Jimmy Raskin


That fantastic tile floor of the Miguel Abreu Gallery leads us to the corner. It reminds me of a digital matrix, as if this whole scene were a hologram. What we are witnessing here is a spontaneous visit from Jason while I'm running through a lecture presentation. We have just begun setting up. The dirt, flowers, and party supplies will soon form a magical plot of forest floor surrounding the donkey podium. As for the subject of the presentation, note the sculpture on the right holding a small bronze statue of a tired disciple sitting slumped in a permanent pose of confusion and sadness. Who is he? In Fredrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, there is a key chapter entitled, "On Poets." In this vital scene, Zarathustra forcefully distinguishes the difference between the folly of the Poets that preceded him and the desire for a new Philosopher-Poet, embodied by Zarathustra himself. "Poets lie too much!" he exclaims to the disciple. "But I believe in you!" answers the vulnerable disciple. Evidently, the young man is confused because he has not yet encountered the "death of meaning" and is therefore not aware of the contemporary techniques of subversion used by Zarathustra in this lesson. Such is the vital transition all artisans must face; in how to proceed as Beings of Critical-Distance, all the while attempting to somehow retain the name "Poet"! As for my lecture here, I attempted to speak to the disciple myself on another vital transitional concept: "The Present is Always-Already Passing." Without subversion, and only with a hopeful sense of genuine surprise for all of us, I gave the lesson aware of some degree of inevitable failure.