Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Caldiero and Deconstruction

I have always wondered why Caldiero resists Derrida and deconstruction so much? Any thoughts.


Anonymous said...

I can't comment for alex, but I can maybe drop some insight from my own perspective regarding deconstruction.

Don't get me wrong, I think that pinpointing that thing we call "deconstruction" was an important move in intellectual history, however, as I think we saw in the work of Artaud, Holderlin, etc. deconstruction as such was already being DONE, long befor Derrida started talking about it from a distance.

Derrida, in the way I see it, doesn't get his hands dirty. Yes, we can break down language, tease it away from meaning, confuse our very notions of society and reality, but then what? After sitting in a lot (oh god, so many) classes where people walk around with raging hard-ons for Derrida, I always left feeling unsatisfied, like I was brought just to the brink of intellectual climax, and then he (Derrida, but more significantly his sycophants) rolls over and falls asleep.
The work that Alex does (and the work of many others) isn't necessarily dismissive of Derrida, but rather, steps in and finishes the job. Remember that old Simon and Garfunkel song, "Cecilia"? Well, it's like Derrida got up to wash his face, and when he came back to bed someone has taken his place. Alex's work isn't final in the way I understand deconstruction. It takes that intellectual move, and then uses it against itself. And it gives you a space to come again and again and again...

Scott Abbott said...

beautiful as the metaphors keep on coming.

a second take on this.

after seeing a brilliant documentary film by a berlin filmaker, Harun Faroki, i asked him if some of his work was a response to Derrida. he bristled at the thought, and said that if anything his work was a response to Willem Flusser.

or after seeing the premier of Peter Handke's play "Voyage by Dugout" in Vienna, I went on and on about the intellectual brilliance and referred to Derrida. "Doktor Scott," he said, "Doktor Scott. Always on duty!"

there's a constant tension between artists and critics, between theorists and makers, between philosophers and poets. at best it's a productive tension, because they all need each other and learn from each other. the tension keeps each from being subsumed by the other.

one look at alex's library will convince you that he soaks up theory and criticism like a sponge. and he does it for inspiration for his own work. take a look at derrida's library and you'd seen the reverse. but the main thing is: they both have libraries.

Jungle Survival Camp said...

I'm not sure who the incredible junk is but I have sensed a lot of things you are explaining. I Guess I see Derrida/"deconstruction" as useful not because he fails to follow through but because he brings me to the point of needing to follow through in a way you suggested Alex Caldiero does. Amen, to Caldiero following through, taking the next step, finishing the job. Yet, I am not sure a "logocentric" society can stop calling Caldiero’s work "poetry" without deconstruction. Caldiero’s work is not “poetry;” more acruately, it is the next move after Derrida. For this very reason I like shredding logocentric discourse using deconstruction: to bring the logical, reasonable, all together person, right up against the very thing they are resisting—to help them be honest about what they are doing. Also, thanks for your thoughts Scott or I should say “Doktor Scott.” It is really fun to see you and Alex argue or discuss such ideas in class. I definitely have felt the tension as you suggests exists.

Grabloid said...

Can't Alex's work be poetry and the next step after Derrida? Or, is it (as Alex spoke about in class) explorations into the very first primal formations of sounds/grunts/groans into a more complex form of language/communication? Also, just to keep in mind this is only one small portion of Alex's work...from that performance and those paintings (both titled "In Tongues")...and his body of work is pretty vast.

Moving on, I can't claim to be any kind of authority whatsoever on Derrida (and also keep in mind this is a very broad view of his rather large repertoire) ...but here is what bothers me about him, or rather, many of those that use him and talk a lot about him: Derrida is (in my experience) almost always a conversation stopper. It's constantly like deconstructing to the void and then we are done...and if we aren't done we deconstruct some more, until we get there (to the 'void'...no reality/no meaning, etc.). Derrida is "philosophizing with a hammer" (...Nietzsche...), but then he just stops when everything has been smashed to dust...and says (insert voice of a teenaged stoner her) "Woah...there's nothing". I think Derrida missed Nietzsche's point (as interpreted by me...and if Derrida took those cues from Nietzsche). Deconstruct/smash/philosophize with a hammer not to make nothing, but to REexamine, REconfigure, REbuild, REcreate, and REvolutionize everything...all of our most cherished thoughts, concepts, structures of thought, etc., etc., etc. In this way, Derrida is stuck in that recurring nightmare of rediscovering how everything is based on presupposition which always sucks us in to the void...over and over again...which is an interesting phenomenon, and a great subject for art, film, painting, etc...but in no way should it be a stopping point. Instead...this, to me, just shows the extent to which we are the creators of meaning and reality...so, I say, move on and create...but always be willing to destroy if need be...but never end at the point that all meaning is destroyed. I think Nietzsche explored this when he said that language/meaning was "a (created...deconstructable) mobile army of metaphors and metonyms...etc." (from "Truth and Lie in an Extra Moral Sense"...I think Scott read that in class)... By this standard I don't think Nietzsche means language, metaphor, metonymy, and meaning (etc.) to be the enemy and that we shouldn't utilize them because they are ultimately created/deconstructable, or that we should stop at the point of that realization - I think he is trying to see things as they are so that we can work with them...(REbuild, REcreate, etc...)... uh, oh, now I'm repeating myself. Maybe, somewhere, in the end Derrida comes to this conclusion??? (anybody)...not to end in the void, but to be able to see the void, always remember it, and to work from there???

Grabloid said...

Also, to note...I dig what theincrediblejuLk said about Artaud and Hölderlin - they were living in MADNESS - or as theincrediblejulk said in class one day...that they were (perhaps) abiding by/creating another episteme entirely...they saw the void and were creating/living/being forced into their own alternative reality...and society deemed them insane.

Grabloid said...

just wanted to also quickly note that in addition to Nietzsche's essay I mentioned above...many of these thoughts occurred to me in reading Nietzsche's "The Genealogy of Morals"...and i'm sure several other of his works could be cited and explored much further.

michael morrow said...

Thankfully, it's never to late to shut-up and listen. I learn so much from listening and watching you guys do your stuff. I'm in awe with these postings. This conversation is so interesting. Thank you

Scott Abbott said...

So here's a thought all these good posts have awakened in me: Alex is always looking for ways to understand the world, and thus his vast library. This has led him to some places where someone claims to have absolute knowledge.

Derrida, as I understand him, doesn't try to do away with meaning. His "deconstruction" isn't an attempt at nihilism. What he's done is very much in the tradition of the Nietzsche Travis cites to good effect, moving beyond the absolute claims of good and evil by deconstructing any such claims.

Now back to Alex. In his poetry as in his performances, Alex often plays on ideas from people I see as claiming absolute knowledge. "Plays" on the ideas. Asserts in the context of self-irony. And that's exactly what I find most engaging about Alex's work. Not that he's post-derridian or post-Nietzsche or anything else. Rather, he's doing what every good artist worth her salt has always done: assert in a questioning context.