Burial, Hauntology, Etc.

Six years since a blog entry called “Phonograph Blues” introduced me to Derrida’s concept of hauntology, not directly through Spectres of Marx but through Burial’s records. My grasp of the concept (not too strong) and my love of the artist’s gray wisps of electronica’s echoes (very strong) really owes a lot to Mark Fisher’s blog entry and the “unedited transcript” of his 2007 interview with Burial himself.

Other interviews with Burial include this one from The Guardian that begins with him referring to himself as “a rubbish super-hero,” the one from Fact magazine where he mentions that “his favourite sound in the world is the motion-tracker from Aliens,” and the Cyclic Defrost feature-interview that calls the Burial track “Archangel” a pop song that hasn’t been invented yet.

As for hauntology in general, Fisher has been discussing it since at least the start of 2006. Here are three I like, though I’m sure there are many others worth reading:

After Fisher, I guess Xaven Taner’s “Hauntology: A Primer – The Absent Present Resonates” is a pretty good round-up, too. After all, I love Taner’s special section on Nurse with Wound and his “Reflections on David Lynch’s Inland Empire is a short but interesting read.

Somewhere on Taner’s site is a review of Inception. I like Christopher Nolan a lot, but he always gets accidentally bumped off my mind by David Lynch. Here, Inland Empire beats Inception. It’s just like how, a few years ago, my first viewing and enjoyment of Memento was derailed by my viewing of Mulholland Drive a day later. Coincidence kills!

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The Absent Ghost

Because I tend to ramble, I actually forgot why I brought out Dark from my old room and brought it up in my previous entry: to mention the unusual but somewhat appropriate inclusion of Robert Frost’s “Home Burial” in its pages.

Apart from being the only poem in an anthology of prose, “Home Burial” is hardly about murder or the supernatural. Calling it madness is a stretch. As a dramatization of mourning, it’s unparalleled, at least in my opinion.

Randall Jarrell’s reading of the poem is considered definitive and may be read here, along with several others, and a more recent exhaustive per-line exploration is found in this threepart annotation. All of which isn’t to say that the poem itself isn’t worth reading. It’s emotionally grueling.

I’m not always attuned to Frost’s poetry and poetics, but sometimes, when I find myself wishing I had the ability to write a dramatic situation in verse, it’s “Home Burial” I hold up as a model.

From Spectres Of Marx

was my reply to

Masha tweeted that right after she multi-tweeted the following bit from Spectres Of Marx:

The Recovery of Language: Michael Palmer in Conversation

SR: You do a lot with repetition and variation, within and between poems, and within and between books. You seem to be teasing out all of the different ways that that can add to and support your project.

MP: Recurrence and variation have fascinated me since I first read Gertrude Stein as a very young person. Or perhaps I should say: since I first heard nursery rhymes and incantations as an even younger person. Likeness and difference and their dance—isn’t that the ground of the poetic project and our signifying capacity? And metaphor: a thing in terms of another thing, a bearing across between a one and “an other,” or self and other.

SR: Or between the self that I am in this moment and the self that I am in the next moment. ….At different times repetition and variation seem to operate in your work as translation, jazz, conversation, and a stutter.

MP: It’s interesting that you bring up the stutter because my earlier work talks about the poet’s and the philosopher’s stutter: the stutter of the effort of articulation, which is part of the articulation. You hear it—the stutter or the hesitation, they’re part pf the same thing—if you listen to a Gilles Deleuze or a Jacques Derrida speaking—improvising philosophy. You may also see it in the improvisational steps Wittgenstein takes in his work toward whatever goal is there, letting the fly out of the bottle, let’s say.

via The Recovery of Language: Michael Palmer in Conversation

Jacques Derrida Goes Up My Scale

In the course of all my current reading about Heidegger these days–“about,” not “of” because I’m using cheat sheets secondary literature–I came across the video above and found myself somewhat amused. (I enjoy watching that video, as I have a soft spot for XtraNormal videos set in the academic world, but it’s not really that funny, because the points it makes on both sides do make sense.)

That, of course, reminded me of how I still haven’t read my copy of Derrida’s Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question beyond the first chapter that begins with words that seem to me thrilling in every sense of the term: “I shall speak of ghost, of flame, and of ashes. And of what, for Heidegger, avoiding means.” (Italics his.)

Of course, as the Reading and Time video above demonstrates, it’s not always a good thing to keep piling up the research when what I’m preparing for isn’t really a scholarly article but, well, a somewhat irrealist short story I need to be writing, especially given how difficult it’s been from a moral perspective.

So I decided I’ll  forgo my reading of Derrida for some later, more leisurely, time. This was until I remembered that his Without Alibi (review here), which I also have a copy of but one I haven’t read at all, might prove very useful to my thesis (an altogether different project from my Heidegger short story), especially its first essay, “History of the Lie”…

…which I’ve just learned was spurred by his reading of Hannah Arendt, who brings us back to Martin Heidegger. Though I think I’ll take us back to Derrida by way of Antonio Gramsci Scritti Politti. How I wish I could have a T-shirt printed with “Desire is so voracious, I wanna eat your nation state.” Now dance:

POSTSCRIPT: Jesus. I just found a great online journal called Double Dialogues. Not only does it have two issues devoted to “Art and Lies” (!), pretty much every other issue contains something of interest (the Dominique Hecq essay “Uncanny Encounters: on Writing, Anxiety, and Jouissance” is simply one of many, but I’m mentioning that, because I want to meet Hecq someday.)

Apophenia 1: Harrison, Derrida, Lacan, Poe, Public Enemy

I’m a big fan of M. John Harrison‘s writing in general: not just his novels and stories but also his blog entries.

Lately, Harrison’s been posting lists of works in the related genres of fantasy and science fiction. It would be an understatement to refer to these lists as unorthodox; while most of the entries are books, some are films, computer games, and pop songs.

In a comment on one of Harrison’s follow-up lists, an artist named Edwin Rostron mentions something called The Codex Seraphinianus. Following the link Rostron left, I found myself thrilled by both the book itself and that essay about it. Additionally, I was also thrilled by the mention of a professor named Terry Harpold.

That was when things became apophenic.

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