giving out-ness suffers in the face of harsh winds.
perplexed faces on faces.
I still can't deal with this aesthetics of unreadability, ray johnson's moticos, barthes' third meaning. muteness as a cherished aspect. I always think that the natural conclusion of this is that there's mystique in the not understandable, that the understandable/conquerable is the mundane. that it's the unachievable aspect, achievement hung on the ladders of a system which holds axioms of understanding-as-dominance, comprehension-as-control. whatever these so-called forms of comprehension are is a secondary aspect to the illusion of comprehension - it's this conveniently internal-coherence conclusion of "if I think I do understand this I am understanding this" criterion to the answer of "what is understanding?" that ends up being the endpoint of this little game we toss around.
maybe it's possible to think of the shift from 'pre-modern' to 'modern' painting not primarily as a representational/optical/depthful one ala greenberg/krauss/etc but as a linguistic one, that the change is from the attitude of 'how to decipher a subject' to an examination of the question of decipherability itself, of legibility. are johns's or cy twombly's scribbles legible, but more importantly, do they lend themselves to an infinite attempt at deciphering without a clear endgoal? encapsulated here is the image of someone with a magnifying glass leaning towards the canvas, or someone hunched over a table, underlining a page. the specific moment of that leaning-towards, of the moment-about-to-grasp is one that's sustained throughout much of the initial moment of intake of what greenberg would term modernist painting, and perhaps one that continues. there's a lot that has been written about the connection between derrida's arche-writing stemming from levi-strauss's story of the patterns on the nambikwara tribe's shield. maybe what the connection between arche-writing and another eye for looking at this art is the specific motivation to decipher, the da/da sound that 'doubles back' on itself and is recognizable as a deliberate sound (in that krauss paper about surrealism). it's that doubling-back minus the doubling that is important here, perhaps. and here we come back to the third meaning and all that jazz. anyhow, what I mean is that this is what I feel like can be encapsulated as: hopeful legibility, or the possibility of decipherability as itself an aesthetic.
lately standing around I feel like it's only my own small island that's shifting, as if I'm looking below the grates but I can't really say, hey, look at that foundation underneath. I've just been hearing things thrown around on the scale of giant slabs of words supposedly self-contained that it irks me sometimes, you've got to curate your language sometimes, and so on. and yes of course it's always so but I feel like a multifaceted janus, the dodecahedron in the phantom tollbooth, flipping from side to side.
especially lately in my mind that phrase from 'theory of the avant-garde' keeps on echoing in my mind. Dialectical criticism thus stands in a relation of dependency to the criticized theory. That also means, however, that it reaches its limit where such a theory cannot validate its claim to be a theory. All that remains to it is "rejection," as Hegel called it, whereby it also renounces its own claim to being a theory, for it can oppose the nontheory only as opinion." oppose the nontheory only as opinion. is there ever a point when the question of whether something is or is not an opinion can be contested? are the bounds of opinionhood always endless? and if I end up saying "no, there are certain processes that end up being 'outside-the-realm-of-comprehensibility'", is this productive in any way?
to-morrow I will wake up and whisper to my self, "for it can oppose the nontheory only as opinion", and realize that the sea of opinions out there are always at right angles to each other, an infinite number of skewing hyperlines in hyperspace.