Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Point Omega, by Don DeLillo
Point Omega (2010) (novel) by Don DeLillo (White Noise (1985), Underworld (1997), The Body Artist (2001), Falling Man (2007)). Disturbing, masterful, spare; lucid and complex.
According to DeLillo, the novel considers an idea from “…the writing of the Jesuit thinker and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.” The ‘Omega Point’ of the title “…[is] the possible idea that human consciousness is reaching a point of exhaustion and that what comes next may be either a paroxysm or something enormously sublime and unenvisionable.” (According to Wikipedia, Teilhard makes sense of the universe by its evolutionary process. He interprets complexity as the axis of evolution of matter into a geosphere, a biosphere, into consciousness (in man), and then to supreme consciousness (the Omega Point). The Omega Point is said to denote the state of maximum organized complexity (complexity combined with centricity), towards which the universe is evolving.)
As on knows, omega (the last letter of the Greek alphabet) is often used to denote the last, the end, or the ultimate limit of a set, in contrast to alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet. In the New Testament, God is declared to be the “alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”. (Wikipedia)
Omega can equally be thought of as the end of death or even time, or as the name of the end; in linguistics, as the phonological word; in textual criticism, as the archetype of a manuscript tradition
At the end of Point Omega, DeLillo, in his “Acknowledgment”, writes: “24 Hour Psycho, a videowork by Douglas Gordon, was first screened in 1993 in Glasgow and Berlin. It was installed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the summer of 2006.” 24 Hour Psycho is the showing of Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic film thriller Psycho (1960) slowed down from its usual 24 frames per second, 109 minute running time, so that it runs 1440 minutes, or 24 hours, at approximately 2 frames per second. In Point Omega, the first and last sections of the DeLillo’s novel take place during a showing of 24 Hour Psycho.
24 Hour Psycho, as an artistic creation, deals with themes common to Gordon’s work, such as “recognition and repetition, time and memory, complicity and duplicity, authorship and authenticity, darkness and light”, as one can learn in an piece in The Guardian. Moreover, the slideshow and text accompanying it, as highly relevant as they are to DeLillo’s work, are fascinating in their own right.
With respect to the first edition cover of Point Omega, one could wonder at the presence of the sign for infinity, given the accepted literal and symbolic understanding of “omega” as, truly, the end. Conscious choice and interesting implications of infinite endings, or even, the end of infinity? Amusing joke? Artist’s choice? Coincidence? (PR)
We recommend that you buy your books. Have a wonderful personal library.
Posted in Art, Book Reviews, Conceptual Art, culture, Exhibitions, film, General, Installations, Language, Links, Literature, Museum & Gallery Shows, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible, Slide Shows | Tagged: 2010, 24 Hour Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock, Art, Book Reviews, books, Conceptual Art, contemporary art, Don DeLillo, Douglas Gordon, Falling Man, fiction, film, Infinity, Literature, MoMA, movies, Museum of Modern Art, New Testament, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible, Novels, Omega Point, Organised Complexity, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Point Omega, PR, Psycho, Slideshows, The Body Artist, The Guardian, Underworld, White Noise, Wikipedia, writing | 1 Comment »
Posted by the editors on Thursday, 21 April 2011
The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace, “a coherent, if incomplete, portrayal of our age unfolding on an epic scale”, or…
image: Illustration by Peter Mendelsund/The New York Times
Tom McCarthy, the British author (and, conceptual artist!) (his novels include the fascinating Remainder (2007), and the somewhat challenging C (2010)) has written a very interesting, and perhaps Wallace-ian, review of The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, in the Sunday Book Review section of The New York Times. One could have the impression that McCarthy has read Zadie Smith’s essay Two Directions for the Novel, in her collection of essays entitled Changing My Mind (2009)(marvelous, astute essays definitely worth
slogging through reading), in which she discusses, among other things, the authors Franz Kafka, Alain Robbe-Grillet, David Foster Wallace and, yes, Tom McCarthy; he, too, seems to admire the complications of the contemporary world. Or is it that he, too, appreciates clarity?
In any case, McCarthy’s excellent review of Wallace’s The Pale King is really quite, hmmm, enjoyable.
Read our previous posts on David Foster Wallace and The Pale King, David Foster Wallace – Piecing Together a Posthumous Novel, The Pale King; The Pale King – David Foster Wallace & the Staggering, Multifarious, Cacophonous Predicament; A Self-Help Reader for David Foster Wallace
Share this post on Twitter, Facebook, …
Posted in Book Reviews, Conceptual Art, culture, General, Language, Links, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: Alain Robbe-Grillet, Book Reviews, books, C, Changing My Mind, David Foster Wallace, Essays, Franz Kafka, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible, Peter Mendelsund, publishing, Remainder, Sunday Book Review, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Pale King, Tom McCarthy, Wikipedia, writing, Zadie Smith | 3 Comments »
Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 20 April 2011
A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
Jennifer Egan‘s “A Visit From the Goon Squad“, a “mostly dystopian”, splendidly eccentric novel has won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Read Janet Maslin’s review, entitled “Time, Thrashing to Its Own Rock Beat”, of Egan’s novel, “A Visit From the Goon Squad“, in The New York Times, here.
Limber up your neurons, time’s the goon here.
Share this post on Twitter, Facebook, …
Posted in Book Reviews, culture, General, Language, Links, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible, Our dog ate it, publishing | Tagged: A Visit From the Goon Squad, Book Awards, fiction, Janet Maslin, Jennifer Egan, Literature, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible, Pulitzer Prize, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2011, The New York Times, Wikipedia, writing | Leave a Comment »