Wednesday, October 16, 2013

a question of turning

from queer phenomenology by sara ahmed

"my writing moves between conceptual analysis and personal digression.  but why call the personal a digression?  why is it that the personal so often enters writing as if we are being led astray from a proper course?"

"it is not just that bodies are moved by the orientations they have; rather, the orientations we have toward others shape the contours of space by affecting relations of proximity and distance between bodies.  importantly, even what is kept at a distance must still be proximate enough if it is to make or leave an impression."

"phenomenology is full of queer moments; as moments of disorientation that maurice merleau-ponty suggests involve not only 'the intellectual experience of disorder, but the vital experience of giddiness and nausea, which is the awareness of our contingency, and the horror with which it fills us.'"

"space then becomes a question of 'turning', of directions taken, which not only allow things to appear, but also enable us to find our way through the world by situating ourselves in relation to such things."

"the question of orientation becomes, then, a question not only about how we 'find our way' but how we come to 'feel at home'."

"but 'getting lost' still takes us somewhere; and being lost is a way of inhabiting space by registering what is not familiar: being lost can in its turn become a familiar feeling.  familiarity is shaped by the 'feel' of space or by how spaces 'impress' upon bodies."

Thursday, October 3, 2013

untitled by john ashbery

we were warned about spiders, and the
   occasional famine.
we drove downtown to see our
   neighbors.  none of them were home.
we nestled in yards the municipality had
reminisced about other, different places -
but were they?  hadn't we known it all

in vineyards where the bee's hymn
   drowns the monotony,
we slept for peace, joining in the great
he came up to me.
it was all as it had been,
except for the weight of the present,
that scuttled the pact we made with
in truth there was no cause for rejoicing,
nor need to turn around, either.
we were lost just by standing,
listening to the hum of the wires overhead.