09 July 2013

The Appetitive Soul


Two pages from The Cardboard Valise by Ben Katchor.  Click to enlarge.
Ben Katchor, from The Cardboard Valise
Ben Katchor, from The Cardboard Valise


From Plato's Phaedrus:
Of the nature of the soul, though her true form be ever a theme of large and more than mortal discourse, let me speak briefly, and in a figure. And let the figure be composite--a pair of winged horses and a charioteer. Now the winged horses and the charioteers of the gods are all of them noble and of noble descent, but those of other races are mixed; the human charioteer drives his in a pair; and one of them is noble and of noble breed, and the other is ignoble and of ignoble breed; and the driving of them of necessity gives a great deal of trouble to him. ...The soul in her totality has the care of inanimate being everywhere, and traverses the whole heaven in divers forms appearing--when perfect and fully winged she soars upward, and orders the whole world; whereas the imperfect soul, losing her wings and drooping in her flight at last settles on the solid ground.
...
The chariots of the gods in even poise, obeying the rein, glide rapidly; but the [mortals] labour, for the vicious steed goes heavily, weighing down the charioteer to the earth when his steed has not been thoroughly trained:--and this is the hour of agony and extremest conflict for the soul.
...
The right-hand horse is upright and cleanly made; he has a lofty neck and an aquiline nose; his colour is white, and his eyes dark; he is a lover of honour and modesty and temperance, and the follower of true glory; he needs no touch of the whip, but is guided by word and admonition only. The other is a crooked lumbering animal, put together anyhow; he has a short thick neck; he is flat-faced and of a dark colour, with grey eyes and blood-red complexion; the mate of insolence and pride, shag-eared and deaf, hardly yielding to whip and spur. Now when the charioteer beholds the vision of love, and has his whole soul warmed through sense, and is full of the prickings and ticklings of desire, the obedient steed, then as always under the government of shame, refrains from leaping on the beloved; but the other, heedless of the pricks and of the blows of the whip, plunges and runs away, giving all manner of trouble to his companion and the charioteer, whom he forces to approach the beloved and to remember the joys of love. They at first indignantly oppose him and will not be urged on to do terrible and unlawful deeds; but at last, when he persists in plaguing them, they yield and agree to do as he bids them.

And now they are at the spot and behold the flashing beauty of the beloved; which when the charioteer sees, his memory is carried to the true beauty, whom he beholds in company with Modesty like an image placed upon a holy pedestal. He sees her, but he is afraid and falls backwards in adoration, and by his fall is compelled to pull back the reins with such violence as to bring both the steeds on their haunches, the one willing and unresisting, the unruly one very unwilling; and when they have gone back a little, the one is overcome with shame and wonder, and his whole soul is bathed in perspiration; the other, when the pain is over which the bridle and the fall had given him, having with difficulty taken breath, is full of wrath and reproaches, which he heaps upon the charioteer and his fellow-steed, for want of courage and manhood, declaring that they have been false to their agreement and guilty of desertion. Again they refuse, and again he urges them on, and will scarce yield to their prayer that he would wait until another time. When the appointed hour comes, they make as if they had forgotten, and he reminds them, fighting and neighing and dragging them on, until at length he, on the same thoughts intent, forces them to draw near again. And when they are near he stoops his head and puts up his tail, and takes the bit in his teeth. and pulls shamelessly. Then the charioteer is worse off than ever; he falls back like a racer at the barrier, and with a still more violent wrench drags the bit out of the teeth of the wild steed and covers his abusive tongue and jaws with blood, and forces his legs and haunches to the ground and punishes him sorely. And when this has happened several times and the villain has ceased from his wanton way, he is tamed and humbled, and follows the will of the charioteer, and when he sees the beautiful one he is ready to die of fear. And from that time forward the soul of the lover follows the beloved in modesty and holy fear.

What is beneath the tunic of the charioteer of the gods, who drives two white horses? 


Giulio Romano, Chariot of the Sun, 1527
Palazzo Te, Mantua, Italy

15 April 2013

Infrarealist Manifesto, Mario Santiago Papasquiaro, 1975

In 2009, I published a translation of Roberto Bolaño's "Abandon everything again: First Infrarealist manifesto," written in 1976.  Since then, I have learned that this "first" manifesto was preceded by two others, both written in 1975: one by José Vicente Anaya, and another by Mario Santiago Papasquiaro (see here and here).

What follows is a translation of Mario Santiago's manifesto.  The original can be found, for example, here.  Anaya's manifesto can also easily be found at that site; a translation may be forthcoming on this blog.

Semi-relatedly, there is a recording of Mario Santiago reading one of his poems (in Spanish) here.



Infrarealist Manifesto

WHAT DO WE PROPOSE?

NOT MAKING A JOB OF ART

SHOWING THAT EVERYTHING IS ART AND THAT THE WHOLE WORLD CAN MAKE IT

BEING INTERESTED IN "INSIGNIFICANT" THINGS / WITHOUT INSTITUTIONAL VALUE

/ PLAYING / ART MUST BE UNLIMITED IN QUANTITY, ACCESSIBLE

TO EVERYONE, AND IF POSSIBLE CREATED FOR EVERYONE

¡!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CONTRADICTING ART / CONTRADICTING EVERYDAY LIFE (DUCHAMP) IN A

TIME THAT SEEMS ALMOST TOTALLY BLOCKED FOR

PROFESSIONAL OPTIMISTS

TRANSFORMING ART / TRANSFORMING EVERYDAY LIFE (US)

CREATIVITY / LIFE MISALIGNED AT ALL COSTS

(MOVING OUR HIPS TO THE PRESENT WHILE BATTING OUR EYELASHES

FROM THE AIRPORTS OF THE FUTURE)

IN A TIME WHEN MURDERS HAVE BEEN DISGUISING

SUICIDES

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

CONVERTING CONFERENCE ROOMS INTO FIRING RANGES1

 (FESTIVAL INSIDE A FESTIVAL / WOULD DEBRAY SAY?2

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

BEETHOVEN, RACINE & MIGUEL ÁNGEL STOP BEING THE MOST USEFUL

THE MOST ADDICTIVE3, THE MOST NOURISHING: THE SOUND

BARRIERS THE SPEED LABYRINTHS (OH JAMES DEAN!4) ARE BEING

BROKEN INTO SOMETHING ELSE

“”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

 TAKING PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR DEPENDENCE & PASSIVITY

SEARCHING FOR UNPRECEDENTED MODES OF INTERVENING IN & DETERMINING THE WORLD

DEMYSTIFYING / TURNING INTO AGITATORS

NOTHING HUMAN IS FOREIGN TO US (GOOD) NOTHING UTOPIAN IS FOREIGN TO US

(SUPERGOOD)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AT THIS MOMENT MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, THE PROBLEM OF ART

CANNOT BE THOUGHT OF AS AN INTERNAL STRUGGLE BETWEEN CONTINGENTS / 

BUT ABOVE ALL AS A TACIT (ALMOST DECLARED) STRUGGLE BETWEEN

THOSE WHO ARE CONSCIOUSLY OR UNCONSCIOUSLY WITH THE SYSTEM

AND TRY TO CONSERVE IT PROLONG IT / AND THOSE WHO ALSO CONSCIOUSLY

OR UNCONSCIOUSLY MAKE IT EXPLODE

…………………………………………………………

ART IN THIS COUNTRY HAS NOT GONE FURTHER THAN A CURSORY TECHNIQUE

FOR DECORATIVELY EXERCISING MEDIOCRITY

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

"ONLY FREE MEN OF ANY STRIPE WILL BE ABLE TO CARRY THE FLAME FAR ENOUGH" (ANDRÉ BRETON)5

¡!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RETURNING TO ART THE NOTION OF A PASSIONATE AND CONVULSIVE LIFE

CULTURE IS NOT IN BOOKS OR IN PAINTINGS OR IN

STATUES IT'S IN THE NERVES / IN THE FREE FLOW OF THE NERVES

A CLEARER STATEMENT: AN EMBODIED CULTURE / A CULTURE IN

FLESH, IN SENSIBILITY (THIS OLD DREAM OF ANTONIN ARTAUD)

555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555

EVERYTHING THAT EXISTS:

THE FIELD OF OUR ACTIVITY / AND THE FRENETIC SEARCH FOR

WHAT STILL DOESN'T EXIST

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

OUR PURPOSE IS (THE TRUTH) PRACTICAL SUBVERSION

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

EXAMPLE OF TOTAL ART

TOTAL SCULPTURE (AND WITH MOVEMENT): A MANIFESTATION OF 10,000

TO 20,000 PEOPLE SUPPORTING THE STRIKE OF THE DEMOCRATIC ELEMENT

OF SUTERM6

TOTAL MUSIC: TRIPPING MUSHROOMS IN THE SIERRA MAZTECA

TOTAL PAINTING: CLAUDIA KERIK BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS / I INSIST:

BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS

TOTAL POETRY: THIS INTERVIEW DISSEMINATED TELEPATHICALLY OR WITH

THE ONLY MOVEMENT OF MY HAIR (AN AFRICAN LION'S) AND ALL ITS

ELECTRIC DISCHARGE

3333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333

WORLDS WAVES PEOPLE WHO INTEREST ME:

NICANOR PARRA CATULLUS QUEVEDO LAUTRÉAMONT MAGRITTE CHIRICO ARTAUD

VACHÉ JARRY BRETON BORIS VIAN BURROUGHS GINSBERG KEROUAC KAFKA

BAKUNIN CHAPLIN GODARD FASSBINDER ALAIN TANNER FRANCIS BACON

DUBUFFET GEORGE SEGAL JUAN RAMÍREZ RUÍZ VALLEJO EL CHÉ GUEVARA

ENGELS "THAT MASTER OF SARCASM" THE PARIS COMMUNE THE

SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL THE EPIC OF THE CASTAWAYS OF THE GRANMA (THEY FORGOT ME): HEIRONYMUS BOSCH (THE UNMISSABLE)

WILHELM REICH THE APORNOGRAPHIC MYSTICISM OF CHARLES MAGNUS THE 

MULTICOLORED EROTICA OF TOM WESSELMAN JOHN CAGE JULIAN BECK JUDITH

MALINA & HER LEAVING THEATER (AND TO CONCLUDE) THE MARQUIS DE

SADE HECTOR APOLINAR ROBERTO BOLAÑO JOSÉ REVUELTAS (AND HIS

DISCOVERY THAT THE DIALECTIC SOMETIMES WALKS LIKE

A CRAB) JUDITH GARCÍA CLAUDIA SOL (AND EVEN ON CLOUDY DAYS)

CLAUDIA SOL

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

WE CAN SHOOT 2 GUNS AT ONCE / I MEAN MORE THAN ONCE

BUFFALO BILL

STUPIDITY IS NOT OUR STRONG SUIT

(ALFRED JARRY DIXIT)




Notes
1.  "STANS DE TIRO"
2. Jules Régis Debray; missing close parenthesis in the original
3. "LO MÁS ANFETAMÍNICO" - something like "the most like being addicted to meth"
4. In English in the original.
5. Where is this in Breton?  I recognize it but I can't find it.
6. SUTERM was an electrical workers' union.

24 February 2013

Chess

Having become somewhat weary of the curatorial life, I have been preparing something new.  Still, one cannot always resist the impulse to organize and to collate.

The text below comes from John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, which can be found online in its entirety here.



A company of chess-men, standing on the same squares of the chess-board where we left them, we say they are all in the same place, or unmoved, though perhaps the chess-board hath been in the mean time carried out of one room into another; because we compared them only to the parts of the chess-board, which keep the same distance one with another. The chess-board, we also say, is in the same place it was...

Andy Warhol, Chess Player, 1954
Andy Warhol, Chess Player, 1954

In the chess-board, the use of the designation of the place of each chess-man being determined only within that chequered piece of wood, it would cross that purpose to measure it by anything else; but when these very chess-men are put up in a bag, if any one should ask where the black king is, it would be proper to determine the place by the part of the room it was in, and not by the chess-board.
Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning Playing Chess
Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning Playing Chess, 1948 - Source unknown


So if any one should ask, in what place are the verses which report the story of Nisus and Euryalus, it would be very improper to determine this place, by saying, they were in such a part of the earth, or in Bodley's library: but the right designation of the place would be by the parts of Virgil's works; and the proper answer would be, that these verses were about the middle of the ninth book of his AEneids, and that they have been always constantly in the same place ever since Virgil was printed: which is true, though the book itself hath moved a thousand times, the use of the idea of place here being, to know in what part of the book that story is, that so, upon occasion, we may know where to find it, and have recourse to it for use.

 Dorothea Tanning, End Game, 1944

26 April 2012

First Works

WikiPaintings allows visitors to view all works by a given artist in chronological order.  The Salvador Dalí "collection" includes paintings dating from 1910, when the artist was 6 years old.  Moving forward in time, Dalí's predecessors show their faces one after another.  This leads to the invention of a game: begin at the beginning and move forward until you come across a work in which you can perceive nothing but the artist's own style.  Call this the First Work.

Salvador Dalí, The Station at Figueras, 1926
Salvador Dalí, The Station at Figueras, 1926, age 22

(The shadows, the shadowy figures, the desolate landscape of unexplained shapes, the trees obviously preparing for The Persistence of Memory.  If, in the application of paint, there is not yet Dalí, neither is there anyone else in particular [so far as is evident from the picture].)
Of course, there can be no winning this game.  Disputation can only lead further discovery.  If you, readers, decide to play this game, comment here with your findings.  I will perhaps post them, and more of my own, in future posts.

Another suggestion:

René Magritte, Nocturne, 1925
René Magritte, Nocturne, 1925, age 27

11 February 2012

The Faces of Alexei Korzukhin

Alexei Korzukhin, Russian realist painter, 1835–1894. Wikipedia styles his portraits as "generally accepted as masterpieces of Russian portrait painting." Some highlights from a timeline on rusartnet:

  • Born to a family of gold panners at Uktussky Zavod near Ekaterinburg (1835).
  • One of the rebellious fourteen students who refused to paint the set topic in the competition for a major gold medal and resigned from the Imperial Academy of Arts with the title of second-class artist (1863).
[It isn't clear what the "set topic" was, but it seems the group was protesting the strict guidelines and divisions between high and low art that the Imperial Academy endorsed. They wanted to make art more accessible to the masses, and after leaving the Imperial Academy of Arts founded a collective called the Peredvizhniki, or The Wanderers, which later became the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions. Evidently Korzukhin was a member of the society but did not participate in the exhibitions. More here, and, of course, here.]
  • Suffered from nervous shock and poor health after witnessing the assassination of Tsar Alexander II on the Ekaterinburg Canal in St Petersburg (1881).
Master of portraiture thought Korzukhin may be, the extent of his mastery is more clearly evident in his portrayal of faces in action. Examples below, with details. Click on the full paintings for large versions.


Separation, 1872



Alexei Korzukhin, Separation, 1872

Alexei Korzukhin, Separation, 1872, detail




Before Confession, 1877



Alexei Korzukhin, Before confession, 1877

Alexei Korzukhin, Before confession, 1877, deatil

Alexei Korzukhin, Before confession, 1877, deatil



Peasant Girls in a Forest, 1878



Alexei Korzukhin, Peasant Girls in a Forest, 1878

Alexei Korzukhin, Peasant Girls in a Forest, 1878, detail




In a Monastic Hotel, 1882



Alexei Korzukhin, In a Monastic Hotel, 1882

Alexei Korzukhin, In a Monastic Hotel, 1882, detail



The Sunday, 1884



Alexei Korzukhin, The Sunday, 1884

Alexei Korzukhin, The Sunday, 1884, detail



There Goes Petrushka, 1888



Alexei Korzukhin, There Goes Petrushka, 1888

Alexei Korzukhin, There Goes Petrushka, 1888, detail

26 January 2012

Fragments II: Symbol




blood flight by Jenny Hval



[The Parnassians] still treat their subjects as the old philosophers and orators did: that is, present things directly, whereas I think that they should be presented allusively. Poetry lies in the contemplation of tings, in the image emanating from the reveries which things arouse in us. They take something in its entirety and simply exhibit it; in so doing, they fall short of mystery; they fail to give our minds that exquisite joy which consists in believing that we are creating something. To name an object is largely to destroy poetic enjoyment, which comes from gradual divination. The ideal is to suggest the object. It is the perfect use of this mystery which constitutes symbol. An object must be gradually evoked in order to show a state of soul; or else, choose an object and from it elicit a state of soul by means of a series of decodings.

Attributed to Stéphane Mallarmé.




bridal veil stinkhorn fungus




Iamblichus:
Iamblichus Chalcidensis, Neoplatonic philosopher
Granting, then, that ignorance and deception are faulty and impious, it does not follow that the offerings made to the gods and divine works are invalid, for it is not pure thought that unites theurgists to the gods. Indeed, what then would hinder those who are theoretical philosophers from enjoying a theurgic union with the gods? But the situation is not so: it is the accomplishment of acts not to be divulged and beyond all conception, and the power of unutterable symbols, understood solely by the gods that establishes theurgic union. For this reason, we do not bring about these things by thinking alone. If we did, their efficacy would be intellectual, and dependent on us. But neither assumption is true. For even when we are not engaged in thinking, the symbols themselves, by themselves, perform their appropriate work, and the ineffable power of the gods, to whom these symbols relate, itself recognizes the proper images of itself, not through being aroused by our thought.