Arts Sex and City Images
posted by August 29 at 16:05 PMon
This is not a defense. It is a declaration of a debt. My debt to this book:
Every answer for how and why I blog (sexy images, buildings, bursts of words) can be found in Rem Koolhaas’ massive S M L XL. (Bruce Mau is also a part of this book, but a very small part of it: I came to this conclusion—of his minor creative role—after seeing his dull exhibit Massive Change at Vancouver Art Museum two or so years ago.)
S M L XL—which is packed with short essays, failed proposals, porn, buildings, images of emerging cities, a dictionary, fiction—was the most important and dazzling book of its decade, the 90s. But there was a problem: I could not locate it in a literary or philosophical tradition. The book was a lone, dancing star in a vacuum of night. There was nothing like it in the past. Even Benjamin’s Arcade Project, the closest work to it, was substantially different.
Benjamin had a clear vision and direction. He was examining the 19th century with the aim of making his moment, his present, the 1930s, meaningful. How did his society become a mass society? What happened in the 19th century to make the 20th distinctly different from the modern period, which ran from the 16th century to the French revolution. Koolhaas, on the other hand, was not at all looking back at the past for answers. He was instead in a hyper present and inventing a new way of thinking and writing about that present. That way of thinking and writing we now recognize as blogging.
Benjamin once described dadaism as an expression of cinema before it had arrived and became recognized as such. S M L XL is the first true expression for what is now recognized as blogging. Only with blogging did S M L XL finally make sense to me. The porn, the buildings, the words, the theories—all of it flowing from one page to the next. The space of a page as something that happens and then passes. Even the future eternity of blogging was mirrored by the enormous size of the book.
I’m hiding nothing. Read S M L XL and my discharge of images and words (Sharapova, Gong Li, modernists illusions, cultural examinations) will make sense:
Cape Town at night: “How beautiful you are/Just like a movie star.”
“You belong to the city.”
This is a Greek myth. Donald Duck as what he really wants to be: a God and a rapist.