18 August 2012

"The constitution of identity within an assemblage of (self) quotations – it had been one of Benjamin's imaginary projects, as Arendt mentions, to write a book that consisted entirely of quotations – is the historical reality of Duchamp's La Boîte en Valise.
The strategy of assembling a work from quotations seems to sign over the individual producer's acts of decision and choice, self-determination and material transformation in social interaction to a totality of inescapable predicaments: those of the discourse, those of the conditions of reception, those of the social institution within which the production and reception are historically contained. In the work's attempt to dissolve reification within the very medium and site where they are produced, in the necessity to mimetically anticipate its subjection to ideology by inscribing itself as precisely as possible into those very systems that determine its historical status, it seems to fail to maintain any claim for autonomy and rupture in favour of a complacent, melancholic and passive contingency upon the conditions of rule that it set out to disrupt. It is no mere coincidence or irony of history that Joseph Cornell, the master of that quietism, who spent a life on the perpetual repetition of that ritual entombment of quotations from a vanishing world, whose claim for historical legitimacy and demand for interacting presence were literally reduced to the box-sized space – self determination at its ultimate level of interiority – was actively involved in the assembling and production of the first edition of Marcel Duchamp's La Boîte en Valise. Yet in Duchamp's case, the box is more mundane, a traveller's item rather than a shrine of contemplation, and the quotations that it contains are strictly referring to the artist's own past and historical production, thus keeping the fetishization at bay and retaining some of its original duplicity in regard to the demand of the mythification process of culture."

—Benjamin Buchloch, The Museum Fictions of Marcel Broodthaers

10 August 2012

Rich Kids Of Instagram

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

—John Godfrey Saxe