Archive for December, 2011

Gustave Courbet

December 28, 2011

Gustave Courbet, from a letter to Alfred Bruyas, (October) 1853.

He went on telling me that the government was sorry to see me striving alone, that I had to change my ideas, put some water in the wine, that they all liked me, that I shouldn’t be a hard head, etc., all kinds of nonsense like that. Then he ended his little introduction telling me that the government wanted me to give my best effort to a painting for the Exposition of 1855 and he gave me his word that if I presented a sketch and the painting was done, he would submit it to a committee of artists of my choice and to a committee of his choice.

I responded immediately that I understood absolutely nothing of what he had just told me, first of all because he said he was a Government and I felt in no way included in this Government, and I, too, was a Government and I dared his to do anything for mine that I might accept. Then I told him that I considered his Government as a simple Individual…
and I went on saying that I was the sole judge of my painting, that I was not only a painter, but a man, that I did not make art for art’s sake, but to achieve my intellectual freedom…

He told me, “Monsieur Courbet, you’re very arrogant.”
I answered, “I’m surprised you only see that now. Sir, I am the most arrogant, the proudest man in France.”

Thierry Di Rollo

December 20, 2011

from Chapter 1 of The Three Relics of Orvil Fisher by Thierry Di Rollo (Translated by Michael Shreve)
Thanks to Le Bélial´ for this post.

I. Lucite

The clouds are heavy and black, like this world in agony. I am cold.
Lucite is deserted, eroded by time. The buildings surround me in gloomy, crumbling rows. I cannot lose a second. My next dead are waiting for me. And if they do not know it yet, I have to get ready to receive them at the start of their pitiful journey into nothingness. I teach them how to fly.
There is nobody on the street. Not even a ghost embedded in the shadows of the fissured walls. Everything is falling down: the lives, the deaths on hold, the black air of this late afternoon. The cracked tar of the sidewalks.
I walk. Wherever I go, I find human misery. My hand tightens on the grubby handle of my briefcase. My whole reason for living locked up in a beige and ochre rectangle. I am still not hungry—it will only come with the frozen corpses that I am about to sow. As usual.
That is my job.
I spotted it two weeks back. It is still here. Anyway a building does not move, even if I sometimes wished it would. That would cheer me up, something unusual, the brief period of illusion; for nothing. So, it had not budged an inch. And no one will ever set off. Everybody is waiting in the darkness of the nascent evening, certainly hoping for me to come. Desiring, perhaps.
Men survive in the ruins of a city that was called Lucite in less dark times. That was before the cold, before the white snows from the North. Today the buildings are gutted, gaping onto the dust of a room occupied by entire families—the apartments are open. Passers-by (if there still were any) would see them wasting their lives away in the glacial wind, sitting on the brink of the sheer drop of their own floor; and they would notice their pitiful smiles. Misery rots teeth and souls. Today the buildings are guardians of stagnant water reserves. Water only good for scouring the rusted metal but that the inhabitants would not give up for anything in the world. Today Lucite is nothing like itself. Because it has become the reflection of a shadow.
Today I, too, exist. Dressed in my double-skin coat, my hands protected by gloves, I am meeting him whom I have coddled for two weeks now.
The night will soon weigh upon the street and upon all the buildings of the poor alongside it. And life itself. So that Death can take flight.
Everyday is a good day to die.
Someone once said.

I enter the empty hall. Nobody sees me. I look at the abandoned place blanketed in black, almost sticky dust. In front of me the unhinged door of an old, unused elevator is open. Habit. There are always the stairs. Ten floors to haunt with my briefcase in hand before reaching the top. Illegible inscriptions cover the walls. Shadows overrun the world and my free will. Who am I, ultimately? A useless angel come out of an old Hell? Or only myself?
One. I had a happy childhood. My mother always told me a story at bedtime. My father used to smile at me, even at night, with his three remaining teeth when he came back from his grueling job—sweeping a street twenty times in one day before some big shot European politician passed by. Lucite used to sparkle.
Two. I made love to a few women like everyone. I have forgotten them all. I did not save one.
Three. My father liked to doze off before dinner. My mother cooked in silence. Chloe waited for me in the street at the foot of my building.
Four. I started to love them later. For their icy contact and their reassuring weight in the palms of my hands.
Five. Chloe mastered fallatio pretty well. My mother was killed on the eve of my nineteenth birthday. Of exhaustion. That is what my father chose to believe.
Six. For a long time I thought I was good for nothing. Nubila sucked male genitals like nobody else. My father joined my mother the day of my twenty-third birthday.
Seven. Nothing bothers me. Everything is for the best. My body does not fail me. My arm remains sound.
Eight, nine. I have forgotten them all. I will not save one.
Ten. I look up: the trapdoor to the roof of the building is already open.
I come out into the cold air of the evening looming over the city. My target is on a gray line to a south that is absolutely blind. Another building. Full of still living dead.
Yes, it is true. I began to love them later. Too bad a Royster cannot perform fellatio like the dark, brown-haired Nubila used to do on me.
I kneel down now. Unlock my briefcase and open the cover. It is resting there, calm. It could even wait an eternity, still as dazzling and sure. I put a support butt on it—to stabilize the shot—and a scope.
Too bad a weapon is only this.
So, I cast an eye over Lucite coated in persistent gloom. A few flickering lights outline yellow rectangles scattered over the sooty walls. The timid glimmer of my building also emerges out of the darkness. Inevitably.
It is because it is becoming too easy that I cannot go on like this.

I hear a hydro-car cross the street that separates my hideout from all those moving targets. Its engine sputters for no reason. It even seems to slow down and then slowly speeds up again. I do not know, deep down, if it existed only in my mind at the exact moment when I nudge the butt up against my shoulder. I am lying down on the cold cement. Perhaps my dream car has driven off. The street is soothingly empty again. On the other side of my universe, beyond the road that the night is soon going to reduce to a bottomless pit, the puppets toss around their formless shadows.
Nobody is watching for me. The water guardians on the outskirts only care about their polluted tanks; they cannot imagine that I would come this far. Sometimes in the accurate eye of my scope, they are tangible, human in their shapes and gestures. Usually they are blurred behind the dirty, moth-eaten curtains.
There is a fat woman. I see her clearly. Her whole life is entrenched within the four walls of her ground floor apartment. She lifts her arm a little, seems to sigh, and then tucks a long streak of red hair behind her right ear. And I shoot.

Lautréamont

December 16, 2011

Things Found in a Desk by Anonymous from La Jeunesse. Attributed to Lautréamont (Isadore Ducasse).

(November 7, 1866)
Possessed by an obsession—do you know the torment?
No, your mind is too calm; you’re too cold and stale; you have no inkling of this torture. Well, I’m 18 years old, a fervent soul, free from any excessive pleasure, my body brimming with life, and every nerve. I’m domineered by an obsession: To be free.
That’s my master, my tyrant, my executioner who hells me and racks me every day without ever letting go. I’m in its hand, under its whip. I have to live, act and think like it.
Every comparison, every metaphor is too weak to make my agony felt.
It’s the too short chain binding me to the post. It’s the too narrow cell in which I constantly whirl and knock against the walls.
And more: it’s the octopus of the novelist who grabs me, holds me and squeezes me in its hideous embrace. We are one: it drinks me, breathes me, assimilates my being. I’m no longer myself. I am it. The man is transformed; all his faculties are absorbed in the desire; it is nothing but a passion served by the will.
Ah! Just a little bit of freedom!
I’m hungry, give me food! One hour a day, that’s not too much. You have nothing to worry about, I’ll do nothing else to be free, but for one hour I’ll tell myself, “You can go wherever you want, do whatever you feel, good or bad, freely, without control.” And I’ll be happy.

(1868)
I was young and I loved deeply and my heart overflowed with enthusiasm!
And I mixed with the crowd and hung out with my peers and told them out loud what I was thinking!
And they looked at me stupidly, without understanding.
And I went away from them and they called me, “Stuck up!”
And at times in my solitude my loves, my enthusiasms, come together and pour out in odes and speeches. And my comrades laugh and point their finger at me like I was crazy.
So, I suffered, I doubted, I cursed and nobody thought I was sincere.
This heart, once so full of energy and love, is like annihilated.

Ernest Coeurderoy

December 10, 2011

from Ernest Coeurderoy, Hurrah!!! Or the Revolution by the Cossacks, 1854.

Ah! Humanity is grand, the Future eternal and the Worlds cradled in infinite Space are immense! And we are tiny, short-lived Civilized men who think we lay down the laws of the Universe and the limits of Time! So, who are you then, illustrious monarchs and profound lawmakers of the West who believe you are the end all and be all of creatures living under the sun? Wretched and pitiful! Don’t you hear the rumble of the abyss of fire vomiting revolutions among men, the ever-open, ever-hungry, ever-vengeful abyss? It will swallow you up and your lying systems and your schoolmaster vanity. For, every system is false and every systematic an oppressor! We will no longer put up with Governments, Begging and Masters. Whoever you are—Caesars, Jesuits, Communists, Fundamentalists or Utopists—don’t hope to lead us any more. Man has finally left the school of Slavery! The Revolution carries me toward distant, terrible horizons; it multiplies a hundredfold the virtuality of my being; it blows through my head like a storm wind.

This world is a dungeon.

Anarchist revolutionaries, say it out loud: our only hope is for the human deluge, our only future is in chaos, our only resource is in a war that will mix all races and break all established relations, remove the hands of the dominating classes, the instruments of oppression with which they violate freedom at the price of blood.

When everyone fights for his own cause, no one will need to be represented.

Hawad

December 6, 2011

Hawad, The autonomy of thought:

We can only count on ourselves and on our desire to transform death into life. The first autonomy we demand is not from Algeria or Niger or Mali or their master France. We require it of ourselves: it is the autonomy of thought. This is not a right, it is a duty. We have to come back to this because the oppressor has no project for us or for itself.
I am not saying we have to disconnect from the world, but we have to connect to our own thought production.
A society that no longer produces its own ideas or its own culture or its own viewpoint is the suburb excluded from the center of town. For me, the center is like a traffic circle that turns around itself to produce its own energy. Now, the center today is no longer the center—it has become its own suburb. To be the center, there have to be many convergences of roads… comings and goings: there are not. They keep us out. In Africa the States exile everyone except the bureaucrats, the administration and the talking heads. We, the Tuaregs and other peoples, have been pushed to the suburbs.
We have to make these suburbs into centers and forget about the center that is not a center. This is the only thing that gives me strength. The youth who agreed to lay down their weapons, like a bunch of sheep, did not notice that Bamako [Mali] was not a center anymore than Niamey [Niger] was to find food. There was a terrorist called the IMF and the gaping mouth of the States melded together in the emptiness.
We have to create independent roads and make our marginalization and exclusion by the States the starting point of new ways. It is our only salvation.


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