Books, de/composition, Fanposting

Human Muzak (Humak)

Tan Lin’s Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004. The Joy of Cooking is “A Field Guide to American (Generic) Cultural Forms, with chapters, sub-chapters and indexes on photography, cinema, architecture, lounge music, Donald Trump, Chloe Sevigny, Alain Ducasse, restaurants, obituaries, meta-data containers, Zagat’s Guide, painting, library, systems (theory), and landscape.” It is available on Lulu and from Walmart (only 4 copies left!).


“Like a photograph, I believe everything that was once imaginary takes place on a surface that is real and cannot be repeated.”

“The page is a quadrant filled with various codes that resemble flags.”


“I have tried to remember this incident many times but the same image constantly assails me and I am no longer able to remember the date/time of the event or the age/size of my girlfriend/wife. I realize now that I have met her many times at many similar moments. Who is she? What is she doing at the moment I see her face? She is turning away and telling me that my project is ‘flawed.'”

“The realm of eros is alway a bureaucracy.”

“As anyone who has waited for something to arrive can tell you, half an emotion is better than a whole one. The most beautiful emotions are half-hearted.”

“Not looking at something is the highest compliment the eyes can pay to a landscape or face.”

“I am very inattentive when I fall in love. As I tell my girlfriend who is now my wife, remembrance is a form of neglect.”

“I have fallen out of love with Parker Posey quite a few times, in The House of Yes, in Party Girl and in Basquiat, and although each movie is different and unbearable to watch in its own way and in its own date/era, each time I fall in love is exactly the same as all the others. My wife looks like Parker Posey.”


“As Dieter Rot said of his chocolate sculptures: ‘The worms and bugs in my pieces are my employees. You must not disturb them; they have their job like any one of us.’ The most beautiful works deplete or eat information at regulated intervals just as a magnetic tape will gradually surrender all but the outlines of its audible information.”

“Like the idea of truth and the feelings we confuse with it, Ebbets Field, Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, and Fenway Park are outmoded pictorial concepts. In this they resemble the book, which is the exemplary product of an age when information was proprietary, hygienic, and stable. A book should be the weakest information pattern that is visible to the eye. Only in this way can it outlive its data.”

“As anyone who has read a book carelessly can tell you, forgetting a book is the most beautiful thing you can do to it.”

“Change is indistinguishable from stasis. Hence passengers tend to buy wasting assets in an airport: luxury items and other counter-stimulants to amnesia—perfume, alcohol, or cigarettes—products that realize their potential after their cellophane or wax seals are broken and they burn off or evaporate away.”


“Like most cookbooks, this two-in-one book was about repression and memory disorders. The language was arch, old-fashioned, colonial and depressing because the English used to describe pressed ducks and soy sauce and stir-fry and soup in dumpling or tin wok seemed too nostalgic to actually eat a meal in. What’s the use of a language if you cannot consume it? The language of true Chinese cooking is very spare and very very thin, just like a recipe or a very fine novel. To be able to eat in Chinese you must also be able to cook in Chinese. To be able to cook in Chinese you must be able to see the food first.”