The End of Beauty

Documents & Failures

"From early on I have suspected that the so important-sounding task “Know thyself” is a ruse of a cabal of priests. They are trying to seduce man from activity in the outside world, to distract him with impossible demands; they seek to draw him into a false inner contemplation. Man only knows himself insofar as he knows the world—the world which he only comes to know in himself and himself only in it."

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Constantin Guys. The Loge. Oil on canvas. 19th c. 

Constantin Guys. The Loge. Oil on canvas. 19th c. 

"The work is the death mask of its conception."

— Walter Benjamin. 1928.

Joram Roukes. Wifebeater. Oil on canvas, 160 x 180 cm. 2010.

Joram Roukes. Wifebeater. Oil on canvas, 160 x 180 cm. 2010.

"Those who sleep badly seem to a greater or lesser degree guilty: what do they do? They make the night present."

— Maurice Blanchot

Vivian Maier. Self-Portrait.
More here.

Vivian Maier. Self-Portrait.

More here.

"I should construct my book, I dare not say ambitiously like a cathedral, but quite simply like a dress."

— Marcel Proust. Time Regained. First published in French in 1927. Translated by Andreas Mayor and Terence Kilmartin, revised by DJ Enright. Modern Library, 1992. 

Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust

Isabella Blow

Isabella Blow

On noise

What I am calling noise is the multiply layered sonic indeterminacy that is the average, fluctuating milieu of dailiness… . Noise is the unwilled surplus produced by the temporal indetermination of conditions and practices in co-movement. Noise has an inchoate shape as weather does — we may measure it, but its movements extend beyond any identifiable cause. Noise exceeds its own identity. It is the extreme of difference. Noise is the non-knowledge of meaning, the by-product of economies. 

… As the city is not the opposite of the country, noise is not the opposite of silence. Noise interrupts or effaces the binary organization of sound as meaningful figure and its supportive field. 

… Noise permits the subject’s sense of interiority to figure as silence at the same time that it constitutes the outer limits of that interiority in terms of the tactile. 

Lisa Robertson. Nilling: Prose Essays on Noise, Pornography, the Codex, Melancholy, Lucretius, Folds, Cities and Related Aporias. Bookthug, 2011.