To revolt we reboot our (personal) calender. We reinvent. Who doesn't love a fresh start? (How many starts does one get?) A man travels back in his mind to remember a woman he never met in the first place. What's wrong with this picture?
Chris Marker, La Jetée, 1962.
He telephone's himself (as he would a stranger). He sends himself email. He makes notes to himself. He talks to himself.
Standard Dutch telephone protocol requires one to answer the phone by identifying oneself immediately to the caller -- providing the caller with one's own name before the caller has a chance to say anything. Thus:
(Trrring...) "You're speaking with John Doe."
Not: (Trrring...) "Hello."
Any departure from this protocol (such as answering the phone with a simple "Hello") is usually met with a pause. If the receiver doesn't take the hint and immediately provide the caller with their name the caller will challenge the receiver by asking for it:
(Pause) "With whom am I speaking?"
In other words the caller will always give the receiver another chance to do the right thing, to follow the right form. But if the receiver be especially obstreperous or a foreigner (or an obstreperous foreigner) he or she will have no truck with this, leading to the obvious show down, and a challenge of their own:
(Pause) "With whom am I speaking?"
(In a mimicky voice) "With whom am I speaking?"
Signalling the end of the game. The caller will either have to back down or hang up.
Inter-operability is shaky at the best of times.
Which brings us to a couple of paragraphs from a short interview with Slavoj Zizek on Teleopolis entitled: Hysteria and Cyberspace. No doubt about it, Zizek is an obstreperous foreigner and the topic under discussion: the psychic economy of email is one that everyone appreciates. Note Zizek's distinction between perversion and hysteria. I definitely feel we must learn more about this. (Reading Zizek and Lacan makes me want to become a psychoanalyst when I grow up.)
R. T. (rhetorically): How many times can we tell the story of penetration?
Me (after clicking on the link): A fuck of a lot.
Stranded in someone else's neighborhood
(Curtis Mayfield, When Seasons Change.)
The clock ticks. The characters walk with stiff legs and speak without looking at each other. The camera flows exceedingly smoothly back and forth across the interior of the Danish farmhouse. Stop. Wait. Move back. The protestant dreamscape: all is black and white. The voices melodious. Johannes: "Inger, you must rot because the times are rotten."
Carl Dreyer, Ordet, 1954.
No thanks. I've had enough.
Two manners of sustained inquiry: extremely slowly as in Douglas Gordon's '24 Hour Psycho' (1993) (thanks Minke Themans) and over and over as in Rémy Zaugg's 'Untitled, 6 Steel Boxes' (1969).
The Palace at 5 A.M.
In the garden looking west...
"I showed the arrest of a criminal by Scotland Yard detectives, and tried to make it as concrete and detailed as I could. You even saw the detectives take the man to the lavoratory to wash his hands -- nothing exciting, just the routine of duty. Then the young detective says he's going out that evening with his girl, and the sequence ends, pointing on from duty to love. Then you start showing the relationship between the detective and his girl: they are middle-class people. The love theme doesn't run smoothly; there is a quarrel and the girl goes off by herself, just because the young man has kept her waiting for a few minutes. So the story starts; the girl falls in with the villain -- he tries to seduce her and she kills him. Now you've got your problem prepared. Next morning, as soon as the detective is put on to the murder case, you have your conflict -- love versus duty. The audience know that he will be trying to track down his own girl, who has done the murder, so you sustain their interest: they wonder what will happen next."
Alfred Hitchcock, 'Direction,' in Charles Davy (ed.) 'Footnotes to the Film,' 1937.
Sleep restores equanimity like nothing else.
'Tis hot. My net connection has ground to a halt. Is there be a relation between these two events? Event1 feels like an unbinding. Event2 feels like an unbinding. Two unbindings. A double unbinding.
If the double bind (feeling obliged to obey contradictory messages) leads to schizophrenia (and sometimes creativity) where does this double unbinding lead?
(The last of the milk in the carton stamped 'Best before 13/05' has been heated for the coffee. Tomorrow we'll have to open the carton dated 'Best before 12/05'.)
(Went out into the hot night to 'Another Telepathic Thing' at the Schouwburg. Afterwards lay on the couch and watched Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) while simultaneously listening to Gavin Bryars 'The Last Days.')
(My favorite shot in The Passion of Joan of Arc is near the end of the film. Dreyer uses a swinging camera to capture the 'crowd control devices' being tossed out the window of the tower to the soldiers below.)
(An altered state.) This heat does torpify.
rut1, Track sunk by passage of wheels; established mode of procedure, beaten track, groove. Hence rutty.
rut2, Periodic sexual excitement of male deer (also goat, ram etc.), heat; be affected with rut. Hence ruttish.
Let's pretend the point of the future is to simply make more past.
Which do you prefer? One version only -- one's history as a fact-of-one's-life (ie. one's facticity)? Or multiple co-existent versions of oneself?
"... I would start to reverse-engineer/re:invent myself many times in the game. Design a handful of Jouke Kleerebezems who do some of my lives. Some have specific tasks, like updating NQPAOFU, or replying my mail, or raising R+r. Others hang around to irritate these prime doers. Then I need some JK's to do some art and write (maybe this could be in one Sim hand, hyper realistic...). One to write my will. One to be gay. One to be a cook. One to buy books. One to do all the meta reflection on why and when these characters collaborate or sabotage."
Jalal Toufic (slightly edited):
I'm off to Milan and will be offline until after the weekend.
Milan was great fun.
We were well taken care of, everyone was wonderfully kind, the meetings and conversations thought provoking, the food exquisite, the (window) shopping heavenly, our work well presented, AND we got a chance to see Leonardo's 'Last Supper.'
What more could we ask for?
8 A.M. Considering how David Allen considers work...
10 A.M. Heard this afternoon's business meeting has been cancelled.
2 P.M. Discovered the library has found the lost 'Last Year at Marienbad.' Rented it together with F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu (with German intertitles).
4 P.M. Played tennis for the first time this year.
6 P.M. Continued to play tennis.
10 P.M. Made a date for a week Sunday.
12 P.M. Listened to 'On the Corner.' Smoked kif and drank caf with Alpro soy milk (as was recommended by Mr. Lira's 'ultra-sexy and efficient Spanish coffee expert').
Message in a Context
Considering schizophrenia, a couple of weeks ago I had a chance to reread Gregory Bateson's 1969 paper 'Double Bind.' At the time I must have been especially struck by the anecdote which I've included below because the story kept returning to my mind during my stay in Milan -- especially the image of the porpoise (who's finally got the purpose) -- "the porpoise appeared to be much excited..."
More fun with Flipper-like creatures (Sept. 6, 2000): "Have you ever given ketamine to a dolphin?"
(Who said dialectics is dead?)
We Will Remember It For You
(We will even photograph our shadows to help you remember.)
I watched L'Année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year at Marienbad) last night. What a spell. What a fabulously deranged film. And... what a shock.
I confess. Beneath this
You too must assume some sort of general advancement in everything.
Admit it. You do.
But then suddenly, hullo... along comes a film like Marienbad and this old assumption of ours seems to be so much sand. (Literally: 'Under the pavement, the beach' (Paris 1968: "Sous le pavé, la plage")). Look now and look then and it looks like 2001 is trailing 40 years behind 1961. (That's awfully far behind. How could this happen? Simple. The year 1961 was a peak. We are now heading downhill.)
It does makes one wish to be 5 again.
Ontological Vertigo (Daddy-o)
R.L. tells me my remarks yesterday on Marienbad were the remarks of a (film) neophyte. This is quite true, I am a film neophyte. R.T. says that she considers (the act of) forgetting a necessary part of evolution. This seems quite true as well (at least as long as we are talking about cultural evolution).
So here's a question: did or did not Robbe-Grillet base his screenplay on 'The Invention of Morel,' a novella by Adolfo Bioy Casares? Thomas Beltzer thinks so and in his essay Last Year at Marienbad: An Intertextual Meditation suggests that "pristine high modernism" and "eurocentric" snobbery were the main reasons that Bioy Casares was left unacknowledged by Robbe-Grillet and Resnais.
And after he's made this point, Beltzer adds:
Marienbad (a screenplay analysis): Marienbad Revisited by Walter W. Kirsch Jr. While Kirsch doesn't go as far Mr. Beltzer in suggesting that Marienbad only becomes sensible when one recognizes its (hidden, intertextual) 'sources,' he does manage to sneak in an alleged source of his own:
Annemie invited me to see 'Nuit des Hommes' an opera by Per Noergaard this evening at the Schouwburg. Afterwards we had much to talk about including (briefly) the poster child for this year's Holland Festival:
(Detail... Holland Festival poster 2001.)
I read the label underneath,
My ancestors are turned to clay,
(Detail... Robert Southwell (1561-1595), 'Upon the Image of Death.')
The Sweetest Solipsism
From Jalal Toufic's 'Distracted':
The (Non) Communicative
From the 'frontspiece' of Jalal Toufic's 'Distracted':
-- Are you saying this to me?
Script (recorded Tuesday, 17 April 2001):
And More (The Always Already)
Read this first! L'Année dernière à Alamut. ("Not intensities linked but intensity in the links. Not different discourses linked but discourse in the links.")
Oh sustained inquiry... I often wonder (as I have often wondered) how anyone could ever have been expected to get a piece of art after one exposure (to a particular opera, to a film like Marienbad). Is it because we can return (because our art lives in the age of reproduction, vinyl/CD/mini-disc, video/DVD), that we pay less attention than our ancestors once did? Because our aesthetic experience is repeatable (re-listenable, re-viewable)? Or because we assume it is?
Fresh starts? As much as you like.
Among Marienbad's shadows. "Stucco, mouldings, paintings... ...framed prints... ...amidst which I advanced... ...there among which I was already, waiting for you..."
I complain: I feel terribly fatigued, yet I am doing nothing very tiring. It feels as if I've been caught in a spell. (And then suddenly I realise that I HAVE BEEN caught in a spell, have been for some time now, and that I actually sought this thing out, went looking for it; for I am in love with all sorts of spells and enchantments. So why am I complaining? (So why is Paul complaining? What does Paul have to complain about?) There is obviously a price to pay for all this fun... TANSTAAFL).
"I saw the best minds of my generation" must have read Future Shock when they were in high school.
All your singularity are belong to us. (Sorry. sorry. sorry.)
Following the same line of reasoning that a scholar is nothing more than a library's way of making another library, what if our taste for something special is nothing more than that something special's way of propagating itself?
Seen from this perspective, our refined appetite would be less a sign of our consumership and more a sign of our having already been 'marked,' 'consumed,' cannibalized -- that is, more an effect than a cause. (Being already marked is not the same thing as being always already marked.)
So go ahead. Show me your outré taste and I'll show you yet another (parasitic) pattern struggling to survive. (Our) Resistance is already futile.
L'Année dernière à Alamut: All Systems Go.
Last night I introduced my friend R.T. to my friend R.L. What a wonderful dinner we had.
Re: The Fatigue
JK writes: "...it seems my general condition as well..." and then provides an insight into the natural history of the phenomenon: "Why is progress so hard to find in the uneven dynamics of attention and production?"
Stress (being the (anticipated) result of the war between too many (past) options/bifurcations) prompts me to consider this particular episode of my own natural history...
The year was 1976, I was 19 years old and flying from Vancouver to Karachi via Seattle, New York, Paris, Frankfurt and Cairo. The night before I left Vancouver I went out carousing with friends and what with being young, drunk and excited about my trip I ended up not sleeping a wink. You can imagine the result. A few hours into my journey and I was already a total wreck. The additional 12 hour delay in New York (due to engine trouble) just made matters worse.
Then magic happened. During the flight over the Atlantic I sat next to a French girl so totally cute that I fell head over heels in love. Unfortunately she spoke no english and under such duress my -- never very good -- high school french completely failed me. All that is but a single sentence which I uttered, as seductively as I could given the circumstances, over and over to her: 'Je suis fatigué. Je suis fatigué.'
Luckily she didn't seem to mind. The temptation to abort my trip and get off the plane with her in Paris was very, very great.
Not sure whether this little story has a moral or a morale (and if it did what that would be).
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