Archive for September, 2011

27 September, 2011

Metaphor = APORIA

I try to limit the amount of super dense crap I put up on the internet, but this is too beautiful an analysis of the nature of metaphor to pass up sharing.

The rhetoric of metaphor is, after all, grounded in aporia. Metaphor, like its extension, allegory, is resorted to when the proper term is deemed inappropriate or unavailable and a non-proper term is inserted in its place–to the effect of a hovering validity which is held in suspense by the knowledge that the term is not the proper one. The paradox of the wrong term being the only appropriate or possible one accounts for the precariousness of metaphoric speech.

Hofmann, Klaus. “Keats’s Ode to a Grecian Urn.” Studies in Romanticism 45.2. Boston: 2006.

LOVE IT. I love the idea that the effectiveness of metaphor is the very knowledge that the image created through comparison is disparate from the object. It is the paradox of needing to draw weird comparisons to understand what is already understood that just screams Socratic aporia.

Aporia, incidentally, is not understood simply as the definition in the dictionary– an irresolvable internal contradiction in a text or argument– but also as the poignant Greek literal meaning: to be in a state of loss. Aporia is what the Socratic method reduces its “victims” to. A weird logical limbo, where the old understandings of a thing have been torn down. It is, literally, to “be at a loss.” Slack-jawed.

Metaphor as a state of aporia. LOVE. SO. MUCH.

 

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24 September, 2011

American Slang, Inappropriate footwear, and Boston 365

I feel like an editorial note is needed about my photo-taking techniques. I basically want to point out that I have none. I don’t even use a “real camera” to take these– all of my photos are taken with my camera phone, pretty much while I’m walking (or standing around). Often I don’t even break stride while I line up a shot. The other thing is that I pick weird moments to take my photos. I pick moments when I’m alone, or on my way somewhere. This series is about me and this place, not the people in this place.

Also, this week kind of became “take pictures of my feet week.” I blame Diluvian.

September 19: Government Center, with a big blue sky– Quincy Market in the background. One of my students this week told me that what struck her the most the first time she came to America was how beautiful the blue sky was. This was followed by a shot at the Public Gardens (taken about 30 seconds before the swan bit the little girl, if anyone’s curious.)

September 20: Wearing sandals in inclement weather. I tried to take a picture while it was still raining, but by the time I got off the bus again it had finally stopped (dammit!)


September 21: One randomly interjected branch of autumn (I think the bird poop in Boston might be a little corrosive. Check out the holes in the leaves.)

September 22: Same tree as last week, further along in its reddening. I keep looking around at the green things everywhere in Boston, like I’m frantically trying to commit them to memory. Like I’ve never done a winter in the Northeast (in fact, I’ve never NOT done a winter in the Northeast.)

September 23: I AM SO CAFFEINATED AND IT IS AMAZING. FEAR ME, I NO LONGER STOP FOR BREATH WHEN TALKING (actually, not as scary as it looks. Tea bag mountain here took a few days to build.)

September 24: In the library someone spilled the paper assholes all over the floor. It was like carpet lice. Actually, at the time I was in full-on writer-brain mode, with no way to get to a writing place, and the paper assholes struck me as oddly whimsical and fantastic, which is why this picture was taken. This general stupidness is followed by me taking a rather dramatic shot of a statue on campus of the archangel Michael (being generally bad ass).

Now I’m going to actually do my readings for Monday, and drown myself in Erik Satie’s pretty, pretty music.

Until next time, love the blue sky, watch the leaves, and stay caffeinated.

18 September, 2011

Week two, check; Heraclitus and Big Brother and the Holding Company

Briefly, this week I attended part of a hermeneutics conference. Being that my knowledge of Gadamer is zilch, however, I respectfully bowed out after the first lecture. There was a salient crumb from the hour and a half I spent there, however– I was reminded of Heraclitus.

Heraclitus is remembered for his interest in logos— the word, reason, plan which drives and unites the universe, and for his doctrine of flux. All is in flux, ever changing– each instant we are in a different universe.

πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει” καὶ “δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης”
Panta chōrei kai ouden menei … kai … dis es ton auton potamon ouk an embaies
“Everything changes and nothing remains still …. and … you cannot step twice into the same stream”

–Heraclitus 402a, qtd. from wikipedia (because I don’t feel like cracking my ancient Greek philosophy books.)

In each moment the world is changed. Flux is constant; action now is different from action even a millisecond from now. Nothing is ever repeated. It’s a terrible beauty.

 

September 12: I found this beautiful oddity tacked to a telephone pole while attempting to find the grocery store (I realized about five seconds after snapping this that I was in fact walking the wrong way).

 

September 13: The leaves are starting to turn on campus and in the parks. This is outside of Gasson– expect indoor shots of the beautiful Gasson Hall later next week. There’s a poetry reading in there that’ll take me back in there in the coming days.

September 14: This week I embarked on the sacred quest for a Most Excellent Used Books Purveyor. I haven’t found a good, grungy one with dirt cheap books yet, but I did find Brookline Booksellers, which is wonderful, filled with books, knick-knacks, and all sorts of charming things. Like magnets. They also have the Jesus Shaves/Saves mug, which I NEEEEEEED.

Also, in the used book cellar, the far wall is “Mystery, Mystery, Mystery, More Mystery and Still More Mystery.”

September 15: My studies force me to have hermit days every so often, so here’s a tableau of hermit day #1 in this set: my book, and my snack bowl. It’s a beautiful green glass beauty that I got at a garage sale this summer for a dollar. Also, my proliferation of flags, which pretty much make flagging pages useless, given their overwhelming number.

 

September 16: There’s a beautiful patch of sunflowers on my walk to the T. I snapped this just as a car was zooming past. Flowers in motion.

September 17: I left the Copley library on Saturday needing coffee. Found this tri-corner wearing Godzilla demanding that I pahk the caaah in a  Starbucks. Love it, and Bostonians’ acute awareness that they talk silly. Because so many people who live here are college transplants like myself, however, you rarely hear the Boston accent.

This is in the Copley library. Each section of the hall I was sitting in had the name of a great thinker, artist, or writer carved and gilded below the coffered barrel vault ceiling (fear my art history jargon). WITHOUT LOOKING, I sat myself under Socrates. This is the kind of stuff that happens to me. Things chase me. Socrates is one of them.

September 18: another academic hermit day. This, by the way, is the view out my window into part of the playground/park/field that I live next to. I took a nap face-down in these pillows today instead of reading about reception history.

And, to round out a completely disjointed set of images and thoughts, Janis and Big Brother Caterpillering. ❤

 

12 September, 2011

Adventures on the Internet: Knite

Realizing that the guy in my photo had a card stuck in his hat made me go read Lackadaisy, which inevitably collided me with something else rather lovely: Knite.

Yes. This is a full color comic, and it’s free, and every page is this breathtakingly beautiful.

 

Really, really gorgeous work. Three chapters done, with roughs for chapter four, as well. (Which you should read, because artist yuumei’s/Wenqing Yan’s commentary is hilarious.)

Chapter 1 Knite

You can check out the first three chapters and the omakes, as well as the roughs for chapter 4, by following the link above. It’s really a privilege to find talented artists who want, and make a conscious effort, to share and keep their stories free of charge.

Knite does have a publisher, 4DE. That website is here.

11 September, 2011

Mapping the World

“Different maps tell very different stories, and assume very different forms, according to their function, or their point of view. Ptolemy mapped the heavens by standing on earth. Galileo remapped them by imagining that he was standing on the Sun.”

–D.F. McKenzie, Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts, 44.

I stumbled awkwardly through a mire of hilightings and underlinings until this sentiment and I ran headlong into each other on page 44. Yes, it might have been my nerd senses tingling at the mention of a Ptolemy (not, in case you’re wondering, a Pharaonic Ptolemy, but still an Alexandrian), but I also have a pronounced interest in maps and cartography.

Maps are essentially attempt 90 billion on the part of humans to put the universe into nice, neat boxes (or nice, neatly drawn grid squares, in this case), and our need to understand through cataloging is something of a source of perpetual entertainment for me.

One of the strangest realizations is that maps don’t have to be objective. They can show whatever they want to know. They are a reflection of a reflected reality. By this I mean, they are an imperfect written record of an imperfect and biased view (the cartographer’s) view of the world.

I have a character in the project I’m (re)working through right now who’s a cartographer. I wonder what form of imperfection his maps have?

Anyways, onward with the photo project…

Sept. 6: So much rain this weekend. While I was walking to campus from the T stop, I happened to look down. I like sidewalk cracks. Looking at them reminds me that nothing’s forever, and that sooner or later, everything is fragmentary. Sorry, there was no way to phrase that without sounding emo/heavy handed.I could talk more about sidewalk cracks, but I’ll spare you.



Sept. 7: I walk by several goofy signs every day, and while there is nothing inherently goofy about the phrase “Not a through street” in and of itself, I love how squished it looks on this big yellow diamond, like it’s outgrowing the constrictive size of the sign. Think of it like a typographical sumo wrestler trying to wedge himself into skinny jeans.

Sept. 8: This was my day of discovering enormously odd tiny things. Like this guy, hanging out on the concrete steps by the main library. You can tell it rained a little, looking at the discolored concrete.

Sept 9: My city’s library is cooler than your city’s library. Just saying. Beyond those paneled wooden doors? That’s a courtyard. With sculptures. And a fountain. And a garden. And chairs. Just saying. Sorry for the lousy photo quality.

Sept. 10: Today was a pretty productive exploring day. I went to two street festivals, through Quincy Market, and bookstore hunting. More bookstore hunting is in my future. I bumbled into an outdoor concert down by Quincy at the Boston Arts Festival (ahts festival, if you like) and stayed until the group finished their set. I read my book history book. I wonder if the fellow with the card in his hat is a Lackadaisy lover?

Sept 11: I, in fact, didn’t leave my apartment today, so you get a picture of something weird in my room, namely, a sculpture that I now use to keep my hair sticks in check.

 

Until next time, friends.

7 September, 2011

Keeping the time with ghosts

“Above all else, you must show respect for the ghosts that linger in your department.” 32

“Be protective of your time; no one else will protect it for you.” 51

Graduate Study For the 21st Century, Gregory Colon Semenza

 

There were some other gems, too, but these two were pretty resonant.

More pictures in a few days. Until then, think deep thoughts and try not to walk into signs.

5 September, 2011

Embarking on a New Project…Boston 365

So, I’ve recently transplanted from upstate New York to Boston. Pretty much everything is shiny, new, and strange, and I’m doing my best to explore, adapt, and generally not suck.

One way that I’ve decided to get to know the city is by doing a photo project. So, starting on August 31, I began taking pictures.

August 31: Crossing the Hudson, getting ready to say goodbye to New York…

September 1: I found you some plants on move in day…

September 2: Scaffolding and construction on campus. My mother thought I was very weird for taking pictures of construction work. BC.


September 3: Dramatic tortilla chips and beer…and then a wall of rainbow Crocs. Quincy Market.

September 4: Went exploring… found lots of things, especially green things. Boston loves itself some green things. Also, BC at night.


September 5: My room is finally complete (until I decide that I’m bored and need to add more posters), so here is a view of my view. Window seat, overlooking green things, which we’ve already established Boston’s love for.


More later, that’s all for now. I’ll leave you with some Rumi:

“When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.
Praise God for those two insomnias!
And the difference between them.”

— Rumi