The elements of style
It’s no secret that the other end of the thread which runs between these symbols is stitched to your body. Even footnotes, those little runts, are able to coax your eyes down an alleyway where their big siblings lie in wait.
I read somewhere that people once thought infatuation and love were caused by a transparent beam of blood molecules which emanated from the eyes of the loved into those of the lover, infecting their bloodstream and ultimately their heart. The technique of perspective, as a kind of herding and domesticating of once wild lines of sight, was an early stage in one story of modernization which ends with the total effacement of these viscous vectors by the little cord of symbols we mentioned before.
A week ago a friend and I borrowed a pickup truck and drove out to see this space. Thoroughly ensconced, I felt like a Sam Shepard taco; a kind of history professor / cowboy hybrid. This, I realized, was the true function of a truck for me: to create a synthetic whole out of the split between high and low, and to make it handsome.
If there is another narrative of modernization it is the story of the separation and individuation of all forms of human activity, beginning with the split between mental and physical forms of labor, and then of their gradual reconnection as good taste and lifestyle.
Artistic activity is attractive because it asserts that thinking and doing are in some sense the same thing. But this may have become a problem.
This summer one of my paintings became the inspiration for a duvet set. At first I was annoyed, but then I remembered that months ago I had said it was ok. I guess I was reading something different then. Adorno would probably say that this contingency was actually inevitable, that it already lay dormant within the content of the painting. I guess at least it was cozy.