Tuesday, January 13, 2009

found interview:

"An Interview with Jacques Derrida on the Limits of Digestion"

excerpts:

"In Glas, my work on Hegel, I had already become interested in the figures of incorporation that are to be found in speculative thought—the very notion of comprehending as a kind of incorporation. The concept of “Erinnerung,” which means both memory and interiorization, plays a key role in Hegel’s philosophy. Spirit incorporates history by assimilating, by remembering its own past. This assimilation acts as a kind of sublimated eating—spirit eats everything that is external and foreign, and thereby transforms it into something internal, something that is its own. Everything shall be incorporated into the great digestive system—nothing is inedible in Hegel’s infinite metabolism."

"Yes, of course. I recently saw Peter Greenaway’s film about the cook and the thief—in this, I found a cannibalistic structure of sacrifice that I have seen elsewhere. It is a frightfully clear film. Also, my last three seminars have been dedicated to a fragment of Novalis, in whom one really can find everything. He links the sublime mystery of the Holy Communion to the most base expression of a cannibalistic incorporation of the friend’s body. What matters is “to enjoy, with bold, supersensual imagination, his flesh in every bite, and his blood in every gulp.”"

"And one can encounter an equally astonishing and explicitly worded insight in Kleist’s “Penthesilea,” where a cannibalistic desire can freely find expression. To love without wanting to devour must surely be anorexic . . ."

"Lévinas, more than anyone else, has emphasized the sovereign inaccessibility of the other. The other can never be understood as presence, but only with concepts like traces and exteriority. He has completely broken with the phenomenological metaphysics of presence—the other can never be understood in a theoretical act, but only by means of ethical responsibility: I take responsibility for the other..."

"How is this massive project on eating related to deconstruction, as we have come to know it? If understanding can be compared to a kind of eating, what would a deconstructionist reading of a text be?
It would mean respect for that which cannot be eaten—respect for that in a text which cannot be assimilated. My thoughts on the limits of eating follow in their entirety the same schema as my theories on the indeterminate or untranslatable in a text. There is always a remainder that cannot be read, that must remain alien. This residue can never be interrogated as the same, but must be constantly sought out anew, and must continue to be written."

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Since I’ll probably wake up tomorrow just in time to get on down to my b-day lunch, here’s the amazing b-day post. But first a few songs – ‘Invincible’, 'Under The Milky Way', 'Hammer Horror', ‘Blue Moon’, and some John Lurie.

In Leah Sandals’ recent piece ‘Class of 2008’, she mentions artist Kristina Lee Podesva attending UBC for an MFA, and how she “quickly became frustrated with gaps…So she made filling these gaps the purpose of her practice; alternative schools…collaborative study…weekly labs…bootleg video-art screenings…” The idea of looking to fill gaps fills me with naïve excitement every time, particularly the idea of filling gaps within the results of trying to fill those gaps in the recent past, and not just in the studio – in friendships, communication, writing, learning, and all those gaps found in the looking - looking for alternatives to whatever feels unchangeable and stultifying.

What exists and what can exist within those gaps? If all the logistical problems and bad timing and lack of others’ interest wasn’t such a weight, what could happen? I quoted James Elkins last January, wherein he writes of a certain experience of writing:

"I decided, perversely I suppose, that I must have hit on the perfect subject for a book: almost no one wanted to talk about it; it was not well defined or widely documented; I may not be qualified to write it; it is unprofessional, embarrassing...incoherent, private, and largely inexplicable; and it is philosophically dubious and historically outdated. Nothing could have attracted my attention more!"

I also once quoted from an 'Art Writing Salon' wherein one of the questions was – what are the possible roles of fiction within a critical text? What is being critical? Its easier to focus on this mention of the gaps in writing, but I think it links well to everything else.

Ira Glass has a radio show episode about advice, and how people never take advice unless they fall into it accidentally on their own. I realized again recently that I do this because of some kind of lame principle based on delivery – how the advice is given makes all the difference in the world, and so finding the right language for it means it finally gets through. Maybe everyone in some way or another can’t trust advice until they’ve worn it and stretched it out to suit their own bodies, otherwise it sounds and feels like it’s a fraud. This also has to do with being able to spend enough time with it, or more like the right kind of time with it, which makes me think of an interview I read between Frieze magazine and Harmony Korine, where he says:

"I cast purely visually. If someone looks the part, if they’re amazing looking and they could just remember the lines, or even remember the idea of what they are, then somehow it will work. In Gummo I wanted to show scenes that had no justification. Like the scene of the girl shaving her eyebrows; I could have explained that in two seconds, and had a scene before that to justify it and it would have made everyone calmer. But I didn’t want to see those scenes. All I wanted to see was her shaving her eyebrows."