Distribution Automatique

Friday, March 5

"The real secret of the contemplator's success is in his refusal
to consider as an evil the encrochment on his personality by

"The precise contemplation of objects is also a form of rest,
but a privilaged rest of adult plants that bear fruits..."

Francis Ponge *Things*
translated by Cid Corman

"'One invisible puff-puff whisk of economically priced Ubik
banishes compulsive obsessive fears that the entire world
is turning into clotted milk, worn-out tape recorders and
obsolete iron-cage elevators, plus other further, as yet
unglimpsed manifestations of decay. You see, world
deterioration of this regressive type is a normal experience
of many half-lifers, especially in the early stages when ties
to real reality are still very strong..."

*Ubik*, Phillip K. Dick, Doubleday, 1969, p. 118
"As I mentioned, I had begun early to find evidence that she unconsciously
defended herself against the recognition of her own psychological instability,
through projecting this instability upon not only other persons, but upon
her nonhuman environment as well. That is, she indicated that she not
only experienced other *person* in her presence (including myself, in the
therapeutic session) as being replaced, repeatedly, by different persons;
she also experienced the hospital buildings, the contours of the landscape,
and the locations of the trees as changing more or less constantly. She could
only conclude that all of her surroundings were a giant movie set which was
changed continuously. This included even the neighboring village, and the adjacent
city of Washington; when she went into the village or the city, she was sure,
each time, that this was a different community from any that she had ever
visited before. She was certain that there were thousands of Chestnut Lodges,
thousands of Rockvilles, thousands of Washingtons. Changes in these physical
surroundings , as well as changes in the appearance of other persons, would occur
right before her eyes. She had had a similar perception of her environment, for years
before my first interview with her. She once confided to me that even before the
age of eight, "I used to feel as though I were walking on quicksand."

Harold Searles, *The Nonhuman Environment*, New York, 1960, p. 315-316 316,

"No urban planner, puzzling out the rational requirements of a new city
development, would ever have arrived at the Morroccan birdcage shop.
Yet, of all the businesses on the block this is the only one which is most
typical of the peculiar big-city flavour of the quarter. It is an example of pure,
bedsitter-entrepreneurism; you import a functional object from a distant
place or period, make it both useless and decorative with a lick of paint, then
sell it at a fancy price as a status-enhancer. If the bottom falls out of the
birdcage market, no doubt the shop can quickly adapt t selling cracked
78 rpm rock-and-roll records, 1940's Aztec-fretwork radio sets, or glass
liquid jars for growing miniature gardens in. The market in fashion is
omnivorous in this improvisatory, make-do-and mend way; it transforms
junk into antiques, rubbish into something rich, strange, expensive and
amusing. It is solely concerned with effecting arbitrary changes in value; its
raw material is the continuous stream of waste products which we leave
behind us in our crazes. It is cyclical and self-sufficient, replenishing itself
as demand dictates, from the reservoir of refuse f rom which we have
temporarily averted our eyes. One blink, and we are making out a cheque
to pay for some *object d'art* which we tossed into a garbage can only
last month. The Moroccan birdcage syndrome is a useful model for a certain
kinnd of urban industrial process- a process which both supplies a demand
for commodities whose sole feature is their expression of aste, and becomes,
by virtue of its laws of economic transformation, the ultimate arbiter of that taste."

Jonathan Raban, *Soft City*, New York, 1974, p 95.
"WOZZECK Well, Doctor- you see, sir- sometimes there's folk
with this or that kind of character, or structure so to say; but
you see, sir, with Nature, sir- (He *snaps his fingers*) it's like that
sir. How could I put it? Like-

DOCTOR Wozzeck, you're philsophizing again.

WOZZECK You see, Doctor, when Nature gjives way, sir-

DOCTOR Nature! What! Nature!

WOZZECK- gives out, sir, and the world turns all
dark, and you go round fumblin after things
with your 'ands. And then'tis as though it might
all break up, sir- like a spider's web. Oh, sir- and
then there's something there; but it's not there at
all. Oh, Marie! 'Tis all so dark, and nol more than
a glint of red to west, like out of a chimney, sir-
and what are you to hold to then? (HE *paces
the room*.)

DOCTOR Tch! Don't shift your feet like that.
You're not a spider.

WOZZECK Doctor, have you ever seen anything
of compound reason? When the sun burns down
at mid-day, and it's as though the world might go
up in one flame. Once I heard a fearful voice, sir-
speaking to me.

Georg Buchner, *WOZZECK*
translated by Geoffrey Dunlop, London, 1952
"In the sequence one can say that first there is object-relating,
then in the end there is object-use; in between, however, is the
most difficult thing, perhaps, in human development; or the most
irksome of all the early failures that come for mending. This thing
that there is in between relating and use is the subject's placing
of the object outside the area of the subject's omnipotent control;
that is, the subject's perception of the object as an external phenomenon,
not as a projected entity, in fact recognition of it as an entity in its own

The change (from relating to usage) means that the subject destroys
the object. From here it could be argued by an armchair philosopher
that there is therefore no such thing in practice as the use of an object:
If the object is external, then the object is destroyed by the subject.
Should the philosopher come our of his chair and sit on the floor with
the patient, however, he will find that there is an intermediate positon.
In other words he will find that after 'subject relates to object' comes
*object survives* destruction by the subject'. But there may or may not
be survival."

"The Use of An Object" from *Playing and Reality*, D.W. Winnicott.
London, 1971, p. 89
"Those things of which there is sight, hearing, knowledge: these are
what I honor most."

Hericleitus of Ehpesus
translated by Kathleen Feeman


"Ideas are not my forte. I do not handle them with ease. They handle me
instead. Give me a queasy feeling, nausea. I don't like to find myself
thrown in their midst. Objects in the external world, on the other hand,
delight me. They sometimes surprise me, but they seem in no way concerned
about my approval: which they immediately acquire. I do not question them."

Francis Ponge, *Methods*
from * The Voice of Things*
translated by Beth Archer


"But," said K., "Ive'seen the inside of an official sledge in which
there weren't any papers." Olga's sotry was opening for him
with such a great and almost incredible world that he could not help
trying to put his own small experiences in relation to it, as much to
convince himself of its reality as of his own existence.

"That's possible," said Olga, "but in that case it's even worse, for
that means that the official's business is so important that the papers
are too precious or too numerous to be taken with him, and those
officials go at a gallop. In any case, none of them can spare time for father.
And besides, there are several roads to the Castle. Now one of them
is in fashion, and most carriages go by that, now it's another and everything
drives pell-mell there. And what governs this change of fashion has never
been found out. At eight o'clock one morning they'll all be on on another
road, ten minutes later on a third, and half an hour after that on the first
road again, and then they may stick to that road all day, but every minute
there's a possibility of a change. Of course, all the roads join up near the
village, but by that time all the carriages are racing like mad, while nearer the
Castle the pace isn't quite so fast. And the amount of traffic varies just
as widely and incomprehensibly as the choice of raods. There are often days
when there's not a carriage to be seen, and others when they travel in
crowds. Now, just think of all of that in relation to father. In his best suit,
which soon becomes his only suit, off he goes every morning from the house
with our best wishes."

Franz Kafka, *The Castle*, New York, 1930, p. 238
translated by Edwin and Willa Muir
"The Situationists even believed that they had discovered the vastest
and most irreducible subject possible: "life." Unfortunately, this approach
does not solve the problem of the subject, as is demonstrated by the
rigid dichotomous vision to which it leads. The relationship of society to the
spectacle comes to be pictured as one between life and non-life. to the
commodity, the economy, and the spectacle, defined as "a negation of life
that *has become visible* as "non-life," and as "the life, moving of
itself, of that which is dead"...is opposed life as flux."

*Guy Debord* Anselm Jappe, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith,
UC Press, 1993.
"The events that happen in individual existence as it is organized,
the events that really concern us and require our participation are generally
precisely those that merit nothing more than our being distant, bored,
indiferent spectators. In contrast, the situation that is seen in some artistic
transposition is rather often attractive, something that would merit our
participating in it. This is a paradox to reverse, to put back on its feet. This
is what must be realized in acts. and this idiotic spectacle of the fragmented
and filtered past, full of sound and fury: it is not a question now of transmitting-
it- of 'rendering' it, as is said- in another neatly ordered spectacle that would
play the game of neatly ordered comprehension and participation. No. Any
coherent artistic expression already expresses the coherence of the past,
already expresses passivity. It is necessary to destroy memory in art. To
destroy the conventions of its communication. To demoralise its fans. What a task!
As in blurry, drunken vision, the memory and the language of the film fade out
simultaneously. At the extreme, the miserable subjectivity is reversed into a certain
sort of objectivity: a documentary on the conditions of non-communication."

Guy Debord, *Society of The Spectacle and Other Films*
*Refutation of all judgements whether for or against,
which have been brought to date of the film 'Society of
The Spectacle" is based on the translation by Ken Sanborn,
New York, 1989. No copyright for non-profit editions.
"We do not see the human eye as a receiver, it appears not
to let anything in, but to send something out. The ear receives;
the eye looks. (It casts glances, it flashes, radiates, gleams.) One
can terrify with one's eyes, not with one's ear or nose. When
you see the eye you see something going out from it. You see
the look in the eye."

Ludwig Wittgenstein
Zettel, translated by G.E.M. Anscombe
UC Press, 1967, p. 40e