DE RAGUEUR: EMBROIDERING THE POSSIBLE*
Maria Damon and Adeena Karasick
For the Latin terms haruspex, haruspicina are from an
archaic word haru "entrails, intestines" (cognate with hernia
"protruding viscera", and hira "empty gut"; PIE *ǵʰer-) and
from the root spec- "to watch, observe." The Greek ἡπατοσκοπία hēpatoskōpia
is from hēpar "liver" and skop- "to examine."
(or wrapped around your little finger)
Chew on this thread -- A popular Yiddish bubbe meise (old wives’ tale) is that it is customary to chew on a piece of thread whenever one is wearing a garment upon which someone is actively sewing; such as attaching a button or repairing a seam. For it may lead to the sewing up of one’s brains (“mir zollen nit farnayen der saychel”). Another Yiddish explanation for chewing on a thread is that burial shrouds are sewn around the remains of the deceased. Actively chewing while another is sewing on one’s garments is a clear indication that one is quite alive and not yet ready to be buried.
Spinning Wheels within Wheels.
Shatnez is cloth containing both wool and linen (linsey-woolsey)v which Jewish law, (derived from both Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:5, 22:9-11), prohibits wearing.
It is forbidden to wear wool and linen fabrics in one garment, as it highlights the interbreeding of different species of animals, and the planting together of different kinds of seeds.viInterestingly, throughout midrashic and Kabbalistic hermeneutics,
The Modern Hebrew word שעטנז means "mixture."
For texture is that which resists: graininess, frictional pleasure, creating meaning in its micro-challenges (the whorls and eddies of the fingerprint, nap of velvet). Texture as dirt/patina, the hermeneutic anomaly, the raised weal of flogged skin, the damask rose on the featherbed cover. Texture is to touch as timbre is to sound: its connective and collective tissue-event
the shmata riffs through shifting drifts; riffraff on the riprap, hiphop on the fly says it’s in the layering, the sampling, the folding, the labializing and origamizing of the surface. Upthrustings and seismic distressings of discursive topographies, spirings, abyssings and swirlings of sumptuous difference, glaring and subtle
the “im” is a disclaimer, i.e., not provided for; in the second
instance, improve, it is an
intensification, hyper-provided-for. Hybridity/hubris leads to the
marked by smooth grooves --
constellated in the
of the abyss
and the smoothest flower seen under a microscope reveals folds, fissures.
rapt in synthetic syncretics, syntactile and hybrid –
is an homage to hybridity itself:
And hybrid is related to the Greek hubris, wherein the rash arrogance and punishable
defiance of social norms brings strong or otherwise somewhat admirable men to
and notoriously improvisatory
all unpredictable and improvised
between the seen and re-seen
not the mis-en-scène but the missing scene
screamed between the seme and the seam
all that is interjected, bricolaged, diy’ed ‘n jerry-rigged
vortiginal Ouroboros of
ramped-up samples, simple amplitudes
leaving you in stitches
i wanna be dirty
altered shapes which are both visible and invisible,
in the Roman alphabet but highly attenuated
the shmata calls into question fronts, backs, topped
spectral and palimpsested space
scripted, rescripted, re-encrypted, cut –
i. Traduit. Fr. for translation.
ii. For more on the differences between Ribbonim and Rabbonim,
see Ari Elon in Big Jewish Blog, 2005.
iii. According to Rashi (10th C.) commenting on the Talmudic
account explains that Rava made his Golem "by means of the Book of
Formation". “An initiate should not do it alone but should always be
accompanied by one or two colleagues. The Golem must be made of virgin soil,
taken from a place where no man has ever dug. The soil must be kneaded with
pure spring water, taken directly from the ground. If this water is placed in
any kind of vessel, it can no longer be used. The people making the Golem must
purify themselves totally before engaging in this activity, both physically and
spiritually. While making the Golem, they must wear clean white vestments… One
must not make any mistake or error in the pronunciation… no interruption
whatsoever may occur…”
iv. Further outlined by Aryeh Kaplan in his translation and
commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah, creating a Golem was primarily not a physical
procedure, but rather, a highly advanced meditative technique. By chanting the
appropriate letter arrays together with the letters of the
Tetragrammaton, the initiate could form a very real mental image of a
human being, limb by limb… Once the conceptual Golem was completed, this
spiritual potential could be transferred to a clay form and actually animate
it. This was the process through which a physical Golem would be brought to
v. Eleazar of Worms, in his Commentary on Sefer
Yetzirah, that after kneading virgin soil from the mountains with pure water,
the first stage of creation is to form the "limbs" of the golem
("limb", in this case, seems to also represent the torso and head) .
Each limb has a "corresponding letter mentioned in Sefer Yetzirah",
and this letter is to be combined with every other letter of the Hebrew
alphabet to form pairs. Then a more general permutation is done (again for each
limb separately) of each letter of the Hebrew alphabet with every other letter
into letter pairs, "each limb separately". This second, basic method
of combination is called the "221 gates". Then you combine each letter
of the alphabet with each vowel sound (apparently for each limb). That
concludes the first stage, the formation of the golem's body. In the second
stage you must combine each letter of the alphabet with each letter from the
Tetragrammaton (YHVH) and pronounce each of the resulting letter pairs
with every possible vowel sound. In this case the use of the Tetragrammaton,
even though it is permutated, is the "activation word".
vi. Ab. vi. 5; Baraita; B. B. 145b; Tem. 16a; Ket. 103b;
Yer. Ter. iv. 42d.
vii. A strong, coarse fabric with a linen or cotton warp and
a woolen weft.
viii. Additionally, early writers, like Maimonides, state that the
prohibition was a case of the general law (Leviticus 20:23) against imitating Canaanite customs. Maimonides
wrote that: "the heathen
priests adorned themselves
with garments containing
vegetable and animal materials, while they held in their hand a seal of
ix. Sometimes referred to as Yoshu (Jesus). According to Ex
12:6, the paschal sacrifice had to be slaughtered in the afternoon, which
aligns perfectly with the time for the paschal sacrifice laid out in the
Mishnah, from the sixth to the ninth hours of the day. This was also the period
when Jesus was reportedly crucified: “Now from the sixth hour there was
darkness over all the land until the ninth hour” (Matt 27:45).
x. Julian Brolaski Talamantez
xi. Marc-Alain Ouaknin, “The Letter E,” The Secrets of the Alphabet:
The Origins of Writing. New York: Abbeville Press, 1999.
xii. Ouaknin, 94.
xiii. Jacques Derrida, Dissemination, translated by Barbara
Johnson, University of Chicago Press, 1981.
xiv. Paleolinguist and textile historian Elizabeth Barber
has suggested that, in the Odyssey, Penelope’s weaving by day and unweaving by
night is writing and unwriting a story. She observes that, had Penelope been
making a garment or bedding, the improbability of the task lasting seven years
would have tipped off her suitors to her ruse; however, if she’d been weaving a
tapestry depicting, say, her military superstar father’s triumphant return
after a significant battle, tapestry being the way the alphabetically
illiterate could “read the news” of history and fable, it was entirely likely
that such an ambitious project would take the seven years she managed to stave
them off, stalling for Odysseus’s return.
instance, improvisation, the “im” is a disclaimer, i.e., not provided for; in the second instance, improve, it is an intensification, hyper-provided-for. Hybridity/hubris leads to the unforeseen
Uncontaminated Rus Khomutoff