Majken Jacoby

Strange Beauty

Now and then my two and a half year old grandchild moves into the cupboard in which I keep porcelain. The keyhole of the cupboard is right at the level of her face, and she can open the door by pulling at the key. Moving backward she places her diaper-padded bottom on the lowest shelf among plates and bowls. She sits for a while until she stands up again and closes the door behind her. She fetches her small toy animals, opens the door and sits down on the shelf once more. The animals are given a place, the horse here, no there, and the sheep there. Bowls, plates and dishes become their strange landscape of glass and porcelain: up in that blue bowl goes the white sheep and behind that flowered plate goes the brown horse.
The child sings a little and moves the animals around. Then she stands up and fetches more. Little by little sheep, horses, pigs, cars, balls and pieces from a puzzle inhabit the cupboard. She moves everything around from one place to another, from one bowl or pile of dishes to another, until something seems to fit. For a while and until it does not fit anymore. My things she leaves alone. She speaks and sings all the time, uncertain of what and to whom.
This play can go on for a long time. It develops within the rather fixed frame consisting of the key, the cupboard and its door. Apart from removing the porcelain standing in the way of her playing and which I would hate to see crushed on the floor, my role is to help if the key falls out of the keyhole; a small but decisive function, because without pulling at the key she cannot open the door of the cupboard.
I do not doubt that she is enjoying herself. As am I. The play moves me in a way I cannot quite account for. Could one call it beautiful?Læs mere...

Thoughts on Expression and the Other Person

Expression’s condition and the field of the human being
One of the basic perspectives and challenges of the thinking of Merleau-Ponty is that the elements of his thoughts are interdependently connected and constituting one another. One conception or element cannot be captured without considering the others. To lay out a “first” and a “second”, i.e. first we may consider an expressing, sensing “I” and secondly, there is “the other person”, is bracketing the fact that they come together.Læs mere...

The Necessity of Form

Beauty tends to come unexpectedly. It sneaks up on us and takes us by surprise. Certainly we take pleasure in anticipation of the beauty of, say, the Echo Aria from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio heard many times before, and in that case we know exactly what to expect. Not always, though, do we succeed in really listening to it; but if we do, it is as if we hear it for the first time. We are surprised anew.
At times very little takes us by surprise, more often than not when we long the most for it. Nothing much affects us. Things and events around us reach us only like an indifferent echo from a distance. No aria anymore, beauty has gone.Læs mere...

Drawing Writing: Reflections on Trash-Text

In my attempts at catching the thoughts not yet thought, I go to the computer. After a while, I grab a pencil and write on paper. Then I go back to the computer. I keep moving back and forth between the two kinds of writing. The purpose is the same. The possibilities of expression, however, differ.
When I lose track, when I search for an overview and stubbornly want to get a grip on what will not order itself and fall into place, I write by hand on paper. Suddenly, then, it happens that the writing of the hand - or is it that of the pencil? - starts to write its own way; it scribbles itself free of the well-ordered patterns of writing and begins to dream, forgetting that writing has an officially assigned meaning to its squiggles, a set symbolic translation of its looks; instead, it is as if the traces on the paper start to point to themselves. They pursue their own sign-making, away from the conceptual determination of words. Reflection yields to the imagining of hand and material, a sensuous engagement of graphic mark-making and the pencil’s small scratching sounds.Læs mere...