Sunday, April 20, 2008

Maurice Merleau-Ponty in ‘The Eye and Mind’

“not that possible body which we many legitimately think of as an information machine but this actual body I call mine, this sentinel standing quietly at the command of my words and my acts. Further, associated bodies must be revived along with my body – ‘others,’ not merely as my congeners…but others who haunt me and whom I haunt” (88)

“Things have an internal equivalent in me; they arouse in me a carnal formula of their presence. Why shouldn’t these correspondences in turn give rise to some tracing rendered visible again, in which the eyes of others could find an underlying motif to sustain their inspection of the world? Thus there appears a ‘visible’ to the second power, a carnal essence or icon of the first. It is not a faded copy, a trompe l’oeil, or another thing… Nor are they elsewhere. Pushed forward here, held back there… My gaze wanders within it as in the halos of Being. Rather than seeing it, I see according to, or with it.” (91)

“the imaginary texture of the real” (93)

“The painter’s world is a visible world, nothing but visible; a world almost mad, because it is complete though only partial. Painting awakens and carries to its highest pitch a delirium which is vision itself, for to see is to have at a distance; painting extends this strange possession to all aspects of Being, which must somehow become visible in order to eneter into the work of art.” (92)

“a texture of Being of which the discrete sensorial messages are only the punctuations or the caesurae. The eye lives in this texture as a man in his house.” (93)

“It ‘excites our thought’ to ‘conceive,’ as do signs and words ‘which in no way resemble the things they signify.’” (96)

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Fall dropped the life back into me this week.


During my final year of high school, the Saskatoon radio station CFCR played a then brand new track from The Fall's 'Cerebral Caustic' from 1995, and I was so fascinated, I was an instant and voracious fan. As whatever surrounded me at the time bled into my early Fall experience ('Absolutely Fabulous', Tank Girl and Battle Angel Alita comics, Skinny Puppy, Nicholas Roeg films, and Anthony Burgess), my interest in 'grumpy old man' vulnerability adopted by European film/fashion/music magazines became concentrated and broadcast through the voice of Mark E. Smith. Language and words as imprisonment and futility, which is then dragged and heaved around in huge heavy exhausted bursts of voice, amidst the humor of that very futility and flat ceremony of language. Thanks to the inconsistency of small town music stores, the only Fall albums I could acquire at the time were 'Cerebral Caustic', and the wonderfully strange 'B Sides' (more about this later). While a longer story about The Fall is really overdue, I had to re-communicate my admiration. A review of Imperial Wax Solvent is upcoming.

Others' descriptions of The Fall:

"The erratic Mr. Smith has been chronicling his own experiene of a provincial landscape since the late 70s and has pursued a wilful outsider's role (when it has suited him) in contemporary British music...there's a sense of his rolling language around the tongue, a love of the sounds of words - even when those words are second-hand and passed to him through the channels of power. Smith though is openly insolent with his refashioning of those words and his own experiences of bungling cops, wide boys, cloying nostalgia and the idiotic vagaries of fashion washing up in his native Salford. Insolant - and insular"

"Smith's signature Mancunian drawl is far more than an act of defiant regionalism (an attitude noted and emulated by some of the more astute minds of the American indie scene) — it's also the perfect medium for his half- sung poetry, which both revels in and reviles modern language and its humorous/ominous rhythms and constructions."

"sarcasm and bile"

"gargling on the intro and wandering in and out of his usual sneering deadpan"

"Smith's cracking, hysterical vocal is hilariously psychotic-- the band's oft-hidden sense of humor easy to spot...a case study in sarcastic destruction."

"The Grumpy Old Man Of Rock"

And some notes-quotes so far on 'Imperial Wax Solvent' (mainly from this site):

"Fall albums fluctuate wildly from the stunning and sublime to the sloppy and substandard"

"‘Strange Town’ is also Fall by numbers, but is salvaged by a wonderful bassline and an excellent, venomous vocal."

"50 Year Old Man’ is an early track and a particularly bizarre one. It’s almost fifteen minutes long and contains barely decipherable, yet harshly barked vocals. A hypnotic and impressive drumbeat carries the song throughout. Apart from the bits where it breaks down, that is. This occurs three times; twice for banjo solos, and once for a 60s garage beat to kick in. Smith seems to be railing against his imagined dotage on this track, as his threatening vocals deliver such treats as, “And don’t you forget, you tried to destroy me”."

"they also wring every piece of magic out of their ability to also sound like the most enthusiastic, snotty nosed indie pop band you’ve not yet heard."

"Smith informs us helpfully."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

more Merleau-Ponty, and the collecting of a description of what I've been looking for in my own writing and projects extended from studio to the dead-waiting, in-between spaces of exhaustion and otherwise wait-bound and house-bound time post-insomnia and brackish-body:

"an experience in which we are given not ‘dead’ qualities, but active ones." (60)

"no longer a question of describing the world of living experience which it carries within itself like some opaque datum, it has to be constituted…the ‘lived through’ world." (69)

"I see it from a certain point in my ‘duration’." (79)

"to enrich and recast the body image". (177)

"I reach back for the word as my hand reaches towards the part of my body which is being pricked; the word has a certain location in my linguistic world" (210)

"The process of expression, when it is successful, does not merely leave for the reader and the writer himself a kind of reminder, it brings the meaning into existence as a thing at the very heart of the text, it brings it to life in an organism of words, establishing it in the writer or reader as a new sense organ, opening a new field or a new dimension to our experience." (212)

"It is not only the gesture which is contingent in relation to the body's organization, it is the manner itself in which we meet the situation and live it." (219)

and an image-archive of influences for the past few months, for immediacy and the fun of archiving: