the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

Archive for April, 2010

it could never have been otherwise

Posted by rigorousm on April 28, 2010

…History is what hurts, it is what refuses desire and sets inexorable limits to individual as well as collective praxis, which its “ruses” turn into grisly and ironic reversals of their overt intention. But this History can be apprehended only through its effects, and never directly as some reified force. This is indeed the ultimate sense in which History as ground and untranscendable horizon needs no particular theoretical justification….

— Fredric Jameson. The Political unconscious: narrative as a socially symbolic act. P. 91. New York: Cornell University Press, 1981.


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on un-becoming girls

Posted by rigorousm on April 17, 2010

Henrietta said: “Once I was a young girl, very much like any other young girl, interested in the same things, I was exemplarary. I was told what I was, that is to say, a young girl, and I knew what I was because I had been told and because there were other young girls all around me who had been told the same things and knew the same things, and looking at them and hearing again in my head the things I had been told I knew what a young girl was. We had all been told the same things. I had not been told, for example, that some wine was piss and some not and I had not been told … other things. Still I had been told a great many things all very useful but I had not been told that I was going to die in any way that would allow me to realize that I really was going to die and that it would be all over, then, and that this was all there was and that I had damned well better make the most of it. That I discovered for myself and covered with shame and shit as I was I made the most of it. I had not been told how to mak the most of it but I figured it out. Then I moved through a period of depression, the depression engendered by the realization that I had placed myself beyond the pale, there I was, beyond the pale. Then I discovered that there were other people beyond the pale with me, that there were quite as many people on the wrong side of the pale as there were on the right side of the pale and that the people on the wrong side of the pale were as complex as the people on the right side of the pale, as unhappy, as subject to time, as subject to death. So what the fuck? I said to myself in the colorful language I had learned on the wrong side of the pale. By this time I was no longer a young girl. I was mature.”

– Donald Barthelme, “Henrietta and Alexandra” Pp. 81-82 in Overnight to Many Distant Cities

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Posted by rigorousm on April 11, 2010

…it is to avoid the figurative, illustrative, and narrative character the Figure would necessarily have if it were not isolated. Painting has neither a model to represent nor a story to narrate. It thus has two possible ways of escaping the figurative: toward pure form, through abstraction; or toward the purely figural, through extraction or isolation. If the painter keeps to the Figure, if he or she opts for the second path, it will be to oppose the “figural” to the figurative. Isolating the Figure will be the primary requirement. The figurative (representation) implies the relationship of an image to other images in a composite whole that assigns a specific object to each of them. Narration is the correlate of illustration. A story always slips into, or tends to slip into, the space between two figures in order to animate the illustrated whole. Isolation is thus the simplest means, necessary though not sufficient, to break with representation, to disrupt narration, to escape illustration, to liberate the Figure: to stick to the fact.

– Gilles Deleuze, “The Round Area The Ring” p. 6 in Francis Bacon: the logic of sensation, 2004.

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image: moment of freedom

Posted by rigorousm on April 9, 2010

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news versus story-telling

Posted by rigorousm on April 6, 2010

Every morning brings us news of the globe, and yet we are poor in noteworthy stories. This is because no event any longer comes to us without already being shot through with explanation. In other words, by now almost nothing that happens benefits story-telling, almost everything benefits information. Actually, it is half the art of story-telling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it. …The most extraordinary things, marvelous things, are related with the greatest accuracy, but the psychological connection of the events is not forced on the reader. It is left up to him to interpret things the way he understands them, and thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks.

– Walter Benjamin and Harry Zohn, 1963. “The Story-Teller: Reflections on the Works of Nicolai Leskov.” Chicago Review 16(1):85.

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