Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Friday, 31 May 2013

Robert Herrick: Upon one Lillie, who marryed with a maid call'd Rose


.

photo

Aronskelk / Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica): photo by Calllie-Pop, 31 August 2005
 

What times of sweetnesse this faire day fore-shows, 
When as the Lilly marries with the Rose! 
What next is lookt for? but we all sho'd see 
To spring from these a sweet Posterity. 


Robert Herrick: Upon one Lillie, who marryed with a maid call'd Rose, from Hesperides (1648)



photo
 
Aronskelk / Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica): photo by Calllie-Pop, 31 August 2005

File:Rose Amber Flush 20070601.jpg
 
Amber Flush Rose, Bagatelle Rose Garden, Paris: photo by Georges Seguin, 1 June 2007

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Philip Larkin: Administration


.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/Adult_Male_Phidippus_mystaceus_feeding_on_a_Chrysopid.png

Adult male Jumping Spider (Phidippus mystaceus), feeding on a Chrysopid, Oklahoma: photo by Thomas Shahan, October 2010



Day by day your estimation clocks up
Who deserves a smile and who a frown,
And girls you have to tell to pull their socks up
Are those whose pants you'd most like to pull down.


Philip Larkin (1922-1985): Administration, 3 March 1965, from Collected Poems, 1988


 

File:Actinidia chinensis - Austins Ferry.jpg

Kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis) on a branch, Austin's Ferry, Tasmania: photo by JJ Harrison, 2 June 2012

I worked at the [Hull] University Library from 1963-1966 as a Library Assistant and made many friends there, with most of whom I still keep in touch. One day in 1965 one of those friends, a particularly attractive girl, was caught by Philip in the stacks being rather too friendly with her then boyfriend, now husband. She is almost certain, because of the date of the poem, that 'Administration' was written after a telling-off she was given by Philip over this incident.

Amber Allcroft, from The Philip Larkin Society, October 2008 

Actually I shall probably chicken out on 'Administration'. I don't think I could meet the eyes of my staff if it were printed, much less the Vice-Chancellor...

Philip Larkin to Kingsley Amis, 18 June 1976, in Selected Letters of Philip Larkin, 1940-1965, ed. Anthony Thwaite, 1992

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Lost Woods


.


from Laminated in Booktown, Marie's Mail Box, 4 May 2013




Where those woods were I think I know.
My house stands in the village though;
I've been promised these things don't change.

The woods were lovely, dark, and deep;
They were just over there a moment ago;
I've been assured they can't have gone far.

Still there are promises no one keeps
And suddenly everything looks strange: 
Can woods be moved while someone sleeps?

To find those woods now I must seek
A passerby from another place
To ask if there's not been some mistake.
 
 


This post dedicated to Marie

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

D. H. Lawrence: London Mercury


.


 The Attributes of the Arts with a Bust of Mercury
: Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, c. 1728, oil on canvas (Pushkin Museum, Moscow)




Oh when Mercury came to London
they "had him fixed".
It saves him from so many undesirable associations.

And now all the Aunties like him so much
because, you see, he is "neither, my dear!"



D. H. Lawrence: London Mercury, from Nettles, in Last Poems (1932)




The Attributes of Painting and Sculpture: Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, c. 1728, oil on canvas, 64 x 92 cm (Private collection)


Some periodicals could be relied upon to react in blimpish fashion against anything new, experimental or foreign in the arts. The once powerful English Review, J. C. Squire’s London Mercury, and more popular vehicles of middle-class taste such as Punch printed regular attacks on modern art, international Socialism, American jazz, and all young persons, especially young literary persons.

Alan Young: from Positive Refusal, in Poetry Nation No. 4, 1975

Among [Squire's] contemporaries ... his reputation was variable. Many of them, such as Virginia Woolf, found him coarse; they thought, with reason, that he drank too much; they had little confidence in the group, known as the Squirearchy, which surrounded him.


Alan Pryce-Jones [J. C. Squire's editorial  assistant on the London Mercury]: from The Bonus of Laughter (1987)

By 1920 Squire was well on his way towards establishing a literary coterie of the Right just as partisan, as militant and as dedicated as the Leftist coteries.

Robert H. Ross: from The Georgian Revolt (1967)


Sir John Collings Squire, by John Mansbridge, 1932-1933 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir John Collings Squire [editor of the London Mercury, 1919-34]: John Mansbridge, 1932-33, oil on canvas, 622 mm x 749 mm (National Portrait Gallery, London)

The Paintings of D. H. Lawrence.

D. H. Lawrence: from The Paintings of D. H. Lawrence, privately printed for The Mandrake Press, 1929

Twenty-five of Lawrence's paintings were exhibited at the Warren Gallery in Mayfair, London, 1929. After complaints from visitor to the exhibition, police raided the gallery on 5 July 1929 and seized thirteen of the paintings, which were removed to the Marlborough Street Police Station. The paintings were later returned to Lawrence on condition they never again be shown in England.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Untergang (Party's Over): Bertolt Brecht / Gerhard Richter


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Party: Gerhard Richter, 1963. mixed media, 150 x 182 cm (Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden)



And I always thought: the very simplest words
Must be enough. When I say what things are like
Everyone's heart must be torn to shreds.
That you'll go down if you don't stand up for yourself

Surely you see that.


Und ich dachte immer: die allereinfachsten Worte
Müssen genügen. Wenn ich sage, was ist
Muß jedem das Herz zerfleischt sein.
Daß du untergehst, wenn du dich nicht wehrst
Das wirst du doch einsehen.

 

And I always thought (Und ich dachte immer): Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), c.1956, English version by Michael Hamburger


 

Deckchair: Gerhard Richter, 1965, oil on canvas, 150 x 190 cm

 


Deckchair II: GerhartdRichter, 1965, oil on canvas, 100 x 200 cm


Boat Trip: Gerhard Richter, 1965, oil on canvas, 150 x 190 cm (
Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main)


Motor Boat Trip: Gerhard Richter, 1965, oil on canvas, 170 x 170 cm


Renate and Marianne: Gerhard Richter, 1964, oil on canvas, 135 x 170 cm



Girl with Sunglasses: Gerhard Richter, 1965, oil on canvas, 105 x 70 cm
 

Two Couples: Gerhard Richter, 1965, oil on canvas, 115 x 160 cm
Gerhard Richter paintings via Gerhard Richter Art

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Padlocked Heart


.



Chief Joseph (c. 1840-1904): photo by Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1962), 1903; orotone print by Jean-Anthony du Lac (1929-1982), 1980, 58.7 x 48 cm (National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution / Library of Congress Collection of American Indian Photography)



Then as sun comes up Sunday paper for the obits
wherein growing older you discover your familiars
today Jean du Lac master of the orotone (photo repro
on glass) born in France died in San Francisco ashes
scattered off Marin coast “The majority of his life
a mystery” he “left behind a single key
to a solitary padlock The location of the padlock
is unknown”



TC: from Zombie Dawn, 2002


Curtis Camera

"The 6½-by-8½-inch dry-plate camera seemed to suit [Edward S. Curtis] best. Time and again, ‘The Chief' . . . turned to the favored old Reversible-Back Premo. . . . No gadgets; just a camera, tripod, focusing cloth, and film."
-~ Jean-Antony Du Lac, 1976 (Smithsonian Libraries)




Hunters Point

The streets of Hunters Point in San Francisco during the September 1966 rebellion. After the police shot 16-year-old Matthew Johnson in the back and killed him, people rose up against the police and the whole repressive situation. The mayor called in police sharpshooters, and National Guard troops with tanks and machine guns were sent into the neighborhood, but the people rebelled for three days:
photos by Jean Anthony Dulac, September 1966 (via Revolution, 8 October 2006; photos courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library)


 

The Offering: San Ildefonso: Mohawk Mother and Child: Jean Anthony du Lac, 1977, unframed orotone print after a photograph by Edward S. Curtis, 24 " x 18" (Clars Gallery, Oakland)

img0

Mohawk Mother and Child
: Jean Anthony du Lac, 1976, unframed orotone print after a photograph by Edward S. Curtis, 24 " x 18"
(Clars Gallery, Oakland)


Chief Joseph: framed orotone print by Jean-Anthony Du Lac, 1980, after a photograph by Edward S. Curtis, 28.5" x 22.5" (Clars Gallery, Oakland)

img0

Raven Blanket: framed orotone print by Jean-Anthony Du Lac, 1980, after a photograph by Edward S. Curtis, 28.5" x 22.5" (Clars Gallery, Oakland))


Red Cloud: framed orotone print by Jean-Anthony Du Lac, 1980, after a photograph by Edward S. Curtis, 28.5" x 22.5" (Clars Gallery, Oakland)




du LAC, Jean-Antony -- 73, of San Francisco, CA, died January 15, of natural causes. Born in France and raised in New York City, he moved west to San Francisco in 1957. Jean was an accomplished photographer whose published credits include Life Magazine and the San Francisco Examiner. He spent many years reproducing Edward S. Curtis's images of North American Indians; and he mastered the process of creating orotones, which are photographic reproductions on glass. Jean's orotones appeared on the walls of the Smithsonian as well as the White House during the Carter and Reagan administrations. A preservationist, his reproduction of Eadward Muybridge's panorama of San Francisco still hangs in one prominent San Francisco hotel; and he was instrumental in organizing Proposition P in the early 1970s, which sought to preserve the old San Francisco skyline by limiting the height of all downtown skyscrapers. The majority of his life a mystery, Jean left behind no material possessions, save for a single key to a solitary padlock. The location of the padlock is unknown. Jean is survived by his three children: Christian du Lac of Palo Alto; Joshua du Lac of Sacramento; and Sascha du Lac of Del Mar; and one granddaughter, Ariella. A private Memorial Service was held on April 27 off the coast of Marin County. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: The Dakota Indian Foundation, 209 N. Main, P.O. Box 340, Chamberlain, SD 57325.

San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday 14 July 2002

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Dawn Moon


.

Dawn Moon: photo by Tom Raworth, 31 May 2010


what is done
in the dark

the night
clocks out

dew on
the grass

one thought
singing
to itself

or someone
else

of a great
undoneness



File:Dew drops LC0107.jpg

Dew drops on a spider web
: photo by Jörg Hempel, 2007

Friday, 24 May 2013

Sky Above Clouds



Sky Above Clouds iii
: Georgia O'Keeffe, 1965, oil on canvas




Solar emeralds melt and blend
In a slow flash flow
Silver eucalyptus sails above
Waves of lavender
We rise at daybreak
Light opens its pure brooch
Far out over the ocean
A machine of perfect touch



TC: Eos, from Air, 1971





Above the Clouds: Georgia O'Keeffe, 1962-3, oil on canvas

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Dimitar Berbatov: Touch of Genius as The Stranger


.

Any excuse to trot this one out: photo by Ben Melvin/Rex Features (via The Guardian, 20 August 2012)



Dimitar Berbatov grew up on the mean streets of the the bleak Bulgarian mining town of Blagoevgrad, where he developed his unique footballing skills by kicking about an old dusty basketball as there was no proper football to play with. He learnt English from watching the Godfather trilogy. Part III in particular left an indelible imprint. Berbatov began to tailor his appearance after the model of Andy Garcia as the young Don Corleone. “Lots of people tell me that I look like him," Berbatov later said. "He has actually influenced my choice of hairstyle and I have even studied the way he smokes so I can hold my cigarette in the same way.”

Berbatov's boyhood street kickabouts came after he had queued for bread for up to eight hours at a time. “We would get in line at six in the morning and, if you lost your place, you had to go to the back. I don’t know many footballers who will have experienced what it was like being a child in a Communist country.”  Once word of his unusual footballing skills began to get about, and he was reported to be in training with CSKA Sofia, there came other problems for the lad. He was kidnapped by Bulgarian Mafia boss Georgi Iliev. The gangster wanted young Dimitar for his own club, Levski Kjustendil. Berbatov's father, Ivan, himself a professional footballer, had to make a deal to secure the boy's release. Berbatov later remained reluctant to talk of the details of the traumatic episode. “It was a horrific ordeal but a long time ago now.” 

In 2009, when playing in the English Premier League, he received warnings from his mother of another kidnapping plot brewing, this time involving his wife and daughter. Cloak and dagger negotiations again ensued. It was understood that, again, a deal had been struck, and Berbatov's family was spared. 





  Marlon Brando - Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov sketches some of his favourite celebrities

Dimitar Berbatov with his sketch of The Godfather: photographer unknown, via The Telegraph, 23 May 2013



Dimitar Berbatov does not play football. He has not played football for four years. He has no interest in it. He is above it. Instead, he has wandered the streets of Manchester, just being Dimitar. It is more than enough. Existence is enough. Dimitar is enough. Sometimes he goes to a cafe and has a coffee. Sometimes he has a coffee and a cigarette. Sometimes he has a coffee and a cigarette and a think. Shall I have another cigarette after this cigarette, he wonders. Maybe, maybe. Should I ask the waitress to top up my coffee? Perhaps –- but what is coffee? And why is waitress? There are no answers. There are no questions. So no coffee for Dimitar. Existence is enough. He lights another cigarette. Hmm, mouth's a bit dry with all this smoking, he notes. I could do with something to wash this fag down.

Dimitar is a performance artist. He is a serious man. He makes Eric Cantona look like Michael McIntyre. A couple of times during his stay in Manchester he has staged situationist happenings. On one occasion, he sauntered down a length of turf at the Old Trafford stadium and nonchalantly kicked a ball into a net against Blackeye Rovers. Another time, he hovered above the turf and guided a ball into a net against Liverpool. You would know these artistic stunts as "goals". Dimitar is aware they are known as "goals", too, but he also knows they are not goals. They are his interpretations of goals, via the medium of goals. Football fans may consider them goals if they wish, but they are pigs. To Dimitar, these goals, which are not goals, are studies of time, space, energy, humanity. They are his philosophic digressions, poems, novels. Full time score: Blackeye Rovers nil, Ekphrasis one.

-- from How Dimitar learned to stop worrying and love the simple life: Scott Murray, The Guardian, 30 August 2012


Berbatov Goal

Dimitar Berbatov demonstrating his legendary touch: photographer unknown (via CaughtOffside, 21 May 2013)



Dimitar Berbatov in the Global Vernacular

The Continental (2009)


What Bulgarian and Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov is lovingly referred to as by some Man United fans.

That was a great volley by The Continental.


Berbalishous  (2010)

Used when football player Dimitar Berbatov does something extremely talented or extraordinary.
A berbalishous touch from the United striker.

Berbathlicism (2010)

(Noun) The belief in Dimitar Berbatov. A new religion centred around the Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov, a player who plays the beautiful game like no other; art, touch, grace, and a dash of improvisational flair combined to make a player of unrivaled skill.

Non-believers (antiberbathlicists) will argue that he is lazy due to his languid, laidback style; believers will tell you that this is simply his style and his touch, vision and ability to produce pieces of magic that others can only dream of set him apart from any other footballer.

Dimitar Berbatov has declared himself a loner, a perfectionist and an art lover. He is truly an enigma, a genius, a god walking amongst mere mortals and so a religion has been created in his honour.

Ignorant Fan: "Berbatov is such a lazy player!"
Knowledgeable fan: "You ignorant fool! His first touch is sublime, he is tactically aware and scores unbelievable goals, I'm even a member of Berbathlicism because the man's pure genius."


Mitko (2011)

Mitko is one of the most common Bulgarian male names. Everybody named Dimitar in Bulgaria can be called Mitko.

It comes from the Greek goddess Demeter -- Goddess of the Earth, Agriculture, Harvest, and Forests.
 
I saw Mitko coming at the party.
Mitak, come and play with us!


Mitko's are really cool and handsome, helpful guys around the world.

Yo Katie, that Mitko guy is fukken hot.


Bulgarian Delight (2011)

1) The act of proceeding to ejaculate on tiramisu, after eating a slice of Bulgarian feta cheese.
2) The feeling of delight and happiness you get when Manchester United player Dimitar Berbatov, does the things he's paid for. (I.e. scoring a goal, anything.)


(For definition 1)
Girl 1: My boyfriend gave me a cake for my birthday!
Girl 2: Oh really? What kind?
Girl 1: A Bulgarian delight!
 

(For definition 2)
Guy: I had Bulgarian delight, when Berbatov actually did something during the match yesterday.


Bulgarian (2011)

Adjective meaning lazy, blasé or casual to the extreme but in a classy or stylish way. Often used to describe someone so talented in a certain discipline that they don't take said discipline seriously -- it is often obvious that they find it easy -- or any action or said person. Named for the Bulgarian footballer Dimitar Berbatov.

John: Man Josh is so good at tennis.
Jack: Yeah, he's totally Bulgarian.

 

James: Man that pass was Bulgarian.


Berbatovian (2011)

(Adjective) Used to describe someone's performance at a task. Denotes displaying extreme laziness and antipathy towards a task despite displaying obvious skill, flair and talent for it.

Usually provokes annoyance among others.

In honour of Dimitar Berbatov's performances for Manchester United.
"He's such an annoying Berbatovian cock. He never even tries and he gets more birds than I could dream of."

(Via Urban Dictionary)


Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov: photo by Ben Melvin/Rex Features (via The Sun, 3 April 2010))
 
"I am a relaxed guy. I play that way and I can’t change my style. I watch games and see guys who panic on the ball -– they look so nervous. I can be calm, because I sometimes know what I want to do before the ball comes to me."

 
-- Dimitar Berbatov, characterizing his style of play, 2009



Touch is a crucial means of receiving information.  Tactile markings at the top and bottom of a flight of stairs, to improve recognition and accessibility for the visually impaired, University of Sydney, Australia: photo by laRuth, 29 September 2006

(Has Dimitar Berbatov been here?)

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Particulate


.


Children play in yard of Ruston, Washington home, while Tacoma Smelter stack showers area with arsenic and lead residue: photo by Gene Daniels, August 1972



It's hard to tell the clouds
from the smoke

without a truth
filter

To shelter
in place

down
wind of the smelter

might once have worked
but there are no longer

places to hide
 




The Atlas Chemical Company belches smoke across pasture land in foreground, Marshall, Texas. The plant Is referred to as "Old Darky" in the community because black soot from the plant covers everything near-by. One farmer claims he lost several cows due to soot and chemicals from Atlas: photo by Marc St. Gil, June 1972


Chemical plants, New Orleans: photo by Marc St. Gil, c. 1973
3



Burning discarded automobile batteries, Houston, Texas: photo by Marc St. Gil, August 1972
Photos from the Environmental Protection Agency's Documerica project (U.S. National Archives)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Moment


.
Melted clock, Cass Technical High School

Melted clock, Cass Technical High School: photo by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, from The Ruins of Detroit (Steidl), 2010



Man talking to supervisor
conflicted gestures of submission
at odds with hate in eyes
through the eccentric surface
of what he seems to be saying
shines a hidden burden
the repressed suffering
of the alienated subject
who unconsciously expresses
the unreconciled nature
of real life
right here in the administrative hallway


 


TC: Moment, from Disordered Ideas, 1987





photo

Musical Tinkle (I)
: visual poem by Marie Wintzer, 11 September 2012



The icy night will change for the better gradually, just like outstretched claws. The teeth will come out, shining brightly the whole sky will purr too loudly. When spring comes trees and grasses, flowers full bloom, the scene was covered in porridge smoke like this.

A vispo series inspired by ancient Egyptian mythology on the creation of earth and sky. Geb was a male god who represented the land of Egypt. As he lay on his back, the folds of Geb’s body formed the mountains and valleys of the earth. Nut was a female sky goddess who stretched overhead in a large arc, forming the blue sky of clay or shining with stars at night. Originally, the two gods lay close to each other, making it impossible for any living thing to exist. Ra then ordered Shu, the god of the air, to separate them, raising her so high that she began to tremble.


photo

Musical Tinkle (II): visual poem by Marie Wintzer, 15 September 2012


So do many flowerpots come to you quickly, bringing you the black cat hobbling like a hushed crowd getting green and more bright after the coffee had run out.


photo

Musical Tinkle (III)
: visual poem by Marie Wintzer, 17 September 2012

 

Your request will be late late late! The far side will be found later. The person you wait for will go singing through the air. Building a new house and removal are both visible in the gloom. Marriage, employment and traveling are on only three legs.


File:Geb, Nut, Shu.jpg

Detail from the Greenfield Papyrus (the Book of the Dead of Nesitanebtashru), depicting the air god Shu, assisted by the ram-headed Heh deities, supporting the sky goddess Nut as the earth god Geb reclines beneath
: unknown Egyptian artisan, c. 950 BCE; photo by the British Museum, from What Life Was Like on the Banks of the Nile, edited by Denise Dersin, 1997; image by A. Parrot, 13 June 2010 (British Museum)


File:Opening of the mouth ceremony.jpg

The Opening of the Mouth ceremony being performed before the tomb
: page from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer: unknown Theban artisan, 19th Dynasty, c. 1300 BCE. The centrepiece of the upper scene is the mummy of Hunefer, shown supported by the god Anubis (or a priest wearing a jackal mask). Hunefer's wife and daughter mourn, and three priests perform rituals. The two priests with white sashes are carrying out the Opening of the Mouth ritual. The white building at the right is a representation of the tomb, complete with portal doorway and small pyramid. Both these features can be seen in real tombs of this date from Thebes. To the left of the tomb is a picture of the stela which would have stood to one side of the tomb entrance. Following the normal conventions of Egyptian art, it is shown much larger than normal size, in order that its content (the deceased worshipping Osiris, together with a standard offering formula) is absolutely legible. At the right of the lower scene is a table bearing the various implements needed for the Opening of the Mouth ritual. At the left is shown a ritual, where the foreleg of a calf, cut off while the animal is alive, is offered. The animal was then sacrificed. The calf is shown together with its mother, who might be interpreted as showing signs of distress (British Museum)

File:BD Hunefer.jpg

Weighing of the heart scene, with Ammit sitting
: page from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer: unknown Theban artisan, 19th Dynasty, c. 1300 BCE. Hunefer is conducted to the balance by jackal-headed Anubis. The monster Ammit crouches beneath the balance so as to swallow the heart should a life of wickedness be indicated. Anubis conducts the weighing on the scale of Maat, against the feather of truth. The ibis-headed Thoth, scribe of the gods, records the result. If his heart is lighter than the feather, Hunefer is allowed to pass into the afterlife. If not, he is eaten by the waiting chimeric devouring creature Ammit, which is composed of the deadly crocodile, lion, and hippopotamus. In the next panel, showing the scene after the weighing, a triumphant Hunefer, having passed the test, is presented by falcon-headed Horus to the shrine of the green-skinned Osiris, god of the underworld and the dead, accompanied by Isis and Nephthys. The fourteen gods of Egypt are shown seated above, in the order of judges: photo by Jon Bodsworth, 8 December 2007 (British Museum)





Bridge in Macau: photo by Maitreya 8 (Mahesh Rao), 7 October 2011



Bridge in Macau (the haze is from industrial polllution)
: photo by Maitreya 8 (Mahesh Rao), 7 October 2011




Macau Tower: Flyovers in Macau: photo by Maitreya 8 (Mahesh Rao), 7 October 2011




Macau Tower: View from top
: photo by Maitreya 8 (Mahesh Rao), 7 October 2011



Macau Tower: View from top -- as seen from the glass bottom
: photo by Maitreya 8 (Mahesh Rao), 7 October 2011





Shinjuku lights, Tokyo: photo by Tinu Bao, 25 December 2006


Lights from above (view from the overpass), Tokyo: photo by Tinu Bao, 25 December 2006


Windows, Tokyo: photo by Tinu Bao, 25 December 2006



Chicago
, night: photo by photoalvin (Alvin Shubert), 22 May 2009




Chicago
, night: photo by photoalvin (Alvin Shubert), 22 May 2009




Shinagawa rooftop view, Tokyo
: photo by Thomas Birke, 2008




View from Shinagawa Prince East Tower 17F, Tokyo
: photo by Thomas Birke, 2010




Tokyo X: photo by Thomas Birke, 2008



Traffic congestion, Tokyo: photo by spiraldelight, 2 January 2012




Highway #2, Los Angeles, California: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 2009, from Edward Burtynsky Photographic Work




Highway #5, Los Angeles, California: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 2009, from Edward Burtynsky Photographic Work


What some like to call angst and to ennoble as an existential is claustrophobia in the world: in the closed system.

It perpetuates the spell as coldness between men, without which the calamity could not recur.

Anyone who is not cold, who does not chill himself as in the vulgar figure of speech the murderer "chills" his victims, must feel condemned.

Along with angst and the cause of it, this coldness too might pass. Angst is the necessary form of the curse laid in the universal coldness upon those who suffer from it.


Theodor Adorno: excerpt from Negative Dialectics, 1966, translated by E. B. Ashton, 1973



The Dream of Future Administered House: IPv6 exhibition at PT Telkom, Bandung, West Java: photo by Ikhlasul Amal, 12 November 2010



Reality's spell over spirit prevents spirit from doing what its own concept wants to do when faced with the merely existent: to fly.

Because more tender and fleeting, spirit is all the more susceptible to oppression and mutilation.

As the placeholder of what progress could be above and beyond all progress, spirit stands askew to the progress that does take place, and this in turn bestows honor upon the placeholder.

Through less than complete complicity with progress, spirit reveals what progress is really up to.


File:Scranton, Pennsylvania, restored historic Electric City sign by Carol Highsmith (LOC highsm.04369).jpg

Scranton, Pennsylvania: Historic Electric City sign, restored in 2008, shines again: photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 27 May 2008 (Library of Congress)

Like every philosophical term, 'progress' has its equivocations; and as in any such term, these equivocations also register a commonality.

What at this time one should understand by 'progress' one knows vaguely, but precisely: for just this reason one cannot employ the concept roughly enough.

To use the term pedantically merely cheats it out of what it promises: an answer to the doubt and the hope that things will finally get better, that people will at last be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

For this reason alone one cannot say precisely what progress should mean to people, because the crisis of the situation is that precisely while everyone feels the crisis, the words bringing resolution are missing.



Rooftop bar at Soho House, New York City
: photo by pvsbond, 5 June 2007

Only those reflections about progress have truth that immerse themselves in progress and yet maintain distance, withdrawing from paralyzing facts and specialized meanings.

Today reflections of this kind come to a point in the contemplation of whether humanity is capable of preventing catastrophe.

The forms of humanity's own global societal constitution threaten its life, if a self-conscious global subject does not develop and intervene.


Theodor Adorno: excerpts from Progress, Lecture at Münster Philosophers' Congress, 22 October 1962, translated by Henry Pickford in Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords, 1998


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/Ukivok.jpg

Deserted stilt village of Utivok, King Island, Bering Strait
: photo by Capt. Budd Christman, 1978 (NOAA)