Monday, 24 September 2012

Once again on Blasphemy

In the heat of the discussions, if that is what they are, around "The Innocence of Muslims' ( I have watched it on Youtube and it reminds me of 'The Life of Brian' in such a way that I wonder if that could now be made, just as I wonder if Jack Clayton's great work, 'The Innocents' could any longer survive its Jamesian finale of sexualised and evidently abuséd childhood. Actually it is gratuitously rude and the product of a provincial regression to adolescent fears and fantasies so extreme that it could only come from someone in the Tea Party or planning to give money to M Romney. It's a pity anyone has lost a life over it, dogend of yanqui imperialism.

Above is another cartoon by the great Pilotell, from the period of the Paris Commune, 'Les Amours de Prêtres', a series dealing with the much publicised discovery of a large number of female skeletons in the church of St Laurent - giving rise to the idea that for years the priests had been seducing and then killing nuns and novices - as fine an anticlerical fantasy as I know, and, as it happens, one that, even if it were not true of the time, was to be prophetic. The catholic church in Ireland, Australia, Italy, here in the UK, wherever, has acted out this 'insult' as if it were a prescription for future performance.

So it is just as well to recall the Woman taken in Adultery, the question of the first stone, and the rather wonderful art that this parable was to produce! Here is a Poussin for a start, so let's think, this is today's lesson, folk, that Poussin and Pilotell have more in common than you might have thought!

By the way, the writing in the dust is a red herring laid by Jesus in one of his more Pasolinian moments.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Too much money ... redistribution is the only way out .. On Anri Sala in the Pompidou


Any idiot, I'm sorry to be so blunt, should know that, in these days of Marx not being so out of date after all, crises like the current one are crises of overproduction, not just of goods, golf courses, ecologically ruinous seaside settlements all over the Med and the Mid West but of debt, induced dissatisfaction, ambitions and diverse forms of unfulfilled narcissism and so forth and so forth, and that the only true role models in this are not those delightful Olympic divers with their pretty tummies, but the currently much derided bankers and financiers and so forth and so forth to whom under the aegis of saving the economy the whole of the productive forces have been handed over under the guise of 'saving the banks'. Stuff the geese, then tear out their liver in the form of distraining the goods that have poisoned them, oh what a romantic anti-capitalist I sound, feed finance and you have a great scenario about laughing gas. I'd rather be that than, I'd rather be that, I'm not at all ashamed, I even agree with Zizek on Greece, or even he agrees with me for a change, the rattle of the fascist voice comes from the throats of the assembled capitaines and captains of the IMF, the EB and so forth and so forth.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with Anri Sala ?whose work, generally speaking, I like a lot. The Pompidou exhibition consisted of four film and sound pieces projected serially onto a number of immense hooded screens with ultra high quality sound diffusion as well, and the pieces were ones on which he had recently given a very good lecture at the AA in London. One could call this exhibition something like 'Seeing Sound' an extraordinarily beautiful and engrossing display of the phenomenology of being here and there, acoustically and visually all at one, of a certain split between seeing and hearing. But something made me uneasy about the way in which the very young crowd trailed from screen to screen as one or another seemed to predominate in the aspect of projection, although one could perfectly well stayed still and heard all of it as an achievement of what it has to offer. Like a flock. A flock of art lovers. Like a flock of art lovers, in fact, a bit like the way once I saw the Surrey brigade following Burgundian miniatures with magnifying glasses at the RA. In the end, engrossed though I was by Sala I decided to sit on one of the attendants chairs, we the public were offered some horrid rubberised cubes, and read my Kindle, The Magic Mountain - again - and it worked out very well. The more inattention you pay the better it gets. And you don't have to marvel at the far too much money of the installation, they way in which the already interesting enough artist is banked on as a spectacle. The effect of this is thoroughly weak, you forget it and half an hour after leaving the Pompidou I had muddled its pleasure with that of seeing Spider Man!! Bad redistribution if ever there was.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A charming relic of the Portsmouth Sinfonia, early 1971??

found inside the pamphlet of Helen Rosenau, in the previous entry, where it must have been for four decades!!!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Some postcards, new and old

Top, a postcard sent by my great uncle Elie Aboulafia to his sister Rose, my Grandmother, Samedi Juin 27, 1931, from Brunnen to the Hotel Negresco in Nice - that tells you something about my own downward mobility. Le vues ici sont simplement féériques, he writes, Tu n'a pas idée. Vraiment nous végétons à m/c(Manchester where they lived and where each has left their spouse)

Below, Netherlandish Painting. c 1525 -  50, less precise dating, but that's how the archive crumbles in the time of deferred action!

Because I have not put up anything recently, and because like everyone else I have been doing Bilderatlas Mnemosyne of Aby Warburg with some PhDs and because I am pissed off with the Warburg industries just as I once became with those of Walter Benjamin, especially as there is now a conjoint Warburg/Benjamin thing going very strongly and, because because ( this is rather Humean, cynical cause, so don't worry about it too much, it just keeps on happening like that) because no one who does this stuff, with the exception of Griselda Pollock and some artists (there is an interesting thing on you tube if you search under AW) really does parataxis, but all construct more and more elaborate arguments that run against the grain of anything that AW and WB did, both guys for weak argument I think (part of the latter's run in with TWA who wanted more machismo), I thought that I would indulge myself my putting up a couple of concavities and think about how to find their affect (for me) elsewhere without for all that falling into even a little bit of phenomenology, I hope, so that is what is coming up here and one will be the courtroom scene from David Lean's Great Expectations.

Speaking of which, or rather of whom, when David Lean made Hobson's Choice the scenes below were filmed in Buile Hill Park, Salford, where the vile buildings of the University now dominate the view, with John Mills and Brenda de Banzie:


                                          you're a natural born genius at making shoes....
when, while this took place the filming was watched by me and my sister Frances in the charge of our minder, who was a Mills fan, and a Laughton fan too... Lean was good then at convex/concave relation in the moving image, the flatnesses of Lawrence were just an aberration. So because I have not done much, here is the beginning of a little bilderatlas of my own, and I will add to it some images from here and there... and some sounds as well.

But before that let me add this relic of the Warburg tradition that I just found while going through some old, history pamphlets of a kind that one circulated freely as a form of learning, an essay by Helen Rosenau, a memory of dispersal, work and ending up some where and somewhere again on the route. Helen took me one by one through the architectural books that articulate the history of art from Alberti to Ledoux and Lequeu over the months from late 1966 to the summer of 1967 when she retired and left Manchester,

So, the time of return is not just that of epochs, but of shocks of affect hidden on one's own shelves, here an old teacher but also that rare and combination, including Benjamin and Scholem of the Sephardic and German traditions of Jewish thinking touching one another. This then can fit in my atlas as can this image of my Grandfather's Esther scroll, late nineteenth century, Syrian, now with a community from which it came...(grandfather as ascetic as his wife and her brother were sybaritic)
another concavity, double and deeply alluring: that I wrote about in my two pieces, A Roman Holiday and Tom, with Sebastiano, Kant and Others.