Sunday, October 23, 2005

Mis-integration

I love the logic at work behind Jennifer and Kevin McCoy's How I Learned (1-4); I love the work it does.

Of course, the piece works best in its own fields of engagement (art, galleries, television, popular culture, how-to manuals, &c.). But reading it opportunistically (tactically), I think this is a logic that might be borrowed to good effect in academic work. A lot of academic work uses a similar logic of dis-integration (deconstruction is probably the best known of these, but much theory, I'd say, is dis-integrative). But I can't think of any that employs, subsequent to the dis-integrative act, such an orthongonal and productive strategy of re-integration, rendered as mis-integration.

Doesn't it seem to you that the various How To compilations that Jennifer and Kevin McCoy assemble (HOW TO FEEL ANGUISH, HOW TO SPEAK IN APHORISMS, HOW TO APPRECIATE PEACEFUL MUSIC, HOW TO BE DISSAPPOINTED, HOW TO BE EVIL, HOW TO BE OBSERVANT) were there in the original Kung Fu series all along? Isn't playful mis-integration a form of criticism? I also like it as an alternative to what Eve Sedgwick calls paranoid reading, which she identifies as the most common critical tactic of academic work, which basically turns on an act of revelation (...you think it works like this, it actually works like this...). If How I Learned (1-4) is an act of revelation, it's an extremely perverse one.

[As I have so many times, I lean here on the exquisite eye of Thomson and Craighead and the exquisite curatorship of Sarah Cook.]
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