Unreal Nature

April 3, 2020

Its Terror

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:53 am

… no desire is ever forged that does not at once desire the death or the disappearance of the model or “exemplary” personage that gave rise to it.

This is from Typography: Mimesis, Philosophy, Politics by Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, edited by Christopher Fynsk (1989):

… Here we recognize the fundamental hypothesis upon which rest René Girard’s now famous analysis: every desire is desire for the desire of the other (and not immediately desire for an object); every structure of desire is triangular (entailing the other — mediator or model — whose desire desire imitates); every desire is thus from its inception infused with hatred and rivalry. In short, the origin of desire is mimesis — mimetism — and no desire is ever forged that does not at once desire the death or the disappearance of the model or “exemplary” personage that gave rise to it.

[line break added] This is why, for Girard, “mimesis meets violence and violence redoubles mimesis“. This is also why, in general, every culture (every society whatsoever) is built violently upon the ground — and the threat — of a generalized state of competition. The law of desire (the Law?) is that of reappropriation, of “recovery” from the primitive alienation that governs it. Desire wants difference and autonomy, the proper and property; it is the very will to decision: the Same (identity), identification, undifferentiation) is its terror and the evil that gnaws at it. Because desire’s obsession is originality, desire wants its origin negated and its essence forgotten.

My  most recent previous post from Lacoue-Labarthe’s book is here.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

April 2, 2020

It Suddenly Appears Possible

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:21 am

… the world never conforms to a pre-given plan …

This is from The Pleasure of Drawing by Jean-Luc Nancy, translated by Philip Armstrong (2013):

… Between the hand and the trace, in the pencil, quill, ballpoint pen, or charcoal crayon’s impetus, in the movement that goes from the hand to the mark and flows back from the mark to bend the hand once again — in all this, an impulse is tapped, an energy is gathered from an entire culture and history, an entire thought of experience of the world comes to be gathered in the vibration of the mark.

… It is the point where it suddenly appears possible to go from nothing to something, to go from formless attachments and inherences to the form of detachments and distinctions. In fact, truth is only distinction.

… It suddenly illuminates when a form rises up distinctly — this is a body, this is its idea, this is its line and its most proper demarcation, its closure and its dis-closure conjoined together.

… Revelation is neither given nor posed. On the contrary, it reveals itself as non-given, and it manifests itself in a newness irreducible to any prior condition. This is why there is a history of art, a history of the endless multiplicity of forms, which do not illuminate any form buried in the depth of things or any prior schema, not even and especially not a schema, idea, or concept of “art.” On the contrary, what reveals itself and what draws itself — what announces itself, what gives itself to sense — in an incessantly renewed way is nothing other than this: that the world never conforms to a pre-given plan but its truth is inextricable from its drawing/design in perpetual formation and transformation.

My most recent previous post from Nancy’s book is here.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

April 1, 2020

The Brain Is an Embryo

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:11 am

… The brain remains embryonic, self-forming, self-constituting …

Continuing through The Incorporeal: Ontology, Ethics, and the Limits of Materialism by Elizabeth Grosz (2017):

… [The embryo] embodies, builds a body, according to a theme, which is capable of being oriented in the future to actions that enhance it or bring value to its life. Through the body and its organs, it is a being that produces and uses tools and technologies as if these were part of its organic structure, adding the extraorganic to its organic operations.

[line break added] Each complex organic body is composed of a multiplicity of subjects or consciousnesses, a multiplicity of organs that, like musical instruments, function in harmony with the body’s mnemic themes: “each organ is a small organism within an organism. And this is true at all levels — molecular, cellular, tissue, organic in a literal sense. There is no reason to favor the molecular level.” [Ruyer]

Significantly, it is also the embryo that, according to its species, is capable of constructing a brain, a nervous system, perceptual and motor capacities, organs and limbs for itself. The embryo, in its self-forming capacities, always in touch with itself in direct overflight, can be extended not only to every bodily organ and limb but above all to the brain, which remains, for Ruyer, the only embryonic organ that persists for the duration of a mature adult’s life.

[line break added] The brain remains embryonic, self-forming, self-constituting, and connecting the body to an ever wider and more open world: “the brain is an embryo that has not completed its growth. The embryo is a brain, which begins to organize itself before organizing the external world.”

My most recent previous post from Grosz’s book is here.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

March 31, 2020

As Though a Door Had Opened

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:21 am

… people sing in order to make sure, through direct experience, of their existence in a layer of reality different from the one in which they encounter each other and things as speakers, as facing one another and separate from one another …

This is from Man the Musician by Victor Zuckerkandl (1973):

… the correlation of words and things is superficial, accidental. There is no intrinsic necessity for a given vocable to denote any one thing rather than another; identical vocables may denote different things, and different vocables one and the same thing. By contrast, every emotion gives forth its own characteristic expression, as a flower its scent; the correlation between the two is direct, inherent, leaves no room for ambiguity.

… For the singer, the words acquire a very special plenitude and depth of meaning. Something that remains silent in words merely spoken begins to flow, to vibrate; the words open and the singer opens to them. It is as though the tones infused the words with a force that reveals a new layer of meaning in them, that breathes life into them in a special way: not by making the word a tangible thing, as it appears when seen from outside, and certainly not in the sense of submerging it in a universal life in which all particularity, all distinctions are abolished, but exactly in its determined content when seen from inside, from a point where the word is, so to speak, an “I.”

… In the layer of meaning opened up by the tones, things that are separated meet; speaker and spoken word, “person” and “thing” come into direct contact. It is as though a door had opened through which the speaker’s living self goes out to what has been said, and what has been said enters him as something that has a life of its own, as an “I.”

… There must be a layer in which all things have their roots; then tones must, so to speak, activate this layer and thereby bring us closer to the roots of things.

… The very existence of tones is evidence of a stratum of reality in which unity shines through diversity.

Accordingly, a second answer to our question about the meaning of song might be: people sing in order to make sure, through direct experience, of their existence in a layer of reality different from the one in which they encounter each other and things as speakers, as facing one another and separate from one another — in order to be aware of their existence on a plane where distinction and separation of man and man, man and thing, thing and thing give way to unity …

My most recent previous post from Zuckerkandl’s book is here.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

March 30, 2020

The Fan

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:22 am

… It generates wind, reminding you that there is air.

This is from a 2010 interview with Phong Bui in Sarah Sze (2016):

Phong Bui: You know, one of the most difficult techniques when one studies martial arts, especially kung-fu, is the drunken technique. Not because you have to be drunk, but because you have to think like a drunk, so that your movement becomes extremely unpredictable. In other words, while the practitioner may look intoxicated, the technique behind the appearance is highly acrobatic and skilled and requires a great degree of balance and coordination. …

Sarah Sze: A friend of mine who was one of the primary dancers at Tanztheater Wuppertal — Pina Bausch — said that the hardest and first test they would give any dancer who wished to be part of the company was to ask him or her to walk naturally across the stage. And, immediately, from that test you were either in or out. It’s just the idea that trying to mimic nature, even in yourself, is actually very hard.

[line break added] For example, the cot in the piece Never Enough (Projector) — it looks like it’s been eaten by moths or like it’s become a ruin. But in fact that’s my hand trying to paint or reproduce something in a way that looks like nature made it, like it happened outside of my hand, by a larger natural force. It’s an idea central to earth art — the investigation of the actual behavior of landscape rather than the representation of landscape.

[ … ]

PB: Are there other functions of the fan, apart from creating physical moments to certain areas?

SS: It generates wind, reminding you that there is air. It’s like when you see a spotlight on a stage and you see the dust floating in the air, and it makes you aware that there is air.

My most recent previous post from this book is here.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

March 29, 2020

We Understand Each Other

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:24 am

… In order for dialogue to succeed, our eyes must be closed and our ears must be plugged …

This is from Geometry by Michel Serres, translated by Randolph Burks (2017, 1995):

… the perceived thing is endlessly distinguishable: a different word would be necessary for every circle, symbol, tree or pigeon; and again for yesterday, today and tomorrow; and again depending on whether the one perceiving, you or me, is irritated, suffering from jaundice, and so on ad infinitum. At the extreme consequence of empiricism meaning becomes totally submerged in noise, the communication space becomes granular, like the space in which Achilles nor the arrow reaches their goal; dialogue becomes condemned to cacophony. The empirical only makes noise.

So the first of the third men, the empiricist, must be excluded; this is the strongest of our demons, since it suffices to open our eyes and ears to see that he controls our world. In order for dialogue to succeed, our eyes must be closed and our ears must be plugged to the song and beauty of the Sirens. With the same movement we eliminate hearing and noise, vision and the faulty drawing, the subject itself; by the same stroke we conceive form and we understand each other.

… Hold on: is the collective constituted by this free, lively and agreed upon debate, or is it born on the contrary from natural objects or the idealities of geometry itself? Is consensus born from necessity or necessity from consensus? In one case, the solution to the problem of the origin would therefore presuppose it to be already resolved. What relation does social and contractual debate maintain with the thing itself, exterior to it? That is the question, which in itself debate itself could not settle.

My most recent previous post from Serres’s book is here.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

March 28, 2020

To Be the Thing It Is

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:04 am

… “The thing must not be seen merely” …

This is from Observing By Hand: Sketching the Nebulae in the Nineteenth Century by Omar W. Nasim (2013):

… For Nichol … what was most exceptional about Rosse’s “portrait” (Nichol’s label) of M51 was not its display of possible resolution but its “metamorphosis” from what was first seen in Herschel’s portrait to what now appeared in Rosse’s: “the transforming of a shape apparently simple [a ring], into one so strange and complex that there is nothing to which we can liken it, save a scroll gradually unwinding, or the evolutions of a gigantic shell!”

[line break added] In fact, the apparent transformation led Nichol to pose a question: “[While] it is clear that, unless through the forms of these distant groups, nothing satisfactory can be inferred regarding their character and meaning … how far can we rely that the telescope yields an absolute revelation of these forms, — to what extent are we safe in speaking of what is apparent, as if it were real?”

Nichol intends reader-viewers to hold in mind the spiral conception or “criterion,” comparing a few of the plates and beginning to see spiral forms reveal themselves in objects that are not at first glance spirals. Nichol even asks readers to view a couple of the plates “obliquely” and compare them with an oblique view of M51 so that an angled view may reveal their true form. By turning the print of the Great Spiral so it can be viewed from the side, the top, the bottom, or at an inclined angle, readers may find themselves in a visual and intellectual position to see other objects figured on other plates that might come to correspond to these different views.

The effort and active engagement Nichol demands of readers, requiring changes of angle, flipping, careful unfolding, and so on, did not go unnoticed.

… “The thing must not be seen merely,” writes Nichol, “but ascertained by some criterion to be the thing it is.”

My most recent previous post from Nasim’s book is here.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

March 27, 2020

Absolute Reflection

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:16 am

… But we hold on to him now, we have our eye on him.

This is from Typography: Mimesis, Philosophy, Politics by Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, edited by Christopher Fynsk (1989):

… A mirror is installed, right in the middle where everything comes to be reflected without exception, “theorized” and “theorizing”: the whole of the theoretical realm (the totality of what is) in which we have been installed — indeed, ever since the episode of the cavern.

[line break added] This includes the “subject” who has installed (himself in) the theoretical realm and performed the operation, since the mirror allows one to reflect oneself, and since nothing at all prohibits now — on the contrary — that it should be “Plato” who thus watches himself over Socrates’ shoulder or over that of his brother Glaucon (who is here “his” interlocutor and who is overwhelmed by such a “wonder”). It is, strictly speaking — that is, in Hegelian terms — speculation: absolute reflection and theory of theory.

But this mirror is not a mirror — or a false mirror, or a two-way mirror. It is there for the mimetician. It is only a certain means, a trope, for (re)presenting (darstellen) the mimetician. We have here, then, a strange mimetician: a mimetician who is frozen, fixed, installed — theorized. One that has become perfectly visible (and “revealing” himself as “working,” of course, in and with the visible). But we hold on to him now, we have our eye on him.

My previous post from Lacoue-Labarthe’s book is here.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

March 26, 2020

Archaic and Always New

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:58 am

… which goes from the nothing that a divine line divides to the line by which a drawing recovers from nothing the thickness of the received world …

This is from The Pleasure of Drawing by Jean-Luc Nancy, translated by Philip Armstrong (2013):

… Drawing wants to show the truth, not of what has appeared or its appearance but of the coming into appearance that subtends it and that “itself” does not appear or show itself. Thus, it is about showing what does not show itself.

… Distinction of the earth and sky, distinction of regions of space, of places and their times, of edges and limits, of the inanimate and the animate, of the conscious and the unconscious, of self and that — in a certain way, it is the same continuous-discontinuous distinction, absolutely archaic and always new, which goes from the nothing that a divine line divides to the line by which a drawing recovers from nothing the thickness of the received world, and thus further demands and desires the divine, in other words, the common divider of forms (alternatively, others might say: attributing the truth of his work to the divine).

My most recent previous post from Nancy’s book is here.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

March 25, 2020

The Melody

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:14 am

… by which forms come into the world and act in it.

Continuing through The Incorporeal: Ontology, Ethics, and the Limits of Materialism by Elizabeth Grosz (2017):

Ruyer claims … that memory is not a property of bodies but that bodies are properties of memory; bodies form themselves according to a theme that preexists them and which they bring into actuality and locate in space and time.

… The transpatial theme pervades all of time, to the extent that it constitutes the melody, the rhythm, through which each thing forms itself. Primary form appropriates themes that have already been laid out for it in advance, not a priori like a command, but more like the musical performance of a score, which preexists and to some extent directs but does not determine each performance.

… All primary forms are both agent and ideal: both an agent, or many, that acts first of all to form and maintain itself before and as it acts in the world, and an ideal, a form directed to goals, those that are required for its self-formation and action in a particular manner. These are two orientations or directions for each being — the finality represented by the ideals, the mnemic themes which regulate form, and the modes of materialization by which forms come into the world and act in it.

My most recent previous post from Grosz’s book is here.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

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