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Archive for July 31st, 2008

blanchot / everyday / backwards

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Maurice Blanchot on “everyday speech”:

The everyday escapes. In this consists its strangeness – the familiar showing itself (but already dispersing) in the guise of the astonishing. It is the unperceived, first in the sense that we have always looked past it; nor can we introduce it into a whole or “review” it, that is to say, enclose it within a panoramic vision; for, by another trait, the everyday is what we never see for a first time but can only see again, having always already seen it by an illusion that is constitutive of the everyday.

Right. But… what if he has it exactly backwards. What if it is not that the everyday allows no hold, but simply that we dare not hold it? Or don’t want to hold it? Or cannot hold it, given what we’re usually up to when we’re trying to do this sort of thing? Novels without turns, essays without argument, simply do not sell. It’s frightening to put yourself out of work. And the everyday loves not turns, arguments. So you make it disappear into a protean blur.

Do you see the anxiety there? Why do things have to be dressed in the guise of the astonishing? Why do we have to look panoramically? Who is it that worries about things seeming like we’ve seen them all before?

Moving forward, we should try not to ontologize that which is locally, historically caused, and in particular that which is caused by the functional dysfunctions of our disciplines.

(Of course, of course – I myself am trying to be astonishing, right now, to work panoramically, and to say something new… Big problem, hard to fix the performative inversion when working this way and on issues like this one…. Translate Spivak’s “strategic essentialism” into “strategic performative inversion” and go from there… make it marketable once and for all to abolish the market… the new to abolish the new… the argument to end all arguments…)

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July 31, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Posted in everyday, simplicity

eggs from art

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From the International Herald Tribune months ago:

The monuments on the square are bearing the brunt of the invasion. Pigeons usually do not sleep where they eat, but the certainty of a 24/7 feeding frenzy has induced many to make St. Mark’s their year-round home, setting up nests among elegant cornices or in other fragile spots. As a result, the statues on the facades are now cobwebbed with dozens of fine scratch marks from where the pigeons try to grip onto the statues to roost.

And pigeons, like chickens, seek calcium carbonate for their eggs.

“They peck at the most exposed parts of the marble,” as well as the stucco that restorers use in their work, said Renata Codello, the state art official charged with preserving the square. She flipped through a series of photographs of pockmarked statuary.

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July 31, 2008 at 11:41 am

Posted in aesthetics