Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The algebra of need






Blogger Dr Anthony Donovan said...

You may well be onto something here, Anthony! Is Bill a comically-inflected Fred?! Fred was pretty funny in his own right, of course. He should've sued DC comics over that Superman business. I believe Schopenhauer invented Batman. Similar story. Philosophy never gets its due.

Do you know Derrida's 'The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond'? I suspect Derrida might be a little too French for you. But the book has some interesting ideas; ideas which, given the long-distance nature of the connections we are making here in blogland/cyberspace, are playing upon these messages despite us.

6:30 PM  
Blogger St Anthony said...

I have a cursed image of Nietzsche in blue tights ...
I go through periods of reading Derrida - yes, 'The Post Card' is very interesting, not least for the emotional content.
Being very interested (there's that word again)in Genet, I was very taken by Derrida's 'Glas'.
I also love the couple of barking mad essays he wrote about Joyce.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Dr Anthony Donovan said...

It's good to be barking mad in philosophy, I feel. That's the stuff I favour in Wittgenstein, too. I know I should be reading the tough stuff, and I know that it all has to be scientific, open to refutation like Popper said, but fuck it. Yes, The Post Card is very emtional; it has that impetus, and Derrida uses it well, methodologically well, in fact. I read it many times whilst studying long-distance communication. It's lack of technical regard for that subject was a perfect respite from the dry stuff I had to read. It's literature, of course. But like other art-forms, one can get ideas from it, which one cannot find in formal theory. Smiths albums have ideas - as one example; and the emotional and entertaining way in which those ideas are delivered adds to their force and aids reception. Similarly thing with comedy, I think: Chris Morris, Bill Hicks, Spike Milligan, Barry Cryer... Film, too, of course. It goes on.

We - artists - need to loosen up and to detatch, I feel. For myself, I'm no scientist and I'm not trying to cure cancer. For better or for worse, I like art. I know it's flawed. But it is my thing. I've spent too long trying to justify my own meanderings as if they had to be useful and auditable, like a job, instead of rarefied and pipe-dreamy! People like artists to drop key performance indicators: fancy gigs, album deals, exhibitions, etc.; things they can understand and quantify I've done such things as a matter of fact. But it wasn't those that made me happy or made me feel like an artist. I have no interest at all in the mainstream now. I know that now - as a politics; known it for the last 5 or so years, but always known it. It's all so much better now. There is no simplistic explanation: art, like the best of everything I think, should be a bit barking mad. So long as it is authentic, explorative, and moral - and not all that Turner Prize guff, which plays with a trickle-down Duchamp aesthetic, whilst keeping an eye on stocks and shares, that is. I hate all that street-wise moddish irony. They are so afraid of looking like they care. This is somewhat pithy and flawed, but, by way of illustration, I'd rather be Syd Barrett than Roger Waters. That corporate hippie might have - as our 10 year old says - 50 fafillion £s. But his leftist social realism is merely a veneer-thick cartoon-prose for other similarly over-rich champaign socialists to test their Bang and Olufsens with. It's not Kes; its that landlord and turncoat Micheal fucking Meacher. I'd rather be able to look at myself in the mirror and lie straight in bed.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Dr Anthony Donovan said...

Nietzsche in blue tights - sounds like one of those tv posts I sometimes do! Inc once said Debbie Harry in a pighead. I suppose we all harbour such collisions. I'll have to dredge my psyche for mine.

12:15 PM  
Blogger St Anthony said...

Yes, One of the reasons I like Nietzsche is his refusal to be a number cruncher ... he makes his assertions and you can take them or leave them, barking as they may be.
I always think there is art and there is the world and while art may not "matter" in the real world, it can alter the way you exist in and think about the world, and that's just as important ... I'm paraphrasing Greil Marcus, who I think was paraphrasing someone else.
Oh god, the faux irony of the YBAs and the gloating insincerity of celeb culture ... one could throw grenades ... to quote Burroughs (which I do interminably) I'm only interested in art that implies some risk on the part of the artist and the audience.

I would pay good money for Debbie Harry to don a pig's head ...

1:18 PM  
Blogger Dr Anthony Donovan said...

Marcus' 'Lipstick Traces' is a cracking yarn, as they say. Am sure you'll be familiar with it. It's full of metametametaphysical guff, but it gets one's blood going; as was surely his intention. Yeh, that old 1970s artworld preoccupation: art / life. But I agree with what you say, rarefield, occluded, and barking it might be, it still informs reality; it still has the power to improve the world. Gosh, that's Modernist idealism, I'd say. Some notional YBA would now distance her/himself, appauled; and then think, how can I change that potty thinking into a marketable idea? Keith Tyson was about all I could stomach in the last few years; Ron Mueck, too. But, yes, grenades for the rest.

Debbie might be up for it.

1:31 PM  
Blogger St Anthony said...

Yes, I had a long discussion with that reprobate Molly Bloom once vis a vis Modernism vs Postmodernism ... I came down very firmly and aggressively for the former ... Joycean irony I'm very fond of. I always say the Postmoderns offer only insincerity.

Think I've mentioned before the attraction of Marlene Dietrich in a gorilla suit ...

1:46 PM  
Blogger Dr Anthony Donovan said...

It's a mixed bag here at Cafe Abdab, Anthony; and categories are only a guide and can be misleading, of course. I do like aspects of Foucault, Barthes, Baudrillard et al; and where does one cheerfully place Debord? By the same token, though I find Greenberg interesting, I think he was a narrowminded, shortsighted bully. But I do like Modernism: all those well-meant idealistic forays, the willingness to keep it strange, the notion of self-improvement, the general idea of commitment, etc. One can see, though, how that can and has led to some pretty awful things in history. A bit of 'insecurity' - or, rather, reflection, intellectual doubt - is a good, moderating thing. A line from from - was it? - Merry Xmas Mr. Lawrence: 'we are victims of men who knew they were right'. Quite. That said, there is something equally destructive and violent about the mediocrity of our contemporary lanscape. It's not as if the killing has stopped. I don't think it's so much postmodernism as just an all-pervasive, all-colonising capitalism, mammon. I'd say it's no coincidence that todays culture tends to look like it would appeal to beancounters.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Dr Anthony Donovan said...

Marlene would be up for it, I reckon

3:34 PM  
Blogger Molly Bloom said...

Reprobate? I heard you.

9:35 PM  

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