Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit has my attention. According to Michel de Certeau, walkers are the “practitioners of the city” and a city is a language meant to be spoken through the act of walking. Solnit raises the ultimate question: if a city is a language spoken through walking, does a city without walkers risk becoming a dead language?
And the meaning of the Earth completely changes: with the legal model, one is constantly reterritorializing around a point of view, on a domain, according to a set of constant relations, but with the ambulant model, the process of deterritorialization constitutes and extends the territory itself.
–Deleuze & Guattari from Treatise on Nomadology
I had a dream about you. We were in the gold room
where everyone finally gets what they want.
You said Tell me about your books, your visions made
of flesh and light and I said This is the Moon. This is
the Sun. Let me name the stars for you. Let me take you
there. The splash of my tongue melting you like a sugar
cube…We were in the gold room where everyone
finally gets what they want, so I said What do you
want, sweetheart? and you said Kiss me. Here I am
leaving you clues. I am singing now while Rome
burns. We are all just trying to be holy. My applejack,
my silent night, just mash your lips against me.
We are all going forward. None of us are going back.
― Richard Siken
This has been on my mind way too long…
There is a connection between the photographs of the body of Osama bin
Laden and the paintings of photographs of the bodies of the Baader-Meinhof group painted by Gerhard Richter. This is diffuse and difficult to describe. Yes, there are formal similarities. But there is something else there too-something I cannot name, but still a very real facet of the mass mediated reality we share.
Below, the Richter painting of Andreas Baader.
Elsewhere on the internet are photos of the various people killed during the raid in rural Pakistan, including Osama bin Laden. I’ll let you add that to your own search history. Many of the photos of bin Laden’s body are faked-photoshop composites. Was there a similar hunger for images when the Baader-Meinhof group were found dead in Stammheim prison? And a bigger question: could someone ever paint, in the monotone style of Richter, those images from Abottobad? Could they ever, in some way, resonate meaning (to whom I don’t know) in the same manner as Richter’s paintings?
Whenever I see the alcove of a tastefully built Japanese room, I marvel at our comprehension of the secrets of shadows, our sensitive use of shadow and light. For the beauty of the alcove is not the work of some clever device. An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so that the light drawn into its forms dim shadows within emptiness. There is nothing more. And yet, when we gaze into the darkness that gathers behind the crossbeam, around the flower vase, beneath the shelves, though we know perfectly well it is mere shadow, we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.
― Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows