…[feminism] is not simply a struggle to end male chauvinism or a movement to ensure that women will have equal rights with men; it is a commitment to eradicating the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture on various levels—sex, race, and class to name a few—and a commitment to reorganizing U.S. society so that the self-development of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion, and material desires.
hooks, bell. Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. Boston: South End Press, 1981, p. 194–195.
Creating a new culture is not just a matter of individuals making “original” discoveries but also, and above all, of disseminating already discovered truths—of socializing them so to speak, and making them the basis of vital action and an element of coordination and intellectual and moral effort.
Antonio Gramsci. Cited in Lippard, Lucy. Overlay. New York: Pantheon, 1983. 1.
And–the map is closed, but the autonomous zone is open. Metaphorically it unfolds within the fractal dimensions invisible to the cartography of Control. And here we should introduce the concept of psychotopology (and -topography) as an alternative “science” to that of the State’s surveying and map-making and “psychic imperialism.” Only psychotopography can draw 1:1 maps of reality because only the human mind provides sufficient complexity to model the real. But a 1:1 map cannot “control” its territory because it is virtually identical with its territory. It can only be used to suggest, in a sense gesture towards, certain features. We are looking for “spaces” (geographic, social, cultural, imaginal) with potential to flower as autonomous zones–and we are looking for times in which these spaces are relatively open, either through neglect on the part of the State or because they have somehow escaped notice by the mapmakers, or for whatever reason. Psychotopology is the art of dowsing for potential TAZs.
Hakim Bey. T.A.Z. The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia. 1985.
The ones who can call themselves contemporary are only those who do not allow themselves to be blinded by the lights of the century, and so manage to get a glimpse of the shadows in those lights, of their intimate obscurity. … The contemporary is the one whose eyes are struck by the beam of darkness that comes from his own time.
In the firmament that we observe at night, the starts shine brightly, surrounded by a thick darkness. Since the number of galaxies and luminous bodies in the universe is almost infinite, the darkness that we see in the sky is something that, according to scientists demands and explanation…In an expanding universe, the most remote galaxies move away from us at a speed so great that their light is never able to reach us. What we perceive as the darkness of the heavens is this light that, though traveling toward us, cannot reach us, since the galaxies form which the light originates move away from us greater than the speed of light.
To perceive, in the darkness of the present, this light that strives to reach us but cannot—this is what it means to be contemporary.
Agamben, Giorgio. What is an Apparatus, and other essays. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009. 45-6.
There is a series of images in Robbe-Grillet’s
film, L’Immortelle. The hero searches
among weeds for a scrap of paper his lover
has pretended to write her address upon (actually
she has written nothing, crumpled it, thrown it
away). He finds the ball of paper, spreads it out,
looks at the blank page, crumples it again and
throws it away. And we see him do this over and over,
each time in different clothes, in a different light,
finding the ball of paper in a slightly different
place, but always throwing it away again
with the same gesture.
from Clark Coolidge “From Notebooks (1976-1982)” in
Palmer, Michael, ed. Code of Signals. Duration Press. PDF. 43-56. <http://www.durationpress.com/archives/code/codeofsignals.pdf>
We’re not interested in a fond place in your memories. But concrete powers are at stake. A few hundred people haphazardly determine the thought of an era. Whether they know it or not, they are at our disposal. By sending Potlatch to effectively positioned people, we can interrupt the circuit when and where we please. Some readers have been chosen arbitrarily. You have a chance to be one of them.
André-Frank Conord, Potlatch #2, June 1954.
The impulse behind my insistent concern with the triumphant achievements of science is most elemental: I believe simply that an analysis of any of man’s achievements may reveal basic principles of methodology which, properly adjusted to the immediate conditions of other problems, may lead to similar triumphs. My argument is that if such a procedure is to have any value, then it must be based on a thorough observation of the whole method, and not a tangential development of some portion of it.
Maya Deren, “An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form and Film”
Reprinted in Nichols, Bill, ed. Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001
In my own present, a thousand concerns of active business lie unattended while I write these words. The instant admits only one action while the rest of possibility lies unrealized. Actuality is the eye of the storm: it is a diamond with an infinitesimal perforation through which teh ingots and billets of present possibility are drawn into past events.
Kubler, George. The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1962. p. 18.
I am referring to a group of individuals—specifically monks—who were not able to fit into the disintegrating landscape of the Roman Empire, and who experienced themselves as strangers in a strange land. What Roman culture had discarded, these monks treated as valuable; what the culture found worthwhile, they perceived as stupid or destructive. And so, beginning in the fourth century A.D., these men took it upon themselves to preserve the treasures of Greco-Roman civilization as the lights of their own culture were rapidly fading. In Ireland, and on the Continent, they sequestered and copied the books and manuscripts that represented the greatest cultural achievements of that civilization—material that, six hundred years later, proved to be a crucial factor in the dawn of a new European culture.
Berman, Morris. The Twilight of American Culture [TWILIGHT OF AMER CULTURE] [Paperback]. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001. Print.
Passages got transcribed without any inquiry as to whether they made sense, or contradicted other authorities. … Scholarship consisted in the compilation of quotes and facts, which were not used to support arguments but, rather, to render argumentation unnecessary.
We can thus point to the [medieval] scriptoria as the loci of cultural preservation, but the copying of manuscripts was more of a manual training than an intellectual one: calligraphy rather than philosophy.
Morris Berman, The Twilight of American Culture. W. W. Norton & Co. 2000. p 80,81.