Ways of dealing with vertigo:
Feature, Zone, Function
Eduardo García Nieto
(From the catalogue Sweet Illness, published in València by the Diputació de València, Sala Parpalló, 2009)
“I’m looking for an answer,
me and a million others.
Polly Jean Harvey, “Cracks in the Canvas”
“And yet when the term arrives in the vocabulary of Western philosophy, criticism involves probing
into the limits of consciousness, that is, into what is precisely impossible to affirm or grasp.”
Giorgio Agamben, Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture
Commencements always show us there has already been a beginning, that the journey started a long time ago, and that the footsteps, which have been wandering aimlessly, are leading us towards no known destination. Even if we find ourselves once again facing ourselves, we can only think that this flimsy déjà vu has changed, that it is not the same, and we will againroam unconsciously, lost in the crust of words and things, always unaware of their meaning.
But the journey continues, striving to scratch these surfaces to try and catch them, trap them, despite knowing that the minute we think we have succeeded, our stained hands only turn up empty palms. Perhaps our skin caressed the meaning and managed to feel safe and sound, or perhaps this contact debilitated it even more, bringing it to the brink of vertigo and the dissatisfaction of desire.
Back and forth, our eternal movement can only be a quest that will not reveal its secrets to us. The meaning will always escape, unaware of the nets we draw to capture it. There are few tools, our thinking is gauche when we make it solid, when we reduce it to a form, a stroke, a word1. However much we try to mark its nuances or turn it into something light, we will feel its weight, a word that thrusts forward however much we add, superpose, correct or erase, a force that will make us fall, attracting the rest, drawing it all towards the domain of uncertainty.
But these restraints do not hold us back; we investigate with the little we have and rely on others, on what they can offer us; we seek to explain ourselves in their words, their lines, in their forms, identifying the places we feel are our own. Speaking of others in the awareness that we shall never be able to get rid of ourselves and that our words will prevent us from abandoning our bodies and our thoughts.
Moises Mahiques’ work is a force striving to find its space, to understand the world that he has not chosen. My word is an attempt to understand another’s place knowing that it can never be too far away from my own, rebelling against that impossibility and seeking the common spaces in which to start the struggle.
Where the event dealt with
“Foi melhor assim
Quando dei por mim
Já estaba aquí e agora”
Marisa Monte, “Aconteceu”
The course of things makes them happen, although at times we play at provoking them, striving to make them rush in, explode, occur. We naively believe that their appearance can explain the fact, the action. We even repeat them, turning them into rituals that bring us close to that sphere of the sacred –because it is intangible– that is meaning.
Moisés Mahiques’ last three series, Sex Happening Location, Violence Happening Location and Disaster Happening Location, have several elements in common, one of which is the happening, something that occurs, an event. If we take occurrence, we find something that takes place2 and that taking place remains suspended like an echo that comes back persistently. Happen, take place… our cultural baggage reminds us of some art forms initiated in the nineteen sixties: happenings.
In an essay of 1962, Susan Sontag defines happenings as something that “has no plot, although it does have action or, better still, a series of actions and events”3. A few paragraphs below, this definition clashes with reality and the same author says that at that time there were “divergent conceptions; no statement about what happenings are as a genre would be acceptable to all those who were currently making them”4. The main problem with a definition of this kind of artistic proposal may be that it attempts to define the event, what occurs. The fact that it is impossible to define may indeed be one of the attractive things about continuing to produce these manifestations and what drew their pioneers to them.
Allan Kaprow, one of the first artists to use this means of expression, saw it as an evolution of painting. In Moisés’ case, the importance of the happening does not reside in the fact that he has worked with this sort of proposal or that, unlike Kaprow, it isthe happening that has led himto painting. The value of the happening in his work resides in his static search for the event, in waiting for what is going to happen. But this concern about what is going to happen does not only affect the moment it takes place but the place it occurs and how that affects the individuals that experience it.
Thus we see that the event can wait and conserve its inevitability. There is nothing to make us think that the representation is going to take place; we find ourselves in an uncomfortable present, not knowing whether what had to happen has already happened or not. A circle that absorbs us and whose vortex is us5.
Where places are defined
“Chick watched something attentively outside the window. Suddenly he stood up and,
taking a measuring tape out of his pocket, went and measured the window sash.
‘I have the impression this is changing,’ he said.
‘How can it?’ asked Colin indifferently.
‘It’s getting smaller and so is the room,’ said Chick
‘But can’t you see that’s not possible?’ said Colin. ‘It doesn’t make sense.’
Chick did not reply. He took out a notebook and pencil and started writing down numbers.”
Boris Vian, Foam of the Daze
If we follow the course through the elements these three series have in common, we shall find that, as well as happening, the second component that is repeated is the place: location, but this “space” is packed with ambiguities and nuances. Not only because of the way they are represented or eluded –nondescript white backgrounds, places that could be anywhere or nowhere– but the ambiguity of the term location. A location is not only a certain place, a position in space, but also an exterior for filming a picture, a mise-en-scène that includes every detail, from the scenery to the actors who are taking part.
So the definition of the place is based on its capacity to abscond, to escape, a space in flight that denotes one of the features of our social network. The contemporary world is defined by its own spatial vagueness, its connections and nodes which does not imply that circulation is identical between all the points, but that there is a vision of existence that “is experienced less as life that takes place over time than a network that connects points and weaves their mesh”6.
One of the questions about the existence of the human race was related to the place we were going, but the problem no longer resides in the destination, but in the emplacement. Our preoccupation today is not “where to go,” the problem is “where we are,” which is our location7. Moisés Mahiques describes this localisation as a disappearance, offering us a space that is beyond non-places, for these are transitory and familiar in their very neutrality. The artist confronts us with the vacuum showing up our lack of references, of things to hold on to. Even the objects that could remind us of an architecture are suspended. His site-specific pieces serve to show the meaninglessness of these spaces, their lack of “place”. The figures rotate and hang in zones that do not belong to them, where they cannot remain. Even his interventions in urban settings do not fail to show us that any emplacement is a possible setting and therefore interchangeable. A mutation that drags us from one place to another and strips them of their specificity.
We can almost affirm that the “taking place” could happen anywhere and does not “have” to occur. So we continue floating in the moment, while we assume that the spaces that the artist offers us are heterotopias, places where “traditional time has been absolutely broken away from”8. In these places the only thing that can be (re)presented is the openings and exclusions inherent in these enclosures and how they are framed in the possibility of multiplying limitlessly to infinity.
Where time seeks a definition
“Life repeats itself to recover in its fall, as though holding its breath in an instantaneous apprehension
of its origin; but repetition of life in itself would be hopeless without the simulacrum of the artist, who,
as this spectacle is repeated, manages to escape from repetition himself.”
Pierre Klossowki, Such a Deathly Desire
Heterotopias were defined as spaces where a rift that had been produced in the linear order of time. If this rift exists, perhaps we should ask ourselves how we should understand this new invention. One of the ideas that emerge as an alternative is the concept of eternal return. Put into words by Nietzsche, this idea, new in Western culture, was already common in civilisations that conceived the passage of time in a very different way from our linear storytelling. As opposed to the Platonic curve related with progress, Nietzsche suggested a succession of moments in a circle.
One of the criticisms, or commentaries, on this statement was presented by Walter Benjamin, who said, “The idea of eternal return emerged when the bourgeoisie no longer darer to confront the imminent development of the productive order that it had implemented.9” Benjamin does not completely reject the vision of time formulated as eternal return, but explains the reasons it appeared and reinterprets it in viewing the present as an echo of the past, where the future is condemned to yield to the filter we apply to History.
We may wonder in which ambits this vision of circular echoes would materialise and this issue would bring us back to the image. Giorgio Agamben claims that eternal return is inherent in representation or, more specifically, in dialectical image10. That is to say, we have a sort of image trapped in that circular course, but at the same time anchored in the past or rather in the light it shines on the past11. But this relationship with the past must not be understood as melancholy self-absorption, but that instant where the dream of modernity is conscious that it has not been able to shake off its cultural baggage and its thrust forward is made with too solid a load12. The moment is therefore suspended and becomes an echo of itself, a repetition that no longer lets us see the object or its action. We can only perceive a throb and a flash that blinds us and prevents us from grasping the representation.
Therefore the image is its power, an immanence that leads to its extinction, its death, since the representation becomes congealed, wrapped in the vertigo of itself, encapsulated in that simultaneous circular time where its origin and end are understood.
The work of Moisés Mahiques is enclosed in that moment, that frozen course, so its spaces are places of rupture and closure of time and his videos impose upon us another way of losing ourselves in that instant that has stopped running away. The inhabitants of these places must live between torsion and escape, unaware of the present they live in because they are suspended both in the past and in the future. Bodies with no past are bodies with no memory, like dialectical images, which have no memories either because they themselves are memory13.
Where masks fall off and what they reveal
“[…] he is taking away my face.
I had the impression that he was erasing his features: vacant, a face made only of flesh. […]
How was he to recover what had been his? His individuality?”
Clarice Lispector, “He absorbed me”, The Stations of the Body
We have observed the stage scenery and seen how the acts are going to succeed each other in this performance. We still have to introduce the actors, say what we can about them and what we can say about ourselves.
The people who appear in Moisés Mahiques’ works, as he has said himself, are masks; both for their etymological revision of the word and the fact that they are outlines, silhouettes we can see through, which show us a void or a fragment of an object, a product that will always remind us of the consumer society. The characters represented are not alien to this nature; they are also fruit and product of this very society.
This may well turn them into disturbing beings, attempting to find their place in a representation of which they are not the authors. Their bodies are alien to the sphere assigned to them while they are trying to occupy their own space. But how can we decide what is ours when we are not sure our own desires belong to us. The administered world we live in facilitates the delegation of our actions and decisions and, in exchange, spreads out a safety net so that the jump will never be fatal, in order to break the fall every time. And while we let these nets save us, we allow them to confine and smother us, refusing to relinquish our role so as not to produce a crack in the symbolic order of social issues.
Every individual thus turns into a social construct and a reflection of the world14. The artist only needs to portray those voiceless individuals, those beings with no identity that reprimand us, denouncing that this world is a space of appearances without contents, of simulacra and reflections that presents no handholds or references beyond its own husk and surface. The ego we are building is becoming more and more debilitated, uneasy and mutable in a society that changes before even assimilating the previous transformation. How can we (re)present ourselves to others then?
Where the topic of representations is addressed
The reflections above attempted to contextualise the work of Moisés Mahiques, to speak of where it takes place, how it takes place and who takes part in it. That is, to relate the moment and place where Sex Happening Location, Violence Happening Location and Disaster Happening Location occur. These series show that the relationship between them is not limited to their titles, but they investigate the idea of the individual and his situation in a society marked by displacement and very determined productive rhythms.
These individuals are represented around three axes: sex, violence and disaster. We could say the former two are “the causes” or “visible symptoms”, while the latter is “the result” or “aftermath of the disease”.
We do not find it strange to relate the binomial “sex and violence” with a way of evaluating the state of society. Striving to avoid any reference that may put them on the same level as signs of “moral decadence”, we shall seek the links between these two ambits and their relationship with disaster.
Where the expansion of desire is addressed
“Gombrowicz can give the title Pornography to a perverse novel that does not contain any obscene
story and only shows hesitant young bodies that falter and fall in an arrested movement.”
Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense
Deleuze’s description of Gombrowicz’s novel could easily be applied to the works that comprise Sex Happening Location. In this series we find that, as in other works by the author, the narration is suspended, time is stunted in a space with no referents, and everything seems to drive us into the territory of waiting. If what would satisfy our expectations would be to find ourselves face to face with a clear representation of a sex act, what the characters represented actually offers us is an instant –before or after the sex act, we do not know– that only contains power and wait “for something to happen”.
We can attempt to rationalise what we perceive, order the chaos of bodies. It will be in vain, for “reasoning is the operation of language, but pantomime is the operation of the body”15. We must enter the time of pantomimes, of performances, then, the moment we dance meaninglessly, without a logic that lures us to the weight of the world.
It is the body that imposes its wordless language16, without terms that let us deceive ourselves, a nakedness that when it comes upon garments, shows us clothing as an accident, a reminder that everything, including our bodies, is weighted down by a cultural reality which constructs us and from which it is not so easy to escape.
Biology has demonstrated that the body is created in sequence: a finger cannot exist without the existence of a hand and an arm… Our social reality seems to be made up the same way, a social body where the head rules and governs the other members, when in fact without these members the head would not exist. But we have convinced ourselves that we are submitted to that superior authority, which has educated us so that our thoughts will follow the train it has dictated. We have accepted its power and its wishes as something right and inevitable.
The way we perceive our bodies and, therefore, the use we make of them is conditioned, constrained by rules we impose upon ourselves. Biopolitics has made us submit to this awareness of power and has turned our bodies into enemies that have to be fought against if they do not follow the (aesthetic, sexual, gestural…) dictates that we have imposed on them as hegemonic. In the meantime, our bodies are still there, suspended in the schizophrenia of a place with no referents, trying to escape, betraying us because we betrayed them to begin with. There are no more alliances; we decided to silence the language they offered us and now we silently, inconsequently and monotonously follow the dictate we have allowed to impose itself on us.
Our own desires succumb to this dictate. In TheHistory of Sexuality, Foucault does not deal with the habits, customs and practices of sex but the way these practices are regulated, the methods used to make us understand power and exert “control” over our bodies and their pleasures17.
If we resort to Deleuze and Foucault to talk about the body and sex, it is not only because of the distance they place between pleasure and desire, and which could be the distance and tension Moisés Mahiques displays in his work, but because these thinkers are the fruit of a moment when sex is trying to shake off the burden of religion, and the perversity of the body and its exposition are analysed, that is to say, the pornographic image as we understand it today appears for the first time.
What perversity do we find in Sex Happening Location? It is not the perversity of sex, nor is it that of the body; perhaps it is the perversity of repetition, the pornography of a repeated image that has never been ours (who can say his body belongs to him?18) and leaves no room for showing affection19. The clutter of bodies is a way of speaking about an escape –from the dictates and the patterns of behaviour– and a pursuit of the fatigue of being a body colliding with another.
We may wonder what is the implication of showing this “discomfort” of our bodies, this repetition of postures and gestures, if the pornographic image resides in that dance or in the monotonous, repetitive messages that propels us towards a type of relationship with our own body and the other, towards a single way of organising our affections20.
Where we come up against violence
“It is a slow march of solemn accents. A slow dance, of dead steps, of bloody feasts.
She does not move.”
Marguerite Duras, Love
Violence Happening Location again shows us the discomfort of bodies, offering us violence as the opposite of love but also as a declaration of social reality.
We live in a social reality where sex and violence appear as indicators of ill-being. We could ask ourselves whether the social body is so highly sexed or whether, on the contrary, sex is used to conceal the fact that violence is the foremost symptom of our contemporary infirmity. When we refer to violence we are not speaking of random and gratuitous violence, with no rhyme or reason, we are speaking of (and denouncing) the presence of a structural violence, linked to hegemonic power and wielded in its two forms, symbolic and physical, against the most vulnerable individuals and groups.
Concealed among the folds of that violence, we find, once again, bodies; the same bodies that are subjected, indoctrinated and are a token of our incapability of making contact, of knowing and going beyond the borders and distances we have established. Violence and sex are on the threshold of transgression of the social order21.
Violence becomes in this way another dance lacking acquired logic, a movement that describes more primary languages that we have managed to master. But despite this return to a sort of primitive ego, what violence iterates is the absence of ego, a place where individuals cannot be identified as such because they have turned into a frightened, tortured, shapeless mass, paralysed by the fear of losing control.
In the movement of the world there is as a whole a feeling of panic brought about by abandoning spaces of privilege and power; it is the refusal to break away from the status quo that arouses a terrible dread in people in power of leaving their places. This is the feat they have transmitted to others, delegating in the rest of individuals the violence that they exert themselves. Again we lose possession of our bodies and the messages they send off are again codes of malaise, of their own unfamiliarity with the places they have been confined in, bumping and crashing into each other in pursuit of a contact –with themselves and with others– that will arouse them from contemporary anaesthesia.
Where we observe ruins
“They are the three characters of the American dream, comprising the new identification, the new world: Feature, Zone and Function.”
Gilles Deleuze, Criticism and the Clinic
The third series that comprises Happening Location speaks to us of disaster, of the effects this sickly society has caused in individuals, of the symptoms of this pathology. Disaster Happening Location is therefore the place where the bodies have fallen, remains of themselves, ruins of a place they have never owned.
Disaster presents the same indefinite borders, the same lack of referents that could make us wonder what this disaster means, what has really happened, where the problem resides. And we are drawn by this doubt to places and times, coming across the characters that peopled the other series. Sex and violence take us to the same spot, the space of waste, of the debris of a hypercapitalist world; without allowing us to know for sure whether we are the agents or the victims22.
Our bodies form part of this waste matter; because they are dispensable, they become replaceable. One more link in the chain we have lubricated with our silence, not only stripped of words but also of acts and gestures that show there are other ways of confronting ourselves.
The event did not occur to show us its effects; it is occurring all the time. Time, anchored in progress, continues its relentless “forward march” while we are driven towards the turmoil of effects, a diagonal that condemns us to a void that revolves and folds around itself.
The feature we have drawn in the space we limited it to, always seeking its usefulness, its welfare. Meanwhile, we fade away, lose our referents and fail to understand what rewards may await us.
Some reflections about the individual
“But a neutral subject, a faceless ‘it’ through which all language is possible.”
Michel Foucault, The Language of Space
Unspoken things, unuttered things, things we want to keep secret or that remind us of things we have forgotten, always exist. All this is accident: the edge of the paper that was not to hold more lines, the moment that already holds too many words.
This visit has shown us masses of lonely bodies, of individualities without anyone else’s help. Constructed without referents, the egos are mirrors in relation with all other individuals, means of gauging a certain degree of humanity. But as the series themselves prove, there is an ego in others, albeit in their collapse and their encounter –fortuitous, violent, fleeting… The companion exists, therefore, as a means of turning us into individuals. Our identity resides in this other that replicates us, overlaps us and moves away to show us the distance that exists between us. Our ego is another being who accompanies us. It may be this discovery that generates sexual attraction and repels violence; it may be the disaster zone23.
But this discovery of another overlapping, this presence of a faraway double, was already present in other series by Moisés Mahiques like Tras-cabeza. In the works that comprise this series, the identity of the individual is reduced to and concentrated in the face, but this interiority of the subject’s is fragmented and takes the outside space to “find its fold: a form emerges –less than a form, a sort of stubborn and shapeless anonymity– which strips the subject of his simple identity, empties it out and divides it up […], robs him of his immediate right to say I and raises against his discourse a word that is inseparable echo and denial.24”
As in other works, the space of malaise is the subject, stripped of its identity by the multiplication of it or by the negation of it thanks to the erasure or the balaclava helmet / mask we see in Violence Happening Location. We are not ourselves, but even so we try to build ourselves among the ruins. This violent void with which we attack ourselves overlaps with the attraction25, and this attraction includes ourselves, the passion for our egos, hidden and buried in a society that we feel does not belong to us but that we cannot help belonging to.
The desperate cry uttered by some of the faces in Tras-cabeza permits us to see that “through” these individuals there is a search and a wait, a path on which we will perhaps succeed in finding ourselves. This may only happen when we are capable of identifying the “infinite reversibility of this figure26”, feeling the companion to be ourselves.
Some notes about time and where it takes place or Notes about non happening and ways of ordering the world
“Among old photographs, pay stubs, used bus tickets, I find a folded sheet of paper on which he has
drawn curious signs. Along a straight line which represents a rope, slanting lines to the right, lines to the
left –those are his feet, or rather, the place his feet will be, the steps he will take. And opposite each line,
a number. Because in an art that was only subjected to a haphazard empirical training, he, who works
to contribute rigours, ciphered disciplines, will conquer.”
Jean Genet, The Tightrope Walker
While searching for our identity, we live in isolated spaces, in moments that do not belong to us. The path we have embarked upon makes us feel that established things are peculiar. This peculiarity makes us construct new peculiarities, initiating battles that avoid our condemnation to existence and bring us face to face with the vertigo of life.
We try to order the absurd in order to find ways that will lead us to other casual logics27, unaware of the administered world that has been imposed on us, and in this way we leap into the void of weaving our own nets. Trying to establish the parameters that govern our lives, we can afford to be the owners of our desires and thus we begin to face up to the game28. Ordering the chaos of chance, seeking unwritten and unlearned logics, we grant ourselves waiting time and the advantage of rest; static, we contemplate time and try to turn it into something different.
The need not to go forward, to stand still, to feel the bodies’ immobility, is a desire for negation, a breakaway from the course that has been forced on us, negativity as an unproductive method that involves a challenging individual decision for the system. For that reason, this artist’s series -plejías and Salas de espera can be interpreted as a wish to oppose and not an act of giving in. What these works have in common with the previous ones is the way they are constructed as a continual discourse; their very execution suggests a return, a resumption of themes that the author and ourselves are obsessed with, a loop in the wish to understand, how we live, where and when to do so… Thus he breaks away from the preordained image of the individual, fragmenting his drives and results, to show us the moment we have been given to live in at the same time as he attempts to dismantle it.
This relinquishment of chronological time is a form of resistance, a way of breaking away from current productive times, where everything, including leisure, has started to form part of our social fabric. Inaction, the denial of a passage of time, creates a rift. That is why we can challenge the time of sex and even that of violence and disaster, because it involves asking ourselves to what extent these periods form part of the production methods. For those moments have also suffered contemporary overexposure, which takes them out of the sphere of privacy or experience to turn them into an economic motor29.
We live in a society that accumulates not only consumer goods but also simultaneous and overlapping times30 that leave no room for memory. Spaces have faded into networks, but perhaps we should think that these places, beyond their physical or cultural construction, must turn into spaces of possibility and experience31.
Being alive implies making choices and mistakes, but aware that deciding is a motor of political action. That is why, along with happenings, there must be “non happenings”, waiting, the option of “inaction” as a means of negotiating the ways of belonging to a world that estranges us but of which we inevitably form part. The non happening thus becomes a weapon for dismantling the chrono-logicality in which we are immersed and, in this way, for generating new times.
Where the possibility of pleasure is addressed
“[…] in equilibrium, floating in a stream of clean, fresh, clear, bright, lucid, tingling, contradictory
sensations, which, like air or a river, held him up straight so that if he moved a hand, if he bent over or
said something, he let off the tension of countless atoms of happiness that came together to lift him up again.”
Virginia Woolf, Happiness
In this way we tread the paths and clear the roots of sense, we move forward to return to the beginning32. What is written here will perhaps throw no light, but at least it has been a search, an opportunity to rethink the world and try to create other logics, wishing to communicate with other languages. If we stop being afraid of banishment, maybe looking at the void will help us gauge the fall and choose the moorings; the words may be useless, but at least they have made the journey possible33.
The journeys, the paths trodden become an inverted itinerary, stages of the journey we can run along over and over again without them leading us to our destination. Lost in this plain we can take a break to contemplate and contemplate ourselves, while we ask ourselves about the meaning of the pursuit and dare to change our ways of being. Choice is a powerful option; trying to decide which are our own desires and go on inquiring, although we know the object will always elude our understanding34. In the instant we feel a desire is ours perhaps we will be able to abandon ourselves to pleasure, to feeling a fleeting, clandestine happiness. In the meantime we can renounce the schizophrenia of contemporary anaesthesia and, in a tiny loop, feel aesthesia and so embark on a new search.
1 “Our language has no definitions that eke out the degree of reality or define its density. […] It is all nothing but the fermentation of desires that have grown quickly and are therefore weak and hollow.” Schulz, Bruno: “La calle de los cocodrilos”, in Obra completa. Siruela, «Bolsillo», Madrid 1998, p. 92.
5 Susan Sontag herself enunciates this type of temporality when she says that in happenings, “as they lack a plot and a continued rational discourse, they have no past. As their name suggests, happenings are always in the present.” She also says, “The same performances are also often repeated during the same happening in a sort of gestural stutter or in slow motion, to convey a feeling of timelessness. On occasion, the happening takes on a circular shape, starting and finishing with the same act or gesture.” Sontag, Susan, op. cit., pp. 340-41.
6 Foucault, Michel: “Los espacios Otros”. Astrágalo, no. 7, September 1997, pp. 83-91. It is interesting to note that this text was the fruit of a lecture delivered in 1967 and, although its publication was delayed until 1984, it anticipates many current spatial conceptions, generated by the modes of communication on the net and the simultaneity of that experience. Foucault says, “The present epoch will be the epoch of space. We live in the time of simultaneity, of juxtaposition, of the near and far, of the side by side, of the dispersed,” paving the way for some of the ideas Marc Augé put forward to define non-places.
7 Foucault, Michel: op. cit., “Today the site has been substituted for extension, which itself had replaced emplacement.” p. 84. It is interesting to note that what the artist proposes is a new emplacement, a return to the place.
11 “The dialectical image is a flash of lightning that runs all along the horizon of the past. […] The dialectical image must be defined as the obliged memory of redeemed humanity.” Benjamin, Walter: Tesis sobre la historia y otros fragmentos. Contrahistorias, Mexico.
12 “Dialectical images speak to us of the fugacity of circumstances, underlining their potential impact on a modernity that thought itself free of past shackles, but was made up of both the failures and successes that went before it.” Olalquiaga, Celeste: El reino artificial. Sobre la experiencia kitsch. Gustavo Gili, Barcelona 2007, p. 23.
13 “The image that returns endlessly cannot be remembered, its eternal return is its passion, where, writes Nietzsche, there is no time, keine Zeit, between writing and erasing them. In this sense, Campana was right when he wrote that ‛in the twist of the vertiginous eternal return, the image dies immediately’ […] But, to use another expression of Campana’s, ‛this memory that remembers nothing is the strongest memory’.” Agamben, Giorgio: op. cit., p. 354.
14 “Thus every individual, every single nomad expresses the same world as a whole, although he only expresses a part of that world, a series or even an infinite sequence.” Deleuze, Gilles: El pliegue. Leibniz y el Barroco. Paidós, «Básica», Barcelona 1989, p. 82.
16 “The body covers or covers up a hidden language,” Deleuze, Gilles: op. cit., p. 325. Deleuze insists on the idea of the body as language when he claims “it is essentially ‘flexion’. In reflection, bodily flexion is unfolded, divided, placed opposite itself, reflected in itself; it appears, then, in its own right, stripped of everything that is usually hidden”(p. 331).
17 Foucault, Michel: Historia de la sexualidad, 3 volumes. Siglo XXI, Madrid 2005. In the first volume, The Will to Knowledge, Foucault says “such discourses about sex did not proliferate outside or against power, but in the very place it was exerted and as a way of exerting it […] It is brought to light and limited to a discursive existence” (p. 34).
19 Foucault, Michel: “De la amistad como modo de vida”, Gai Pied magazine, no. 25, April 1981. In this interview he addresses the ways of annulling the experience of unlearned sex, affirming “it responds to a canon that guarantees beauty and does away with camaraderie and companionship, which cannot be propitiated by our rather sanitised society without fearing that alliances be formed and unforeseen lines of force strengthened.”
21 “The wish to kill is related with the prohibition to kill just as the desire for sexual activity is related with the system of prohibitions that limit it.” Bataille, Georges: El erotismo. Tusquets, «Fábula», Barcelona 2007, p. 76.
22 “And about the countries that suffer shocks: wars, terrorist attacks, coups d’état and natural cataclysms. Then about how they again become shock victims at the hands of the companies and politicians that exploit the fear and disorientation caused by the first shock to implant an economic shock therapy.” Klein, Naomi: La doctrina del shock. El auge del capitalismo del desastre. Paidós Ibérica, Barcelona 2007, pp. 5-6.
23 “From the very first symptoms of attraction, at the moment when the withdrawal of the desired face can barely be seen, where in the overlapping of the murmur the firmness of the lonely voice can scarcely be heard, there emerges something like a movement that is soft and violent at the same time as it bursts inside, it turns it inside out and at its side –or rather on this side– makes the secondary figure of a companion appear, always concealed but always present with imperturbable clarity; a faraway double, a likeness that challenges us.” Foucault, Michel: “El compañero”, El pensamiento del afuera. Pre-Textos, Valencia 2008, pp. 63-4.
25 “Is it in this tearing and this knot that the start of the attraction secretly lies? […] The empty outside of attraction is perhaps identical to that other outside of the double, so close to it.” Foucault, Michel: op. cit., p. 65.
27 “The more life was administratively regulated, the more people needed to learn to wait. The game of chance has the great stimulus that it frees people from waiting.” Benjamin, Walter: El libro de los pasajes. Akal, Madrid 2005, p. 144.
28 “Life must become a game of desire of oneself.” Situationist International. English Section: La revolución del arte moderno y el moderno arte de la revolución. Pepitas de Calabaza, Logroño 2007, p. 17.
30 “The project of organising in this way a sort of indefinite and perpetual accumulation of time in an immobile place is typical of our modernity.” Foucault, Michel: “Los espacios Otros”. Astrágalo, no. 7, September 1997, p. 91.
31 “We still have to get used to thinking of a ‘place’ not as something spatial but as something more primitive than space.” Foucault, Michel: “El lenguaje del espacio”. Critique, no. 203, April 1964, p. 15.
34 “What the schism between poetry and philosophy bears witness to is Western culture’s incapability of fully possessing the object of knowledge (since the problem of knowledge is a problem of possession and a problem of pleasure, that is, of language). In our culture, knowledge (according to an antinomy that Aby Warburg had to diagnose as Western man’s ‘schizophrenia’) is split into a static-inspired pole and a rational-conscious pole, without either of them managing to overpower the other entirely.” Agamben, Giorgio: Estancias. La palabra y el fantasma en la cultura occidental. Pre-Textos, Valencia 2006, p. 12.