Barthes, "Rasch," in , p. 308.

"Twombly," p. 160. Also, although I did not want to give particular attention to it in this essay, Barthes, referring to Nietzsche (and, implicitly, Nietzsche's eventual disinclination toward the heaviness of Wagner's music), suggests the like comparison between gesture and "lightness": "If we were to philosophize (a little), we might say that the being of things is not in their heaviness but in their lightness" ("The Wisdom of Art," p. 178). Along these lines, the reader might also be interested in Italo Calvino's (Vintage, 1993), which, in fact, highlights six themes Calvino wishes to suggest as having great significance for the future of literature (the book was published in the 1980s), and perhaps the arts in general. In addition to , and the unfinished , Calvino adds .

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What about defining pulsion in terms of its link to rhythm, the affect of rhythm, or the accents of rhythm? Barthes does, in fact, say that "the accent is the music's truth, in relation to which all interpretation declares itself." However, accent and rhythm still fall short, precisely because they are still part of something else, something. . . . How could we put it? Deeper? Greater? More bodily, perhaps. Pulsion, then, must encompass more than accent and rhythm.


Barthes, "The Wisdom of Art," in , p. 178.

John Shepherd and Peter Wicke,  (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1997), p. 214.

Like Masson's, Twombly's art is also, in Barthes' discourse, an art of writing, an "allusive field of writing," which, in turn, suggests gesture. But Twombly's "gesture" is also the way he manipulates the raw materials of his medium. Ultimately, this points to Barthes' ideas about aesthetics in general: "Before anything else, there occur. . .paper, canvas, pencil, crayon, oil paint. The instrument of painting is not an instrument. It is a fact. Twombly imposes his materials not as something which will serve some purpose but as an absolute substance, manifested in its glory. . . " Revealing yet another key to his aesthetics, not to mention his semiotics, Barthes goes on to say that "the materials are what the Alchemists called -what exists prior to the division of meaning. . ." So, in tying these ideas about Twombly's art to gesture, the suggestion is that art's materials are, in fact, a huge part of its gestural quality, the materials as a glimpse, or even manifestation, of the rawness, the primality, of art. Again, for Barthes, this "return" to the materials of art is not so much a move toward aestheticism as it is precisely a move toward the dislocation of meaning, an opening of possibility. In fact, the fairly conventional wisdom of traditional aesthetics between an art, which suggests that meaning in/of art rests solely in art's own tools and processes, and art, which suggests that meaning in/of art rests in its social, cultural or political contextualization, would seem a bit misguided to Barthes. If we are no longer as dependent upon particular claims as to the origins of meaning behind art, or even with respect the project of defining art-authorial intention being one crucial example for Barthes-then our engagement with any art can potentially allow for a much more creative reception.


Barthes, "Musica Practica," p. 149.

COMICMARKET is now held in Tokyo Harbor at the Tokyo International Trade Center also known as Tokyo Big Sight. The center houses six enormous halls, 80,000 square meters of space devoted to the exhibition and sale of comic books (dojinshi) created by amateurs. During the comic market's three days, 35,000 groups, consisting of perhaps as many as 100,000 young creators of dojinshi manga, sell their magazines to approximately 420,000 otaku (fans). (The term dojinshi was originally applied to manga-like fanzines, the hobby magazines and comic books produced by amateurs. means folks who share the same taste and means magazine. The term dojinshi has come to refer to both a club or circle of high school or college students who create their own comic books, and to the comic books themselves. The term otaku which is applied to the purchasers of dojinshi and manga implies a passionate or even fanatic desire to collect artifacts and information related to manga, anime, video games, and, of course, dojinshi.) COMICMARKET and the 2,000 or so other dojinshi comic markets held in Japan each year are, we think, the most easily identified phenomena in a vast visual subculture created mostly by teenagers and young adults mainly for themselves. How did the phenomenon begin?