An Ape Dressed as a Woman, and other challenges to the Philosophers

| November 22, 2010

Bataille The Big ToeFinally getting around to unpacking my books—and having recently been asked what kind of space I am talking about when I elaborate on the spatial narrative of education—I find the Encyclopedia Acephalica, from the Surrealists, opened in front of me.

I was trying to clarify that it was neither abstract nor “real” space that is operative in education, but a narrative in which these very spaces “take their place” as it were. This is no doubt an uneasy position. “What give you the right to tell this story from the outside?” I was recently challenged. Absolutely. It is already political. And there is no simple outside. Only, there is no easy inside either.

And so here I am, staring at a picture of an ape dressed as a woman.

Bataille et al. waste no time:

SPACE. — 1. Questions of Propriety. — It is not surprising that the mere utterance of the word space should introduce philosophical protocol. Philosophers, being the masters of ceremony of the abstract universe, have pointed out how space should behave under all circumstances.

Unfortunately space remains a lout, and it is difficult to enumerate what it engenders. It is as discontinuous as it is devious, to the utter dispair of its philosopher-papa.

Without being ables to say why, it seems that an ape dressed as a woman is no more than a division of space. In reality [ed: but where is this?!], the dignity of space is so well established and associated with that of the stars, that it is incongruous to assert that space might become a fish swallowing another.

Space would of course be far better off doing its duty and fabricating the philosophical idea in professors’ apartments!

Obviously it will never enter anybody’s head to lock the professors up in a prison to teach them what space is (the day, for example, the walls collapse before the bars of their dungeons).

There it was, tucked away in a box of books in this philosopher’s apartment. The discontinuous space, the way in which it is shaped up into a protocol of behavior, the place in which this happens, the difficulty of things entering heads, and learning as the awareness of space (only upon the prison being cracked open to the light.)

One should only note that this, too, is already a dream of the professors. We patiently build our prisons and wait for the day….