I’m rereading Writing on Drugs by Sadie Plant, a book which is brilliant in its lateral connections, arguing amongst other things that the Industrial Revolution in England goes hand in hand with the legal use of opium as recreational drug.
Speaking of opium, I’ve published a photo of an oozing, exuding, secreting and leaking poppy seed head.
But that’s not what I wanted to show you.
Flaubert on ‘a book about nothing,’ cited in ‘Writing On Drugs’
On page 47 in Writing on Drugs is Flaubert and he is cited stating his desire to write ‘a book about nothing‘ (‘un livre sur rien’), in other words a plotless novel, an antinovel as it were.
“What strikes me as beautiful, what I would like to do, is a book about nothing, a book with no external tie, which would support itself by its internal force of style, a book which would have hardly any subject or at least where the subject would be almost invisible, if that can be so.” (Flaubert, Letters 170).
Did Flaubert fulfil his ambition?
Maybe he did. The closest he came to writing about nothing was in his Bouvard et Pécuchet and Dictionary of Received Ideas.
Art/Porn: A History of Seeing and Touching (2009) – [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
I want to read Art/Porn: A History of Seeing and Touching(2009) by Kelly Dennis.
Besides that pornosophy is my area of expertise, the book looks rather more clever than many porn studies that have recently flooded the American market and finding smart sentences such as the following has whetted my appetite:
“We can now see that the “sister arts,” the paragone, the hierarchy of genres, and even ekphrasis are all rooted in an opposition between word and image, between an acceptable literary pictorialism and a less acceptable pictorial literacy.”
I found this book while googling paragone and ekphrasis mentioned in my previous post on Baudelaire.
On the cover of Art/Porn is one panel from the Every Playboy centerfold, by decade series by Jason Salavon.
“Encore” is a musical composition by Nicolas Jaar.
As usual, one thing leads to another.
This particular Youtube upload (above) features the photo “Dancers Wearing Gas Masks In England On February 1940“.
The photo stems from the Edward George Warris Hulton collection and features girls wearing gas masks and dancing a can-can-like dance.
The sample at the beginning of the song:
- “from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing”
is from an audio recording of “The Creative Act,” a speech by ‘mere artist” Marcel Duchamp given in 1957.
In view of its non-elitist (although it can also be read as a defence of Duchamp’s own greatness) point of view (considering bad art also as art); its emphasis on reception and audience participation; its view as the artist as a mere medium, I pronounce “The Creative Act” to be a nobrow manifesto of sorts.
“Encore” by my poulain Nicolas Jaar is World Music Classic #699.
February 24, 2013 in 1001 things to do before you die, art, avant-garde, nobrow, philosophy, theory, world music classics
Tagged 20th century, aesthetics, Marcel Duchamp, Nicolas Jaar, nobrow, theory
A specter is haunting the world: the specter of capitalism
I finally watched Cronenberg’s latest film Cosmopolis and understand why it was top ten film for both Cahiers du cinéma andRichard Scheib.
Memorable moments: the rats, the prostate that has to “express itself”, the Jenny Holzer-like LED screen with the slogan “A specter is haunting the world: the specter of capitalism ” (above), the Nancy Babich-scene, Robert shooting a hole in his handand of course the prostate examination in itself.
The film is World Cinema Classic #139.
It’s a political film and a philosophical film.
RIP Nagisa Oshima (1932-2013) , Japanese film director, best-known for his penis-severing film Empire of Passion. The film (based on the true story of Sada Abe) was produced by French producer Anatole Dauman.
Illustration: Roland Topor film poster for Oshima’s Empire of Passion.
The Four Seasons are a series of four paintings by Joos de Momper, allegorically depicting spring, summer, autumn and winter in the form of anthropomorphic landscapes. As of 2013, all four of these paintings are in private collections. At least one of them is believed to be in the collection of Robert Lebel. I saw all four of them over the weekend in Lille, France at the superb exhibition Flemish Landscape Fables. This weekend is your last chance to get a look at them.
American Gothic (1930) by American painter Grant Wood.
The following authors and their works are in the public domain as of January 1 of this year according the 70 years rule:
Robert Musil, Austrian author of The Man Without Qualities; Bruno Schulz, Polish author of The Street of Crocodiles, Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass, draughtsman of The Book of Idolatry; Franz Boas, German-born American anthropologist, author of Anthropology and Modern Life, The Mind of Primitive Man and Primitive Art; Stefan Zweig, Austrian author of Letter from an Unknown Woman, Fear and World of Yesterday; Germaine Dulac French director of The Seashell and the Clergyman; Jindřich Štyrský , Czech artist, author-photographer of Emilie Comes to Me in a Dream; Grant Wood, an American painter, best known for his painting American Gothic; Bronisław Malinowski, Polish anthropologist, author of The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia; Léon Daudet, French journalist, writer, often called the French Dickens and Walter Sickert, painter known for his The Camden Town Murder.
Illustration: American Gothic (1930) by American painter Grant Wood. This is the best-known work of Wood, up to the point that it is one of the most famous works of art. But in his oeuvre you will also find Rousseau-esque discursions such as Young Corn.