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where Marks of Lispector encounters Specters of Marx

Minus Theatre at OFA 21 November 2015

Down every lane I was startled by the rustling of vaguely visible transparent forms. I told myself it was the wind whipping a snag of plastic bags, though each time I seemed to catch sight of a half-decomposed cadaver fleeing through the night in a luminous shroud.

– Lingis, Abuses (1994), p. 262

Minus Theatre at OFA 21 November 2015

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thank you to all who attended Minus Theatre’s Marks of Lispector, for Clarice last night at Auckland Old Folks Association

– from here

where you will also

find a short biography

of Clarice

Lispector

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please share with every body

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l’imagination au pouvoir: the theory of modern art & the crucial “Giorgione effect” according to Enrique Vila-Matas

When back in May ’78 I was able to interview Salvador Dalí in his Cadaqués house, the painter kept going on about a Venetian painting: “A while ago, just before you arrived, I was looking again at Giorgione’s Tempest. There is a soldier, and a naked woman holding a baby. It is a pivotal painting, though our fellow countrymen don’t know it.”

The Illogic of Kassel, 2015, by Enrique Vila-Matas, p. 158

The Tempest, Giorgione, 1506–1508

[Strangely enough, this painting too is a theme in the great English experimental novelist, Nicholas Mosley’s Metamorphosis. He wrote the novella in 2014, aged 91. Like his masterpiece, Hopeful Monsters, written in 1990, it affirms the force of biological mutation in metamorphosis and is as optimistic about the future of life and of human life through transformation as Enrique Vila-Matas is about the future of art in transforming itself with life.]

…that interview with Dalí unexpectedly took on greater depth when I read by chance Mallarmé’s recommendation to Édouard Manet that is for some the founding statement of the art of our time: “Paint, not the thing, but the effect it produces.”

I immediately thought of Manet’s The Railway, that painting that dumbfounded critics of the time. In it, a young mother looks at us, while her daughter stares at the plume of steam from a passing train.

– Vila-Matas, ibid., p. 159

The Railway, Édouard Manet, 1873

[This scene, as described, without the steam, is repeated in A Man in Love, the second volume of his life story, called My Struggle, by Karl Ove Knausgaard, an avowed art-lover, who speaks of how a painting can make him cry where the events of life do not. At once the proximity of these themes will be discerned to the European cultural and political tragedy of mid-twentieth century totalitarianism, of which Vila-Matas is at first sentimentally aware and to which, in his encounter with what has become by 2012 of the avant-garde at Documenta, he later unsentimentally reconciles himself.]

la réminiscence archéologique de l’Angelus de Millet, Salvador Dalí, 1935

In the foreground, the little girl has her back to us. In the background, there’s the great cloud of smoke that the train has left as it chugs through the center of Paris.

I noticed that the structure of The Railway reminded me of Giorgione’s The Tempest. Looking it up, I saw I was not mistaken, may people had said the same. And then I thought if only Manet’s picture had an actual trace of what someone had done before. A sketch or a hint of Giorgione would allow us to see the direct connection between the two, in the same way Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase would acquire greater depth if it contained an actual trace of Manet on the canvas. And might it not be that Dalí, lost in a very dark Spain, wanted to bequeath to me that day the effect that introduced modernity, the crucial Giorgione effect?

Se non è vero, è ben trovato, Dalí was known to say. That was, in fact the expression he quoted to me in that interview when I told him that his book [Le mythe tragique de l’Angélus de Millet] formed a sort of “obligatory perimeter,” while leaving free in the center of language a great “shore of imagination,” perhaps with no other object than for us to play on it. To this Dalí  replied that his wife Gala, when she read the book, had said: It would be great if what he wrote were true, but if in the end it turned out not to be, the book would be greater still.”

– Vila-Matas, ibid., p. 159

L’atavisme du crépuscule, Salvador Dalí, 1933

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another quotation towards Minus Theatre’s workshop at Performance of Hope Symposium, on decomposition, illustrated with some photos by Sebastião Salgado and a clip of Rita Renoir

“The material things do not lie bare and naked before us; they are there by engendering perspectival deformations, halos, mirages, scattering their colors in the light and their images on surrounding things. Human bodies too move in the world engendering profiles and telescoping images of themselves, casting shadows, sending off murmurings, echoes, rustlings, leaving traces and stains. Their freedom is a material freedom by which they decompose whatever nature they were given and whatever form culture put on them, leaving in the streets and the fields the lines of their fingers or feet dance, leaving their warmth in the hands of others and in the winds, their fluids on tools and chairs, their visions in the night. Bodies do not occupy their spot in space and time, filling it to capacity, such that their beauty would be statuesque. We do not see bodies whose form and colors are held by concepts we recognize or reconstitute. We do not see bodies in their own integrity or inner coherence. We are struck by the cool eyes of the prince of inner-city streets, moved by the hand of the old woman covering the sleep of a child. We are fascinated by the hands of the Balinese priest drawing invisible arabesques over flowers and red pigment and water. Our morning is brightened by a slum-dweller whistling while hauling out garbage. We hear the laughter of the Guatemalan campesinos gathered about a juggler, like water cascading in the murmur of the forest. When we are beguiled by the style with which the body leaves its tones, glances, shadows, halos, mirages in the world, we see the human body’s own beauty. In the decomposition in our memory, in so many bodies greeted only with passionate kisses of parting, we have divined being disseminated a knowing how to live trajectories of time as moments of grace.

“When the scale of a human presence scattered across vast spaces seems unconceptualizable, as also the utter simplicity of certain gestures and movements seems undiagrammable, we have before a human body a sense of the sublime. The sublimity of a body departing into the unmeasurable spaces make the ideas we form of the superhuman and the divine seem like second-rate fictions. The sentiment of the sublime is a disarray in the vision, a turmoil in the touch that seeks to hold it, a vortex in our sensibility that makes us ecstatically crave to sacrifice all that we have and are to it.

“Human warmth in the winds, tears and sweat left in our hands, carnal colors that glow briefly before the day fades, dreams in the night, patterns decomposing in memory, sending our way momentary illuminations: bodies of others that touch us by dismembering. The unconceptualizable forces that break up the pleasing forms of human beauty and break into the pain and exultation of the sublime are also delirium and decomposition. Not sublimity in the midst of abjection: sublime disintegration, sickness, madness. The exultation before the sublime is also contamination. Porous bodies exhaling microbes, spasmodically spreading deliriums, viruses, pollutions, toxins.”

– in Abuses (1994), Alphonso Lingis, pp. 137-139

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Minus Theatre’s BONESEED performances 12-15 February at Auckland University of Technology, email info@minustheatre.com for more information

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you are invited to attend the opening performance of Minus Theatre’s BONESEED at 6pm February 12, Sir Paul Reeves Bldg., AUT city campus, WG210

– still by Dominic Taylor                              

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capital: essential listening

CAPITAL CAPITAL CAPITAL
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square white world – a gesture, in Agamben’s words, neither enactment nor production

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sculpted from time, memory and human bone

small corners, tricks of light and sound; odours that find recess in me, a cup to sit in for a second or two; enough to weigh down an indentation, an impression; the echo of a memory that is not there, or should not be.

a gin that projected light, chopped into pieces to coincide with blinks, so that an impression of movement was achieved. Always the same movement, endless. The same woman on the same stairwell, taking the same three steps, continuously; a horse running to nowhere; a naked patriarch, swinging an axe. He says that the more one watches, the more their time becomes real, and the watcher’s time leaks out, becoming insignificant, the same as watching the water for too long.

– B. Catling, The Vorrh, Honest Publishing, Croydon, 2012, pp. 187-9

A prayer almost found its way to his lips. It began in the icy fear of his heart, the ventricles white with the frost of anticipation, and travelled outwards to become a pressure, like wind against the meat sails of his lungs. Funnelling up, it passed like a shadow through the rehearsal of his vocal cords, up into his mouth, tongue and lips, before being garrotted by the thin, taut wire of his mind.

– Ibid., p. 217

A huge, brown cow stood next to the bed. It wobbled, balanced comically on train tracks made of meat jelly, as the doctor sat below it, pulling at its udders; streams of hissing tea jetting into his white enamel pail. He filled his syringe from the steaming fluid. It misted the glass tube of the instrument, filling the room with its moist, bovine vapour. The cow smiled through the fog with the most natural expression of quiet delight.

– Ibid., p. 282

The vibration passed through them, through the turning ball of life, through the furniture and the floors, and all the way down to the well, where its harmony increased and spun, igniting tiny engines that ignited tiny engines that ignited tiny engines.

– Ibid., p. 449

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