I wrote a post on Big Other about the Harun Farocki exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. Also about Veena Das, the supermodel Daul Kim, the violence of writing, the Egypt protests, glamour and pain, not hanging yourself.
I forgot to say in the essay that Harun Farocki is really fit.
By “fit” I am using the British terminology for “hot.”
I mean he was really fit when he was younger in Inextinguishable Fire, but he’s kind of still fit. And he doesn’t dress like a bourgeois or stylish intello artist either, he came to the Q&A in some wrinkled pink shirt and pale dad jeans and old blazer, and all of this only deepened my reception of his humor, bluntness and dryness. It was really wonderful to hear someone with a German accent because I am in Glasgow away from my French-German partner and although he does not have a strong French or German accent, listening to the German accent is comforting to me for so many very strange reasons, even though I have undergone my share of frustration and suffering in Germany.
The French accent has no comfort for me whatsoever.
I can’t believe I am going to try to become a French citizen. It’s almost as unbelievable as the fact that I married a man when I was twenty.
That I would be married, that I would be with a man, that I would be with anyone, that I would even still be alive: I mean, it’s like the ultimate convergence of every single one of my life’s major impossibilities, the convergence having a kind of enzymatic reaction and turning all of those impossibilities into deep and tender realities.
Or like a distant and frankly unreal horizon that suddenly accelerates towards you. Slicing you in half.
Love. Falling in love. My god. Falling in love and being obsessed. I always knew I was a singular person but I thought it meant that I would remain singular. But singularities can be shared, I have discovered. The plainness of this just upends me, it’s stupefying how we can learn things, or find things, things that are already lodged in us as unactivated knowledge or ignored knowledge. We can be reached. We can still be reached.
“What is fascinating for me is that in drawing the scene of the pathos of pain, Wittgenstein creates language as the bodying forth of words. Where is my pain——in touching you to point out the location of that pain——has my pointing finger——there it is——found your body, which my pain (our pain) can inhabit, at least for that moment when I close my eyes and touch your hand? And if the language for the inexpressibility of pain is always falling short of my need for its plenitude, then is this not the sense of disappointment that human beings have with themselves and the language that is given to them? But also, does the whole task of becoming human, even of becoming perversely human, not involve a response (even if this is rage) to the sense of loss when language seems to fail? Wittgenstein’s example of my pain inhabiting your body seems to me to suggest either the institution that the representation of shared pain exists in imagination but is not experienced, in which case one would say that language is hooked rather inadequately to the world of pain. Or, alternately, that the experience of pain cries out for this response of the possibility that my pain could reside in your body and that the philosophical grammar of pain is an answer to that call.”