Archive for the ‘language’ Category

Hirst’ Shark and Perec’s Room

June 8, 2008

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living

Damien Hirst, 1991

Some banal questions before some even more banal ones:

Is it a shark or a work-of-art? It’s both, no? it’s “a shark placed inside a work”, and it’s “a work placed inside a museum” that makes this shark in a work in a museum a work-of-art. Like Duchamp’s fountain.

Major changes to the object’s native territory provoke shifts in meaning; it’s the re-territorialization into a different topology that reincarnates the object as a different semantic object.

But what about minor changes within the same territory – so minor we can hardly notice?

When, in a given bedroom, you change the position of the bed, can you say you are changing rooms, or else what? (cf. topological analysis)

Georges Perec, Species of Spaces

Barton Fink’s room perpetual metamorphosis

Or in the case of Hirst’ Shark – The Shark began to disintegrate (poor preservation) and so Hirst was hired to replace it with a brand new shark, making sure this time the materials used in the preservation process will beat Time for a little longer.

A philosophical question was acknowledged by Hirst, as to whether the replacement shark meant that the result could still be considered the same artwork. He observed:

“It’s a big dilemma. Artists and conservators have different opinions about what’s important: the original artwork or the original intention. I come from a conceptual art background, so I think it should be the intention. It’s the same piece. But the jury will be out for a long time to come.”

Let alone, our language.

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A fantasy to hide our flesh

July 22, 2007

This post is about eating Knowledge and the creation of the first System. It discusses the moment in history in which man created the first, provisory sign, and that other moment which came right after.

Provisory Sign

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed”, Genesis, 2, 25.

[6 verses later]

“she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked;

One minute before, one minute after, and in between – the moment of revelation, produced through a method that even Hume couldn’t have but approved – and here they are, Adam & Eve, digesting the naked, shameful truth – the body.

Their eyes wide open, Adam and Eve realize that this truth is too painful to watch, maybe too banal, for sure too concrete. And so they create, on the spot, in the same verse, in the same time capsule – the first sign.

and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

This first sign, however, was too fragile. The fig leaves were sensible to the blowing winds, to brusque movements, and so most of the time they were failing to hide the flesh, to cover up on the naked truth. The sign was too unstable, the referent being visible here and there.

Borrowing from Lyotard (The Postmodern Explained: Correspondence, 1982-1985), this instability of the sign evoked fear and trembling: the exposure of the referent and the failure to fixate the referencing sign, which is the other, creates a problem of identity. If the other’s identity is not fixed, neither is mine. It is the ability to rapidly identify and decipher the meaning of the sign – not its referent, which should be hidden for good – but the meaning arising from its contextual, structural entourage – that assists in the creation of self-consciousness, and of identity. The more rapid and stable this process of exchanging and recognizing signs is, the more stable are the effects of realism, the more solid is the Fantasy of the Real.

Surprisingly, this floating point of identity bothered God and made him react by providing Adam & Eve with some practical knowledge, that is – how to design and fabricate stable signs.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them”.

No, God didn’t provide us humans with light, or fire; nor did he provide us with arrows or scrolls. The only practical thing God has provided us with was the Fashion System, Le Système de la mode, an empire of signs: a fantasy to hide our flesh.

stop the fashion system, february, 1990

Franco Moschino, Stop the fashion system, february, 1990

The Cyberpunk Paradox

May 31, 2007

It was not until Ecko has made his tribute to language that I finally understood what I used to call the Cyberpunk Paradox – that self-mutilation by cyberpunks incorporating electronically networked devices into their bodies. As cyberpunks revolt against Control in its digitally networked form, staying off the grid would appear to be a much more reasonable tactic than becoming part of it, let alone if this act requires any sort of self-mutilation.

(An excellent short explanation/definition of cyberpunk can be found here. The first characteristic is titled “Negative Impact of technology on humanity”).

I can think of two possible solutions to this paradox, the first being related to the Jujitsu of culture jammers:

cyberwars05.jpg

“Jujitsu is the art of using the weight of the enemy against itself,” explains Filmmaker Craig Baldwin. “With corporations, sometimes the only way to beat them is not by brute force, but by symbolic agility” (citation taken from Culture Jamming 2.0). Personally, I’m not thrilled by this answer.

The second possible answer is what stands behind Ecko’s tribute to language: “I give myself up to language, anon, in a gift economy”. This total and unconditional [gift] surrender echoes Abraham’s binding of Isaac, echoes, I suppose, the symbolic sacrifice of Jesus. Ecko goes even further by cutting out his I and becoming anon, his sacrifice being a total gift through this erasure.

cyberpunk-shootout-23.jpg

Cyberpunk Shootout 23, mitx maraude

Whoever witnesses those sacrifices, those surrenders and give ups, feels that by this act a great defying essence is created, the System becoming seriously threatened. I cannot put this process into words as it’s illogical. My admiration for the courage and determination of those intuitively illogically logicals who give themselves up to the System.

Words, jamais portés

May 15, 2007

When Barthes learned about the death of his friend’s loved one, he spontaneously set down to write some words of compassion. Going through his memories, his feelings, he tried to figure out which words could be helpful in the current context. Finally, he realized that whatever he felt, whatever he thought, could be and should be said in one, simple word: Condolences.

Only that writing this single word was practically impossible: his friend would certainly think him for a cold heart man, seeing his deed as an act of obligation. He might even get offended. No, “Condolences” was out of question.

Many other words appeared then, each fighting for a place on that white paper. It was then that Barthes realized his second problem: those easy coming words were too obvious, too banal, too used; a bourgeois schmaltz.

Barthes

And so he kept wandering further away from that simple, single and accurate word that had it all, in a search for some rarities – words jamais portés, at least not in this specific context consisting of Barthes, his friend and the deceased.

That, says Barthes, is the essence of Literature. Unlike what is commonly perceived, Literature does not reveal, disclose or illuminate the ineffable, that substance which no words can describe. Literature hides, erases, masks, distracts and deviates from what originally could have been said in a simple, single word.

And see also The Worst of Authors.

Cut out the I, Man

May 7, 2007

Cut out the I, Man.

Click to see full size image

Man Ray’ story of the eye had two incarnations and three names: Object intended to be destroyed (1923); Object of destruction (1932); and Indestructible object (1957). The current story is different [as the unplanned typo in the full size  image suggests]; actually, I’m not even sure that it’s the same object.

I give myself up to language

May 2, 2007

“I give myself up to language, anon, in a gift economy”, ecko4inc

I give myself up to language

Erasure Heads, part#2

(Click to enlarge)

Language, a reversed panopticon. In the heart of the desert one stands circled with guardian Words. Their gaze. All it needs to see them is to take one step outside yourself; the whole path lasts no longer than one step.

Body/Language: Barthes-Foucault vs. Gater’s Taboo

April 16, 2007

Body/Language

Remixed by Methods & Black Squares 

 

Click to play:

[Barthes]
Parler, et à plus forte raison discourir, ce n’est pas communiquer, comme on le répète trop souvent, c’est assujettir.

[Foucault]
À ce lieu là, dès que j’ai les yeux ouverts, je ne peux plus échapper.

[Barthes]
La langue, comme performance de tous langages, n’est ni réactionnaire ni progressiste, elle est tout simplement fasciste.

[Gater]
We do it every weekend,
I like to do it with my friends
Sometimes we videotape it,
Then we watch it and do it again.

[Barthes]
Fasciste

Fasciste

Les signes n’existent que pour autant qu’ils sont reconnus, c’est-à-dire pour autant qu’ils se répètent.

Qu’ils se répètent.

[Foucault]
Mon corps topie impitoyable.

[Barthes]
Malheureusement le langage humain est sans extérieur, c’est un huis clos.

Répète!

[Gater]
Some people don’t understand what we do,
They say its Saturday they go to the club,
They say it’s no fun, but we don’t care,
We sit here and we do it.

We do it every weekend,
I like to do it with my friends,
Sometimes we videotape it,
Then we watch it and do it again.

[Barthes]
Répète!

En chaque signe dort ce monstre, un stéréotype. Je ne puis jamais parler qu’en ramassant, en quelque sorte, ce qui traîne dans la langue.

En chaque signe dort ce monstre, un stéréotype.

En chaque signe dort ce monstre, un stéréotype.

[Foucault]
Tous les matins, même présence, même blessure. Sous mes yeux se dessine une inévitable image qu’impose le miroir, visage maigre, épaules voûtées, regard myope, plus de cheveux, vraiment pas beau.

[Gater]
Some people don’t understand what we do…

[Barthes]
Répète!

[Foucault]
Mon corps c’est le lieu sans recours auquel je suis condamné.

[Barthes]
C’est un huis clos.

Fasciste.

[And see The Gaze of the Sign – a follow up on Gater’s role in this remix]

Erasure Heads, part#1

April 13, 2007

eh.jpg

Writing under erasure, Painting under erasure, Being under erasure – this is not a humble take on life. Rather, this is what some consider to be the only way to fight back, from within, from under the skin. Fooling the system; but also, fooling around with the system. “Tricher la langue; tricher avec la langue”, Barthes.

Methods and Black Squares – The Logo?

January 2, 2007

A proposal.

mabs.JPG

language, meanning, thought

November 20, 2006

Here is a famous example of what may be regarded as language without meaning. if you do not know it -read it and then follow the link.

Das große Lalula

Kroklokwafzi? Semememi!
Seiokrontro – prafriplo:
Bifzi, bafzi; hulalemi:
quasti basti bo…
Lalu lalu lalu lalu la!

Hontraruru miromente
zasku zes rü rü?
Entepente, Leiolente
klekwapufzi lü?
Lalu lalu lalu lalu la!

Simarar kos malzipempu
silzuzankunkrei (;)!
Marjomar dos: Quempu Lempu
Siri Suri Sei []
Lalu lalu lalu lalu la!

Chess is nonsense is chess – Christian Morgenstern’s “Das große Lalula”