With regard to the surpassing disaster, art acts like the mirror in vampire films: it reveals the withdrawal of what we think is still there. In normal times a nebulous entity despite the somewhat artificial process of canon-formation, tradition becomes delineated and specified by the surpassing disaster. Tradition is what conjointly materially survived the surpassing disaster, was immaterially withdrawn by it, and had the fortune of being subsequently resurrected by artists, writers, and thinkers.
Jalal Toufic is a thinker and a mortal to death. He was born in 1962 in Beirut or Baghdad and died before dying in 1989 in Evanston, Illinois. Many of his books, most of which were published by Forthcoming Books, are available for download as PDF files at his website: http://www.jalaltoufic.com. He is presently a guest for the year 2011 of the Artists-in-Berlin Program of the DAAD.
This lecture is on the occasion of the publication of the German translation of Toufic’s book The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster (Forthcoming Books, 2009) by August Verlag last month.