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


A belief is like a guillotine, just as heavy, just as light. — Kafka
The essence of normalcy is the refusal of reality. — Ernst Becker

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

It’s about time that we encounter dead-ends: ignoring the imminent oblivion that awaits us all, we live as if tomorrow did not exist.
The fact that experience is not transmissible compounds all of our mistakes and our planet steadily falls apart. Filled with wishful thinking, we continue to believe. Nothing is a surprise anymore!
What we know strangles us: 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, the only turf we inhabit.
Like some kind of tautological monstrosity, we are so full of ourselves, we have become the victims of our own centrality; centrality and normalcy, two of our major hoaxes.
As early as possible in our lives, the 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.
As humanizing as its diverse ramifications may be, culture primarily mirrors, glorifies and perpetuates the existing value system. We love what we love because we are reflected in it.
Doing something, anything, has to be better than doing nothing; since we cannot imagine anything else, we would rather keep everything in place.
Old wine, new bottles. It is official: we only foster predictability and redundancy. The very same elements that were meant to liberate us – words, concepts, and media – regurgitate “what-is-known” into worn-out concepts. Being lost is a long lost art!
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.
We are caught up in a monkey-see-monkey-do cycle, bound to repeat itself ad infinitum.
Jon Kabat-Zinn’s vital question, “Is there life before death?” should remain central.

CopyrightMarton2014Images and words keeps us isolated in 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 equated knowledge/culture as being fixed and separate from living may, at long last, have come to an end.
Our digital realm, like a form of contemporary Ying/Yang dialectic, should constantly remind us of the relevance of the zeros (the void) – next to the ones – but with our awaiting what-is-just-around-the-corner, unbalanced, we lean irresistibly towards a future, and in searching for solutions, may create more problems.
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.”

1. 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.


The  Unlearning Specialist at the school is Pier Marton. After teaching media for more than thirty years at major U.S. universities, PM had just “the right brain surgery” – cf. below – to have now 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 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 as, following a brain hemorrhage, he spent three weeks in intensive care. Upon his release,  he could not not perceive “the arrogance of normalcy”; most human activity, short of the instinct to care, had become absolutely arbitrary.
* 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.

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 Glad you think the same… — Dr. Frans de Waal, Primatologist/Ethologist 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

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. 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]


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.

The only knowledge which is really alive is the one that expresses itself at its kindling point, bringing about its own destruction. — Dostoevsky
a «HOLE» within reality, like life passing, fleeting, evanescent, impossible to fix and retain. — Tadeusz Kantor

Yes, more words here again… but it is to escape them!
After a lifetime of having surrounded ourselves with arbitrary concepts that we now take for granted, we need to pierce our bubble to get, as soon as possible, to a constant state of bewildered incredulity.

One of the founders of Surrealism wrote in 1924, “Knock-knock. Who’s there? Ah good, let the infinite in.”
A cold shower does more than to freshen us up, it shakes us up. Yet, to shatter illusions all at once would be impossible; to reach anywhere 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 “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.

The ledge of knowLEDGE is nearby, we just need to approach it without fear.
BlindedStudentsA brief list of supporting materials:
– Experiences
Anechoic Chamber/Isolation Tank/Long Walks Nowhere/Boal’s Invisible Theater
– Books
The Theater and Its Double by Artaud/Mythologies by Barthes/Mount Analogue by René Daumal/The Society of the Spectacle & Against Cinema by Guy Debord/Notes on Cinematography by Robert Bresson/Bartleby The Scrivener by Melville/Voices by Porchia/Sites of Vision: The Discursive Construction of Sight in the History of Philosophy by David Kleinberg-Levin/U.G. Krishnamurti (not the famous one) – his books or his website
– Films
Roberto Rossellini’s historical films & the work of Santiago Álvarez/Robert Bresson//Guy Debord/Chris Marker/Andrei Tarkovsky
A Film Unfinished by Yael Hersonski
Chile, Obstinate Memory & Nostalgia for the Light by Patricio Guzmán
Shoah by Claude Lanzman
Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Night and Fog by Alain Resnais
Television Delivers People by Richard Serra
Saragossa Manuscript
by Wojciech Has
Warning Shadows
by Arthur Robison
The Act of Killing
by Joshua Oppenheimer
by Kazuhiro Soda
Eternal Frame
by Ant Farm & T.R. Uthco
by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Two students in an anechoic chamber.

Two students in an anechoic chamber.

With “instant everything,” Artificial Intelligence already has us cornered…  presence is one present… and decantation. the process of “active rest,” when sediments are allowed to float down to the bottom of liquids to achieve some clarity.

A path is made by walking on it. — Zhuangzi

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!



Multi Media Bar


[Ed.: Are words just by themselves the essence of hyperbole?] Death by Internet...


Copyright Eric Thayer/Reuters

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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