Tuesday, June 28, 2011
In the long run, immortal humanity would either have to revert to natural, or social Darwinism. And I don't know which of the two prospects is scarier. The first would be easier on the ethics, but the second let's you hold on to a bit of culture, preserving a veneer of a civilization. I think I'd eventually agree to the soylent green approach. Although, going the primitive route would eventually destroy the knowledge needed to stop aging, allowing the civilizing processes to start anew (once the population reduces in size, unaided by modern convention)
Thursday, June 09, 2011
As above, so below, a most elated game of clouded minds. At once wicked and virtuous, ingenious and foolish, a poisonous panacea. But are these faulty premises of any use?
Without them, you are a lonely slab of man-shaped meat, dangling on sticks, with them, you are a being of a higher order, god's vassal on earth, passing through the world of shadows, finding your golden path. Every action, event or instance - becomes a strand in a magical pattern of infinite complexity.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Them: So, you are a designer..is that like, you work with computers and stuff?
Me: Well I do, but it’s just a small fraction of it, a computer is just a tool..
Them: Year, right, so, what is it that you do? A Designer of what?
Me: Well, what you see around you, posters billboards, books, signage, packages..websites (on rare occasions)
Them: Ah ! So you are a webdesigner!
Me: Well not so much, I dabble on occasion but..
Them: Hey, you know what, my daughter needs a logo for her band, I still have a few minutes before I have to head back, can you make one for her before I leave?
Me: Well, see now, designing a logo takes a lot of effort, and it’s not just a mark, what we do is create identity systems..
Them: Don’t be ridiculous, I see logos every day, they are tiny things, you can make a dozen in five minutes. I’d do it myself, but I can’t draw, tell you what, just draw me a picture and I’ll put in the text and everything, My cousin showed me how to do shadows and other cool things in Photoshop!
Me: Identity design is probably the most difficult discipline within the field of graphic design, it requires one to sift through countless concepts to arrive at a finished, concise form that embodies a whole score of ideas, is unique, and pleasing to the eye. You have to appeal to the target, and after all, a logo is just a tip of the iceberg. A logo by itself is just a mark, what makes it magic, is an expansive and detailed identity system, that establishes a particular style to all areas of visual communication, from architecture to the color of your toilet paper.
Them: Well, that’s just a load of corporate nonsense isn’t it? It’s just a way for you guys to raise your price. All I need is a simple little logo. I don’t even mind if it only has two colors, and I can add the shadow myself. I was going to order it from one of those online logo places, but they are charging $50! Isn’t that ridiculous? 50 bucks for a tiny picture. Who’d ever pay that? If you want payment, I can give you this gift certificate for $35 at Quick-E-Mart. How about that?
And then you accept their commission, because they are distant friends of your relatives and you can’t say no, or for that matter, ask for a fair price:Me: Here are three directions that we can take to develop your identity.
Them: Oou! It looks pretty good, but I don’t like the green.
Me: The green is there to blah-blah-blah... but it doesn’t matter. What we have to decide, is which of the three do we pick and work on further.
Them: Oh, I think the left one is the best of the bunch, but I thought about it some more this past week, and I think we should have strawberries. I’ve asked my friends and my partner, they all agree, that strawberries are a good positive image.
Them: And here is a font that I fond on the web, it’s modern and forward-looking.
Them: So, if you could just take that design on the left, put a strawberry on top, and write the text in ZZ_Type_Kool, we’ll be golden.
Me: Hang on a minute... /Writes up a 2-page essay explaining the value of quality design, the difference between kitsch and avantgard, the meaning of professionalism and the role of a designer as conceptual communicator./
Them: /After skipping through to the least sentence in the essay/ Stop being difficult! I am paying you money, and should be entitled to get what I ask. I even found you the font (ZZ_Type_Kool) so you don’t even have to search for one. My insurance company needs a pink strawberry on top of a shining golden spear, and I expect to get it. If $100 I paid is not enough, I can add 20 more for your troubles.
Me: So why do you even need a designer?
Them: I can’t draw strawberries. Look, I’ve worked with other designers before, and it was always very easy, I tell them what I want, they do it and get paid. See what they did for me? /shows a juggernaut of piss and glitter/
Me: But that’s horrible!
Them: All designers say that about the work of all other designers! And it only cost me $50.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
friend: I mean my agnosticism argument is pretty much “Suppose God exists and created the universe. If he was created out of nothing, then so can a universe without God be. If he was not created and was always there, then so could have a universe without God. For me, God does not explain anything, therefore irrelevant.”
Well, if God is truly as Christians perceive him, there can never be proof of God. Not even theoretically.
friend: Or, in other words, the degree to which you can ascertain existence of something is lowest for God.
me: So why is it so many of them try to prove his existence?
friend: There’s two problems here. First, and more mild is that their faith is not strong enough to override that aspect of their humanity or they poorly deal with the conflict within their own faith.
friend: Second, I firmly believe that the human capacity for abstract thinking is inherently limited and only a small percentage of people, regardless of intelligence are capable of fully grasping concepts such as falsifiability or logical validity.
me: I once tried explaining that to a group of Mormons, urging them to stop evangelizing, and stay home. It almost worked :)
friend: Also, a lot of creation myths do not actually answer some basic creation questions.
me: Err 1.God did it.
2.The ways of God are unknowable.
I think it covers pretty much everything
me: I hope someone finds Hopi emergence tunnels.
friend: Not that part. Existence is a fairly abstract concept -- and complicated one to boot. Mainly the questions that arise are is there a concept of ‘before God did it’? The flow of time is rarely mentioned as one of the things created by God in creation myths. However, if you ask a Christian if God existed before the Earth, they will most likely say “Yes! He created the Earth!”. And if you ask a Christian where did direction, speed and concept of time flow come from, they will say “God created it.”
friend: This is not a logical problem, but it is a logical ambiguity that creates a kink for some theologies. If you have faith in the existence of time independently of God, you have some problems -- namely you are creating a universe around your God and lowering their godliness. If you have faith in the creation of time by God, you have much bigger problems -- ‘existence’ does not require time, but ‘creation’ does. Time is created philosophically by the first change -- there can be existence “before” time but it cannot be measured in duration and it is static. Assuming the initial existence is just God, then the first change of God creates time, but while there is no problem with saying “God created time” in this context, that very first change is not an act of God.
friend: Essentially infinite past or finite past both require God to be less-than-God in some aspect, and I don’t think Christians would be content with a theory that God is only God in the scope of our Universe, with something that is bigger, unknowable and not a work of God.
me: Sorry I was out. This is my problem with Descartes’s Cogito. I think therefore I am - implies that logic and causality are somehow universal and retain their relevance when you discard all other “facts”that come from our perception. I see causality as a learned effect and not an imperative. You plant a seed, you see it grow, you learn logic. It’s a property of a closed system of the universe, that God might’ve created along with other mechanisms like time and space and mass. God’s power within the universe would thus be limited to the laws that govern us (else the system might be destabilized) but no such rules need apply outside the universe or cause restrictions during the time of creation before the jump-start.
me: The paradox is of course that I am using logic to reason this through :)
me: This is why I like Eastern Orthodoxy. They call it all a mystery and refuse to construct logical arguments.
At least the more sensible of them do :)
friend: I don’t think you can lump logic and causality together. Causality is observed. Logic just is. This was the problem of many philosophers discussing epistemology -- they took things like existence, causality, motion and flow of time, and took as them as logical premises.
me: Logic is also observed
me: Like everything else. You add one pebble to another one, and observe that you now have two, presupposing that if you take one away, you’ll be left with one. You test it, and arrive at a rule.
me: Logic is of course very abstract, and removed from all things sensual, but it is discovered in relation to your observation of how things are
friend: But that’s not a rule, that’s an axiom. Axioms of logic are certainly observed or invented, but logic itself is not.
me: The very existance of the concept of logic is supposed because of a number of axioms that are learned
If no axioms were discoverable, the idea of logic would not exist
friend: Yes it would. The idea of logic is that “If things follow rules, then things follow rules.”
What the rules are, or if they even exist, or if anything follows them is entirely outside the scope of the part of logic I’m referring to.
me: And where does that come from?
When we are outside of both things and rules
friend: brb, you can’t be outside a concept
me: I suppose there’s gotta be a rule of logic that prohibits reasoning against the existence of logic in a logical way. I think I am starting to understand the purpose of all those silly illogical koans.
And then I got hungry and left the chat.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
You take a position on an issue, and select the background shade for the post to be either black (con) or white (pro) with the moderators, interjecting in neutral grays. The colors of all of the posts are added together to get a sense of the general attitude, prevalent on the thread. In addition to the dichotomy, there can be an additional rainbow forum for issues with more then two individual sides.
A special caste of judges, selected by popular vote, will evaluate the arguments (and the prevalent colors) to determine which argument was best presented and gained popularity. Individual scores will also be counted, with the participants rated on their oratory skills and knowledge, with praise and special privileges.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
The first principal of visual communication, is that aesthetics are secondary to purpose. A design is distinct from decoration in that it carries meaning. It is an answer to a particular set of problems, employing aesthetics to maximize it's potency. Basically, it is better to have a conceptually sound but poorly crafted solution then a meaningless visual marvel.
But what about the graphics? It used to be, that the secrets of the craft were kept better then the most dire of political affairs. An apprentice would come to learn them after years of laborious chores under a harsh abusive master. The tools of the trade were passed down in generations along with a complicated, secretive lingo. The simplest of actions were injested with rituals and wrapped in obscure metaphors. Enter – the age of information. Millions of articles, thousands of sites, hundreds of books on any given topic of any given trade, can be found in an instant by anyone. But we, have not changed. There is still a mischievous smirk at the edge of the designers mouth. We know something the rest of the world does not. There is an unspoken creed, by which we have gauged our peers for thousands of years, and have ensured our survival in the future.
This secret is the source of our power, a reason for casual elitism and vain pride. To know it, is to be a designer. The secret is this: There is an underlying harmonic relationship that is not affected by time, location or culture, a quality that cannot be captured in diagrams or described in words. A variation from this platonic form, brings irritation, an almost physical discomfort, to the viewer. A design perfection is measured by the suffering it causes. There are no rules, devices, or guides essential to design. They are merely ways to organize our thoughts, secondhand clutches. The illusive harmonic relationship is not a result of following the rules, but vice versa. The best designers are those who suffer from the smallest imperfections. An Ideal designer would not be satisfied with anything at all. How do we learn to recognize this quality? Time and observation – are the key components. We are all born with a latent appreciation of harmony, but the ways of reaching it by the most optimal routs must be learned. This is where the "rules of design" come in handy. Through careful application, and continuous analysis, one attunes their vision gaining increased sensitivity.
So, there we find ourselves – a guildless lot. Our secrets squandered away, our tools in every home, at the fingertips of every child, our argot diffused to a handful of words. But our resolve is as strong as ever, and our future is bright, for we are protected by the magic, deeper then the carving on the stone table. Amen.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Subduxit reliquis dolo?
- John Milton
Once in the thicket of proverbial mire,
Among the reeds of metaphor and semiotic mud
A single verse of clear, clandestine fire
Lay hidden in the pool of verbal blood
It is not given to our adverse gender
To partake in the mystery of birth
To suffer through and finally to render
The flesh from womb, like fire from the hearth
Ours truly is the world of dim reflection,
Of shimmering homunculi in vials
Of coils of reason looped in tired erection
Of leads and slugs in neatly marching files.
A metaphoric birth of the hermetic life
A glimpse of future in a tiny drop
A dab of paint on my pallet knife
A lame attempt at very first press job.
Note on the text: This little poem was written to adorn the page of the very first letterpressed work.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
There was an old jew from the ghetto
He hid jewel-encrusted stiletto
For under the floor
There was a trap door
A cunning old jew from the ghetto
There once was a geezer from Prague
Who liked to give youngsters a hug
He'd follow it up with a sensual rub
And leave them to bleed in the tub.
There once was a man who wore shorts.
He used cardboard boxes as forts.
He trained little flea.
To beg and to plea.
And spent all his life drinking ports.
There was a young slave called Le Pingo.
Who set to revolt San Domingo.
In fire and smoke they killed all white folk.
And adopted the Frenchified lingo.
A citizen known as St. Just,
Knew well Robespierre in the past.
And now he moans,
On the mattress of bones,
In hell, liberated - at last.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Saturday, October 01, 2005
I am not a vegetarian, for my love of the carrion food overpowers all emotional and ethical barriers that the mind constructs. I consume the flesh of the beings raised into the inevitability of the slaughter, and I find comfort in the superficial structures that shield me from the knowledge of the suffering endured. I gorge on the mutilated corpses, I eat them fried, and I eat them roasted, boiled and rolled into pastries, and every time my teeth sink into the torn flesh, I think of the nature of my deed, and I curse the silly buggers for being so damned tasty!
Sunday, September 11, 2005
The paramount difference between mythologies and folk legends lies in the inability of the latter to successfully migrate, severing their ties from the soil that gave them birth. When the direct carriers move to a different place, the old tales linger only as shallow memories of something they left behind, waiting to be forgotten by successive generations. The tales only live as long as there are people to tell them. Few can now recall the diabolical horror of the Spring Heeled Jack or cunning mischief of Kappa. In contrast, mythologies are abandoned or dormant religions that have been accepted by a large populace at a ling period of time and generated a substantial material base by which they can be remembered. Thus it appears, that the duty to erect a memorial to folk legends falls on the shoulders of those, who know the last about them.
Latin America is naturally rich with tradition, and an attempt to capture its entire scope in one exhibition is unthinkable. The best we can hope for, is to provide a tiny glimpse behind the colorful curtain, in hopes to stimulate interest and wonder, enough to encourage individual investigations. For the sake of creating this link, I decided to concentrate on something small and fairly recent that can be both vibrant and engaging, something that still remains a part of the contemporary culture. My choice fell on the Mexican legend of La Chupacabra, of a legendary creature that is still believed by some to roam the forests in search of a stray goat to sink it’s teeth in, and drain every last drop of the victims blood. The reports of it’s visual appearance vary widely, but the most common image depicted in a number of paintings and statuettes is that of a reptilian creature with greenish skin, that hops in a manner of a kangaroo, and emits a terrifying hissing noise from it’s canine mouth lined with massive fangs and a protruding forked tongue. The farmers allegedly embarked on a number of expeditions to hunt down the legendary Goat-Sucker (a literary translation of the La Chupacabra) but the creature proves to be quite elusive.
As the central aim of my exhibition is to awaken the dormant sense of wonder, and interest people in the study of legends and folklore, it seems appropriate to refrain from a customary display of categorized elements in a receding sterile environment. My exhibition will engage the visitor to partake in a journey to search for the legendary creature, wading though the clues and snippets of conflicting information, while wondering through a constructed environment, that features the threads of myths and legends that the visitors are free to follow further on they own accord. In essence, the search for la Chupacabra becomes a vehicle through which other legends are discovered.
Due to the nature of the proposed experience, it would not make sense to impose a single walking pattern on all visitors, as the essence of the project lies in exploration of the unknown. On the other hand, it would make little sense to dump the entire array of exhibits on the unsuspecting visitors and leave them in the middle of an amorphous mass of seemingly unrelated items. The paths and revelations have to be carefully planned, but the order in which these paths are taken should remain at the will of the observers, thus giving them a freedom to explore without sacrificing the capabilities of a directed experience.
The visual style and physical properties of the constructed space is perhaps the biggest challenge I will have to face. It needs to be engaging, mystifying and exciting, without becoming a local low-budget substitute for Disneyland. In it’s heart, it must remain a museum exhibit, a sophisticated display of elements that is not without a scholarly interest. Therefore, the visitors are not likely to be left wondering amidst the murky woods of cheap plastic trees, expecting an occasional plush spider to be dropped on their heads from the trapdoor above, cleverly painted to represent the starry sky. I am determined to discover the optimal style for the exhibition through a number of experiments and a study of the location. There will most likely be a unifying structure, inseparatable from the displayed artifacts, employing visual, tactile and acoustic stimuli. What that structure will be, I am yet to find out.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
International is a rare example of harmonized duality in a retail environment. The two respective trades are joined under one roof with a use of a witty interplay of contrasting elements that make up the brand’s visual components. The established oppositions such as squares and circles, complementary colors, thicks and thins, that have been a part of the visual language for centuries, are employed to coexist harmoniously, subtly accenting the distinction between the wares.
The store occupies a rather limited area measuring roughly 8x10 meters divided in such a way as to produce two smaller rooms of 5x8, lined with shelves and various display cases. Each room is dedicated to its particular product line, and the two are connected by a broad portal. The main colors used in the decoration of the store are soft pastel versions of blue and yellow, cleverly placed together to produce a sense of moderate excitement. The two colors can be found in the identity marks, wall treatment, posters, display cases and promotional material. Yet, at the extent of their proliferation, they never become bothersome or overbearing. This subtlety can be found in most aspects of the design, it is in the modest texturing of the walls, the understated shifts of the wooden floor tiles, the simple but elegant san-serif typography. The limitations of space are also turned to be used for the benefit of the store. It combats the cold dehumanizing nature of the modernistic style. The environment is naturally proportioned to the human body, neither humbling, nor elevating the visitor.Overall, the designers succeeded in creating a singular identity for a dual brand.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
The essay begins, rather clumsily, with an attempt to define performance through a relationship of intentions and outcomes, spilling into a discussion over a possibility of identifying and validating acts (both intentional and unintentional) thought the consideration of an outcome. This progression seems to have some merit, as the discussion of the outcomes could easily have spread into the beginning stages of understanding the nature of the unity of meaning. The outcome is merely one of the facets of the non-psychical elements that relate to acts. Sadly, the point was not developed further, and the view quickly shifted to a simpler, traditional understanding of acts as the union of body and spirit.
As previously stated, the task of arriving to Schelers point from a simpler understanding of the acts has been at the heart of the essay from the beginning, but the appearance of that definition in the body of the text seems a little backwards. The following blunders of the terms spirit and soul did not help my credibility, but allowed to at least eliminated one of the extraneous elements that could’ve lured the unity of meaning into the depths of theological quicksand.
The next paragraph takes a step even further back and attempts to determine the presence of a psychical component in the mix that makes up a person. It is an important point, as it is not uncommon for the existence of some inner entity to be denied or questioned in our highly materialistic world. The paragraph provides a link between our biological composition and the sentient quality that arises from it and attempts to show why it should be considered on it’s own grounds, separate from the electrons passing over the synaptic gaps. The placement of that discussion is counter-intuitive, as the psyche, or the soul, has already been dealt with in the preceding text, and any attempt to construct an integrated and continuous development of the idea of acts as non-psychical would have it be positioned close to the very beginning.
It is only at the end of the essay, that the problems posed in the section on performance are finally brought up and a few sentences are provided that introduce the unity of meaning in relation to the unity of acts as the basis of personhood. It is here, that such considerations as need and responsibility, are introduced, that a purely psychical being is barred from.
The essay could be seen as a good way to establish the groundwork that would allow for a leap into the understanding of Scheler’s position, if it were to be reorganized in the consecutive order. It provides the basic tools and terminology for further development, but falls short of breaking the confines of the traditional understanding of the acts.
To make the leap from traditional view of a person as an integration of body and spirit, to a view of a person as of a performer of intentional acts, it will be instrumental to rely on some simple examples that would illustrate intention, performance and outcome in relation to the unity of the meaning and it’s effect on the unity of the action as a basis of personhood.
For the first example, let us appropriate a method used in geometry of proving a statement through disproving the opposite claim. Let us assume that any act can only consist of the psychical meaning and physical performance. Painting a fence has an undeniable physical component of moving ones limbs in a semi-orderly fashion while balancing and shifting the weights to change the position in space. The possible inner intention that could be seen as contributing to the performance of such an act, would be a desire for new visual stimuli in a form of a painted fence, a need to break the monotony of the day, and a search for an outlet of artistic expression. All three are possible motivations that could easily lead to one picking up a brush. The first incentive presupposes the memory of an unpainted fence, as well as some consideration of taste. The memory of the fence probably consists of flashes of its state of being in time, related to particular context. A taste is in part an acquired and culturally determined preference that develops through interaction with the world in time. A desire to break the monotony of the day is a psychical reaction to a string of consecutive events that occur outside and suggest a certain mode of behavior. It touches the entire span of world history, leading to the current state of boredom of a particular individual. A need for artistic expression is even more loaded with extraneous connections and connotations and it’s meaning can hardly be contained in a purely psychical realm. It is therefore evident, that our supposition of seeing intention as purely psychical cannot be true in all cases.
The aforementioned example questions the seclusion of the psychic meaning, summoning the need for time and context to observe the origin of action. But it is a supposition rooted in the past, one that relies to heavily on our limited capacity of storing, retrieving, and processing information. From the intention of the act, we come to actual performance that propels the act to its completion. When one performs an act of driving a car along the rough country road, the meaning of the act consists of more then an intention to deliver dairy products to the commissioner on time. The meaning also stretches over the actual performance, as the driver turns the wheel to steer clear of the pit and accidentally drives over a rattlesnake, or when he passes a field with a pretty peasant girl who smiles at him suggestively. The caution of evading certain death, the recklessness of taking a life, and the sense of duty that prohibits spending afternoon on a haystack, all add to the unity of meaning that relates to the unity of the acts of avoiding, driving over, and driving forth, that are part of the act of driving a car, and is part of the larger array of acts that stretch in time to be a basis of our driver’s personhood.
The second example came closer to representing the emergence of meaning at the instance of the performance of an act, but fell shortsighted of the overstretching meaning of the outcome of an action. A young peasant girl, who came out into the clearing to lure an occasional stranger to paint over a fence that her previous contractor had turned into a work of postmodern art, has the intention, and carries on a performance, but does not receive a desired outcome, thus failing to perform an act. The unity of the acts of the driver, and the commissioner (who set the prices on milk) add up to the outcome of her attempt at performing her act.
As we have seen, the intention, the performance, and the outcome stretch outside of the psychical and physical domains of a human being. All three are required to construct the unity of meaning. But in order to present a person in terms of the unity of acts we need to add a notion of responsibility. For example, the painting of a fence entails responsibility to adhere to the wishes of the client. Accidental killing of a rattlesnake, can lead to regret as testament of partly accepting the responsibility. The attempt of luring the driver to paint a fence with promises of affection is likely to establish a certain role in the tight rural community. It is the responsibility that she consciously took in the performance of the intentional act. With the responsibility added to the concept of the unity of meaning, that contribute to the unity of the acts, it is possible for the latter to include all that makes up a person.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Among a number of topics’ Zola attempted to introduce readers to his aesthetic and emotive outlook on art. He establishes a system of hierarchy of the attributes that make up the work. At one end, Zola observes the “element of reality.” It is the unchanging set of perceptual ideas that we derive from nature and can “serve as a common measure,” if such a thing is possible. At another end, is the “element of individuality.” The unique characteristic of vision of the artist and his creation, without which “no picture could be more then a simple photograph.”
The importance of the individual and unique character in the works of art is stressed through the article. There is little doubt that Zola was delighted by the works of some of his contemporaries with whom he admitted to be “at ease.” (1966 My Hates) In particular, the ideas of the “strong, harsh character” that “seizes nature in his two hands” corresponds perfectly with the works of Gustave Courbet, expecially his famous stonebreakers. The unflagging honesty and roughness of forms give a unique character two the painting of two tired road workers. From the review, it is evident, that Zola could not help but embrace the works of another famous painter of the time. Eduard Manet shared a close bond with the author, and produced works that demonstrated many of the principles Zola held dear. In the work entitled “Olympia,” Manet captured an unprecedented directness in the gaze of a reclining prostitute, mimicking in composition Titian's Venus of Urbino, but achieving a very different feeling. Manet is not treating us with “the little tricks and scheming flatteries” but confronts us with the reality. It is a tired and dispassionate face of the courtesan and the pose untouched by the virtues of chase that give a powerful and unsettling character to the work. On a slightly different level, Zola’s ideas can also be found in the works of Claude Monet. His “Women in the Garden” dated around the same time the review was first published was one of the precursors to what later became impressionism. It depicts a group of people relaxing in the garden, painted with loose brushstrokes in natural light. While the forms are fairly traditional in their representation, the work possesses a unique feeling of personal involvement of the artist. Zola noted his profound interest in the “man” behind the painting rather then a picture.
It will not be fair to constrain Zola’s vision by the statements and propositions as he himself note in conclusion, the changing nature of the arts and expectations and notes the error of judging “works of tomorrow” by contemporary standards.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
(Fictional)Except from Derrida’s Article “On Supperology” first Published by Ad Busters in December 2004
“…but it should be noted that the deconstructive commentary is not limited to religious institutions, it is a parergon that encompasses a much broader area, including feminism, racism, classicism, art history, concept of originality, even linguistics. There has been much discussion over gender ambiguity in Hebrew and Aramaic writings. Still, despite (or perhaps because of) this grandiose scope of disciplines and institutions that are being questioned and tried, the work falls short to dent the systems and engage us in a serious discussion. It is the response of those who believe themselves to suffer from Cox’s affront, that requires the most attention. Such and emotional and forceful attacks can only indicate the innate instability of the systems and a looming collapse. “
(Fictional)Except from Bell Hooks’s Article “She-A Black Messiah” first Published by Ad Busters in December 2004
“…as such, the image of black Jesus is not unknown in predominantly black communities. But a black female nude is quite a different subject. It is a direct and powerful slap in the face of white religious patriarchal society. It goes without saying, that none of them were prepared to turn the other cheek. Christianity and especially Catholicism, as Renee herself pointed out in a number of interviews, traditionally repressed women, had direct ties to European slave trade and endorsed fascism. A rather large Eucharist for a black woman to swallow. On a different level, “Yo Mama’s Last Supper” offers a chance for men of both colors to practice their gaze. “
- My dear friend, this is a perfect opportunity to show you a practical application of my Aesthetic Hypothesis. To have blunt copies of established archetypal works, elevated to a status of art is little more then a crude exercise in rhetoric. Granted, it is a peculiar concept, but it wouldn’t pass even as a descriptive piece of work. In fact, it is little more then a banal philosophical exercise. The only significant form is that which is left by the original artist and the lass is claiming authorship for a whiff of air.
Greenberg listened to the impromptu lecture with a mysterious smirk on his face and emptied another mug before replying:
-Ahh but she did get you, didn’t she? Was it not you who defined art as objects that promote emotions? True, the actuators aren’t exactly of the visual nature, but really all that entails in the narrowness of your original hypothesis. Personally, I find the idea quite rejuvenating, as the new avant-garde rising like the phoenix from the ashes of the kitsch! Look around, in this day and age; we are practically surrounded (much as I predicted) by the mass-produced and commodified art. The girl came up with something fresh; the new creation uber-naturalistic in it’s representation of the original and at the same time complete abstraction of its meaning.
The result of that legendary meeting is unknown, as the critics woke up with no recollection of what followed, and rather severe headaches.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
He sees my thoughts
- A madman cried
He reads my dreams
And dwells inside
He’s always watching
Ever – wake
He combs the soul with chiding rake
The madness shattered reason’s guard
Like venom mixed with subtle art
He had his prison built of bone
For he can never be alone
As strands of hair fell in place
She raised a darkened, troubled face
The clouds covered crimson sun
We ride to war – cried out the khan
Across horizon riders spread
Divine Temujin was at head
The greatest force the world had seen
Beside the khan, his impious queen.
She cursed her eyes that made her see
As pagans reign and kinsmen flee.
Abbot heaved a loud sigh as he rose from a tiny wooden table at the west corner of the dimly lit scriptorium. His back ached mercilessly from hours spent bent over the freshly lettered manuscript pages. But today, the pain was the last thing on his mind. He caught the rascal! For the last six months, the abbot harbored a terrible suspicion, that one of the scribes was literate. The vile implications of this possibility were too much to bear, and he effetely tried to shield himself from believing, but day after day, zealously leafed through piles of manuscripts for mistakes that only a literate man can make.
Vendémiaire was nearing its end, and Sanson’s blade began to tire and slow down. A young man tiptoed out of the humble sanctuary in the dusty attic above an old abandoned house, which he hasn’t left in two weeks. The boy that usually brought him food has not showed up, and fresh linens were coming to an end. The man skimmed quickly over the roof and landed on a narrow empty street. Forcing himself not to look at the lampposts, he briskly walked towards a small hovel, and disappeared in the passage.
- So wrote St. Just, president of the Convention for the Month of Ventôse, Citizen of the Rupublic.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
To establish a link that connects the acts and the person, it is necessary to investigate what it means for the acts to be performed. Performance is usually viewed as an effort to begin a certain task with intent of carrying it to completion. The problem arises, when the outcome does not reflect the intent. Should such an attempt be considered a performance of an act? If an act is defined in terms of the correlation between intention and outcome, failing to perform a certain task should not be considered as an act, but could be composed of an array of other acts. For example, a writer who spends a year unsuccessfully trying to publish a book, does not perform an act of “publishing a book” but accomplishes performing a number of underlying acts such as purchasing notebooks and writing pages. Similarly, “failing to publish a book” should also not be regarded as a genuine performance of the action. However, such a hardline definition does not accommodate for “trying to publish a book” – a performance rooted in a supposition of a desired outcome. Similarly, mistakenly publishing a movie script, due to sending the text to a wrong address, should not negate the act of trying to publish a book.
We are discouraged from viewing acts as mere physical manifestations, yet an act usually carries with it a physical component. They can be argued to originate from our spirits in a form of motivation and be physically enacted by our body. Granted, some motivations reflect the needs of the physical body, but it is the spirit that gives them meaning. This union of body and spirit in act has traditionally been seen as the basis for personality.
A spirit for Sheler, is not locked in the confines of mechanic rationality, it is a driving force and the originator of all that separates us from objects such as tables and pieces of chalk. The concept of a “soul” is subject to religious interpretation and it’s meaning, properties and value are inseparatable from a particular system of belief. It can be seen as either an involved originator of action or as a mere bystander that has little effect on the decision making process. Thus, it will perhaps be fitting to limit the consideration of the concept of a soul that leads directly to a lengthy theological discussion, and is practically useless without resolving the questions of faith. A spirit, though frequently used as a synonym to soul, is free from dogmatic connotations and does not rely on a belief of certain incorporeal presence.
Let us assume that a spirit is a sentient quality that arises from physical phenomena such as the firing of electric impulses between the neurons. That entails that a “meaning” could be charted and represented in its entirety as a consecutive series of signals. But would such a measure provide a valuable insight into the value of the meaning? Similarly, a painting can be represented in binary code that a machine can use to put together, but it will not carry a full account to the meaning behind the piece. Thus, even a deeply materialistic view of the origin of meaning involves a presence of a certain spirit as a sentient manifestation of a virtual “presence” of the higher order then the body that creates it. We are thus left with a more inclusive definition of a meaning that will shed light on the question of its origin and it’s relation to the intentions that are instrumental in formulation of the acts.
The attempts to identify the personhood through examination of the psyche ultimately lead to tautologies. Sheler’ solution, to view persons inseparably from their performance of the acts provides a way to overstep this pitfall. A continuous string of meaningful acts bring together the physical and psychical components as well as the outside influences and responses, giving rise to such considerations as need and responsibility that a purely psychical being is barred from.
Friday, April 01, 2005
Judith Butler - Gender theorist
Jean-Francois Lyotard - Philosopher and literary theorist
(The small dimly lit room of Don’s Club Tavern. Only few casual diners before the bar section.)
(Enter Kosuth, Judith Butler and Lyotard. All three appear to be in the middle of an ongoing discussion as they settle around a table and order drinks.)
Lyotard – As I already stated and repeated through the lecture, Habermas’s definition of the nature of Postmodernism is rather flawed. He stubbornly continues operating with opposing terms, refusing to acknowledge the continuity of the two projects and indeed their oneness. If you read Kant…
Joseph Kosuth – Oh please! There you go again, quoting philosophers, those morticians of crumbling ideas. You spoke (as some length) of the post modern connection to modernism and hereditary nature of arts, yet you miss the point that the only connection between earlier works and pieces is determined when the new demands cause us to discover some aspects of those works that have relevance today.
Butler (to Lyotard) – Your implications about the lack of direct distinction between the Modernist and Postmodernist theories makes about as much sense as some of the Wittig’s claims…
Kosuth (under his breath) – Not the Wittig’s quotes again!
Butler (continues) – If we look at just one area of thought, such as gender identity, the difference is overwhelming. While no one in her(sic!) right mind will deny that the roots of Postmodernism are in the Modernism (such a denial would be foolish even on a purely linguistic basis) there exist a wide gap between the two theories. As the restrictive patriarchal supremacy (glares at Kosuth) denies me the right to quote whom I will, let me move on to express my sincere concurrence with your definition of art as boundless and unobstructed by totality. A belief that all three of us seem to share.
(The trio hugs and storms out of the tavern holding hands and dancing along the 6th Avenue.)
-Now Edward, I can not agree more wholeheartedly with your assertions about the depth to which the west misunderstands the east, and indeed the very nature of this crude distinction. But the constructed charm and appeal of the oriental rests in its relative isolation from the European influence. At least, you have a sense of the way things are in reality amongst yourselves. What the post-colonial cultures have to go through is confusion over the actual nature of our presupposed values. The western perception of India has penetrated deep into its very soil and is now almost inseparatable from the authentic. I think Olu will confirm my words.
The tall man disposed of another chunk of succulent chicken, then proceeded to wash it down with a hearty gulp of wine. Finally, he spoke:
- Yes Gayatri, you are quite right. After all, there should be a sense of camaraderie between those who lived in the ex-British colonies. (Olu paused for a second observing the effect his Marxist joke has had on his colleagues) Nigeria today really is a peculiar eclectic mix of reality and it’s perception that takes root and becomes just as real. As I am sure can be said about India or even this merry ex-colony where all three of us happen to end up. But it would not perhaps be prudent to suppose that the same process did not take place in the context of the orient. In fact, Eddy pondered the very subject in the beginning of the lecture that you had to miss.
The older man looked at his companions and a broad smile spread across his face.
-My dear friends, have I forgotten to mention that I grew up in Egypt? We are all three of us products of British colonialism. My lecture was not however centered as much around the impact of the west, as it was a discourse on the constructs that originated in the west and continue to propagate here. We have to acknowledge the problem with the source, before we can attempt to counter the effects it has on our respective cultures. Now, I have always wanted to try sushi, will you care to join me in this little exotic experiment?
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Give one way of presenting a differences among each of the following three characteristics of “Being”:
1) “Being” considered as the name of the highest “genus” of beings;
2) “Being” considered as the “substance” underlying all categories;
3) “Being” considered as the “What it is to be” of a particular being, such as chalk, a nation-state, a high school, a mountain range.
The Being as the highest “genus” of all Beings, summarizes the essential qualities that make up all other Beings as essential categories that individual beings of those categories share. So, the Being of apple trees as a whole, is different from a being such as a particular apple tree that possesses accidental properties that can differ from those of other Apple Tree beings but also the essential properties that establish it as Being the Apple Tree. The Being of the apple tree is included in a higher “genus” of a “tree” which in turn falls under “plant” and so forth, with the highest “genus” of all Beings that encompasses all.
Give an objection to the idea that there is such a Being (a to be) in each of the above cases/examples. Why or how do these characterizations avoid the split between Being as essence and Being as existence? (Of course, you must characterize, at least in a preliminary way, “essence” and “existence”
The essence is a set of attributes that establish what a being is, the necessary qualities that are agreed upon to be enough to establish categories. Existence can be seen as just another quality of a being, so a non-existence of a particular tree would not undermine its essence. In fact, there can be an essence without any instances of existing beings. For example, there are no dodo birds in existence, but the essence of a dodo bird as a particular set of qualities is in Being. The essence and existence are of course not applicable solely to material things, but are descriptive of categories, ideas and concept, any being that is considered by the Dasein. Therein lies a problem with the Being (to be) of the examples, as it is depended on the artificial categories set in an attempt to rationalize and simplify the relation to beings by the Dasein. A particular piece of chalk is a descriptive device for referring to a portion of matter that has what is agreed upon as the qualities that establish it as chalk. The portion of matter is in existence (though it constantly changes on particle level) but the “white damp piece of chalk with a chewed-off end” exists only for someone who understands the language and operates with such categories. An example with nation state is even harder to fathom, as it does not point to an isolated portion of matter but rather to a scattered instances of occurrences and relationships that are considered to resemble a pattern against which they are judged. While the question of the existence of a particular piece of chalk mostly revolves around issues of terminology, a nation-state is subject to different opinions and points of view. A High School is a set of material and conceptual beings that create an identifiable structure considered to represent an essential Being of High School. The problem of the existence of a particular High School lies in a discrepancy of what is considered to constitute a High School. Of all the examples, the Mountain Range is perhaps the hardest to refute, as it is the only Being that is not created by the Dasein and thus it’s essence can be seen as predating the human being. But it is human beings who came to regard what they considered to be closely positioned protrusions from the earth, as mountain ranges. Thus, all of the examples revert back to a question of weather a particular being fulfills the essential requirements of it’s essential Being, as thus can be considered to exist under a specific name.
If “Why are there beings rather then nothing?” is in some sense the first question how can we be forced to ask the question “How does it stand with being?” as a prior question?
“How does it stand with Being?” is a prior question to “Why are there beings rather then nothing?” not in a sense of stature or importance but because it provides the groundwork for the latter. It establishes the status of particular beings in the relation to their essential categories, allowing the inquiry into the reasons behind their Being. A simple question, why is there a brick on the lawn is predated by a prior set of questions that are aimed to establish the presence of a thing that holds the qualities of a “brick” Being.
What kind of argument does Heidegger for suggestion that the asking of the “prior” question is “itself historical” and belongs to the “world-history of the earth”? Does Heidegger give or imply an adequately explicit difference, or set of differences, between “earth” and “world history”?
(IV)Heidegger presents the question of “How does it stand with Being?” as being historical in a sense that the essential relations are formed in regards to time, events and places. Heidegger makes a distinction between “history” and the “science of history” which is, an academic and scholarly account of the past. History, for Heidegger, is not content to looking back, it grows from aspirations of the future that determine the allusive with regards to the past. There also seems to be a distinction between the terms “world” and “earth.” A “world” for Heidegger is largely concerned with the spiritual state, while the “earth” exhibits physical qualities and points to our home planet. So a “world history” reflects the spiritual quality of the beings in time.
Monday, March 07, 2005
Who rule the frail with regal force.
Unclothe thy eyes ye humbler folk,
Who weave the thread and raise the stock.
Prepare to devotedly hark
All you who squander in the dark.
For deep within this simple verse,
Lies fire taken from the hearth,
A soothing balm for troubled hearts,
A sturdy shield for solemn guards.
Before the earth was fraught with folk,
Amid the stars Great Serpent woke.
His tail wrapped fourthly ‘round the world
The first great truth the Serpent hurled:
If ere on, on time thou be
I shall transport and nurture thee!
The mighty roar has shattered land
And deepening voids all creatures left
Some chose to dwell in cooling seas
Some took to fly on gentle breeze.
But those truest to their form
Chose barren earth to mend and roam.
The mounts still shook from Serpents rhyme
But folk knew naught how track the time
For in those days no light did shun
And day and night were ever one.
Upon a hill a Lion heaved
For Serpents words were left bereaved
The lion shook his golden main
He swore to light celestial flame
He took to climb the tallest mount
And sowed a seed in fertile ground
He sprinkled it with pearls from sea
In fortnight there grew a tree
The largest seen by mortal eye
Its branches pierced the sunless sky.
Atop he placed his heart aflame
Thus Lions life a sun became.
As morning rays have touched the earth
A serpent once again spoke fourth:
Make thee a leaf with transit chart
And in my belly you’ll depart.
The booming voice the air filled
Thus second truth has been revealed.
But folk had naught the art to write,
And hid themselves in shame and fright.
Then up rose kind and learned sage
His beard whitened with the age.
For months he strolled across the land
In search of language drawn by hand.
Exhausted he collapsed on shore,
The sage knew well he’d walk no more.
He stretched a tiring waning hand.
And grasped a pile of flowing sand.
Again, the sage’s hand moved forth
But found nothing but the earth
A third attempt was met with stones
The fourth produced a pile of bones.
With final breath of fleeting life
He threw the bones in fatal strife
The mourners found bones thus strewn
Each little pile became a rune.
For Sages selfless noble feat,
All elders have a right of seat.
As Sage’s ash was laid in tomb
Third time the Serpents voice did boom
Erect a temple for my art
It shall house those who soon depart
But folk were deep in petty strifes
They warred each other, captured wives
They pillaged towns salted crops
And paid no heed to serpents words
A youth rose under waning moon
Alone the bricks he boldly hewn
Alone he carried heavy stone
He worked his hands to bare bone.
The folk were shamed by eager lad
They threw their swords and shared bread
A mighty force was there built
They called themselves the Union Guild
Four years took the Serpents task,
The people worked from dawn to dusk
The stones were dressed with lion’s heads
Three arching windows pierced with threads
At last they crowned the topmost block
With largest ever known clock.
As final strokes of hammers fell
The Serpent spoke:
Thou fared well
‘Ere comes the time for final Truth !
With that he plunged his mighty tooth
And left behind a narrow trail
Thus was received Eternal Rail
Now anyone of righteous soul
Who minds the time and pays the toll
Can thus have merit to receive
A transit chart on Sacred Leaf
To worship daily at the shrine
That houses Union - Divine.
To enter Serpents Holy Bowels
And thus transgress beyond all grounds.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
My Holy Self
Err Hullo. Is anybody there? Not likely seeing as I just created the blasted thing and my celebrity days are long gone, that is buried somewhere in the annals of previous lives, I think I can say with relative certainty that the chances of someone reading these deranged compilations of dreary nonsense are quite petite. Just in case some poor soul stumbles upon my petty musings, let it be welcomed and treated to a glass of warm dandelion wine. There! That should be enough for a brief revelation of the virtual inner self onto the crumbling fabric of the virtual world. Now if only they sold those wee plastic horses with retractable spines...