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05.08.2018 Honmura Naoshima – Nishishinjuku Tokyo

Another day. Another homily on aesthetico-socio-politico-cultural difference (and I wondered aloud, if one could, did and decided to live here, say in Naoshima, for example, on grants from Benesse, making Minus Theatre, at the beautiful local hall, and in the outdoors, playing for the land, the wide Seto Sea, a thing which would be in keeping with the aesthetico-socio-politico-cultural and ethical undertaking of ‘public capitalism’, that is a very desirable thing, whether such differences evaporate and whether one is left with dissatisfactions attendant on any aesthetico-socio-politico-cultural setup.) A pinecone sits above the towel rail in the toiletbooth at Rojitoakira.

It is not an exceptional pinecone. I has not been, as far as you can tell, been picked out and chosen from all the pinecones—and there are a few lying around even close by in the green areas, in the children’s park beside Minimadera. Neither is it especially big; nor is it especially small, cute or kawai’i. It is not a miniature pinecone, that a small spirit might inhabit or play with. Neither is it a laughably large, a clumsy kind of foreign pinecone. It is not colourful. It is neither new, nor is it in a state of decay, rendered delicate by worms or other parasites or by conditions of decomposition, reduced to a tracery or skeletal state. Neither is it worn smooth and pleasingly tactile by long handling; of course not, it’s a pinecone! However, it’s not a representative pinecone even in its spikeyness. It is just a pinecone. Why then does it have its own small shelf, where it is exhibited on its own? What makes it worthy of being considered an object, a display object, an art object? Why has it been curated? Why is it on display? Why not anything, anything else?

We started the day in the kitchen, met with other travellers, a family from the Netherlands, teen children, boy and girl, mother an art teacher in Utrecht, father a graphic designer there. An interest in contemporary art has brought them to Japan, to Naoshima specifically, where they have spent 4 days. I ask the children if they share their parents’ enthusiasm for art. They look up from their cellphones. The boy shakes his head sheepishly: No! The girl laughs: no. But it seems she might just be swayed. The boy is more resistant. The family are touring by car. Today they leave for Kanazawa.

Who would have thought, says the father, that we would be staying opposite a James Turrell installation. This is Minimadera. The building the light work is in was designed by Tadao Ando, and there is an Ando museum less than a hundred metres down the road, towards the Port, where we arrived yesterday.

We have got up early—like the family from the Netherlands, ready for their longest single stretch of driving, 5 hours to Kanazawa (not that far by NZ standards)—to get to Benesse House Museum. Entry 1000 yen.

Town bus. But no courtesy bus from the Benessians. A walk, along the beach, uphill. OK at this time of day. But the cicadas already shrilling so shrilly the sound phases against itself, the waves coincide, merge, cancel, come in waves, jjjjjjjjjjJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj (or, as my computer was doing, my favourite travelling eee, until I fixed it, it fixed, in Kyoto, vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv…)

Here, notably, remarkably, among the Warhols, Rauschenbergs, the Klein blue torso, Sugimoto seascapes, a Giacometti—in the reception foyer!!! (a Diego, his brother, head on plinth; did I mention the Diego drawing at Benesse Art Museum? The drawings are irreproducable, a different force from the sculptures—sublime)—a work by Yukinori Yanagi, The World Ant Farm (1990). (And a Basquiat, striking, and a photo of him, equally.) A grid of all the world’s flags done in sand in perspex frames hung in a grid on the wall, each sand flag linked to each adjacent by a plastic tube, for ants. The ants have transported particles from one flag to the next. In some cases the flag is barely legible, a layercake of coloured sand. In others, the flags are wormholed, vermiculated. The grid is huge, over two by six metres, making up a single antridden flag of the world. (As the John Goodman father said to his daughter, struggling up the hill to the macaques’ park in Arashimaya, outside of Kyoto, when she asked, Why are there ants here? In a listen here honey tone: Ants and cockroaches are Everywhere.)

After Benesse, a walk down the hill, to another Walter de Maria: this one the eyeballs on the sea. Cool: and I could take snaps of it and its obligatory companions, the gilded cricket wickets.

A bakery for lunch: bread with butter and egg, so advertised; bread with banana—but just on top; bread with fruit—chewy, said J. Even the bakery had a sign—perhaps to protect the identity of the wild yeast they used—No Photos.

Minamadera issued us an 11.30am ticket. One of the Art House Projects, of which there are six—these are the highlight, possibly because embedded and an expression of their aesthetico-socio-politico-cultural context. They are old houses saved and repurposed as artworks… like the Ando concept for the decaying hall, I forget where, for which, threatened by demolition, he conceived an egg, not even touching the loadbearing structure around it, resting only at one point on the ground, foundation. An egg transected by an internal staircase. So, yes, we went to the Ando Museum. Then Kadoya Art House Project; see coloured lights floating snap above: I disobeyed rule. Lights are digital numbers, randomised. Then Minimadera, at last: 15 minutes of darkness, broken, as eyes—do they adjust at the same rate for all?—start to see a glowing screen and sidelights. Approach the glowing screen, says attendant. We do. Carefully in the rich thick darkness. We reach it, but it is a volume framed, the light, and we can put our arms and stick our heads into this volume, which, because so lowlit, has texture. It is light to touch. Tactile light.

Then Gokaisho—two rooms, 4 and half tatami squares, one with only the bounding structure, one with flowers, real and artificial of the camellia. The camellia sits in a moss island surrounded by a sea of gravel in the back yard. Then Haisha—the one that looks like a shed, cobbled together of bits of tin and driftwood; with, inside, of course, the Statue of Liberty. (Recalling Capt. Cook in the State House, called the Light House (!!!) on the wharf in Auckland, Michael Parekowhai, did you? You must have.) Then home to collect bags and get to Port for the return journey.

No hurry this time. And a Nozoma Shinkansen from Okoyama to Tokyo, to the APANishishinjuku-tower, where I write this, this morning, Monday, an onsen two doors down, second floor!

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03.08.2018 Universal City, Studio & so on, to infinity and beyond

Hakutsuru since 1743—choice. Although, writing with Gekkeikan glass this balmy evening.

…speaking of culture: 2 gratifying aspects of culture and cultural acceptance we observe are 1) the presence of ashtrays; although it is not a nation of smokers as it might once have been, like some charming anachronism ashtrays have accompanied our dining experiences, if not the actual effluvia; although tonight we sat opposite two middle-youthed men in shirtsleeves, both trying valiantly to master the art of electrocigarette action (the younger man, trying to outdo the elder, tried to smoke harder and drink louder, while his cigarette insert kept falling out of the electro-gizmo, and he acted like he didn’t care, sweeping it off the floor with a nonchalance so contrived and demonstrative as to be theatrical); and other times young women smoking, the smoke effectively sucked out of the room, leaving the tang of chemicals behind, like a sour smell-rind; 2) despite the years of isolation being long gone by about 2 centuries and those of American occupation barely within living memory, despite the porky presence of gaijin reeking of the dairy (to mix scentences), particularly in a place like the Dot of Doutonbori, it is surprising the predominance of Japanese language outside the most tempting of eating-places, drinking-places, on menus and in descriptions of what lies inside the mostly inward-facing joints, bars, holes in the wall, restaurants, rooms for public life. This is accommodation without concession.

…yes, speaking of culture, today we went to Hogsmeade, Harry Potter Land, Hogwarts—at Universal Studio! …

We expected crowds—there were; we expected tantrum-inducing waiting-times—there were; but we also expected—the Japanese panache at carrying fakery to next level; we expected the generosity in adopting the misshapen popular artifices of cultures other than that of Japan; despite the Americolonial years, we expected the joy at inventions—that the Japanese seem to have invented anyway, like theme-parks, living hoardings, robots-are-as-good-as-life, loud in your face snakeoil salesmanship … and we expected it all to be beautifully performed, dressed, choreographed scenically. After all, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has won best ride in the world for @5 consecutive years. I think.

The trip came on on leaving our train at Universal City. Like the Tomoyuki Hoshino novel I’m reading, things got weird pretty quickly; and like with any trip left little time to wonder at psychological harm, ensuing identity disorders, or moral malaise (anyway, we’d been to an owl forest in stifling heat, in a suburb of Kyoto).

The check-in lady’s voice came at us with machine-gun machine-reproduced—for no conceivable reason, since she was just behind glass—ear-slicing consonantal bruitage. And we asked about express tickets. Would’ve added hundreds onto the bill, as well as kept us there until 1900 hours plus.

We braved the cheaper entry. Found Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, the snow glistening, and J. asked how they keep it from melting … Magic.

Rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden & so on. Ate churros. Checked out the Butter Beer.

Rolled out of the Wizarding World into Muggles of Amity Village, and onto the schlocky Jaws ride. What was our open secret? Singles! Japanese prefer to ride in groups, friend groups, family groups … so we are told. Still, with the Potter ride, the ten mins turned into about an hour, but beat the two hour standard wait time—unless you have express and can arrive at the designated 1900 hours. We rode singly. That’s how we rolled.

Next, Jurassic Park’s The Ride, in water, with splashdown.

On to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – The Ride 4K3D. This was great—cartoon characters leaping into your field of vision, with 3D goggles, addressing each of you, each of me, individually, right up on your bonnet, and grill. When the electric baddy plugged his thing into the front of our car the Chinese lady two down screamed like she’d been personally electrocuted. Electrocution—it’s personal.

But the prize—apart from the overall artdirection of the Wizarding World—went to Evangelion XR 4D. This was a VR—full head-set (staff intensive, the team fitting me up, as I sat beside, as a single, an odaku guy, asked where I was from. New Zealand. Ah, sheep! Yes, I said, with fingers in beard, like me! Most disconcerting—when she’d fitted the headset and launched me into VR I heard You’re a sheep! You’re a sheep! A sheep!) hyper experience. Mosquitoe giant guys demolished the city and, cleverly, with a pilot and orientating details in field of vision, we hurtled through the apocalypse, bodies thrown one way, then another, because on an actual rollercoaster, while heads and sensory apparati were, through the headset, tuned into the virtual environments. And what works here is scale. This world was huge and in 360 degrees. … Mission accomplished, we slowed, me and the odaku guy, whom I’d neither heard nor seen a baby whisker of, into a massive hangar space, and outside the VR I heard clapping, the clapping the staff were routinely doing for new recruits, getting seated in their pods.

Tonight we found a skinny building to eat in, sat upstairs, two cynical electrosmokers doing their best to look cool.

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28.07.2018 to Uji, Japan

Overlooking the Ujigawa, the river in Uji, split by an artificial island, and fed from the nearby dam, with rapids below the island and above, we are finally in our room, and not only that but fresh out of the hotpools, the public baths as they have to be called—since to qualify as onsen the waters must arise naturally from the ground and possess minerals, a mineral quality; so that some onsen are coloured and some so hot when they bubble into the baths or pools there are attendants present to make sure bathers do not broil and cook.

From Waiheke to Uji:35 minutes by ferry; 25 minutes by Über; a checkin time two hours ahead of boarding time, which allows for seats together to be confirmed; 11.15 hours’ flight—with a supper, followed by 71 minutes of Dog Island; 5 hours sleep, on a partially full 777, since it had been cancelled because of the typhoon rolling in on Tokyo, was subsequently reinstated—adding to the likelihood of sleep being had, since more space to stretch out—however I could not get my body to fit the available empty space, the ma was all wrong, no matter how I curled and contorted to fill it—then breakfast, a gesture at Japanese style, with the rice handily deposited in a pleated cupcake paper; monorail from Haneda to Shinagawa 15 minutes; some circulation of bodies searching for the right line, the JR Nara line, to Uji—say 10 minutes—then, departing at 29 minutes past the hour, the local train, stopping at all the stations on the way, to Uji, 25 minutes later; walking, asking for directions, along the Ujigawa to our ryokan 20 minutes.

Time, Deleuze writes in his book on Kant, is not determined by movement, or change, and time itself does not move and change. Neither is time eternal. “It is the form of everything that changes and moves, but it is an immutable Form which does not change”—the unchanging, unmoving Form of what is impermanent, an impermanence that in the form of time is not eternal. In it, all things are impermanent. All things pass. That time passes without passing away is, Deleuze writes, a profound mystery.

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the story of the mirror neurons, pt. 1

Positivity, affirmation: they are related but not the same. To confront one with the other is not to vanquish it; they take different objects and produce different subjects. Positivity and negativity: you can affirm either; you can affirm both. You can affirm in positivity the need for negativity. Positivity is the condition of affirming only one. One side, one polarity, one out of the pair is affirmed and one is left out in affirming positivity; and in affirming negativity, equally, one side, one polarity, one out of the pair is affirmed, one left out. But when you affirm both what happens is still not an inclusion: the affirmation of both positivity and negativity can go to a higher form of positivity; but it cannot go to a higher form of negativity. It cannot go to a higher form of negativity unless you have or invoke a higher power of negation; or unless you have or invoke in negation a higher power. To have there be in negation a higher power, or to have negation be a higher power, is to make of that power your affirmation, to affirm it to be or to affirm in it that power. The condition for negativity to go to a higher form in the affirmation of a power in negation higher than the form of positivity that is unequally reposed in it where you affirm both positivity and negativity is that of its being, being in the world, and in the world acting. The condition of the existence of negativity in its higher power of negation may be called existential. Positivity would annul this existential condition of negativity, this form of being and this power of acting in the world, in its negation: it is not. Affirmation differs from positivity in reposing in negativity an existential condition that is its own and belongs to it; positivity deposes in negativity an existential condition of which it is dispossessed. According to positivity not only should negativity not be, should it not be in the world, and not only should negation not act in the world, and, according to positivity, where its moral injunction takes full effect, not only should negativity not find a higher power in negation, but negativity can not: it cannot be, it cannot be so and cannot be that negation so act. Affirmation differs from positivity neither insofar as it relates positivity exclusively to negativity, nor insofar as it includes equally both negativity and positivity, but insofar as it aligns itself with the existential condition of both and either positivity and negativity. The distinction is not lost; the difference you see and describe that is and acts in the world itself takes the higher power in the relation, the nondialectical relation, of the positive and the negative—a positive, a negative.

Affirmation vanquishes the dialectic in a differential relation of a positive and a negative. But the problem remains that to confront positivity with negativity is not to vanquish it. Negativity inverts positivity; and positivity obverts negativity. It may be the case that the project of positivity parallels the inject of negativity. If this is so, and the difference is upheld, the subject of negation is induced in a movement that is reflexive and intensive; the subject of position is produced in a movement that is object-directed and extensive. This reflexivity that is subjective in negativity, in positivity takes its object to be itself: that is whereas negativity subjects, induces or forms a subject reflexively, positivity objects and the subject is taken up to be the project of a performance. The position of the performing subject, of positivity’s performative project, is facing you, the position of an appeal, from, as it were, a dark and reflexive negativity; it is an appeal against an immutable background darkness that is everywhere around it.

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contd. (you can always catch up by going to a kind of record at the top of the lefthand margin) number twenty-eight of the series

XVIII.

it is ultimately sensuous

your scarf

my beard

pornography

 

to be human

faces the challenge

of

my poetry

 

and what it means

your laughter is

I behind I

deeply

 

is how you mean

how you mean

to proceed

originally

 

weave the future

and a future in recoil

a kind of record

of sexuality

 

from here the

horizon begins the

looping of a spine

kind of human calligraphy

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#19 for a kind of record (to read in series)

XIX.

Karen says Old History Now

I only care about the present well three things

at this time

in this light

we can say

in Deleuze on Foucault places things in reverse order

friends do

we can say one can say it is said at this time to say on

the limit

of the sayable

 

and in light of saying this in this light

I make a little poison to put in

friends do

this chalice

not enough to kill to pass from my lips

to yours I slip a little in

now a sip

 

these things through being said to say

to say this now

to see this now

to feel the poison take effect

take hold I make a problem

three parts

I practice

a charm

 

hidden in a fold of skin

hidden

between your lips

 

a secret passed from one to another

the other’s small touch of madness

I am forced to write in secret

 

Caetano said today Caetano said

the most transgressive

you can do

is play quietly

 

force public recoil

in private

in private recoil

from public sanction

 

I dreamt you’re a cunning man was repeated thrice

you’re a cunning man

you’re a cunning man

you’re a cunning man

if you know so much

and bit off his lips

 

why do you love me so

am I

not difficult to love

 

the turn the rest move away they turn

to their backs I yell

I feel the poison take effect

difficult to listen

love

a very rich speculation

friends

to whom I can say

this is the time

and these are the stakes of the time

 

take this cup away

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production of the fold is critical not only for resistance but for new possibilities from the event of bio-, neo- or neuroliberalism

…Deleuze picked up the notion of the fold from the Baroque and Leibniz, but it is Foucault who helped him develop a politically enabling understanding of the concept. In his book on Foucault, Deleuze discusses the way Foucault’s understanding of the fold developed after the first volume of the History of Sexuality and took shape with the subsequent two volumes. Recognizing how, after his first book, Foucault found himself at an impasse regarding how to find a relation to oneself in relation to power and knowledge, Deleuze sees how Foucault began to move beyond this impasse in subsequent books. In the second volume he begins to develop not a theory of the subject, but a theory of the fold as a force of subjectification, as a force bending in on itself, creating points of resistance. This folding enables resistance, as it produces ‘a specific or collective individuation relating to an event’.

— Frida Beckman, Gilles Deleuze: Critical Lives, Reaktion Books, London (2017), p. 63

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notes on to a kind of record I.

this in common

poem is problem

and this

 

very important

a sort of program

 

gathering of words

conjunctives

as substantives

of types

of syntactical moments

of verbal tonalities

 

the alternate face

here widened

 

towards the obscure

scintillating

 

with certainty of a

phenomenon

 

not a thought but

process of thought

mirror-like

 

refraction

of the human

 

end

in itself

end

of itself

 

end

germ

 

of an infinity

of horrors

 

reserves in one’s thoughts

hidden intention

charlatanism

addressing an audience

addressing a public

 

whom shall I kill

 

synthesis of all the vertigoes

dictation of memoirs

 

history of mind

absurd by what it seeks

 

great by what it finds

every beginning

 

coincidence

I don’t know what

 

sort of contact between all

and nothing

 

three words

two words

 

the tomb of the poet Edward

this girl couldn’t be buried

buried on a moonlit night

 

the dead girl’s name

Narcissa

who found himself so

in his reflection

 

the cyclical and repetitive functions of life

take love where it has never been

to the end

of the will to

 

killed his puppet

his puppet killed

in favor of a poetry

 

claiming autonomy

through critical self-reference

 

claims

to repressing the developments of intelligence

to depreciating the value of pure research

to taking often atrocious measures against

who consecrated themselves to these things

 

to favoring

even as far as endowed chairs and laboratories

 

worshippers of the idol

to the detriment

independent creators

spiritual richness

 

and they have imposed on the arts

on the sciences

the utilitarian ends which a power

 

founded on declamations and terror

pursues

 

praise of Bergson

 

sameness within vast

elusive differences

 

[all of which, on the poet Paul Valéry

1871-1945, you can read here.]

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a curtain not to be lifted – & other minuses – …towards a logic of sensation adequate to an analysis of performance

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model of exchange

giving is a celebration

of all you have

giving all away

is what each one does

in the end

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