Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category



“Love,” states Lacan, “is giving something you don’t have.” Exploring the relationship between interaction and exchange, George Simmel writes: “It might seem the two concepts are dissimilar in that interaction one gives something one does not have whereas in exchange one gives only what one does have, but the distinction does not really hold. What one expends in interaction can only be one’s own energy, the transmission of one’s own substance. Conversely, exchange takes place not for the sake of an object previously possessed by another person, but rather for the sake of one’s own feelings about an object, a feeling which the other previously did not possess.

[George Simmel, “Exchange” in Individuality and Social Forms, p.44]



In 1867 Emile Zola, a young journalist, dedicated one of his articles to the upcoming inauguration of a public space. The piece is entitled “The Squares” (Les squares). It begins: “The gates to the new Parmentier square, built on the site of the former Popincourt slaughterhouse, will soon be opened to the public.” Then come two pages of sarcasm directed at the absurdity of urban landscaping, where lawns try to recall nature for consumptive city dwellers. “It looks,” he says, “like a bit of nature that did something wrong and was put in prison.” A square is not a museum, but it too is a place for soft expenditure; it is an enclave through whose gates Parisian workers escape the implacable law of work: they take the air (regenerating their lungs just as do the museum visitors observed by Bataille). For lack of an animal they kill time. Today’s cultural reconversion of slaughterhouses, the transformation of a harsh expenditure into a mild one is, therefore, not an absolutely novel phenomenon. This event is programmed in the logic of the modernization of urban space. It has not changed since Haussmann: the Popincourt slaughterhouses, like all slaughterhouses in the various districts of Paris in the Second Empire, were swept along in the concentration of the alimentary track of the city that culminated with the simultaneous creation of the central market of Les Halles and the slaughterhouses at la Villette. The small neighborhood slaughterhouses were recycled into green spaces, urban parks, just as the central slaughterhouses of la Villette are being recycled, a century later, into a park of science and industry. Thanks to this conversion a kinder and gentler expenditure takes the place of a dirty one, and the visitor takes over for the worker. Doing in the slaughterhouses makes room for educational parks, spaces where workers on holiday see demonstrated the meaning of their work.

Denis Hollier, Representations, No. 28, Special Issue: Essays in Memory of Joel Fineman (Autumn, 1989), p.82

“Zola descends into the sewer to bathe in it, I to cleanse it.” — Henrik Ibsen


Dennis Porter: “A face in close-up is what before the age of film only a lover or a mother ever saw.”


Constance Penley: “The Totally Tasteless range of videos harken back to porn’s earliest roots in the circus sideshow, the freakshow… like the circus sideshow the attraction for the viewer isn’t necessarily an erotic one, but it’s one that offers us the chance to be disgusted, it offers us the chance to be frightened, it offers us the chance to have worries about our own bodies. It’s a celebration of corporeality in all of its aspect. It’s not just the sexualized, eroticized body, it’s also the body that farts, and pisses, and shits.”


“Every advance in technology has had the effect of isolating consumers of culture from one another: Movies took us away from live actors, video took us away from other filmgoers, and now iThings are depriving us even of our fellow couch potatoes.”



“I believe firstly that the cinema is too rich. It is obese. It has reached its limits, its maximum. With the first movement of widening which it will outline, the cinema will burst! Under the blow of a congestion, this greased pig will tear into a thousand pieces. I announce the destruction of the cinema, the first apocalyptic sign of disjunction, of rupture, of this corpulent and bloated organisation which calls itself film.”

1Isidore Isou, Traité de Bave et d’Éternité (1955)


“I thus discovered what one calls in philosophy the phemenological epokhe – the suspension of the world, of the thesis of the world, that is, of the spontaenous belief in the existence of the world, which constitutes in Husserl’s language the natural attitude – what I previously called ordinary life. I discovered this philosophical theory and practice by chance and by accident, long before studying it in the works of Husserl: I deduced it from the situation, I practiced it, in a way, empirically and savagely.

Acting Out, p. 22


“I thought my ideas were so clear. I wanted to make an honest film. No lies whatsoever. I thought I had something so simple to say. Something useful to everybody. A film that could help bury forever all those dead things we carry within ourselves. Instead, I’m the one without the courage to bury anything at all. When did I go wrong? I really have nothing to say, but I want to say it all the same.”


“What is this, ‘Password’?” Mazilli tossed his match on the tablecloth. “You want to know what I believe in? I believe in punishment, I believe in fear, and I believe in revenge.”

Clockers, p.95



What could be more luminous than a space traversed with messages? Look at the sky, even right here above us. It’s traversed by planes, satellites, electromagnetic waves from television, radio, fax, electronic mail. The world we are immersed in is a space-time of communication. Why shouldn’t I call it angel space, since this means the messengers, the systems of mailmen, of transmissions in the act of passing or the space through which they pass? Do you know, for example, that at every moment there are at least a million people on flights through the sky, as though immobile or suspended—nonvariables with variations? Indeed, we live in the century of angels.