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Thursday, October 30, 2014

In the Deepest Most Serious Sense a Play Ground

"The ordinary division of our lives into work and play makes work the endless pursuit of a donkey's carrot into the future, and play a relaxation from this that reminds us of the carefree days of our childhood. But the genuine human energy of the arts and sciences converges on a world where work and play have become the same thing. A gathering together of such people with such interests, including this one, would be in the deepest and most serious sense a play ground, a common meeting point where all forms of language are interchangeable, all statements of identity, whether metaphors or equations, balance out, and scientists and humanists shake the past and the future out of their bones and join together in a present life."

— Northrop Frye, "The Bridge of Language" [lecture, 1981] in On Education (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1988) p167.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cézanne was an architect

"Cézanne was an architect."

— Philippe Sollers [Voire écrire, 2003], Writing and Seeing Architecture (Univ. of Minn Press, 2008) p120.  (Sollers' statement was made in conversation with the architect Christian de Portzamparc.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Addicted to dwelling...in deep, usually violet folds of velvet.

"The original form of all dwelling is existence not in the house but in the shell. The shell bears the impression of its occupant. In the most extreme instance, the dwelling becomes a shell. The nineteenth century, like no other century, was addicted to dwelling. It conceived the residence as a receptacle for the person, and it encased him with all his appurtenances so deeply in the dwelling's interior that one might be reminded of the inside of a compass case, where the instrument with all its accessories lies embedded in deep, usually violet folds of velvet. What didn't the nineteenth century invent some sort of casing for! Pocket watches, slippers, egg cups, thermometers, playing cards — and, in lieu of cases, there were jackets, carpets, wrappers and covers."

— Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project (Cambridge: Harvard U Press, 1999), pp.220-221, as cited in Neil Leach Camouflage (MIT Press, 2006) p18.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

luxury, a primitive art

"One of the primitive functions of art is the production of luxury goods for a ruling class"

— Northrop Frye "Design as a Creative Principle in the Arts" [1966], in The Critical Path and Other Writings on Critical Theory 1963-1975 (U. Toronto 2009) p229.