Sunday, 26 October 2014

John Donne’s sermon

The Virtual Paul’s Cross Project enables us to experience the delivery of John Donne’s sermon for Gunpowder Day, November 5, 1622 as an event that unfolds over time on a particular occasion in Paul’s Churchyard, the specific physical location for which it was composed.

“prophetical history, and . . . a historicall prophecy,” recounting the past and accounting for the future,

Sunday, 19 October 2014

roadside picnic



A ruin is not, however, a proof as such. Only a narrative that would integrate the ruin as the object of its plot could transform it into one. The degree of consistency of this narrative is consequently proportional to the degree of truth that it will reach. In other words, we should avoid thinking of justice as the place where “true truth” is established, but rather as the forum—the same etymology as forensic—where “public truth” is debated. Similarly, the law should be less seen as the embodiment of a perfectly ethical set of rules but, rather, as the product of historical dominations crystalized into legislative norms. The public truth is therefore public insofar that it represents the ideological domination at work at the time this truth is constructed.

The Speech of Things




Sunday, 12 October 2014


a process of dismantling, or decomposition, “ruins in reverse”

He laughed softly. I know. There's no way out. Not through the Barrier. Maybe that isn't what I want, after all. But this--this-' He stared at the Monument. 'It seems all wrong sometimes. I just can't explain it. It's the whole city. It makes me feel haywire. Then I get these flashes-'
-Henry Kuttner, Jesting Pilot

Today our unsophisticated cameras record in their own way our hastily assembled and painted world.”  ― Vladimir Nabokov, Invitation to a Beheading

That zero panorama seemed to contain ruins it) reverse, that is-all the new construction that
would eventually be built. This is the opposite of the "romantic ruin" because the buildings don't fall into ruin after they are built but rather rise into ruin before they are built. This anti-romantic
mise-en-scene suggests the discredited idea of time and many other "out of date" things. But the suburbs exist without a rational past and without the "big events" of history. Oh, maybe there are a few statues, a legend, and a couple of curios, but no past-just what passes for a future. A Utopia minus a bottom, a place where the machines are idle, and the sun has turned to glass, and a place where the Passaic Concrete Plant (253 River Drive) does a good business in STONE, BITUMINOUS, SAND, and CEMENT.

A dingzihu – or 'nail house' – is a home where the owner refuses to accept compensation from a property developer for its demolition.

I am convinced that the future is lost somewhere in the dumps of the non-historical past; it is in yesterday's newspapers, in the jejune advertisements of science fiction movies, in the false mirror of our rejected dreams. Time turns metaphors into things, and stacks them up in cold rooms, or places them in the celestial playgrounds of the suburbs.  

image: Debbie Skinner

Friday, 3 October 2014

socialist object

It is worth mentioning that in their interpretation of the Constructivist veshch (thing) most scholars limit their analysis to the NEP period, the time when capitalist objects were reintroduced within the socialist context. In other words, they are talking about an object in its transition (and its division) – a dichotomised object still hesitant to quit its horizontal axis but already exploring the vertical one. Parallel to the NEP’s aim to re-introduce capitalist commodity to a country swept by communalism, there was yet another process that had been developing on a much larger scale. I am referring to the production of socialist commodities -- things that can be characterized as both psychedelic and didactic. These “quasi-objects” had nothing to do with the items of everyday use -- kitchenware, furniture, clothing, etc. Such items were habitually dismal; they lacked any sense of pleasure, any hope for prestige or comfort. The ways in which the communal psyche connected itself to communal objecthood were completely de-fetishized. The communal Eros was redirected to the sphere of public (read socialist) objecthood which -- for the most part -- consisted of indexical sign-objects from the inventory of photographic, sculptural, or architectural agitprop.ii These also included “cine-forms” through which one could “perceive a tempestuous and incessant flow of people as an interrupted moving form of never stopping content.”iii Even if they looked tangible, they were still images and traces of something else. Thus, socialist commodity had a repeatedly postponed presence -- an object in its pure potentiality. However elusive, especially as seen through the lens of individual (i.e., noncommunal) optics, socialist commodity (“obshchestvennaia veshch” in Aleksei Gan’s terminology) has never failed to be perceived as an object. By this I mean the tendency to objectify the indexical and anticipatory nature of socialist commodity by turning the representation of its presence into the presence of representation. As was mentioned earlier, many socialist objects functioned as instruments of synchronicity (they were “in charge” of channeling the waves of communal desire in the “proper” direction). The fact that socialist commodity had a postponed presence was in harmony with the deferral of individual subjectivity.iv With this double deferral, the capitalist subject/object dichotomy was subjected to the same fate.