Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More on Necronaut McCarthy

[Here's a good essay about Tom McCarthy's International Necronaut Society.]

The INS is on the side of comedy, not tragedy. For, if art is a “repetitive mechanism,” we are reminded that the repetitive and the mechanical are also at the heart of Bergson’s theory of comedy—think of Wile E. Coyote, whose many deaths are not noble or meaningful, merely hilarious. The tragic hero meets the inevitability of matter with an acceptance that turns his death into an affirmation of self. He claims his own unique and excellent death and, with it, meaning. The comic hero, in contrast, dies badly: Wile E. Coyote’s deaths are neither chosen nor accepted with grace. He dies repeatedly: His is not the single luminous moment of a tragic death affirming the transcendence of self over matter. Rather, he endures a multiplicity of moments that continually undo the self, undoing as well that supposedly ultimate undoing, the fetishized death. And why is this funny? Because “humor is the highest expression of the principle of dividuation, of an ever-divided self-relation, of our essential lack of self-coincidence.” This lack is the fundamental trauma that gives rise to the repetition compulsion of Wile E. Coyote—and of art. Art may attempt to hide “the traumatic event of materiality,” but there is always “a remainder that remains: a shard, a leftover, a trace, a residual.” That remainder is the mark of inauthenticity. This The New York Declaration declares.


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