Roland Barthes – Empire of Signs
Quadrangular, reticulated cities (Los Angeles, for instance) are said to produce a profound uneasiness: they offend our synesthetic sentiment of the City, which requires that any urban space have a centre to go to, to return to, to return from, a complete site to dream of and in relation to which to advance or retreat; in a word, to invent oneself. For many reasons (historical, economic, religious, military), the West has understood this law only too well: all its cities are concentric; but also, in accord with the very movement of Western metaphysics, for which every corner is the site of truth, the centre of our cities is always full: a marked site, it is here that the values of civilisation are gathered and condensed: spirituality (churches), power (offices), money (banks), merchandise (department stores), language (agoras, cafes and promenades): to go downtown or to go to the city centre is to encounter the solical “truth”, to participate in the proud plenitude of “reality”.
The city I am talking about, Tokyo, offers this precious paradox: it does possess a centre, but this centre is empty. The entire city turns around a site both forbidden and indifferent, a residence concealed beneath foliage, protected by moats, inhabited by an emperor who is never seen, which is to say, literally by no one knows who. Daily in their rapid ballet like trajectories the taxis avoid this circle, whose low crest, the visible form of invisibility, hides the sacred “nothing”. One of the two most powerful cities of modernity is thereby built around an opaque ring of walls , streams, roofs, and trees whose own centre is no more than an evaporated notion, subsisting here, not in order to irradiate power, but to give to the entire urban movement the support of its central emptiness, forcing the traffic to make a perpetual detour. In this manner, we are told, the system of the imaginary is spread circularly, by detours and returns the length of an empty subject.
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Walter Benjamin, Berlin Childhood around 1900, Howard Eiland, trans., Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006:
One forms an image of a person’s nature and character according to his place of residence and the neighborhood he inhabits, and that is exactly what I did with the animals of the Zoological Garden. From the ostriches marshaled before a background of sphinxes and pyramids, to the hippopotamus that dwelt in its pagoda like a tribal sorcerer on the point of merging bodily with the demon he serves, there was hardly an animal whose habitation did not inspire me with love or fear. Rarer were those which, by the location of their housing alone, already had something particular about them: inhabitants of the outskirts, mainly—of those sections where the Zoological Garden borders on coffeehouses or the exhibition hall. Among all the denizens of these regions, however, the most remarkable was the otter. Of the three main entry gates, the one by Lichtenstein Bridge was closest to the otter’s enclosure; it was by far the least used entranceway, and it led into the most neglected part of the garden. At that point, the avenue which welcomed the visitor resembled, with the white globes of its lampposts, an abandoned promenade at Eilsen or Bad Pyrmont; and long before those places lay so desolate as to seem more ancient than the baths of Rome, this corner of the Zoological Garden bore traces of what was to come. It was a prophetic corner. For just as there are plants that are said to confer the power to see into the future, so there are places that possess such a virtue. For the most part, they are deserted places—treetops that lean against walls, blind alleys or front gardens where no one ever stops. In such places, it seems as if all that lies in store for us has become the past. Thus, it was always in this part of the Zoological Garden, when I had lost my way and strayed into it, that I was granted a look over the edge of the pool that welled up here, as in the middle of a spa. This was the cage of the otter. And a cage it was, for strong iron bars rimmed the basin in which the animal lived. A small rock formation, constructed with grottoes, lined the oval of the basin in the background. It had no doubt been conceived as shelter for the animal, but I never once found it there. And so time and again I would remain, endlessly waiting, before those black and impenetrable depths, in order somewhere to catch sight of the otter. If I finally succeeded, it was certainly just for an instant, for in the blink of an eye the glistening inmate of the cistern would disappear once more into the wet night. Of course, the otter was not actually kept in a cistern. Nevertheless, when I gazed into the water, it always seemed as though the rain poured down into all the street drains of the city only to end up in this one basin and nourish its inhabitant. For this was the abode of a pampered animal whose empty, damp grotto was more a temple than a refuge. It was the sacred animal of the rainwater. But whether it was formed in this runoff of the rains, or only fed from arriving streams and rivulets, is something I could not have decided. Always it was occupied to the utmost, as if its presence in the deep were indispensable. But I could easily have passed long, sweet days there, my forehead pressed up against the iron bars of its cage, without ever getting enough of the sight of the creature. And here, too, its dose affinity with the rain is manifest. For, to me, the long, sweet day was never longer, never sweeter, than when a fine- or thick-toothed drizzle slowly combed the animal for hours and minutes. Docile as a young maiden, it bowed its head under this gray comb. And I looked on insatiably then. I waited. Not until it stopped raining, but until it came down in sheets, ever more abundantly. I heard it drumming on the windowpanes, streaming out of gutters, and rushing in a steady gurgle down the drainpipes. In a good rain, I was securely hidden away. And it would whisper to me of my future, as one sings a lullaby beside the cradle. How well I understood that it nurtures growth. In such hours passed behind the gray-gloomed window, I was at home with the otter. But actually I wouldn’t become aware of that until the next time I stood before the cage. Then, once again, I had a long while to wait before the glistening black body darted up to the surface, only to hurry back almost immediately to urgent affairs below.
On the Sociological Psychology of the Hole (Kurt Tucholsky 1931)
“The most important things are done through tubes. Proof: genitals, pens, and guns.” – Lichtenberg
The hole is a permanent companion of the non-hole;
I’m sorry, but there is no such thing as a hole by itself.
If there were something everywhere, there would be no holes, but there wouldn’t be any philosophy either, not to mention religion, which is holey in origin.
A mouse couldn’t exist without a hole, nor could man. It is the final salvation for both when they are hard-pressed by matter.
A hole is always a Good Thing.
The strangest thing about a hole is its edge.
It’s still part of the Something, but it constantly overlooks the Nothing—a border guard of matter.
Nothingness has no such guard; while the molecules at the edge of a hole get dizzy because they are staring into a hole, the molecules of the hole get… firmy?
There’s no word for it. For our language was created by the Something people; the Hole people speak a language of their own.
The hole is static.
There are no traveling holes.
Almost not .
Holes that are marrying each other become one of their own.
Separate the partition between two holes, does the right edge then belong to the left hole, or the left to
the right, or everybody to itself, or everybody to everybody ?
I’d like to have my worries.
When a hole is filled up, where does it go ?
Will it push itself to the side, right into the material ?
Or will it run to see another hole and tell him about his misery ?
Where does the filled hole remain ?
Here, our knowledge … has one.
Where something is, nothing else can be.
Where one hole is , can there be another one ?
And why aren’t there any half-holes ?
Some things lose value because of a single small hole:
because in a part of them there is a “no-thing”, all the rest isn’t worth anything anymore.
Example: a ticket, a virgin, a balloon.
The thing itself still has to be looked for:
the hole itself already is.
One that would be with one foot in a hole and the other foot with us, this one alone would be truly wise.
But no one has been able to achieve this yet.
Some megalomaniacs pretend that the hole is a negative thing. That is not right!
The human being is a not-hole and the hole is primary.
Do not laughole! The hole is the only premonition of paradise down here. When you’re dead, you’ll first realize what life is about.
Optics, from the concrete meaning — to the metaphorical and open
Space that has been emptied, deserted
Migrant — structure of society — infrastructure
Hunter and hunted
Shadow and light – seen and unseen
Devices and instruments
Waiting — orientation — voyeurism
Waiting — hunting — shadow — monster
Doubt — acceptance
We live in a bow and arrow season era, current order will break down at some point.
Bow and arrow season as title, direction, pre-apocalyptic, has tension and suspense, is scar