Ruins in Reverse

Robert Smithson, “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey 1967,” Ruins, Ed. Brian Dillon (MIT Press / Whitechapel Gallery, 2011)

That zero panorama seemed to contain ruins in reverse, that is — all the new construction that would eventually be built. This is the opposite of the “romantic ruin” because the buildings don’t fall into ruin after they are built but rather rise into ruin before they are built.

The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects

Darran Anderson, “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects,” Darran Anderson, 13 May 2012.

Most people have unfulfilled dreams, ambitions, fantasies, plots of revenge, schemes of emotional or industrial sabotage, secret desires to drive at high speed through deserted post-apocalyptic cities or go on killing sprees through their workplace or merely send the earth hurtling into the sun. Such is life.

Writers have these too. Even failed or failing ones. Especially failed or failing ones. Rather than actually do the things in question, the writer choses a metaphysical shortcut of the most profoundest inanity; to write them down. […]

All the Latest

An article of mine, entitled “La influencia de la ansiedad” (“The Influence of Anxiety”), appears in the second issue of Revista Multidisciplinar de Función Lenguaje, a free journal published by Función Lenguaje, Madrid’s applied literature centre (centro de literatura aplicade de Madrid).

Faint But Not Undecipherable

Jorge Luis Borges, “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” Fictions, 1944

I have reflected that it is legitimate to see the “final” Quixote as a kind of palimpsest, in which the traces — faint but not undecipherable — of our friend’s “previous” texts must shine through. Unfortunately, only a second Pierre Menard, reversing the labours of the first, would be able to exhume and revive those Troys…

Notes on Imaginary Books

Jorge Luis Borges, Foreword, Fictions, 1944

It is a laborious madness and an impoverishing one, the madness of composing vast books — serring out in five hundred pages an idea that can be perfectly related orally in five minutes. The better way to go about it is to pretend that those books already exist, and offer a summary, a commentary on them. That was Carlyle’s procedure in Sartor Resartus, Butler’s in The Fair Haven — though these works suffer under the imperfection that they themselves are books, and not a whit less tautological than the others. A more reasonable, more inept, and more lazy man, I have chosen to write notes on imaginary books.