December 2007

Merry Christmas

– painting by Attila Richard Lukacs found at

see page “FOUND materials” opposite for the document the path with heart by Alejandro Iglesias Rossi, a Christmas present.


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further inscrutable advertising

– this in, however exclusive in is.

point to point

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a second post’s look at a previous erratum

more a “procedure” – as painstaking, literally, as any surgical procedure – to produce a Body without Organs – comprising habits, traits, potentials hidden in the actual body, i.e. a virtual body – and manufacture desire continuously. Less the “exorcising” of anguish to indulge one’s taste for masochistic pleasures. I have it wrong.

What I thought was happening was that the exorcism of pity and anguish affirmed in masochistic desire its positivity, the positivity of its possibility, therefore the virtuality of the BwO. However, the point Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet make is that in order to affirm masochistic desire anguish need not be exorcised. “Traverse,” says Lacan, “your desire.” “Love,” writes Zizek, “your symptom.”

A passion configures an affective and sensible circuit, which precedes subjects and from which work and viewer, audient proceed. The something that happens in the life of the work leaps the boundary of representation and crosses from one territory into another, is always crossing until work and viewer, after disconcertingly bumping into one another, again stand apart, restabilise themselves in recognising each other.

The question is: does this circuit involve pity and anguish? Clearly desire wants for nothing, therefore nothing is undesirable, neither anguish nor pity. Nothing is to be “exorcised,” then, in order to produce the plane on which and by which desire sets out. But does the procedure itself, the circuit, somehow exorcise?

I have in mind a trial, a test, or a spiritual exercise, that we undergo and which is difficult, risky and painful. In the tradition of preparing to undergo such a trial, something is put aside, so that the trial itself has an aspect of exorcism to it. The preparation involves representing the self in a way that its illusory nature becomes by stages clearer and clearer to us.

The trial exorcises our self or de-subjectifies us to the end of removing anguish about the loss of self and pity for the other’s loss of self. The other, here, would be the passional actor and the trial might be compared to the spectacle of a passion.


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big white pants

you will never catch a flux all on its own

– Gilles Deleuze & Claire Parnet, Dialogues II, p. 91

the great ruptures, the great oppositions, are always negotiable; but not the little crack

– Ibid., p. 99


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I believe that even the greatest works of literature have a little tail of human frailty which, if one is on the lookout for it, begins to wag slightly and disturbs the sublime, godlike quality of the whole…

– Franz Kafka in a letter to Felice Bauer, quoted by Nicholas Murray in Kafka, Abacus, G.B., 2005, p. 158. [Note: printed and bound in Croydon.]

Zachary and I were very disappointed when we finally heard Trent Reznor’s NIN Year Zero, 2007. It’s dull and dulls. Z. found the pictures on the CD sleeve much more interesting. Apparently the Bible is a weapon. War and industry are in league in inspiring warm sepia-toned visions of future apocalypse.

Trent Reznor is a concept in search of an expressive medium. His voice has no range. Duh! His phrasing’s as boring as his beats. The huge narcissistic sentimentality of the project undermines any attempt to grate or epater. But lit. it in’t. So?

In view of study, it set me thinking on why, while it may speak to its subcult, neither Year Zero nor Trent Reznor speak to me. Not even a postcard. No dialectic. No sensation. Sense deadened rather than excited into nullity, devastation or deathiness. As for inciting to sedition, as claimed in the cod-concept-merch-advert-ambience of the project, without appealing to the senses, any appeal the “project” makes to the intellect can only fail, rests, indeed, at year zero on zero ground. But why?

The problem lies in the exclusion zone, in the fact that there is one and that I’m in it. The project remains a project and doesn’t reach to becoming a spectacle. Its grasp throttles its reach. Now I mean “spectacle” in the sense hinted at, tragically, in the previous post. The spectacle of a passion inherits some important characteristics of tragedy, notably, the inclusion of the people, not yet a mass, in catharsis.

The passionate spectacle of a Trent Reznor, for example, excludes for the purpose of producing a sense of belonging in the NIN subcult. The passionate spectacle of the eucharist, for example, excludes for the purpose of reinforcing, in the Mass, the sense of belonging of the mass, not people any longer.

How generate a sense of inclusiveness in the spectacle of a passion? This is where Deleuze’s “logic of sense” comes in to get the signal through. See, in contrast to Virilio’s idea that the pitilessness of art relates to the apotheosis of presentation above representation, I think it might be the other way round. Or if it’s not, then pity, with anguish, is the very thing that must be exorcised in the spectacle of a passion.

Put another way, the spectacle of Trent Reznor’s struggle with belief, disbelief, only represents that struggle, with which the medium of the merch&music doesn’t permit Mitgefuehl as a sensory experience, let alone as an inclusive sensory experience. The vision of the self-excoriating artist vacillates somewhere between Nietzsche and Christ. But get the artist to present, to communicate that excoriation directly to the senses of the people.

Human frailty, pity for, pitifulness, are not the objects of a spectacle of passion. Cutting off the little tail is not the same as denying it was ever there, wagging, disturbingly… which is the avenue of satire, yes?

Then there’s the subcult in which the wagging of one little tail resonates at a frequency to set a whole group of little frailties wagging, which is hardly the demesne of the God of Misrule. Naughty naughty anarchy!


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study of a passion

Study of a passion would necessitate a study of masochism.

…the masochist assemblage: the organisation of humiliations and suffering in it appear less as a means of exorcising anguish and so attaining a supposedly forbidden pleasure, than as a procedure, a particularly convoluted one, to constitute a body without organs and develop a continuous process of desire, which pleasure, on the contrary, would come and interrupt.

– Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, Dialogues II, p. 75

Pleasure, the above authors pleasantly write elsewhere, is a little rest. From desire. Desire, however, wants for nothing. Desire is not not sexuality. Out under the sun, stars and moon, in the middle of a desert, a desert which is a city, a green ghetto lapping at its edges, at the edges of a city which has suffered this desertification, on perhaps these islands, islands in a ghetto of bush and birds, desire uses sex rather opportunistically, every night-and-day’s a one-night stand… and still we’re walking, nowhere. This walk infuriates or excites the spirits, who rise under each footfall, like Mary Poppins’s staircase of smoke, except the intoxicating thing is that we are somewhere at every step, falling into a nowhere and caught by spirits, who are variously excited, infuriated, equally intoxicated, or simply toxic, dark spirits and light spirits, points in precession, precursively incited and invoked, catching us from falling, crushed into a somewhere which condemns them, rising from a nowhere to which we condemn ourselves.

Pain is a little rest too? No. Taking pleasure in pain, perhaps. Like the relationship between anorexia and gluttony. In anorexia we do not indulge. We have to rise to the occasion of the anorexic dinner party. We fall, and simply fall – there may be obstacles but complications do not intervene – into gluttony. The Hunger Artist can implode forever. Mr Creosote can only explode.

– Hieronymous Bosch, c1490, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Ghent

A passion has stations. Pain is love, quotes Virilio, the Catholic critic, essayist. People can get on or off at these stations. And perhaps have a little rest or get on for the leering, jeering, the spitting, the whole carrying a cross to calvary on Bosch’s bus business. A passion has levels of intensity. And, even more importantly for us, here, a passion has and shows degrees of intimacy. Bosch makes us intimates, intimates with intimacy. We feel this intimacy. In a passion, intensity becomes intimacy, or a passionate intensity.

The stations of the Christian Passion capture a sense of this ordinal series, through degrees of intimacy. In Christ’s, whose passion is it? Stated as a problem, the question becomes: How does Christ’s passion work? The stations actualise a passage from intensity to intensity. You could say they dramatise it and they cover up what is happening to the jeerers, leerers, spitters, hawkers, let alone the disciples, mothers, lovers and assorted friends and hangers-on, who are all, without exception, brought into the intimacy of a spectacle, a passion.

You could say that a passion is our chance to punish a god. A passion would have this in common with anorexia and with the construction of the plane on which desire sets out as it sets it out, the signed designed plane. The drama is the same: our chance to exorcise anguish and punish a god.


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no idea

– Francis Bacon, Study from the Human Body, 1949.

What is it that the K. character says about curtains in RJF project? It’s about the children, replacements for him, miniatures, his mother has inside her:

I’m sure they would imagine themselves exactly as I am… day in, day out, underground…

The only exception being that they have a way out, a door, which will, when the time is right, be held open for them and will shut behind them.

But then, they don’t! And so comes a closer resemblance.

The entry they expect is a doorway on a painting, which hands seize violently and thrust aside to see what’s underneath, because it’s actually a curtain.

Then there’s no way out, at all.

[from page opposite: RJF @ sf: working script]

RJF articulated, around the idea of soap, the myth of human soap and the fact of human soaps in the media, the conviction that, just like the future, just like human nature, there is no escape from representation. What has changed in my thinking regarding representation – easily projected onto the Simulacrum – has changed through my reading of Gilles Deleuze. In other words, doubts have arisen.

The Logic of Sense specifically counters the argument that Francis Bacon – recall the Bacon character from RJF – made representations in his work. The paintings don’t represent the human body, for example. They are not figurative but figural and haptic as well as visual. As Anne Carson puts it in her excellent essay, “Variations on the Right to Remain Silent,” Bacon’s answer to clarity is to destroy it with clarity.

What’s real escapes from representation by becoming sensible in the one who experiences it as real: it is real in a sense. A logic of sense works in the gap, bridging the gap, enacting a kind of contraction, between the face of the viewer and the surface of the painting. For the artwork to be called a “monument to sensation” (What is Philosophy?) this logic must be at stake. Sensation, sense, becomes acategorical, detypified. It is no longer locked into the hierarchy of the visual. It follows lines on a body without organs, without the organs that would reorder it, represent it, in the viewer according to a mirror logic of representation in the work.

The new work, for City Art Rooms, the second rendering of RJF, whatever it’s to be called, perhaps Study from the Human Body, incarnates this shift in my thinking. Reduces it. To the point where the work is free of the weight of thought.


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to what do I owe the pleasure?

When we hear of a thing as stupid as the supposed death drive, it is like seeing a shadow theatre, Eros and Thanatos. We have to ask: could there be an assemblage so warped, so hideous, that the utterance ‘Long live death’ would be an actual part of it and death itself be desired in it? Or isn’t this the opposite of an assemblage, its downfall, its failure? We must describe the assemblage in which such a desire becomes possible, gets moving and declares itself. But never will we point to drives which would refer to structural invariants, or to genetic variables. Oral, anal, genital, etc.: we ask each time into which assemblages these components enter, not to which drives they correspond, nor to which memories or fixations they owe their importance, nor to which incidents they refer, but with which extrinsic elements they combine to create a desire, to create desire.

– Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, Dialogues II, p. 72

That old should have seen it coming feeling arrives before you see it coming. Although, imagine a cloud of dust on the horizon, an electrical charge in the air, gyp or a twinge in the previously severed nerve, a rawness, a dry mouth, a dry month or two, the king’s wound weeping, an oracle appearing, a butterfly in the pit of the stomach, an exteriorisation of sensation, an itch, a gut feeling, the feel of cat gut, a visceral apprehension, viscera pre-tensing, stitches withdrawing, subcutaneously or in the surface of the skin, stitches in time, time in the gut, the shit of it loaded, knowing the shit’s going down; imagine the stormy petrel, the precursor, Deleuze’s dark precursor, to revolution, the warning, writing, the wall writing, the eye crying blood: imagine this and all you’ve got to go on is either to affirm or deny what in German you might call ein Ereignis, or, in French, un coup de des or evenement, which, comically, only exists weakly in English, unless it’s stated strongly: the accident. The accident is too readily a cliche. But this might be true of one’s mother tongue in general.

It’s a different sort of perturbation to think that it might be true anyway, a little death. Wilde called the lie a little death, a conscious pistake on the orgasm being a fore-taste of It. It turns out, counter-intuitively, that women at the point of orgasm have less going on in proximity to the brain’s emotional centres than men. Men are gushy sentimentalists in their little deaths and women cold realists. When and how does it turn out thusly? Did you see it coming? We saw them coming in an MRI.

I ought to have known that the work on the RJF project would fall apart, into its constituent parts. Once the attention of the company no longer focussed on it, its gravity left it. And it is a project without the levity to attract us back. It just doesn’t seem fun any more. It can no longer remain aloft.

Since Cafe Brazil fucoffee, 30 September, and then I could throw myself into clearing house and grieving for another month or so, I’d not wanted to think about RJF or any sort of carrying-over of those plans and schemes, those sideline projects that had been so important and that I’d held so dear while Brazil was around. Nor had the grieving been entirely for Brazil’s twelve years, it had also been about twenty-three years of smoking tobacco. I mourned the habit. I’m still having difficulty dealing with the loss. It has changed my chemical, molecular, bodily relation with the world en large in every respect. I can’t think. Yet I can. I go on. For the little it’s now worth.

Feelings of worthlessness. I prefer the grandiosity of outright suicidal tendencies. Croydon feelings. That station will forever in my mind be one of those of the cross of ennui and punk contempt, disgust. The Queen disgusts in Croydon. And I have a Croydon in my very name.

I couldn’t look at the RJF project, scared I couldn’t do it if I had to stage it in my body without the sepia angel nicotine.

Then Young rang from City Art Rooms with his Let’s make it happen sentiment at just the right time. A new work, a revision of the old, as yet unnamed, to open at City Art Rooms 18 March.

– Francis Bacon’s studio at 7 Reece Mews, South Kensington: about which Eggs said that its chaos mirrored that chaos within him.


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