I do want to do something.

There is no.
March 17, 2010, 11:58 am
Filed under: Beirut notes, questions

Is one of the most recurrent affirmation that is voiced when discussing  amongst friends. criticism exhibition making  curatorial knowledge education government state in Lebanon and in the Middle East.

I’ll try to think a bit more about the “no” and the “there is” in this affirmation.

In relation to what is that absence voiced? Where is it that there is this or that, or when? The there is has a residency in Europe, the United States and other countries which benefit from an established arts and cultural  infrastructure, with a tradition, history, professional, criteria, parameters etc. One can think that there is an enormous gap between where we live, Beirut, Cairo, Bahrain and perhaps many more places.

The problem in the “there is no” is  that the gap between a situation of lack and a situation that “is”, is unbridgeable because it becomes a temporal race, where something is to be reached, where there is a model to be pursued, adapted and appropriated.

Besides the unbridgeable difference, the “there is” is also to be questioned. What is it that there is over there ? European institutions are increasingly rethinking their models, educational and artistic.  So ?

Deuleuze said about Hegel’s philosophy that it had reached the apotheosis of western philosophical thinking, that a tradition had culminated with him and that it was difficult to continue thinking within that tradition after him. However, he said that it was possible to think something entirely different, outside the parameters and logic established in that history of philosophy.

Why not think something entirely different ?

January 5, 2009, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Art stuff, Beirut notes, Blogroll, questions

I was surprised by Katy’s email letter addressed to the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, denouncing the Danish position in the actual Gaza conflict. She told me that she had previously sent a letter during the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006, and received and answer 5 min later by the Minister’s secretary. While she was writing her mail (asking me how to spell “appel” in Danish), I was depressingly and disgustingly browsing through all the news websites reporting the Gaza massacre, thinking about what could be done and from what perspective. Working in an art association, this question became all the more disturbing and a bit ridiculous. But, it was still there.

In my mail, a link to the e-flux on line journal. It might have been the whole situation, but the editorial got on my nerves, so while Katy was writing to the government, I wrote to the e-flux contact address

“I know it is probably not the role of an art journal to discuss the news, and I am thinking here particularly of Gaza. Reading the editorial, however, the absence of the war on Gaza stroke me, and probably not inasmuch as it was not mentioned at all, but because it was not mentioned in relation to what I was reading. ” Beyond the issue of governance, these circumstances beg the deeper question of the potential for simply inhabiting existing spaces, for properly addressing important questions that have already been asked before seeking the questions of the future” “How then do we begin to use or inhabit these possibilities?”. etc

The aim here is not to oppose, once again, speculation, deferral, layered temporalities and what not, to urgent political matters, but to question the nature of these very speculations and artistic reflections. How far are they from what is happening right now?

The question here is not about the role, impact and position art can have in relation to these issues, but for the least, question its distance from it.”
For the moment, I got an E-flux automatic reply wishing me the best for 2009, I don’t think Katy got her reply yet.

on not being able to write (to do or not to do?)
July 28, 2008, 2:25 pm
Filed under: Beirut notes, questions

” Well, then. It is not so much a question of scientific knowledge. Nor certainly can it be a question of confidence in writing. There are certain things that force your hand. You find yourself incontrovertibly obligated: something occurs prior to owning, and more fundamental still than that of which any trace of empirical guilt can give an account. This relation-to whom? to what? – is no more and no less than your liability-what you owe before you think, understand, or give; that is, what you owe from the very fact that you exist, before you can properly owe. You do not have to do (emphasis of the text) anything about your liability, and most finitudes don’t. Still, it copilots your every move, planning your every flight, and it remains the place shadowed by the infinite singularity of your finitude. The obligation that can force your hand ressembles something of a historical compulsion: you are compelled to respond to a situation which has never as such been addressed to you, where you can do no more that run into an identificatory impasse. Nonetheless, you find yourself rising to the demand, as if the weight if justice depended upon your inconsequential advance. ”

Avital Ronell, Crack Wars, p.57-58

Who shot first?
September 5, 2007, 10:36 pm
Filed under: questions

How do we kill the images that are killing us?

if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. ?
August 23, 2007, 10:41 pm
Filed under: questions