12 September 2014

The Anti-Archive

"Murder, The Hope of Women, a twenty-five minute opera composed in 1919 by Paul Hindemith  ●  ...Lost, the rope given to Marina Tsvetaeva by Boris Pasternak to tie up an overstuffed valise; in 1941, Tsvetaeva used the rope to hang herself  ●  In 1899, the Spanish demand Goya's remains, buried in Bordeaux in 1828; the body, without the head, is returned to Spain  ●  ...In 1921, in a film by Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray is asked to shave off the pubic hair of the very eccentric Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven; the film is destroyed in the course of being developed  ●  ...Dorothy Parker was cremated in 1967 (the epitaph suggested by Dottie: 'Sorry for the dust'); the urn stayed at the undertaker's until 1973, the year it ended up in the office of a notary, who put it in a drawer where it was forgotten until 1988  ●  ...In a fit of rage, Egon Schiele's father, stationmaster at Tulln, burned all his son's drawing representing railroad cars  ●  ...The letters of Proust torn up by Marie-Laure de Noailles (six years old)  ●  For the 4 percent of the population afflicted by a congenital inability to perceive music, Mozart no longer exists  ●  Jean Giraudoux: 'Plagiarism is the foundation of all literature except the first, which is unknown'  ●  ...In Vladivostok, the city where Osip Mandelstam is said to have died (no one is sure of this), a cast-iron statue representing the poet was lost, a victim of metal looters  ●  ...Destroyed, the paintings of Alberto Greco, which he threw under the wheels of of cars while screaming, 'Long live living art!'  ●  Flaubert's Bouvard and Pécuchet, unfinished novel; finished, it would have no ending because there is no end of the stupidity of human beings  ●  From the train that took him to Buchenwald, the father of Martin Monestier managed to send a letter to his wife who forwarded it to their son; Martin Monestier, who didn't want to know the contents of the letter, never opened it  ●  ...Bombarded forty times and forty times rebuilt, Belgrade has lost almost all its original architectural character  ●  ...Before starting the monologue of How I Ate a Dog, Yevgeni Grishkovetz wrote a version in dialogue that he destroyed: 'They say manuscripts don't burn. They burn burn very well,' he pointed out  ●  Cervantes used to say of himself that he should also be admired for what he didn't write  ●  ...The indigenous art of all epochs destroyed by missionaries  ●  As part of an exhibition called Land's End, the artist Bas Jan Ader decided to cross the Atlantic solo from Cape Cod and disappears forever  ●  ...The sixteen drawings offered by Amedeo Modigliani to his lover Anna Akhmatova were 'smoked' by the Red Guards, who used them as cigarette paper."

From The Missing Pieces, by Henri Lefebvre (no, not that Henri Lefebvre -- but another, younger one), to be published by Semiotext(e) in October, gleaned from a teaser excerpt appearing in the new issue of Harper's. In which the author offers a "incantory" text, listing of various types of artworks and efforts that have either been abandoned, destroyed, lost, forgotten, purloined, mislaid, or which -- in some manner or another -- no longer exist. A Borgean exercise in the form of an inventory of rumors, myths, ghosts; an index to an empty codex. I expect the manuscript for the second volume of Gogol's Dead Souls is cited in the course of the thing, as well.

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