angel of history on an 8×8 dance floor

Eight by Eight. Sixty for square checkerboard of white and black. Said to hold the mysteries of the sacred geometry of ancient Egypt and something inside these arcane permutations and combinations made Bobby Fischer click.It was a form of shamanism suited to discovering the archaic techniques of ecestasy. Does anyone really care about Bobby Fischer? His principal fame seemed to be an apparent incoherency, a profound torment that manifested itself in a trademark “schitck” that was prone to fixations seemingly at odds with himself and the world around him. He was not the first case of chess champion who flipped out and flamed into obscurity, but is certainly that paragon of a certain American exceptionalism that leans towards the John McEnroe or Jimmy Connors style where a gentleman’s game becomes terror warfare. Whether this love/hate relationship with himself can ever be unraveled is doubtful, but Liz Garbus has attempted to touch upon his almost unwilling charisma in her documentary Bobby Fischer Against the World.

Read More: 1958 Bobby Fischer became the youngest Grandmaster ever at the age of 15. Duchamp, who himself achieved Master level as a French national player, was made a Grandmaster of the Priory of Scion by Nguyen in his "lost chapter" to the Da Vinci Code. As Duchamp turned his back on art, so too did Fischer with competitive chess. Or so they claimed. In MDVBF, the arguably greatest chess player ever faces the arguably greatest artist ever. ---

G.K. Chesterton: Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination. Artistic paternity is as wholesome as physical paternity. Moreover, it is worthy of remark that when a poet really was morbid it was commonly because he had some weak spot of rationality on his brain. Poe, for instance, really was morbid; not because he was poetical, but because he was specially analytical. Even chess was too poetical for him; he disliked chess because it was full of knights and castles, like a poem.Read More: Probably to Chesterton, the devil is a logician since a chess player has only a single objective, namely to trap the opponent. The idea of enlightenment reflects itself in a game of power and oppression.

Read More: of the things that must have traumatized him was the fact that he had been a member of the Church of God and then was disillusioned with it. He was very involved with the Church of God, and they provided an apartment for him and made a lot of money off of Bobby and provided sort of a community for Bobby. When their prophesies patently did not come true, Bobby was very much at sea.---

But what was it exactly? There was a fascination with cults, there was the father betrayal, since his apparent real father, Paul Felix Nemenyi a Hungarian communist with an FBI file, skipped off to South America before his birth. At least that grounds the anti-semitic rant into something tangible. But the greater mystery, Fisher’s own   ‘‘understanding’’ of a given reality as stipulated in connection with the absolute—that is,  an affinity that represents a certain type
of knowledge, or that is conditionedwithin a specific type of knowledge, different from that which is reproduced in the hegemonic realmof self-evidence. Thus, even Fischer sought after metaphysical knowledge, which can be defined
as the “knowledge of the secrets of the universe,” as a means of achieving salvation.

Fischer’s life seemed to be a misguided attempt to be an angel of history waiting for a redemption that might  happen any moment; but, just as salvation is not a supernatural phenomenon occurring outside of physical time, it is not the act of God or a superhuman Messiah. The Angel of History stands helpless in the face of destruction and cannot assist: human redemption will be attained by humans and not by God, as He cans no longer help.


Harry Benson photo. Read More:

During the First World War or shortly after, Klee drew a cartoon of Kaiser Wilhelm as an inhuman iron eater. Later, in 1920, these became – the development can be shown quite clearly – the Angelus Novus, the machine angel, who, though he no longer bears any emblem of the caricature or commitment, flies far and beyond. The machine angel’s enigmatic eyes face the looker to try to decide whether is he is announcing the culmination of disaster or salvation hidden with it. But, as Walter Benjamin, who owned the drawing, said: “He is the angel who does not give but takes”. Read More:


Marcel Duchamp: Alchemy is nothing other than an instrument of knowledge – of the total knowledge that aims to open the way toward total liberation. … Individuation, in the alchemical sense, entails abolishing the conflicting male-female duality within the integrated personality… . Eliade has pointed out that ‘to be no longer conditioned by a pair of opposites results is absolute freedom’.”
Some, including Schwarz,

k Burnham, Ulf Linde, John F. Moffitt, and others, have worked hard to have us see Duchamp as an Alchemist. Duchamp, however, offered little support for this belief. Indeed, he made efforts to deny it. When I met Duchamp in 1967 I had been studying the symbolism of Alchemy for a number of years and suspected that he might be an actual Alchemist.

While it is true that the Androgyne is the goal of Alchemy, it is possible to have a particular interest in the Androgyne without being an Alchemist. I did not understand this at the time. Duchamp illuminated me. Here is how one of our conversations went:

---Humphrey Bogart and Paul Henreid playing chess on the set of Casablanca.--- Read More:

It seems that almost from the beginning of your work as an artist, you have had a philosophical attitude toward what being an artist is. In one of your interviews with Sweeney, for example…, you describe Dada as a “metaphysical attitude.” What you have talked about and written is permeated with the thought-feelings of a philosopher. At the end of your 1956 interview with Sweeney, you spoke of art as a path “toward regions which are not ruled by time and space.”
Was that the one filmed in Philadelphia?
It was.
Yes. Perhaps that is about as much as you can say in a film being made for wide consumption. If one says too much more, the result is simply a great deal of misunderstanding. Understanding can only emerge from a co-experience, a non-verbal experience which the artist and the onlooker can share by means of aesthetic experience. So I leave the interpretation of my work to others.
Nevertheless, I think it would be correct to say that you regard the practice of art as a philosophical path toward that which is beyond time and space.
That is correct. That is my view, but only part of my view. My view is beyond and back. Some get lost “out there.” My frame of reference is out of the frame and back again.
That sounds like the dance of the finite and infinite, stepping back and forth between three dimensions and four dimensions, as Apollinaire or Mallarmé would say.
So it does. No one says it better than Mallarmé! Read More:

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