Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Matinique / Metternich

Poetry and Philosophy are often at odds, or if that leavening seems uneven, or too leveling, they often seem like dissimilar clans of cousins both encamped on a single windy river which can make it seem like the river is some sort of boundary over which they are warring, but which over time takes on a maternal role, an optical role, their roles seem more like ritual masks in the overarching and alchemical theater of Art, or as Peter Sloterdijk might have it, Spherology. I guess my one faint criticism of his recent Bubbles: Spheres 1 is that he has hidden an extremely well understood take on a theory of the grotesque under a structural conceit, namely, the sphere, but in doing so, Sloterdijk has actually transformed or brought new articulation into the discussion, and it is the spherological domain of that discussion as structurality that beckons me today, its quotidian mystery play.

A perhaps not so ordinary day recently, when my usual programme of day-sleeping in preparation for my 11 to 7 nightshift was disrupted by a week of training gave me the opportunity to sit down to a regular happy hour with my gallerist, and to receive a nice Christmas gift, two hand-me down sports coats which were themselves hand-me downs as gifts to my gallerist. To make a long story short, one of the coats was a thin un-lined cotton jacket of a green and blue plaid whose sewn tag said only Matinique. The jackets were formerly owned by one of the vice-presidents of the Dallas Market Center or somesuch. The odd thing was, later that weekend I was watching a film, namely Bernard Rose's Immortal Beloved, and there was a scene in which dear Louis V gets told by someone whose name I took to be Matinique, that he had been overheard saying that he ate shit or something.. It was charming in that early 19th century Angelic / Satanic rebel romantic kind of way, buh-yadda, but the man's name wasn't Matinique, It was Metternich:

But Beethoven wrote the Ninth in Vienna, the same city in which Austria’s foreign minister, Prince Klemens von Metternich, was perfecting the first modern police state at the very same time. The Enlightenment, French Revolution, and Napoleonic wars had all come and gone; the old dynastic rulers – Romanovs, Hapsburgs, Bourbons, and others – had either held onto their shaky thrones or had been reseated on thrones they had lost, and they were determined to shore up and enforce, at any cost, the time-worn concept of Divine Right.
Beethoven’s negative views on absolute rulers were well known. He had even written to his patron and pupil Archduke Rudolph, brother of the Austrian emperor, that “benefactors of humanity have not been found… in the present world of monarchs.

So in this I see a hint of, or reflection of that linguistic idea, the false cousin. False cousins or false friends (faux amis in French) are words that look very similar in two languages, but mean different things. But as a trope, the idea seems to be very friendly to my own Irronism. Irronism as a trope deals in something like the Deleuzian rhizome, but even this is not entirely correct, for it is in fact the not-perfectly resonant, not entirely ironic used as the utopian rhyme and ultimate irony, ie the structural gap as exemplar in a theory of the grotesque. Or put even more country simple, there is nothing on Earth which isn't in some way related to every other thing. If the entire universe is an accident, then nothing that happens is actually an accident, it is 'something else', an irronism, a whatness, a structurality beyond determination. Determination itself, ultimately, beyond determination in the sense of the structurality of the infinite series. I guess then, that's the kind of Romantic ferment I have been considering, and Sloterdijk's contribution has been moving along beside other things I have been looking at, for instance Nihilism. I have also been looking at Malcolm Bull's Anti-Nietzsche which has a wonderful explication and even maps of another version of the debate, the differance the history rather, of the aesthetic / philistine manifold which led me to Dmitry Pisarev, and also to Sven-Olov Wallenstein
's Nihilism, Art, Technology

—this book analyzes three philosophical responses to the question of nihilism—those of Walter Benjamin, Ernst Jünger, and Martin Heidegger—all of which are characterized by an avant-garde sensibility that looks to art as a way to counter the crisis of modernity.These responses are then brought to bear on the work of the architect Mies van der Rohe, whose “silence”—understood as a withdrawal of language, sense, and aesthetic perception—is analyzed as a key problem in the interpretation of the legacy of modernism. From this, a different understanding of nihilism, art, and technology emerges. These concepts form a field of constant modulation, which implies that the foundations of critical theory must be subjected to a historical analysis that acknowledges them as ongoing processes of construction, and that also accounts for the capacity of technologies and artistic practices to intervene in the formation of philosophical concepts.

So anyway, to bring this back to Sloterdijk and Irronism and Poetry / Art, and Microspherology, I am considering this mental object I calling Synchrospherics which naturally encapsulates Synchronicity, but moves beyond it into false time, or rather structurality, or narrative anti-narrative (irronism) as once again, an exemplary trope of the Grotesque. And the odd thing is, look at the carrier wave's symbolic or deconstruction path.

Matinique / Metternich 

The jacket is plaid, which is basically like a field of palimpsestic grids, or an interference pattern, which is closely akin to the way holography works as a well as indexicality itself, representational reality is a function of geometry as addressing, ie mapping. So then sound and visual rhyme works then as a sort of wormhole, or synchraesthesia.. So now the Irronic Synchrosphaeric Pièce de résistance, which comes out of the wikipedia article on Klemens von Metternich itself:

As a result he struggled to negotiate a satisfactory settlement with France over the future of several French forts on the River Inn, left unsettled by the Treaty of Pressburg.

AHAH! They aren't camps it seems, coorect! Institutions are forts. Forts on the River Inn.. And I am baying to an oven.. (Oviri!) (she holds a bloddy wolf-cub).. And the modulation goes on.. Today I am reading David Sweetman's bio of Paul Gauguin which has taken me to things like Bodelsen's work on Gauguin's ceramics, and this paper:

Second, I further explore the reception by his contemporaries as well as how Gauguin’s use of ceramic itself was considered “grotesque” in his artistic milieu. The paper assesses his accomplishment in representing a “new man,” brought to life by the artist’s use of the grotesque, the savage, and the primitive, themes which all served as subversive strategies of resistance against the dominant aesthetics and cultural norms of his day (Creed, 44-70; Gauguin, 1894, 51; Kristeva, 4). Finally the Oviri, 1894–95, is examined and established as the culmination of Gauguin’s interest in the grotesque in the 1890s. In this work, by the very equation of ceramic itself with a debased and abject subject, Gauguin found a new way to express the grotesque.

The grotesque as a subversive strategy is commonplace by now, but my strategy is something less well understood I think, and not necessarily subversive, but unisubversive. Look at the word Oviri. That word is an exemplar of structural anthropology. Oviri means Savage in Tahitian, but here is the grotesque mutant which Irronism spawns in the gap, O Viri! which displaces both traditional understandings of aestheticism, and philistinism, and replaces both of them with lyrical virality. But what is the structural meaning of lyrical in that sense? I would say it is something very close to Alois Riegl's Kunstwollen, which is 'difficult to translate, although "will to art" is one possibility' / another might be art's will, or rather structurality's Eigensinn, a word which I got from Hans Magnus Enzensberger:

"Eigensinn is a word that doesn't translate very well into English," Enzensberger explains while finishing off a third cup of coffee in his flat overlooking Munich's English Gardens. "It's not selfishness. It's not obstinacy. It's not intransigence. You might say it's a sense of having your own value system.

Irronism then, might best be understood, as an attempt to display the difficulty of interpreting, or rather the narrative possibilities of interpeting the hermetic 'value system' of brute (savage) materiality itself.. Eigensinn - literally; my own sense. Matter's own pigheaded will.