Maarten Doorman is a Professor of Criticism of Arts and Culture in the department of Media Studies (University of Amsterdam) and teaches philosophy at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University Maastricht, and at University College Maastricht. He is also known for his poetry and his criticism.
He was editor of the literary magazines De Tweede Ronde (1987-1991), Hollands Maandblad (1994-2000), and the philosophical journal Krisis (1994-1995). He is a respected critic of philosophy, poetry and history of ideas for the leading newspapers NRC Handelsblad (1987-2005), Vrij Nederland (1988-1990), and de Volkskrant (1993-1995, and since 2006). He has been a contributor for various journals and newspapers with articles on philosophy, the visual arts, media and literature.
His last books are Art in Progress. A Philosophical Response to the End of the Avant-Garde (2003), De romantische orde (2004) and Paralipomena (2007). Doorman has participated in many radio and television programms (as in the television programm Zeeman met boeken, 1997-2002) and is a well regarded intellectual in the Netherlands. In February 2012 his new book, Rousseau en ik, will appear.
see also http://www.nlpvf.nl/basic/auteur1.php?Author_ID=65 and
The Romantic Imperative (De romantische orde, 2004)
How the Romantic ideal has become entangled in its own paradoxes
Modernism and postmodernism are the pivotal concepts that Western man uses in his attempts to come to grips with his situation in the early years of this new millennium. But in The Romantic Imperative, philosopher and poet Maarten Doorman shows us that our contemporary way of life is actually influenced more than we may realise by the Romantic revolution of the early nineteenth century. For it was then that people began seeing themselves not as creatures who existed, but as creatures who became, who were in possession of an authentic 'I' that was more than the sum of their strict societal roles, and who had received the calling to be creative.
Two centuries later, that call is still heard clearly, even in the remotest corners of our culture. In the panorama Doorman presents to his readers, the modern world appears as a bundle of contradictions that can only be understood when seen in the light of their common Romantic background. With an easy and natural erudition, he shows us how the Romantic ideal has become entangled in its own paradoxes: the belief in an authentic 'I' led to the discovery of the subconscious; the imperative of self-realization led to the awareness of alienation; the glorification of the imagination resulted in a banal culture of self-gratification. Although the artist has been elevated to the status of genius, this has also caused the work of art itself to gradually fade into the background. And those who have heeded the Romantic summons to be aware of national identities have, finally, also been unable to resist the temptation of creating for themselves a largely fictitious, and preferably illustrious, past.
The Romantic Imperative is a lucid look at a culture in a state of crisis, prompted by its failure to understand its own motivating forces. Doorman clearly shows us not only the roots of this confusion, but also the challenge it poses for such diverse fields of endeavour as history, the arts and the body of thought concerning nations and democracy.
With true virtuosity, the author shuttles back and forth between the founders of Romanticism (Herder, Schiller, Byron, Novalis, Nietzsche and Rousseau) and their heirs: from Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Koons to Pierre Boulez, Marcel Duchamps and Andy Warhol. In Doorman's view, Woodstock and the events of May 1968 were the culmination of a process that lasted two hundred years, a process which now seems about to collapse under its own contradictions, but one which Western culture is still unable to get along without.
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a. Criticism, authority and internet. About criticism and the web
b. With the playfullness of young animals. An introduction to the work of Marijke van Warmerdam
Criticism, authority and internet
Some years ago the restaurant critic of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Jeremy Iggers, described a fascinating paradox. When he began his career as a critic he had far more authority than he realised. In the first years, he writes, his status as a critic was not so much grounded on real expertise but rather on the authority of the newspaper he was writing for. But, strangely enough, after more than 30 years of experience as a food critic, his authority has actually diminished. By now he has encountered more and more resistance from readers who tell him that what he writes is just his opinion, one among many other opinions as valuable as his...
Since this Jeremy Iggers is not just a hard boiled critic of a century gone by, he occasionally invites readers to call in with comments on the restaurants he himself is criticising, so that he can include their remarks at the bottom of his column. Most readers are quite positive about brand-name restaurants like the Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood. And they get angry if he protests against their generic tasteless food, high in salt and fat and low in other flavours and nutritional value: always those deep-fried calamari and that boring Caesar salad! His readers tell him he is prejudiced against chain restaurants and, by the way, who does he think he is to be so critical about a restaurant that afforded them such an unforgettable evening?
Iggers explains that not every opinion is of the same value and that it is possible to disagree with the help of argument. But what is more interesting here is the fact that criticism as such has lost much of its status, in other fields as well, such as culture and the arts. Discussions about culture in the public sphere have changed and we can see this on the internet and in the blogosphere, being part, if not the main cause, of this development. Not everybody is happy with the disappearance of this traditional type of criticism, which has been replaced, in the view of many people - artists and public alike - by nihilism and amateurism.
One of the most provoking comments on the possibilities of how the internet can be optimistically utilised came from Andrew Keen. In his book The Cult of the Amateur (2007), he protested against the public enthousiasm towards how the internet has a positive influence in bringing democracy to the public sphere. The subtitle of his book didn't hide much of Keen's feelings about this: How today's internet is killing our culture. Keen describes how the authority from specialists is systematically undermined and claims that most of the information and opinions we receive are a form of amateurism and are quite often a result of manipulation.
Although The Cult of the Amateur is a provoking book against simplistic optimism towards the internet, Keen's criticism can also be perceived as simplistic. The book stands in a tradition of conservative (American) criticism of culture that warns against the end of civilisation, like Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death or E.D. Hirsch's Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs To Know. The answer to the problems he presents is not very satisfying, not getting much further than a call for more rules and a mental change of attitude.
This is all the more disappointing because the problems he puts forth are serious enough in the field of criticism of arts and culture. Most internet sites seem to provide no more than an accumulation of personal opinions, lacking serious argumentation; while at the same time critics of the so called traditional media loose their authority. They are seen as elitist, too intellectual, arrogant and undemocratic. But on the other hand, this opposition against traditional criticism and internet criticism is oversimplified. All too often we overestimate criticism from the past decades, because we selectively remember the best of it and forget the rest. And there do exist some good critical sites related to the arts, apart from the sites of the traditional newspapers and magazines.
I can't remember any period in the last century when there was no crisis in criticism. But even if the crisis is business as usual, it cannot hurt to analyse it. If we consider the crisis as it is seen in art criticism of the last decade (art criticism in the broader sense of the word) the question arises as to what extent the problems do originate from the global world of internet. I see 5 aspects in this contemporary crisis.
1. Postmodern relativism. In The Death of the Critic (2007), Ronan McDonald describes the new gap between the university and journalism. The former studies literature from a postmodern perspective; especially in Cultural Studies. The universities are producing a form of criticism that is highly theoretical or political, avoiding a more aesthetical approach that can be helpful in a critical evaluation of literature (his argument can be applied to other arts as well). Journalism on the other hand is becoming more and more popularized, replacing evaluation with entertainment. So art criticism is threatening to become reduced to amusement. Or, to put it in postmodern terms, art criticism is being presented only for the sake of argument in an ideological context. (cf. Bourdieu)
2. The quantity of culture. Never before have we had so many opportunities and so much information. The consumption of culture has been growing for years and the accessibility to its products and the possibilities to obtain knowledge about them have increased enormously. Literature, film, theatre, visual arts, all kinds of music, they are all available on the spot, on the world wide web, in shops and in the street. So, to determine what is important and what is not has become more and more difficult, and we are constantly with the feeling that everything is somewhat arbitrary.
3. Commercial influence. Consumers are getting more selfconfident. As we have seen, the visitors of the Hard Rock Cafe don't want to have it explained to them what is good food and what is not. The public becomes more and more of what is called a cultural omnivore, mixing high with low culture and criticism with advertisements. Where bestsellers and success used to be suspect in the age of the avant-garde, nowadays they have rather become rather more of a recommendation for the quality of a work. And art criticism itself has become commercialised as well, analysis being replaced by personal interviews and criticism being presented as consumer information using stars or bullets...
4. Crisis in newspapers and magazines. The so-called traditional media don't have an appropriate answer to the huge amount of free information on the internet, and they don't succeed in attracting young readers. As a result, criticism has become more limited. Editors are afraid that it will be seen as elitist and difficult; yet this is precisely where the traditional media could make a difference from the digital world.
5. Suspicion of the elite. Populism is not merely a political phenomenon, as we already saw in the Hard Rock Cafe. Scepticism of all authority may be even stronger in the cultural field, where a negative stance towards high culture and traditional art has become a common attitude for better or worse. This broad scepticism concerning the concept of good taste and critical evaluation devalues any presentation of criticism in the media.
What aspects of this crisis are actually related to the internet? I think neither postmodern relativism nor commercial influence nor suspicion of the elite are typical phenomena of the digital world, although they are present everywhere on the web. But the quantity and the accessibility of culture, as well as the economical and journalistic crisis in the world of newspapers and magazines are indeed related to the internet. The first mentioned??is the most interesting here, for it is related to many other current problems in criticism. The huge amount of cultural items, and all the information about these things, manifest themselves in a flat, indeciferable horizontal way rather than in a hierarchal stratification. With the fifth problem in mind, suspicion towards the elite, we can understand why any critical evaluation is becoming more difficult, to say the least.
However the difference between the world wide web and what is sometimes too rhetorically called the old world is not as important as is often suggested. Quite a few prophets of the new digital world as well as their critics (like Andrew Keen) simplify the gap. Most of the developments in the field of criticism are as relevant for the internet as for traditional newspapers and magazines (that are present on the web as well). And as for the differences, I am not so sceptical of the possibilities of criticism on the internet. Apart from analyzing what is wrong with Keen's sceptical approach, we can ask what the new possibilities are. Much has been said about this already, about interaction between criticism and public and the commercial possibilities as well, but I think there is one aspect that hasn???t been discussed so much until now.
What hasn't been practised so much is a kind of criticism that makes use of the possibility to paste moving pictures and sound (music) in texts in a way that allows you to 'stay in the text'. To explain what I mean, it would be helpful to consider what is so special about a poetry review. This kind of review is the only one that can include fragments of poetry in the text as part of an argument, if the fragment doesn't exceed a few lines. You can stay in the text and read the lines without losing your focus on the line in the review. Although sometimes you can find this procedure in blogs about films, you hardly ever see this practice in serious criticism on the web. Sometimes we get the trailer of a film and sometimes what is written about the film has to do with what we see in the trailer, but even then the trailer is too long to be part of an argument. In music reviews (especially concerning popular music) or blogs, quite often you get a link to the song that is being discussed, but hardly ever a critical remark (positive or negative) is linked to a fragment of say 15 seconds to illustrate what the critic wants to argue.
The problem of practising this simple procedure is - apart from copyrighting and some technical difficulties - primarily a problem of style. A critic has to learn to write in a similar way as in a traditional poetry review, linking fragments to argument and choosing the right fragment at the right moment... In other words I think that much of the internet criticism in the field of film, music, dance and theatre can be much more interesting and rich with the help of this technique or practice.
And it is with this positive example that I want to conclude, to show how the quality press can distinguish itself on the internet since the 'traditional' newspapers and magazines always have had??the best writing critics. Those media venues should develop a new generation of critics who can provide the reader with reviews and criticism that use the new visual and audio possibilities without compromising a serious line of argument in a well written text.
(Lecture on the Conference about Journalism, Media and Culture, University of Amsterdam, 4 June 2010)
With the playfulness of young animals
It's called Roeren in de verte (Stirring in the Distance) and it lifts you up.
This film, from 2004, shows a tea-cup on a table in front of a window. It's snowing outside. A hand stirs a spoon in the cup, then puts the spoon down. The snow starts falling more slowly. It is the only thing that is moving. That is why you look at it, at the steadily falling flakes. And in the same way as you sometimes imagine yourself moving along as the train beside you pulls out, so you suddenly feel yourself being lifted up by the falling snow. Is this perhaps what moves you when it snows - because it lightens you up?
Marijke van Warmerdam's work often lifts you up momentarily. Whether it is the gold rubbish bins in Amsterdam North, the film loop of the showering man shown at Schiphol Airport for several years or the filmed elephant's eye displayed in a small concrete structure highly reminiscent of an elephant's thick skin at Sonsbeek. This is not to say you keep feeling you're physically going up. But you are being lightened up, even lifted up out of something. Out of what though? Out of the everyday life of things around us? No. You are being lifted up out of your normal way of looking, and so, through this work, fall straight back into reality. Only to be amazed by what you see. 'Van Warmerdam's film and video loops,' Chrissie Iles rightfully remarks in the It crossed my mind catalogue (2000), 'make evident the fundamentally paradoxical nature of everyday life, and the impossibility of defining the real.'
But van Warmerdam's work not only lifts you up metaphorically. The images themselves are filled with rising and falling, with flying up and coming down, such that it is difficult to deny a desire to leave the solid ground of reality. Take Aeroplanes (1994), for instance. In this intriguing film loop, enormous aeroplanes are filmed frontally, landing or taking off. Because of the distance and the heat and the power of the engines, the air shimmers and the runway reflects. The aeroplanes melt into one, like oncoming traffic on hot asphalt in the distance. They start moving, like live animals, veering towards us like imaginary birds with five legs and weak knees, and, once even, four wings ??? because of the reflection on the tarmac. They alternately land and take off, always face on. The landing aeroplanes sink down through five vague horizontal lines of what could be an open Venetian blind in front of the window through which filming is taking place, all the while playing a slightly lower note on that heavenly staff. This sounds almost too poetic. But blame it on the images.
Especially the earlier work - until around 1998 - is infused with flying and falling, with leaving the earth in every way possible. It happens in van Warmerdam's by now well-known films like Handstand (1992), in which a girl repeatedly makes a handstand against a wall then falls back again, in the previously mentioned Shower (1995), where a man stands endlessly under streaming water, in the large-format photograph Pancake (1995), where a pancake hovers briefly in the air above a pan like a planet, in the video bumper Diving Ducks (1994), where ducks dive down and resurface, in Rice (1995), where rice is poured from a basket, and in Football (also from 1995), where a boy balances a football on his head for nine century-long minutes ??? until it falls, the ball that is.
Then there are the fifty helium-filled balloons (1994) which, unlike Andy Warhol's Silver Clouds, can't rise up because they are tied to soft drink cans with coloured ribbons. And the slightly depressing film Jump (1994), in which a man keeps doing somersaults from a standing position. In the film loop Le retour du chapeau (1998), a hat manages to stay afloat and even comes back like a boomerang, possibly because of the air rising up out of the canyon beneath it, and in Skytypers (1997), five fighter jets in the distance trace a pattern of white lines across the sky - again that inscrutable staff for which we may write the music - although the lines themselves, breaking up into a kind of Morse code, are inevitably tracing something quite different.
All this flying and floating isn't escapism. At times you might think it is - when you see yet another clear blue sky or, as a spectator, find yourself riding a bicycle, handlebars out front, with no hands (With No Hands, 2004). In this film loop, you are suddenly airborne, soaring over fields like a Baron Munchausen, with laundry hanging on the lines somewhere below. Then, before long, you find yourself back on a very Dutch road under a cloudy sky again. There is no escapism here. Nor do you fantasise when you find yourself in a surrealistic setting like in Le retour du chapeau, or in Weather Forecast (2000), a film of an overflowing bath on a wooden floor with sunlight streaming in through a window, alternated with mist, cloudbursts and even a huge clump of ice suddenly being slung into the bath from above. Reality never disappears from view, is never abandoned for fantasies or deep philosophising or vague utopianism.
Take the little white feather in The Wind of Life (2010). In this film, one of four to a composition by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen, leaves swirl up in the wind and sand, and bits of plastic dance across a desolate industrial site with the playfulness of young animals - followed by the camera, like that famous little plastic bag carried along so dolefully by the wind in American Beauty. But these things are not alone. At one moment a little feather floats in front of the lens, a lone white feather rising ever higher against metre upon metre of dark brick, until it reaches the blue sky and, turning and twirling, finally returns to the ground again to merge with the whirling sand and withered brown leaves.
The title of this work invites a psychological reading. But such a reading flattens what you see too much. Of course it is a metaphor for life, and what goes up must come down, don't be mistaken. But it also deals with a more abstract pleasure: the way that little feather, dissolving into air and light, becomes unreal at first, then normal again, and then returns. And is thus a loop within a loop - a spatial loop within a temporal loop - and lifts us up. Because the air stirs it like paint. Van Warmerdam's work is playful; it stirs and moves (no pun intended) in the distance at the same time. As in Skytypers, where the flying jets make a loop in the sky. And the ascending and descending aeroplanes from 1994: also spatial loops in temporal loops, because they return to the ground and take off again. And the stirring in the tea-cup mentioned at the beginning of this essay, likewise a circular movement. Many of van Warmerdam's loops are simultaneously circles in time and space
In a formalistic sense, this fits closely with the geometric circles and spheres that appear in her sculptures, photographs and films: round holes, a basket, a hassock, buttons, stickers, a hoop, round mirrors, a pancake, glasses, cups, saucers, sand-moulds, balls, bells, balloons. And, not to be forgotten, the round spools of rattling projectors. But that is not what is important here. What is important is that the round shapes seem to deny the endless movement of the straight lines. We keep ending up where we started. And that is why the loop is a characteristic shape in van Warmerdam's work. It isn't out to tell, but to show. Or rather, to invite looking.
In order to do that, you need to stop things. Paradoxically enough, this is precisely what happens in her films. Repetition and circling undermine the narrative; movement doesn???t become stillness, it is stillness. Or, as the artist herself puts it in an interview with Jelena Novak (25 March 2010): ???Opposite to a painting, film is never static and tends strongly to become a story. I am on the other hand quite interested in creating a kind of stillness or even sometimes stand-stillness in film. Abstraction and lack of narration help me to obtain this.???
In the catalogue for van Warmerdam???s solo exhibition Enkel, dubbel, dwars (Single, Double, Crosswise) at the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in 1997, both Jan Debbaut, former director of collections of the Tate museums in London, and Lynne Cooke, chief curator at the Museum Reina Sof??a, already referred to the fact that, seen in this way, van Warmerdam???s films are more like paintings. And, who knows, perhaps one can even go a step further and ??? because of their almost phenomenological take on things and despite their visible movement ??? see them as still lifes.
Of course what you see in Dream Machine (2006) is a drop of milk dissolving spectacularly in a glass of water. Yet despite all the dynamics of that dissolving - the apparent explosions and clouds of ash and steam, filmed close-up and with strong lighting - in the end it is not so different from the peeled lemon in Willem Kalf's seventeenth-century still life: the lemon has just been peeled, it will still shrivel and lose its sheen; the wine in the rummer has just been poured and will shortly be drunk or disposed of. It is precisely because of this careful stopping of things that we immediately sense that the light will disappear and the fruit will rot. Movement is most palpable in stillness. Like transience.
Movement in van Warmerdam's work makes you feel stillness so poignantly that you might even see much of her art as a contemporary version of the traditional still life. For isn't there also a lot of melancholy in it, albeit deceptively well concealed in the commonplace and unexpected of the things around us that she films? And I am not even thinking of the film De hemel van de dingen (The Heaven of Things), from 2004, where objects appear to have landed in heaven or oblivion because they have been taken out of time or become part of a personal past: a Dutch Aap-Noot-Mies reading primer, a typewriter, two rubbish bags, a play-pen, a colander. Or of her Safe and Sour piece from the same year, itself almost a pastiche of the still life: an empty bird's nest and a half-peeled lemon on a sky blue-painted board. But you can scarcely deny transience in the water streaming eternally over the man under the shower (where Heraclitus, in the absence of a shower, was obliged to use the image of a river when he observed that everything goes and nothing stays). Nor can you ignore the idea of vanitas in films such as Empty House, from 1997, with its quickly alternating images of stripped, starkly lit rooms, or Echo, also from 1997, in which a barren mountain range echoes the voice of a shouting man. Or Imagine, from 2003, with its half-filmed wooden horses from an old carousel. Or In the distance, from 2010, with the elderly couple sitting on a bench outside, the view of whom is obstructed by drops of condensation on a windowpane, though a hand momentarily wipes away the condensation.
And then there are the effects of the propelling wind in van Warmerdam's work. The more sensitised you become to them, the more the Book of Ecclesiastes is evoked. We saw that blowing in the film with the white feather, and in that forceful displacement of air by those aeroplanes. We see blow-dried hair billowing up in Blondine (1995), fluttering blue strips in Splash (2000) and fields waving in the wind in Wake Up! and Wave (both from 2006). And there is wind in her recent 'painted' film stills like Blossom / Hurricane and Blossom / Mistral (both from 2010), and in very early work like the billowing sculpture Harde wind (Strong Wind, 1991).
Yet such a reading doesn't quite fit. It makes van Warmerdam too literary, too narrative and too psychological for the inescapable visual idiom she uses. While her work often seems melancholic, it simultaneously always puts that melancholy into perspective, or makes light of it.
Take Another Planet (1998), for example. Building on the fighter jets from Skytypers, we see six letters flying towards us. Together they form the words the end (like in a film). We pause briefly on the second 'e', until all at once the letters shoot away from us, as in a loop, to become just a speck in the distance. You know it???s over. Then suddenly three letters jump out at you again and you see the word and.
But it doesn't stop there. In Plenty (1997), a light-green plastic laundry basket seemingly overflows with large-format business cards with the word and written on them, or und or og or y or other equivalents of that magic conjunction. Another Day (2011) is a series of silk-screens with sunrises in many colours, apparently a continuation of the 1996 posters with the words good days and bad days written at the top and bottom respectively in a similar white letter. Maybe those suns are actually setting; as in a Caspar David Friedrich landscape, you are never quite sure. But there is always a new day. You may think things pass, and they do, but not for ever. Art has long had the ambition to depict this. After several decades of postmodernism, though, it is probably no longer realistic. We have become too sceptical to believe in transcendence or timelessness. Yet sometimes we manage it for a moment, like here, of all things, in this seemingly so down-to-earth work. Through words and images, eyes and ears - and a few grey cells. Through the mysterious workings of the imagination.
The hat in Le retour du chapeau, completed not long after the posters, floats over a canyon and comes back. This piece was made for the Wilhelmina Children's Hospital in Utrecht, and every child admitted to the hospital receives a replica of that hat. In a 2003 wall drawing which hangs in the Hoftoren, the then new headquarters of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in The Hague, an ape-man walks through evolution. It is called Vooruit! (Forwards!) - because civil servants need an incentive. Tomorrow, a large photograph from 2004, outlines the profile of a person with a carefree blade of grass between the lips against an azure sky. Yet interpreted in this way, these works become too simple. As if they aren't much more ambiguous and subtle than just an optimistic pat on the shoulder.
A more striking example of their imaginative power is Lichte Stelle (2000). Here we see a boy from behind, in yellow swimming trunks, gazing out over the water. Almost nothing moves. Bags filled with water hang on either side of him, probably his trouser pockets turned inside out. Occasionally drops of water escape from them. A duck swims by in the distance. The water reflects the trees on the opposite shore. After a moment those white bags and forked arms briefly give you the impression the boy has wings. It is a beguiling image and, together with him, you look unmistakably into the future. Naturally that future doesn't have to be a happy one; it rarely is. But, looking, together with him, you don???t quite feel that melancholy. The barely moving image is steeped in it but, at the same time, the serenity of what you see and that looking, together with the boy, make the thought of transience a bit laughable. We all know that hope - to use Schopenhauer's words - 'is the confusion of the desire for a thing with its probability'. But this image somehow defies such empirical wisdom: those vulnerable bare shoulder blades, that vague yet ineluctable suggestion that he will fly away soon. Just as the scraps of paper, the plastic and the little feather were filmed so intimately against the bricks that, instead of garbage, they become a collection of things playing outside.
Somewhere in there lies Marijke van Warmerdam's power. More than unbridled cheerfulness, it is untiring, hard-won carefreeness that makes her work so convincing. It is contemplative without being escapist, often humorous without being silly, hybrid yet seldom replaceable, lighthearted without losing sight of melancholy, never sentimental in its loving respect for things, shameless, simply, without forgetting the complexity of the current artistic discourse, and intuitive, yet executed with analytical precision.
Hers is an oeuvre that embraces life and that, in its vitality, moves effortlessly through the different genres of photography, sculpture, film, installation and, more recently, painting. He who seeks it may find something of Bruce Nauman's obsessiveness, Marcel Duchamp's conceptual anarchism, Warhol's unabashed embracing of mass culture, romantic landscapes, Gerhard Richter's versatility, seventeenth-century still lifes, surrealism - and so much more. But, ultimately, van Warmerdam's work distinguishes itself from all those predecessors and all those traditions through the deceptive simplicity of its declaration of love - for life and the things around us.
No one stirs so close by in the distance.