Feature Friday: “Wittgenstein” (1993)

Most of this site’s readers are no doubt busy with AWP, but I’ll still throw up a film to watch. And it’ll be something literary:

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On Theresa Cha, kundiman, lost books, why moving hurts, Sappho and archaic love poetry, food poisoning, The Bacchae, Tom Hardy, Hisham Matar, more Veena Das, exhaustion, indebtedness, speaking, showing, writing.

If I were in the NYC area on March 5th, I would try to go to this:

Belladonna* and Kundiman Celebrate Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

Saturday, March 5, 2011; 2 – 3:30 pm

On the weekend of what would have been Cha’s 60th birthday (a full life cycle event in the Chinese/Korean lunar calendar), Belladonna* and Kundiman gather nine poets to perform a staged reading from Dictee. Cha’s best known written work, Dictee focuses on the life of several women framed with the art of the Greek muses, yet in the cosmos of Shamanism and Daoism. Their struggle to speak and overcome suffering is enacted through a mixture of media which destabilizes the notion of a progressive and seamless history.

Participants to include: Anne Waldman, Tamiko Beyer, Sarah Gambito, Laura Hinton, Cathy Park Hong, Soomi Kim, Nathanaël, Alison Roh Park, Sina Queyras, Jen Shyu, Zhang Er

Join us for an afternoon of projected images, voices, pictorial characters, scholarly contextualization, a birthday cake, and surprises.

Event is being filmed for Woo Jung Cho’s documentary on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, The Dream of the Audience.

Curated by Cara Benson and Sarah Gambito

When: Saturday, March 5
Door: 1:40pm; Show: 2pm to 3:30pm [PROMPT]
Where: Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, NYC
Cost: $8

 

*

 

One of the books I took with me here to Glasgow was Theresa Cha’s Exilée and Temps Morts: Selected Works. It’s my second copy; I had to buy this book again online because it was one book in a massive box of books that disappeared in transit to me between California and England, when I first moved to London, where I no longer live. The books were lost during the Royal Mail strike, so I comforted myself with the knowledge that at least they were lost for a good cause. I like to think that some striking postal workers were tearing open my box of books and reading Derrida’s Le monolingualism de l’autre or Shklovsky’s Zoo: Or Letters About Love, which was one of my favorite books—the actual, specific body of that one book—ever. I bought it again, it’s not the same. There were books in there whose skins I will never again be able to retrieve, books the buying and having of which were totally suffused with the people who bought them and had them with me, next to me, for me. The tracks of love that were in these books. People I loved who are now dead.

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wittgenstein, emoticons, & the death of email

yesterday, i was schooled by my friend austin choi-fitzpatrick. apparently, email is dead. email is “so 2006.” according to choi-fitzpatrick (wtf? i’m citing him like he’s the fucking scholar he is), email had it’s heyday from 1996-2006. now, email is a dead form. for him, email is only his inbox: subject headings, nothing more. for him, it’s all about facebook, text messaging, etc. we, as humans, reduced to 140 characters or less as our mode of communication.

this morning, i read wittgenstein’s notes & lectures on aesthetics, psychology, & religion. wittgenstein argues that language is not universal; however, physical reactions are. he talks, at length, about the inadequacy of words such as “beautiful” or “lovely,” that “beautiful” comes to represent not what is beautiful but an interjection. he argues:

would it matter if instead of saying ‘this is lovely,’ i just said, ‘ah!’ & smiled, or just rubbed my stomach? as far as these primitive languages go, problems about what these words are about, what their real subject is, don’t come up at all.

whereas i get wittgenstein’s point–words like beautiful or lovely are at times empty, they come to mean much less than what we mean them to mean–i don’t think we could simply substitute a grunt or a physical action. and i agree that words like “beautiful” never conjure up the same thing to any two people, that does not make the word itself–or words in general–obsolete. after all, facial expressions, gestures, etc. can be just as misleading, if not more so, than words.

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