Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ray Bradbury's advice to architects

"Fill me with wonder, you architects:
Make me wander.
Let far be near at hand

And near? Up yonder
Let me not know quite where I go,
Let me seem lost;
Stuff my eyes with texture on texture
At any cost.
Confuse me with where I might maunder
And yet arrive;
And the final end of my journey?
I'm alive!

Let each twist and turn be target and goal
So that each jigsaw scrimshaw turnabout patch
Is part to the whole.
So each part of the plan, every feature and phase
Is a chart where I'm lost and yet found in amaze..."

— Ray Bradbury "Fill Me with Wonder, You Architects" in Yestermorrow: Obvious Answers to Impossible Futures (Capra Press, 1991) p16-17. This excerpt is posted in honor of Bradbury, whose home in L.A. was callously destroyed by a shockingly egotistical and obviously illiterate architect: Thom Mayne.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

the humanities curriculum as a place of mediation in which we may think together

"The challenge of choragraphy is to add heuretics to hermeneutics, fabrication to interpretation. The goal of reading the figures composed in the arts-and-letters relays is to learn how to make a figure oneself, to use the works in the humanities curriculum as a chora or place of mediation in which, in the prosthesis of the Internet, we may think together our personal and collective dimensions, grounded and manifested in our own local setting…  This extrapolation from the models and application to myself are the real challenges of choragraphy and of the collective online experiment…  The critical power of the project depends upon this anchor or grounding of theories and emotions in the maker’s own material existence, which then may be included in the act of reading and writing."

—Gregory L. Ulmer "Walden Choragraphy: Frog Maintenance" in Discourse v31, n1/2 (Winter/Spring 2009) p72-85.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Language—social and figurative—originated out of passion

According to Rousseau, language originated out of passion—not necessity—and was social and figurative before (and after) literal truth became a possibility seizable by name.

I paraphrase two mercifully short chapters in Rousseau's "Essay on the Origin of Languages which treats of Melody and Musical Imitation" [ca1749-55], as translated by J.H. Moran in On the Origin of Languages: Two Essays (U of Chicago, 1996) p11-13.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

the root of every manmade problem

The following (probably sarcastic) quip from the polemicist Karl Kraus captures that most unfortunate attitude at the very root of every ethical problem human beings have created - both for themselves and for one another:

"I have often been begged to be just and to view a situation from all sides. I have done this in the hope that a situation might be better looked at from all sides. But I came to the same conclusion about it. So I persist in viewing a situation from only one side, whereby I save myself much labor and disappointment."

— Karl Kraus, from Kraus' satirical periodical The Torch (1911-1936), as found in No Compromise: Selected Writings of Karl Kraus, Frederick Ungar (ed), NYC: Ungar Publishing, 1977, p222.