—–> Friday, January 18th, 2013 @ 7pm
Before the Object
An evening of Utopian Austerity, Medieval Cereal Gruel and Pinch of Hegel
hosted by Ernst Fischer
Bring your own spoon.
“Even the animals are not shut off from this wisdom, but show that they are deeply initiated into it. For they do not stand stock still before things of sense as if these were things per se, with being in themselves: they despair of this reality altogether, and in complete assurance of the nothingness of things they fall-to without more ado and eat them up.”
G.W.F.Hegel, The Phenmenology of Mind, 61
I have wanted to make this table for a long time, then sit around it and talk. My grandmother used to speak of tables like this, Central European, pre-Renaissance and pre-potatoes: no plates (plates and forks, she maintained, are a hangover from the days the bourgeoisie struggled to keep its servants busy) just globs of gruel to be eaten straight from bowl shaped hollows cut into the thick pine tabletop, to which everybody comes with their own whittled spoon that at the end of the meal, they lick clean and put back in their back pocket. Doing the dishes ranks a good bit higher on my list of hates than eating porridge. Porridge’s lack of taste is an expression of puritan innocence and symbolic of cooking’s most noble and motherly aspect, extracorporeal pre-digestion. Cooking frees up bodily resources. “Babette’s Feast” has it at least half wrong, Bataille, say, a quarter. Yes, Art wants to be eaten, but refinement gets in the way, nor are artists never poor. That, and “relational” and “aesthetics” may after all be mutually exclusive.
Onkel Hegel, who’s books I have started browsing lately, seems to think of the self as a flexible notion, constituted and refracted via relations and difference, a kind of spiritual super-organism that reaches self-awareness through relating to the in turn self-aware altogether other. His critique of our modern relations to the art object would be that they keep us stuck labouring within the most anaemic paradigm of self-consciousness. Our liaison with the object enables the Cartesian tautology of the self-evident self, I = I, to perpetuate its diminutive existence. Defined and sitting tight in this tiny centre of lack, we keep sucking stuff across our own little event horizon, while emitting our signature noises of desire.
It’s just an idea. I’d like us to sit down and eat some porridge straight from that table, drink Kirsch and collectively formulate a critique of the object, if only by talking about anything but cultural artefacts (which, incidentally, will be surrounding us).
I should be privileged and delighted to see you on the night.
Drinks are on the house.