L'ombelico di Svesda



“Deep down, I don’t believe it takes any special talent for a person to lift himself off the ground and hover in the air. We all have it in us—every man, woman, and child—and with enough hard work and concentration, every human being is capable of…the feat….You must learn to stop being yourself. That’s where it begins, and everything else follows from that. You must let yourself evaporate. Let your muscles go limp, breathe until you feel your soul pouring out of you, and then shut your eyes. That’s how it’s done. The emptiness inside your body grows lighter than the air around you. Little by little, you begin to weigh less than nothing. You shut your eyes; you spread your arms; you let yourself evaporate. And then, little by little, you lift yourself off the ground. Like so.” Paul Auster, Mr. Vertigo

Anka Zhuravleva Distorted Gravity
Anka Zhuravleva Distorted Gravity

Anka Zhuravleva photos, paintings, drawings.


La Sensibilità Sospesa

Willem van Aelst. Still Life with flowers, 1675

Sapete che cos’è la sensibilità sospesa, questa specie di vitalità terrifica e scissa in due, questo punto di necessaria coesione a cui l’essere non s’innalza più, questo luogo minaccioso, questo luogo costernante?
da Il Pesa-Nervi, Frammenti, Antonin Artaud, 1925-1927


Man Ray. Observatory Time: The Lovers, 1936

“And silence. She liked the silence most of all. The silence in which the body, senses, the instincts, are more alert, more powerful, more sensitized, live a more richly perfumed and intoxication life, instead of transmuting into thoughts, words, into exquisite abstractions, mathematics of emotion in place of violent impact, the volcanic eruptions of fever, lust and delight.”
Anaïs Nin

When Words Become Unclear

“We, when we sow the seeds of doubt deeper than the most up-to-date and modish free-thought has ever dreamed of doing, we well know what we are about. Only out of radical skepsis, out of moral chaos, can the Absolute spring, the anointed Terror of which the time has need.” Thomas Mann

Took from Waking Life, a movie by Richard Linklater, a 100-minute discussion with your smartest invisible friends. A good trip really.

Pleasure is often spoiled by describing it – Stendhal

Christian Northeast

‘The ox becomes furious if a red cloth is shown to him; but the philosopher, who speaks of colour only in a general way, begins to rave’Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (*)

L’800, il secolo delle isterie. Ho iniziato a leggere un saggio di Goethe, Theory of Colours, del 1810, nel quale lo scrittore s’impunta, ci tiene, a smentire una teoria messa a punto da Newton nel 1704 e presentata nell’ Opticks: or a treatise of the reflexions, refractions, inflexions and colours of light’, considerato un caposaldo della letteratura scientifica (che io non ho letto).
Ho un po’ di pudore a dirlo ma sono dell’opinione non si dovrebbero mai scrivere libri quando si è al picco dell’innamoramento, un po’sudati, sovraeccitati, fuori controllo e disposti persino a negare l’evidenza; Newton considera la luce un cono bianco che proiettato attraverso un prisma dà esito a sette fasci di colore puro: rosso, arancione, giallo, verde, blu, indigo, viola (se avete presente la copertina di The dark side of the Moon). Goethe ci pensa sopra, si offende prima, lo snobba (come lo snobba)

‘Along with the rest of the world I was convinced that all the colours are contained in the light; no one had ever told me anything different, and I had never found the least cause to doubt it, because I had no further interest in the subject.’ (**)

e ‘Adesso ti sistemo io’, scrive un saggio dettagliatissimo al pari di Opticks in cui intende dimostrare, punto per punto, l’incantesimo della luce, gamma pressochè infinita di sfumature che attraverso lo spettro dell’anima, consentono allo sguardo di contemplare il mondo in posa estatica, al picco di una sindrome di Stendhal, soggiogati da un sortilegio, un idillio, al culmine della Lisztomania, rapiti da un incanto che è la vita a colori. Bha. E’ chiaro i romantici non vivevano in uno squash di periferia no furniture included a due passi da una zona industriale.
Eppure questa  Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2  scritta da Franz Liszt nel 1847 è talmente incantevole da rapire in un sogno. Pare Liszt abbia creato incredibile ammirazione ed estasi fra i suoi fan, una manata di isterici idealisti in lista dagli analisti nel ‘900.
L’800, il secolo dell’estasi.

(*)(**) taken from Theory of Colours, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1810

Il mondo è alcune tenere imprecisioni – Jorge Luis Borges

Questo slideshow richiede JavaScript.

Decisa a risollevarmi l’umore, mia sorella Floriana ( aka _zema* ) mi ha spedito un set di polaroid, che amo molto, e ho pensato condividere perchè belle.
Belle come sanno essere alcune tenere imprecisioni e la poesia che le esprime

‘It’s something astonishing,’ pursued Bazarov, ‘these old idealists, they develop their nervous systems till they break down … so balance is lost. But good-night. In my room there’s an English washstand, but the door won’t fasten. Anyway that ought to be encouraged–an English washstand stands for progress!’

“Few are made for independence – it is a privilege of the strong. And he who attempts it, having the completest right to it but without being compelled to, thereby proves that he is probably not only strong but also daring to the point of recklessness. He ventures into a labyrinth, he multiplies by a thousand the dangers which life as such already brings with it, not the smallest of which is that no one can behold how and where he goes astray, is cut off from others, and is torn to pieces limb from limb by some cave-minotaur of conscience. If such a one is destroyed, it takes place so far from the understanding of men that they neither feel it nor sympathise – and he can no longer go back! He can no longer go back even to the pity of men!” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

“I know, brother, that you are a straightforward man, and that you pride yourself on it. But put one question to yourself: why in fact should one tell the truth? What obliges us to do it? And why do we consider telling the truth a virtue? Imagine that you meet a madman, who claims that he is a fish and that we are all fish. Are you going to argue with him? Are you going to undress in front of him and show him that you don’t have fins? Are you going to say to his face what you think? Well, tell me!’ His brother was silent and Edward went on: ‘If you told him the whole truth and nothing but the truth, only what you really thought, you would enter into a serious conversation with a madman and you yourself would become mad. And it is the same way with the world that surrounds us. If I obstinately told a man the truth to his face, it would mean I was taking him seriously. And to take something so unimportant seriously means to become less than serious oneself. I, you see, must lie, if I don’t want to take madmen seriously and become one of them myself.”― Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves

Angela Carter (7 May 1940 – 16 February 1992)

“I desire therefore I exist.”
Angela Carter
(The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman)
Angela Carter | Books | The Guardian.

“I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.” Michel Foucault

Some Of Those Days

La Musique des Pucese by Robert Doisneau

-Madeleine, if you please, play something on the phonograph. The one I like, you know: Some of these days.
Madeleine turns the crank on the phonograph. I only hope she has not made a mistake; that she hasn’t put on Cavalleria Rusticana, as she did the other day. But no, this is it, I recognize the melody from the very first bars. It is an old rag-time with a vocal refrain. I heard American soldiers whistle it in 1917 in the streets of LaRochelle. It must date from before the War. But the recording is much more recent. Still, it is the oldest record in the collection, a Pathe record for sapphire needle.
The vocal chorus will be along shortly: I like that part especially and the abrupt manner in which it throws itself forward, like a cliff against the sea. For the moment, the jazz is playing; there is no melody, only notes, a myriad of tiny jolts. They know no rest, an inflexible order gives birth to them and destroys them without even giving them time to recuperate and exist for themselves. They race, they press forward, they strike me a sharp blow in passing and are obliterated. I would like to hold them back, but I know if I succeeded in stopping one it would remain between my fingers only as a raffish languishing sound. I must accept their death; I must even will it. I know few impressions stronger or more harsh.
I grow warm, I begin to feel happy. There is nothing extraordinary in this, it is a small happiness of Nausea: it spreads at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time—the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain. No sooner than born, it is already old, it seems as though I have known it for twenty years.
There is another happiness: outside there is this band of steel, the narrow duration of the music which traverses our time through and through, rejecting it, tearing at it with its dry little points; there is another time.
“Monsieur Randu plays hearts..and you play an ace.
The voice dies away and disappears. Nothing bites on the ribbon of steel, neither the opening door, nor the breath of cold air flowing over my knees, nor the arrival of the veterinary surgeon and his little girl: the music transpierces these vague figures and passes through them. Barely seated, the girl has been seized by it: she holds herself stiffly, her eyes wide open; she listens, rubbing the table with her fist.
A few seconds more and the Negress will sing. It seems inevitable, so strong is the necessity of this music: nothing can interrupt it, nothing which comes from this time in which the world has fallen; it will stop of itself, as if by order. If I love this beautiful voice it is especially because of that: it is neither for its fulness nor its sadness, rather because it is the event for which so many notes have been preparing, from so far away, dying that it might be born. And yet I am troubled; it would take so little to make the record stop: a broken spring, the whim of Cousin Adolphe. How strange it is, how moving, that this hardness should be so fragile. Nothing can interrupt it yet all can break it.
The last chord has died away. In the brief silence which follows I feel strongly that there it is, that something has happened.
Some of these days You’ll miss me honey
What has just happened is that the Nausea has disappeared. When the voice was heard in the silence, I felt my body harden and the Nausea vanish. Suddenly: it was almost unbearable to become so hard, so brilliant. At the same time the music was drawn out, dilated, swelled like a waterspout. It filled the room with its metallic transparency, crushing our miserable time against the walls. I am in the music. Globes of fire turn in the mirrors; encircled by rings of smoke, veiling and unveiling the hard smile of light. My glass of beer has shrunk, it seems heaped up on the table, it looks dense and indispensable. I want to pick it up and feel the weight of it, I stretch out my hand..God! That is what has changed, my gestures. This movement of my arm has developed like a majestic theme, it has glided along the song of the Negress; I seemed to be dancing.
Adolphe’s face is there, set against the chocolate-coloured wall; he seems quite close. Just at the moment when my hand closed, I saw his face; it witnessed to the necessity of a conclusion. I press my fingers against the glass, I look at Adolphe: I am happy.
A voice rises from the tumult. My neighbour is speaking, the old man burns. His cheeks make a violet stain on the brown leather of the bench. He slaps a card down on the table. Diamonds.
But the dog-faced young man smiles. The flushed opponent, bent over the table, watches him like a cat ready to spring.
“Et voila!”
The hand of the young man rises from the shadow, glides an instant, white, indolent, then suddenly drops like a hawk and presses a card against the cloth. The great red-faced man leaps up:”Hell! He’s trumped.”
The outline of the king of hearts appears between his curled fingers, then it is turned on its face and the game goes on. Mighty king, come from so far, prepared by so many combinations, by so many vanished gestures. He disappears in turn so that other combinations can be born, other gestures,attacks, counterattacks, turns of luck, a crowd of small adventures.
I am touched, I feel my body at rest like a precision machine. I have had real adventures. I can recapture no detail but I perceive the rigorous succession of circumstances. I have crossed seas, left cities behind me, followed the course of rivers or plunged into forests, always making my way towards other cities. I have had women, I have fought with men; and never was I able to turn back,any more than a record can be reversed. And all that led me—where? At this very instant, on this bench, in this translucent bubble all humming with music.
And when you leave me
Yes, I who loved so much to sit on the banks of the Tiber at Rome, or in the evening, in Barcelona, ascend and descend the Ramblas a hundred times, I, who near Angkor, on the island of Baray Prah-Kan, saw a banyan tree knot its roots about a Naga chapel, I am here, living in the same second as these card players, I listen to a Negress sing while outside roves the feeble night.
The record stops.
Night has entered, sweetish, hesitant. No one sees it, but it is there, veiling the lamps; I breathe something opaque in the air: it is night. It is cold. One of the players pushes a disordered pack of cards towards another man who picks them up. One card has stayed behind. Don’t they see it? It’s the nine of hearts. Someone takes it at last, gives it to the dog-faced young man.
“Ah. The nine of hearts.”
Enough, I’m going to leave. The purple-faced man bends over a sheet of paper and sucks his pencil. Madeleine watches him with clear, empty eyes. The young man turns and turns the nine of hearts between his fingers. God! . . .
I get up with difficulty; I see an inhuman face glide in the mirror above the veterinary’s head. In a little while I’ll go to the cinema.
Jean – Paul Sartre, Nausea, 1938.

Muhammad Ali’s birthday, photos through the years – Framework

Houston - In this Jan. 17, 1967 file photo, Muhammad Ali blows out the candles on a cake baked for his 25th birthday, in Houston. Ali's wife says the boxing great is still a "big kid" who enjoys his birthday parties. The three-time heavyweight champion turns 70 Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. He will be surrounded by friends Saturday night for a birthday party at the Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown. (AP Photo/Ed Kolenovsky, File)

‘Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.
The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights’
Muhammad Ali’s birthday, photos through the years – Framework – Photos and Video – Visual Storytelling from the Los Angeles Times.
Muhammad Ali, complicated as ever, is turning 70 – latimes.com.

“It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the seed of his highest hope.
His soil is still rich enough for it. But that soil will one day be poor and exhausted, and no lofty tree will any longer be able to grow there.
Alas! there comes the time when man will no longer launch the arrow of his longing beyond man -and the string of his bow will have unlearned to whiz!
I tell you: one must still have chaos in oneself, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: you have still chaos in yourselves”

A Good Lawyer’s Wife

“You can’t measure the mutual affection of two human beings by the number of words they exchange.”
Milan Kundera
gli amanti discorrono il linguaggio dei sensi, la parola Amore è un significato ineplicabile in segni, un parlare e comprendersi per approssimazioni, un mut(u)o intuirsi.
La moglie dell’avvocato‘, un film del 2003, scritto e diretto dal regista coreano Im Sang-soo (임상수) ruota piuttosto sul tema dell’incomunicabilità di fondo alla crisi di una relazione di coppia.
Liquidato sbrigativamente dalla critica con il clichè donna-annoiata-tradisce-marito-con-amante-adolescente, questo noir è più di un gioco di ripicche e volgare passatempo erotico.
Il titolo del film rimanda a una precisa interpretazione dei ruoli, Hojung (nel film l’attrice Moon So-ri) è appena l’ombra di un uomo irrequieto che ripiega nell’ alcohol e in una relazione extra-matrimoniale. I due sembrano evitarsi appositamente, l’una impegnandosi in un corso di danza e attraverso l’accudimento del figlio adottivo, l’altro tenendosi lontano dalla famiglia e implicandosi in una causa civile e in una relazione con una studentessa d’arte. Succede che un giovane adolescente, loro vicino di casa, si innamora di Hojung; Hojung sa del tradimento del marito, e lo accetta, con intelligenza e comprensione, ma si sente comunque rifiutata. Esasperata da negazione e frustrazione si concede al ragazzino (emblema dell’amore gentile e intellettuale, riscatto e indipendenza emotiva). Succedono ancora due eventi drammatici, tali da inquadrare il film entro il genere noir, ma quello a evidenziare maggiormente è l’approccio del regista nell’inquadrare i mutamenti della società coreana, reduce di una guerra civile e di un collasso economico.
In molti hanno ritenuto innecessarie le scene, crude, di sesso e violenza contenute nel film, mentre proprio perchè estreme, quelle scene delimitano il superamento di un limite entro il quale ciascuno di noi viene posto al confine, e oltre il quale non c’è giusto o sbagliato, bene o male, ma soltanto la scelta di scegliere.
Tante, nel film,  le citazioni letterarie. Meravigliosa la fotografia.

[..]La moglie dell’avvocato è più un film sulla corporeità e sulle sue infinite mutazioni, all’interno della quale il sesso opera come agente principale ma non unico; accanto a esso, operano altri fattori, talvolta in antitesi: la malattia del padre del protagonista maschile, ritratta senza falsi pudori, le crisi isteriche del giovane amante di lei (che arriva a ferirsi da solo), la danza come processo di acquisizione di una (falsa?) coscienza del proprio io, alla quale il personaggio della Moon si aggrappa come a un salvagente. Insomma, più che un film sul corpo in sé, un film sulla percezione che abbiamo di esso e su come essa muti a seconda delle ingerenze esterne… Non solo: un film sulla ricerca dell’armonia cosmica attraverso l’armonia con se stessi, partendo dal proprio corpo; ricerca destinata a risolversi con lo scacco di una morte – insensata o ampiamente annunciata – o con l’effimera soddisfazione di un amplesso clandestino (specie se consumato in una palestra di danza, luogo della ricerca dell’armonia per eccellenza), alla fine del quale non rimane che un triste post-orgasmic chill…
Dal corpo alla mente, poi, il passo è sostanzialmente breve: senza tante elucubrazioni (e proprio qui risiede la genialità di Im, nonché lo scarto in avanti rispetto ai film citati in precedenza: nel suo “lasciar vivere” i personaggi, nel lasciarli respirare, nell’immetterli nel vortice del caso – l’insensato e un po’ buffo omicidio del figlioletto, reso con scioccante efficacia visiva – senza dare troppe spiegazioni né cercare giustificazioni di ordine socioculturale – noi siamo così perché è la società che ci vuole così), il film compie un viaggio à rebours e dalle esternazioni della fisicità dei personaggi riesce a penetrare l’interiorità estrema dell’inconscio, lasciandoci intuire quali sono le dinamiche che lo animano: e ciò che vediamo rischia di non piacerci affatto, perché la famigliola modello ritratta nel film è in realtà un covo di mediocrità, egoismi, bassezze e sotterfugi troppo “veri” per non far male. Il tutto con una messa in scena e un racconto che stemperano alcuni toni quasi lynchiani (il cane investito a inizio film) con altri che ammiccano persino alla commedia sofisticata (lei che va in bicicletta e cade, le gag del bambino), o comunque al cinema di genere (l’atroce vendetta dell’uomo investito dall’avvocato)…
Certo, poi ci sono “le fasi dell’accoppiamento” (multiplo, visto che entrambi i protagonisti hanno un amante), con alcune scene veramente suggestive (una fra l’avvocato e la sua amante ritratta in prospettiva, con un demi-plongé, come dal ramo di un albero, è davvero memorabile), capaci di prendere di petto la materia senza concedersi al bieco sensazionalismo (d’altronde la censura coreana impedisce di inquadrare i genitali, specie quelli femminili, ma per Im questo non pare essere un grave problema); ma La moglie dell’avvocato è veramente oltre tutto ciò, un film capace di librarsi al di sopra della sua ostentata materialità organica, per scoprire che anche (forse soprattutto… O soltanto?) dal sangue e dal liquido seminale può scaturire l’essenza dell’anima
via La moglie dell’avvocato – Il mio corpo che cambia (Di Sergio Di Lino, Cinemavvenire Il portale italiano sul cinema)

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.” James Baldwin

Del Ciclo e di altri Movimenti

“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences…”
Susan B. Anthony
Aspetto il ciclo. Meglio il mio ovulo non aspetta che di essere rimorchiato da un aitante spermatozoo voglioso e temerario. Il fesso. Spiacente boy, è due di picche anche questo mese.(ovaio e spermatozoo.quale prodigioso miracolo gay è la fecondazione)
La cosa peggiore che può fare una donna quando aspetta il ciclo, è di leggere i giornali. Sul punto di avere il ciclo, leggere i giornali è Il Dramma.
La drammaturgia del ciclo prevede un nodo di conflitti interiori tanto tragici quanto comici, e una scaletta di nevrosi emotive al colmo del delirio e dell’onnipotenza ideale. La gamma dei personaggi è infinita
Siete Susan B.Anthony davanti a una platea di centinaia di persone, che snocciolate discorsi di ribalta contro la schiavitù dei negri e a favore dell’emancipazione femminile; siete La Signora con la lanterna (*), che dà rifugio a migliaia di martiri e si batte per il miglioramento delle strutture sanitarie pubbliche; siete la solitudine di Cristina Trivulzio Belgiojoso il giorno del suo funerale; siete il coraggio di Emma Goldman nell’affermare il diritto alla libertà, il diritto a essere felici.
ho pianto lacrime sincere quando ho letto, ieri, di quelle cinque donne operaie morte a Barletta; parte di me è morta con loro perchè io, loro, le conoscevo, c’ho lavorato insieme per anni. In un’altra città, in un altro Paese, in un altro Continente, insieme con altre centinaia di persone, sotto altre migliaia di tendoni, e capannoni, e fabbricati, e laboratori, abusivi, fatiscenti, pericolanti, a sporcarsi le mani per niente, in nero, sottopagati. Seppelliti vivi dalle macerie. Polvere su polvere che diventa polvere.
La cosa peggiore che può fare una donna che aspetta il ciclo, è di leggere i giornali, e realizzare, con spavento, quasi vergogna, di essere responsabile del mondo, di esserne la genitrice. e di avere forse mancato in qualcosa? Gli uomini continuano a sbagliare e il dramma a ripetersi.
(*) Florence Nightingale

Oriana Fallaci photographed by Francesco Scavullo, 1990

“Io mi divertivo ad avere trent’anni, io me li bevevo come un liquore i trent’anni. Sono stupendi i trent’anni, ed anche i trentuno, i trentadue, i trentatre, i trentaquattro, i trentacinque! Sono stupendi perche’ sono liberi, ribelli, fuorilegge, perchè è finita l’angoscia dell’attesa, e non è cominciata la malinconia del declino. Perché siamo lucidi, finalmente, a trent’anni! Se siamo religiosi, siamo religiosi convinti; se siamo atei siamo atei convinti. Se siamo dubbiosi, siamo dubbiosi senza vergogna. E non temiamo le beffe dei ragazzi perchè anche noi siamo giovani, non temiamo i rimproveri degli adulti perchè anche noi siamo adulti. Non temiamo il peccato perchè abbiamo capito che il peccato è un punto di vista, non temiamo la disubbidienza perchè abbiamo scoperto che la disubbidienza è nobile. Non temiamo la punizione perchè abbiamo concluso che non c’è nulla di male ad amarci se c’incontriamo, ad abbandonarci se ci perdiamo: i conti non dobbiamo più farli con la maestra di scuola e non dobbiamo ancora farli col prete dell’olio santo. Li facciamo con noi stessi e basta, col nostro dolore da grandi. Siamo un campo di grano maturo a trent’anni, non più acerbi e non ancora secchi: la linfa scorre in noi con la pressione giusta, gonfia di vita. E’ viva ogni nostra gioia, è viva ogni nostra pena, si ride e si piange come non ci riuscirà mai più. Abbiamo raggiunto la cima della montagna e tutto è chiaro là in cima: la strada per cui scenderemo un po’ ansimanti e tuttavia freschi. Non succederà più di sederci nel mezzo a guardare indietro e avanti e meditare sulla nostra fortuna…”
Oriana Fallaci

‘Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever. Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.’
said Napoleon
taken from Animal Farm,by George Orwell, Ch. 1

Jorge Luis Borges by Cameron Stewart

image credit http://heyoscarwilde.com/
“A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.
I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.”
Jorge Luis Borges
(Buenos Aires, August 24, 1899 – Ginevra,June 14, 1986)

If God were alive today,He’d be an atheist
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

VONNEGUT•COM — The Official Website of Kurt Vonnegut.

“But most of them believe that it is only by constraint they can get any good out of themselves, and so they live in a state of psychological distortion. It is his own self that each of them is most afraid of resembling. Each of them sets up a pattern and imitates it; he doesn’t even choose the pattern he imitates; he accepts a pattern that has been chosen for him. And yet I verily believe there are other things to be read in man. But people don’t dare to- they don’t dare to turn the page. Laws of imitation! Laws of fear, I call them. The fear of finding oneself alone- that is what they suffer from- and so they don’t find themselves at all. I detest such moral agoraphobia- the most odious of cowardice, I call it. Why, one always has to be alone to invent anything- but they don’t want to invent anything. The part in each of us that we feel is different from other people is just the part that is rare, the part that makes our special value- and that is the very thing people try to suppress. They go on imitating. And yet they think they love life.
“Do you know the reason why poetry and philosophy are nothing but dead-letter nowadays? It is because they have severed themselves from life. In Greece, ideas went hand in hand with life; so that the artist’s life itself was already a poetic realization, the philosopher’s life a putting into action of his philosophy; in this way, as both philosophy and poetry took part in life, instead of remaining unacquainted with each other, philosophy provided food for poetry, and poetry gave expression to philosophy- and the result was admirably persuasive. Nowadays beauty no longer acts; action no longer desires to be beautiful; and wisdom works in a sphere apart.”
Taken from The Immoralist,André Gide-1902

Djuna Barnes photographed by Berenice Abbott, Paris, 1926

“She was nervous about the future; it made her indelicate. She was one of the most unimportantly wicked women of her time –because she could not let her time alone, and yet could never be a part of it. She wanted to be the reason for everything and so was the cause of nothing. She had the fluency of tongue and action meted out by divine providence to those who cannot think for themselves. She was the master of the over-sweet phrase, the over-tight embrace.”
— Djuna Barnes (Nightwood)

Vanitas-Fernando Vicente (Corazonada)

they call it bipolar disorder, I name it ‘Werther Syndrome
,such a romantic disease

‘Witness, Heaven, how often I lie down in my bed with a wish, and even a hope, that I may never awaken again. And in the morning, when I open my eyes, I behold the sun once more, and am wretched. If I were whimsical, I might blame the weather, or an acquaintance, or some personal disappointment, for my discontented mind; and then this insupportable load of trouble would not rest entirely upon myself. But, alas! I feel it too sadly. I am alone the cause of my own woe, am I not? Truly, my own bosom contains the source of all my sorrow, as it previously contained the source of all my pleasure. Am I not the same being who once enjoyed an excess of happiness, who, at every step, saw paradise open before him, and whose heart was ever expanded toward the whole world? And this heart is now dead, no sentiment can revive it; my eyes are dry; and my senses, no more refreshed by the influence of soft tears, wither and consume my brain. I suffer much, for I have lost the only charm of life: that active, sacred power which created worlds around me, — it is no more. When I look from my window at the distant hills, and behold the morning sun breaking through the mists, and illuminating the country around, which is still wrapped in silence, whilst the soft stream winds gently through the willows, which have shed their leaves; when glorious nature displays all her beauties before me, and her wondrous prospects are ineffectual to extract one tear of joy from my withered heart, I feel that in such a moment I stand like a reprobate before heaven, hardened, insensible, and unmoved. Oftentimes do I then bend my knee to the earth, and implore God for the blessing of tears, as the desponding labourer in some scorching climate prays for the dews of heaven to moisten his parched corn.
But I feel that God does not grant sunshine or rain to our importunate entreaties. And oh, those bygone days, whose memory now torments me! why were they so fortunate? Because I then waited with patience for the blessings of the Eternal, and received his gifts with the grateful feelings of a thankful heart.’
Taken from ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther‘ by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Fernando Vicente Vanitas: Vanitas – Corazonada.

This piece represents the perpetual conflict between the Id and the Ego. The bass, repetitive, shows the selfishness of the Id constantly trying to feed its basic desires. The right hand depicts the delicacy, fragility and humanity of the Ego. At 2:14, the Id starts to seek different, darker desires. The Ego, resistant, will not so easily let the Id satisfy his evil desires and takes action against it. The battle starts. The ego keeps refusing and fights for goodness.
The battle leads to a peaceful negotiation at 3:02. The Id, sure of itself, lets the Ego get tired of exposing his meaningless arguments. The Id knows it will always win. The Ego finally runs out of arguments at 3:25. The Id shows its power by crushing the Ego. At 3:50, the Ego understood and will not fool around with the Id anymore. First theme comes back, life coming back to its old, usual routine.
(Edou467,you tube)


Gabriel Smy by flickr

“Lolita,light of my fire,fire of my loins. My sin,my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the plate to tap, at three,on the teeth.Lo.Lee.Ta.”

Ci sono libri dei quali si teme la lettura; le ragioni sono personali,i timori molto spesso infondati.Per molti anni ho voluto,intenzionalmente,tenermi alla larga dagli esistenzialisti per averne letto il manifesto di Sartre(motivo sufficiente a spiegare le ragioni di questa scelta),da Samuel Beckett, William Faulkner,Jorge Luis Borges-senza nessuna ragione in particolare(se non per il fatto di non ritenermi all’altezza della lettura e alla partecipazione critica ed empatica delle idee).
Ricordo di un libro,letto in adolescenza,di Luciano De Crescenzo-credo Panta Rei,nel quale lo scrittore racconta di una donna della quale si innamora perchè in grado di poter citare Finnegans Wake a memoria; inutile nascondere sono stata intrigata da questa sfida e ho desiderato potervi riuscire anch’io (sebbene consapevole quello di James Joyce un capolavoro della letteratura assai esclusivo,cui lettura è riservata a quei pochi in grado di smisurata conoscenza letteraria-che io non ho).
Forse un giorno.Il bello della letteratura sta proprio nel consentire a ciascuno,attraverso la lettura,di esplorare diversi,differenti,stati dell’essere a cavallo la pluralità di personaggi e storie,apparentemente diversi,fondamentalmente unici e peculiari l’uomo e la vita, i dubbi,le tensioni ideali, i moti dello spirito,le piccole battaglie interiori,gli armistizi dell’anima.Molti sottovalutano il potere indagativo,rivelativo,conoscitivo della letteratura,e riducono la lettura a perditempo,gli scrittori a giocolieri del verbo,mentre è alla letteratura e agli scrittori che bisogna riconoscere il merito d’avere esemplificato il temperamento di un’epoca,descritto l’umore della storia,ponderato patemi esistenziali,indugiato alternative,dal punto di vista intellettuale e sentimentale,emotivo e descrittivo,metafisico e reale.
Vorrà suonare strano,ma c’è un romanzo che,per qualche ragione,non ho mai avuto il coraggio leggere finora e questo romanzo è Lolita di Vladimir Nabokov.Probabilmente perchè suggestionata dalla critica sbrigativa e spicciola che se n’è sempre fatta per schedulare la trama entro uno steriotipo un po’accattivante/un po’ commiserativo-forse,o forse perchè insofferente all’idea di un uomo di mezza età attratto in maniera morbosa da una-appena dodicenne-ragazzina. In realtà,per comprendere le ragioni che fanno di Lolita un capolavoro meraviglioso della letteratura,e i motivi per cui lo stesso è considerato essere uno dei migliori classici del ventesimo secoli,è necessario leggerlo in inglese,perchè è soltanto in inglese, a mio parere, che questo romanzo si rivela in tutto il suo incredibile fascino narrativo; c’è niente di più misurato e sentimentale della prosa, del piglio visionario a contorno delle immagini a onore della ninfetta Lolita suggerite da Humbert.
Quello che secondo me è importante sottolineare per rendere onore al romanzo,non è tanto la trama( uomo attempato che si innamora di una dodicenne smaliziata,personificazione del Complesso di Elettra) quanto la psicologia di questo amore. Humbert si innamora di Lolita perchè è tramite Lolita che Humbert ritorna ragazzino; il richiamo,in questo romanzo,è a quell’amore smaliziato e puro della prima infanzia,poi dell’adolescenza,che poco ha a che fare con quello adulto,spesso controverso, difficoltoso, impegnativo, cerebrale,complesso. L’amore di Humbert per Lolita è un amore semplice,fatto ancora di sensazioni,di ricordi legati alla prima infanzia, al sapore, all’odore delle cose,alla primordialità degli istinti,d’amore,di passione,di pudore,di paure,di sussulti e nostalgie.
Lolita, rappresenta per Humbert l’incarnazione di Annabel,primo amore dell’uomo,morta in giovane età, e insieme,la possibilità di riamarla,averla vicina,rivivere quell’amore mancato.Il riferimento è spicciolo,palese,reso già al terzo capitolo,con naturalezza e quasi pudore,tatto e malinconia.
A mio avviso frainteso da Kubrick in una prima rappresentazione cinematogrfica del 1962, merita la seppure smielata e pietosa interpretazione di Adrianne Lyne,del 1992.
A seguire il terzo e quarto capitolo
Cap 3
Annabel was,like the writer, of mixed parentage: half English, half Dutch, in her case. I remember her features far less distinctly today that I did a few years ago, before I knew Lolita. There are two kinds of visual memory : one when you skillfully recreate an image in the laboratory of your mind, with your eyes open (and then I see Annabel in such general terms as: “honey-colored skin,””thin arms,””brown bobbed hair,””long lashes,””big bright mouth”); and the other when you instantly evoke,with shut eyes, on the darl innerside of your eyelids, the objective, absolutely optical replica of a beloved face, a little ghost in natural colors(and this is how I see Lolita).
Let me therefore primly limit myself, in describing Annabel, to saying she was a lovely child a few months my junior. Her parents were old friends of my aunt’s and, as stuff as she. They had rented a villa not far from Hotel Mirama. Bald brow Mr.Leight and fat, powdered Mrs.Leight (born Vanessa van Ness). How I loathed them! At first, Annabel and I talked of peripheral affairs. She kept lifting handfuls of fine sand and letting it pour through her fingers. Our brains were turned the way those of intelligent European preadolescents were in our day and set, and I doubt if much individual genius should be assigned to our interest in the plurality of inhabited worlds, competitive tennis,infinity,solipsism and so on. The softness and fragility of baby animals caused us the same intense pain. She wanted to be a nurse in some famished Asiatic country; I wanted to be a famous spy.
All at once we were madly,crumsily,shamelessly, agonizingly in love with each other; hopelessly, I should add,because that frenzy of mutual possession might have been assuaged only by our actually imbibing and assimilating every particle of each other’s soul and flesh; but there we were, unbale even to mate as slum children would have so easily found an opportunity to do. After one wild attempt we made to meet at night in her garden (of which more later), the only privacy we were allowed was to be out of earshot but not out of sight on the populous part of the plage. There, on the soft sand, a few feet away from our eleders, we would sprawl all morning, in a petrified paroxysm of desire,and take advantage of every blessed quirk in space and time to touch each other; her hand, half-hidden in the sand, would creep toward me, its slender brown fingers sleepwalking nearer and nearer; then, her opalescent knee would start on a long cautious journey; sometimes a chance rampart built by younger children granted us sufficient concealment to graze each other’s salty lips; these incomplete contacts drove our healthy and inexperienced young bodies to such a state of exasperation that not even the cold blue water, under which we still clawed at each other,could bring relief.
Among some treasures I lost during the wanderings of my adult years, there was a snapshot taken by my aunt which showed Annabel, her parents and the staid, elderly,lame gentleman, a Dr.Cooper, who that same summer courted my aunt, grouped around a table in a sidewalk café. Annabel did not come out well, caught as she was in the act of bending over her chocolat glacé, and her thin bare shoulders and the parting in the hair were about all that could be identified ( as I remember that picture) amid the sunny blur into which her lost loveliness graded; but I, sitting somewhat apart from the rest, came out with a kind of dramatic conspicuousness; a moody, beetle-browed boy in a dark sport hirt and well-tailored white shorts, his legs crossed, sitting in profile, looking away. That photograph was taken on the last day of our fatal summer and just a few minutes before we made our second and final attempt to thwart fate. Under the flimsiest of pretexts ( this was our very last chance, and nothing really mattered) we escaped from the café to the beach, and found a desolate stretch of sand, and there, in the violet shadow of some red rocks forming a kind of cave, had a brief session of avid caresses, with somebody’s lost pair of sunglasses for only witness. I was on my knees, and on the point of possessing my darling, when two bearded bathers, the old man of the sea and his brother, came out of the sea with exclamations of ribald encouragement, and four months later she died of typhus in Corfu.
                                                                         Cap 4
I leaf again and again through these miserable memories, and keep asking myself, was it then, in the glitter of that remote summer, that the rift in my life began; or was my excessive desire for that child only the first evidence of an inherent singularity? When I try to analyze my own cravings, motives, actions and so forth, I surrender to a sort of retrospective imagination which feeds the analytic faculty with boundless alternatives and which causes each visualized route to fork and re-fork without end in the maddeningly complex prospect of my past. I am convinced, however, that in a certain magic and fateful way Lolita began with Annabel.
I also know that the shock of Annabel’s death consolidated the frustration of that nightmare summer, made of it a permanent obstacle to any further romance throughout the cold years of my youth. The spiritual and the physical had been blended in us with a perfection that must remain incomprehensible to the matter-of-fact, crude,standard-brained youngsters of today. Long after her death I felt her thoughts floating through mine. Long before we met we had had the same dreams. We compared notes. We found strange affinities. The same June of the same year (1919) a stray canary had fluttered into her house and mine, in two widely separated countries. Oh, Lolita, had you loved me thus!
I have reserved for the conclusion of my “Annabel” phase the account of our unsuccessful first tryst. One night, she managed to deceive the vicious vigilance of her family. In a nervous and slender-leaved mimosa grove at the back of their villa we found a perch on the ruins of a low stone wall. Through the darkness and the tender trees we could see the arabesques of lighted windows which, touched up by the colored inks od sensitive memory, appear to me now like playing cards- presumably because a bridge game was keeping the enemy busy. She trembled and twitched as I kissed the corner of her parted lips and the hot lobe of her ear. A cluster of stars palely glowed above us, between the silhouettes of long thin leaves; that vibrant sky seemed as naked as she was under her light frock. I saw her face in the sky, strangely distinct, as if it emitted a faint radiance of its own. Her legs,her lovely live legs, were not too close together, and when my hand located what it sought, a dreamy and eerie expression, half-pleasure,half-pain, came over those childish features. She sat a little higher than I,and whenever in her solitary ecstasy she was led to kiss me, her head would bend with a sleepy, soft,drooping movement that was almost woeful, and her bare knees caught and compressed my wrist,and slackened again; and her quivering mouth, distorted by the acridity of some mysterious potion, with a sibilant intake of breath came near to my face. She would try to relieve the pain of love by first roughly rubbing her dry lips against mine; then my darling would draw away with a nervous toss of her hair, and then again come darkly near and let me feed on her open mouth, while with a generosity that was ready to offer her everything, my heart, my throat, my entrails,I gave her to hold in her awkward fist the scepter of my passion.
I recall the scent of some kind of toilet powder- I believe she stole it from her mother’s Spanish maid- a sweetish, lowly, musky perfume. It mingled with her own biscuity odor, and my senses were suddenly filled to the brim; a sudden commotion in a nearby bush prevented them from overflowing- and as we drew away from each other, and with aching veins attended to what was probably a prowling cat, there came from the house her mother’s voice calling her, with a rising frantic note- and Dr.Cooper ponderously limped out into the garden. But That mimosa grove-the haze of stars,the tingle,the flame,the honey-dew, and the ache remained with me,and that little girl with her seaside limbs and ardent tongue haunted me ever since- until at last,twenty-four years later, I broke her spell incarnating her in another.
Taken from Lolita,by Vladimir Nabokov,1955
The Reading Life: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

Edouard Boubat


Édouard Boubat
Édouard Boubat
Édouard Boubat
Édouard Boubat
Édouard Boubat
Édouard Boubat
Édouard Boubat
Édouard Boubat-Torso,1981

To me, photography is like a quest, or a pilgrimage, or a hunt. I love painting, I love music, but photography is what has allowed me to get outside of myself. If I were eighteen years old, I would take up drawing, if I were four years old, I would study music. But if I were seventy-five, I would continue to photograph.
-Edouard Boubat (September 13, 1923, Paris, France – June 30, 1999, Paris)
Horvatland – Frank Horvat Photography: Entre Vues – Edouard Boubat.

Infinite Monkey Theorem

‘Have you considered writing this story in the third monkey rather than the first monkey?’
Infinite monkey theorem – Wikipedia
[Image credit-The New Yorker]
“Everybody knows the thing about an infinite number of monkeys,” Fenig said. “An infinite number of monkeys is put to work at an infinite number of typewriters and eventually one of them reproduces a great work of literature. In what language I don’t know. But what about an infinite number of writers in an infinite number of cages? Would they make on monkey sound? One genuine chimp noise? Would they eventually swing by their toes from an infinite number of monkey bars? Would they shit monkey shit? It’s academic, you say. You may be right.”
— Don DeLillo (Great Jones Street)

Anaïs Nin (February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977)

“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”
Anaïs Nin

“Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure.They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.”
David Lynch (Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity)

The EraserHead

Questo di David Lynch sembra rappresentare perfettamente la cover cinematografica a un incubo horror di Kafka; a mio parere Eraserhead è da intendersi un ‘film del film nel film’e con questo intendo sono tante le interpretazioni e le contaminazioni da esso suggerite nella realizzazione di altri films (lo stesso Hitchcock ne proporrà la visione agli attori del cast Shining per sensibilizzarli all’atmosfera che suscita e il regista intendeva comunicare. In Trainspotting Danny Boyle,il regista,ne prenderà in prestito alcune delle inquadrature di richiamo all’opera).Il film,del 1977,è da inscriversi nel genere surrealista ed è stato il primo lungometraggio di Lynch, realizzato in 5 anni-per mancanza di fondi.Pare Lynch si fosse ispirato al pittore Francis Bacon,di cui è evidente l’influenza.

Francis Bacon-Figure with meat,1954

Come per The Holy Mountain di Judorowsky,ache in questo caso non è facile descrivere la trama di EraserHead,in bianco e nero,della durata di 83 minuti; Henry Spencer,protagonista principale del film,interpretato magistralmente da Jack Nance,è un printer(dunque qualcuno che di mestiere copia) on vacancy(mental inactivity or lack of thought or intelligence/the state of being vacant)e vive in un sobborgo industriale confinato alla periferia di un non precisato luogo;l’appartamento in cui vive è volutamente spoglio alle pareti,d’arredamento minimal, e si compone di poche cose,fra cui un albererello rinsecchito al comodino,un termosifone con ai piedi grumi di erba fresca.Forse il termosifone indica il temperamento del personaggio? La vita emozionale di Henry? A dire questo me lo suggerisce una scena nella quale Henry,che puntualmente lo guarda malinconicamente, vede filtrare una luce densissima di rimando a una scena nella quale una graziosa donnina in abito da sera nero e guance rigonfie di silicone,canta In Heaven,brano musicale che verrà poi reinterpretato da decine di bands come i Bahuhaus,i Pixies,i Desolation Yes.

Non ho voglia di raccontarvi la trama del film,e perchè è possibile leggerne lo script da questo sito (http://www.eeraserhead.com/) e in decine di altri blogs con recensioni molto più attente,critiche e illuminanti della mia-eventualmente,e perchè, a mio parere,questo film non ha una trama,o meglio,questo film è come uno di quei quadri o fotografie che si compongono di percezioni e si riassumono di forme e colori,in questo caso bianco e nero,dei quali non è possibile spiegare esattamente le sensazioni.
Il film è la trasposizione di un incubo,varrebbe la pena parlare di tutti gli elementi che lo rendono tale e per questo,un capolavoro,ma anche allora significherebbe ridurre a niente il richiamo evocativo di cui si permea;in tanti hanno provato a darvi un’interpretazione,interpretazioni puntualmente deviate dallo stesso Lynch(il regista parla di questo film come di un percorso spirituale cui svolta,nel finale, è stata data dalla lettura di un versetto della Bibbia.Versetto che Lynch si riserverà il diritto di non citare mai).Credo perchè un incubo e perchè tale,susscettabile all’interpretazione individuale di ciascuno che in esso vedrà riflesse le proprie paure. Personalmente,ad esempio,posso dire di aver individuato una scena chiave del film; in questa la testa di Henry si stacca dal corpo per rotolare fuori la finestra; un bambino,di là in strada,la raccoglie e la porta in un laboratorio nel quale vengono prodotte matite.L’uomo addetto alla funzionalità dell’intero macchinario di produzione,estrae,dalla testa di Henry,un torsolo di materiale che poi inserirà nella macchina;a conclusione del processo di lavorazione ne verrà fuori una matita,uguale alle altre,di cui l’uomo verificherà la funzionalità; tant’è,la matita ‘funziona’e la gommina cancellabile in testa a questa,pure. L’interpretazione? A mio avviso,della capacità,in riferimento alla mente umana,quanto di creare,tanto di distruggere,l’allineamento e il conformismo del pensiero,la funzionalità delle idee. Esagerato? Probabile.Molto spesso siamo, o meglio sono, portata a dare significato a qualsiasi cosa,persino laddove un significato,forse,non c’è.Non posso dirlo con certezza.Di certo so di riconoscermi nello smarrimento di Henry e di aver amato questo film.

“The idea tells you everything. Lots of times I get ideas, I fall in love with them. Those ones you fall in love with are really special ideas. And, in some ways, I always say, when something’s abstract, the abstractions are hard to put into words unless you’re a poet. These ideas you somehow know. And cinema is a language that can say abstractions. I love stories, but I love stories that hold abstractions–that can hold abstractions. And cinema can say these difficult-to-say-in-words things. A lot of times, I don’t know the meaning of the idea, and it drives me crazy. I think we should know the meaning of the idea. I think about them, and I tell this story about my first feature Eraserhead. I did not know what these things meant to me–really meant. And on that particular film, I started reading the Bible. And I’m reading the Bible, going along, and suddenly–there was a sentence. And I said, forget it! That’s it. That’s this thing. And so, I should know the meaning for me, but when things get abstract, it does me no good to say what it is. All viewers on the surface are all different. And we see something, and that’s another place where intuition kicks in: an inner-knowingness. And so, you see a thing, you think about it, and you feel it, and you go and you sort of know something inside. And you can rely on that. Another thing I say is, if you go–after a film, withholding abstractions–to a coffee place–having coffee with your friends, someone will say something, and immediately you’ll say “No, no, no, no, that’s not what that was about.” You know? “This is what it was about.” And so many things come out, it’s surprising. So you do know. For yourself. And what you know is valid.”
David Lynch

La Di da, La Di da, La la

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Annie Hall,1977

On Photography

Life itself is not the reality. We are the ones who put life into stones and pebbles.
Frederick Sommer
Il potente fascino che esercita la fotografia è intrinseco alla morbosità di ciascuno suscettibile all’estetica del bello,romantico e decadente.Quanto più una fotografia dettagliata nelle intenzioni del fotografo,tanto più questa susciterà in noi il sospetto di un’emozione antica, legata a una remota convinzione del Sublime. Un meravigliso saggio che sto leggendo,On Photography,del 1977,della scrittrice newyorkese Susan Sontag,positive feminist,attivista politica,morta nel 2004, è altamente godibile,a mio parere,non solo per l’analisi che la Sontag fa della fotografia dal punto di vista analitico ed estetico,morale e filosofico,ma anche,se non soprattutto,per l’eleganza della prosa sottilmente provocatoria,le incredibili intuizioni frasali d’irriverenza fulminea e la ricercatezza e insieme limpidezza del vocabolario, volutamente accurato e puntiglioso.
Questo il sito in suo onore dove trovare articoli e biografia della scrittrice
Sotto una parte del testo tratto dal capitolo primo- In Plato’s Cave

Recently, photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing – which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. it is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.

Memorializing the achievement of individuals considered as members of families (as well as of other groups), is the earliest popular use of photography. For at least a century, the wedding photograph has been as much a part of the ceremony as the prescribed verbal formulas. Cameras go with family life. According to a sociological study done in France, most households have a camera, but a household with children is twice as likely to have at least one camera as a household in which there are no children. Not to take pictures of one’s children, particularly when they are small, is a sign on parental indifference, just as not turning up for one’s graduation picture is a gesture of adolescent rebellion.

Through photographs, each family constructs as portrait-chronicle of itself – a portable kit of images that bears witness to its connectedness. It hardly matters what activities are photographed so long as photographs get taken and are cherished. Photography becomes a rite of family life just when, in the industrializing counties of Europe and America, the very institution of the family starts undergoing radical surgery. At that claustrophobic unit, the nuclear family, was being carved out of a much larger family aggregate, photography came along to memorialize, to restate symbolically, the imperiled continuity and vanishing extendedness of family life. Those ghostly traces, photographs, supply the token presence of the dispersed relatives. A family’s photograph album is generally about the extended family – and, often, is all the remains of it.

As photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal, they also help people to take possession of space in which they are insecure. Thus, photography develops in tandem with one of the most characteristic of modern activities: tourism. For the first time in history, large numbers of people regularly travel out of their habitual environments for short periods of time. It seems positively unnatural to travel for pleasure without taking a camera along. Photographs will offer indisputable evidence that the trip was made, that the program was carried out, that fun was had. Photographs document sequences of consumption carried on outside the view of family, friends, neighbors. But dependence on the camera, as the device that makes real what one is experiencing, doesn’t fade when people travel more. Taking photographs fills the same need for the cosmopolitans accumulating photograph-trophies of their boat trip up the Albert Nile or their fourteen days in China as it does for lower-middle-class vacationers taking snapshots of Eiffel Tower or Niagara Falls.

A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it – by limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience in an image, a souvenir. Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs. The very activity of taking pictures is soothing, and assuages general feelings of disorientation that are likely to be exacerbated by travel. Most tourists feel compelled to put the camera between themselves and whatever is remarkable that they encounter. Unsure of other responses, they take a picture. This gives shape to experience: stop, take a photograph, and move on. The method especially appeals to people handicapped by a ruthless work ethic – Germans, Japanese, and Americans. Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun. They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of work: they can take pictures.

People robbed of their past seem to make the most fervent picture takers, at home and abroad. Everyone who lives in an industrialized society is obliged gradually to give up the past, but in certain countries, such as the United States and Japan, the break with the past has been particularly traumatic. In the early 1970s, the fable of the brash American tourist of the 1950s and 1960s, rich with dollars and Babbittry, was replaced by the mystery of the group-minded Japanese tourist, newly released from his island prison by the miracle of overvalued yen, who is generally armed with two cameras, one on each hip.

Photography has become one of the principal devices for experiencing something, for giving an appearance of participation. One full-page ad shows a small group of people standing pressed together, peering out of the photograph, all but one looking stunned, excited, upset. The one who wears a different expression holds a camera to his eye; he seems self-possessed, is almost smiling. While the others are passive, clearly alarmed spectators, having a camera has transformed one person into something active, a voyeur: only he has mastered the situation. What do these people see? We don’t know. And it doesn’t matter. It is an Event: something worth seeing – and therefore worth photographing. The ad copy, whit letters across the dark lower third of the photograph like news coming over a teletype machine, consists of just six words: “. . . Prague . . . Woodstock . . . Vietnam . . . Sapporo . . . Londonderry . . . LEICA.” Crushed hopes, youth antics, colonial wars, and winter sports are alike – are equalized by the camera. Taking photographs has set up a chronic voyeuristic relation to the world which levels the meaning of all events.

A photograph is not just the result of an encounter between an event and a photographer; picture-taking is an event in itself, and one with ever more peremptory rights – to interfere with, to invade, or to ignore whatever is going on. Our very sense of situation is now articulated by the camera’s interventions. The omnipresence of cameras persuasively suggests that time consists of interesting events, events worth photographing. This, in turn, makes it easy to feel that any event, once underway, and whatever its moral character, should be allowed to complete itself – so that something else can be brought into the world, the photograph. After the event has ended, the picture will still exist, conferring on the event a kind of immortality (and importance) it would never otherwise have enjoyed. While real people are out there killing themselves or other real people, the photographer stays behind his or her camera, creating a tiny element of another world: the images-world that bids to outlast us all.

Photographing is essentially an act of non-intervention. Part of the horror of such memorable coups of contemporary photojournalism as the pictures of a Vietramese bonze reaching for the gasoline can, of a Begnali guerrilla in the act of bayoneting a trussed-up collaborator, comes from the awareness of how plausible it has become, in situations where the photographer has the choice between a photograph and a life, to choose the photograph. The person who intervenes cannot record; the person who is recording cannot intervene. Dziga Vertov’s great film, Man with a Movie Camera (1929), gives the ideal image of the photographer as someone in perpetual movement, someone moving through a panorama of disparate events with such agility and speed that any intervention is out of question. Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) gives the complementary image: the photographer played by James Stewart has an intensified relation to one event, through his camera, precisely because he has a broken leg. And is confined to a wheelchair; being temporarily immobilized prevents him from acting on what he sees, and makes it even more important to take pictures. Even if incompatible with intervention in a physical sense, using a camera is still a form of participation. Although the camera in an observation station, the act of photographing is more that passive observing. Like sexual voyeurism, it is a way of at least tacitly, often explicitly, encouraging whatever is going on to keep on happening. To take a picture is to have n interest in things as they are, in the status quo remaining unchanged (at least for as long as it takes to get a “good” picture), to be in complicity with whatever makes a subject interesting, worth photographing – including, when that is the interest, another person’s pain or misfortune.
The industrialization of photography permitted its rapid absorption into rational-that is, bureaucratic-ways of running society.No longer toy images, photographs became part of the general furniture of the environment – touchstones and confirmations of that reductive approach to reality which is considered realistic. Photographs were enrolled in the service of important institution of control,notably the family and the police, as symbolic objects and as pieces of information.Thus, in the bureaucratic cataloguing of the world,many important documents are not valid unless they have,affixed to them,a photograph-token of the citizen’s face.
The “realistic” view of the world compatible with bureaucracy redefines knowledge- as techniques and information. Photographs are valued because they give information. They tell one what there is; they make an inventory. To spies, meteorologists, coroners, archeologists, and other information professionals,their value is inestimable. But in the situation in which most people use photographs,the value as information is of the same order as fiction. The information that photographs can give starts to seem very important at that moment in cultural history when everyone is thought to have a right to something called news. Photographs were seen as a way of giving information to people who do not take easily to reading. The Daily News still calls itself “New York’s Picture Newspaper”, its bid for populist identity. At the opposite end of the scale, Le Monde, a newspaper designed for skilled, well-informed readers, runs no photography at all. The presumption is that, for such readers, a photograph could only illustrate the analysis contained in n article.
A new sense of the notion of information has been constructed around the photographic image. The photograph is a thin slice of space as well as time. In a world ruled by photographic images, all borders (“framing”) seem arbitrary. Anything can be separated, can be made discontinuous, from anything else all that is necessary is to frame the subject differently ( Conversely,anything can be made adjacent to anything else. Photography reinforces a nominalist view of social reality as consisting of small units of an apparently infinite number- as the number of photographs that could be taken of anything is unlimited. Through photographs, the world becomes a series of unrelated, freestanding particles; and history, past and present, a set of anecdotes and faits divers. The camera makes reality atomic, manageable, and opaque. It is a view of the world which denies interconnectedness, continuity, but which confers on each moment the character of a mystery. Any photograph has multiple meanings, indeed, to see something in the form of a photograph is to encounter a potential object of fascination. The ultimate wisdom of the photograph image is to say: “There is surface. Now think- or rather feel, intuit- what is beyond it, what the reality must be like if it looks this way.” Photographs, which cannot themselves explain anything, are inexhaustible invitations to deduction, speculation, and fantasy.
Photography implies that we know about the world if we accept it as camera records it. But this is the opposite of understanding, which starts from not accepting the world as it looks. All possibility of understanding is rooted in the ability to say no. Strictly speaking, one never understands anything from a photograph. Of course, photographs fill in blanks in our mental pictures of the present and the past: for example, Jacob Riis’s images of New York squalor in the 1880s are sharply instructive to those unaware that urban poverty in late-nineteenth- century America was really that Dickensian. Nevertheless, the camera’s rendering of reality must always hide more than it discloses. As Brecht points out, a photograph of the Krupp works reveals virtually nothing about that organization. In contrast to the amorous relation, which is based on how it functions. And functioning takes place in time, and must be explained in time. Only that which narrates can make us understand.
The limit of photographic knowledge of the world is that, while it can goad conscience, it can, finally, never be ethical or political knowledge. The knowledge gained through still photographs will always be some kind of sentimentalism, whenever cynical or humanist. It will be a knowledge at bargains prices- a semblance of knowledge, a semblance of wisdom; as the act of taking pictures is a semblance of appropriation, a semblance of rape. The very muteness of what is, hypothetically, comprehensive in photographs is what constitute their attraction and provocativeness. The omnipresence of photographs has an incalculable effect on our ethical sensibility. By furnishing this already crowded world whit a duplicate one of images, photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is.
Needing to ha reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution. Poignant longings for beauty, for an end to probing below the surface, for a redemption and celebration of the body of the world- all these elements of erotic feeling are affirmed in the pleasure we take in photographs. But other, less liberating feelings are expressed as well. It would not be wrong to speak of people having a compulsion to photograph: to turn experience itself into a way of seeing. Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it, and participating in a public event comes more and more equivalent to looking at it in photographed form. That most logical of nineteenth-century aesthetes, Mallarmè, said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph.
Taken from “On Photography”by Susan Sontag,1977

Jacob Riis
Jacob Riis
Jacob Riis
Jacob Riis

Jacob August Riis (May 3, 1849 – May 26, 1914),Danish American social reformer, “muckraking” journalist and social documentary photographer (New York based photographer)

“You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what’s around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy.”
Elliott Erwitt (26 July 1928 Paris, France)

The Courage to tell the Truth

Anna Politkovskaya(New York, 30 agosto 1958 – Mosca, 7 ottobre 2006)
Anna Politkovskaya(New York, 30 August 1958 – Moscow October 2006)

“People sometimes pay with their lives for saying aloud what they think. In fact, one can even get killed for giving me information. I am not the only one in danger. I have examples that prove it.”
Anna Politkovskaya

The Assassination of Anna Politkovskaya

Putin’s Russia by Anna Politkovskaya

“I’m no longer a child and I still want to be, to live with the pirates. Because I want to live forever in wonder. The difference between me as a child and me as an adult is this and only this: when I was a child, I longed to travel into, to live in wonder. Now, I know, as much as I can know anything, that to travel into wonder is to be wonder. So it matters little whether I travel by plane, by rowboat, or by book. Or, by dream. I do not see, for there is no I to see. That is what the pirates know. There is only seeing and, in order to go to see, one must be a pirate.”
Kathy Acker

Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?*

*Maurits Cornelis Escher (17 June 1898 – 27 March 1972)
Dutch graphic artist. He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts,lithographs,and mezzotints which feature impossible constructions,explorations of infinity.

Maurits Cornelis Escher

“Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible. I think it’s in my basement… let me go upstairs and check”.

Maurits Cornelis Escher-Relativity

“My work is a game, a very serious game”.

Maurits Cornelis Escher

“He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder”.

Maurits Cornelis Escher

“We adore chaos because we love to produce order”.

Maurits Cornelis Escher


A misunderstood genius

Catrin Welz-Stein-Unborn Ideas

“There is in every madman
a misunderstood genius
whose idea
shining in his head
frightened people
and for whom delirium was the only solution
to the strangulation
that life had prepared for him.”
Antonin Artaud
(September 4, 1896, in Marseille – March 4, 1948 in Paris)
French playwright, poet, actor and theatre director.

On the Road

Da qualche giorno a casa nostra,in visita dal Canada,Toronto,Thomas,amico di Ruben(mio coinquilino spagnolo),di passaggio a Londra verso il resto dell’Europa,che Thomas ha intenzione di visitare in lungo e in largo e a tempo indeterminato.L’idea di Thomas è quella di lasciare Londra lunedì prossimo,in autobus fino a Parigi,da Parigi muoversi in treno e by plain fino a Madrid a Barcellona a Lisbona ad Amsterdam a Bruxelles a Berlino a Varsavia a Praga a Vienna a Monaco di Baviera a Milano a Venezia a Firenze a Roma alla Costiera Amalfitana a Catania a Modica a Brindisi ad Atene a Tirana a Sarajevo a Belgrado a Bucarest a Budapest e back to Toronto-WOW
Soltanto parlarne mi emoziona,ho sempre desiderato fare un viaggio simile da quand’ero ragazzina.Lo spunto di questo viaggio mi ricorda un vecchio libro del 2002,”Conoscerete la nostra velocità“, di Dave Eggers,scrittore americano.Il protagonista,Will,dispone di 10 mila dollari di cui sbarazzarsi(casomai qualcuno avesse 10 mila dollari di cui sbarazzarsi,mi tenga presente) e per farlo decide di convincere l’amico Hand a fare il giro del mondo.Il dato curioso sta nel fatto che Hand dispone di una settimana soltanto di ferie da lavoro,dunque i due decideranno di partire comunque ma,di fatto,trascorreranno buona parte del tempo a loro disposizione in aereo e in treno,tra mancate coincidenze, ritardi, annullamenti.
Eggers,conosciuto più per il romanzo di debutto “L’opera struggente di un formidabile genio“(che vi consiglio),in questo romanzo,a mio parere,non convince molto,e per il fatto che la trama singhiozza tra lampi di entusiasmo bubbleggiante e paranoie di non-ritorno,e perchè in realtà non è chiaro su cosa Eggers voglia in definitiva concentrare l’attenzione,se nel viaggio inteso come percorso interiore e di crescita,o nel viaggio inteso come mero peregrinare senza scopo e destinazione certa,per il gusto e il piacere di vivere l’attimo,seguendo l’istinto.
Purtroppo non ho questo libro qui con me,dunque non sono nelle possibilità di citarne alcun brano,ma ho tovato qualcosa in inglese che spero varrà a incuriosirvi e rendere l’idea del libro:

“I wanted so many times while driving to flip, to skid and flip and fall from the car and have something happen. I wanted to land on my head and lose half of it, or land on my legs and lose one or both. I wanted something to happen so my choices would be fewer, so my map would have a route straight through, in red. I wanted limitations, boundaries, to ease the burden; because the agony, Jack, when we were up there in the dark, was in the silence! All I ever wanted was to know what to do. In these last months I’ve had no clue, I’ve been paralyzed by the quiet, and for a moment something spoke to me, and we came here, or came to Africa, and intermittently there were answers, intermittently there was a chorus and they sang to us and pointing, and were watching and approving, but just as often there was silence, and we stood blinking under the sun, or under the black sky, and we had to think of what to do next.”
— Dave Eggers (You Shall Know Our Velocity!)

Andre Carrilho


"Feet, what do I need them for if I have wings to fly?"
 Frida Kahlo

(you see mom,apparently it can seem to be chaos while it’s just creative order)

Jeff Wall
"In all chaos there is a cosmos,
in all disorder a secret order."
 — Carl Gustav Jung

Happy Bob Day

You don’t necessarily have to write to be a poet. Some people work in gas stations and they’re poets. I don’t call myself a poet, because I don’t like the word. I’m a trapeze artist.

Bob Dylan (May 24, 1941)

To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second,of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.I believe that,through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us.. A balance must be established between these two worlds —the one inside us and the one outside us.  As a result of a constant reciprocal process, both these worlds come to form a single one.And it is this world that we must communicate.

Henri Cartier-Bresson (August 22, 1908 – August 3, 2004)

“When a reader falls in love with a book, it leaves its essence inside him, like radioactive fallout in an arable field, and after that there are certain crops that will no longer grow in him, while other, stranger, more fantastic growths may occasionally be produced. ”

Salman Rushdie

Crea un sito o un blog gratuitamente presso WordPress.com.

Su ↑