September 1, 2018

Reverse Bataille

Regarding our inner Bataille: is it time to get a grip? #georgesbattaille #tossademar #summerstudio

A post shared by Dennis Hollingsworth (@pacificohollingsworth) on

1. Bataille is a marvel. Early modernist transgression. His education started in the seminary and ended in Medieval manuscripts, numismatics and advance Spanish studies in Madrid. A slice of his Wikipedia page: "Bataille is the author of a large and diverse body of work: readings, poems, essays on innumerable subjects (on the mysticism of economy, poetry, philosophy, the arts, eroticism)." Without much foundation of research to say so, I tend to think of his as one who allegorized the impact of collage in modern art. The fragmentation of society is a prime signature of modernity, and Bataille was one of the first to reckon with it.
2. From my notes after reading his Wikipedia entry, specifically the sections on "The Accursed Share" (one of his key concepts after "Base Materialism"):
[Frivolity and excess is a better alternative to war. Analyze excess energy.] [The world is at war, better to fuck.]
And after reading his page about "Acephale":
It begins with the economy. See Potlatch.

Critique follows:
-Are/Is war and fucking, two sides of the same coin?
-War begins long before the physical fight. In other words, bellicosity at its root must be confronted... or according to Bataille, bellicosity must defer to simple and direct carnality.
-His classical, restrictive and general economies. His "Accursed Share" = excess economy. Do they exist?
-A philosophy of the helpless?
-A critique of transgression: the shark jumped.
-The economy...
Isn't there more work to do to maintain the world? Isn't frivolity the root of instability and war?

How would Acéphale work in reverse?
Navigate around Frankenstein
Can a head be grown?
3. Snip from Wikipedia:
Fascinated by human sacrifice, he founded a secret society, Acéphale, the symbol of which was a headless man. According to legend, Bataille and the other members of Acéphale each agreed to be the sacrificial victim as an inauguration; none of them would agree to be the executioner. An indemnity was offered for an executioner, but none was found before the dissolution of Acéphale shortly before the war. The group also published an eponymous review of Nietzsche's philosophy which attempted to postulate what Derrida has called an "anti-sovereignty". Collaborators in these projects included André Masson, Pierre Klossowski, Roger Caillois, Jules Monnerot, Jean Rollin and Jean Wahl.

Upshot of what's happening in my studio: Transgression has come to an impasse ("...jumped the shark"). Sticking it to the man won't stick anymore. And the man has become the canon itself... that is, the force that sought to overturn the canon became another canon in turn. We took irony for granted when we considered ourselves masters of it. Bataille's contribution is too important, creative and insightful to simply discard. Better to see what happens if his program could be run in reverse. His collaborative parlor game of Acephale went just to the ridiculous brink of actually severing a head... and then they pulled back at the last moment. What exactly is the significance of that moment?

4. Start simply, intuition is my guide. Find the head. Rebuild it, grow it back. Reattach it. Remember the body entirely. Headhunting... in reverse.


Posted by Dennis at September 1, 2018 7:52 AM

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