Sunday, 26 April 2015


Since it deals for the most part with what the ancient Egyptians called al-3khem (the Arabic al-khimiya, the Latin alkimia , the French alchimie and the English
alchemy, originally designating a fertile as opposed to a desert milieu: the generative “black earth” of al-khem as opposed to the deleterious “red earth” of

durbar square kathmandu 1994/5


shop shop

Saturday, 25 April 2015

your own kind

 autonomy: an action which is determined by the subject's own free choice (see will). In the second Critique, moral action is defined as being au­tono­mous. (Cf. heteronomy.

heteronomy: an action which is determined by some outside influence (i.e., some force other than the freedom given by practical reason, such as inclina­tion) impelling the subject to act in a certain way. Such action is nonmoral (i.e., neither moral nor immoral). (Cf. autonomy.) 

HETERONOMY (from Gr. ἕτερος and νόμος, the rule of another), the state of being under the rule of another person. In ethics the term is specially used as the antithesis of "autonomy," which, especially in Kantian terminology, treats of the true self as will, determining itself by its own law, the moral law. "Heteronomy" is therefore applied by Kant to all other ethical systems, inasmuch as they place the individual in subjection to external laws of conduct.



luxe, volupte

Friday, 24 April 2015

pictures not homes

The Sevillian Pedro Luis Enriquez goes off to ten years in prison for having affirmed that by taking a rooster to a field where there was no sound of dogs, and cutting its head off at midnight, one would find a small stone like a hazelnut, rubbing one's lips with which would make the first pretty woman encountered die of love for the one doing this, and that killing a cat in January and inserting a bean into each of its joints and burying it, the beans growing from it, if bitten while looking at oneself in the mirror, would have the virtue of making one invisible; and because he said he was a tough fellow and a healer, in token of which he had a cross on his breast and another on the roof of his mouth, and claimed that in prison he saw splendors and smelled the sweetest of fragrances.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

in memoriam Eduardo Galeano /// thanks SW

1520: Brussels Durer

These things must be emanations from the sun, like the men and women who made them in the remote land they inhabit: helmets and girdles, feather fans, dresses, cloaks, hunting gear, a gold sun and a silver moon, a blowgun, and other weapons of such beauty that they seem made to revive their victims.
The greatest draftsman of all the ages does not tire of staring at them. This is part of the booty that Cortes seized from Moctezuma: the only pieces that were not melted into ingots. King Charles, newly seated on the Holy Empire's throne, is exhibiting to the public the trophies from his new bits of world.
Albrecht Durer doesn't know the Mexican poem that explains that the true artist finds pleasure in his work and talks with his heart, because he has one that isn't dead and eaten by ants. But seeing what he sees, Durer hears those words and finds that he is experiencing the greatest happiness of his half century of life.

The Mexica (Aztec) king Motecuhzoma greeted Hernan Cortés in 1519 with gifts of gold, silver, and precious stones, including jewelry, ornaments, headpieces, disks, garments, shields, and helmets. Cortés sent the tribute to Charles V, king of Spain and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, who placed them on exhibit in 1520. Albrecht Dürer viewed the exhibit in Brussels and extolled its beauty in his travel journal: 

At Brussels is a very splendid Townhall, large and covered with beautiful carved stonework, and it has a noble, open tower. . . . I saw the things which have been brought to the King from the new land of gold, a sun all of gold a whole fathom broad, and a moon all of silver of the same size, also two rooms full of armor of the people there, and all manner of wondrous weapons of theirs, harness and darts, very strange clothing, beds, and all kinds of wonderful objects of human use, much better worth seeing than prodigies [myths, fairy tales]. These things were all so precious that they are valued at 100,000 florins [guilders] All the days of my life I have seen nothing that rejoiced my heart so much as these things, for I saw amongst them wonderful works of art, and I marvelled at the subtle Ingenia of men in foreign lands. Indeed I cannot express all that I thought there.


It is quite clear from the passage that Dürer’s admiration is of riches, curiosities, and craft. When he discusses Western “art” he uses different terms, such as proportion, or alludes to comparisons with antiquity. Contrary to usual interpretations, he doesn’t marvel at the “art” of the New World, he marvels at the “curiosities” and “craft.”
Yet by the eighteenth century what were “heathen idols” had become art. Europe was more secular and Mexico was less afraid of native religious revivals. When three Aztec sculptures came to light in the construction in the Zócalo of Mexico City in 1790, two were left visible and eventually moved to a new museum devoted to antiquity. The third, a colossal idol-like female figure, was reburied for some time for fear of its effect on the natives. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, it had found its place in the museum too. Plaster casts were made of the sculptures and exhibited in 1824 in London for a public eager to see exotic monuments.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Origin myths of the Tontemboan of Minahassa, Sulawesi: One says that "a stone once stuck out of the ground somewhere in the east. When the sun rose the stone became hot and sweated. The sweat became a lump which finally burst, giving birth to Lumimu'ut, the ancestress of the Tontemboan. Another account states that there was once a stone as large as a house in the middle of the sea. The waves played over it, and after a time a crow emerged. The stone then sweated, and out came Lumimu'ut.

"According to a Toumpakewa version, a sky-being made the earth and caused all things to grow. It happened one day that the south wind was blowing, so that a large mass of foam was carried by the waves and finally left high and dry on the shore. Day after day the sun shone upon the foam, till it began to move and work itself deeper into the sand. Finally it gave birth to a youth. One day when walking this youth came to the mouth of a river, where he heard the sound of a child crying in a heap of stones. He listened and said, " Per- haps it is some one who lives here ". He looked for the weeping child, and saw that a small girl had sweated out of a stone, to which her navel-string was still attached. He cut the navel-string with a bamboo knife. He married the girl, whose name
was Lumimu'ut, for she had sweated out of the stone, or Kariso."


Borges' most extended consideration of this question is his 1940 story "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius". Consider the objects called hrönir in the alternative world described in this story. Hrönir, you'll recall, are the objects in Tlön, but we are told they are "secondary objects" that duplicate lost objects. Like shadows in Plato's cave, they exist by virtue of their relation to prior (lost) entities; they are reflections (reproductions) of something that was once "real" but no longer is. These objects are "secondary" in the same sense that all visual and verbal representations of material objects are secondary, but the narrator tells us that hrönir, themselves replicas, may also replicate themselves endlessly, each copy thus progressively removed from its "real" object. Hrönir are secondary, and thus by definition figurative, not material: we are told by the narrator that, quote: "All nouns (man, coin, Thursday, Wednesday, rain) have only a metaphorical value" (11). And in Tlön, there is yet another category of secondary objects beyond the hrön: the narrator tells us that "Stranger and more perfect than any hrön is the ur, which is a thing produced by suggestion, an object brought into being by hope" (11). The ur is a conceptual object even further removed from the material world than the hrön, and thus, it seems, more real. Of course "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" is a hilarious send-up of Berkeleyan idealism, for we understand that in Tlön, "real" objects are non-existent; only ideal objects are real.

1. The true world — attainable for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man; he lives in it, he is it.
(The oldest form of the idea, relatively sensible, simple, and persuasive. A circumlocution for the sentence, "I, Plato, am the truth.")
2. The true world — unattainable for now, but promised for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man ("for the sinner who repents").
(Progress of the idea: it becomes more subtle, insidious, incomprehensible — it becomes female, it becomes Christian. )
3. The true world — unattainable, indemonstrable, unpromisable; but the very thought of it — a consolation, an obligation, an imperative.
(At bottom, the old sun, but seen through mist and skepticism. The idea has become elusive, pale, Nordic, Königsbergian.)
4. The true world — unattainable? At any rate, unattained. And being unattained, also unknown. Consequently, not consoling, redeeming, or obligating: how could something unknown obligate us?
(Gray morning. The first yawn of reason. The cockcrow of positivism.)
5. The "true" world — an idea which is no longer good for anything, not even obligating — an idea which has become useless and superfluous —consequently, a refuted idea: let us abolish it!
(Bright day; breakfast; return of bon sens and cheerfulness; Plato's embarrassed blush; pandemonium of all free spirits.)
6. The true world — we have abolished. What world has remained? The apparent one perhaps? But no! With the true world we have also abolished the apparent one.
(Noon; moment of the briefest shadow; end of the longest error; high point of humanity; INCIPIT ZARATHUSTRA.)

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

passage// finding the exit

David Joselit | Against Representation

group material

This is
“The road Home” Wallace Stevens

It was when I said,
“There is no such thing as the truth,”
That the grapes seemed fatter.
The fox ran out of his hole.

You. . . You said,
“There are many truths,
But they are not parts of a truth.”
Then the tree, at night, began to change,

Smoking through green and smoking blue.
We were two figures in a wood.
We said we stood alone.

It was when I said,
“Words are not forms of a single word.
In the sum of the parts, there are only the parts. The world must be measured by eye”;

It was when you said,
“The idols have seen lots of poverty,
Snakes and gold and lice,
But not the truth”;

It was at that time, that the silence was largest
And longest, the night was roundest,
The fragments of the autumn warmest,
Closest and strongest.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

whip 'em off

‘We’ve found undoubting evidence for defleshing, disarticulation, human chewing, crushing of spongy bone, and the cracking of bones to extract marrow.’