27 04 2007

that’s how panda pronounces metafiction.

some of my brain cells just died forever.

finished the very gruelling metafiction exam this morning and i don’t think my eyes have opened any wider at the sight of any other exam questions.

for me, the problem with postmodern literature is that it’s totally great to read and all, because it’s a site of alot of contention so there’s plenty to think and discuss about tradition versus innovation, intertextuality, multiple epistemologies and the pitfalls of mise en abyme etc. in other words, it never gets boring. i should know. i could never go back to willingly reading pre-modernist lit again. the trouble is actually writing about pomo lit, of which metafiction is one aspect of. when you’re thinking about the novel in your head or discussing it, there isn’t really a need for a coherent “answer” and more often than not, thought processes are more fruitful precisely when you cannot pin down a particular point of view. imagine the concept of the rhizome ala deleuze and guattari, where you have multiple nodes, each connected to other multiple nodes, so there’s a definite richness in pomo lit and its potential for multiple layers of meaning that are in perpetual animation because the text simply does not tie itself down. 

which also spells exam hell. and i also suppose that the trouble with pomo lit, unlike a more traditional mode like the victorian realist novel, is that it’s such a new ideology of writing and reading that much of what has been written or said about it is really a series of questions in the phraseology of academic critique. everyone knows what it is not, but no one really knows what it is.

or maybe i should say that no one dares claims to know what it is.

anyhow, on a much much much happier note, i got back my metafiction essay from my lecturer before the exam started. i was supposed to get it back from her office last week, but i was terrified at the prospect of seeing her, since i had to get an extension for the essay for the first time in my life, thus very highly probably falling from grace. even then, thanks to writer’s block i.e. brain-deadness, i still managed to hand it in 7 hours late. which was how long it took me to finally sit down and get it out. so when my lecturer handed the essay to me with a frown (for email-ing her the essay instead of submitting a hardcopy), i figured the expected horrible exam was going to start on a bad note but i actually got an A+ for it! and the best essay prize of a new book! yay!!! *super huge great big beam* i have no idea what title it is but i’m hoping its a fantasy one. children of hurin!

speaking of which, fantasy writing is really not all fluff (harry potter is not in the equation here by the way. i refuse to glorify an extended children’s fairy tale. it’s mother goose for the star wars generation). the trope of an alternate universe is a great avenue to start thinking about alternative ways of approaching the concept of a singular experienced reality. presented with an alternative universe with its own series of narratives, myths and codes, one can also begin to examine the authenticity of the idea of universal meta-narratives, around which our own narratives are organized. which brings me to the point that it irks me when ppl say that fantasy writing is crap since it’s all about escapism (which is a stupid statement btw, cuz this pretty much invalidates all literature since even the most mimetic of fictional realities are all still constructs). i suppose fantasy is ostensibly more “escapist” than other literary genres, but the pertinent question it asks is, what does escaping into a different realm allow us to see about our own? fantasy to me is an oblique way of criticizing the centre from the periphery and reinvigorates the interrogation of the centre as we know it by postulating an external perspective.

i am rambling. my brain is in overdrive.

anyway, i love tolkien and his son just edited and published possibly the last book that can be posthumously written, “the children of hurin”. the idea of tolkien from the grave is rather disquieting.

jane is bored. i need to be typing my resume but i hate it.

i took a chance with my metafiction essay and wrote about the concept of meta-art instead, of which meta-painting and metafiction are branches of. it was my sneaky way of getting around the writer’s block by talking about something i’m more familiar with. i love magritte. he is the perfect epitome of how conceptual art doesn’t have to look like something a cat with paint on its paws can scratch out. not a big modern art fan. magritte is completely interesting in that while he propagates the oldest notion of aesthetic theory, that of mimesis, in his representation of images, the way he constructs his paintings ironically undermines the assumed function of mimesis-as-truth in art. magritte turns mimesis and knowledge predicated on seeing as experience, to show that the “truth in appearances” is paradoxically to be found in the form of the “appearance” of the canvas surface and not what is seen in reality and the only epistemology is the epistemology of inifinite representation.    

favourite magritte paintings! since i’m bored. plus on a basic superficial level they appeal to the bimbo in me. they’re pretty. =)

this is hilarious. classical concepts of mimesis, especially during the renaissance with the addition of linear perspective, was analogized as the canvas being a window frame and that the painter should paint exactly from nature as he sees outside the window. maybe i’m the only one who finds it funny when an academic concept is taken literally. moving on.

i find magritte really unsettling sometimes. he painted the empire of lights at least ten times, right until he died and there’s something mystical about a night scene below a daytime sky that i just can’t pin down. it’s surprising cuz you don’t expect to see the two go together and until now, i’m still not sure what the purpose of the juxtoposition is. or maybe it’s a trap and there’s not supposed to be a purpose. the purpose is to recognize that there is no purpose and art is an arbitrary construction of an alternate reality. let’s just panic and keel over.

it’s a mermaid!!! i love this. so totally hilarious. it’s amazing how even though this SO does not look like a conventional mermaid, the image of a mermaid that one uses as a yardstick to judge this as “odd”, immediately comes to mind. it’s amazing how the mind and cultural knowledge works in such a way that it makes the imaginative leap and closes the gap between the arbitrary signifier and the signified, such that human + fish = mermaid, so what if it’s the wrong part of the human and the wrong part of the fish. even the very recognition that it is wrong stems from flipping into the memory bank of how a mermaid should look like. semiotic signifiers. nice.

back to one of magritte’s pet themes of seeing as non-epistemology that challenges mimetic art as illusory truth. one can see everything about a scene and yet know nothing.

likewise, you can also read an interpretation into something that you cannot totally see because a fragment of the signifier is all that is needed for the mind to make the imaginative leap. like the image of that famous dalmation made up of dapped shadows.

i’m annoyed. i can’t find my ultimate no. 1 favourite magritte picture of his bowler hat man with botticelli’s spring on his back online. at times like this i wish i had my laptop with me. or a portable hard disk drive with everything.

i love magritte and i am boring myself with extreme geekdom. time to write that resume.




3 responses

27 04 2007

those images are so surreal.. I like the “fish head” (mmm.. reminds me of curry) and “chesire cat kiss”.

I’m a big fantasy fan too, I’m sure you’ve read the Dark Material Trilogy by Philip Pullman. What do you think of it?

30 04 2007


i know it’s very famous but i’ve only read the golden compass. =( been meaning to read the subtle knife and the amber spyglass though. on a completely trivial note, i loved iorek and his whole warrior polar bear kingdom! i mean, you don’t normally get talking polar bears in fantasy. it’s normally elves and druids and other graceful flying creatures or dragons but never polar bears in armour fighting over a throne.

11 09 2008
» Blog Archive

[…] MEE-tafiction […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: