3 x Ten Theses
Allen S. Weiss

Ten Theses to Subvert a Work

  1. Multiply origins. The author is not dead, but increasingly decentered.

  2. Neutralize techniques. The form of thought is a function of the effects of technology, such that the contemporary baroque proffers an electronic deus ex machina. We must dissect fetishes, not repress them; encourage parasites, not suppress them; stage gods, not worship them.

  3. Accept interferences. The very presence fo the puppeteer creates the marionette. The form of the marionette deforms the puppeteer. Given this intimate relationship, the director is a parasite, though a productive one.

  4. Confuse genres. The Gesamtkunstwerk is dead, synaesthesia is the norm. Consequently, the senses are dehierarchized and the arts hybridized, such taht each art form implicitly contains all other art forms. Establish a logic of separation and degeneration in order to corrupt genres.

  5. Valorize polyphonies. To the labyrinth of the text, add the imperfections, pathologies, and wounds of the voice.

  6. Exacerbate paradoxes. Do not repress the ontological apories of theater--between text and word, word and gesture, gesture and dramaturgy, dramaturgy and staging, staging and decor, decor and text--but push them to the limit. Such is a "theatre of cruelty."

  7. Excavate voids. Investigate the hollow spaces of the text, the gaps between the lines, the silences between the words. Seek not exquisite corpses but disquieting cuts.

  8. Condense givens. Not the infinite text, but the definitive reduction. The condensation of text into monologue, body into voice. The quest for textual, theatrical, and sonic miniatures produces monsters, those avatars of the plasticity of the imagination and the catastrophies of the flesh, signs that aesthetics exists without any regulatory a priori whatsoever.

  9. Love mannerisms. All vision, all listening, has its idiosyncrasies. Such is the origin of style, which must proliferate.

  10. Dissociate significations. Avoid communication, shatter narration, celebrate solecism. Seek an impossible private language to assure an improbably universal expression.

Ten Theses for the Future of Gardens

  1. The garden is a symbolic form.
  2. The garden contains other symbolic forms.
  3. The garden is a synaesthetic matrix.
  4. The garden is a Gesamptkunstwerk.
  5. The garden is simultaneously a hermetic space and an object in the world.
  6. The garden is a paradox.
  7. The garden is a narrative, a transformer of narratives, and a generator of narratives.
  8. The garden is a memory theater.
  9. The unvisited garden is either an abstraction or a ruin.
  10. The garden is a hyperbolically ephemeral structure.

Ten Theses on Monsters and Monstrosity
Dedicated to the Memory of Carmelo Bene

  1. The Demiurge was in love with consummate, superb, and complicated materials; we shall give priority to trash. We are simply entranced and enchanted by the cheapness, shabbiness, and inferiority of material.

    --Bruno Schultz (1977)
    [This epigraph serves as my first thesis.]

  2. In the Critique of Judgmen (1790), Kant shows how the aesthetic domain exists without any regulatory a priori whatsoever. This principle could be summed up and radicalized in one word: monsters. What the unformed is to the sublime, the deformed is to monsters.

  3. In the Thesaurus Artificiosae Memoriae (1579), Cosmas Rossellius describes a memory theatre that contains an all-inclusive category, suggesting that any monster of any sort may be used to signify any thing whatsoever, through totally idiosyncratic associations. We might supplement this axiom with its converse: a true monster will be remembered for the shock it produces, breaking all chains of association.

  4. The logic of monsters is one of particulars, not essences. Each monster exists in a class by itself. Monsters may, however, generate entire classes of beings.

  5. Monsters are variously characterized by accident, indetermination, formlessness; by material incompleteness, categorical ambiguity, ontological instability. One may create monsters through hybridization, hypertrophy, or hypotrophy; through lack, excess, or multiplication; through the substitution of elements, the confusion of species, or the conflation of genders and genres.

  6. Monsters symbolize alterity and difference in extremis. They manifest the plasticity of the imagination and the catastrophes of the flesh.

  7. Monsters exists in margins. They are thus avatars of chance, impurity, heterodoxy; abomination, mutation, metamorphosis; prodigy, mystery, marvel. Monsters are indicators of epistemic shifts.

  8. The total catalogue of rhetorical tropes and figures doubles as a catalogue of monstrous types. This structural feature serves as the articulation of visual and sonic monsters.

  9. The invention of sound recording technologies inaugurated the possibilities of both hearing the voices of the dead and manipulating the voices of the living beyond their physical limits. Whence the origins of modern sonic monsters, and the exponential increase in the forms of monstrosity. The point-of-view of the dead establishes a countertaxonomy, where perpetual putrefaction and amorphousness reign, while the cutting knife of montage creates unspeakable and impossible antimonies.

  10. Imagine a disembodied blood-curdling scream. this is my final thesis.

taken from the following sources:
"Ten Theses to Subvert a Work (A Manifesto)," Theatre Journal, Vol. 58, No. 3, Hearing Theatre (Oct., 2006), pp. 393-394;
"Trauma and the Future of Landscape," Log, No. 8, Toward a critique of sustainable architecture and landscape (summer 2006), pp. 131-136;
"Ten Theses on Monsters and Monstrosity," TDR (1988-), Vol. 48, No. 1 (Spring, 2004), pp. 124-125.

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