08 February 2007

Always Anterior

Here's another T-shirt idea that I've had floating around in my head for a while. I really like this one, even more than that's so bourgeois. But alas, my brain has long since been finished for the day, so I'll leave the explaining for tommorow.

Big fat bonus points for anyone who can pin down the reference without googling it. I suppose this is a sort of trick question.

Update--9 Feb 2007
In 1977, Roland Barthes (who wrote the much lauded Camera Lucida) wrote about literature: “The writer can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original.” His text ends with the statement “the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.” Then five years later, Sherrie Levine’s statement was published. It is 11 sentences long, and at least three of them were more or less directly lifted from Barthes. Her text includes the assertion that “We can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original.” It ends with “The birth of the viewer must be at the cost of the painter.” The obvious nod to Barthes is an interesting element of a statement that originality is never going to happen.

I really like the idea of putting this claim on a shirt, which is the least original place for any text to appear. Plus, the words would go on the front of the shirt, literally anterior. Anyway, there is nothing original about logo-Ts or the text that you typically find on them. More often than not it's a brand identity, a play on words, or references an idea that did not start out having anything to do with a T-shirt.

Anyway, I really wonder if anyone would wear this shirt. I think people would worry that it reflects badly on them—as if they are admitting that they aren’t original either. I’d guess very few people are comfortable with the idea that they might not be different after all. Too many bad connotations there, I guess.


Dad said...

I just want to let you know that I would wear the shirt, even though I do not understand the point of the argument. It goes right over my head but maybe I will understand it on the rebound off the wall on its echo return. I would have to wear the shirt only if the words were on the back and placed as you would read them from a mirror.

Mary Ann said...

I just tried to read the words backward, and well, it sounds like arabic to me.

Dad said...

That settles it, if I ever get to come back to Lebanon I am going to have a shirt printed that was and see what kinds of looks I get from people on the Corniche.