Saturday, August 01, 2009

heep see (special summer reading edition)

David Byrne: Bicycle Diaries
A few years earlier I had been reminded that the former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, was a habituĂ© of discos during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. This would have been the era of Studio 54, Regines, Privilege and Le Palace (in Paris) and other velvet rope clubs. This was also, um, the era of martial law and heavy censorship in the Philippines. Was the lightness, effervescence, and headiness inherent in that music --and the drugs that went along with it—similar to the feeling one gets when one is in a powerful position?

Pierre Michon: Small Lives
I did not know that writing was so dark a continent, more enticing and disappointing than Africa, the writer a species more bent on getting lost than an explorer.

Cesare Pavese: The Moon and the Bonfires
Now I knew why every so often a girl was found strangled in a car on the highway, or in a room at the end of an ally. Maybe they, too, these people, would have liked to drop on the grass, to agree with the tree frogs, to be masters of a piece of earth the length of a woman, and really sleep without fear. Well, it was a big country, there was some of it or everyone. There were women, there was land, there was money. But nobody had enough, nobody stopped no matter how much he had, and the fields, even the vineyards, looked like public gardens, fake flower beds like those at railway stations, or else wilderness, burned-over land, mountains of slag…A day would come when just to touch something, to make himself known, a man would strangle a woman, shoot her in her sleep, crack her head open with a monkey wrench.

Lawrence Wechsler: Seeing is Forgetting the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin
You had no visual or audio input at all, other than what you might do yourself. You might begin to have some retinal replay or hear your own body, hear the electrical energy of your brain, the beat of your heart…There were all kinds of interesting things about being in there which we observed, but the most dramatic had to do with how the world appeared once you stepped out. After I’d sat in there for six hours, for instance, and then got up and walked back home down the same street I’d come in on, the trees were still trees, the street was still a street, and the houses were still houses, but the world did not look the same; it was very, very noticeably altered.