Figure 12.09.03
Pablo Picasso, Glass and Bottle of Suze, pasted papers, gouache, and charcoal, after 11/18/1912

Danny Snelson’s essay, “Simultaneously Agitated in All Directions,” focuses on publications from the 1960s and 70s, publications that are 30-40 years old. But is the essay a work of literary history, an attempt to describe and contextualize these publications in the larger temporal flow? Or is the essay something else?

The essay does, beyond a doubt, describe the contents of the publications, bringing them to light for new generations of readers. It places them in context. The essay explains, describes. But it also does something much more compelling, much more urgent—it reopens the discourse that was being developed in those publications. And such a reopening makes that discourse available again, makes it available to critique, challenge, and change the way we work in the present, making room for new work.

Figure 12.09.04
Pablo Picasso, Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass, pasted paper, gouache, and charcoal, after 11/18/1912.

This function is vital.

Figure 12.09.05
Pablo Picasso, Maquette for Guitar, construction of cardboard, string and wire (restored), 1912

And that is what has been fueling these “Gleaming the Cube” posts. They are an attempt to activate the ideas and critiques that “Simultaneously Agitated…” has culled from history. At what point is theoretical or scholarly production actualized? As text? Or in its reconstitution in objects and practices of production and reception? These posts are a link in the chain of production and reception, in the chain of signifiers and signifieds. The meaning of our history is determined by the work we do in the present. And so our perpetual labor.

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