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Showing posts from September 22, 2013

public sanity, private insanity

I’m working on a job at the moment, translating a lecture by Didi-Huberman on Aby Warburg. Warburg fascinates me. He tempts my romantic side, my Gnostic side. Warburg was the son of a very rich banker who decided to go into anthropology and art history – who traveled to Taos in the 1890s to observe Pueblo rituals and who traveled to Florence in the 1900s to study Renaissance art. Already his work is disturbed by a strange spirit, a spirit that drove him into a five year stay in the insane asylum in the 1920s. He hallucinated that bits of the flesh of his family were mixed in among his food. And he also hallucinated that the Jews were going to be annihilated. Yes, among the flotsam and jetsam of symptoms, there was that one, that prophetic craziness, spilling out in his sessions with Dr. Binswanger. And I think that there is something about the voice of the most sane, our governors, about how they speak and think, that one has to go a bit crazy to hear. For it is something that isn’t sa

santa monica

The psychogeographer who comes aground in Santa Monica may be shown the ocean – it’s a mighty fine ocean – and the famous pier – it’s an awfully crowded pier – and perhaps 3 rd street, an outdoor street mall on European lines, if, that is, Mickey Mouse had designed Europe. But the guide is unlikely to take him to Main street and point out an office building that looks as bland and as soulless as any other office building. Which is a shame, because the psychogeographer, if he is any good, must have felt his fingers burning since he came ashore. Goethe said he wrote the Sorrows of Young Werther with burning fingers, for its only with burning fingers that one can catch hold of the signs and wonders of the age. And as psychogeography is all about intersigns, omens, Gnostic connections, this bland building in a sense towers over the city. Because this is the headquarters of Rand corporation – research and development corporation – that was founded by the Air Force almost in the flicke