Friday, November 11, 2011

Schoenbergiana IV


It's not only about sequences but also that there's no possible simultaneity without time. But what is it that is at work here? Is there really no difference between Zeitkunst (art of time) and Raumkunst (art of space)? What is this problem with language and the Romantic reification of music and art as language? I mentioned before the distinction between sign and symbol. This might well be rather a confusion of human language vis-a-vis systematic grammar. It's not language as such what's taking place in music and painting but what Adorno and Derrida indicate with the term ecriture (not so much writing as scripture itself), this term indicates that painting (and also music) approaches writing/scripture only in that the painting's latent temporality is showing through, like every other element of transience in contemporary art, in words of Adorno "perhaps because the painting is no longer equal to itself". It's letting go of the illusion that it's absolutely timeless (and this is a clear break with classical art and with works like Lessing's Laocoon) along with many other illusions.

It is only writing that can be timeless insofar as it is an image of the temporal. To adequately view a painting, one has to be clearly aware that even something that hangs on the wall as absolutely spatial is only available to perception in the continuity of time. This still has to do with ecriture, because synesthesia, another construct of the late 19th century is just too poor an approach; it's clear that painters don't compose music and that composers don't write novels, and this has to do of course with the fact that art is not so absolutely free, and that of course it shouldn't be because otherwise consciousness and history would come out of its proportions and annihilate it for good.

So we return a last time to ecriture: The linguistic turn that now I'll call the linguistic fallacy, the first-born child of Romanticism, has always preached that everything is reduced to language, but this idea, far from revolutionary, is a transvestite for a reckless Platonism of symbol (idea) immersed in the mathematical world of Descartes (sign) and has lived up to Heidegger himself (language is the house of Dasein -of being in the world). What is so perverse about about it is that any possible form of social existence is also reduced to the mathematical sign (not a signifier as in literature but a closed sign) and not to any human grammar because as a system of signs, it overlooks the historical character of symbols.

The philosophies of language (Humboldt, Schiller, Neo-Kantianism) arose with the intention of tracing the power of language through history but did nothing other than trace grammar through logic. Wittgenstein, who is often blamed for the so-called speech-acts philosophy first tried to solve the problem by re-working completely the internal logic of language but then later on recognized that this was not possible but at the time the linguistic philosophies were already in full swing. The problem of art and music in their crucially troubled relationship to time and space is not going to be solved by speaking of grammar. Ecriture as writing/scripture provides the ground for an enlarged understanding: All the modern arts, painting, music and literature meet at this crucial juncture of the totem or witness or tristes tropes that ecriture stands for as the only timeless image of time.

Even within philosophy the issue of the genre becomes a real issue, because it's a common place to believe that philosophy's aspirations at truth are stultified when you speak of philosophy as literature, precisely because language, literature and grammar are seen as one sole extension. The historical evolution seems to proceed the following manner: First metaphysics, then logic and now language, but I think there's something very wrong about this because the procedure is presupposing more freedom in every newer stage, yet language, supposing it contains the totality of human experience cannot stand ahead of metaphysics and logic because its content is far more dense.

You realize this when it becomes clear that metaphysics stands for full space (nothing moves), logic stands for empty space (everything moves) and this is when time begins to emerge and then this so-called LANGUAGE for fragment space (everything is time). But language can never stand for fragmented space when metaphysics proceeds from a re-organization of language. What precedes and follows from both metaphysics and logic is scripture and language stands outside this rational order: Whoever says that Rosenzweig is a philosopher of language is wrong, he's but a philosopher of ecriture.

Here we return to Schoenberg and the issue of tonality he picks up when he refuses to call his work atonal, but rather PANTONAL. He doesn't abandon the tension of music, only music as grammar, the same way that Rosenzweig claims that 'Judaism' is not his object/end but his method. Music, art and literature share not seamlessness but the fact that time and space are not stable. The representation of this tension that we're calling ecriture is what we would call really SPRACHKUNST, or art of human language, an approximation of ecriture in that both art of space and art of time have been eroded as concepts of lines; figurations have now become configurations.

SPRACHKUNST contains space and time. This means that it is returning to something primordial and primary as the symbol which we would determine as prior to even TONE. Every representation is SPRACHKUNST insofar as it is a mere perspectival approximation based on the reality of the representation itself rather on a grammar of representation. The painting should not fear to sing or to recite poetry, to run, to jump into the past or to advance the future, insofar as it performs an act of writing which is NOT literature. Paintings never speak, that's another linguistic fallacy; they rather envision the way of the totality in destroying it. The illusion of the painting is not appearance of objects within or without but rather the production of time and space out of each other only because their capacity for production has been already nullified by the act of challenging the genealogy of the concept of line itself.

The first end we reach here, at last the end of this postcard I'm sending over to you, with the intuition that time and space are no longer values but variables within an even larger temporal space that transcends even the current capabilities and expectations of the eye. There's a code name for this ancient scent, and it's not even a Biblical transcription: "Unsichrere Raeume" (Rooms of Uncertainty).

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