Tag Archives: minimalism

No one has a good idea how the front and back images of a crucified man came to be on the cloth. No one has created images that match the chemistry, peculiar superficiality and profoundly mysterious three-dimensional information content of the images on the Shroud…

​No one has a good idea how the front and back images of a crucified man came to be on the cloth. No one has created images that match the chemistry, peculiar superficiality and profoundly mysterious three-dimensional information content of the images on the Shroud. Therefore, they compacted trash and recycling in a Stationary Compactor (there is an example on page 7). They put a ’tilt truck’ (see example on p.115) into a Cart Dumper (see example on p.120) of which there are two; one for trash and one for recycle. The two Cart Dumpers work by using a hydraulic arm to lift the tilt truck (through a ninety degree angle) dumping its contents into the compactor, to be crushed and compacted. Therefore, there are two photographs of the floor of The Cart Dumpers on p.27 and there are a two photographs of the Shroud of Turin on p.111. On p.45 the two photographs from page 27 are placed above the two photographs from p.111 (for a total of four photographs on one page). Therefore, they conclude (for now) that the Wear and Tear on the Floor of the Cart Dumpers and the two Images within the Shroud of Turin show the Front and Back of a scourged, crucified man. They said, “These hard times can last us so very long, If I ever get off this Killing Floor, I’ll never get down this low no more, and you say you had money, you better be sure, ‘Cause these hard times will drive you from door to door.” (After Skip James)


“I promise there are two pages between pages 34 and 37. They promise there are ten pages between pages 122 and 133. She promises there are twenty-four pages between pages 201 and 226. He promises there are…”

Recognition of the significance of speech acts has illuminated the ability of language to do other things than describe reality. In the process the boundaries among the philosophy of language, the philosophy of action, aesthetics, the philosophy of mind, political philosophy, and ethics have become less sharp. In addition, an appreciation of speech acts has helped lay bare a normative structure implicit in linguistic practice, including even that part of this practice concerned with describing reality.


Austin famously claimed that performatives are not statements (1962, p. 6). This may be taken either as the claim that performative sentences, even those in the indicative grammatical mood, lack truth value; or instead as the claim that utterances of performative sentences, even when such sentences have truth value, are not assertions. One can consistently hold that an indicative sentence has truth value, and even that it may be uttered in such a way as to say something true, while denying that its utterance is an assertion. (Testing a microphone in a windowless room, I utter, “It’s raining,” and it happens to be raining outside. Here I have said something true but have made no assertion.)


Lemmon 1962 argues that performative utterances are true on the ground that they are instances of a wider class of sentences whose utterance guarantees their truth. If sound, this argument would show that performatives have truth value, but not that they are assertions. It also leaves unanswered the question why some verb phrases such as ‘I promise’ may be used performatively while others cannot be so used. Sinnott-Armstrong 1994 also argues that performatives can have truth value without addressing the question whether they are also used to make assertions. Reimer 1995 argues that while performatives have truth values, they are not also assertions. Adopting a similar strategy, Jary 2007 aims to explain how utterances of such sentences as “I order you to clean the kitchen,” can succeed in being orders. In so doing he draws on Green’s 2007 analysis of showing to argue that such utterances show (rather than merely describe) the force of the speaker’s utterance. Because ‘show’ is factive, if such an utterance shows its force, then it must have that force.


Searle 1969 had argued that a performative formula such as “I promise to…” is an “illocutionary force indicator” in the sense that it is a device whose role is to make explicit the force of the speaker’s utterance. Making something explicit, however, would seem to involve characterizing an independent event or state of affairs, and as a result Searle’s account presupposes that speakers can imbue their utterances with the force of demotions and excommunications; yet this is what was to be explained.


Lines of Thought 


The traveling survey of Agnes Martin’s work that debuted this summer at Tate Modern in London offers an opportunity to reconsider an artist who seems easy to know. Martin is generally pictured as a sage of the desert dispensing measured lines of graphite, pale paint and gnomic prose with ritual changelessness. In and around New York, she is perhaps best known as one of those select few whose work is semi-permanently enshrined at Dia:Beacon, high church of Minimalism and citadel against all forms of personal contingency. To lay out the narrative arc of Martin’s development, as the present exhibition does, is a welcome corrective.