Friday, July 25, 2014

zizeks trick

In addition to being Zizek's teacher, adviser, and sponsor, Jacques-Alain Miller became his analyst as well. While familiarity between analyst and analysand is discouraged by Freudians, it was not unusual for Lacanians to socialize with their patients. Lacan's most controversial psychoanalytic innovation, however, was the variable, or "short," session through which he tried to combat a patient's resistance by introducing an element of discontinuity into the therapeutic process. In contrast to Freud's f ifty-minute "hour," Lacan's sessions ended the moment he sensed the patient had uttered an important word or phrase--a break that might occur in fifteen minutes or less. Miller had fine-tuned the logic of therapy to the point that few sessions lasted more than ten minutes. "To be in analysis with Miller was to step into a divine, predestined universe," says Zizek. "He was a totally arbitrary despot. He would say, come back tomorrow at exactly 4:55, but this didn't mean anything! I would arrive at 4:55 and would find a dozen people waiting."

One goal of the variable session is to keep a patient from preparing material ahead of time. In this respect, Lacanian psychoanalysis met its match in Zizek. "It was my strict rule, my sole ethical principle, to lie consistently: to invent all symptoms , fabricate all dreams," he reports of his treatment. "It was obsessional neurosis in its absolute purest form. Because you never knew how long it would last, I was always prepared for at least two sessions. I have this incredible fear of what I might dis cover if I really went into analysis. What if I lost my frenetic theoretical desire? What if I turned into a common person?" Eventually, Zizek claims, he had Miller completely taken in by his charade: "Once I knew what aroused his interest, I invented eve n more complicated scenarios and dreams. One involved the Bette Davis movie All About Eve.Miller's daughter is named Eve, so I told him that I had dreamed about going to a movie with Bette Davis in it. I planned every detail so that when I finishe d he announced grandly, 'This was your revenge against me!'"

"cross-cultural" music

really interesting wfmu episode showing approaches to cross cultural transposition in music

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Koan 47: Autonomy - an old question

 47.   The Stingy Artist

Gessen was an artist monk. Before he would start a drawing or painting he always insisted upon being paid in advance, and his fees were high. He was known as the "Stingy Artist."

A geisha once gave him a commission for a painting. "How much can you pay?" inquired Gessen.

"Whatever you charge," replied the girl, "but I want you to do the work in front of me."

So on a certain day Gessen was called by the geisha. She was holding a feast for her patron.

Gessen with fine brush work did the painting. When it was completed he asked the highest sum of his time.

He received his pay. Then the geisha turned to her patron, saying: "All this artist wants is money. His paintings are fine but his mind is dirty; money has caused it to become muddy. Drawn by such a filthy mind, his work is not fit to exhibit. It is just about good enough for one of my petticoats."

Removing her skirt, she then asked Gessen to do another picture on the back of her petticoat.

"How much will you pay?" asked Gessen.

"Oh, any amount," answered the girl.

Gessen named a fancy price, painted the picture in the manner requested, and went away.

It was learned later that Gessen had these reasons for desiring money:

A ravaging famine often visited his province. The rich would not help the poor, so Gessen had a secret warehouse, unknown to anyone, which he kept filled with grain, prepared for those emergencies.

From his village to the National Shrine the road was in very poor condition and many travellers suffered while traversing it. He desired to build a better road.

His teacher had passed away without realizing his wish to build a temple, and Gessen wished to complete this temple for him.

After Gessen had accomplished his three wishes he threw away his brushes and artist's materials and, retiring to the mountains, never painted again.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Kafka was a writer of Comedies

 "When Kafka read aloud himself, this humor became perfectly clear. Thus,for example, 

we friends of his laughed quite immoderately when he first let us hear the first chapter 

of The Trial. And he himself laughed so muchthat there were moments when he couldn't 

read any further. Astonishing enough, when you think of the fearful earnestness…"

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

Comment on 'Amateurism'

I think that the shifting fashion for the amateur aesthetic in American art is perhaps symptomatic and cyclical. To start with my formulation of the difference between American and European social/relational art is that American social practice, to me, always seemed rooted in a DIY punk/hardcore aesthetic. A part of Nato Thompson’s mythology has always been that he started as a Bay area punk/political activist, and following from the argument that I always use in respect to myself its simply that everything I learnt about self-organization was learnt from the years with BSR. (Or in other words, the punks all had to grow up and get jobs and art was the place where their specific skill set became valuable)

It’s a natural progression from making cd’s, posters, zines, organizing shows to social practice and the art world. In a similar vein are the Chicago collective Temporary Services who were one of the earliest practitioners of a socially engaged art practice in the States who were all West Coast punks in the 80's and early 90's. Then there is the director of the first Social Practice MFA in the US, Ted Purves, whose book ‘What We Want Is Free’ (with its title taken from a hardcore punk song) seems to contextualize the social practices within a DIY, grassroots aesthetic.  I think you can track a seminal moment in the history of social practice in the US with the ascendancy of the career of Nato Thompson, and he acknowledged it himself when he moved from MASSMoca to Creative Time, that it was a shift of the cultural capital accrued over two decades of DIY production, to the hegemonic capital of New York to be co-opted, hollowed out and commodified with big budgets. 

In an interview, he doesn’t like to talk about his own politics much, but he acknowledges that there is an anarchic, D.I.Y. aesthetic to most of the artists that he shows, one that dovetails with the all-hands-on-deck ethos of big-box movie production.

As you say, there is no place for the amateur or DIY in the specific conditions of capitalism where the entrepreneur rather than the engineer or scientist is the locus of innovation. I guess we need to go back to the earliest theorization of a ‘bricoleur’ aesthetic it is a direct response to conditions of scarcity and is rooted in the engineer rather than the entrepreneur. I like to formulate it as if Schumpteter is the economist who represents the entrepreneur as the engine of innovation in dynamic capitalist economies then I think Schumacher is the economist who could represent the DIY amateur aesthetic with his positioning of ‘appropriate technology’, and grassroots, indigenous knowledge as an equally important economic driver to offset capitalist centralization. In Melbourne it is simply the case that there is not enough money circulating within its micro-art scene so artists respond accordingly, and over time it gets fetishized as an aesthetic in itself.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Liam Gillick Uses Blender

In Joanna Hogg's 'Exhibition' there are scenes where Gillick's character 'H' is shown using Blender. This is amazing because it completely justifies all I really can be bothered doing these days in terms of real art making outside of fieldwork and research, which is sitting at home making Blender models and getting them built by others commercially. The fact that I have the exact same process as him and gets away with it is totally validating.

There's even a scene of him with an open book counting the number of shelves on some piece of Modernist architecture and replicating it in the program, which is exactly what I do.