Tuesday, December 23, 2008

November 25 - December 6, 2008

Reena Spaulings
A novel by Bernadette Corporation
paperback, 2004

I have wanted to read this book from the moment I learned of it (you can read the 1st three chapters here). Somehow I never ordered online, but finally it found me. The last copy at the MoCAD bookstore, it was in stock due to the Bernadette Corporation being in the intelligent and captivating exhibition Business as Usual. Reena Spaulings is a fictional character in her 20s (but isn't she all of us), a museum guard, a fashion model, a novel, and subsequently an art gallery and an art dealer. She's not one thing, she's many. And she's rarely still, though despite the fast pace the reader still is able to get inside her head. sometimes.

Some excerpts:
Preface- "If you look at a city, there's no way to see it. One person can never see a city."
-"It has to be informed, imagined, by many people at a time. It's an everyday group hallucination."
3- Reena
4- "She is not happy, not sad, not nothing."
-Nobody ever talks in the way it would blow her brains out. Plus she has no desire to interfere with the flows that brought these streams of people, words."
7- "Reena could be a Manet, one of these thinking pictures you can't see through, no matter how long you stare at them."
12- "I am often surprised, not to say a little embarrassed, at how blown-away I can be by the street's beauty after a day in the museum."
15- "A body is a living, breathing image that thinks while exposing itself to others."
16- "What if nothing belonged to anybody?"
31- Manet, Young Lady in 1866
34- "The illusion unravels like in a Warhol, leaving something that's not an illusion."
-"Here is observing for those who can no longer see. Or, for those who can't really look into another person's eyes."
55- "We move through a city that produces boys and girls and extends itself through them."
57- "...thinking of how the sky is shoved to the periphery of the stage by our monuments and monumental buildings."
61- "I think how can we make a beautiful brushstroke with our existence?"
63- "an economy of essences"
65- "his shirts were always blank"
73- (war) "Anyway, there's no point in discussing such things if we can't find a way of talking about them that's as outrageous as the things themselves."
-dandy- "existence consists in the wearing of clothes"
-abstract painting- "opening a blank space in the texture of institutionally recognized meaning. Few artists leave that void empty for long."
76- hands
78- "It's as if an envelop is falling over this place, sealing us up inside."
-"I feel loads of unspoken words showering down on me. Shooting star sentences that will never be translated."
79- "She's an open book but every turned page presents another cover."
82- "New York is an entire library of books about everything and everybody. Reading here is work, and behind every book-filled room is another room of books and the reading never ends."
-"The city is an open structure that works by calibrating every relationship to its programmed expansion and destruction."
-"The city needs Reena and folds her into its architectures..."
-(NYC) 12 million reader-authors
-"There is no New York story, only an endless effort to make us forget that narration is war..."
-Reena's lighting system
84- "Bedrooms are the site of intimacy. What is more intimate, when shared, than boredom."
85- "Boredom like stupidity contains its own treasures."
93-94- "Was Reena pursuing her desires, or was she inventing them anew with each ring of the cash register."
94- "Its exclusivity lay entirely in the mis-relationship between what it had cost and what it actually was. The price here stood in for any and ever other quality."
95-96- 99 cent store
98- "Shopping together is like traveling: an elaborate way of making the couple visible to itself."
99- "'I'm surprised how much birds sing.'"
133- Voltaire- "That which needs an explanation is not worth an explanation!"
136- "...Capitalism, Empire, whatever...there's a general context that not only controls each situation but, even worse, also tries to ensure that, most of the time, there is no situation."
-"That the desert of these times isn't perceived is only one more proof of the desert."
137- "To live in the world means: to begin with the situation, not to deny it. To give consistency to a situation. To make it real, tangible. Reality is not capitalist."
143- Zizek
154- "Funny how individuality makes you generic."
154-155- "Here is an intellectual body of pure capability, but one that is also open, looking to be determined from outside, ready to re-write everything, to co-write, to be written on..."
158- "Better to eat candy like Andy."
165- "People want to be someone. But the really exciting challenge is to become no one."
174- "Everything emblematic of a being-alive that once was, is not available in a variety of prices and quality."
188- "I wanted to go out and see people and talk about everything I saw."
190- "Nothing ever ends until you let it go."
-"Only the impossible is worth the effort."
200- "because in New York we were sweating the evil they would be photocopying in three years time."
201- "You see? Your love is circular. There is nothing like it. It makes us forget how to change."
202- "I'm trying to wangle my way out of obligations because I need long hours to do nothing, which I consider to be a big part of my work now."
-back cover

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