The name “Viktor Shklovsky” comes up a lot at this site (I’m guilty of mentioning it in perhaps half of my posts), and one might wonder why the man and his work matters. Below, I’ll try and lay out what Viktor Shklovsky has done for me, and what he might be able to do for you, too! Because Shklovsky might be the single most interesting and, above all else, useful critic I’ve ever encountered…
[H]eld accountable for nothing, life fades into nothingness. Automatization eats away at things, at clothes, at furniture, at our wives, at our fear of war. […] And so, in order to return sensation to our limbs, in order to make us feel objects, to make a stone feel stony, man has been given the tool of art. The purpose of art, then, is to lead us to a knowledge of a thing through the organ of sight instead of recognition. By ‘enstranging’ objects and complicating form, the device of art makes perception long and ‘laborious.’ —Viktor Shklovsky, “Art as Device” (Theory of Prose pages 5–6)
Experimental chef Grant Achatz, speaking in an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air:
If you think about eating, you know, we do it two, three, four times a day since we’re born, basically. And the act of eating, the mechanics of eating, become very monotonous. So literally you’re either picking up a fork or a spoon, and you’re eating from a plate or a bowl, with the same motion every time. And so if we can break that monotony, then we get you to take notice of the moment, and now you’re thinking about the food, it’s making you feel a certain way. (8:50–9:22)
The entire interview is well worth listening to.