H.C. Andersen's The Emperor's New Clothes ...

...that story is not over 'cause we are all still naked.

Substance is what remains when everything you can think of has gone. Eli Siegel

NOW


A belief is like a guillotine, just as heavy, just as light. — Kafka
Because we unplugged ourselves from reality, we elected a president who insists that reality is whatever he claims it to be. — Chris Hedges


Technology… the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.
— Max Frisch

They have eyes but cannot see. — Tehilim


The reigning hoax assumes its legitimacy while topics like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the prophet Mohamed are deemed controversial… but what about reality?!

At our very core, we are delusional beings.
While perceiving ourselves to be timelessly on top of a wave, “our lives,” we delight in that which may be just-around-the-corner and will at long last liberate us.

 We surround ourselves with solutions and theories; they titillate and buffer us from reality, and thus we “manage our problems.” Such railings are a lure.
As early as possible in our lives, our self-serving educational system sets up the paradigm that posits that words stand for things, and that the more we learn, the more we will know.
Knowledge is the opposite of stupidity and that’s all there is to it. 
What to know, what it is to know… these key questions are not to be addressed.
Through its pervasiveness, education has us assume that most of what we do is absolutely natural: the central process of naming ourselves and whatever surrounds us ignores its inherent violence.
What we know is choking us: our need for comfort fosters predictability and redundancy. As humanizing as its diverse ramifications may be, culture primarily mirrors, glorifies and perpetuates its existing value system. 
We love what we love because we are reflected in it. 
The very same elements that were meant to liberate us – words, concepts, and media – regurgitate “what-is-known” into worn-out concepts. Caught up in a monkey-see-monkey-do cycle, reality is off limits and immediacy has gone. Our universe is built up to the extent that alienation, separation, isolation – and for some of us, exile – have become the very fabric of our existence, our playpen.
Like some kind of tautological monstrosity, we have become so full of ourselves, we are falling victims to our own centrality. 
Centrality, normalcy, and certainty, three of our major hoaxes, have us cornered. With the fact that experience is not transmissible, our planet is seriously endangered.
Doing something, anything, has to be better than doing nothing – since we cannot imagine anything else, we would rather keep everything in place.
Wishful thinking permeates our lives… we continue to believe, and nothing is ever a surprise anymore.
In a digital age when everything is conveyed through 1’s and 0’s… we avoid anything resembling a zero.
By ignoring that imminent oblivion, the one that awaits us all, “tomorrow” has become our most significant taboo… and being lost has become a long lost art. We cannot be present, and crimes take place all around us.
Kupferberg’s “Is there life after birth?” and Kabat-Zinn’s “Is there life before death?” should remain our critical points of departure.

CopyrightMarton2014Images and words – not just the internet – keep us isolated within a bubble, a form of mass solitary confinement, exchanging looks and commenting on what has already been thought, said and lived.
It is conceivable that after the fluid wisdom of the Pre-Socratic thinkers and the Taoists, the cycle that defined knowledge/culture as being fixed and separate from living may finally be coming to an end.
Our digital realm, like a form of contemporary Ying/Yang dialectic, could constantly remind us of the relevance of the zeros (the void).

Can our lives consist primarily of reshuffling the prescribed and the described? Of course… that is how societies survive, but no more sacrifice is needed!

When all has been said and done, we seek a particular silence. When the noise has ceased.
The floor below us has dropped a long time ago, we just have been too busy to notice what lies beyond “the stuff.”


Provocation is a way of putting reality back on its feet. — Bertolt Brecht



1 of 3. Knowing what we know, we know nothing: we believe our eyes (and ears, and words) but they are too busy verifying what has been stored in our cataloged universe.

WHO


I appear to be wiser… because I do not fancy I know what I do not know. — Socrates


With all of my friendship, Jean (Baudrillard), Cultural Theorist/Philosopher
In the tradition of Abraham, the iconoclast…
Pier Marton. — Dr. Sander Gilman, American Cultural/Literary Historian
PM rakes the virtual screens and the tablets of our hypocrisies with the sharp claws of the avenging angel. — Aribert Munzner, Artist/Dean Emeritus
You write from an estranged place...  — Charles Bukowski, Poet
Glad you think the same… Dr. Frans de Waal, Primatologist/Ethologist


The  Unlearning Specialist at the school is Pier Marton. After teaching media for more than thirty years at major U.S. universities, and three weeks in an I.C.U., PM “imploded”  (cf. below) and realized the urgent need to teach unlearning, and to focus on key blind spots: what is NOT being taught and NOT being perceived. We may start with media and the visible, but extend quickly to our “core concepts” – the source of our permanent distractions.

The arrogance of normalcy. — PM

“I am the irritant, that grain of sand that will bother you enough so that in time you may produce a pearl." - PM

“I am the irritant, that grain of sand that will bother you enough so that in time you may produce a pearl.” – PM

PM has lectured with his work at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Carnegie Museum. Besides those museum collections, his work is also collected by Paris Beaubourg’s museum, Canada’s National Gallery of Art, and the Paris Mémorial de la Shoah. While his many peregrinations made him appreciate Artaud, Daumal, Grotowski, Jarry, Michaux, Gilbert-Lecomte, Porchia, Beckett, Voronca and many others,* his university teaching, and his “bleeding for art” (in his own work and in collaboration with Nitsch), have all prepared him to be fully receptive of the vacuum that awaited him following a brain hemorrhage with complications. Upon his release from the hospital, he could not not perceive “the arrogance of normalcy”; most human activity, short of the instinct to care, had become absolutely arbitrary – a point of no return to any kind of consensus or belief, however appealing or comfortable.
* like Álvarez, Anders, Barthes, Baudrillard, Berger, Borges, Brecht, Bresson, Cage, Larry David, Debord, Thich Nhat Hahn, Ivan Illich, Le Clézio, Marker, Lévinas, Melville (Bartleby),  Morin, Naess, A.S. Neill, Rossellini,  Rimbaud, Tarkovski, Tati, Turrell, U.G. and Watts.


 The John Cage of the classroom. — Ann Hirsch, Artist 
Intelligence, patience and kindness, an unmatched passion as an educator. — Aaron Duffy, Artist/Director

I have never met anyone who was born to teach as Pier is. — Paola Laterza, Artist/Educator
Your class was the one useful course I took in my whole college career and the one class I still use in my daily life. — MK, Composer/Entrepreneur


Unlearning Partial Map - Copyright Marton 2015


Individual identity, individual healing, individual transcendence are his subjects. — John Russell, The New York Times Nightmares, he insists can only be dreamed by a conscious mind. — Douglas Blau, Flash Art & Arts MagazineTV Peacock


Sometimes a little brain damage can help. — George Carlin
If only this were only a matter of aligning words or arguments the proper way… Rather, it is a matter of a knowLEDGE, in the flesh.



2 of 3. Every age has its icons: photographers freeze that moment, cinematographers capture that movement. The traces of those fetishistic rituals are revered in museums, theaters and online. Media has already transformed society; can visual artists, besides “doing it their way,” provide more than an ever expanding sensory massage?

We stop everything – We reflect – And it’s not sad [from Year 01/An 01 by/par Gébé]

HOW


Whatever you say it is, it isn’t. — Alfred Korzybski
Reality is a cliché. — Wallace Stevens
An entire mythology is stored within our language. – Wittgenstein

Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned. — Mark Twain

At the end of a semester: movie-making wisdom as would fit fortune cookies.

a «HOLE» within reality, like life passing, fleeting, evanescent, impossible to fix and retain. — Tadeusz Kantor
The only knowledge which is really alive is the one that expresses itself at its kindling point, bringing about its own destruction. — Dostoevsky
I apologize for being as blind and arrogant as most humans, and for still using words [this website/bottle-in-the-ocean]. — PM


Yes, more words here again… but it is to escape them and have them implode. Cosmic banana peels?!
After a lifetime of having surrounded ourselves with arbitrary concepts that we now take for granted, we urgently need to pierce our bubble and reach a state of constant bewildered incredulity.

One of the founders of Surrealism wrote in 1924: “Knock-knock. Who’s there? Ah good, let the infinite in.We may not need to ask the shamans – we know now scientifically about the two trillion galaxies, the Laniakea, and the astounding extent of our insignificance.
A cold shower does much more than to freshen us up, it shakes us up. Yet, to shatter illusions all at once would be impossible; we can only chip away one crack at a time, and have to be patient, with a willingness to be bored – mountains owe so much to the valleys!
Along with intense “blindspotting” – locating the blind-spots – a particular useful technique involves a form of sustained implosion (as in Lumière’s short film “L’arroseur arrosé“).
What to trust? Without having recourse to drugs, we may require what Rimbaud pleaded for: a long, immense et reasoned derangement of all of the senses.
There is a physicality of action that bypasses the mind and grounds us, allowing a healthy perspective to arise. The animals that we still are know more than all our thoughts combined. Are we able to regain that presence?

BlindedStudents

My students exploring…

The ledge of knowLEDGE is nearby, we just need to approach it without fear.
Besides two examples for a curriculum, Bubbles and Quotes & an Unlearning Mind Map, here is a brief list of supporting materials:
Experiences
Anechoic Chamber/Isolation Tank/Long Walks Going Nowhere/Letting Animals Speak/Boal’s Invisible Theater
Writings
Artaud/Barthes/Daumal/Debord/Bresson/Melville/Porchia/U.G. Krishnamurti (not the famous one)/Roustang/ChuangTze/LaoTze.
Films
Rossellini/Álvarez/Bresson/Debord/Marker/Tarkovsky/Hersonski/Guzmán/Lanzman/Berger/Resnais/Serra/Robison/Soda/Ant Farm & T.R. Uthco/Pasolini

Two students in an anechoic chamber.

Two students in an anechoic chamber.

With all those instant-everything-avoidance means that technology offers us, not counting the exciting treasures Artificial Intelligence has in the wings, we could give it all up (or at least the cleverness)… but the physicality of having a body – as the animals [that we are] know too well – can lead us back to realize that presence is a major present – a gift awaiting us since our birth  (along with decantation, the process of “active rest,” when sediments are allowed to float down to the bottom of liquids to achieve some clarity).

Instead of seeing all of this as a complete rejection of what we take for granted (just about everything) – may the intelligence of kindness be preserved! –  it would be easy to relegate or reduce this site and what it stands for to one word, a metaphor, some kind of art project or manifesto, or as per the current trend, some life-coaching enterprise, or even another appeal for a richer sensory experience.  No, no… before it is too late to do so, we must live our lives…

… to be alive is not to know, and to be lost. Or, in a gentle but direct manner: get lost!


I am trying to stop what you are making out of what I am saying. – U.G.



3 of 3. Picture-perfect… captive audiences… can we look into our blindness?
We seek and look, like Nasrudin, BUT only where there is light. Let’s go elsewhere!


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Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. Oscar Wilde

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