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Jul 26

Without Beginning or End, Footnotes

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1 Vasily Kandinsky to Will Grohmann, October 12, 1930, quoted in Angelica Zander Rudenstine, The Guggenheim Museum: Paintings 1880–1945, vol. 1 (New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1976), p. 310. Cited in Guggenheim Museum website https://www.guggenheim.org/arts-curriculum/topic/the-bauhaus (accessed 7 July 2017).

2 In addition to emptiness and nowness, the ensō has been associated with enlightenment, power, the universe, thusness, this-moment-as-it-is, the “totality of the great void,” and “continuing and ceaseless action through all time.” See John Daido Loori’s forward to Audrey Yoshiko Seo’s Ensō: Zen Circles of Enlightenment (Boston and London: Weatherhill, 2007), pp. xi-xii.

3 Stonehenge, the Roman Pantheon, Christian halos, the Aztec “Sun Stone,” and circumambulation around Buddhist stupas are just a few of the many examples of circles in sacred art.

4 Yeachin Tsai, statement for Eternal Nowness 01, on artist blog Everyday Ink: Daily Showcase of Yeachin Tsai’s Fine Art Work / Contemporary Meditative Art, posted 2 August 2015,  http://everydayink.blogspot.com/2015/08/eternal-nowness-01.html (accessed 30 June 2017).

5 William James, The Principles of Psychology (New York: Dover, 1890).

6 Paul Klee, Exact Experiments in the Realm of Art (1927), quoted in Anna Moszynska, Abstract Art (London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1990), pp. 101-102.

7 Julia Kristeva, “Women’s Time” (1979) in New Maladies of the Soul [1993] Trans. Ross Guberman (New York: Columbia, 1995), pp. 201-224. For the ways in which Kristeva’s work overcomes this dualism by positing a temporal model based neither on linear “progress” (which is paradoxically reactionary, because by looking ahead and not critically reflecting on the past, the linear model ends up unconsciously repeating the past’s oppressive logic) nor on cyclical repetition, but rather on a new conception of cyclical temporality that critically returns to the past while opening up new, undetermined possibilities for the future, see: Fanny Söderbäck, “Revolutionary Time: Revolt as Temporal Return,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 37/2 (2012): 301-324.  For more on the transcendence/immanence binary opposition as it relates to gender, see: Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex [1949] Trans. Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier (New York: Vintage, 2011). De Beauvoir does not attempt to overcome this dualism, rather, she argues the need for granting women access to the cultural modes of transcendence. For Kristeva and Söderbäck, de Beauvoir’s proposed solution is incomplete because it does not undo the logic the led to the asymmetrical division between culture-transcendence-men and nature-immanence-women in the first place.

8 Harold Rosenberg, “The American Action Painters” in The Tradition of the New (New York: Da Capo 1960), p. 25.  Of course, often Chinese painting does render a picture or words; but even so, the action of the brushwork is given a certain primacy.

9 Tsai, “Dancing in the Space and Time with Brush Marks,” lecture given at the College of Saint Rose, Albany, New York (23 March 2017).

10 See: Kelly Oliver, Earth and World: Philosophy after the Apollo Missions (New York: Columbia, 2015).  Oliver makes an important distinction between Earth and world which I have conflated here for the sake of simplicity. The former is more precisely the ground for experience; the latter, by contrast, is a way of conceptualizing the planet where we live and our spheres of relations with others.

11 Carl Sagan, Cosmos, (1980), television series, Episode 9: “The Lives of Stars” (aired 23 November 1980).

12 Thich Naht Hahn, Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism (1987), revised edition, Fred Eppsteiner, ed. (Berkeley, CA: Parallax, 1993).

13 A ritual’s first performance is in this respect already a repetition. Cf. Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of the opposition between speech and writing.  Typically we think of speech as primary, immediate, and present, whereas we think of writing as derived from speech, a mediated form of recording speech in its absence; by the time writing is read, it is already past.  Derrida, however, insists that speech’s iterability, which makes communication possible (if the listener could not mentally reproduce what she hears the speaker saying, then the words would be unintelligible) marks speech as a form of writing inscribed upon the ear, and he thus overturns the conventional hierarchy between the speech and writing.  See: Jacques Derrida, Voice and Phenomenon: Introduction to the Problem of the Sign in Husserl’s Phenomenology (1967), Trans. Leonard Lawlor (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern Univ, 2010).

14 Tsai, “Dancing in the Space and Time with Brush Marks.”

15 See: Ellen Pearlman, Nothing & Everything: The Influence of Buddhism on the American Avant-Garde 1942-1962 (Berkeley, CA: Evolver Editions, 2012).

16 Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind” (1964) in The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader: Philosophy and Painting, Galen A. Johnson, ed. Trans. Michael B. Smith (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern Univ, 1993), p. 125.

17 Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior (1984), Carolyn Rose Gimian, ed. (Boston and London: Shambhala Publications, 2007), pp. 12-13.

18 Theodor Adorno, “Commitment” (1962), Trans. Francis McDonagh, in The Essential Frankfurt School Reader, Andrew Arato and Eike Gebhardt, eds. (New York: Continuum, 1982/2000), pp. 300-318. See also: Lambert Zuidevaart, Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory: The Redemption of Illusion (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1991), pp. 32-38.

19 Tsai, “Dancing in the Space and Time with Brush Marks.”

20 In this respect, the Heart Sūtra becomes emblematic of Tsai’s oeuvre. Karl Brunnhölz has described the Heart Sūtra as a nesting doll of koans, one paradoxical contradictory negation after the other demolishing habitual modes of conceptual thinking. The koan, like Tsai’s art, brings together irreconcilable opposites in order to force one to move beyond habitual thinking.  See: Karl Brunnhölz, The Heart Attack Sūtra: A New Commentary on the Heart Sūtra (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion, 2012), p. 9.

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