Sunday, December 27, 2009

The formation of attention.

In : Roberto Calasso, The Forty-nine Steps
University of Minnesota Press. 2001

Sunday, December 6, 2009


a candid conversation about the twin stars of art & death.

wine will be sold; you may bring your whiskey.

herbert pfostl | all sorts of remedies
november 21, 2009 - january 8, 2010

Observatory | 543 Union Street | Brooklyn
thurs/fri 3-6pm | sat/sun 12-6pm

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


at Observatory

543 Union Street- at Nevins
Brooklyn, New York 11215

Thur & Fri 3-6pm
Sat & Sun 12-6pm

Opening: Saturday, November 21st at 7:00pm

Exhibition: November 21, 2009 - January 8, 2010

Further events coinciding with:


DECEMBER 18 - 7:30

as well as:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Palinurian splinters

There are also solitary bees, and it is not claimed that they are biologically inferior.

When we see someone living alone, like a beech-tree in a clearing, with no other signs of life around him yet proclaiming his freedom, displaying his possessions and maintaining his devotion to his friends, we can be sure that such a person is an ogre and that human bone-meal lies buried under his roots.

Why do ants alone have parasites whose intoxicating moistures they drink and for whom they will sacrifice even their young? Because as they are the most highly socialized of insects, so their lives are the most intolerable.

Streets of Paris, pray for me; beaches in the sun, pray for me; ghosts of the lemurs, intercede for me; plane-tree and laurel-rose, shade me; summer rain on quays of Toulon, wash me away.

For a dark play-girl in the night-club I have pined away, for a dead school boy, for a bright angel-vixen I have wept in vain, If this thoughtless woman were to die there would be nothing to live for, if this faithless girl forgot me there would be no one for whom to write. These two unseen and otherwise occupied figures compose the fragile arch of my being and constitute a Tribunal which they have long ceased to attend.

A child, left to play alone, says of quite an easy thing, 'Now I am going to to do something very difficult'. Soon, out of vanity, fear and emptiness, he builds up a world of custom, convention and myth in which everything must be just so; certain doors are one-way streets, certain trees sacred, certain paths taboo. Then along comes a grown-up or a more robust child; they kick over the imaginary wall, climb the forbidden tree, regard the difficult as easy and the private world is destroyed. The instinct to create myth, to colonize reality with the emotions, remains. The myths become tyrannies until they are swept away, when we invent new tyrannies to hide our suddenly perceived nakedness. Like caddis-worms or like those crabs which dress themselves with seaweed, we wear belief and custom.

We pay for vice by the knowledge that we are wicked: we pay for pleasure when we find out, too late, that we are disappearing.

- The Unquiet Grave
A Word Cycle by Palinurus (Cyril Connolly)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


The wonderful, of which the miraculous is a subcategory,
was never boring.

- Jacobus de Voraigne

Monday, September 7, 2009

"We are a part which has to imitate the whole."

- Simone Weil/Brancusi

Saturday, August 22, 2009

to be absolved...

Throughout the first centuries of our era, the Gnostics disputed with the Christians.
They were annihilated, but we can imagine their possible victory. Had Alexandria triumphed and not Rome, the extravagant and muddled stories that I have summarized here would be coherent, majestic, and perfectly ordinary. Pronouncements such as Novalis' "Life is a sickness of the spirit", or the despairing one of Rimbaud, "True life is absent; we are not in the world", would know the conditional assent of the pious laboratories. In any case, what better gift can we hope for, than to be insignificant? What greater glory for a God, than to be absolved of the world?

Borges - Other inquisitions

Friday, August 14, 2009


There is no paradise on earth, but there are pieces of it.
What there is on earth is a broken paradise.

- Piero della Francesca / Jules Renard

Saturday, June 20, 2009

difficult and invisible

Today it is difficult to assess the enormous extent of Nietzsche's solitude at the time. Having become a shadow for most of his old friends, a difficult and invisible man, by now accustomed to publishing his books at his own expense, accustomed too to counting his loyal readers on his fingers and having to reduce their number as each new book comes out, Nietzsche seems to have circled as far from the world as possible, to a point of insurmountable alienation, which his old friend Erwin Rohde had felt at their last meeting, in the spring of 1886: "as though he came from a region inhabited by no one else."

Calasso - Fatal Monologue

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

...that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been,
is half owning to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life,
and rest
in unvisited tombs.

- George Eliot

two and a half

Man has here two and a half minutes -- one to smile, one to sigh,
and a half for love: for in the midst of this minute he dies.

- Jean Paul

Monday, June 8, 2009

accomplished gestures

Crown prince Rudolf and Marie Vetsera

In Vienna the world was often coming to an end;
usually to winegarden songs.

He must be saved by some midnight beyond reason:
the logic of daytime was sinking so fast.

How beautiful the leaves aged on ten thousand twigs!
No politics could produce such glory in a forest.
Only so natural and simple a thing as death.

Rudolf had conjured the glistening anticipation of greatness, only to dissolve into black bafflement.

By then the word Mayerling had already begun to phosphoresce throughout the world.
Abroad it tingled and thrilled. In Vienna it was like some hidden hell machine of which nothing was known except that it was made of gold.

- Frederic Morton, A Nervous Splendor. Vienna 1888/1889

Thursday, May 7, 2009

brief epics

Death makes no sense
except to people who have passionately loved life.

- Cioran

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


died penniless, alone with his pigeons.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Blind Pony at Observatory

PERFVGIVM is low-fi ventriloquism - of the old American man-with-guitar tradition - infused with curtains of wayward noise. The performance at Observatory will be an experiment in re-creating the shapes of sound and physical space manifested in the recordings "Perfugium" and "The Gown".

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Of a distant person one can think, and of a person who is near
one can catch hold - all else goes beyond human strength.

Kafka - letter to Milena
Image: Hans Christian Andersen