Monday, 20 February 2012

The Waltham Black Act

"After the first day of June, 1723, any person appearing in any forest, chase, park, etc., or in any highroad, open heath, common or down, with offensive weapons, and having his face blacked, or otherwise disguised, or unlawfully and wilfully hunting, wounding, killing or stealing any red or fallow deer, or unlawfully robbing any warren, etc., or stealing any fish out of any river or pond, or (whether armed or disguised or not) breaking down the head or mound of any fishpond, whereby the fish may be lost or destroyed; or unlawfully and maliciously killing, maiming or wounding any cattle, or cutting down or otherwise destroying any trees planted in any avenue, or growing in any garden, orchard or plantation, for ornament, shelter or profit; or setting fire to any house, barn or outhouse, hovel, cock-mow or stack of corn, straw, hay or wood; or maliciously shooting at any person in any dwelling-house or other place; or knowingly sending any letter without any name, or signed with a fictitious name, demanding money, venison or other valuable thing, or forcibly rescuing any person being in custody for any of the offences before mentioned, or procuring any person by gift, or promise of money, or other reward, to join in any such unlawful act, or concealing or succouring such offenders when, by Order of Council, etc., required to surrender, shall suffer death."


The "Waltham Blacks," who were executed at Tyburn, 4th of December, 1723, for Murder and Deer-Stealing

Sunday, 19 February 2012

leaky abstraction

Portrait of a German Officer
, 1914
Marsden Hartley

Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs.

Marsden Hartley’s 1913 painting The Warriors. It’s the background in Alfred Steiglitz’s photograph of Duchamp’s Fountain in The Blind Man.

Chevrier Seminar

maestro di color che sanno

ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄
_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄
_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄
_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄_ㅡ ̄
ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄ㅡ_ ̄

Saturday, 18 February 2012

rilke / primal sound /1919

It must have been when I was a boy at school that the phonograph was invented. At any rate it was at that time a chief object of public wonder; this was probably the reason why our science master, a man given to busying himself with all kinds of handiwork, encouraged us to try our skill in making one of these instruments from the material that lay nearest to hand. Nothing more was needed than a piece of pliable cardboard bent to the shape of a funnel, on the narrower round orifice of which was stuck a piece of impermeable paper of the kind used to seal bottled fruit. This provided a vibrating membrane, in the middle of which we then stuck a bristle from a coarse clothes brush at right angles to its surface. With these few things one part of the mysterious machine was made, receiver and reproducer were complete. It now only remained to construct the receiving cylinder, which could be moved close to the needle marking the sounds by means of a small rotating handle. I do not now remember what we made it of; there was some kind of cylinder which we covered with a thin coating of candle wax to the best of our ability. Our impatience, brought to a pitch by the excitement of sticking and fitting the parts, as we jostled one another over it, was such that the wax had scarcely cooled and hardened before we put our work to the test.
How this was done can easily be imagined. When someone spoke or sang into the funnel, the needle in the parchment transferred the sound-waves to the receptive surface of the roll turning slowly beneath it, and then, when the moving needle was made to retrace its path (which had been fixed in the meantime with a coat of varnish), the sound which had been ours came back to us tremblingly, haltingly from the paper funnel, uncertain, infinitely soft and hesitating and fading out altogether in places. Each time the effect was complete. Our class was not exactly one of the quietest, and there can have been few moments in its history when it had been able as a body to achieve such a degree of silence. The phenomenon, on every repetition of it, remained astonishing, indeed positively staggering. We were confronting, as it were, a new and infinitely delicate point in the texture of reality, from which something far greater than ourselves, yet indescribably immature, seemed to be appealing to us as if seeking help. At the time and all through the intervening years I believed that that independent sound, taken from us and preserved outside us, would be unforgettable. That it turned out otherwise is the cause of my writing the present account. As will be seen, what impressed itself on my memory most deeply was not the sound from the funnel but the markings traced on the cylinder; these made a most definite impression.
I first became aware of this some fourteen or fifteen years after my school-days were past. It was during my first stay in Paris. At that time I was attending the anatomy lectures in the École des Beaux-Arts with considerable enthusiasm. It was not so much the manifold interlacing of the muscles and sinews nor the complete agreement of the inner organs one with another that appealed to me, but rather the bare skeleton, the restrained energy and elasticity of which I had already noticed when studying the drawings of Leonardo. However much I puzzled over the structure of the whole, it was more than I could deal with; my attention always reverted to the study of the skull, which seemed to me to constitute the utmost achievement, as it were, of which this chalky element was capable; it was as if it had been persuaded to make just in this part a special effort to render a decisive service by providing a most solid protection for the most daring feature of all, for something which, although itself narrowly confined, had a field of activity which was boundless. The fascination which this particular structure had for me reached such a pitch finally, that I procured a skull in order to spend many hours of the night with it; and, as always happens with me and things, it was not only the moments of deliberate attention which made this ambiguous object really mine: I owe my familiarity with it, beyond doubt, in part to that passing glance, with which we involuntarily examine and perceive our daily environment, when there exists any relationship at all between it and us. It was a passing glance of this kind which I suddenly checked in its course, making it exact and attentive. By candlelight– which is often so peculiarly alive and challenging–the coronal suture had become strikingly visible, and I knew at once what it reminded me of: one of those unforgotten grooves, which had been scratched in a little wax cylinder by the point of a bristle!
And now I do not know: is it due to a rhythmic peculiarity of my imagination, that ever since, often after the lapse of years, I repeatedly feel the impulse to make that spontaneously perceived similarity the starting point for a whole series of unheard of experiments? I frankly confess that I have always treated this desire, whenever it made itself felt, with the most unrelenting mistrust–if proof be needed, let it be found in the fact that only now, after more than a decade and a half, have I resolved to make a cautious statement concerning it. Furthermore, there is nothing I can cite in favour of my idea beyond its obstinate recurrence, a recurrence which has taken me by surprise in all sorts of places, divorced from any connexion with what I might be doing.
What is it that repeatedly presents itself to my mind? It is this: The coronal suture of the skull (this would first have to be investigated) has–let us assume–a certain similarity to the closely wavy line which the needle of a phonograph engraves on the receiving, rotating cylinder of the apparatus. What if one changed the needle and directed it on its return journey along a tracing which was not derived from the graphic translation of a sound, but existed of itself naturally–well: to put it plainly, along the coronal suture, for example. What would happen?
A sound would necessarily result, a series of sounds, music … Feelings–which? Incredulity, timidity, fear, awe–which of all the feelings here possible prevents me from suggesting a name for the primal sound which would then make its appearance in the world … Leaving that side for the moment: what variety of lines then, occurring anywhere, could one not put under the needle and try out? Is there any contour that one could not, in a sense, complete in this way and then experience it, as it makes itself felt, thus transformed, in another field of sense?
At one period, when I began to interest myself in Arabic poems, which seem to owe their existence to the simultaneous and equal contributions from all five senses, it struck me for the first time, that the modern European poet makes use of these contributors singly and in very varying degree, only one of them–sight overladen with the seen world–seeming to dominate him constantly; how slight, by contrast, is the contribution he receives from inattentive hearing, not to speak of the indifference of the other senses, which are active only on the periphery of consciousness and with many interruptions within the limited spheres of their practical activity. And yet the perfect poem can only materialize on condition that the world, acted upon by all five levers simultaneously, is seen, under a definite aspect, on the supernatural plane, which is, in fact, the plane of the poem.
A lady, to whom this was mentioned in conversation, exclaimed that this wonderful and simultaneous capacity and achievement of all the senses was surely nothing but the presence of mind and grace of love–incidentally she thereby bore her own witness to the sublime reality of the poem. But the lover is in such splendid danger just because he must depend upon the co-ordination of his senses, for he knows that they must meet in that unique and risky centre, in which, renouncing all extension, they come together and have no permanence.
As I write this, I have before me the diagram which I have always used as a ready help whenever ideas of this kind have demanded attention. If the world’s whole field of experience, including those spheres which are beyond our knowledge, be represented by a complete circle, it will be immediately evident that, when the black sectors, denoting that which we are incapable of experiencing, are measured against the lesser, light sections, corresponding to what is illuminated by the senses, the former are very much greater.
Now the position of the lover is this, that he feels himself unexpectedly placed in the centre of the circle, that is to say, at the point where the known and the incomprehensible, coming forcibly together at one single point, become complete and simply a possession, losing thereby, it is true, all individual character. This position would not serve the poet, for individual variety must be constantly present for him, he is compelled to use the sense sectors to their full extent, as it must also be his aim to extend each of them as far as possible, so that his lively delight, girt for the attempt, may be able to pass through the five gardens in one leap.
As the lover’s danger consists in the non-spatial character of his standpoint, so the poet’s lies in his awareness of the abysses which divide the one order of sense experience from the other: in truth they are sufficiently wide and engulfing to sweep away from before us the greater part of the world–who knows how many worlds? The question arises here, as to whether the extent of these sectors on the plane assumed by us can be enlarged to any vital degree by the work of research. The achievements of the microscope, of the telescope, and of so many devices which increase the range of the senses upwards and downwards, do they not lie in another sphere altogether, since most of the increase thus achieved cannot be interpenetrated by the senses, cannot be “experienced” in any real sense? It is, perhaps, not premature to suppose that the artist, who develops the five-fingered hand of his senses (if one may put it so) to ever more active and more spiritual capacity, contributes more decisively than anyone else to an extension of the several sense fields, only the achievement which gives proof of this does not permit of his entering his personal extension of territory in the general map before us, since it is only possible, in the last resort, by a miracle.
But if we are looking for a way by which to establish the connexion so urgently needed between the different provinces now so strangely separated from one another, what could be more promising than the experiment suggested earlier in this record? If the writer ends by recommending it once again, he may be given a certain amount of credit for withstanding the temptation to give free rein to his fancy in imagining the results of the assumptions which he has suggested.
Soglio. On the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, 1919

Playback: 130-Year-Old Sounds Revealed


And I was reminded because you speak about these moments when something is taken for granted but actually has an origin whe re it might seem uncanny, and I found this passage, which I want to read to you and I want you to react to it, it’s in Remembrance of Things Past, and it’s a passage of Proust where he talks about the telephone , and he’s amazed by the telephone, he’s amazed that when he can call his grandmother, he can hear the cloche, the clocks of the big cathedral, and he can imagine the whole world around him, around her, being so far away but then that amazement dies out, and he writes, “And I would go down almost without thinking how extraordinary it was that I should be calling upon the mysterious Madame de Gourmont of my boyhood simply in order to make use of her for a practical purpose, as one makes use of the telephone, a supernatural instrument before whose miracles we used to stand amazed and which we now employ without giving it a thought to summon our tailor or order an ice cream.” Isn’t that fantastic?


(Claire Fontaine, Foreigners Everywhere, 2005)

“… we will have to pay a stiff price for the western withdrawal of identity, the fear of proximity, european-communitarianism and the opinions rented out to the newspapers and the TV screens. We’re going to experience a kind of poverty that will remind us of our worst memories, a poverty not tied to the economic crisis but much more devastating: a poverty of possibilities, which is already gnawing away the edges of politics.

What is happening in the streets affects what is happening inside us. Since our apartments became refuges where we couldn’t dare to host those who have been neglected by police memory, the mask of apparent innocence has been taken of of our private property, which has at last shown itself as an act of war. (…) Since a few years they ask us several times a day to be scared and sometimes to feel terrorized, and now they dare talk to us about security. But security was never a matter of militias. Real security has to do with the possibility to be protected when one is in need; it’s the potential friendship hidden in all human beings. And since that has been destroyed, everything is haunted by risk. Foreigners are everywhere, it’s true, but we ourselves are foreigners in the streets and subway corridors, patrolled by men in uniforms.”

(Claire Fontaine, Foreigners Everywhere, 2005)

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

double cross / adenoid hynkel

patty hearst / patti smith / The [abstract] sign under which a group coheres

Honey, the way you play guitar makes me feel so, makes me feel so masochistic. The way you go down low deep into the neck and I would do anything, and I would do anything and Patty Hearst, you're standing there in front of the Symbionese Liberation Army flag with your legs spread, I was wondering will you get it every night from a black revolutionary man and his women or whether you really did and now that you're on the run what goes on in your mind, your sisters they sit by the window, you know your mama doesn't sit and cry and your daddy, well you know what your daddy said, Patty, you know what your daddy said, Patty, he said, he said, he said, "Well, sixty days ago she was such a lovely child, now here she is with a gun in her hand."

william randolph hearst / st donat's castle

under the sign / appeal to origins / appeal to ends

Sunday, 12 February 2012

goose and common / common and goose

Interview with Peter Linebaugh: The Magna Carta Manifesto

manuscript basis of human liberty:

magna carta / protection against autocracy & tyranny: habeas corpus, prohibition of torture, trial by jury.

a charter for the forest / subsistence for all: woodland = energy habitat, pharmacopia, pasturage

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose.

some principles of the commons

Dick Gaughan - World Turned Upside Down

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Hold tight, we're in for nasty weather

I still notice the burned house, mornings, when I walk along the beach. Well, obviously I do not notice the house. What I notice is the remains of the house. One is still prone to think of it as a house, however, even if there is not remarkably much left of it.

markson /wittgenstein's mistress

According to the principle by which it is only in the burning house that the fundamental architectural problem becomes visible for the first time, art at the furthest point of its destiny, makes visible its original project.

agamben / man without content / 115

It is said of an old African man who is dying that he is a burning library - except that [as compared with the old African man] the burning of a library [which is itself a souvenir object] is an accident: in principle, the library lasts. Whereas, in principle, death is inscribed in life itself [this is why the man is old], as its 'normal' or 'natural' term, so to speak.

stiegler / discrete image / echographies/ 148


´˝` ̏ ̏ ̏˘ ̑ ̑ ̑ ˇ¸¨ˆ· ̡ ̢ ̉ ̛ ̛¯ ̱˛˚, ˳ ͗᾿ ҃


analogue photography is a form of homeopathy?

denkbild/ a state of history

…travellers in a train that has met with an accident in a tunnel, and this at a place where the light of the beginning can no longer be seen, and the light at the end is so very small a glimmer that the gaze must continually search for it and is always losing it again, and, furthermore, it is not even certain whether it is the beginning or the end of the tunnel.

kafka / the blue octavo noteboks / 15

agamben / melancholy angel/ 112

Friday, 3 February 2012


Stochastic texts by Theo Lutz


Georg Philipp Harsdörffer's Fünffacher Denckring der Teutschen Sprache, or the Five-fold Thought-ring of the German Language (1651), is composed of five nesting paper discs, each of which is inscribed with a set of word parts along its edge. The innermost ring contains forty-eight prefixes; the next ring, fifty initial letters or diphthongs; the middle ring, twelve medial letters; then, 120 final letters or diphthongs; with the outermost ring storing twenty-four suffixes. When spun, this simple mechanism can generate German words, producing as many as 97,209,600 different combinations.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Mike Kelley quotes Dorothea Tanning

There in the red world of jagged souvenirs signed by the great glacier, pioneers named their scenic views to bring them down to size. Cathedral Rock was a ruddy mass imitating for those childlike settlers a cathedral. Courthouse Rock, noble giant reduced in name to a reminder of fiefs and files. Just west of Sedona was Cleopatra’s Nipple. It isn’t known of course who named it so, or why anyone as remote as Cleopatra should occupy the imagination of the American cowboy – for it must have been a cowboy – but it was often thus pointed out to us, just as naturally as the other poverty stricken titles. Coming back years later and encountering an entirely different population; retirees hoping to live ten minutes longer than they would elsewhere, failed doctors with cloudy pasts, wistful but determined unpublished writers, painters with camera eyes and a penchant for scenery, old adepts at new religions or, in general, people who didn’t get along with their relatives back home; coming back then, we found Cleopatra’s Nipple no longer existed; its name had been cleaned up by less fevered imaginations, that it was now known as Chimney Rock and had never, in anyone’s memory, been called anything else.

Foul Perfection

trying to get a live feed through the cintiq

camtwist qtsketch