Convolute G: Poet Stephen Ratcliffe’s mentions of Heidegger

blond woman on phone planning to mail Heidegger’s Basic Writings back to man at kitchen table, adding black to the painting of the yard
Derrida believing “there’s a future which is predictable,”
noting that Heidegger and Hegel erase their private lives
from their work, “speech is what’s taking place right here”
Heidegger wondering why we “forget the subjectivity that belongs behind every objectivity,” woman on left claiming that truth in Greek connotes revelation

«Reading sound (shape-in-air) of poem as acoustic phenomena (in air, heard by ear), one hears the syllable, word, line (and line break), stanza unit, whole poem determined by the poem’s shape on the page, its physical presence (seen by eye) as letters written/composed/transcribed on the page into words, there to be perceived by the human (reader) when the poem is read aloud (or silently, thereby entering the mind’s ear as sound only imagined).»

(Picture under from same source:


A Note In Deconstructing Dawkins on Skavlan

Transcript from the talk show Skavlan December 4th 2015:

Linn Ullmann (norwegian author): «Do you believe in grace? Something as in music or…»

Richard Dawkins: «What do you mean by “grace”?»

Ullmann: «I’d like to know what you mean by it.»

Dawkins: «I don’t, I don’t use the word.»

Ullmann: «Is that a word that is not even in your vocabulary?»

Dawkins: «No, it isn’t, but I don’t want you to get away with saying that Bach sort of belong to the supernatural, because Bach wrote beautiful music, inspired by religion, which I apresiate as much as anybody else, I mean I adore Bach, I don’t want anybody to get away with the sort of thought that an atheist can not apreciate the great art, the great music, the great poetry of the world. Far from it! We can, we do.»

(Applause in audience)

End of transcript.

I have marked in bold the part of the transcript where Dawkins instead of continuing on Ullmanns derivation of the word «grace» in music Dawkins plays on with the phonic signifier of music itself, claiming that atheists can enjoy the art of the phonic signifiers. He get touched by music, by a signifier that comes silently from the sheet music through the ear and into the soul, or in Dawkin’s terminology: the gene for enjoying music. I think it’s interesting how language fall short in describing the experience of the thing that with the linguistic signs is called «grace», and how it kind of flows into music.

Recon Club – Austin’s Lectures

I have limited myself to write these blog posts focusing on one text through one day (see my previous post), and the day I had time for it this time was while sitting on a train without my computer at hand, so under here you can find links to my handwritten notes. I tried to make them as understandable as possible.

I found Austin’s book How To Do Things With Words systematical, but a bit too general. However I couldn’t point my finger to why it felt so, until I started glancing through Limited Inc and saw Derrida problematize “communication” as such, and then the whole language theory of Austin seemed a little too simplified in it’s view of reality, a bit like in the Dilbert comic strip over. But it can’t be underestimated however that Austin makes some very good points in the same way that Dilbert in Scott Adams’s cartoon does it, dry and witty, with Derrida’s self counscious problematizating viewpoint on the other side of the table. One thing I really found interesting in the pages I read quckly through in Limited Inc (I will not anticipate the course of events, I am going to read the whole text in that book later and make an entiteled one day-blog post about it, this is just an important digression) was something Derrida wrote in his opening remarks about the concept of “communication”:

Screen drop from Limited Inc on Google Books.

Screen drop from Limited Inc on Google Books.

When reading this I came to think about an example in which communication functions somewhat in this way. I thought about my fascination for jewish culture, which takes place in an indirect manner. It’s not like I’m celebrating jewish passover or travel to Israel once a year, nor that I read lots of jewish literature or books concentrating on judaism and jews’s position in world history or contemporary affairs. It’s more like I have a intuition on some characterizations of jewhish individuals; for instance I can like a film written and / or directed by a jew but with non-jews in the main roles, like the film 2001: A Space Oddysey. On the other hand I can like films written and directed by non-jews, but with a jew in one of the leading roles, which is the case with the film The Thin Red Line from 1998. Sean Penn, whom’s father was jewish, plays Edward Welsh. One get an impression of Welsh’s character in these lines from the film:

First Sgt. Edward Welsh: Hey Witt, who you making trouble for today?
Private Witt: What do you mean?
First Sgt. Edward Welsh: Well, isn’t that what you like to do? Turn left when they say go right. Why are you such a trouble maker Witt?
Private Witt: You care about me? Don’t ya Sergeant? I always felt like you did. One day I come up and talk to ya. Then the next day it’s like we never even met. Lonely house now, you ever get lonely?
First Sgt. Edward Welsh: Only around people.
Private Witt: Only around people.
First Sgt. Edward Welsh: You still believin in the beautiful light are ya? How do you do that? You’re a magician to me.
Private Witt: I still see a spark in you.

film animated GIF

It’s probably this spark, which some people have called “this inner drive” (“this inner drive comes not from the years of education or any other sort of conditional factors, but because of the inner spark within each Jew” ( I see too, weather it’s in a grandious work of art as with Kubrick’s 2001: A Space oddysey, which Arthur C. Clarke described in this way in the process of making it: “a work of art which would arouse the emotions of wonder, awe … even, if appropriate, terror”, or it is the self assure brave (maybe necessary) cheeky character of first Sgt. Edwar Welsh. This is more like “a passage or opening”, to use Derrida’s formulation, and not something one can communicate in clear words. I’m sure you can provide plenty of other examples yourself which describes similar phenomena; with film, literature, relations and experiences from the shock value of extraordinary events to the repetitative atmospere of everyday life, which can be about anything; religion, emotions, memory, death. In my case it seems to derive from a fascination on jews (by the way I’m not jewish myself, I sometimes compare my situation to Kramer’s in Seinfeld who neither is jewish by birthright, but has adopted their culture because “I agree with the concepts and the religious beliefs of Judaism and I’ve adopted Judaism as my religion,” in my case: change “agree” with “am curious about”, “Judaism” to “jews in arts and culture” and “religion” to “muse”).

Next post will be about Derrida’s text «Signature Event Context» and published sometime during September.

Note To Self: Derridada

From Amazon: “Jacques Derrida said that deconstruction ‘takes place everywhere.’ Derridada reexamines the work of artist Marcel Duchamp as one of these places. Tucker suggests that Duchamp belongs to deconstruction as much as deconstruction belongs to Duchamp. Both bear the infra-thin mark of the other. He explores these marks through the themes of time and diffZrance, language and the readymade, and the construction of self-identity through art. This book will be of interest to students and scholars interested in Modernism and the avant-garde. It will be useful for undergraduate students of art history, modernism, and critical theory, as well as for graduate students of philosophy, visual culture studies, and art theory.”

Debord’s Language and Critical Metaphysics


Nathalie Quintane: “With Debord there is never any doubt regarding the necessity of returning to the classical canon, he clings to this style. Thesis 204-206 in The Society of the Spectacle expresses this clearly: on should not touch the syntax (the classical), nor the vocabulary (marxist & enlightenment); this «style of rebellion» reminds of some kind of musical chairs (called «détournement») which is about replacing the subject with the predicate («reversing the genitive») – Debord gives us the famous example with the transition from the misery of philosophy to the philosophy of misery, believing the Holy Grail then to be found.”

Why this aversion to classical theory? And Why this ironical use of religious artifacts? The problem with the spectacle is it’s metaphysical implications. We need a critical metaphysics. But what is critical metaphysics? Tiqunn writes: “It does not escape us that “‘metaphysical’- exactly like ‘abstract’ and even ‘thinking’- has become a word before which everyone more or less takes flight as before a plague victim.” (Hegel). And it is certainly with a shiver of wicked joy, and the worrying certitude that we’re going right to the wound, that we bring back into the center what the triumphant frivolity of our times believed it had forever repressed to the periphery. In so doing, we also have the effrontery to claim that we’re not just giving in to some sophistical caprice, but to an imperious necessity inscribed in history. Critical Metaphysics is not just one more piece of blather about the way the world is going; nor is it just the latest piece of heady speculation with some particular intelligence to it – it is the most real thing contained in our times.  Critical Metaphysics is in everyone’s guts Whatever we might protest about this, there is no doubt that people will try to say we were the inventors of Critical Metaphysics, so as to hide the fact that it existed already before finding its formulation, that it was already everywhere, in the state of emptiness behind suffering, in the denial behind entertainment, in the motives behind consumption, or, obviously, in anxiety.  It’s clearly a part of all the sordid spinelessness, the incurable banality, and the repugnant insignificance of the times called “modern” that it’s made metaphysics the apparently innocent leisure activity of learned men in stiff suits, and that it’s reduced it to the sole exercise proper to insects like that: a kind of platonic mandibulation. Merely by virtue of the fact that it is not reducible to conceptual experience, Critical Metaphysics is the experience that fundamentally denies an inept “modernity”, and, with open eyes, celebrates more each day the excesses of the disaster.”

Quintane mentioned some of Debord’s paragraphs, they are quoted under (from


Critical theory must be communicated in its own language. It is the language of contradiction, which must be dialectical in form as it is in content. It is critique of the totality and historical critique. It is not “the nadir of writing” but its inversion. It is not a negation of style, but the style of negation.


In its very style. the exposition of dialectical theory is a scandal and an abomination in terms of the rules and the corresponding tastes of the dominant language, because when it uses existing concrete concepts it is simultaneously aware of their rediscovered fluidity, their necessary destruction.


This style which contains its own critique must express the domination of the present critique over its entire past. The very mode of exposition of dialectical theory displays the negative spirit within it. “Truth is not like a product in which one can no longer find any trace of the tool that made it” (Hegel). This theoretical consciousness of movement, in which the movement’s very trace must be evident, manifests itself by the inversion of the established relations between concepts and by the diversion of all the acquisitions of previous critique. The inversion of the genetive is this expression of historical revolutions, consigned to the form of thought, which was considered Hegel’s epigrammatic style. The young Marx, recommending the technique Feuerbach had systematically used of replacing the subject with the predicate, achieved the most consistent use of this insurrectional style, drawing the misery of philosophy out of the philosophy of misery. Diversion leads to the subversion of past critical conclusions which were frozen into respectable truths, namely transformed into lies. Kierkegaard already used it deliberately, adding his own denunciation to it: “But despite all the tours and detours, just as jam always returns to the pantry, you always end up by sliding in a little word which isn’t yours and which bothers you by the memory it awakens” (Philosophical Fragments). It is the obligation of distance toward what was falsified into official truth which determines the use of diversion, as was acknowledged by Kierkegaard in the same book: “Only one more comment on your numerous allusions aiming at all the grief I mix into my statements of borrowed sayings. I do not deny it here nor will I deny that it was voluntary and that in a new continuation to this pamphlet, if I ever write it, I intend to name the object by its real name and to clothe the problem in historical attire.”

Note to Self: Veil, Derrida’s (Almost ) Language Nihilism And Bernstein’s Language Poetry

If a speech could be purely present, unveiled, naked, offered up in person in its truth, without the detours of a signifier foreign to it, if at the limit an undeferred logos were possible, it would not seduce anyone. The boundary (between inside and outside, living and nonliving) separates not only speech from writing but also memory as an unveiling (re-)producing a presence from re-memoration as the mere repetition of a monument; truth as distinct from its sign, being as distinct from types.

The problem is that writing does not eclipse orality nor does the symbolic law supercede the amorphousness of the “semiotic,” any more than objectivity replaces subjectivity (or vice versa). We don’t return to anything – turning (tuning) is enough. The power of symbolic – of the ego or the alphabet – does not come in Faustian trade for the virtually Edenic space of undifferentiated connectivity. Moreover, this originary myth is literally delusional, for it leads us away from the concrete material situation of our connectivity through the alphabet, through aurality, through  the “symbolic.” Better than to speak of the preverbal, we might speak of the omniverbal. Rather than referring to the pre-symbolic, we might say asymbolic or heterosymbolic. Instead of projecting a preliterate stage we might say analphabetic or heteroliterate: for aren’t the petroglyphs and megaliths – those earliest human inscriptions made on or with rocks – already writing, already “symbolic.” As if the first human “babbling” were not already language, always social, a toll as well as a tool! We go “From amniotic fluid to / semiotic / fluidlessness,” where the semiotic is drenched in the symbolic and the symbolic absorbed within the semiotic. As Nick Piombino observes in his discussion of D. W. Winnicott inClose Listening, language is also a transitional object.

If “orality” or the “semiotic,” aurality or logic, are stages, they are stages not on a path toward or away from immanence or transcendence but rather stages for performance: modalities of reason; prisms notprisons. Or let me put this in a different way: Perhaps the first writing was not produced by humans but  rather recognized by humans. That is, it’s possible that the human inscriptions on the petroglyphs frame or acknowledge the glyphs already present on the rock face (Lock, 415-16). Then we might speak of the book of nature, which we read as we read geologic markers or the rings around a tree (“can’t see me!”).

The problem is being stuck in any one modality of language – not being able to move in, around, and about the precincts of language. I am not anti-symbolic any more than I am pro-“semiotic.” Rather I am interpolated in their folds, knowing one through the other, and hearing the echo of each in the next. This is what I mean to evoke by “a/orality” – sound language, language grounded in its embodiments: the Mime, the hymen, the virgin, the occult, the penetration and the envelope, the theater, the hymn, the “folds of a tissue,” the touch that transforms nothing, the “song, spurting out of a fusion of these disparate forms of pleasure.”

Convolute B: Cheryl Donegan, Barret Newman, différance, feminism

Still from Cheryl Donegan's film, Line (1996)

Still from Cheryl Donegan’s film, Line (1996)

Barnett Newman

Barnett Newman

Skjermbilde 2015-03-08 kl. 13.02.25

Skjermbilde 2015-03-08 kl. 13.05.05

More Cheryl Donegan

More Cheryl Donegan

Still from Cheryl Donegan's film, Line (1996)

Still from Cheryl Donegan’s film, Line (1996)

Barnett Newman

Barnett Newman

Skjermbilde 2015-03-08 kl. 13.02.25

Skjermbilde 2015-03-08 kl. 13.05.05

More Cheryl Donegan

More Cheryl Donegan

“His style of writing, especially in relation to the concept of différance disrupts binary thinking and philosophy‟s quest for unitary truth. For feminism, différance offers a way of thinking sexual différance that does not deny differences, but at the same time doest not create false hierarchies. Like Derrida, Irigaray claims that the term woman is trapped inside metaphysics of presence where definition is only possible with reference to man. The question that dominates Irigaray‟s idea is how to imagine the feminism outside of a masculine symbolic order beyond binaries. Her work on new ways of explaining the symbolic order and making a space for feminine subjectivity is very important. She rejects Lacan‟s model of the symbolic order which positions femininity as lack, rather she inclines towards a model that recognizes feminine alterity.”
Rasool Khezerloo
Urmia University

“Her video “Blood Sugar” presents a hallucinatory flash of runway models, textiles, and photographic images that pile up and vibrate anxiously against one another. The resulting flow of imagery is a disorienting reflection of how dependent we have become on the rapid, often unintentional consumption of images. The convulsing plaids and flannels that assault the screen seem to suggest a sort of frantic cultural heartbeat.”
The Coy Politics of Cheryl Donegan’s Recycled Imagery
by Howard Hurst