|believing something can make reality more intelligible|
|a man can't know what it is to be proud of knowing yourself|
|personal gain potential counts for nothing but a restatement of the old|
|lack of charisma can be a useful motivating force|
|investigation is a kind of anesthesia|
|a natural law governing the new is dangerous as complacency|
|morals are crackpots|
|government is a burden on the people who go crazy|
|decadence can be a meal ticket|
|you should study as much as possible your parents|
|believing in rebirth is the most elegant weapon of the old|
|change anything anyway|
|what is dominant in a culture is escapism|
|sexless old friends are better left in the occasional debauch sacrifice|
|principles are more valuable than a famous person|
|you don't know what's interesting is the appropriate response to most people|
|dreaming while awake is absurd violence|
|playing it safe can cause a lot of damage in the bank|
|imposing order is man's fate|
|attractive dying should be advanced at all costs|
|a nice idea of transcendence is a prerequisite of success|
|disorganization is more important than metaphor|
|most people are not fit to rule the mundane|
|extra money creates taste monomania|
|the new is nothing except what you sense|
|repetition is the best way to live in harmony with inferior people|
|you are the unattainable|
|stasis is a legitimate area of investigation|
|wholesome men don't protect you anymore|
|you should act like money in the bank hiding your own business|
|noise can be a form of freedom|
Saturday, 25 January 2014
Jenny Holzer is an artist of the aphorism, whose work I have long admired. I used my user-configurable dynamic textual projective surface JanusNode to create some new Jenny Holzer aphorisms by Markov chaining some of her original lines by trigram (a statistical way of creating a new text from an old text). Although this method results in re-use of some input substrings, none of these aphorisms existed in the input in exactly the form shown here.
Monday, 20 January 2014
The original 'book' named The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even (La Mariée Mise à Nu Par Ses Célibataires Même) was Duchamp's somewhat book-like collection, also known as 'The Green Box', which was published in 1934 in an edition of 320 copies. It consists of a compilation of facsimiles of Duchamp's enigmatic notes (written between 1911 and 1915) for his sculpture The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even, after which I named my novel.
Duchamp claimed to have gone to what seems like absurd lengths to reproduce the notes exactly like the originals, down to the type and shape of paper, and the ink. However, modern scholarship, which has access to the original notes as well as his allegedly 'exact copies', has cast doubt on this claim. Many of the ink and paper types simply don't match and have perhaps even been systematically changed (details are here).
The notes in The Green Box have been republished in various forms, perhaps most notably in Richard Hamilton's excellent typographic English translation, also titled The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even (though subtitled A typographic version), which the characters in my novel make sure they have with them when they go on a road trip from Medford, MA to Philadelphia, PA.
It seems to have clearly been Duchamp's intent that his notes to The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even should be considered in some sense as part of the sculpture, to prevent anyone from thinking they might have just a purely visual relationship to it. You can't just look at the piece. You have to think about it. That is what makes it great.
Monday, 6 January 2014
This photograph from a fantastic set of photographs by Japanese photographer Shinichi Maruyama reminded me of (and was apparently inspired by) Duchamp's (1912) famous painting Nude Descending A Staircase, #2, which is, like so many of Duchamp's greatest works, now in the Arensburg Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This photo was created exactly 100 years after Duchamp's painting, and has almost the same name: Nude #2.
[Image from www.wired.com]
Saturday, 4 January 2014
There are advantages both to dying quickly and dying slowly. One advantage of dying quickly is that you can avoid the physical and mental suffering that often goes along with dying slowly. One advantage of dying slowly, however, is that you get to choose what to read as you are dying.
If I am given the opportunity to die slowly, I am going to read Simone Weil's Gravity & Grace while I die. I love Weil's strange and wonderful brand of Jewish/Catholic mystic Existential spirituality. She has lots of good advice for dying slowly, such as but not limited to the following:
- "The death agony is the supreme dark night which is necessary for the perfect if they are to attain absolute purity, and for that reason it is better that it should be bitter."
- "I am also other than what I imagine myself to be. To know this is forgiveness."
- "Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void."
- "There is, as it were, a phagocytosis of the soul: everything that is threatened by time secretes falsehood in order not to die, and in proportion to the danger it is in of dying. That is why there is not any love of truth without an unconditional acceptance of death."
- "We must give up everything that is not grace and not even desire grace."
- "Time and the cave. To come out of the cave, to be detached means to cease to make the future our objective."
- "May God grant that I become nothing. In so far as I become nothing, God loves Himself through me."
[Image: Altered illustration from Eugene Talbot's (1898) Degeneracy]