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Loxogonically, The Picture, the Path and the Hand


The recent orientation towards objects in philosophy which has been sponsored by Graham Harman’s radical claims has definitely got me thinking about how objects have appeared to me, have entered into my experience as a thinker over the years. Always they ripped apart at the seams and showed so many dangling strings I never really understood the philosophical concentration on them, as principal.

Loxogonospherical Moods

This preoccupation has caused me to consider again something undeveloped, my drawing style, if it can be called that. For as much as we like to grasp the situations in the world through our language and relaying concepts, when one takes pen and ink into hand and “copies” the world, or some corner in it, generally one realizes that “representation” is not fully what is happening. The hand itself begins to speak and tell. There is a commuity between the supposedly distant object, the host of our affections, and the concretization of the living line at pen’s tip. It is never the case of a “gap” unless exact, mythological reproduction is your aim (there is no such thing). There is just a question of grades, intensities, dullings, pointednesses of continuity in communication. The product is immediate, and its connection sensed as sharp and true (even if the drawing is felt to be a failure by the artist or a viewer). There is always the causal connection of the link, the sense that what is produced is evidently there due to the effects of the thing drawn and the sedimentary effects of the drawer (intentions, histories, skills, physiologies, phenomenologies, ideas, beliefs, etc.) Something comes through. And none of it cloaks.


So with these thoughts I’ve begun a new topographic space, in parallel to this one, where merely drawings of objects will be placed. The meaning is two-fold. For one, I would like to investigate what my hand might tell me at this stage. What about objects is it that I may learn. I am hopeful that my rudimentary style will develop my eye and show me something more about objects and my body. It is a type of phenomenological investigation, not internally directed, but rather connectively produced. The intensional object being the extensional one, folding the viewer into the viewed. This is related to the secondary and perhaps much more minor hope, that those who have read my philosophical critiques might by seeing “how I see” (and I really do see in this way), might come to weigh my philosophical points a bit differently. And lastly, I have a number of friends who are not very conceptually driven, and this alternate weblog will give them perhaps a way into my abstractions which for me are extremely concrete, and significant realities.

I hope to be posting pen and ink investigations into objects there frequently. It is a place for very few words.

Spinoza: “Breathing in Reverse”

Israeli born Artist and Poet Joseph Semah organized a Feburary 23, 2008 simultaneous reading of Spinoza’s “Tractatus theologico-politicus” in Hebrew, Arabic and Latin (read by Joseph himself, Paul Groot, Muhammed Sabet):

The effect is jarring, yet subtly pragmatic and altering. Immediately one is confronted by Babel, and is problematically juxtaposed between the myth of that great, unfinished edifice and the edifice of Spinoza’s works (how unfinished, the Political Treatise  left off just where democracy was beginning, and ironically, just as Spinoza established the inequality of the sexes based on experience and historical evidence). One is struck by the simplicity of the event, the way that the bodies gravitate towards each other, almost with an atomic attraction or an animal antagonism. Like a molecule, they hold each other’s texts. One is aware of the impossible grinning or gritting of the words across to each other, and how Spinoza fought hard to keep his TTP from being translated and published in Dutch (so much against the strong, ideal strides taken towards the demystification of language by Spinoza’s friends the Koerbagh brothers, one of which who lost his life). Latin, the mitigator, the citizen-maker of 17th century European intellectualism, here is swallowed up by the two (?) languages of the holyland. Where is one to get their footing?

But there is simplicity here. I am interested in the causal, imaginary paths to Spinoza’s truths, and not only the propositional ones. The event determines us think, feel and see: Three people are gathered. There is a camera that floats; and then a network of Youtube users. Can we believe, “Where there are two or three gathered in my name”? What is that effect? Spinoza tells us “experience can determine our mind to think…of certain essences of things” (Ep. 10). Are we directed to the essence of Spinoza? To the essence of the TTP? Are issues of peace (implied) issues of translation?

I find the presence of the Latin text most problematic. And the presence of the bodies harmonious. We reach across centuries and exhume the text, and then gather in a gallery to encant it. Spinoza talks against himself, and I am enthralled.

KV: Every particular corporeal thing [lichaamelijk ding] is nothing other than a certain ratio [zeekere proportie] of motion and rest.

How are we to read the “ratio” of these three bodies, and the “ratio” of these three languages (the compositions of the peoples enabled by their speaking)? What happens when more-adequate ideas, more joyous ideas are clothed in three historical social forms? Which of these manifestations, the Latin, the Arabic and the Hebrew is more liberating? And how is read, the single body of these bodies and languages in concert, then folded into the electronically related whole that is you and I?


[Video at first found here at Stan Verdult’s Spinoza website]