Artaud #1: Words become power objects


This is the world
in the shape of a butterfly
putting the world together.
(more poems)

Artaud is, in fact, the most published/translated French poet in the 20th century…

glos·so·la·li·a n
1. See speaking in tongues
2. nonsensical or invented speech, especially resulting from a trance or schizophrenia

Daniel Paul Schreber‘s memoirs… Freud developed theories based on these.

Arcane modes of knowledge…Artaud was interested in arcane modes of knowledge.  Cards, crystals. etc. Arcane means: requiring secret knowledge to be understood.

Artaud creates for himself a literary genealogy…

yad·da yad·da yad·da n
1 boring, trite, superficial, unending talk (slang)
2 interj used in speaking as a filler for unstated material or to indicate boredom or distaste for things others are saying or have just said (slang)

In Artaud’s time, the time of John Paul Sartre, a work was not a work unless it helped people make good moral decisions…

In the book Existentialism, (quoted in the anthology Existentialism and Human Emotions) Sartre says:

In fact, in creating the man that we want to be, there is not a single one of our acts which does not at the same time create an image of man as we think he ought to be. To choose to be this or that is to affirm at the same time the value of what we choose, because we can never choose evil. We always choose the good, and nothing can be good for us without being good for all….[in any act] I am creating a certain image of man of my own choosing. In choosing myself, I choose man.

…at every moment I’m obliged to perform exemplary acts. For every man, everything happens as if all mankind had its eyes fixed on him and were guiding itself by what he does. And every man ought to say to himself, “Am I really the kind of man who has the right to act in such a way that humanity might guide itself by my actions?” And if he does not say that to himself, he is masking his anguish.

Words become power objects for Artaud… the ‘use value’ of a thing is different from the other critical and historical writing.

la or lah or laa n
the sixth note of a major scale in solfeggio.
U.K. term lah

There’s a kind of history of the European relationship to madness. Why, at a given point, do artists point to these types of discourses (mad discourse)…

Artaud’s early writing was relatively around the expressionists and the surrealists… in part … the early works propose a new model of aesthetics (embryonic model) in which the formal question is just thrown out the door and the emotional/passionate issues comes to the forefront. (this true from what I’ve read)

Artaud derives a model of spatiality and then afterwards there are all these drawings.

There’s a number of works about spatiality, and pathology…
Anthony Vidler Anxiety in Space (Architecture New York.)
Warped Space
Unnatural Horizons
the role of the sky in landscapes…
Architectural theory would be very useful in looking at Artaud… hmmmm.

Techniques of the Absurd…

In the end of Artaud’s life (in poetry and diaries)… there’s a point a in which he renounces his origins… in ‘here lies.’ One might think about that statement pathologically… but there are always several levels to what he writes. Artaud’s theorization of poetry is based on the (theories that give rise to formalist theory—rupture the pathology from the text… the authors Nerval, Poe, Bakelite, Van Gogh, (authors represent intoxication)…

Harold Bloom (misreading your predecessor as a means of going beyond them to be a great writer)… The value of Bloom is that he shows through psychoanalytic methodology, how a writer or thinker operates in terms of one’s predecessor… Blooms theory of misreading predecessors is a changing of the past…The most mad act is to renounce all predecessors… How do you negate a history of negation?… creatively, that is…

Bakelite and Nietzsche.
How did the sublime show up in the 19th century? Aesthetic theory based upon intoxication… The virtue of wine, Bakelite says, is the increase of volition.

volition: the act of exercising the will

violation: the act or an example of the violating somebody or something

violet: a low-growing, perennial plant with irregular flowers that are usually but not always a purplish blue. Genus: Viola

violin: a wooden musical instrument with four strings and an unfretted fingerboard, held under the player’s chin and played with a bow.

“Wine exalts the will, hashish alienates it… they are all ‘flutterings toward infinity.’”

Wine is the color of a drenched violets. In letters about Wagner, Bakelite sets out the preconditions of art: synethesia, the idea that art can be helped by the confusing of forms (kernel of the theory of synesthesia is the idea of the TOTAL work of art). What this party needs is a couple of violins on fire. Thanks for Bakelite and Nietzsche, all of the senses can have their respective arts. There’s a conception that a total art form will effect all the senses… In the 19th century, they find out that the nose and the mouth don’t get much play in art… How do you fill the mouth and nose with a work of art? I think Paul McCarthy would have a couple of answers to these jokers. Of course, stuffing all the senses is impossible. Once you could do that, the fine arts would go away…  Bakelite insists on the interrelation between the senses as well as the arts…

BwO is a kind of work that transforms the paradigm… In his reading of Bakelite’s aesthetics, (in Bakelite’s theory, unlike materialist theories, the ideal and the poetic exist to excite the senses)

What Bachelard says is that the real cause of the flux of images (sensations attached to objects and their qualities) are imagined. The real is derived from the imaginary… That is to say that I know the sensation of the door before I lay my hands on it. The mind derives its experience from the imagination as well as from the actual world. (This is a very neat point) The question of intoxication is then put in terms of a technique for transforming the imagination and therefore transforming the real. (Yeah, this is good stuff)

The function of the unreal is truly what drives the psychic mechanism… It makes sense with Freud (How is the reality principle derived? By a wish, by desire, libido). The wish is a visualization of the libidinal force… in the Bachelard (real is a blockage, reduces images to a sign) It’s a distinction between form (sigh) and force (libidinal forces)…

The limits (counter-memory, counter-spectacle, ) theorization of the centrality of libidinal force (Artaud lives this out from the beginnings of his writings)… the force and not the form is behind his poetry…

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