A secret of power —
I think it’s another profundity.
Do you want power over something?
Be more nearly real than it.
Charles Fort, ‘Book of the Damned’
rediscovered these yesterday. a good set of them but i’d like to have done a lot more.
a constant challenge to received knowledge; epistemological doubt, can only ever be good. crack the code which enforces oppression.
in whose interests is the way the world is – the way it is.
In discussing his work (of Marcel Duchamps, fh) it is necessary to avoid overrating his silence (during Duchamp’s later years in America, fh). I hold him in a very high esteem, but I have to reject his silence. Duchamp was simply finished. He had run out of ideas; he was unable to come up with anything important… …I would say that even the bourgeois tendencies in Duchamp’s work – i.e., a form of provocative, bohemian behavior intended to ‘épater le bourgeois’- follow the same path. Duchamp started out from here and wanted to shock the bourgeoisie, and because of that he destroyed his creative powers… …The content of Duchamp’s silence refers to the aim of leaving the subconscious passive, of developing it. This is the aspect of Duchamp, which is related to Surrealism. The surrealists asserted that they could live with their subconscious; they thought they were above reality, but instead they were beneath it. They thought they could fish in muddy waters… … but to my mind, the images which emerged have a repressive effect.
Joseph Beuys, here.
i wanted a quote from beuys on drawing but trawling through his words was adding to my hangover so i gave up. he loves ‘provocating’ so much… no less than duchamp, though they have very different approaches.
beuys has philosophy & duchamp skirts it. (this statement. does it have truth… contain truth)(?)
but still it becomes an end to itself i think. his actions are fascinating (he says it himself again & again) but they are either filtered through observers, and i have yet to find any observers whom i warm to (trust), or himself. he himself has the compulsion(?) to talk utter bollox. making it difficult to represent him, making it very difficult to access him, from this place & time.
the point perhaps.
the quote above seems remarkably clear which perhaps illustrates the frustration beuys felt (ha!) at the dominance of duchamp; something i can identify with. now of course we have the duchamp(esque): pop art axis; hegemony, zeitgeist, paradigm, and how much of beuys’ obfuscation has been self-defeating. this i think is the most interesting question he himself poses – in terms of education; self promotion, and his own reflections on / inside the work.
They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.
‘Hunting of the Snark’, Lewis Carrol
just watched a programme on the revolutionary music scene in detroit in the sixties. the inevitable appropriation of ‘dancing in the streets’ for it’s more fundamental purpose, the affirmation of people in the streets (our streets) dancing becoming the body politic – deliberately endangereing & brutalising life n limb – in desperation; as the streets face starvation, racism, torture, oppression, terror… from police, from ‘authorities’.
then the tactics of oppression changed from outright violence to economic terrorism, and communities are vandalised with drugs and work is moved away and cash is withdrawn so resistance becomes apparently impossible.
My own pseudo-conclusion: That we’ve been damned by giants sound asleep, or by great scientific principles and abstractions that cannot realize themselves: that little harlots have visited their caprices upon us; that clowns, with buckets of water from which they pretend to cast thousands of good-sized fishes have anathematized us for laughing disrespectfully, because, as with all clowns, underlying buffoonery is the desire to be taken seriously; that pale ignorances, presiding over microscopes by which they cannot distinguish flesh from nostoc or fishes’ spawn, have visited upon us their wan solemnities. We’ve been damned by corpses and skeletons and mummies, which twitch and totter with pseudo-life derived from conveniences.
Charles Fort, Book of the Damned.
it’s getting increasingly difficult to use anything but charles fort quotes. they’re so beautifully phrased.
i’ve always thought curiosity an essential part of life. not simply a quality to be desired in a person but a piece of a person.
looking has to be a part of our curiosity: maybe that’s stating the obvious. curiosity has to be a part of our looking, also stating what maybe obvious.
The Endless Tale
Once upon a time it was said that there was this king, and that this king had a beautiful daughter. Many princes wished to marry this daughter, but the king decreed that the man to marry his daughter would be the man who could tell an endless tale.
All the lovers who would come to tell the endless tale & failed to make it endless would lose their heads.
Many young princes came to tell such a story, and they failed, and they were beheaded.
A poor man heard the kings decree. He travelled to court to try his luck.
“There once…” He began telling his tale to the king, the court, the princess. “…was a man who built a barn, a barn which covered many acres, he built this barn so that it reached almost to the sky. He left just one little hole in the top of this barn, of a size to allow just one locust to creep in. And in the barn he kept corn, corn packed to the top.”
“When the barn was filled, a locust came; squeezed through the hole and fetched one grain of corn
another locust came, and fetched another grain of corn…”
So the story continued. And the poor man was sat. “another locust came, and fetched another grain of corn”
Trad. (retold by me from various sources mostly off Katherine Briggs)
A Scientific Procedure
In days of yore, when I was an especially bad young one, punishment was having to go to the store, Saturdays, and work. I had to scrape off labels of other dealers’ canned goods, and paste on my parents’ label. Theoretically, I was so forced to labour to teach me the errors of deceitful ways. A good many brats are brought up, in the straight and narrow, somewhat deviously.
One time I had pyramids of canned goods, containing a variety of fruits and vegetables. But I had used all except peach labels. I pasted the peach label on peach cans, and then came to apricots. Well, aren’t apricots peaches? And there are plums that are virtually apricots. I went on, either mischievously, or scientifically, pasting the peach labels on cans of plums, cherries, string beans, succotash. I can’t quite define my motive, because to this day it has not been decided whether I am a humorist or a scientist. I think that it was mischief, but, as we go along, there will come a more respectful recognition that also it was a scientific procedure.
Charles Fort, ‘Talents’.
logic perhaps works more like a cross between a zig zag and swirl maybe. not a straight line.
A procession of the damned.
By the damned, I mean the excluded.
We shall have a procession of data that Science has excluded.
Charles Fort, ‘The Book of the Damned’.
i’m keen to see the gerhard richter exhibition. was reading a review in the guardian claiming his pre-eminence in german art on a progressive level; his work being the inevitable outcome of the history of art – discarding a relationship with the ‘natural’ or spiritual… essentially (as i read it) the pictorial j. g. ballard. all airport waiting rooms and porn. see here for article.
there is a faint dismissal of joseph beuys and anselm kiefer which seems strange, belittling two greats allows richter to shine brighter. funny logic.
i can’t resist this image – though i painted over it.
alchemy symbolism – sun or moon.
designed to be looked at from a distance. probably from below.