Sunday, November 23, 2008

Walker Evans Wayside #2

Walker Evans, view from train, shot for Fortune magazine (1950)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Anniverseries #12, Dead Presidents #42

President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy arrive at Love Field, Dallas, Texas (November 22, 1963)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Walker Evans Wayside #1

Walker Evans, view from train, shot for Fortune magazine (1950)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Auden #20, Art #18

Our apparatniks will continue making
the usual squalid mess called History:
all we can pray for is that artists,
chefs and saints may still appear to blithe it.

Concluding stanza to "Moon Landing" (1968)

Architecture #35

In the end, pure white light was to survive only as the weapon of the Secret Police interrogator, the brain-washer and the terrorist. But before that relegation to the underworld of Western culture, it had almost a two-decade career in the visible and progressive overworld, as architects of the International Style—with the noblest aspirations, and clear consciences which the clarity of the light was supposed to symbolise, no doubt—subjected doctors, art-collectors, publishers, teachers and the other law-abiding bourgeois who were the clients, to Gestapo-style luminous environments, with light streaming from bare, or occasionally opalescent, bulbs and tubes and glaring back from white walls. Even when allowance is made for the fact that many of the interiors they designed were for the specialised purposes of exhibitions, and may have needed unusual intensities of lighting, the published record of the work done by the Bauhaus and like-thinkers down to 1934, combined with the memories of survivors, leaves an impression of a luminous environment close to the threshold of pain, probably mad e tolerable only by the notorious willingness of intellectuals to suffer in the cause of art.

Reyner Banham, The Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment (1969)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Order of the Universe #19

We (the indivisible divinity that works in us) have dreamed the world. We have dreamed it resistant, mysterious, visible, ubiquitous in space and firm in time, but we have allowed slight, and eternal, bits of the irrational to form part of its architecture so as to know that it is false.

Jorge Luis Borges, "Avatars of the Tortoise" ["Avatares de la tortuga"], Discussion [Discusión] (1932)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Books on Books #4, Order of the Universe #18

The directions in which the tragedy of this planet has trained our human feelings to play, and the combinations into which the poetry of this planet has thrown our human passions of love and hatred, of admiration and contempt, exercise a power for bad or good over human life that cannot be contemplated, when stretching through many generations, without a sentiment allied to awe. And of this let every one be assured—that he owes to the impassioned books which he has read many a thousand more of emotions than he can consciously trace back to them. Dim by their origination, these emotions yet arise in him, and mould him through life, like forgotten incidents of his childhood.

Thomas de Quincey, "The Literature of Knowledge and the Literature of Power" (1848)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Anniverseries #11, War #11

American soldiers cheering news of the Armistice (November 11, 1918)

Word of the Day #27


Thursday, November 06, 2008

America #46

And these are the things we must be concerned about—we must be concerned about because we love America and we are out to free not only the Negro. This is not our struggle today to free 17,000,000 Negroes. It’s bigger than that. We are seeking to free the soul of America. Segregation debilitates the white man as well as the Negro. We are to free all men, all races, and all groups. This is our responsibility and this is our challenge and we look to this great new state in our Union as an example and as the inspiration. As we move on in this realm, let us move on with the faith that this problem can be solved and that it will be solved, believing firmly that all reality hinges on moral foundations and we are struggling for what is right and we are destined to win.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Address to the House of Representatives of the First Legislature, State of Hawaii (September 23, 1959)

Monday, November 03, 2008

America #45

America is, therefore the land of the future, where, in the ages that lie before us, the burden of the World’s history shall reveal itself.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of History, introduction (1832)