Repeat After Me
How does it come that we (usually) wake up as the same person who fell asleep? Could it possibly be that in the first instant we are not the same person, that by some talent or mechanism we must actively reload ourselves, re-assert ourselves, surging like waves back into our previous positions, fleshing them out and occupying them? If this is true... then what in God's name causes us to do this? What is the advantage of the repetition? Where is the advantage in re-establishing our old standings?
(A somewhat similar question from Egan's Permutation City -- which I've picked up and started reading again -- "Had he never, in a dream, feared the extinction of waking?")
One's Time-line Becomes Confused
Q: "How long have you been together?"
Ray Davis published yesterday a long excerpt from (the late poet) William Bronk's essay 'Copan: Historicity Gone'. Reading it reminds me of what you've been saying to me, the discussions we've had over compliments and the independent space you manage to create for yourself.
Excerpts from Ray's excerpt...
Finally received The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band's Born into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward CD. Very nice. Lovely even.
Blurred prayer flags.
Sometimes so much happens that I get lost.
"I'm doing my best to be a master of discretion," I said this afternoon to the birthday boy (who's birthday was actually yesterday) "and keep what's going on from Alamut."
"Huh," he said, "that's a good one."
Strolling Through the Jordaan
Strolling through the Jordaan yesterday I happened to pass one of those strange little shops selling votive candles and calaveras boxes from Mexico (there has to be at least one of these shops in every 'world' city right?). Since it was Sunday -- and I was in a state of total happiness -- I couldn't resist stepping inside for a minute to take some pictures...
A minature Day-of-the-Dead box. It is a couple minutes past 5. Two women struggle (glued!) on a bed while a fully clothed man (the unknown artist?) looks on smiling.
Another Lazy *L* Day
Today... well, it's been another lazy *L* day. *L* standing for languid or languorous. (Me-gosh, it seems to happen every time!)
My only accomplishment today was to read my first book this year -- The Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata by Adolfo Bioy Casares. Allow me to quote from a particularly pertinent section (the start of chapter 50):
Concerning this year's totem animal Judith... believe me I've been thinking a lot about it... but what comes after a Surinam toad, a seal, and a red Mazda Miata? Julio Cortázar begins his novel Hopscotch with an epigram from one César Bruto who wrote a book entitled: What I Would Like to Be If I Wasn't What I Am (the epigram in question is taken from the chapter entitled: A St. Bernard Dog...) Intrigued by this (hmm... I wonder what I'd be like if I wasn't who I was?), I googled César Bruto (both with the accent and without the accent) and learned -- though most of the pages returned were in Spanish and I don't read Spanish -- that Bruto was a pseudonym for an Argentine humorist, one Carlo Warnes (dead now, poor man, he died in 1984) and the charm of Warnes' personage derived from his combination of street philosophy and orthographical error (much like Don Marquis' (anno 1916!) cockroach character Archy, hero of Archy and Mehitabel, or -- dare I say it? -- our own Dagmar Chili...) like this:
"When you get old like a highflyin bomber thats lost its moral engines..." (Blurred B52).
Becoming animal Judith. Deleuze and Guattari dedicate a chapter to this theme in their A Thousand Plateaus. The single bookmark in my copy sits here. Have you ever read it? I have tried and will continue to keep trying. A confession in the meantime: during our ayahuasca session at DasArts, I was shocked to find myself growling like a dog or wolf -- though this only appeared to last a moment I found tremendous satisfaction in the sound, not horror (as in (the squeaks of) Cronenberg's fly or Kafka's beetle) but catharsis. And people now dare to ask me: Why all the animals in Immortality Suite? (Additional note to myself: last saturday night it was she who realised the dog in the car was about to bark while I remained clueless. How can that be?)
Is becoming animal the same as adopting animal mentality? I wonder. At the end of a letter last year to my friend Norman Olsen I wrote:
"... the more we 'pump' ourselves up in order to escape personal entropy (our gravity well), the more we drive ourselves inwards towards its center. Is this not a perfect example of a tension which 'endeavours to cancel itself out' or consciousness which only desires its own particular brand of amnesia? ('Just give me animal mentality.')"
Super beautiful. Sony's Snow (Neige) minidiscs.
It's 7:13 in the morning, there's paper and bills spread ALL OVER the floor, Múm's Yesterday was Dramatic - Today is OK is spinning in the CD player and for the last 10 minutes I've been staring at a photocopy of Kristeva's article on Holbein's Dead Christ. (Leibnitz was right, it's a wonderful world.)
(alter-ego mea culpa)
On repeat: Low and Dirty Three's nine and a half minute cover of Neil Young's 'Down by the River' (from their In the Fishtank CD). The music is slow and sweet but one wonders about the river. As an environment is it beautiful or is it sublime? Does it meander peacefully through cottonwood trees or sluice violently (like the icy torrent in Bergman's Winter Light) through scattered rocks and boulders? Is the water filled with mud or is it clear? Does it run quiet (the silent witness) or does it rage so loud that human speech has become impossible?
Sigmund Freud's couch (from the Freud Museum London)
I am typing this with the smell of spruce tree on my hands. You would never imagine it but spruce tree mixes *incredibly well* with the smell of toasted bread with caraway seeds. (I just planted a new spruce tree and it's breakfast time.)
The video clip 'Hidden Place' (Bjork). I've seen this only once, and that was last August during a stay in West Beirut at the Mayflower Hotel (at home I don't usually watch T.V. but at the Mayflower I couldn't help myself... there were so many interesting channels on the T.V... all of them of course wickedly pirated). Bjork's video: little animated things come out of Bjork's nose. She sucks them into her mouth. Brilliant. Haven't stopped thinking about it. Though until the other day I didn't realise that it was directed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
The word 'arsenal'. As a synonym for storage it's the perfect word to add to my accumulate column. I like the word arsenal. It reminds me of a Surrealist journal that I used to collect (called Arsenal/Surrealist Subversion). I think it's quite a positive word. Everyone needs their own arsenal.
I keep scrolling back to look at Freud's couch. It looks so eastern and exotic.
La machina de la sueno.
Tricky's Blowback. I admire his eclecticism. The reviewers either love it or hate it. Certainly no consensus here.
Good music for the gym though.
Interesting... don't you think... how consensus (or its lack) influences desire?
I've never thought about it.
Nightmare scenario: Prolonged couch use could be hazardous to one's health.
Still from a film produced in 1998 by Liza May Post for a Dutch mental institution (De Geestgronden, Amstelveen).
Ronald van Tienhoven writes about this work:
Information continues to dazzle me. Too much information all at once and I find it difficult to function.
Last year on this particular Saturday I wrote:
"I saw a small boy vomiting into a clear plastic bag held by his father next to the fruit counter at the Konmar. A lot of people seem to have the flu. I had the flu yesterday. I've still got the flu today."
and quoted Thomas Disch on identity problems.
Rijk van Kooij writes:
Yes Rijk, we did. Thanks for reminding me.
(Seasons, cycles etc.)
Like the tide Dr. Jamie has pulled back into town for the film festival. And it was his phone call last night that managed to pull me out into the wind and the rain to watch a film project by one Pierre Bismuth at the Schouwburg and catch up with the aftermath-slash-crowd of yesterday's slew of openings (V2, TENT, the NAI).
A couple of hours of 'conversation' (Salvia divinorum, Slavoj Zizek, Camp X-Ray, Giorgio Agamben, Mulholland Drive, hypnosis, The White Stripes) with someone who's as wacky and energetic as a Duracell bunny was exactly what I needed (and exactly what the good doctor provided).
(It's festival time...)
Hey... There's some cool stuff going on in Rotterdam.
Thank you. I'm feeling about a million times better.
When I was at art school I read that essay by Sontag where she claims that 'Untitled' is as much a title as any other sequence of words printed on a white card next to an artwork. Given the role of the title in determining the 'meaning' of the artwork this made a lot of sense to me and I brought it up many times in discussion -- especially as a point of rebuttal to the (Dutch 80's?) art school cliche that "too much story spoils an artwork." In other words in a world where every sign is significant 'no story' also makes a damned fine story.
But... but... there is still another possibility for interpreting an absent sign (and herein the hell of undecidability). What if (the perceived) no story (lapse, lack, silence) indicates indifference? Or randomness? How many times do you need to look at something in order to rule this possibility out? How many bits of information does it take to make a 'byte' of meaning?
This is something I remember discussing this with Rijk several years ago at Media-GN. There was this paper... Yes, here it is...
(WARNING Cybernetic Super-Systematic Thinking ahead.)
And in Ray's own words (this line actually proceeding the quote above):
Camp X-Ray's see-through exit sign (indicating the direction of Mecca).
The Joy of Sisyphus
(System theory a-go-go.)
"The complexity of a process ought to be measured by how much information is needed to predict its future behavior."
Given the best things in life are going to be infinitely complicated, I guess this means one is never going to have enough information (or get tired of gathering it!)
3:30 A.M. That's an a-w-f-u-l-l-y bright full moon. And somewhere nearby a confused blackbird is singing its heart out.
(Last night) Dr. Jamie King in Cafe Dudok.
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