“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Rothko Test

I very often take my guests at Rice to the Rothko Chapel. It's only two blocks from my house.

I've observed something very interesting.

To a man and woman so far, those who are most committed to a Benjaminian view of the aesthetic (smash the aura!) are deeply disturbed and can't last more than two minutes in there. I haven't been proved wrong yet (this is year 4).

In the Chapel you encounter a primordial givenness that is way way beyond most concepts of aura. It's like aura on DMT.

Me, I find the space really warm and soothing. Intimate, friendly. Like being enveloped in flesh.

It was made by a man who soon after killed himself. Who cares??!!! It's aura on DMT.


D. E.M. said...

I googled it. It looks so cool. So incredibly cool. I like Rothko. What a badass. Here's some stripes, bitches, his paintings say. But in a warm way.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful post which haunts in much the same way as Rothko's yellow and orange canvasses -- bursting with the joy of particles in love. Spooky but spooky in love. Not sure which camp I would fall into as I have been skeptical of Benjamin's auras and yet the vibrancy of matter may leap us there along the fruity-loop way. I think all the chemicals sold in hair care products at the deMenil's drugstore chain are somehow still linked to Rothko's stains and refractions and the play between them.

Not that we are searching fore mere comparisons to the sublime here but looking upward from ground at the Kahn Bangladeshi parliament building (I have only seen pics) produces that sense of transfigured DMT out of self despite the attempts by such as Jencks, I think, to characterize it as post-modernist.

Any further hauntings/postings on this sort of experience in any context would be savoured.