Monday, July 30, 2012

It Was Plain that Every Ten-by-Ten-by-Eight Container Contained Cubes which Were Nine by Nine by Seven, and Eight by Eight by Six, and Seven by Seven by Five, and so on Down to Three by Three by Two, as Well as Many Smaller, Thinly Sided One at Every Interval in Between, so That Out of One Box a Million More Might Multiply

William Gass is eighty-eight today. From Omensetter's Luck:

All those cities, those hollow house, all those lives, those graves, the graves of hope... With a madness like the madness to bury that seizes men, a craze to cover that overcomes all of them, the cities covered themselves with sand and mud, vines, grass, lava, with noisier cities, completer ruins, further graves and further grasses. I am their proper lordship, Furber thought. My credentials make me master of the resting places. That was the way - burial to burial, shame to shame - it had always been since Adam's fig had hidden him, his sex and death together and the same, and surely that was the way it would continue. He - Furber - would be lost in a swallow of persons. The stone in the corner of his garden would not truly speak of him, the great Leviathan would have him, he'd be buried in their bodies - cover after cover coming - for that was the whole of life on the earth, our bodies for a time athwart another's middle, our lives like leaves, generation after generation lifting the level of the land, the aim of each new layer the efficient smother of the last.

  • Puke Britannia: Whatever the creators' intentions, whatever people now do to appropriate elements of this spectacle for their own agendas, the fact is that it's major achievement was to induce people to forget temporarily what a disgrace the Olympics are; how hated they are in the East End where the Olympics Green Zone has been implanted, protected by rooftop missiles that residents don't want; how poor people have been drive out of their homes as they always are when the Olympics comes to town; how much our civil liberties have already been attacked in the name of suppressing criticism of this ugly metro-plasty, as legislation and police exercises have been framed in the assumption that protest during these events is a potential terrorist plot; how preposterous it is that the 'security' for this montage of pointless exercises is being supplied by thousands of soldiers fresh from hunting shepherds in Afganistan; how fucked up it is that the major sponsors of this debacle, their names glowingly referenced all over the city's billboards, are corporations like McDonalds (which specialises in heart disease, bowel cancer and obesity), and Atos (which specialises in throwing disabled people off benefits and will no doubt have a special role in the Paralympics); and above all the fact that this is sports, pointless, boring sports, and the only reason anyone really wants to watch someone else swim forty lengths or jump over sandpits is because they're doing so on behalf of the nation.
  • Towards a revised manifesto of auto-destructive art.
  • Boyle's bicycles.
  • Magic buttplug.
  • From Kabul to Anaheim.
  • Motherfucking Obama.
  • Last kind words.
  • Changling.
  • How to become an unperson.
  • They're not gaffes.
  • Some fun from an empty suit.
  • Motherfucking cracker christers.
  • A geography of containization: The globalized geography of containerization comes with another, stranger phenomenon: the aestheticization of the container. At first, the fascination exercised by the box appeared to be zero, since it has none of the elements traditionally associated with the marine world. But an aesthetic revolution has intervened, making the container into a design object prized by artists and architects, who use it as a fixed object that can be inhabited under minimal and economical conditions. Shaped like a cabin, the box is the building block for clusters and montages of all kinds, to be used as student accommodation or hide-outs for illegal immigrants and the homeless. A matrix of intermodality, it can be fixed, immobilized and turned into a dwelling or place of refuge. As Virilio writes, the container's final role is as a terminal: "The bedroom is the ultimate box, while the high-speed terminal is just as much a container. The container is an architectural figure of the box. It becomes the interconnected locus solus.
  • Gass interview.
  • Gass interview.
  • Byrne and St Vincent. I'm told their show this Fall at Strathmore sold out in hours.
  • New Animal Collective. I really like Animal Collective, shoot me.

Gass, The Tunnel:

The other large carton unpacked in the same way - box into box - but the feeling it gave me was the opposite of that suggested by the endless nest of Russians dollies in otherwise resembled, for what I was opening was a den of spaces which now covered the floor near my feet. It was plain that every ten-by-ten-by eight container contained cubes which were nine by nine by seven, and eight by eight by six, and seven by seven by five, and so on down to three by three by two, as well as many smaller, thinly sided one at every interval in between, so that out of one box a million more might multiply, confirming Zeno's view, although at that age, with an unfurnished mind, I couldn't have known of his paradoxes let alone have been able to describe one with any succinctness. What I had discovered is that every space contains more space than the space it contains.