(Graphic guide p84)
From Aesthetics to the Abstract Machine:
Deleuze, Guattari and Contemporary Art Practice
p194 "What indeed constitutes contemporary art's political effectivity? For, I would argue, political art does not always look political and art that looks political ('speaks' its message as it were) does not always operate politically. In fact art is not politics in the typical - or molar and signifying - sense. It operates under a different logic. Such a politics, if we can still call it this, comes from this play with matter and with this production of difference."
...a notion of difference and repetition. Perhaps what is at stake within contemporary art is the repetition of previous art forms, and indeed non art forms of life from elsewhere, but a repetition with difference. A new dice throw, as perhaps Deleuze would say. This production of difference in itself involves the deployment of different temporalities, for example, a general slowing down, even a stillness, or, in other cases, an absolute acceleration (when thought leaps or pounces at a speed irreducible to the regulative movements and rhythms of the market). Indeed, time, as well as matter, becomes a material of sorts to play with in these practices. ... the different temporal experiments at the cusp of modernity/postmodernity where these different speeds were also at stake. Allan Kaprow's 'Happenings' or Carolee Schneeman's performances, for example.
... art offers us an experience that takes place 'beyond' time ... in a time of total capitalism (when lived time is increasingly colonised), the time of art becomes crucial.
p197 "At stake then are two moments in what I am calling the aesthetics of contemporary art: one of dissent (a turn from, or refusal of, the typical) and one of affirmation (of something different).
And at stake here, I think, is one's style of thought, as Deleuze might say: whether one is drawn to negation and critique or to affirmation and creativity.
P198 "We might say then that art practice can involve the production of specifically joyful affects as oppose to sad affects...
It is as well to remind ourselves here that joy is not just an ego term, that is, having simply to do with 'getting what we want', but is something more impersonal, again, more 'disinterested'. Put starkly, sadness, in Spinozist terms, is a diminishment of life; joy its increase.
Certainly the encounter with art can produce this kind of joy. Indeed, many of the practices I mentioned above have this joy-increasing effect; there is something fundamentally affirming of life and of creativity within them....
From a certain point of view we might say then that contemporary art can problematise the idea that we are purely rational beings, or that our experiences in the world can be the basis for a rational system of ethics.
p199 - ... Artists offer up new compositions of affect, new affective assemblages that are different to those we are more familiar with. It is this that differentiates art, as a specific form of thought, from mere opinion ... Indeed, art practice does not necessarily communicate anything in this sense (and, as such, does not, I think, offer any knowledge of the world AS IT IS). Art, when it really is art, operates at the very limit of our understanding, hence its always difficult (and often bothersome) character.
from Studio International, 1976, vol 191, no 979, pp24-5 (in Parker/Pollock)
"Woman's exclusion is historical, not natural. She has been absent from history because she has never given MEANINGS OF HER OWN through a LANGUAGE OF HER OWN to culture (and to herself as part of it). Instead, she has assumed those established by man (for instance she has complied with his metaphorical vision of her real self). The new meanings cannot be conveyed through an 'old' language (for instance the explicity and coherant reference to these meanings - the bad joke of filling a smelly pot with fresh water). But what is of greater importance is that they new meanings CANNOT BE AFFIRMED AT ALL through any alternative positive management of the artistic language, because these meanings refer to a scattered reality, to a subject in the negative who wants to displace the horizon, not to alter it; who wants to go through all the resources of 'NEGATIVE CAPABILITY' (Keats and Duchamp let their own feminine identity bloom quite freely). The actual creative project of woman as a subject involves BETRAYING the expressive mechanisms of culture in order to express herself through the break, within the gaps between the systematic spaces of artistic language. This is not a matter of accusation or vindication, but of TRANSGRESSION (closer to madness than to reason). The cuts and waves in the braided transparent material (Carla Accardi), the waiting needles around the curled void knitting (Marisa Merz), the absent and broken body reflected back from the other side of life (lole de Freitas), the quivering hands that 'embroider' their own shape with calligraphy and attempt to save themselves from metaphor and unreality (Ketty La Rocca), are examples, among many others, of such languages in the 'negative'. This kind of project offers the only means of objectivizing feminine existence: not a positive avant-garde subversion but a process of differentiation. Not the project of fixing meanings but of breaking them up and multiplying them."
Rosetta Brooks (In Parker/Pollock) from Studio International, 1977, vol 193 no 987, pp 208-12
P143 "Bearing in mind that it is the same economic force which ties the woman to an individual man (and transforms her into the invisible producer), it also renders her visible only in the tie to the abstraction 'man'. In this context we can assess the visibility of women-as-object-for-man as the social objectification of woman, and the woman-as-thing-in-itself as the reification of women. Woman's invisibility as subject to her image is, equivalently, the objectification within social ideology which similarly entails her reification as invisible producer."
Essays by Stuart Morgan, Frances Morris
p54 - One of the best-known images in twentieth-century art is Bourgeois's drawing 'Femme Maison'. A nude woman stands facing the viewer, but from her hips to the top of her head, her body is obscured by a house; only her arms are visible. Her right hand is waving, possibly to attract attention but more probably because she is happy. Yet for her, happiness seems equatable with domesticity. Perhaps the woman has settled for a male image of what women want, a stereotyped conception of her own life and, despite limitations we might regard as crippling, has contented herself with this. Or perhaps she is not as happy as she would like to pretend: not waving but drowning. Not surprisingly, when Lucy Lippard used the image for the cover of her book 'From the Centre', it became synonymous with the feminist cause. Yet despite her support for women's rights, Bourgeois's thinking cannot be summarised so tritely. In terms of her early sculpture, for example, made in New York to remind her of people she missed in Paris, the drawing could simply represent a type - in this case a house-proud person, with everything that implies. (In 1947, she had made a different work about the same subject: a small ink drawing of a bubble shape in which four heads nestled: those of the artist and her three children.) From the same period, which she privately termed l'epoque du mal du pays (the period of homesickness) another drawing showed two legless, torpedo-shaped figures, one struggling to escape, the other either grabbing it by the waist and doing everything possible to prevent its flight or using the companion as a means of locomotion. The result is that the combined impetus of the two has been halved. Bourgeois has often considered extremes of protection and panic, or the difficulty of negotiating a truce between freedom and dependency. Yet the general absence of bitterness or negativity in her work should always be stressed, as well as the fact that her art is neither life nor a surrogate for life but some third thing.
p39 - The red-letter days were when Gabo or Calder, and later, Mondrian, came to share nursery tea... Mondrian had made his studio opposite so very beautiful, and his company was always inspiring, as it had been in Paris when we used to visit him. After a while he really seemed to enjoy our domestic scene. His studio and Ben's were most austere, but my studio was a jumble of children, rocks, sculptures, trees, importunate flowers and washing.
2001 Fourth Estate, London
p41 "But I am not merely the chauffeur of this precious cargo; I am also its box, its container, and while my fastnesses are regulated and supervised, the manner in which I will be broken open on arrival at our destination remains shrouded in mystery.
p52 " Edith Wharton's 1905 novel 'The House of Mirth' asks the question of what a woman is if she is not a wife, a mother, a daughter. Wharton herself was none of these things. She married, a marriage of class and convenience, but lived separately, estranged, and finally on a different continent from her husband. Her parents were dead. She had no children. Her right to exist derived from her wealth, inherited and then earned by her writing. Latterly she had a large collection of lapdogs, to whom she was obsessively devoted, and she found philanthropy: living in France during the First World War, she set up refuges and schools for orphaned children."
Cusk discusses and quotes from the book - contrasting Lily Bart (the heroine) to Edith Wharton herself.
p55 "The baby is the symbol not just of Lily's exclusion from the human life-cycle, nor of the vulnerability, the helplessness that marks her life and her life's end: it is also the vision of her squandered femininity, a ghostly image of mother and child, their bodies entwined, rising from the brittle, broken shell of her useless beauty."
p90 "If parental love is the blueprint for all loves, it is also a reenactment, a revision, an investigation of self-love. When I care for my daughter I revisit my own vulnerability, my primordial helplessness. I witness that which I cannot personally remember, my early existence in this white state, this world of milk and shadows and nothingness. My survival testifies to the fact that I, too, was cared for, and yet again and again I experience images of abandonment, of lack of love, unable to stop myself from pursuing ghoulish narratives of what would happen if I left her, if I went out for the day, if I failed to pick her up when she cried or refused to feed her. Having lived for so long high up in the bickering romantic quarters of love, it is as if I were suddenly cast down to its basement, its foundations. Love is more respectable, more practical, more hardworking that I had ever suspected, but it lies close to the the power to destroy. I have never before remotely felt myself to possess that power, and I am as haunted by it as it it were a gun in a nearby drawer. My numberless ministrations, the ceaseless nurture that continues regardless of hour or modd or ability, are conducted in the very shadow of their neglect."
p94 "Motherhood for Emma Bovary [Madame Bovary - Flaubert] is an alias, an identity she occasionally assumes in her career as an adulterer."
Mavor, C (2008) Reading boyishly: Roland Barthes, J.M. Barrie, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Marcel Proust and D.W. Winnicott. Duke University Press
p5 "Ancient boys, aged children, adolescent gentlemen: I dish them up as boyish cuisine."
p13 "The madeleine is a 'woman-cake'. Madeleine holds and releases, like a Bartesian punctum (always tiny) or a Lacanian objet petit a."
p34 Barthes's nostalgia (unlike its less productive forms) is not in the service of foreclosing the future, of rejecting the possibility of productive change... I seek to rescue nostalgia, not as an innocent child but as a formidable critical tool (as more adolescent)....
I, like Cornell, want "to make nostalgia into one of the big permanent emotions you could put in a box [or between the covers of a book], like lust or greed, instead of one of the smaller disreputable ones you kept in a drawer".
p59 - In 1942, Marcel Duchamp played on modern art's inability to communicate, its absolute obscurity to all those outside [referring to string piece]
"I have seen my own boys do it: looping string inside and around a bureau drawer, up and over a bunk bed, down and through the axle of a toy truck, up and over and around the doorknob, through a box of toys and back on over to yet another handle on a bureau drawer. To open the bedroom door is to feel the tension of the domestic, the maternal tied up."
Julia Kristeva 1974
I would call 'feminine' the moment of rupture and negativity which conditions the newness of any practice.
Bracha Ettinger 1995
[de Zegher, M. C (1996) Inside the visible: an eliptical traverse of 20th century art in, of, and from the feminine. London: MIT Press]
p22 - The matrix is a feminine unconscious space of simultaneous co-emergence and co-fading of the I and the stranger that is neither fused nor rejected.
... [the] matrix is a shared borderspace ... creating relations without relating on the thresholds of being and absence, memory and oblivion, subject and object, me and the stranger, I and non-I. The metramorphic consciousness .... MORE
p78 "The non-I as subject changes me while the I changes it"
"... the metramorphosis, with-in and with-out their common borderspace..."
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