Amherst, Summer 1863
Let’s have no more “I will pick no rose, lest it fade or prick me”. No matter how often you write this it smacks of insincerity. Especially when you also write of night skies that look like “Jerusalem! … mountains that touch[ed] the sky, and brooks that sang like bobolinks.” You add “I will give them to you, for they are mine, and “all things are mine.”” This sounds peculiarly American to me, not only because I first heard it in the voice of Jack Kerouac; “everything belongs to me because I’m poor.” His is ultimate truth, routinely misunderstood, though not by you. I was running last night after a long day ended with evocative Dhokla. Out in the middle of London under a bright sky, upon the Millennium Bridge as bells chimed the quarter hour before midnight. While crossing I realised that running here is a boast of residence. The great river, peculiarly low in tide, echoed my possession. I’ve taken to running on the road itself, marking it as mine. Opening out strides, I left behind a day brimming with love in a faster time than ever. I called out to friendly foxes and allow the porcelain tulips another night of potency. Poor as I may be, everything belongs to me on the “unhoused” bridge.
Film Socialisme [site]
Godard’s new film is screening at Cannes today. I’m not there [except in a sweetly slight way] but then neither, it seems, is he.
GODARD: “They have the courage to live their life, but they don’t have the courage to imagine it.”
A long conversation with Daniel Cohn-Bendit appeared in Telerama on May 13th here [in French]. [Apr 2018: PDF just in case this long-maintained 🙂 link dies: Jean-Luc Godard à Daniel Cohn-Bendit : “Qu_est-ce qui t_intéresse dans mon film ?” – Cinéma – Télérama.fr But remember; it’s rude not to click!]
An English translation is online at Cinemasparagus [which has other related links too] here.
[With thanks to Zir Shu and Telerama]
NASREEN MOHAMEDI: NOTES
BIDOUN WINTER 2009 #19 NOISE
by Guy Mannes-Abbott
A previous post on Mohamedi referred to my catalogue text from 2001. Now I’m posting my short review of her recent retrospective exhibition as it appeared in the UK. I was pleased and proud to write something on a show that went almost unnoticed -and was certainly not engaged with- in the UK [again], but there’s much more to be written about her work and its contexts.
For now, here are scans of the pages in Bidoun [below; click to enlarge]. Let me repeat that it’s essential wherever you are in the world to see the work itself -to stand in front of the drawings in particular- whenever the opportunity arises. Until you do you will have missed an important 20th Century artist and maker of our new world.
I’ll return to Nasreen Mohamedi at greater, speculative and more definitive length in the future…
Continue reading “nasreen mohamedi; reflections on indian modernism, bidoun”
S=U=P=E=R=S=T=R=U=C=T=U=R=E Cerith Wyn Evans 2010
“Everyone’s gone to the movies,
now we’re alone at last…”
I finally made it back to see Cerith’s show at White Cube’s Mason’s Yard which is, I want to emphasise, just off Piccadilly in central London. The show closes on May 22 and I urge you to drop by to catch a stunning and substantial installation of recent works which makes the space live so well that it claims possession of it.
My hopes were high for this show but I had to rush through an opening that was as busy as you might expect to be somewhere else. As a result I didn’t quite trust my impression that CWE had drawn all the currents in his work together into something quite so winningly complete. That is -at its most elemental- influence and intellect, taste and fancy all deliver something complex here that is coherent only as visual art. It’s clarified resonance would justify permanent -or DIA-style- installation in the site.
A peculiarly all over the place month made returning impossible, but the work lingered and I had to see it again especially if I were to scribble something here…
Continue reading “cerith wyn evans’ final week at white cube central london; go, go, go!”
Slavoj Zizek London 1998 [photo Mykel Nicolaou]
I first met Slavoj Zizek in Bloomsbury in 1998 to conduct a relaxedly spontaneous, short but full-blooded interview in what I was to discover is the authentic Zizekian mode. I knew his work, had seen him speak, admired his reworking of various Idealists more than the brilliant-but-familiar bug-eyed film theorist and, armed only with a dodgy autobiographical preface, wondered about who he was. I’ve just found the 22,000 word transcript of that first meeting. Afterwards we wandered through Georgian Squares in the University quarter and he graciously accompanied me as far as possible whilst exchanging gossip eagerly, before cutting back to a meeting.
That initial meeting was something of a rehearsal for a plan for me to go to Ljubljana -before easyjet!- to spend a week doing a series of focused interviews. Whilst in that memorably lively city, Zizek would introduce me to key figures from Slovenia’s recent underground; activists, politicos, Laibach, Mladen Dolar and the Lacanian gang, etc. Those sessions produced 14 hours of tape containing dense and agile theorising, but the generous backers of my trip bottled out of publishing the resulting coup [editor had been ‘moved on’, their ‘reliable’ stand-in quoted Bertrand Russell approvingly, as in ‘the only thing I know about Hegel is what Bertrand Russell said…” Weep] -as was always an open possibility. A possibility that had liberated me to do it fully and properly.
Thereafter, there were some telephone conversations and emails and Zizek sent me his “Kosovo 4.99” piece on the double bind of supporting exceptionally belated foreign intervention to stop Serbian fascism’s campaign of ethnic cleansing; Against the Double Blackmail. A phrase from a clarifying phone call I made to him went in to the first substantial piece published on him in a UK journal [below] around publication of The Ticklish Subject and The Zizek Reader in 1999.
The so-called “Kosovo 4.99” text Zizek sent me was then staged as an exhibition of wall-texts [with a pirate radio installation by Gregory Green] at Cubitt Gallery and as an insert in the pages of Third Text magazine. I came across the original email to me with that ‘lost’ interview transcript. At the time I asked Cubitt to remove the note from SZ with thanks to me from their website because I was embarrassed! Somehow, they took the whole text down instead. After all this time, I’m linking to a pdf of it below with no shame at all.
Continue reading “slavoj zizek; the time of change, interviews you can believe in 1998-9”
The Microscripts by Robert Walser May 2010
“Robert Walser wrote many of his manuscripts in a highly enigmatic, shrunken-down form. These narrow strips of paper (many of them written during his hospitalization in the Waldau sanatorium) covered with tiny ant-like markings only a millimeter or two high, came to light only after the author’s death in 1956. At first considered a secret code, the microscripts were eventually discovered to be a radically miniaturized form of a German script: a whole story could fit on the back of a business card. Selected from the six-volume German transcriptions from the original microscripts, these 25 short pieces are gathered in this gorgeously illustrated co-publication with the Christine Burgin Gallery. each microscript is reproduced in full color in its original form: the detached cover of a trashy crime novel, a disappointing letter, a receipt of payment.”
Taken from the very great New Directions’ site here.
One microtext, The Prodigal Son, is online here.
These texts have been translated by Susan Bernofsky, who is also still working on her Life of RW…
Otherwise, with so much now available of Walser’s it might be easy to have overlooked Speaking to the Rose Writings 1912-32, published by Bison Books [here]. Most of these 50 ‘microtexts’ were previously unpublished and have been translated by Christopher Middleton.
Here is JM Coetzee on two of Walser’s novels in the NYRB 2000.
Here is Benjamin Kunkel’s recent New Yorker profile 2007.
Here is a very dedicated and newsy site.
More, later, hopefully…
I just want to flag up this exhibition curated around Morton Feldman which I haven’t and won’t see [partly because I’m away doing a Residency myself during June] with its intriguing catalogue which I’ve also not seen yet.
Vertical Thoughts; Morton Feldman and the Visual Arts looks like a full-blooded collection of visual materials linked to Feldman and any focus on Feldman is welcome. I wonder why it isn’t travelling to other museums of modern art; Tate Modern for instance?
Kevin Volans has a piece in the catalogue [and a slightly out of date website here]. I caught his 60th birthday performance a few months ago [Wigmore Hall, Nov 09] which was excellent. Afterwards he described how he’s increasingly reliant as a composer and performer on visual art’s receptivity and commissioning resources.
Music-wise, there’s still a performance to come of Rothko’s Chapel and Words and Music by Samuel Beckett on 30th May by the Crash Ensemble here.