Saturday, 25 August 2012

Notes on Archiving

The physicality, the embedding in real space, the dead weight of the book which, object that it is, is so unapologetically oblivious to the virtuality of Thought, renders the very notion of consciousness more palpable--and simultaneously, more fundamentally impossible than any virtual, digital, or more entirely visual text could do. The age of the old book, its persistence through a span of time longer than any human life; the traces of those lives, and the consciousness itself (whose impossibility is thus even more disturbingly revealed) of its age, make imminent a relationship to time and subjectivity that underpins the notion of 'existence' as such.

To hold and read such a book, with the care and delicacy and even the small risk that it entails, cradling it in one's hands as the boards stretch always a bit farther away from the spine, physiologically enacts an act of reverence, a physical recognition of the precarious thread by which the notion of humanity, not to say being, is suspended in its own void: a thread so thin as to vanish at the very moment it becomes apprehensible.

A well-directed archive is like Perseus' mirror: looking toward the past, we advance toward the future. Staring at ourselves, we approach what we intend to destroy.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Notes on Music, Living, and Writing

Polyphony: in, for instance, a piano étude the mode of interaction of two or more threads of sound—the left-hand part & the right-hand part, each forming distinct rhythmic/melodic/harmonic entities whose interaction with each other is complex and periodic—this mode of interaction and rhythm and the distinction/merging of identities might serve as a model for thinking through many things: the rhythm of a friendship, for example, two (or more) distinct ways of living, paces of living, rhythms of living, which accompany each other, dance against each other, separate and merge.

I sense an affinity between the Sonnet and the String Quartet, something I cannot put my finger on: something to do with the constraints, and restraint, against which certain kinds of richness are able to make themselves felt with particular frisson. A vehicle for condensation. Mendelssohn's 6th String Quartet reminds my nerves of sonnets by Mallarmé or Donne.