the rigorous m

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jstor on grief

Posted by rigorousm on May 11, 2017

There are many models of grief, from Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), to Kries and Pattie’s three stages (shock, suffering and recovery), to Parkes’ four stages (numbness, pining, depression, recovery). All share the idea of refusal to accept the reality of the loss, a sense that what has been taken is rightfully yours and needs to be returned. Parkes in particular describes “an urge to search for and find the lost person.” (Indeed, as James Dean notes, “bereavement” comes from the Old English, meaning “robbed.”)

Yet, essential to moving on is passing through that stage. Bill Flatt defines detachment as one of the key stages in processing grief; that is, “One needs to become more detached from the deceased. This does not mean less love, but it does mean less preoccupation with the deceased.”

“Grief? There’s an App for That.,” Farah Mohammed for Jstor Daily


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brady on paranoia and storytelling

Posted by rigorousm on May 10, 2017

Clocks are built: clocks have a purpose, and when they break, they can be repaired. A life is not so simple, and neither is a town. Every story hides three more, and each of those stories cover over a dozen others. Stories may be like clocks, but lives are like time: they vary depending on how you look at them, and can be measured in any number of wildly different ways, each uniquely true and utterly irreconcilable. A clock takes the vast infinity of time and makes it into a simple continuum of numbers. Like a clock, a story is a machine for excluding everything that isn’t part of it.

Paranoia is knowing a little bit about that process of exclusion, about the way that stories are composed by leaving things out.

“Airbrushing Shittown” by Aaron Brady for Hazlitt

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tolentino and albert on ambition

Posted by rigorousm on April 6, 2017

To Albert, ambition is a quality that arises organically from both vanity and a genuine wish to do good work; it’s also something she regards as alien and horrific. “So you got what you wanted and now you want something else,” she writes. “You probably worked really hard; I salute you . . . . But if you have ever spent any time around seriously ambitious people, you know that they are very often some of the unhappiest crazies alive, forever rooting around for more, having a hard time breathing and eating and sleeping, forever trying to cover some hysterical imagined nakedness.”


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Surrealist Joyce Mansour on romantic waiting

Posted by rigorousm on February 1, 2017

Joyce Mansour, “Practical Advice for Waiting,” trans. Myrna Bell Rochester, originally published in BIEF.

The constant retouching of your face paint, the care of an ever-ready body, all the errands necessary for dressing well, all this confers feminine dignity upon you, but to be a woman, it’s not enough to be beautiful, you must also know how to wait.

To know how to wait under a sunshade, nervously, jealously, unruffled by fatigue, for the arrival of an old Turk, a messenger from another world, for the sword thrust of a gullible man or the jeers of a passerby. Enslaved by circumstances, to wait, without vanity, uncalculatingly and available, for the whim of the marketplace; to wait, without pleasure, for routine or for chance.

Learn how to wait while staying pretty, relaxed, spotless… despite the draining away of hours more elastic than your corset (wear it all the time: it keeps anxiety from settling between your ribs and your sympathetic nerve, thus speeding up the disappearance of your true face). You must learn to deceive your boredom. Wait without looking like you’re waiting and watch out for signs of aging! Waiting will wear out your nerves all the more if the curtain lets the sunset’s rays pass through.

Wait in a train station if you’re attracted by foreign men, but learn to predict and check for mechanical breakdowns; become an experienced conductor, a clever knitting machine, a switching technician (and all that in six sessions thanks to the new practical training program “Introduction to Locomotivity”) before crossing swords with chance. If your stockings aren’t best quality, sleep anywhere else but on the tracks; everyone knows about the force of mimesis (statistics prove it: beautiful features lead to exclamation points, pen-pushers, rotten tomatoes, etc.). Despite all that, don’t lie down on the tracks; the train can stop without your help, it already knows how to; you don’t.

Be bright, colored with sincere happiness (choose your colors with the sam skill you use to choose your hebdromadary personality), always have a cup of coffee within reach; don’t forget, for men it’s always coffee time.

If you await in a restaurant: This is a rendezvous you should dispense with. Be elsewhere. A starving man is better shielded than a blockhouse.

If you need to wait at City Hall? At home? Are you over twenty-one? Suitable for marriage? Maid for marriage? If not, wait until you are before considering marriage.

Don’t wait in the street: Actual little hooligans will drag you off far from today and then where will the beautiful finery of your defects end up?

Wait for him at the heart of the struggle among the scorched leaves and the caramel-colored vapors of your discriminations. Hide your voracity under a semilunar smile (can be obtained in the following sizes: 42, 43, 44) and above all, sport a chilly bosom; you must prevent your partner from being unsatisfied, this state commingles values and embitters the character. Be certain of its cause. Adopt an attitude radically different from the one you usually take in bed. Be as glossy as a widow with rigid morals. Isolated and sulky. And console yourself if you don’t know how to begin waiting; women who don’t know how to be faithful can be practical, but in this case you’d better hurry; tickets are scarce and behind the broom, implacable death is taking shape.

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surrealist mary low

Posted by rigorousm on February 1, 2017

The love-ideal of the man of today consists in the feminine type of woman. We shall begin by analyzing this conception to discover its reason for being, since an ideal (like any concept) is only a lens that the epoch lends humankind to look at things. The first thing we notice is that femininity is not feminine. The feminine type is a type obtained by men at the price of making women all but useless, and as soon as the latter emerge from “the functions proper to their sex” to become doctors or chauffeurs, they cease to personify the feminine ideal. But the household duties “proper to their sex” are not such: they are merely secondary and restricted functions that have been determined, not by the sex of the women, but by the political discrimination of which women are the objects. The feminine ideal does not correspond to the intellectual possibilities of women. It is a denial of them. The submissive housewife, resigned, obedient, monogamous, is not the ideal of a woman, but an ideal slave.

“Women and love through private property” reprinted in Surrealist Women anthology 143.

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rose on the hysterial feminine in literature

Posted by rigorousm on January 23, 2017

The hysterical feminine can be found in:

Writing where the passage of the body through language is too insistently present; it is writing in which a body, normally ordered by the proprieties of language and sexual identity gets too close…. Its body can be called feminine to the precise degree that it flouts the rigidity (the masculinity) of the requisite forms of literary cohesion and control.

— Jacqueline Rose 1991, pp 27-28, quoted p 91 of Betterton, Rosemary. “An Intimate Distance: women, artists and the body.” Routledge 1996.

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de Zegher on Hartoum’s dirt and disorder

Posted by rigorousm on November 22, 2016

“The work horrifies some, who avoid contact with Hatoum’s bodily rejects as if they threaten defilement. A stray hair on a shirt or a dress or a coat is instantly brushed away. While connoting beauty and identity, the most delicate, eroticized and last of human materials is also considered unclean, as ‘matter out of place.’ To quote Mary Douglas… ‘dirt is essentially disorder; there is no such thing as absolute dirt: it exists in the eye of the beholder.’ This approach implies two conditions: ‘a set of ordered relations and a contravention of that order. Dirt then, is never a unique, isolated event. Where there is dirt there is system. Dirt is the by-product of a systematic ordering and classification of matter, in so far as ordering involves rejecting inappropriate elements.’ Leading us directly into symbolic systems of purity– and consequently towards issues of power and oppression– Hatoum’s work is a complex reflection on bodily pollution, involving the relation of order to disorder, being to non-being, form to formlessness, life to death. … the screened yet excessive presence of an absent, dispersed body.”

Catherine de Zegher, “Hatoum’s Recollection: About Losing and Being Lost,” 88-107 in Mona Hatoum.p 93.

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On museums

Posted by rigorousm on November 20, 2016

The idea is that of immobilizing the presumed totality of the world in a finite space. The totality is imprisoned in the drawer where the flux of time remains frozen. Accumulation has as its correlative the infinitely small– miniaturization. [In response to our current trend toward specialization of knowledge] we perhaps need to ask how such setting, aimed at containing the entire world in a single place, can so pique our interest….

Georges Teyssot and Jessica Levine, “”The Simple Day and the Light of the Sun”: Light and Shadows in the Museum.“ Assemblage 12, 1990. pp58-83. p 66.

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on costume

Posted by rigorousm on November 20, 2016

The right costume makes one want to kill. It shifts the body’s weight and so alters its opinions. It is a way of hiding. It gives us freedom from ourselves, just as jail frees the prisoner from life […] [Lars] was austere by nature, and here he was lost in the luxuries of death. Few men can swagger naked. They need the weight of steel boots.

People of the Book, David Stacton. LARB review.

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Arets on architectural realization

Posted by rigorousm on November 20, 2016

Architecture is a desire for purity, a striving for perfection. Its principal colour is white. White marks a process in which the undecidable is respected and in which, for a short time, it is neither a question of meaningful or meaningless.
… Architecture is virginal. Its entire logic is a logic of the maidenhead: it risks something that is only of short duration. It appears only to disappear. … It presents us with its freshness and untaintedness, but only briefly, for it will lose those properties precisely by offering them to us.
Architecture is therefore a between, a membrane, an alabaster skin, a thing that is at once opaque and transparent, meaningful and meaningless, real and unreal. To become itself, architecture must lose its innocence; it must accept a violent transgression of its existence. It can only become part of the world by entering into marriage with its surroundings.Therefore architecture is not only virginal but violent too, and its violence once again has two sides. On one side it is violent because it resists having to be the victim of its surroundings and on the other it can influence those surroundings and bend them to its will. Marriage has lent it cunning

“An alabaster skin,” Wiel Arets.

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