I hernia in public convenience


– Am I living or am I buried here?

– under the weight of work and pieces that have been consigned here for failing to come to life, have or get or find a life in life, in mine, where anything might have happened, which, anyway, would have been better than this predictable oblivion. I’m thinking particularly about the scripts, the projects meant for multiple voices, not simply yours, not simply mine, to be felt by bodies, in bodies and shared among them, like sex.

This appears in Olivier Zahm’s purple DIARY (here), a quote from Philip Roth’s The Dying Animal, Zahm, who has prompted this reverie, one as indulgent as my activity here, eating of the dark fruit underground, empurpling my mouth and words:

Sex isn’t just friction and shallow fun. Sex is also the revenge on death. Don’t forget death. Don’t ever forget it. Yes, sex too is limited in its power. I know very well how limited. But tell me, what power is greater?

Olivier Zahm is in possession of the singular knowledge that in order to be quite candid he must create for himself a character: to show his life, especially his sex-life, honestly is to have recourse to a fiction, the fiction of who he is. So he lives that life in full view which is at once theatre, and illusion, and only therefore alive.

What makes it live for us? His conviction that, for example, the women we make love to bestow on us a precious gift: they give us “the most beautiful side of themselves.” For his blog, he photographs them “in these private moments.” They give rise to an ideal, the ideal lifestyle. These quotes are from his interview with Dirk Standen (yes, actually) for the Style File blog, here, entitled The Future Of Fashion.

Olivier’s conviction that sex gives life to what he does, writes, shows, however dissembling, is it the ground on which sex sells? Does sex represent life in terms of the ‘beauty’ of its ‘gift’ – which implies honesty – which, additionally, has to be presented by the illusion of Olivier Zahm?

I’m not so much interested in the logic here, or the psychology, as in admiration of a technique of the self, involving both a theatre of promiscuity and a chastity to reality, to truth (to the truth of truth (or truth as a (stage) property)). Of course there is something Sadean about it. The honesty that disturbs the status quo of political representation is that which is mediated by illusion: it can be called the ideal lifestyle – fashion and art, gloves in hand.

I asked some time ago whether art can provide a critique of democracy as we expect it to do of capitalism. I think the future of fashion, which has been the same since Pop, as in the rapprochement of fashion and art, is where it can be seen to be in process.

Sex is the killer application of such a critique, for, exactly, not being dead.