Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday evening diaspora

When I see stories like this, this evening in The Times and at The Southern Poverty Law Center in the Context column every month, I think of the terms of praise this blog has adventitiously elicited - pretty, hot - and of the blogs I admire, myself, where discipline plainly reigns as if Nancy Cunard were about to flick a finger upward, to restore society's yo-yo to the crêpe of her many-clustered hand. We show each other pretty things, and observe a gracious code of silence, competing to incur our own contempt.

So it seems we need a splurge in green and blue, to bathe the mind of cognition of our failed self-government, of our endlessly flouted doctrine of consent. If we are governed by consent, after all, we are responsible. Sifting through a pile of slides I took years ago from a window at the Drake, overlooking the commute home up Lake Shore Drive after dark, I think, Put on a pretty picture, cher, as we mix ourselves a cocktail of Onwentsia's own invention. Show us a boytummy glistening, as the meniscus of our drink, vermouth in swirls like fuzz of suave infusions, rises to the lips of our consensual forgetfulness.

I don't think so, tonight. I have another Friday evening diaspora. Behind, bellygrossened sheriffs fart, insensate in the cycle of a State-supported crime, evidenced before their eyes in a railway depot in Jacksonville, Florida in 1921. To this day, voluminously, the young flee this region in one's and two's, to get somewhere a State will take them without malice toward their kind. And for every one of them, and for families fractured by discovery of their unintended colour, we glide past their exemplar to the club car in our silence.

An artist on his birthday recalls where he comes from

O, learn to read what silent love hath writ.
To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.

William Shakespeare
Sonnet 23

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Studying green, kinetic lighting, and suiting a room

The guy at You Have Been Here Sometime has been studying green, kinetic lighting, and designing something to suit a room. So have we all, as the publicist did for all 3 considerations, in this single portrait of Jamie Conday, or this one of Joschka Netz. But he's done us the favour of breaking these elements down into discrete subjects. 

This approach moves one to contemplate a world as if these considerations did not exist, restores the appetite for their contribution, illuminates their nourishment of our understanding, anatomises the experience of hunger.

I find his to be one of the more tonically invigorating spaces one can visit, where each installation benefits not only from shrewd selection but a fine plinth for exhibition, inherent in the blog's design. None of the illustrations in this posting is present in that space. They are all drawn, as in this last one, from the genuinely delectable experience of going there. If you were a mousse au chocolat au thé vert, you would welcome the service. Well, dear reader: you are.

Monday, September 27, 2010


For all readers of this experiment

Not to recall Anthony Patch's glimpse of his wife at the Armistice Ball, observed not long ago, not to foretell an orgiastic rapture anticipated by the anguished as a vengeance on this life, Vivaldi's expletive of joy responds aptly to confidances from Château Haut-Brion just now, that the reds of 2010 have begun to come in. It has been an extremely strenuous season in Pessac-Léognan this year. It is wonderful that the occasion has arrived. Twenty, forty years from now, it will be cherished still. 

It's a moment for those who know their ground as their mother and as their father, and who bend themselves wholeheartedly to its purpose, to say nothing else, nothing more.

Coherency and superstition

An assumption which has congealed as a principle - that the human figure is the ultimate frame of reference for a distributive system we name, proportion - has also furnished most people in the West in the last 500 years with their first experience of depicted nudity. An anthropomorphic tool, an idol of the cave if ever there were one, is so embedded that its corollaries and incidental extrapolations in music, poetic metre, and even the cartography of empire (Iraq, Colorado) are quite hard to trace to the underlying superstition that they represent.

Philip Johnson, New Canaan
At the back of our mind, we never stop being aware that the human form is a most sentimental deus ex machina for the intangible ideal we summon it to depict. Yet it is unsettling to be reminded that da Vinci's quadranted figure, for all its inspiration of the sonata style in Classicism, is a folly in the pond of a dreamt estate.

But the mortal reference point is verifiable, even if the presumption of an ideal in proportion is plainly not. It is an aspiration in search of a compliment, projected as an analogy: desire reduced to dogmatic excuse, codification, lyric approbation. We know what we mean when we say of Mr Jefferson's Monticello, that the building "dances" as our perspective upon it revolves, proceeds, recedes, its wings extending or dissolving by adherence to Palladian scruple, which is to say to Vitruvius, which is to say, to the heroic. We say that it is humane for our built world to mime us; this deference pleases us as its reference. The plantation is ourself.
The impulse gives rise to numeric allusion, reaching its baldest and most knowingly ironic state in Colin Rowe's title of recent referencethe mathematics of the ideal villa. In fashion, architecture, music, poetry - everything graphic, everything mechanical - we see da Vinci's figure quartered and strapped to this odd scruple of symmetry as not merely definitive, but prescriptive.

The idea supervenes its antecedent. Innovation, in the music of Cage or Boulez, or the Modulor of Le Corbusier, enacts the same tautological habit: the search for a recognisable paradigm rooted in the concept of the human. We see this habit as an exercise of genius, and it is an act of permission.

It will get us an architecture, and it will get us through the night. Lector, si monumentum requiris circumspice.


Epitaph for Sir Christopher Wren