Eating Alone in the Byways of Smithson [excerpt]

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by Cathy Lebowitz

Originally published in lacanian ink 38.

[…] Smithson maps the mind onto the earth by setting words in poetic relation: glacial reveries, mental rivers, cliffs of thought undermined by brain waves. Like the earth, the mind is in a constant state of erosion. In his essay “A Sedimentation of the Mind,” his comparisons and conflations repeatedly draw attention to a surface invaded by crevices. It becomes an ideology. “Words and rocks contain a language that follows a syntax of splits and ruptures.” Like Lacan’s unconscious, Smithson’s words and rocks are structured like a language[…]

Finally Josefina has started her seminars. The topic is Lacan’s four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis. When I walked into the lecture hall in the art department, Hans Holbein the Younger’s famous painting The Ambassadors was on a screen. Josefina wore black with a white skirt and plain white shoes. Her round glasses had red frames. She did not put on the bright red lipstick she wears when she speaks with Zizek or Badiou. She told the audience that we could ask questions, to feel free to ask anytime. Then she read from a paper. When I heard the word “burrows,” I knew she was talking about William Burroughs and telling the story about the Gysin show at the New Museum. The libido attaches to a part body[…]

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