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[- Quoting the Critical Art Ensemble.
By saul, Section editors' corner
Posted on Mon Jun 14th, 2004 at 06:02:07 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME
[editor's note, by Aileen] While the investigation of Steve Kurtz and the Critical Art Ensemble is being discussed across all the relevant mailing lists, it occurred to me that Discordia might be useful for other thoughts about the work of the Critical Art Ensemble not directly related to the current situation. For that reason I decided to move this post from last year to a more prominent position again.
For news, background information and calls for solidarity, see

While reviewing the larger bits of writing I have done over the last few years, I realised, slightly worriedly, that all the major arguments are illustrated with quotes from the Critical Art Ensemble.


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I mostly write in an academic-flavoured context, and then try to remix texts down for on-line fora, but I was alarmed to see such a consistant, almost religious adherance to one source in (what I vainly consider to be) my eclecticly derivative writing. I use the word religious because the quotations are always used in pithy, reflective moments in the writing, where the appeal of logical analysis of quantative or primary research is exhausted and a leap of reasoning is required.

They rarely quote in their own writing, few footnotes, few references outside their own text, which then becomes a sealed and robust system. The lack of formalised external reference somehow allows them to make bold statements and continue on their own terms, building great big theory sandcastles without recourse to academic models of truth finding, that might get washed away or trampled any minute. It's a very refreshing and useful style, maybe more inspiring of action than (as is so often the case) of more and more layers of blah. I'm interested to find out if any discordians could place this style in a tradition, or suggest other writers / groups that adopt a similar strategy.

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Quoting the Critical Art Ensemble. | 1 comments
[new] quotations and footnotes (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#1)
by Aileen on Tue Aug 12th, 2003 at 11:38:54 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME
(User Info)

In a text I was working on yesterday there was a discussion of quotations and the practice of quoting, describing this practice as a kind of ritual affirming a sense of belonging. As a result, I found myself thinking about all the different ways that "my" authors use quotations and footnotes. Over the years I have adopted the practice of collecting references and making sure that I have the most frequently cited sources available in English (rather than attempting to translate a quote from Foucault, for example, from German to English, when a well informed translation from French into English already exists). While I enjoy reading footnotes that contain the author's tangentially related thoughts on the side, those are the most difficult to translate - even though they often lead to the most interesting correspondence.
The idea of a kind of ritual affirmation "this is the group I belong to" seems to fit in most cases, though, tying into an existing tradition of thought, rather than trying to explain the broader framework. Maybe that is why it works well that quotes and citations provide me with important clues about the type of vocabulary, specific terms and concepts that are likely to be needed to translate the relevant text appropriately. That doesn't mean, though, that authors who don't use extensive quotes and references are *not* tying into an existing tradition of thought - sometimes the broader framework seems to be taken for granted, as though presupposing that the readers will automatically share the same framework. It seems to me that there is a very fine line between using too many references (which can result in an impression of either insecurity or arrogance) and taking too much for granted.

Quoting the Critical Art Ensemble. | 1 comments

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