Archive for May, 2006

Der Prozeß – K.?

Posted in Bits and pieces, Books, Comments, Daily life, On Movies on May 19, 2006 by Pedro

Orson Welles, the scene where K. runs from the Judiciary department, light shining through the fence and laughing children onto his desperate running face. Remarkable things about both K. and Welles. I renember sitting at the cinema while a class from the nearby law school (have in mind, one of the most important in Brazil) slept or talked through the old and black'n white picture. Why? Later a friend (we had watched it together) retold the event to his International Law professor.

[Digression – a great teacher]

His reply:

"That [The Trial] is what they [law students] will become"

Amazing. The man with a simple phrase justified the whole existence of the movie. Not that it needs to be justified. It is a great movie anyway. Renembering made me want to write about Kafka. So I do.

[Digression – then I reminded myself of an most important fact: I can't write! Well I can, but I would commit an indecency by writing something on Kafka. Or any other writer]

Totalitarian logic and bureaucracy. Man's refusal to accept his own lawless humanity. I read this somewhere. I don't know if I agree. Not yet. But it seems possible. I recommend. Both movie and book.


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Posted in Books, Quotes on May 17, 2006 by Pedro



Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he had
done nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested.


Posted in Bits and pieces, Comments, Daily life on May 15, 2006 by Pedro

Liberty disorder. LO. Some laughs over this, but a great blog on the net: Anarchia. Our modern democracies appear to be doomed: the existentialist vaccum of the middle-class will eventually open it's doors to totalitarism. The forceful orientation of the masses through ideology, the melting of individualities into a great collective, oriented toward one goal, be it the evolution of mankind or history. The World as Will and Representation. Through FEAR (War on Terror and terrorism itself [both the jihad and the crusade]) and IDEOLOGY (populism, nationalism, radical Zionism) we are being led to new totalitarian nations, commanding vast ammounts of directed populi-power (totalitarism seems to quite effective at this). I don't know. I prefer not to talk of the subject as I tend to leave analysys and become prophetical. I only ask of people to accept the possibility of failure. Whenever anything is stated it can be wrong. Logic might be flawed. Practical example: 'it's common sense'.

Common sense is bullshit.

It's an axiom, a revealed truth. It denotes a set of values which can never be true for all people affected by it. Yet daily one uses it to justify himself. All that exists is the clash of desires over common existence. Common sense cannot be the judge of this. Common sense cannot accept the possibility of both parties being right over the same matter, neither can logic.

I should stop here.

I am a Doctor not an activist Jim!

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Posted in Art, Bits and pieces, Quotes on May 14, 2006 by Pedro


Documenta 12 has three leitmotifs. It is no accident that they take the form of questions. After all, we create an exhibition in order to find something out. Here and there, these motifs may correspond, overlap, or disintegrate – like a musical score.

 Is Modernity our Antiquity?

This is the first question. It is fairly obvious that modernity, or modernity’s fate, exerts a profound influence on contemporary artists. Part of that attraction may stem from the fact that no one really knows if modernity is dead or alive. It seems to be in ruins after the totalitarian catastrophes of the 20th century (the very same catastrophes to which it somehow gave rise). It seems utterly compromised by the brutally partial application of its universal demands (liberté, égalité, fraternité) or by the simple fact that modernity and coloniality went, and probably still go, hand in hand. Still, people’s imaginations are full of modernity’s visions and forms (and I mean not only Bauhaus but also arch-modernist mind-sets transformed into contemporary catchwords like “identity” or “culture”). In short, it seems that we are both outside and inside modernity, both repelled by its deadly violence and seduced by its most immodest aspiration or potential: that there might, after all, be a common planetary horizon for all the living and the dead.

What is bare life?

This second question underscores the sheer vulnerability and complete exposure of being. Bare life deals with that part of our existence from which no measure of security will ever protect us. But as in sexuality, absolute exposure is intricately connected with infinite pleasure. There is an apocalyptic and obviously political dimension to bare life (brought out by torture and the concentration camp). There is, however, also a lyrical or even ecstatic dimension to it – a freedom for new and unexpected possibilities (in human relations as well as in our relationship to nature or, more generally, the world in which we live). Here and there, art dissolves the radical separation between painful subjection and joyous liberation. But what does that mean for its audiences?

The final question concerns education: What is to be done? – Artists educate themselves by working through form and subject matter; audiences educate themselves by experiencing things aesthetically. How to mediate the particular content or shape of those things without sacrificing their particularity is one of the great challenges of an exhibition like documenta. But there is more to it than that. The global complex of cultural translation that seems to be somehow embedded in art and its mediation sets the stage for a potentially all-inclusive public debate (Bildung, the German term for education, also means “generation” or “constitution,” as when one speaks of generating or constituting a public sphere). Today, education seems to offer one viable alternative to the devil (didacticism, academia) and the deep blue sea (commodity fetishism).

Roger M. Buergel, December 2005

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Beuys II

Posted in Quotes on May 7, 2006 by Pedro


Beuys II

But if the concept of art becomes anthropological it is totalized and really does refer to human creativity, to human work and not simply the work of artists. Why anyway should the term art refer to the work of painters and sculptors? That is simply a restriction that never existed before.


Back On!

Posted in Comments, On Movies, Web-stuff on May 7, 2006 by Pedro

Good news on the way: the Minimalist Radio is back on with a new playlist. From what I've seen it came with a greater range of composers. The long down-time made me wonder through the net craving for new songs. I found many things along the way, some good, some bad. But nothing replaces this one of a kind net-radio. It's amazing. I want to congratulate and thank Richard Ellwood for this wonderful experience. To all my readers (if I still [if I ever had] have any): tune in. Join the chorus of listeners and discuss this radio through the new website.

Thank you Richard Ellwood.

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