Archive for February, 2009



The hubris of the Titanic,
Meets the iceberg of fate.

The Titanic is sunk.
And tragedy is victorious.



On “the interview” in the March 2009 Art Monthly.



A review of Charlie Koolhaas’s urban photography show “True Cities” in Icon 70.



Dear Sir, In 1932 in the Ider Cafe in Berlin, on one of the evenings when I made your acquaintance and shortly before you took power, I showed you roadblocks on a map that was not just a map of geography, roadblocks against me, an act of force aimed in a certain number of directions you indicated to me. Today Hitler I lift the roadblocks I set down! The Parisians need gas! Yours, A.A. – P.S. Be it understood, dear sir, that this is hardly an invitation. It is above all a warning.

Antonin Artaud, “Letter to Hitler”



The metaphor of the derailing thread is quite interesting. The thread is a train, and the train is a thread. Either, it was going to get somewhere, or sew everything up. But it starts sewing mutantly, and spins into oblivion. The rails are to the thread what the dead are to the living. What men are to women.





For Marcel Proust. – The son of well-to-do parents who, whether from talent or weakness, engages in a so-called intellectual profession, as an artist or scholar, will have a particularly difficult time with those bearing the distasteful title of colleagues. It is not merely that his independence is envied, the seriousness of his intentions mistrusted and that he is suspected of being a secret envoy of the established powers. Such suspicions, though betraying a deep-seated resentment, would usually prove well-founded. But the real resistances lie elsewhere. The occupation with things of the mind has by now itself become ‘practical’, a business with strict divisions of labor, departments and restricted entry. The man of independent means who chooses it out of repugnance for the ignominy of earning money will not be disposed to acknowledge this fact. For this he is punished. He is not a ‘professional’, is ranked in the competitive hierarchy as a dilettante no matter how well he knows his subject, and must, if he wants to pursue a career, show himself even more resolutely blinkered then the most inveterate specialist. The urge to suspend the division of labor which, within certain limits, his economic situation enables him to satisfy, is thought particularly disreputable: it betrays a disinclination to sanction the operations imposed by society, and domineering competence permits no such idiosyncrasies. The departmentalization of mind is a means of abolishing mind where it is not ex officio, under contract. It performs this task all the more reliably since anyone who repudiates the division of labor – if only by taking pleasure in their work – makes itself vulnerable by its standards in ways inseparable from elements of his superiority. Thus is order assured: some have to play the game because they cannot otherwise live, and those who could live otherwise are kept out because they do not want to play the game. It is as if the class which the independent intellectuals have defected takes its revenge, by pressing its demands home in the very domain where the deserter seeks refuge.

Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia, p.21



Many people want to claim subalternity. They are the least interesting and the most dangerous. I mean, just by being a discriminated-against minority on the university campus, they don’t need the word ‘subaltern’. . . They should see what the mechanics of the discrimination are. They’re within the hegemonic discourse wanting a piece of the pie and not being allowed, so let them speak, use the hegemonic discourse. They should not call themselves subaltern.

Gayatri Spivak, via



Setting out to understand this city, and by extension, all contemporary cities, we treat it in terms of networked ecologies, a series of codependent systems of environmental mitigation, land-use organization, communication and service delivery. Rather than being executed in conformance with the outline of a plan, they are networked, hypercomplex systems produced by technologies, laws, political pressures, disciplinary desires, environmental constraints and a myriad other pressures, tied together with feedback mechanisms. What matters is that we do not think of these ecologies as discrete terrains, as [Reyner] Banham did, but rather as the sort of networks that artist Mark Lombardi drew – inextricable and impossible, like balls of yarn after visitations by a litter of kittens.

Kazys Varnelis, The Infrastructural City, p.15