“There are a lot of people like that. They do no little harm by virtue of their sheer, stupid inertia, lost in between all camps, in the no-man’s-land of their own confusion. They are fair game for anybody. They can be turned into fascists just as quickly as they can be pulled into line with those who are really Reds.”
— Thomas Merton
“And that may be true of a future age as well. Our grandchildren may discover that technological progress, for all its gifts, is the exception rather than the rule. It works wonders within its own walled garden, but it falters when confronted with the worst of the world and the worst in ourselves. Indeed, it may be that rather than concealing difficulty and relieving burdens, the only way forward in the most tenacious human troubles is to embrace difficulty and take up burdens—in Dr. King’s words, to embrace a ‘dangerous unselfishness.'”
Q: If you could add one book to your list, what would it be?
A: It would be Jay Fellows’s book The Failing Distance: The Autobiographical Impulse in John Ruskin. It’s about Ruskin’s distrust of the Renaissance perspective and how it “fails.” Fellows, a literary critic, taught at the Cooper Union, and this theoretical book influenced Hejduk’s work. Fellows’s work is about relationships between perception and conception. No one has ever described these relationships in quite this way. For me, the schism in world culture—in knowledge—is reducible to the war between the eye and the brain. He has in effect written an amazing analysis of aesthetics. It’s a treatise on distance and perspective, about flatness in painting and drawing, as it affects the so-called biographical subject.
Toshiko Mori in ‘Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books’ by Jo Steffens