Perpetuum mobile

Perpetuum Mobile of Villard de Honnecourt, c. 1230

«Is it and must it remain the perpetual object of a riddle, the perpetuum mobile! This would be a way of recalling the objective consistency that the category of the problematic takes on at the heart of structures

– Deleuze, “A quoi reconnaît-on le structuralisme?”, in François Châtelet (dir.), Histoire de la philosophie VIII. Le XXe siècle, Hachette, 1973, republished in Desert Islands….

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«In vain would we seek the caresses and fondlings of our intimate selves (…), since everything is finally outside, everything, even ourselves: outside, in the world, among others. It is not in some hiding-place that we will discover ourselves; it is on the road, in the town, in the midst of the crowd, a thing among things, a man among men.” Is there for some people a new notion? (…) There was once a union of Nature and Spirit, and this union formed an outside world.»

– Deleuze, “Du Christ à la bourgeoisie”, 1946.

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«Everything is a machine. Celestial machines, the stars or rainbows in the sky, alpine machines – all of them connected to those of his body. The continual whirr of machines.

“He thought that it must be a feeling of endless bliss to be in contact with the profound life of every form, to have a soul for rocks, metals, water, and plants, to take into himself, as in a dream, every element of nature, like flowers that breathe with the waxing and waning of the moon.” [Lenz]

To be a chlorophyll – or a photosynthesis – machine, or at least slip his body into such machines as one part among the others. Lenz has projected himself back to a time before the man-nature dichotomy, before all the co-ordinates based on this fundamental dichotomy have been laid down. He does not live nature as nature, but as a process of production. There is no such thing as either man or nature now, only a process that produces the one within the other and couples the machines together. Producing-machines, desiring-machines everywhere, schizophrenic machines, all of species life: the self and the non-self, outside and inside, no longer have any meaning whatsoever.»

– Deleuze & Guattari, “Anti-Oedipus”.

‘Ser coerente é uma doença’

«Recentemente, entre a poeira de algumas campanhas políticas, tomou de novo relevo aquele grosseiro hábito de polemista que consiste em levar a mal a uma criatura que ela mude de partido, uma ou mais vezes, ou que se contradiga, frequentemente.

A gente inferior que usa opiniões continua a empregar esse argumento como se ele fosse depreciativo.

Talvez não seja tarde para estabelecer, sobre tão delicado assunto do trato intelectual, a verdadeira atitude científica.

Se há facto estranho e inexplicável é que uma criatura de inteligência e sensibilidade se mantenha sempre sentado sobre a mesma opinião, sempre coerente consigo próprio. A contínua transformação de tudo dá-se também no nosso corpo, e dá-se no nosso cérebro consequentemente. Como então, senão por doença, cair e reincidir na anormalidade de querer pensar hoje a mesma coisa que se pensou ontem, quando não só o cérebro de hoje já não é o de ontem, mas nem sequer o dia de hoje é o de ontem? Ser coerente é uma doença, um atavismo, talvez; data de antepassados animais em cujo estádio de evolução tal desgraça seria natural.

A coerência, a convicção, a certeza são, além disso, demonstrações evidentes — quantas vezes escusadas — de falta de educação. É uma falta de cortesia com os outros ser sempre o mesmo à vista deles; é maçá-los, apoquentá-los com a nossa falta de variedade.

Uma criatura de nervos modernos, de inteligência sem cortinas, de sensibilidade acordada, tem a obrigação cerebral de mudar de opinião e de certeza várias vezes no mesmo dia. Deve ter, não crenças religiosas, opiniões políticas, predileções literárias, mas sensações religiosas, impressões políticas, impulsos de admiração literária.

Certos estados de alma da luz, certas atitudes da paisagem têm, sobretudo quando excessivos, o direito de exigir a quem está diante deles determinadas opiniões políticas, religiosas e artísticas, aqueles que eles insinuem, e que variarão, como é de entender, consoante esse exterior varie.

O homem disciplinado e culto faz da sua sensibilidade e da sua inteligência espelhos do ambiente transitório: é republicano de manhã, e monárquico ao crepúsculo; ateu sob um sol descoberto, é católico ultramontano a certas horas de sombra e de silêncio; e não podendo admitir senão Mallarmé àqueles momentos do anoitecer citadino em que desabrocham as luzes, ele deve sentir todo o simbolismo uma invenção de louco quando, ante uma solidão de mar, ele não souber de mais do que da “Odisseia”.

Convicções profundas, só as têm as criaturas superficiais.

Os que não reparam para as coisas quase que as vêem apenas para não esbarrar com elas, esses são sempre da mesma opinião, são os íntegros e os coerentes.

A política e a religião gastam d’essa lenha, e é por isso que ardem tão mal ante a Verdade e a Vida.

Quando é que despertaremos para a justa noção de que política, religião e vida social são apenas graus inferiores e plebeus da estética — a estética dos que ainda a não podem ter?

Só quando uma humanidade livre dos preconceitos de sinceridade e coerência tiver acostumado as suas sensações a viverem independentemente, se poderá conseguir qualquer coisa de beleza, elegância e serenidade na vida.»

– Fernando Pessoa, in ‘Idéias Políticas’

Nijinsky’s anti-gravity


“L’Après-midi d’un Faune”, 1912 (reconstruction)

«The man who is right is the one who feels but does not understand.»

Nijinsky, Diary

«Somebody dances for you; maybe you can enjoy it, but how can you know the beauty of dance unless you dance? It is something inner. What happens when a person is dancing? What happens to his innermost core?

Nijinsky, one of the greatest dancers, used to say that there come moments when he disappears, only the dance remains. Those are the peak moments — when the dancer is not there and only the dance is. (…)

Now Nijinsky is moving into an ecstasy, and you are just sitting there watching the movement. Of course those movements are beautiful. Nijinsky’s movements have a grace, a tremendous beauty, but it is nothing compared to what he is feeling inside. His dance is a beauty, even when you are just a spectator, but nothing compared to what is happening inside him.

He used to say that there are moments when gravitation disappears. (…)

Even scientists were very much puzzled, because there were moments in Nijinsky’s dance when he would leap and jump – and those leaps were tremendous, almost impossible leaps. A man cannot leap that way; the gravitation does not allow. And the most beautiful and amazing part was that when Nijinsky would be coming back from the leap he would come so slowly that it is impossible. He would come so slowly as if a leaf is falling from a tree… very slowly, very slowly, very slowly.

It is not possible, it is against the physical law, it is against physics. The gravitation does not make any exceptions, not even for a Nijinsky. And he was asked again and again, ‘What happens? How do you fall so slowly? Because it is not within your power to control — the gravitation pulls you.’ He said, ‘It does not happen always, only rarely – when the dancer disappears. Then sometimes I am also puzzled, surprised, not only you. I see myself coming so slowly, so gracefully, and I know that the gravitation does not exist in that moment.’

He must be functioning in another dimension where the physical law does not exist, where another law starts working that spiritualists call the law of levitation. And it seems absolutely rational and logical to have both the laws, because each law has to be counterbalanced by another law in the opposite direction. If there is light there is darkness, if there is life there is death, if there is gravitation there must be levitation that pulls you up. There must be ways where a person is pulled up.»

– Osho about Ninjinsky, “The Discipline of Transcendence”, Vol. 2

Herzog about “Into the Abyss”

«… the amount of senselessness and the amount of nihilism of this crime. In a way, inexplicable for me. And until today, in a way, still inexplicable. You do understand, for example, a bank robbery and somebody starts to shoot and a bank clerk gets shot. It’s within our comprehension, but it’s very hard to really grasp what went on in this triple homicide. The amount of senselessness.»

«Number one, I do not do interviews. I have no questions. I do conversations but I have no catalogue of questions. And when they ask me, are you a TV journalist? I say ‘No I am a Bavarian filmmaker, I do films. But lets face it I’m not a journalist, I’m a poet.»

«I made myself quite knowledgeable about the case itself. I read the case file, which is around a thousand pages and I’ve seen crime scene videos, which you actually see in the film itself, photos, first reports from homicide detectives, listening to the tape confession of Michael Perry. So, I knew what happened in… in the real world, out there.»

«I told them in writing immediately, ‘this film is not meant to be a platform for you to prove your innocence. Are you still willing to see me?’ However, I gave them the chance to declare themselves and he proclaims his innocence. And I did not want to prove his guilt either. I’m not in the business of guilt or innocence, but for your comfort I can tell you that I have, for example, listened to the confession of Perry which is so in detail that only the perpetrator could know all the details. They’re all verified by findings at the crime scenes and what the film doesn’t even mention or show, during the subsequent murders of two teenage boys, after the mother of one of them was murdered, there was a girlfriend of one of the perpetrators along as an eye-witness. And an overwhelming amount of physical evidence. But we have to understand someone who has no defence any more and is going to be executed eight days later, talks him or herself, as a last recourse, into innocence. They possibly even believe in their innocence, because when you are ten years in solitary confinement, in a concrete cubicle these things occur, and there’s no more defence for him. It shouldn’t give you sleepless nights as to whether he was innocent or guilty, what gives me sleepless nights is that there is capital punishment. I would be an advocate of life in prison.»

«Well, what you hear in the film right at the beginning is that Perry’s father died only ten days ago, or twelve days ago. So, the father wasn’t there. He had no siblings and his mother categorically refused to be on camera. After Perry was executed I very cautiously approached her, ‘would it now, since everything is closed and your son is dead, would you like to reconsider’ and again it was no. From that moment on, of course, I would not bother the mother any more. But I had the feeling that after the execution she might like to say something of significance but there was a very laconic no and that was that.»

«…as the secondary title [A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life] suggests, all of a sudden what emerged from the footage was a kind of urgency of life, when we talk to someone who is on death row how do we see  life. It’s not only a look into them, it’s a look into ourselves. As you mentioned, the father of Jason Burkett, he talks about life, about what he’s done wrong, how we should raise our children and it’s a very compelling and convincing take on it. Either way, not only the father of Burkett, but in other cases, when I’ve spoken to death row inmates and speaking about life and children and so on it’s always, always inevitably small family values. We have a tendency to dismiss it as petit bourgeois or whatever but all of a sudden it becomes serious, small family values and absence of family cohesions, broken families, drugs, all sorts of things.»

«I do connect and I have it in me. I’m good at that. There’s no technique or anything and there’s no catalogue of questions. Can I bring it to the short formula? You can do this if you know the heart of men, then you can do it.»

«When you speak about documentaries it’s all movies for me. Many of them are feature films in disguise, they pretend to be documentaries but when you take a good luck they are not. But here, in film speaking to death row inmates you do not script, you do not invent. You do not stylise in a way that I would in other films. In other documentaries by the way.»

«I’ve always postulated a deeper stratum of truth than the mere facts. Because facts, per say, do not constitute truth. My example would be that if you are fact based, in that case the Manhattan phone directory would be the book of books. Five million entries, every single one verifiable and correct, but it doesn’t illuminate you. That’s what I’m trying, moving away from merely fact-based movies into invention, to poetry. Take your audience along with you into the imaginary, into the world of poetry and into the world of wonder and marvels. And that’s exactly what I do in Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Even at the end, who for God’s sake would have a final chapter about radioactive mutant albino crocodiles, but I do. And audiences love me for it and love the film for it.»

«It’s such a beautiful end to the film. I said to Fred Allen, the former member of the tie-down team, that you have to have the last word in the film because it’s so beautiful. It’s about life and he’s marvelling in the world since he’s quit executions, about the birds, the ducks and the humming birds… pause… ‘Why are there so many of them?’… Cut. The end of the film.
It’s like some sort of present falling in my lap as a filmmaker. It’s like the fairytale of the barefoot girl, the poor girl stepping out into the night and the stars are raining, the golden stars are raining into her apron. That’s what happens to me and it happens to me all the time, like the girl in the fairytale. I am very lucky, yes.»

Source

«Even though an execution is a state order, killing is somehow a public event, of course they have one or two media representatives, and they have some state witnesses and the family of the victims can send some representatives and the family of the perpetrator can send family. Although, it is a semi-official public event, I think nobody should ever ever ever see an execution

«Please mind, I’m not in the business of Texas bashing or America bashing, but you have to see statistically the amount of executions is slightly declining. More and more states who would sentence you to death have a moratorium and would not kill you. So those are all good signs. Of course, when it comes to an election year, very essential questions are somehow swept to the surface. Capital punishment is one of the questions, but we have to accept it as it is. We have to understand capital punishment is not going to go away quickly. When you look at Florida, for example. It is so embedded in the mood of the electorate. I do not have any voting power in the United States. I am a German citizen and I can vote only in Germany. Of course, it is something America has to settle itself. Let me add one more thing, America is not alone. Almost all populous nations in the world are pro-capital punishment: China, Pakistan, no Russia, just Japan did it, Iran. All the real populous nations in the world have it.»

«In this case, I had the feeling he [Michael Perry] was the most dangerous person I have ever seen in my life (…) …and he looks like a kid, like a lost kid. He could be the best friend of James Dean. And he somehow touches your heart in a way. But at the same time, my instincts tell me he was the most dangerous of all of them that I’ve met. (…) I have no argument, I only have my instinct. (…) [Jason Burkett] looks intimidating, he’s big, he can be threatening, I’m fairly certain of that. But, I wouldn’t be afraid of him.»

«He denies it and that’s why the film doesn’t make any fuss over it. Although, in the car that he took possession of, he put signs on it, a big sign  “Gauge,” like 12 gauge shot gun, on one side, on one side window “AB” and on the other side window “23.” I asked him, “Mr. Burkett, does ‘AB’  signifie that you are a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and am I right in the assumption that the “23”  signifies the 23rd letter of the alphabet, ‘W,’ for White Supremacy?” He fell silent for a moment and he said, “No, no, I have no affiliation with the Aryan Brotherhood.” I left it at that and it’s not in the film. You see, he still has an appeal going on for a re-trial and the last thing I would like to do is include certain suspicions that are not very viable and would make him look very bad.»

«I do not want to judge, but you see, I have read 800 pages of the case file of all the first statements of witnesses and forensic evidence and I have read the entire transcript of the entire trial. Many hundreds of pages and more and I think, I believe, the question of innocence and guilt has been settled by a court of law properly.»

Source

Dynamo in the machinery of night

«I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night (…)»

– Allen Ginsberg, “Howl”, intro.