The Function Of Criticism

Dear Absence,

Today (when?) The Function of Criticism passed away. Criticism remains with us, functionless, futile. We search for meaning desperately. The quotes remain. They stand around silently, inarticulate: their way of grieving. Even Discourse is given to bouts of unstructuralized soundlessness now. We no longer have direction. No means of meaning without measures, no excellence, no failure.
We forget without remembering what. Something started at some point but the point is now almost identical to everything; or rather, it is starting to be, unstoppably , constantly. We search for measures, for without measures we are not even capable of determining whether we are lost or not. The measures, however, appear to be lost.

The sound of time passing

I have come back to this letter, not knowing if I should be writing it. (Am I?) Everything has been growing terrifyingly normal in ways to strange to describe. The streets are filled with Cheshire tigers declamating Blake. I met one of them in the street who gave me a Rubik’s cube with fifty four green squares – as if to underline the pointlessness of everything – before vanishing into thin air. And how thin the air has become – you can reach right through it to touch things or even see them!
At night I stand on the roof and spread my arms as if I want to ask something or yell but there is just silence. I sleep standing there because the vocabulary has been growing enormously – I possessed a pocket dictionary that now fills the whole of my apartment. When I knock it refuses to let me in. Behind the door I can hear it ceaselessly reciting itself , growing more tautological by the day.

The sound of time slowly growing synchronous

Aimless, we are now shooting at everything. When things fall down, and they still do at times, we try to determine what they are but everything has become an elephant in the darkroom of our cognition. Definitions abound but somehow never fit together in such a way as to form the description of an elephant, or anything else possessing any measure of discreteness for that matter. Part of the problem is that irony has now become the rule, defeating it’s own purpose. The rules themselves are growing synaesthetic, including their own exceptions and anything else they can get their hands on.

The sound of time dissolving

A few days have passed and things remain indeterminate. From the night of Saturday onwards the silence has been transforming itself into a giant billboard advertising a movie full of special effects though regretfully plotless. I can see it when I sleep on my roof. The movie is called ‘Life’. Everyone not already mad has been given a free ticket and received orders to eat his/her passport. Many words have been used to describe this process as accurately as possible. Catchy slogans have been developed to convince people of the importance of everything. Our diner tonight will consist of stir-fried passports. I tried to call you today but all the lines where busy. It appears all means of communication under the motto ‘the medium is the message’ have declared themselves independent and now refuse to communicate anything but themselves to themselves. I think this is true, because when you listen carefully, you can hear telephones ceaselessly dialing their own numbers.

The sound of something no longer there

They say time has passed. We assume this to be true. ‘Life’ is so successful (even though many do not like it, it has a strange power over people that forces them to see it time and time again) that the studios have realized a sequel will not be feasible. ‘Life’ has turned out to be the movie to end all movies. Without The Function of Criticism there was no way to keep this from happening. The studios should have known this but they never did. In order to secure their existence they have been forced to take desperate measures. Today the law obliging everyone to have their memories periodically erased was passed by congress. What this desperate measure was supposed to accomplish remains unclear. Luckily everyone forgot about it after it’s first implementation.

The sound of sound

It is still today and always will be. History has stopped being circular, it is spherical now. Linearity is gone, everything is happening right now. It is therefore impossible to continue this letter. I cannot hope to see you soon as all hope is gone in such a radical way that it is not even a thing of the past. I’ll be seeing you always.

Yours truly,


The Function Of Criticism

Pepijn Sauer

Leiden, Netherlands

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