Not that I'm complaining but it would be hard to overstate how exhausting it is to do this work. Each session is like an individually calibrated two hour performance for one person. Three sessions today, two yesterday and a talk. One on Wednesday and the journey to Folkestone. A day off Tuesday. (Thanks Freud Museum!) Monday : one session and the journey from Liverpool. Sunday : Five sessions including a double. Saturday : Three sessions. Friday : the journey to LIverpool and a talk.
Tomorrow: Two sessions and a panel. Monday: Three sessions. Tuesday: Three sessions. And I could do more.
Still, sometimes all sessions are hard but some are harder than others. A really tough one on Wednesday in London and I felt sad all day. One tough one today. For once I didn't say, make your 'self' as small as a grain of sand. I said, paint a picture of a rock.
I guess a grain of sand is a very small rock.
I was saying to someone last night, I'm going to be authentically tired when I arrive in Liverpool. They thought that was hilarious.
What do you mean!?
-I'll be authentically tired because I will have covered every kilometre between here and where I need to be in real time and real space on the same day as arriving. The travel is part of the real work I have to do to be able to be there and to do the work I need to do when I am there.
Oh. OK. I think I get it…
Here's hoping I won't be completely incoherent.
Reading Kathrin Thiele's Quantum Physics and/as Philosophy: Immanence, Diffraction, and the Ethics of Mattering in Rhizomes #30 (2016).
Thiele explains Karen Barad's relational ontology as "an ontology in which individualized things and objects are no longer presupposed as simply 'there', in which even the world itself is not simply 'given' and 'out there', but in which every-thing is accounted for as an enactment of the entangled nature of nature."
“Must not forget to commit suicide,” the poet Alejandra Pizarnik wrote in her diary. A decade later, she died of a barbiturate overdose. “She was known for working long and obsessively on a little chalkboard, typically on a single poem at a time, exhausting its possibilities before moving on, erasing a word one day, replacing it the next, rearranging the lines (about a dozen at most, presumably all that would fit on the slate) of her small, lapidary poems with an obsessive care that has been obscured by their obvious debts to surrealism and automatic writing … Nothing has colored the reception of Pizarnik’s work more than her death by her own hand.”
'Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962-1972' by Alejandra Pizarnik Published 05.17.2016 by New Directions
Good to be reminded of this from Camus before my imminent journey to England, by aleatory operations in a journal entry from 2006. An occasion for 'spiritual' testing indeed, and perhaps of others as well me.
What gives value to travel is fear. It is the fact that, at a certain moment, when we are so far from our own country a French newspaper acquires incalculable value. And those evenings when, in cafes, you try to get close to other men just to touch them with your elbow, we are seized by a vague fear, and an instinctive desire to go back to the protection of old habits. This is the most obvious benefit of travel. At that moment we are feverish but also porous, so that the slightest touch makes us quiver to the depths of our being. We come across a cascade of light, and there is eternity. This is why we should not say that we travel for pleasures. There is no pleasure in travelling, and I look upon it more as an occasion for spiritual testing. If we understand by culture the exercise of our most intimate self - that of eternity - then we travel for culture. Pleasure takes us away from our selves in the same way as distraction, in Pascal's use of the word, takes us away from god. Travel, which is like a greater and a graver science, brings us back to ourselves.
Any idea anyone may have had that John Martyn was a loveable rogue went out the window with the documentary Johnny Too Bad. And when he lets loose in his music, it only rarely sounds right to me. But at his delicate best, and at his most restrained, his playing and singing was for a number of years, without equal. Inside Out was the record which introduced me to him in 1975 and it remains the one I love most. A recent posthumous release of unreleased songs, alternate versions and live tracks called Head and Heart doesn't offer anything of much more than passing interest - except... the opening few minutes of the version of Go Down Easy. This is note for note how he played it at Regent's Park, in the amphitheatre, on a summer evening.
It's 1976. Kasia, I am still there.
Interesting that so many people are buying Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and now, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. Carl Peeters in Vrij Nederland has a go at him, calling him misanthropic, but Peeters's critique is altogether too humanist for mine. I haven't read Harari and his work on the exploitation of animals is admirable but this kind of shallow thinking (in from his article in the Guardian) is a turn off:
The meaning we ascribe to what we see is generated by our own minds. It is not really “out there”. To the best of our scientific knowledge, human life has no meaning. The meaning of life is always a fictional story created by us humans.
Of course meaning is not 'out there'. Colour is not 'out there' either. And sInce when has science been about meaning?
Eind jaren 70 werkte cineast Frans Bromet aan een film over holocaustoverlever en kunstschilder Sieg Maandag. Hij was het jongetje van de beroemde foto in het Amerikaanse tijdschrift LIFE dat vlak na de bevrijding van concentratiekamp Bergen-Belsen zijn vrijheid tegemoetliep. De film 'Life's Picture' werd destijds niet afgemaakt door een conflict tussen Bromet en de producent die een heroïsche film over de Tweede Wereldoorlog voor ogen stond, terwijl Bromet het juist klein en persoonlijk wilde houden. De film moest antwoord geven op de vraag hoe je verder kunt leven na het trauma van een concentratiekamp.
For unknown reasons, in this extraordinary film which is replete with sadness, one short scene moves me to tears. Sieg (played by his son) takes his daughter into the garden and digs a shallow hole to bury the food she didn't want to eat. He explains how, if you do that, it doesn't go to waste because there are all kinds of animals that live under the ground who will be able to eat it.
'This is who you are.' The long term effects of being on anti depressants.
Donald Hoffman on what reality is and how evolution and quantum physics can let us experience other realities than we think.
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond's forthcoming memoir, “Home Sick,” probes caregiving, dying, the medical-industrial complex, Islamophobia and the commodification of (human and nonhuman) animals.
A holloway is an ancient path.
Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill killed himself last November. He'd been suffering from "debilitating tinnitus" for 20 years. It led to sleep deprivation and anxiety and became unbearable.
The OED Word of the Day is nixie:
U.S. Post which cannot be forwarded by the postal services because it is illegibly or incorrectly addressed.
The first citation, an entry in the Century Dictionary, dates from 1890.
- via Orange Crate Art by Michael Leddy
That annoying art critic in The Times is having a go at Joseph Beuys today for saying “Jeder Mensch ist ein Künstler” (“Everybody is an artist.”)
In 1662 a London haberdasher with an eye for numbers published the first quantitative account of death. John Graunt tallied causes such as “the King’s Evil”, a tubercular disease believed to be cured by the monarch’s touch. Others seem uncanny, even poetic: In 1632, 15 Londoners “made away themselves”, 11 died of “grief” and a pair fell to “lethargy”.
Don't bother reading the rest of the article. It is pig shit.
Natasha Myers: *We might need to forget everything we thought we knew about nonhuman lives and worlds (...) to forget what we thought “nature” was; to forget how we thought life “worked". *
Alison Croggan on John Berger : You listen to stones.
To Leeuwarden by windpowered train to buy someone's old iPhone6+. I like buying my machines from people who don't want them any more. This is last year's model - proverbially speaking that is. I'd like a phone I can read on.
By 09:16 I am an hour from Zwolle. The carriage smells of old people. They seem to be all talking at once. Before long we will all be decaying together. It has begun already. Phil Elverum is here, on repeat, to keep me company - or maybe I am here to keep him company? He doesn't even know I'm here, but I will stay with him all the same.
Leeuwarden is bizarrely empty. There are some beautiful old ships and a leaning tower from 1500 which leans more than the leaning tower of Pisa and it still hasn't fallen over either. It is a sparkling day and I sit in the sun for a while.
There is a truly shocking and depressing documentary on TV about what is being done to gay people in Russia. This is followed by a show called Amazing Hotels. And that's what it's about. An English couple on their honeymoon arrives.
She: It feels like a jungle.
That would be because it is a fucking jungle. They have to repaint the hotel every three weeks because of the mould that grows on everything and rich people don't like to see mould growing on things. (You say mold and I say mould.)
So A. went to Canada today. I'll be alone for a week. I was reminded of this : On Hal and Eve Sedgwick
There is someone who can make me a simple vegetarian Pad Thai. I call them. It will take half an hour. This gives me time to walk in what remains of the sun. To be in and of the world, in sufficient measure.
Everyone and their dog (oh wait - no dogs allowed) is going to see the Ed van der Elsken show at the Stedelijk Museum but I am watching De Erfenis, a film about Daan van der Elsken. His father didn't teach him how to be in the world and he has still hasn't found a way to individuate from his father's ghost. And now he is burdening his daughter with his ghost.