April 2020: A Letter from Jim Jarmusch

As has been noted, Jim Jarmusch received footage for his short film STRANGER THAN PARADISE from Wim Wenders as well as Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet. Wenders had some negative stock left over from THE STATE OF THINGS, the black leader that separates the individual shots of Jarmusch’s film was a gift from Huillet and Straub.

When he intended to expand the film into a longer feature film with three episodes, Jarmusch also asked Farocki for remaining negative material (a fact that seems to have remained unnoticed in the publications about the film). We have not yet been able to clarify whether Farocki actually sent surplus negative material (presumably from the production of BEFORE YOUR EYES – VIETNAM) to Jarmusch. In any case, his name is in the “Thank you” section of the end credits of the finished film.

In October 1981, the journal FILMKRITIK had dedicated an issue to Jarmusch and his debut film PERMANENT VACATION, including a conversation between Jarmusch and Ralph Eue and Wolfgang Stukenbrock.

[Addendum 10 September 2020: In a letter to Rolf Aurich (sent from the USA) written on 2 March 1997, Harun Farocki states: “Because I donated Jarmush [sic] material for ‘Stranger than Paradise’, he feels obliged to me – the second half of the sentence is of course not correct”.]

April 30th, 2020, Showcase

Sara Ahmed on the perfomativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”

November 7th, 2020, Tom

David Graeber (1961-2020) on What Would It Take (from his The Democracy Project. A History, a Crisis, a Movement, 2013, p. 193): “We have little idea what sort of organizations, or for that matter, technologies, would emerge if free people were unfettered to use their imagination to actually solve collective problems rather than to make them worse. But the primary question is: how do we even get there? What would it take to allow our political and economic systems to become a mode of collective problem solving rather than, as they are now, a mode of collective war?”

September 7th, 2020, Tom

T.J. Demos on why cultural practitioners should never surrender, via tranzit.sk:  “For artists, writers, and curators, as art historians and teachers, the meaning-production of an artwork is never finished, never fully appropriated and coopted, in my view, and we should never surrender it; the battle over significance is ongoing. We see that battle rise up in relation to racist and colonial monuments these days in the US, the UK, and South Africa. While the destruction of such monuments results from and is enabling of radical politics, it’s still not enough until the larger institutions that support and maintain their existence as well as the continuation of the politics they represent are also torn down. This is urgent as well in the cultural sphere, including the arts institutions, universities, art markets, discursive sphere of magazines and journals, all in thrall to neoliberalism, where we must recognize that it’s ultimately inadequate to simply inject critical or radical content into these frameworks, which we know excel at incorporating those anti-extractivist expressions into further forms of cultural capital and wealth accumulation. What’s required is more of the building of nonprofit and community-based institutions, organizing radical political horizons and solidarity between social formations.”

August 21st, 2020, Tom
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