- Heaven is where the police are British, the cooks
- What is hauntology?
- Icon of Erotic Art #44
- Daedalus devised a hollow wooden cow
- Boredom (1924) - Siegfried Kracauer
- The sexually frustrated woman
- Awe of nature, taste for the bizarre, thirst for knowledge
- Sir Stephen gave her his consent
- To Have Done With the Judgment of god
- Pure examples of ‘high’ or ‘low’ art
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Category Archives: postmodernism
Photo from the Flickr collection of ALFAP
Robert Rauschenberg (October 22 1925 – May 12 2008) was an American artist who came to prominence in the 1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art and best-known for such works as Retroactive I (1964) which “collaged” images of current events gathered from magazines and newspapers. A large press photograph of John F. Kennedy speaking at a televised news conference was the source for this screen print on canvas. He juxtaposed the image of Kennedy with another photo silkscreen of a parachuting astronaut. The overlapping, and seemingly disparate, composition creates a colorful visual commentary on a media-saturated culture struggling to come to grips with the television era. (see Susan Hapgood’s Neo-Dada, Redefining Art 1958-1962)
The painting was described by John Coulthart in 2008 as a work that could easily serve as an illustration to J. G. Ballard‘s The Atrocity Exhibition. Coulthart added that “Rauschenberg was one of a handful of artists who seemed to depict in visual terms what Ballard was describing in words. In this respect Robert Hughes’s discussion of the “landscape of media” [in The Shock of the New (1980)] (Ballard’s common phrase would be “media landscape”) is coincidental but significant.” 
This post is part of the cult fiction series, this issue #5
The famed John Cheever short story appeared in the New Yorker and people talked. Now there will be talk again. When you sense this man’s vibrations and share his colossal hang-up . . . will you see someone you know, or love? When you feel the body-blow power of his broken dreams, will it reach you deep inside, where it hurts? When you talk about “The Swimmer” will you talk about yourself?“
“The question [What Is Philosophy?] can perhaps be posed only late in the life, with the arrival of old age and the time for speaking concretely…It is a question posed in a moment of quiet restlessness, at midnight, when there is no longer anything to ask. It was asked before; it was always being asked, but too indirectly or obliquely; the question was too artificial, too abstract. Instead of being seized by it, those who asked the question set it out and controlled it in passing. They were not sober enough. There was too much desire to do to wonder what it was, except as a stylistic exercise. That point of nonstyle where one can finally say, “What is it I have been doing all my life?” had not been reached. There are times when old age produces not eternal youth but a sovereign freedom, a pure necessity in which one enjoys a moment of grace between life and death, and in which all the parts of the machine come together to send into the future a feature that cuts across all ages…”–Qu’est-ce que la philosophie? (1991). Trans. What Is Philosophy? (1996).
While continuing my research on contemporary philosophy from a purely semantic point of view, I came up with these:
In 2004 Alain Badiou said:
“In my view, only those who have had the courage to work through Lacan‘s anti-philosophy without faltering deserve to be called ‘contemporary philosophers‘.” From Vérité: forçage et innomable, translated as Truth: Forcing and the Unnameable in Theoretical Writings. London: Continuum, 2004. ISBN 0826461468.
Assorted “anti-philosophy” site:wikipedia.org “anti-philosophy” matches:
- Wittgenstein’s philosophy (or rather anti-philosophy) of mathematics. …
- Gorgias (dialogue) – Callicles goes on an anti-philosophy rant, saying there is no harm in young people engaging in useless banter, but that it is unattractive in older men. …
- De Stijl – Dadaist influences, such as I. K. Bonset‘s poetry and Aldo Camini‘s ‘anti-philosophy‘ generated controversy as well. Only after Van Doesburg’s death it was …
- Philosophical skepticism – At least in its manifestation of Nagarjuna‘s texts that form the core of Madhyamaka, the anti-essentialist aspect of Buddhism makes it an anti-philosophy.
What is interesting about any strain of anti- is that it seems to reveal more of its subject than its positive antithesis. Thus one tends to find more about the essence of psychiatry when one studies anti-psychiatry, etc…
Trailer for I Heart Huckabees
There are so many reasons to like I Heart Huckabees: the film stars French belle Isabelle Huppert, American veteran Dustin Hoffman (who I’ve actually come to like in his later years in supporting small roles such as A Series of Unfortunate Events, Perfume and Stranger Than Fiction, I’ve even come to appreciate his mouth-mannerisms, which I disliked so much), and cult favorite Lily Tomlin.
Huckabees’ director David O. Russell seems to belong to the club of smart, intellectual and philosophical North-American filmmakers which also includes P. T. Anderson, Michel Gondry (I know he’s French), Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, and to a lesser extent Vincent Gallo, Hal Hartley, Alexander Payne and Terry Zwigoff. British film critic James MacDowell, in a semantic approach I also worked on at Jahsonic.com , dubbed these directors the “The ‘Quirky’ New Wave”, for their “quirkiness“. The denotation of MacDowell overlaps with the recent spate of what has come to be termed “Indiewood” features.
The film is indeed overtly philosophical, with special attention given to concepts such as existentialism and pure being. In my limited philosophical expertise, Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin represent good old American positivist, buddhist-inspired, self-help therapy and Isabelle Huppert, personified as Caterine Vauban (whose business card reads: “Cruelty. Manipulation. Meaninglessness.)”, represents evil French Deconstructionist continental obfuscating philosophy.
Fear not, the two strains are reunited towards the end, all to the sounds of a beautiful soundtrack by Jon Brion, who you may be familiar with via his work on Magnolia (1999) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2003).
This post is a continuation of sorts of this post.
World cinema classic #44
Another epic of American depression, and one of my first positive surprises when I took up film-viewing again in the early 2000s. A philosophical film in the magic realism vein. The opening scene – a rumination on the nature of the coincidence – totally blew me away. Anderson’s other films: I’ve started watching Boogie Nights but did not finish it and can hardly remember anything about it. Same with Punch drunk …, failed to get me involved. Have yet to do There will be Blood, but doubt if I will. 1999 was a good film year.
Update: infomercial transcription:
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Playboy magazine, December 1969 in which Cross the Border — Close the Gap was first published.
Cross the border, close the gap! was tellingly first published in Playboy magazine in December 1969 (rather than in a literary magazine), and republished as a separate volume in 1972. The treatise coincides with a trend in which literary critics such as Leslie Fiedler and Susan Sontag started questioning and assessing the notion of the perceived gap between “high art” (or “serious literature“) and “popular art” (in America often referred to as “pulp fiction“), in order to describe the new literature by authors such as John Barth, Leonard Cohen , and Norman Mailer; and at the same time re-assess maligned genres such as science fiction, the western, erotic literature and all the other subgenres that previously had not been considered as “high art”, and their inclusion in the literary canon:
- The notion of one art for the ‘cultural,’ i.e., the favored few in any given society and of another subart for the ‘uncultured,’ i.e., an excluded majority as deficient in Gutenberg skills as they are untutored in ‘taste,’ in fact represents the last survival in mass industrial societies (capitalist, socialist, communist — it makes no difference in this regard) of an invidious distinction proper only to a class-structured community. Precisely because it carries on, as it has carried on ever since the middle of the eighteenth century, a war against that anachronistic survival, Pop Art is, whatever its overt politics, subversive: a threat to all hierarchies insofar as it is hostile to order and ordering in its own realm. What the final intrusion of Pop into the citadels of High Art provides, therefore, for the critic is the exhilarating new possibility of making judgments about the ‘goodness’ and ‘badness’ of art quite separated from distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ with their concealed class bias.
In other words, it was now up to the literary critics to devise criteria with which they would then be able to assess any new literature along the lines of “good” or “bad” rather than “high” versus “popular”.
- A conventionally written and dull novel about, say, a “fallen woman” could be ranked lower than a terrifying vision of the future full of action and suspense.
- A story about industrial relations in the United Kingdom in the early 20th century — a novel about shocking working conditions, trade unionists, strikers and scabs — need not be more acceptable subject-matter per se than a well-crafted and fast-paced thriller about modern life.
But, according to Fiedler, it was also up to the critics to reassess already existing literature. In the case of U.S. crime fiction, writers that so far had been regarded as the authors of nothing but “pulp fiction” — Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, and others — were gradually seen in a new light. Today, Chandler’s creation, private eye Philip Marlowe — who appears, for example, in his novels The Big Sleep (1939) and Farewell, My Lovely (1940) — has achieved cult status and has also been made the topic of literary seminars at universities round the world, whereas on first publication Chandler’s novels were seen as little more than cheap entertainment for the uneducated masses.
P.S. This article is based on freely available Wikipedia code remixed by myself for the Art and Popular Culture wiki.
No-Stop City, Interior Landscape, 1969 by Archizoom Associati
It was American experimental musician Rhys Chatham who first pointed out that the energy of art is always equal (except in periods of extreme hardship such as famine and war, where production tapers off), but has at the same time the tendency to displace itself. In music for example, the energy in the 1950s was in rock and roll, in the 1980s it was to be found in house music and techno.
The energy in international design in the late 1960s and early 1970s was clearly to be found in Italy. Displayed above is No-Stop City, a “radical design” architectural project by Archizoom Associati first introduced to the public in 1969. It is a critique of the ideology of architectural modernism, of which Archizoom felt that it had reached its limits. The artistic discourse of that era was buzzing with the term neo avant-garde, in a period that corresponds with Late Modernism or early postmodern art. The term neo avant-garde was rejected by many, but the term can be interpreted to refer to a second wave of avant-garde art such as Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Nouveau Réalisme and Fluxus.
If you want to read up on this period, please consult the following excellent volume:
Prices in Amazon Europe are around 40€, in America starting from 12USD, a bargain.
Erotissimo is a 1968 French-Italian film directed by Gérard Pirès. Its theme is a satire on the use of sex in advertising and sexual objectification of women. I’ve mentioned this film before and posted a different trailer, but this trailer is superb, good rhythm, extremely funny (sorry French only!), nice score and stunning visuals.