Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Anatomy of Anguish

Fig. 1. Jordan Wolfson - Infinite Melancholy (4 minutes), 2003

'For those who are racked by melancholia, writing about it would have meaning only if writing sprang out of that very melancholia. I am trying to address the abyss of sorrow, a noncommunicable grief that at times, and often on a long-term basis, lays claim upon us to the extent of having us lose all interest in words, actions, and even life itself. Such despair is not a revulsion that would imply my being capable of desire and creativity, negative indeed but present. Within depression, if my existence is on the verge of collapsing, its lack of meaning is not tragic - it appears obvious to me, glaring and inescapable.

Where does this black sun come from? Out of what eerie galaxy do its invisible, lethargic rays reach me, pinning me down to the ground, to my bed, compelling me to silence, and renunciation?

Fig. 2. Still from Afterschool - d. Antonio Campos, 2008

All this gives me another life. A life that is unlivable, heavy with daily sorrows, tears held back or shed, a total despair, scorching at times, then wan and empty. In short, a devitalised existence that, although occasionally fired by the effort I make to prolong it, is ready at any moment for a plunge into death. An avenging death or a liberating death, it is henceforth the inner threshold of my despondency, the impossible meaning of a life whose burden constantly seems un- bearable, save for those moments when I pull myself together and face up to the disaster. I live a living death, my flesh is wounded, bleeding, cadaverised, my rhythm slowed down or interrupted, time has been erased or bloated, absorbed into sorrow. . . . Absent from other people's meaning, alien, accidental with respect to native happiness, I owe a supreme, metaphysical lucidity to my depression. On the frontiers of life and death, occasionally I have the arrogant feeling of being witness to the meaninglessness of Being, of revealing the absurdity of bonds and beings.

Fig. 3. Ron Mueck - Mask II, 2001-2

My pain is the hidden side of my philosophy, its mute sister. In the same way, Montaigne's statement "To philosophise is to learn how to die" is inconceivable without the melancholy combination of sorrow and hatred - which came to a head in Heidegger's care and the disclosure of "being-for-death". Without a bent for melancholia there is no psyche, only a transition to action or play.'

Julia Kristeva (Black Sun)

Your Ears Will Orgasm #4: Betty Davis - Nasty Gal, 1975 (MixPod Player)