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Dazed and Confused

Author(s): Stan Allen


Source: Assemblage, No. 27, Tulane Papers: The Politics of Contemporary Architectural
Discourse (Aug., 1995), pp. 47-54
Published by: The MIT Press
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Stan Allen
Dazed and Confused

I have some images that I'd like to put up right at the begin-
ning that don't so much illustrate specific points as set a tone
for the piece, which seems to be quite consistent with the
emergent subtext of cinematic models in the presentations of
MarkRakatanskyand SanfordKwinter.
I want to begin with a famous remark made by the sculptor
Tony Smith in an interview conducted in the mid-1960s:
When I was teaching at Cooper Union in the first year or two of
the fifties, someone told me how I could get on to the unfinished
Stan Allen is an architect and an assistantprofessorof architecture New JerseyTurnpike. I took three students and drove from some-
at Columbia UniversityGraduate School of Architecture, where in the Meadows to New Brunswick. It was a dark night and
Planning, and Preservation. there were no lights or shoulder markers,lines, railings, or any-
thing at all except the darkpavement moving through the land-
scape of the flats, rimmed by hills in the distance, but punctuated
by stacks, towers, fumes, and colored lights. This drive was a re-
vealing experience. The road and much of the landscape was
artificial, and yet it couldn't be called a work of art. On the other
hand, it did something for me that art had never done. ... The
experience on the road was something mapped out but not socially
recognized. I thought to myself, it ought to be pretty clear that's
the end of art. Most painting looks pretty pictorial after that. There
is no way you can frame it, you just have to experience it.1

The road - the experience of the road - is not a place itself


but a passage, a vector, a space between. Smith translates this
into a critique of the work of art, expressing his dissatisfaction
with its intrinsic limits and object character. Artists of the
1960s and 1970s increasingly became interested not in discrete
pictorial artifacts, but in the passage from one thing to another.
Assemblage 27: 47-54 ? 1995 by the
In minimalism, in land art, installationart, or performanceart,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology the subjectiveexperience of the viewer, as played out in the

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assemblage 27

spatialfield encompassingthe work,is more importantthan well-knownessay"The Workof Artin the Age of Mechanical
the workitself as an object. Now interestingenough from Reproduction,"distractionis examined not as a pathological
our point of view, what Smith describesis an architectural symptom,but as a new form of subjectivitythat could overturn
condition, a shift from object to field. What is at stakehere is exhaustedmodels of reception. Significantly,Benjamin de-
more than a stylisticshift within the delimited disciplinary fines distractionas active force, not passivereaction:in dadaist
boundariesof artpractices,it is a broadershift in paradigms worksof art,distraction"hit the spectatorlike a bullet."4
of looking, attention,and subjectivity.
Now I don't want to spend too much time on the historical
With an obvious debt to WalterBenjamin, I want to describe background,but I do want to make two key points about
this condition as "receptionin a state of distraction."Distrac- Benjamin's model of distraction,which are related, in turn, to
tion, I will argue, is not a simple lack of attention,rather,it the two models Benjamin employs: the firstmodel is architec-
is a particularform of attention,simultaneouslydirectedand ture and the second is cinema.
dispersed.Freewaydrivingis good model: you can concen-
trateand performactivitiesnecessaryto keep the car on the "Architecture,"he writes, "hasalwaysrepresentedthe proto-
roadand, at the same time, think of and actuallydo all kinds type of a workof art the reception of which is consummated
of differentthings. So, at the verybeginning, it is perhaps by a collectivity in a state of distraction."'For Benjamin,
architectureis to serve as a paradigm,not as a practice whose
necessaryto distinguishbetween distractionas a state of conditions of reception have been transformedas a conse-
mind, absent-mindedness,a negativeand passivecondition,
and distractionas active force, something that happensto quence of mechanical reproduction,but as a long-standing
and alwaysavailable model of simultaneous collective experi-
the spectator(or the readeror the architecturalsubject).
ence. "Architecturehas never been idle. Its historyis more
Distractionas a kind of active force was seen to have a radi-
ancient than that of any other art, and its claim to being a
cal political possibilityby earlytheoristsof modernism,while
distractionas a passivecondition has been classed as one of living force has significance in every attempt to comprehend
the relationshipof the masses to art."6In other words,
the symptomsof a general postmodernindifference. Is it
architecture'shistoricalcondition of reception in a state of
inevitablethat the passagefrom modern to postmodern distractionanticipatesthe collective apperceptionof worksof
would deflate the criticalforce of distraction,as with so
art after mechanical reproduction.But architectureitself is,
many of the other devices of modern aesthetic practice,or for Benjamin, a kind of cipher of stability.It is curious to note
can a special case be made for distraction?
that Benjamin, in this context at least, does not see architec-
I will skip over the early historyof the concept of distrac- ture itself as transformedby technical reproducibility.
tion, only to note the tone of nineteenth-centurycommen- What the architecturalmodel allows Benjamin to do is to
tatorslike Max Nordau, who predicted in 1892 that it
would take a hundred yearsbefore people would be able to disengage perception from the realm of the exclusively visual:
"Buildingsare appropriatedin a twofold manner:by use and
"reada dozen squareyardsof newspapersdaily, to be con-
by perception - or rather,by touch and sight .... Tactile
stantlycalled to the telephone, to be thinking simulta-
appropriationis accomplished not so much by attention as by
neously of the five continents of the world"without injury Now tactilityhas a bad reputation(in certain circles
to the nerves.2For these pessimistic critics of modernity, habit."'7
at least) and I think it is importantto note that when Ben-
the capacity of the body is fixed, its adjustmentslimited.
jamin talksabout tactilityhe's not talking about a kind of
It was Walter Benjamin and SiegfriedKracauerin the 1920s close, attentive,phenomenological connoisseurshipof materi-
and 1930s who most decisively identified distractionwith als (which is entirely inconsistent with the absent-mindedness
modernityand technical reproduction.In the case of of distraction),he's talking, instead, about a kind of uncon-
Kracauer,distractionretaineda negative charge.'Only Ben- scious intimacy that we can assume with regardto buildings
jamin was capable of the dialectical constructionthat would - the way an escalatoror handraildirects movement through
see a positivepotential in mechanized distraction.In the space or the way the body loses itself in the rush of an

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Allen

1. Still from Stanley Kubrick,2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968

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assemblage 27

elevator'sdrop. It is also here that the paradoxicalnature of image, "the equipment-freeaspect of realityhere has become
Benjamin's concept becomes evident: in architecture,the the height of artifice;the sight of immediate realityhas be-
tactile is a model for the optical, and not vice versa. "As come an orchid in the land of technology.""7
regardsto architecture,habit determines to a large extent
even optical reception."'It should not be assumed, how- Benjamin'sdialectical organizationwould seem implicitly to
open towardthe fuiture.But is it adequate to describe the
ever, that habit has the automatic effect of dulling the condition of the present as simply an escalation of the effects
senses, making the public into passivesubjects for the exer- of modernisttechnology? Distraction in the arcades is not the
cise of a dominant power. A careful reading of "The Work
same as distractionin the mall. Space and time today are
of Art"suggestsjust the opposite. Benjamin writes that "it is
dislocated through technologies of the virtual,which them-
inherent in the technique of the film as well as that of
selves impinge on the subjective construction of "real"space.
sportsthat everyonewho witnesses its accomplishments is
somewhat of an expert."'Now, as architects,we know all Technologies of distractionunimaginable in the 1930s have
become partof everydaylife. Distraction may have become so
too well that everybodyfeels qualified to be an architectural
generalized in the present as to bleach out the political effect
critic; but this idea of the public being expertsin these seen by Benjamin.
popular artsis, I think, importanthere. Habitual use trains
the public to become intelligent users of space, adept in And what is at stake for architecturein the question of distrac-
reading - and misreading,if tactically necessary - its tion? The analysisof buildings and spaces in the city often
clues to behavior.When Michel de Certeau, for example, proceeds without questioning the mechanisms of their recep-
assertsthat "space is practiced place," he signals the ability tion. Models borrowedfrom the languages of art historyas-
of users to workover and againstthe codes and prohibitions sume the attitude of the architecturalspectatorto be similar
put in place by hegemonic powers."'Which, of course, to that of the viewer before a sculpture or a painting. But
includes architects.Therefore, in responseto Mark reception in a state of distraction,according to Benjamin,
Rakatansky,I would say that users manage architecture "cannotbe understoodin terms of the attentive concentration
much more than architecturemanages users. of a touristbefore a famous building." Spatial practicesare
not discursivepractices, I would add. Changing models of
The second point: We can refine the definition of distrac-
reception require rethinkingcurrent debates over privateand
tion by looking at Benjamin'sdiscussion of film: "Recep-
public spaces. While chartingthe concrete manifestationsof
tion in a state of distraction,which is increasingly the privatizationof public space (suburbanmalls, urbanatri-
noticeable in all fields of art, . . . finds in the film its true
means of exercise.""In the viewing of a film, attention is ums, and so on), most recent descriptionsdo not adequately
account for the shades of subjectivityput into play within
focused, directed forwardin a darkenedroom. But concen- these new sites. Reception today is mediated by the pulse of
tration here is not individual, private.Distraction moves in
the crowd, the windshield of the car, by broadcasttransmis-
the direction of exteriority.The filmic spectatoris one in an
audience of many. Moreover,the "place"of the film is sions, and by a whole series of collective codes and expecta-
tions. Touristsvisit cities only to confirm impressionsalready
indeterminate:"In the theater one is well awareof the
formed from postcardsor movies.
place from which the play cannot immediately be detected
as illusionary.There is no such place for the movie scene In orderto get at some of these questions, I want to refer
that is being shot.""2The paradoxicalpresence of an "else- brieflyto certain points made by MargaretMorse in her essay
where" in the here and now is, for Benjamin, evidence of "AnOntology of EverydayDistraction:The Freeway,the
the dialectical nature of distraction.Film is more than Mall and Television." Morse'scentral thesis is that as the real
simply an example of distraction;its internal structurereca- is distanced and reconfiguredin postmodernhybridprivate/
pitulates the paradoxof reception in a state of distraction. public spaces, the forms of subjectivityare reconfiguredas
The film viewer has internalized the inherently artificial well. "Freeways,malls and television,"she writes, "arethe
rules of cinematic structure;this, in turn, has the capacity locus of an attenuatedfiction effect, that is, a partialloss of
to produce new aesthetic effects. In Benjamin's lyrical touch with the here and now, dubbed here as distraction."'4

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Allen

But, for Morse, distractionno longer carriesa radicalor celed out. The body fadesawayand the virtualbecomes a
progressivepolitical force. Today, she argues, these simulta- model for the real:"The Mall is TV you walk around in."'8
neous temporalitiesare alreadybuilt into the dominant
structuresof space and time in the form of intentionally Among architectswho have addressedthe pervasiverole of
media in culture today,two ostensiblyopposedpositionshave
"derealized"spaces, spatial forms that anticipate reception
in a state of distraction."The late twentieth century has emerged. One assertsthat architecturewill fade awayunderthe
witnessed the growing dominance of a differentlyconsti- advancingimperativesof technology:thatunder the domain of
tuted kind of space, a nonspace of both experience and distraction,technologythreatensarchitecturewith its own obso-
lescence. Alternatively,architectshave attemptedto reassert
representation,an elsewherewhich inhabits the everyday."'' architecture'straditionalcapacityto represent(formallyor meta-
Like Benjamin, she relates distractionto habit, but her
phorically)the condition of distractionthrougha fragmentedor
interpretationis distinct: "Nonspace is not mysteriousor
"dislocated"architecture.I want to be criticalof the negative
strangeto us, but ratherthe haunt for creaturesof habit. cast of both responses,in the hope of producinga third,and I
Practices and skills that can be performedsemiautomati-
believe, more productivepossibility.
cally in a distractedstate - such as driving, shopping, or
television watching - are the barelyacknowledged ground The two prevailingmodels might be elaboratedas follows.The
of everydayexperience."1'For Morse, the effect of distrac- firstalternative,apparentlycontinuous with the conditions of a
tion is a relentless leveling of everydayexperience. This mediated realityunder advancedpostindustrialtechnologies,
contraststo Benjamin, for whom distractionis an eruption offersa modernisteconomy of support- regularand orthogo-
of difference within the everyday.And I want to insist on nal - where a densityof applied or projectedinformation(not
this distinction because it then conditions the valuations to say, ornament)compensatesfor the banalityof the underly-
each gives to distraction:Morse'sfundamentallypessimistic ing form.Assuminga distractedsubject, this architectureoper-
account versusBenjamin's more optimistic one. ates accordingto the logics of advertisingand publicity.This is
a semiotic architecturethat has no problemwith the idea of
Perhapsmost significantly,in Morse'saccount, television
signs without depth. It is a fundamentallyinteriorizedarchitec-
displaces film as a model for reception in a state of distrac-
tion. In television, the dislocationsmapped by Benjamin in ture. If, as BeatrizColomina has suggested,"the public do-
main has been displacedindoors"(that is to say, projectedby
the filmic experience escalate in quantity,but atrophyin
the media into a domestic space), the public domain, in turn,
force. Remote control, the proliferationof cable channels,
the complex nesting of real and fictional informationall attemptsto simulate the comfortableinterioritiesof the domes-
tic.'9 Intimacyand informationcoexist in the hybridpublic/
increase the partialityof television and its consequent "fic-
tion effect."The scanned televisual image is significantly privatespaces of the new city. In the mall, "inside"and "out-
more ineffable than the film image. The iconic relation side" are both subject to climactic control. The inclemencies
of the world outside, like the other uncontrollableaspectsof
preservedfrom camerato negative to screen through the
public space, have been excised.
optics of projection(where the figuralimprintof the image
itself is alwaysmaintained) is lost in television at the mo- Turning the logic of Venturi's"decoratedshed"inside out,
ment when the image is translatedinto digital information these banalstructuresprovidea neutralarchitecturalframefor
on a magnetic tape or a broadcastsignal. Television, unlike an active technologicalimage. I am thinkinghere of recent
film, cannot offerthe lyricalpossibilityof an "equipment- projectsby JeanNouvel, some of the recentworkby Herzogand
free reality."Television is indifferentlyand deceptively fa- de Meuron,and also of certainprojectsby OMA or Bernard
miliar;its realityis banal yet technically inaccessible. In Tschumi, as well as of a greatdeal of commercialarchitecture.
film, spatialdislocation is still understoodagainstthe ground The occasionalreferenceto traditionalarchitectureonly serves
of (tactile) bodily experience. Benjamin writesthat "the to reinforcethe premise:the image of the pastand the image of
distractingelement of film is also primarilytactile, being the futurecan coexistwithoutconflict in the realmof the
based on changes of place and focus which periodically hyperreal.Taken to its logical ends, this propositionsuggests
assail the spectator.""In television this ground itself is can- two equallyunacceptablechoices: either the architectbecomes

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assemblage 27

the programmerof the spacesof simulation(this is the giddy that Benjamin'sdefinition of distractionoscillatesbetween an
claim of cyberspaceenthusiasts)or the architectis reducedto active form - distractionas deviationfrom habitualbehavior
the technician of a barelynecessaryframe(a sortof - and a passiveform - a stateof absent-mindednessenforced
hyperattenuatedNorman Foster,for example). by habit and repetition.Eisenman, we might say, operates
Other architects,for whom Peter Eisenman might be taken exclusivelyaccordingto the logic of the former,while Nouvel
as representative,argue for a disruptionof architecture's (and Morse) appeal to the latter.But the power of distraction
as an operativeconcept is preciselyits irreducibility.
formalground - a recognitionthat distractiondestabilizes
Distraction'sdouble valence inscribesa figure of
both subjectsand objects. "Architecture,"Eisenman writes,
undecidabilityin any speculation todayabout spaces, pro-
"can no longer be bound by the static conditions of space
and place, here and now. In a mediatedworld, there are no grams,and their formsunder an increasinglymediatedreality.
longer places in the sense we once knew them."'2 He argues To briefly explain the images:two projects in postwarBerlin
that architectureneeds to respondto these new conditions markthese polarities,but also complicate them: Mies van der
with new relationsof form. "Whatis needed is the possibility Rohe's National Gallery and, across the road, Hans
of readingfigure/objectand groundwithin anotherframeof Scharoun'sState Library.Now these two objects apparently
reference.""Now if we agree that distractiondestabilizes representdistinct sensibilities:unity and wholeness versus
artifactsby calling into question the autonomyof fragmentation,centered versushighly differentiated,and so
architecture'ssubjects,then, in fact, something like what on. And, incidentally, Mies is sometimes seen as the precur-
Eisenman describescould be a productivestrategy."The sor of the firstmodel I described, that is to say, architectureas
new," he writes,"ratherthan being understoodas fundamen- a kind of blank screen for the projection of information,
tally differentfrom the old, would insteadbe seen as slightly whereas Scharoun correspondssuperficiallyto the categoryof
out of focus in relationto what exists."As much as I like this fragmentedand dislocated architecture.But what I want to
formulation,calling to mind as it does the workof painter suggest with these images in particularis that an analysisas
GerhardRichter,22I would say that, in practice,Eisenman's objects is insufficient. An analysisof use, habit, time, and
objects function accordingto a logic of defamiliarization, reception is requiredto get at not only meaningful differ-
declaringtheir differencefrom what existsand soliciting a ences, but beyond to the uncanny similarities.In Mies, for
hermeneutic readingwherebythe formaloperationsof de- example, the supposedlycentered, unified building sets up a
sign (the operationsof the designeras author) - the shears, very complex and highly disjunctive series of reframingsof
superpositions,or foldings - are intended to be readback the city and the site around it; whereas in Scharoun, within
from the final state of the artifact.And while this architec- the supposedlydifferentiatedand fragmentedfield, a new
ture may desire a hermeneutic subject, under a mediated kind of figure, an orderwith its own clarity,which seems to
reality,what it gets is a distractedsubject who readsthe ar- be about continuity and connection, emerges through ha-
chitecture as a sign, not verymuch differentlythan the pro- bitual use over time.
jected informationon a Jean Nouvel faqade. I want to end by recognizing the need - under the imposing
Certainly, one profound effect of distractionis to render title of "The Politics of ContemporaryArchitecturalDis-
stylisticdebates irrelevant.Deconstructivism (early Frank course" - to offer something positive, something program-
Gehry, the work of Coop Himmelblau, for example) might matic. So I am going to close with a series of propositionsthat
be seen as an attempt to tear through the veil of distraction I believe follow loosely (and I underline loosely) from a rec-
by appealing to a logic of violent disjunction;but this very ognition that perception in a state of distractionis a funda-
effect will necessarilybe muted, even trivialized,under the mental architecturalcondition.
effect of habitual use and reception in a state of distraction.
First, I want to argue for a shift away from prevailinglinguis-
Both positions, I would argue, fail to fully recognize the tic models of reception and a related emphasis on visuality.I
consequences of reception in a state of distraction.Recall would even go furtherhere, in speaking to Michael, to say

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Allen

that perhaps meaning is no longer the problem today.Ar-


chitectural subjects are users as well as spectators,partici-
pants more than readers.In practice, this implies close
attention to program,but also an elastic yet precise relation
between spatial accommodation and formal invention; an
anexact fit between event and structure.
Given the evident ineffectiveness of strategiesof unmask-
ing, disavowal,or defamiliarizationunder conditions of
reception in a state of distraction,* I would propose instead
the appropriationand redirection of the very technologies
of distractionenforced by dominant culture. We can't sim-
ply criticize distractionin the hope of recoveringsome
notion of authentic experience, which is what I believe
MargaretMorse does. As Brian Massumi has remarked,the
radical gesture today is not to unmask the simulacrum as a 2. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, National Gallery, Berlin, 1962-68
lie, but ratherto require the simulacrum, against expecta-
tion, to function as the real.23Hence, camouflage, mimicry,
wit, guileful ruse, deception, and stealth - forms of quali-
fied surrender- enter the lexicon of architecturalmeans
to reprogramthe dominant logics of space in the city.
In the urbanrealm, this implies the resolutionof site condi-
tions throughsupple and cunning accommodation, not
conflict, juxtaposition,and fragmentation(to borrowa for-
mulation from SanfordKwinter:buildingswhich are
evolved, not designed). Workingbeyond the semiotic, new
geometric models suggestflexible contextualtactics. Form
matters,but not so much the formsof things as the forms
betweenthings.

Finally, distractionmight be linked to a post-collageaes-


thetic. And again, I would argue slightlywith Michael. I
think that practicesof intertextualityare still linked to col-
lage aesthetics. Collage and montage acquiredforce through
the collision of distinct ordersand the generationof tension 3. HansScharoun, State Library,Berlin,competition, 1963-64;
acrossseams of difference. Previously,stable subjectivities completed 1978
were fragmented.But today,mobile subjectivitiescan be put
into play both with and againstexistingspatialorders.The
disjunctiveplay of difference has lost the power to shock.
Hence, fluid models of exchange, differentialunities, and
free-floatingintensities replace the critical model of recuper-
ating difference through ever-escalatingfragmentation.

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assemblage 27

*It seemed obviousto me at the time of the conference,but perhapsthis longer individualgirls,but indissol- of EverydayDistraction:The Free-
point deservesto be clarified.In the crudestpossibleterms,what I mean to uble female units whose movements way, the Mall and Television," in
suggestis this:that the availableconceptualmodels for the projectof resis- are mathematicaldemonstrations" The Logics of Television:Essays in
tance - from FrankfurtSchool Marxismto deconstruction- depend in one (SiegfriedKracauer,"The MassOr- Cultural Criticism,ed. Patricia
formor anotheron a modernistidea of makingdifferencevisible throughop- nament,"trans.BarbaraCorrelland Mellencamp (Bloomington: Indi-
erationsof unmasking(or relatedstrategiesof demythification,deferral,or ne- JackZipes, New GermanCritique5 ana UniversityPress, 1990), 202.
gation).For all theirsignificantdifferences,they sharethe assumptionthat the [Spring19755]:59). See also 15. Ibid.,196.
taskof criticalworkis to uncoverthe artificein that assumedto be natural.(I Kracauer's"The Cult of
referhere to Slavoj2iiek's observationthat "deconstructionismis a modern- Distraction,"NewGermanCritque40 16. Ibid.
ist procedurepar excellence; it presentsitself as the most radicalversionof (Winter 1987). 17. Benjamin, "The Work of Art,"
the logic of 'unmasking'wherebythe veryunity of meaning is conceived as 4. WalterBenjamin, "The Workof 238.
the effect of signifyingmechanisms,an effect that can takeplace only insofar Art in the Age of Mechanical Repro- 18. Morse, "AnOntology of Every-
as it ignoresthe textualmovementthat producedit" [LookingAwy,:An Intro-
duction,"in Illuminations,ed. day Distraction," 197.
ductionto JacquesLacan throughPopularCulture(Cambridge,Mass.:MIT Hannah Arendt,trans.HarryZohn
Press,1991), 1421.)Now, with regardto architectureand the experienceof 19. Beatriz Colomina, "Domestic-
(New York:Schocken, 1968), 238.
lurbanspace, if we firststipulatethe predominanceof distractionand, second, "Distraction"translatesthe German ity at War,"Assemblage 16 (Decem-
recognizethat this implies a model of receptionother than the linguistic (for ber 1991): 22.
term zerstreuung.In additionto "dis-
the attentivereader,substitutethe distracteduser), it seems to me self-evident
traction,"the English equivalents 20. Peter Eisenman "Unfolding
that unmaskingoperations,which assumea degree of criticalconsciousness
would be "scattering,""dispersal," Events,"Zone 6, Incorporations
on the partof the spectator,will be of limited effectiveness.
and "dispersion."This supportsa (1992): 423.
Beyond these doubtsabout the efficacyof resistanceunder the domain of spatialconnotation, confirminga 21. Ibid., 424.
distraction,it seems worthaddingthat my point of view arisesfrom an impa- readingof distractionas a scattering
tience with a modernistnegativitythat has exhaustedwhatevercreativeim- or dispersalof attentionratherthan 22. About Richter'scharacteristic
pulse once motivatedit and has degeneratedinto a set of well-rehearsedandl the simple absence of attention. "blur,"critic Dave Hickey has noted
that it has the effect of "investing
overcodifiedstrategies.The question is badlyformulatedif it simplyopposes 5. Ibid., 239. both the timeless eternityevoked by
delay to acceleration,resistanceto acquiescence. More urgent,in my mind,
is the need to define a sustainableprojectof creativework,capableof per- 6. Ibid., 240. abstractionand the timeless instant
turbingexistingcategoriesby the productionof something unrecognizable 7. Ibid. implied by the snapshotwith the
out of that which is all too familiar.Hence the passage,by way of a consider- smear of temporality."The introduc-
8. Ibid. tion of time into the painterlyarena
ation of reception in a stateof distraction,to a legitimatesuspicion of strate-
9. Ibid., 231. here moves the discussion beyond
gies of resistance,to the effortto map out an alternativeterritory;more
Eisenman's still strictlyformal con-
positive,more creative,more productive:a "vague"affirmativeproject,but a 10. "In short,space is practiced siderations.See Dave Hickey, "Rich-
projectabout which I can be all the more optimisticpreciselybecause it is place. Thus the street geometrically
not vet fullycl
defined. ter in Tahiti,"Parkett35 (1993): 86.
defined by urbanplanning is trans-
formed into a space by walkers" 23. Brian Massumi, "Realerthan
(Michel de Certeau, The Practiceof Real: The Simulacrum According
to Deleuze and Guattari,"Copy-
EverydayLife, trans. Steven Rendall
Notes with Tony Smith,"Artforum(De- [Berkeley:Universityof California right 1 (1987): 90-97.
This is taken from a longer essay-in- cember 1966): 19. Press, 1984], 117).
progress,the first section of which is 2. Stephen Kern,The Cultureof 11. Benjamin, "The Work of Art,"
entitled "Dazed and Confused." Time and Space (Cambridge, 240.
See Stan Allen, "In a State of Dis- Mass.:HarvardUniversityPress,
traction,"Via 12, Simultaneous Cit- 1983), 124.
12. Ibid., 233. Figure Credits
ies (1996). 13. Ibid. 1. Courtesy of MGM.
3. "Theseproductsof the Ameri-
1. Samuel Wagstaff,Jr., "Talking can 'distractionfactories'are no 14. MargaretMorse, "AnOntology 2, 3. Photographsby Stan Allen.

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