-Mel Chen's Toxic Animacies:
"I would of course be naive to imagine that toxicity stands in for utopia, given the explosion of resentful, despairing, painful, screamingly negative affects that surround toxicity. Nevertheless, I do not want to deny the queer productivity of toxins and toxicity, quite beyond the given enumerable set of addictive or pleasure- inducing substances, or to neglect indeed to ask after the desires, the loves, the rehabilitations, the affections, the assets that toxic conditions induce."
- Jean Luc-Nancy, L'intrus:
"At the very least, this is what it amounts to: identity is equivalent to immunity, the one identifying itself with the other. To reduce the one is to reduce the other. Strangeness and strangerness become ordinary, everyday occurrences. This is expressed through a constant self-exteriorization: I must be monitored, tested, measured. We are armed with cautionary rec- ommendations vis-a-vis the outside world (crowds, stores, swimming pools, small children, those who are sick). But the most vigorous enemies are inside: the old viruses that have always been lurking in the shadow of my immune system—life-long intrus, as they have always been there."
- Christy Lange's curatorial essay, Bound to Fail, at Tate in 2004, online here.
"Why do artists’ flawed systems and small failures attract us? Are they more authentic, more honest, more empathetic? Perhaps it is because the work that adopts this strategy is always only an attempt, always incomplete, and must therefore admit its own shortcomings. Or perhaps it gives us hope that productivity and even success are firmly implanted at the pit of failure. Or maybe it’s the reassurance that human error can be performed without consequence or catastrophe, especially when tested in a safe environment. Art is not work precisely because it doesn’t have to “work”. The act of failure or the failed act of art making is promising and productive."
Caveat: we didn't choose these texts (or subsequent ones) because we agree with them, but in an effort to flesh out the stakes of these terms.
Here are some references that I've been thinking about in architecture. There's a new book out on the Barcelona Pavilion as manifesto, but I couldn't find a PDF of it.
So instead I offer this gem on the Farnsworth House (page 3 - 4).
And a wonderful 20 minute introduction to Mies and the theoretical implications and legacy of this house from Beatriz Colomina here (starting at minute 4:30).
Wonderful reference to failure as modernism in the work of Le Corbusier - at minute 21:00
also, re mies, there's this.
Also here is a lecture on bare-backing -- a topic that was brought up in last month's meeting.
Perhaps we can think about these three references in light of the texts from last time as well, especially as they conjure up questions of vulnerability and risk, complicating any simple understanding of the failure/success model.
In response to the compiled google images of corporate success, here are some image compilations of the failing.
David Lynch also has a pretty interesting failed attempt at rebuilding this land.
This moment seems inseparable from the recent hijacking of Adorno's favorite Beckett dictum to fail better in Silicon Valley.
I'm attaching the chapter from Leo Bersani and Adam Phillips' book which both responds to and builds upon this work of Tim Dean's. I'm not entirely sure that this is most relevant to our undertaking, though the roots of Bersani's notion of "impersonal narcissism" which emerge from this chapter and are further developed in the rest of the book, are, I still find, immensely productive!
adding this to the conversation ...
This very sort article by Judith Butler lays out a concrete definition for vulnerability as it relates to these questions - why do we drag these things out into space and make them visible as objects and as bodies. I wish I had found it earlier, it seems to tie together the body, its situated-ness, its vulnerability and the idea that vulnerability is a feminist political concept.
Image Credit: Gordon Matta-Clark, Splitting, 1974