The Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt
Autumn Calendar: Own Observations, Jalal Toufic and Will Holder
For the toilets, blame Žižek
When I returned to my apartment after discussions on November 20 (...), it was already there waiting for me….the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space), or the Doctor Who policeman really knew whom to pay a visit. I and my nearly virtual friend who lives in Miami had been sketching trailers concerning J.K. all morning when I said, “what a remarkable person she was”, and my friend paused in hesitation, “Jėzus Kristus?” “J.K. Rowling…” I answered. At that time I had this idea of an inclined space with scribbles from Jalal Toufic‘s dying lecture of November 6[*]
November 6, 2009: The third day of bi-weeky workshop series “3 Uses of the Knife”, with participation of Will Holder (who presented a 2 hour programme of artists’ works twice) and Jalal Toufic (who gave a talk and answered questions via Skype in the beginning of the afternoon session). For more information see
, but I did not have his book yet, so I visited the hyper real desktop / toilet of Rowling. You know that feeling? You are staring at some shirt button that lies amidst paper clips on the table, and there is a painting hanging on the wall. Hyper-reality straightens it all out.
After Kant, or after I had read Kant’s “Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason”, the church and the toilet had become blended into one symbolic space for “purification”, “renewal” and “return of memory”. Shitting and rituals differ as much as they appear to at first glance, and the rest is hours of light and tidiness. But the main drama of religion happens not in the church but in the writer’s bathroom. I mean the time, when (as Roland Barthes puts it) the specific identity of the writer becomes separate from that of the author. A text has as much time as its author devotes to it. When it’s over, it’s time for explaining why it was written, what was written before, etc. This continues until the author’s physical death, and later (as was also the case before the author’s death) truthful reading is mediated through method (hermeneutics, psychoanalysis, etc.).
In November 6 Jalal Toufic sought to explain how to reach that moment when a crystal-clear result emerges from the retort of writing (even if a thousand years have passed since its inscription). The problem is that historical thinking naturalises time as a neutral net, turning it into a field of strategy games. Even upon reaching that square of time (having read the writer’s biography, commentaries by his or her contemporaries and critics, having learned the language of the time, etc.) you cannot be sure that someone of a divine nature (say, the Queen of Hearts or the head of the USSR Palace of Books) has not replaced it with another. Or (this might strike you as even more surprising) that you’ve been playing the right game. This is where Jacques Derrida seems to tame the enthusiasm of the phenomenology of time: if the A present, B present and C present (where A is the past, B is the present and C is the future) share the same modus of time, how do I know that B is B and C is not A? Time is not a matter of experience, but of agreement, implying also fraud.
Small insert with a visit to Gintaras Didžiapetris’ exhibition Exhibitions
I imagine such a tendency: as soon as I catch a glimpse of an object it falls into my perception. One does not see the box itself, but everything that is written on it functions as an index of what is seen: “vase”, “porcelain”, “fragile”, “19th century”, “valuable” (wtf??). Then I say, “those shipments from outer space (again outer space) are wearing me out”. “I leave it”. “I need to read a whole lot more before I start appreciating vases like this.” An art professional comes in. They are served by the ccccc – prestigious transportation company. Words take up space, and so the number of indexes is proportional to the size of the shipment. On September 22[*]
September 22, 2009 – refers to the review of Exhibitions by Neringa Černiauskaitė published on this date in,
we read about and watch a giant box (with a vase inside) being dropped down from a cliff, and on October 2[*]
October 2, 2009 - refers to the review of Exhibitions by Eglė Mikalajūnaitė, published on this date in 7 meno dienos,
the same vase stands in a museum space that is only known to Eglė Mikalajūnaitė. The exhibition Exhibitions by Didžiapetris closed on September 30.
Somewhere in Lebanon, in Jalal Toufic’s apartment, lies a death certificate – “I, J.T., declare that I am dead. This has to be taken into account with reference to everything I say henceforth.” The document is a unique antipode of the will. Here, death is the fact, and estate is the possibility. For a good reason we forget that every story begins with someone’s death. Consider, for instance, this conversation from True Romance (Tony Scott, 1993): “This is Drexl’s coke?” – “No, Drexl’s dead, you see. It’s Clarence’s coke.” “And Clarence, he can do whatever he wants with it.” Just like “money”, “St. Grail” or “cocaine”, the text provides the reader with a freedom that is proportional to his/her success at releasing the text from its past. If you release it completely, it becomes a cont(r)act for a new (life), where the text writes your new story with your own hand.