Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On the Shepherds' Play

On the Shepherds' Play, 2011-15
Video, duration 1'00''.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

What is it Good For ?

Alice Becker-Ho and Guy Debord playing the Game of War, 1977.

By Nathan Heller

Comme aux jeux de hasard

Comme aux jeux de hasard
Des règles sont posées
On va tenter la chance
faire preuve de la patience
on paiera pour voir

Comme aux jeux de hasard
Quand les des sont lancés
On les regarde rouler
Mais les jeux sont faits
Il est déjà trop tard

Alice Becker-Ho,1998


Lunch, 2014-15
Wood, paint, fabric, plaster, acrylic, oil, steel
63 x 56 x 27 cm

Monday, April 20, 2015

John Keats and ‘negative capability’

In December 1817 John Keats was returning from the Christmas pantomime with his friends Charles Wentworth Dilke and Charles Brown. On the walk home, he later told his brothers George and Tom, he got into a ‘disquisition’ with Dilke on a number of subjects:
several things dovetailed in my mind, & at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously – I mean Negative Capability, that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason – Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half knowledge.[1]
It is a famous passage; and it is entirely characteristic of Keats that he should come up with one of his most telling phrases (‘Negative Capability’) in such an impromptu fashion, without preamble or lengthy explanation. His language is not immediately clear, but richly suggestive and idiosyncratic.

What does Keats mean by ‘negative capability’? Clearly, he is using the word ‘negative’ not in a pejorative sense, but to convey the idea that a person’s potential can be defined by what he or she does not possess – in this case a need to be clever, a determination to work everything out. Essential to literary achievement, Keats argues, is a certain passivity, a willingness to let what is mysterious or doubtful remain just that. His fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he suggests, would do well to break off from his relentless search for knowledge, and instead contemplate something beautiful and true (‘a fine verisimilitude’) caught, as if by accident, from the most secret part (‘Penetralium’) of mystery. The experience and intuitive appreciation of the beautiful is, indeed, central to poetic talent, and renders irrelevant anything that is arrived at through reason. Keats ends his brief discussion of negative capability by concluding that ‘with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration’.
Article by Stephen Hebron

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Kaspar trying to teach a cat to walk on its hind legs.
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle), 1974.
Writ./Dir. by Werner Herzog.


Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Untitled (Composition with Squares, Circle, Rectangles, Triangles), 1918
Pearl cotton, coloured dyes , 61 x 62.5 cm

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rabbit with Axe

Gorleston Psalter, England 14th century, British Library, Add 49622, fol. 13v