Friday, April 18, 2008

Baby Seeking Bathwater (now online)

Thanks to a used-books seller in Germany and to Amazon , I've managed to get hold of this late text by Daney in one of the Documenta books. It's now available on Steve Erickson's website.

Baby Seeking Bathwater

Originally published in Libération in two parts on 30 September and 1 October 1991. Published in English in Documenta Documents 2, 1996, Cantz Verlag. Translation by Brian Holmes.

It's an important article, written less than a year before Daney's death, at the height of his social criticism for long pieces in Libération. And it's perhaps the text where Daney ventures the furthest away from cinema and television (a simple poster triggers the article) toward broader social criticism.

The article also played a role in Daney's decision to quit writing about television. See his comments in an interview to Les inrockuptibles: "There is one problem though: it doesn’t bite. There’s no feedback whatsoever. (...) If I write twenty thousand characters on Benetton Toscani, it’s not picked up on or quoted anywhere. It doesn’t trigger any debate. It’s considered as my own problem, my strange – and eventually likeable – whim. "

An image of the poster is inserted in the original Libération article: a photo of a woman with a baby in her arms standing in front of the giant Benetton poster.

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