An Archival Impulse

Sometimes when I am up in Maine and the men come to fix things—handsome, attractive people that they are, coming to fix a pipe, to measure, to take apart a motor, to drag a car to the garage—often then I find myself falling into a flirtatiousness, a sort of love for their look, their sunburned faces, their fine oiled workshoes, their way at the wheel of a truck, their jokes about the bill, their ways with other men, downtown drinking coffee, or inside a house under construction, or at the ravaged shed of a boatbuilder, their strong fingers yellowed from nicotine. 

Then I think of my father, of Papa, and wonder what it would be like to be married to such a man, to see him coming out of the shower, to sit at dinner at six o’clock, turn off the lights at nine, embrace, make love frequently in honor of a long day of working, get up at five, visit with the relations on Sunday, never leave town.

I wonder about this and of course I know. I know what the men are like, but I do not know what she is like, she with her washing of clothes, her baking, her dangling shutter never mended by the husband-carpenter, the broken lamp never fixed by the household electrician, the flowerless, shrubless plot of land of the town gardener. A mystery, but then one does not come home to start work again.

-Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights

He who wants to understand, to grasp and assess in a moment that before which he ought to stand long in awe as before an incomprehensible sublimity may be called reasonable, but only in the sense in which Schiller speaks of the rationality of the reasonable man: there are things he does not see which even a child sees, there are things he does not hear which even a child hears, and these things are precisely the most important things: because he does not understand these things, his understanding is more childish than the child and more simple than simplicity—and this in spite of the many cunning folds of his parchment scroll and the virtuosity of his fingers in unravelling the entangled.

Nietzsche, “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life.”

The polar bears are drowning, and there’s nothing at all we can do about it.

Capitalism is still accelerating, even though it has already realized novelties beyond any previous human imagining. After all, what is human imagination? It is a relatively paltry thing, merely a sub-product of the neural activity of a species of terrestrial primate. Capitalism, in contrast, has no external limit, it has consumed life and biological intelligence to create a new life and a new plane of intelligence, vast beyond human anticipation. The Transcendental Miserablist has an inalienable right to be bored, of course. Call this new. It’s still nothing but change.

What Transcendental Miserablism has no right to is the pretence of a positive thesis. The Marxist dream of dynamism without competition was merely a dream, an old monotheistic dream re-stated, the wolf lying down with the lamb. If such a dream counts as ‘imagination’, then imagination is no more than a defect of the species: the packaging of tawdry contradictions as utopian fantasies, to be turned against reality in the service of sterile negativity. ‘Post-capitalism’ has no real meaning except an end to the engine of change.


-Nick Land, “Critique of Transcendental Miserablism,” in Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007

24four:

Kenji Mizoguchi- Sansho the Bailiff- 1954

Andrei Tarkovsky - Andrei Rublev - 1966

Andrei Tarkovsky - Andrei Rublev - 1966

Terrence Malick - Badlands - 1973

Terrence Malick - Badlands - 1973

Matteo Garrone - Reality - 2012

Matteo Garrone - Reality - 2012

Carol Reed - The Third Man - 1949

Carol Reed - The Third Man - 1949

Wim Wenders - Paris, Texas - 1984

Wim Wenders - Paris, Texas - 1984

Anthony McCall - Circulation Figures - 1972/2011

Anthony McCall - Circulation Figures - 1972/2011