This was 15 years, 10 months, 4 days ago

How many times have I logged onto this website so late, just to start an entry with the current time? Flipping through the archives I notice a slew of entries written in the dead of night, as if the sieve of late night + residual words on my fingers necessitates writing something light and small on to this website.

I'm writing a paper about an piece of art without depth, that stops short and exists as spectacle, does not permit entrance. In the face of this wall I am forced to turn in circles, negate this work of art, act as negative critique. I don't like this negativity. This is why this paper has been taking so long.

What I would rather be talking about: how do we deal with the fact that papers are by definition coherent and structured? Barthes's death of the author is legitimized by the fact that language is always a social construct, like when Derrida says "there is no outside-the-text" he means that everything is always understood in a signifier-signified relation and so therefore a movement outside of this relation is impossible. In the face of this linguistic definition for the negation of the artist's intention and the birth of the reader, what is then the purpose of a paper that then either falls into 1) ultimate coherence and becomes a proposal of 'correctly applicable' theory, or 2) functions as an ultimately individual and personal viewpoint? The former would be somewhat like Northrop Frye's notion of a Shakespearean green world, in which a plot device operates with certain functions across several works by the same author and so expands our personal understanding of the author in terms of his structuring of 'what has happened' and 'what this plot point does' - an objective scrutiny of these operations. The latter would be like Barthes's definition of the photographic punctum that illuminates just the individual point within the photograph that resounds emotionally and personally with the single viewer him/herself. In the midst of this, how am I ever comfortably supposed to write a coherent, thesis-laden essay about the operation of the punctum -- wouldn't this be a contradiction in terms, trying to objectify the operation of the subjective?

or maybe what I'm missing probably is that an operation of subjectivity is possibly objective, the same way that I can choose on an irrational and faithful basis to be rational ('I don't know why, but I believe that I should be rational'), so this isn't quite exclusive. rationality chosen with an irrational meta-methodology, the same way that democracy is erected on a 'pre-political' or meta-political non-democratic selection process ('who gets to decide the people who get the right to vote?'). Perhaps a scrutiny of this pre-democracy is separate from a critique of democracy itself.

or is it?

how can I ever move beyond the dangers of canonization, of a formation of canonized llterature/art/music? Isn't the notion of marginalization the complement of canonization?

how does one deal with writing about art that was brought into a canon more or less because of the intersection of factors -- aesthetic appeal, art-historical appeal, popularity, financial viability -- several which seem completely arbitrary to the 'merit' of the piece?

to offset this all:

His feet marched in sudden proud rhythm over the sand furrows, along by the boulders of the south wall. He stared at them proudly, piled stone mammoth skulls. Gold light on sea, on sand, on boulders. The sun is there, the slender trees, the lemon houses.

Paris rawly waking, crude sunlight on her lemon streets. Moist pith of farls of bread, the froggreen wormwood, her matin incense, court the air. Belluomo rises from the bed of his wife's lover's wife, the kerchiefed housewife is astir, a saucer of acetic acid in her hand. In Rodot's Yvonne and Madeleine newmake their tumbled beauties, shattering with gold teeth chaussons of pastry, their mouths yellowed with the pus of flan breton. Faces of Paris men go by, their wellpleased pleasers, curled conquistadores.

James Joyce, Ulysses