else; on the contrary, Spirit is this power only by looking the negative in the face, and tarrying with it. This tarrying with the negative is the magical power that converts it into being. This power is identical with what we earlier called the Subject..."
- FW Hegel, "Phenomenology (Prelude)"

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Center of Gravity

Fantasy appears, then, as an answer to 'Che vuoi?' , to the unbearable enigma of the desire of the Other, of the lack in the Other; but is is at the same time fantasy itself which, so to speak, provides the co-ordinates of our desire--which constructs the frame enabling us to desire something. The usual definition of fantasy ('an imagined scenario representing the realization of desire') is therefore somewhat misleading, or at least ambiguous: in the fantasy-scene the desire is not fulfilled, 'satisfied', but constituted (given its objects, and so on)--through fantasy, we learn 'how to desire'. In this intermediate position lies the paradox lies the paradox of fantasy: it is the frame co-ordinating our desire, but at the same time a defence against 'Che vuoi?' , a screen concealing the gap, the abyss of desire of the Other. Sharpening the paradox to its utmost--to tautology--we could say that desire itself is a defence against desire: the desire structured through fantasy is a defence against the desire of the Other, against this 'pure', trans-phantasmic desire (i.e. the 'death drive' in its pure form).
-Slavoj Zizek, "The Sublime Object of Ideology"

Sunday, July 19, 2015

American Kourites?

Dancing atop Mount Psiloritis, worshipping the Kouros
An American Idol
Is making an oath
In allegiance for something greater
To have the opportunity of growth

Unselfishly devoting
Mind, body, and soul in
The countless years
To not allow anyone’s to be stolen

An American Idol
Is taking responsibility
In preventing danger by
Risking their selves in protecting society

With a rank and badge
Delivering justice to the 50 stars
Upholding the rights to all
Before and after behind bars

An American Idol
Is coming to the rescue
Of those in the face of immediate harm and death
With no hesitation because all life has the same value

They utilize multiple tactics
To defy the realistic matter of time
To complete their objective while
Putting their own life on the line

An American Idol
Is operating and saving lives
Constantly challenging
Losing a life with skills that revives

They optimize their critical thinking
As their ability is on a high demand
And pressure weighs onto their heads
Through each movement of the minute hand

An American Idol
Is taking time for a lecture
To educate each individual
With great pleasure

They experiment, travel, and
Encourage to be the best
They set aside time to help
And prepare all to test and attest

No matter which service path chosen
They honor their position and title
Because they love it and do it for America
So without a doubt they’re an idol
-Joel Till, "An American Idol"

Thursday, July 16, 2015

La Belle France

I know your love
I know the water that is spilled on my body
Feel one's body day after day
I raised the tortures to approach further
I have your desire fixed to mine
I have your desire fixed to my ankles
Come, nothing binds us on nothing
Everything is just up to us

I make you my essential
You make me get born between humans
I make you my essential
The one I would love more than anyone
If you want that we learn about each other
If you want that we learn about each other

You know my love
You know the words under my silence
Which are admited, covered and discovered
I can offer you my beliefs
To conjure the absence
I have the future engraved in your hand
I have the future traced like you write it
Take it, nothing brings us further
As a geste that comes back

Tu me fais naître parmi les hommes
Celle que j'aimerais plus que personne

Si tu veux qu'on s'apprenne
Si tu veux qu'on s'apprenne...

I will make of you my essential
My essential
If you want that we learn from each other
That we belong to each other

Monday, July 13, 2015

Down for the Count?

There shall be a song for both of us that day
Though fools say you have long outlived your songs,
And when, perhaps, because your hair is grey,
You go unsung, to whom all praise belongs,
And no men kiss your hands--your fragile hands
Folded like empty shells on sea-spurned sands.
And you that were dawn whereat men shouted once
Are sunset now, but with one worshipper,
Then to your twilight heart this song shall be
Sweeter than those that did your youth announce
For your brave beautiful spirit is lovelier
Than once your lovely body was to me.
Your folded hands and your shut eyelids stir
A passion that Time has crowned with sanctity.
Young fools shall wonder why, your youth being over,
You are so sung still, but your heart will know
That he who loved your soul was your true lover
And the last song alone was worthy you.
- Muriel Stuart, "A Song for Old Love"

Rabble Rabble Rabble...

Poverty in itself does not turn people into a rabble; a rabble is created only when there is joined to poverty a disposition of the mind, an inner indignation against the rich, against society, against the government, etc. A further consequence of this attitude is that through their dependence on chance people become frivolous and idle, like the Neapolitan lazzaroni for example. In this way there is born in the rabble the evil of lacking sufficient honour to secure subsistence by its own labour and yet at the same time the right to receive subsistence. Against nature a human being can claim no right, but once society is established, poverty immediately takes the form of a wrong done to one class [Klasse] by another. The important question of how poverty is to be abolished is one that agitates and torments modern society in particular.
- GWF Hegel, "Outlines of the Philosophy of Right" (244 - Addition)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Living in the Heart of the Blues

“We live as we dream--alone....”
― Joseph Conrad, "Heart of Darkness"

“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”
― John Steinbeck, "Of Mice and Men"

Friday, July 3, 2015

Pour la peine - 1789 les amants de la bastille

Because of This Pain

When fear breaks in
On our illusions
We abandon,
And heaven forgives.

When the mind engages
In unreason,
The cannons sound
Cannons sound
And cries resound

Because of this pain
I bear you away

We want dreams
Which lift us up
We want flowers
Even in our sorrows
We want a sense
Of innocence
In the name of our free thinkers.
In the name of the tears
Which disarm us,
We must be able
To change history

Because of this pain.

In the name of our fathers who taught us
The worth of a man
Worth of man
Men such as we

In the name of our brothers fallen into oblivion
The rights of man
Rights of man
Right of men

We want dreams
Which lift us up
We want flowers
Even in our sorrows
We want a sense
Of innocence
In the name of our free thinkers.
In the name of the tears
Which disarm us
We must be able
To change history

Because of this pain.

I want to smile at your errors
To kiss your wounds
We will learn this outrageousness by heart

For our pains
Are the same.

We want dreams
Which lift us up
We want flowers
Even in our sorrows
We want a sense
Of innocence
In the name of our free thinkers
In the name of the tears
Which disarm us
We must be able
To change history

Because of this pain.
Because of this pain.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sirens of Cultural Capital

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls

the song nobody knows
because anyone who has heard it
is dead, and the others can't remember.

Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?

I don't enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical

with these two feathery maniacs,
I don't enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song

is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique

at last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.
-Margaret Atwood, "Siren Song"
Peisinoe, Aglaope, and Thelxiepeia

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fridgid Photos

Okay, so we've got a pretty small kitchen with a humongous refrigerator that's too big for the space allocated. The top of it's covered with catfood containers, crackers, cereals, and coffee/tea supplies. One side is covered with coupons and odd take-out numbers. The inside seems to be mostly dressings, jams, jellies and condiments of all types. There's a box of chocolate covered strawberries jammed on top, along with a carton of eggs. Everything else is probably pretty old, from the looks of things. The tupperware conatiner with the spagetti in it is gone now, though. I had it for dinner. So's the one with the chicken caccitori. My wife's talking about remodeling the kitchen and combining the space with our family room. It's always been way too small with not nearly enough storage. You'd all probably agree with her.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Autobiographical Angst

'Folie à deux (/fɒˈli ə ˈduː/; French pronunciation: ​[fɔli a dø]; French for "a madness shared by two"), shared psychosis, or "the theatric of two" is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from one individual to another.[1] The same syndrome shared by more than two people may be called folie à trois, folie à quatre, folie en famille or even folie à plusieurs ("madness of many"). Recent psychiatric classifications refer to the syndrome as shared psychotic disorder (DSM-IV) (297.3) and induced delusional disorder (F.24) in the ICD-10, although the research literature largely uses the original name. The disorder was first conceptualized in 19th-century French psychiatry by Charles Lasègue and Jean-Pierre Falret and so also known as Lasègue-Falret Syndrome.[
- Wikipedia

Post-Modern Anxiety

Drowning in the Surreal
AS: At one point in the film, Zizek speaks about anxiety, and the idea that 'anxiety is the one affect that does not deceive', a thesis that he attributes to Freud but actually comes from Lacan (Freud said that all affects are convertible to anxiety). Also, when Zizek compares Harpo Marx to the Freudian id - a mixture of total innocence and devilish intensity - this comes straight out of Lacan. Did you make the decision not to mention Lacan in order to make the film accessible to a broader audience?

SF: I have not read Lacan and Freud closely enough to compare and respond properly. I did attend a lecture recently on Freud's writing on anxiety and I thought I could see the idea there already in Freud's writing, I will ask this lecturer who is a Lacanian. Of course Zizek is a 'Lacanian', and very often he is using the phrase 'psychoanalysis' - which I think means Lacan primarily but I think one can also think of Freud as a turning point in thinking out of which a great richness was born and I want to prioritize the ideas themselves and put them in a present tense, as far as possible. Film is a very different medium to prose writing. Footnotes are hard due to the limits of screen time. I didn't deliberately cut out Lacan's name - but I did not want to get bogged down in giving a history of psychoanalysis, which would have been a different film.

AS: If I remember correctly, the movie ends with Zizek questioning whether cinema can face the ultimate truth of desire, or whether it does not necessarily obscure this truth with beautiful illusions. On the one hand, this comes close to the Nietzschean idea that 'we have art so as not to die from the truth'; on the other, it also recalls Jack Nicholson's famous line from A Few Good Men: 'You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!' Cinema seems split between unveiling the real and ideological obfuscation, a problem that is more pressing than ever. What can we expect from cinema today, and what do you think about the notion that art's purpose is to reveal an unbearable truth in such a way that it becomes (a little more) bearable?

SF: I like what you have said, and I agree about this tension within cinema itself. I don't think it can make the unbearable bearable. It is what it is unbearable. And I think what is unbearable is anxiety itself; anxiety of guilt, meaninglessness and finitude. But perhaps cinema allows us to believe we can handle 'the truth' - and so it helps deal with anxiety. It gives us 'Dutch courage' - a kind of fake belief in our capacity to bear things. That's why its so enjoyable, like alcohol. And maybe we should be more humble and say this fake courage is the extent of our capacity to endure. We should not be ashamed, but like Beckett's heroes - be ready to laugh at our misery and this way release our selves from this unbearable anxiety - through loss itself. I love what Slavoj says about desire being the wound of reality. And so cinema puts us in a double-bind. It 'plays with our desire' and generates anxiety through this very action. Which is why directors are God-like characters who bring about as much enjoyment as devastation.
Interview by Aaron Schuster of Sophie Fiennes aout The Pervert's Guide to Cinema

Monday, June 22, 2015

Self Reliance

And when I am entombed in my place,
Be it remembered of a single man,
He never, though he dearly loved his race,
For fear of human eyes swerved from his plan.

Oh what is Heaven but the fellowship
Of minds that each can stand against the world
By its own meek and incorruptible will?

The days pass over me
And I am still the same;
The aroma of my life is gone
With the flower with which it came.
- RW Emerson (1833)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Worlds Orders

“I adhere to the view that the world spirit has given the age marching orders. These orders are being obeyed. The world spirit, this essential, proceeds irresistibly like a closely drawn armored phalanx advancing with imperceptible movement, much as the sun through thick and thin. Innumerable light troops flank it on all sides, throwing themselves into the balance for or against its progress, though most of them are entirely ignorant of what is at stake and merely take head blows as from an invisible hand.”
Hegel, "Letter to Niethammer (5 July 1816)"

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Projecting the Symbolic

send out the signals deep and loud

man i'm losing sound and sight
of all those who can tell me wrong from right
when all things beautiful and bright
sink in the night
yet there's still something in my heart
that can find a way
to make a start
to turn up the signal
wipe out the noise
"Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin"

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Class Enemy

These are the two extremes we find ourselves today with regard to human rights: one the one hand those "missed by the bombs" (mentally and physically full human beings, but deprived of rights), on the other hand a human being reduced to bare vegetative life, but this bare life protected by the entire state apparatus. What legitimizes such biopolitics is the mobilization of the fantasmatic dimension of the potential/invisible threat: it is the invisible (and for that very reason all-powerful and omni-present) threat of the Enemy that legitimizes the permanent state of emergency of the existing Power (Fascists invoked the threat of the Jewish conspiracy, Stalinists the threat of the class enemy - up to today's "war on terror," of course). This invisible threat of the Enemy legitimizes the logic of the preemptive strike: precisely because the threat is virtual, it is too late to wait for its actualization, one has to strike in advance, before it will be too late... In other words, the omni-present invisible threat of Terror legitimizes the all too visible protective measures of defense (which pose the only TRUE threat to democracy and human rights, of course). If the classic power functioned as the threat which was operative precisely by way of never actualizing itself, by way of remaining a threatening GESTURE (and this functioning reached its climax in the Cold War, with the threat of the mutual nuclear destruction which HAD to remain a threat), with the war on terror, the invisible threat causes the incessant actualization - not of itself, but - of the measures against itself. The nuclear strike had to remain the threat of a strike, while the threat of the terrorist strike triggers the endless series of strikes against potential terrorists... The power which presents itself as being all the time under threat, living in mortal danger, and thus merely defending itself, is the most dangerous kind of power, the very model of the Nietzschean ressentiment and moralistic hypocrisy - and, effectively, was it not Nietzsche himself who, more than a century ago, provided the best analysis of the false moral premises of today's "war on terror"?

"No government admits any more that it keeps an army to satisfy occasionally the desire for conquest. Rather the army is supposed to server for defense, and one invokes the morality that approves of self-defense. But this implies one's own morality and the neighbor's immorality; for the neighbor must be thought of as eager to attack and conquer if our state must think of means of self-defense. Moreover, the reasons we give for requiring an army imply that our neighbor, who denies the desire for conquest just as much does our own state, and who, for his part, also keeps an army only for reasons of self-defense, is a hypocrite and a cunning criminal who would like nothing better than to overpower a harmless and awkward victim without any fight. Thus all states are now ranged against each other: they presuppose their neighbor's bad disposition and their own good disposition. This presupposition, however, is inhumane, as bad as war and worse. At bottom, indeed, it is itself the challenge and the cause of wars, because as I have said, it attributes immorality to the neighbor and thus provokes a hostile disposition and act. We must abjure the doctrine of the army as a means of self-defense just as completely as the desire for conquests.
- Slavoj Zizek, "Biopolitics: Between Terri Schiavo and Guantanamo"

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday's Song

Some are teethed on a silver spoon,
With the stars strung for a rattle;
I cut my teeth as the black racoon--
For implements of battle.
Some are swaddled in silk and down,
And heralded by a star;
They swathed my limbs in a sackcloth gown
On a night that was black as tar.
For some, godfather and goddame
The opulent fairies be;
Dame Poverty gave me my name,
And Pain godfathered me.
For I was born on Saturday--
"Bad time for planting a seed,"
Was all my father had to say,
And, "One mouth more to feed."
Death cut the strings that gave me life,
And handed me to Sorrow,
The only kind of middle wife
My folks could beg or borrow.
-Countee Cullen

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Beyond Formal Freedom? Empowering Homo Sacer.

We may say broadly that free thought is the best of all safeguards against freedom. Managed in a modern style, the emancipation of the slave’s mind is the best way of preventing the emancipation of the slave. Teach him to worry about whether he wants to be free, and he will not free himself.1
In an arresting echo of Chesterson’s reflection on slavery, the psychoanalytic model formulated by Jacques Lacan outlines that as infants we are attached to our mothers, much like the slave who is attached to a concept of freedom. The infant eventually obtains its own conception of identity through the realization that it is not a bodily extension of the mother. This shift occurs the moment the infant sees itself in the mirror as a constituted whole apart from her.2 Yet in Chesterson’s logic, the slave will never attain the freedom granted to the child in Lacanian thinking. Freedom is made unattainable by the slave’s strictly defined position, unrecognised by the law but simultaneously defined by it and enslaved to it.

In the realm of contemporary capitalist existence, human identity is configured along political, social and economic axes that mark the individual as either included or excluded. Social inclusion stipulates that the populace has to be documented on paper in order to exercise full political autonomy as citizens - outlined, for example, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.3 In order to exercise democratic rights, there must be, according to Roman archaic law, habeas corpus ad subjiciendum [a body in which to show].4 Those who lack documentation of their existence within the system, namely refugees and undocumented migrant workers, are outside the rule of law yet most significantly impacted by it. Their bodies, undocumented and therefore lacking access to basic human rights and protections, have become transformed into modern day slaves.
Heidi Kellett, "Santiago Sierra: HOMO SACER and the Politics of the Other"

Renewing the "Allure" of Roboticism?

...out of a blended capitalist vorticism/ futurism/ contructivism

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Che Vuoi?

And why the Other with a capital O? For a no doubt mad reason, in the same way as it is madness every time we are obliged to bring in signs supplementary to those given by language. Here the mad reason is the following. You are my wife - after all, what do you know about it? You are my master - in reality, are you so sure of that? What creates the founding value of those words is that what is aimed at in the message, as well as what is manifest in the pretence, is that the other is there qua absolute Other. Absolute, that is to say he is recognized, but is not known. In the same way, what constitutes pretence is that, in the end, you don't know whether it's a pretence or not. Essentially it is this unknown element in the alterity of the other which characterizes the speech relation on the level on which it is spoken to the other.

This passage should surprise anyone acquainted with Lacan: it equates the big Other with the impenetrability of another subject beyond the "wall of language," putting us at the opposite end of the predominant image Lacan presents of the big Other, that of the inexorable logic of an automatism which runs the show, so that when the subject speaks, he is, unbeknownst to himself, merely "spoken," not master in his own house. What, then, is the big Other? The anonymous mechanism of the symbolic order, or another subject in his or her radical alterity, a subject from whom I am forever separated by the "wall of language"? The easy way out of this predicament would have been to read in this discrepancy the sign of a shift in Lacan's development, from the early Lacan focused on the intersubjective dialectic of recognition, to the later Lacan who puts forward the anonymous mechanism that regulates the interaction of subjects (in philosophical terms: from phenomenology to structuralism). While there is a limited truth in this solution, it obfuscates the central mystery of the big Other: the point at which the big Other, the anonymous symbolic order, gets subjectivized.
-Slavoj Zizek, "From Che Vuoi? to Fantasy: Lacan with Eyes Wide Shut"

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Scientismic Art

In brief, this neoliberal fashion of reducing public discourse to technocratic decisions is similar to what Wayne C. Booth labelled as "scientismic" speech. According to Booth, scientismic speech has a twin brother: "irrationalist" speech. Since life is an economic process, and people, at will, can only conceive, debate and accomplish it otherwise, but can only expect that scientismic predictions will be fulfilled, then speaking of purpose, choice, and social action in societies is nothing more than these societies letting their feelings overflow. This is undoubtedly what Booth had in mind concerning 1968 world-wide revolts at universities.38

It is very probable that guerilla leader Marcos would refuse Booth's irrationalist charaterization, as many 1968 defiant students would also do. In any case, it is tempting to consider Marco's communiques as a NAFTA rhetorical twin. After all, this leader has often said that his movement in Chiapas is strongly related to the passing of NAFTA, an accord often addressed with fatalistic, scientismic, terms.
38. Wayne C. Booth, Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent
-Arturo Zárate Ruiz, "A Rhetorical Analysis of the NAFTA Debate"

Friday, June 5, 2015

Not too HOT, Not too COLD... Coffee

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair-
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?
- t.s. eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (excerpt)

Monday, June 1, 2015


Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
Langston Hughes, "Mother to Son"

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Trapped in an Hour Glass

A handful of red sand, from the hot clime
Of Arab deserts brought,
Within this glass becomes the spy of Time,
The minister of Thought.

How many weary centuries has it been
About those deserts blown!
How many strange vicissitudes has seen,
How many histories known!

Perhaps the camels of the Ishmaelite
Trampled and passed it o'er,
When into Egypt from the patriarch's sight
His favorite son they bore.

Perhaps the feet of Moses, burnt and bare,
Crushed it beneath their tread;
Or Pharaoh's flashing wheels into the air
Scattered it as they sped;

Or Mary, with the Christ of Nazareth
Held close in her caress,
Whose pilgrimage of hope and love and faith
Illumed the wilderness;

Or anchorites beneath Engaddi's palms
Pacing the Dead Sea beach,
And singing slow their old Armenian psalms
In half-articulate speech;

Or caravans, that from Bassora's gate
With westward steps depart;
Or Mecca's pilgrims, confident of Fate,
And resolute in heart!

These have passed over it, or may have passed!
Now in this crystal tower
Imprisoned by some curious hand at last,
It counts the passing hour,

And as I gaze, these narrow walls expand;
Before my dreamy eye
Stretches the desert with its shifting sand,
Its unimpeded sky.

And borne aloft by the sustaining blast,
This little golden thread
Dilates into a column high and vast,
A form of fear and dread.

And onward, and across the setting sun,
Across the boundless plain,
The column and its broader shadow run,
Till thought pursues in vain.

The vision vanishes! These walls again
Shut out the lurid sun,
Shut out the hot, immeasurable plain;
The half-hour's sand is run!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Sand of the Desert in an Hour-Glass"