The spectacle is the bad dream of a modern society in chains and ultimately expresses nothing more than its wish for sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of that sleep.

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Hélène Cixous With Footnotes

Contemporaries, lifelong friends, and intellectuals, Jacques Derrida and Cixous both grew up as French Jews in Algeria and share a “belonging constituted of exclusion and nonbelonging”—not Algerian, rejected by France, their Jewishness concealed or acculturated. In Derrida’s family “one never said ‘circumcision’ but ‘baptism,’ not ‘Bar Mitzvah’ but ‘communion.'” Judaism cloaked in Catholicism is one example of the undecidability of identity that influenced the thinker whom Cixous calls a “Jewish Saint.

Who can say “I am Jewish?” What does “Jew” mean? What especially does it mean for Jacques Derrida, founder of deconstruction, scoffer at boundaries and fixed identities, explorer of the indeterminate and undecidable? In Portrait of Jacques Derrida as a Young Jewish Saint, French feminist philosopher Hélène Cixous follows the intertwined threads of Jewishness and non-Jewishness that play through the life and works of one of the greatest living philosophers.

Cixous is a lifelong friend of Derrida. They both grew up as French Jews in Algeria and share a “belonging constituted of exclusion and nonbelonging”—not Algerian, rejected by France, their Jewishness concealed or acculturated. In Derrida’s family “one never said ‘circumcision’but ‘baptism,’not ‘Bar Mitzvah’but ‘communion.'” Judaism cloaked in Catholicism is one example of the undecidability of identity that influenced the thinker whom Cixous calls a “Jewish Saint.”

An intellectual contemporary of Derrida, Cixous’s ideas on writing have an affinity with his philosophy of deconstruction, which sought to overturn binary oppositions—such as man/woman, or Jew/non-Jew—and blur boundaries of exclusion inherent in Western thought. In portraying Derrida, Cixous uses metonymy, alliteration, rhyme, neologisms, and puns to keep the text in constant motion, freeing language from any rigidity of meaning. In this way she writes a portrait of “Derrida in flight,” slipping from one appearance to the next, unable to be fixed in one spot, yet encompassing each point he passes. From the circumcision act to family relationships, through Derrida’s works to those of Celan, Rousseau, and Beaumarchais, Cixous effortlessly merges biography and textual commentary in this playful portrait of the man, his works, and being (or not being) Jewish.

Her book Portrait of Jacques Derrida as a Young Jewish Saint addresses these matters.

Shakespeare And NASA: Contexts For Some of David Markson’s Fragments

“No more behind

But such a day tomorrow as today

And to be boy eternal.

The second Brandenburg concerto, on an indestructible phonograph disc, is drifting eternally in space affixed to Voyager II” –David Markson, from his novel Reader’s BlockSkjermbilde 2016-05-16 kl. 12.32.30.pngSkjermbilde 2016-05-16 kl. 12.32.40.pngScreen dumps from the book Starting With Derrida by Sean Gaston

Skjermbilde 2016-05-16 kl. 12.37.33.png

Skjermbilde 2016-05-16 kl. 12.37.41.png

Screen dumps from the book This is Not a Tragedy: The Works of David Markson By Françoise Palleau-Papin

Beck And Radiohead: Preliminary Material For A Realisation of a Conceptual Recipe #1

As I presented it in my previous post, I’m doing a deconstrucitve conceptual piece with the following recipe: Retype all the lyrics from Beck’s album Sea Change and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool in chronological order of the track lists, the oldest album first. Deconstruct the parts of the lyrics which you can interpret to be about break ups, thus pointing to the différance – as you coin the term – between the concept of break ups in the two albums.

To begin with the part where I coin the term différance, I here quote the paragraphs which Kenneth Goldsmith did when he sang Derrida, as a foundational resource of an analysis which recognizes that even an deconstructive explanation has to end somewhere (it’s short lines in the quote because that’s how they are when you quote from Of Grammatology in the document at monoskop and I don’t bother erasing all the line shifts. Besides, it seems more objectivist that way, and that I like):

“The
thesis
of the
arbitrariness
of the
sign
(so grossly
misna
med,
and
not
only
for the
reasons
Saussure
himself
recognizes
)
8
must
forbid
a radical
distinction
between
the
linguistic
and
the
graphic
sign
. No
dou
bt
this
thesis
concerns
only
the
necessity
of
relationships
between
specific
sig­
nifiers
and
signifieds
within
an
allegedly
natural
relationship between
the
voice
and
sense
in general,
between
the
order
of phonic
signifiers
and the
content
of the
signifieds
(“the
only
natural bond, the
only
true
bond, the
bond
of soun
d”). Only
these
relationships
between
specific
signifiers
and
signifie
ds would
be
regulated
by
arbitrariness.
Within
the
“na
tural”
rela­
tionship
between
phon
ic signifiers
and
their
signi
fieds
in general,
the
rela­
tionship
between
each
determined
signifier
and
its determined
signified
would
be “arbitrary.”
Now
from
the
moment
that
one
considers
the
totality
of determined
signs,
spoken,
and
a fortiori written,
as unmotivated
inst
itutions,
one must
exclude
any
relationship
of natural
subordination,
any
natural
hierarchy
among
signifie
rs or orders
of signifie
rs. If “writing”
signifies
inscr
iption
and
especially
the
durable
institution
of a sign
(and
that is the only
irreducible
kernel
of
the
concept
of writing
), writing
in
general
covers
the
entire
field
of linguist
ic signs.
In that field
a certain
sort
of inst
ituted
signifiers
may
then
appear,
“graphic”
in the
narrow
and
derivative
sense
of the
word,
ordered
by
a certain
relationship
with
other
inst
itut
ed-hence
“written
,”
even
if they
are “phonic”
-sig
nifie
rs. The
very
idea of inst
itution-hence
of
the
arbitrariness
of the
sign-is
unthinkable
before
the
possi
bilit
y of writing
and
out
side
of its horizon
. Quit
e simply,
that
is, outside
of the
horizon
itself,
outside
the
world
as space
of
insc
ription,
as
the
opening
to
the
emission
and
to the
spatial
distri
bution
of signs,
to the
regulated
play
of
their
differences,
even
if they are
“ph
onic.”
Let
us now
persist
in using this
opposition
of nature
and
institution,
of
physis
and
nomos
(which
also means,
of course,
a distribution
and
division
regulated
in fact
by
law)
which
a meditation
on
writing
should
disturb al-
Linguistics and
Grammatol
ogy
45
though
it functions
everywhere
as self-evident,
particularly
in the
disc
ourse
of linguistics.
We
must
then
conclude
that
only
the signs
called
natur
al,
those that
Hegel
and
Saussure
call
“symbols,”
escape
semiology
as gram­
matology.
But
they
fall
a fortiori
out
side
the
field
of linguistics
as the
region
of general
semiology.
The
thesis of
the
arbitrariness
of the
sign thus
indi­
rectly
but
irrevocably
contests
Saussur
e’s
declared
proposition when
he
chases
writing
to the
outer
darkness
of language.
This
thesis
successfully
accounts
for
a conventional
relationship between
the
phoneme
and
the
grapheme
(in phon
etic
writing,
between
the
phoneme,
signifi
er-sig
nified,
and
the
grapheme,
pure
signifier
), but
by
the same
token
it forbids
that
the
latter
be
an “i
mage”
of the
former.
Now
it was
indispensable
to the
exclusion
of
writing
as
“external
system,
” th
at
it come to
impose
an
“image,
” a
“representa
ton,”
or a “figurat
ion,”
an
exterior
reflection
of the
reality
of language.
It matters
little,
here at least,
that
there
is in fact
an
ideographic
filia­
tion
of the
alphab
et. This
important
question
is much
debated
by historians
of writing.
”’hat
matters
here
is that in
the
synchr
onic
structure
and syste­
matic
principle
of alphabetic
writing-and
phonetic
writing
in general­
no
relationship
of “natur
al”
representation,
none
of resemblance
or par­
ticipation,
no
“symbolic”
relationship
in
the
Hegelian-Saussurian
sense
,
no
“iconographic”
relationship
in the
Peircian
sense,
be
implied.
One
must
therefore
challenge,
in the
very
name
of the
arbitrariness
of
the
sign
, the
Saussurian
definit
ion
of writing
as “image”-he
nce as natural
symbol-of
language.
Not
to mentio
n the
fact
that
the
phoneme
is the
unimaginable
itself,
and
no
visibility
can
resemble
it, it su
ffices
to take
into
account
what Saussur
e says
about
the
difference
between
the
symbol
and
the
sign
(p.
101
)
[pp
.
68-6<)]
in order
to be
completely
baffie
d as to how
he can
at the
sam
e time
say of
writing
that it is an
“image”
or “figuration”
of language
and
define
language
and
writing
elsewhere
as “two
distinct
systems
of signs”
(p. 45) [po
2
3
]’ For
the
property
of the
sign
is not
to be
an image
. By
a pro
cess
exposed
by
Freud
in
The
Interpretati
on of Dreams,
Saussure
thus
accumulates
contradictory
arguments
to bring
about
a satis­
facto
ry decisi
on: the
exclusion
of writing.
In
fact
,
even
within
so-called
phonetic
writing,
the
“graphic”
signifier
refers
to the
phoneme
through
a
web
of many
dimensions
which
binds
it, like all
signifiers,
to other
written
and
oral
signifiers,
within
a “total” system open,
let
us say,
to all
possible
investments
of sense.
We
must
begin
with
the
possibility
of that
total
syste
m.
Saussure
was
thus never able
to think
that writing
was
truly
an
“image,”
a “figur
ation,”
a “represen
tation”
of the spoken
language,
a symbol.
If one
considers
that
he
non
etheless
needed
these
inadequate
not
ions
to decide
upon
the
exteriority
of writing,
one
must
conclude
that
an
entire
stratum
of his
discourse,
the
intention of
Chapter
VI
(“Graphic
Representation
of Language”
), was
not
at all scienti
fic.
\Vhen
I say
this,
my
quarry
is n
ot
46
Part
I:
Writing
before
the Letter
prima
rily
Ferdinand
de
Saussur
e’s
intentio
n or motivation,
but
rather
the
entire
uncritical
tradition
which
he inherits.”

Beck’s Sea Change and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool: A Conceptual Recipe

Retype all the lyrics from Beck’s album Sea Change and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool in chronological order of the track lists, the oldest album first. Deconstruct the parts of the lyrics which you can interpret to be about break ups, thus pointing to the différance – as you coin the term – between the concept of break ups in the two albums.

The Information Is Not Written in the Language-Game of Information

«Do not forget that a poem, although it is composed in the language of information, is not used in the languagegame of giving information.» Ludwig Wittgenstein

If we assume that song lyrics, at least by good writers as Beck, are poetry: What then about the song The Information? Is this not written in the language-game of giving information because it is not giving information of what it calls »the information«? Or does it give information about something else than the information Wittgenstein refers to, that means that it has a different thing that it refers to than his word refers to, for instance because it is a metaphor? A metaphor for something that, much like Wittgenstein’s work, stands for an ongoing process of refiguriation, like the ladder. Wittgenstein: »My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them – as steps – to climb beyond them. He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it.« Beck: »You could wake up on a lifeboat ‘neath the sun / On a ladder up to the sky /
Standing on the lowest rung / Holding a lifeline, using my best defense /
Running in the undertow my heart couldn’t fight against« (From »Country Down«)

Beck again: «The information is laughing at us
The ticker tape feeds the night
Looking for a lost transmission
A heaven that we left behind

When the information comes
We’ll know what we’re made from
And the skyline rising
Highrise eyes see through you

Say hello to a mannequin
The ghost of an automaton
The witching hour is summoning up
Armies where they don’t belong

When the information comes
We’ll know what we’re made from
And the skyline rising
Highrise eyes see through you

She’s the sister of avarice
The wife of a poisonous tide
She’s the eye of a battle of storms
That sees where the atoms collide

When the information comes
We’ll know what we’re made from
And the skyline rising
Highrise eyes see through you» Beck