December 5, 2008 - Sternberg Press - Daniel Birnbaum on Weasels, Melancholy, and Husserl
December 5, 2008

Daniel Birnbaum on Weasels, Melancholy, and Husserl

Design by Surface, Frankfurt am Main/Berlin

Daniel Birnbaum on Weasels, Melancholy, and Husserl
Two New Books by Daniel Birnbaum

Sternberg Press is pleased to announce the release of two new publications by Daniel Birnbaum. With The Hospitality of Presence and As a Weasel Sucks Eggs, Birnbaum further develops the synergetic mode of book production developed in Chronology (2005, 2007), the second edition of which involved a collaboration with artist Paul Chan. Each of Birnbaum’s latest books is a joint project, with artist Olafur Eliasson and Swedish poet Anders Olsson, respectively. Both are designed by Markus Weisbeck, Surface, Frankfurt am Main/Berlin.

Daniel Birnbaum & Anders Olsson
As a Weasel Sucks Eggs
An Essay on Melancholy and Cannibalism

As a Weasel Sucks Eggs, released in conjunction with Birnbaum’s exhibition “50 Moons of Saturn” in Turin, examines the enigmatic relation of melancholia to primitive cannibalism, which has been particularly stressed in psychoanalysis. What deeper ties exist between reading and eating, between hunger and writing? Perhaps melancholy and other-worldly satiation are critical to our understanding of modernity, and our understanding of culture at large. The book contains readings of Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, Sigmund Freud, G. W. F. Hegel, and the Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf. The authors cite Goethe and Rabelais, for whom food is a cosmic principle and the fertile soil in which all acts of creation take root. Food plays a similar role for the melancholiac—who, questioning the normal order of things, craves and consumes other or unknown types of food that are steeped in a variety of meanings. The authors trace the desire for this repast throughout the ages, scrutinizing its relationship to primitive sacrificial rites and contemporary anthropology, philosophy, and linguistic theory.

Translated from the Swedish by Brian Manning Delaney
16 x 22 cm, 175 pages, 2 b/w ill., softcover
ISBN 978-1-933128-62-7

Daniel Birnbaum
The Hospitality of Presence

Preface by Hans Ulrich Obrist
Afterword by Sven-Olov Wallenstein
With a special project by Olafur Eliasson

The Hospitality of Presence is a study of the concept of otherness in Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, which gained international attention in academic circles in the late 1990s. It was reviewed favorably by the Review of Metaphysics and quoted from extensively, most notably in one of legendary French thinker Paul Ricoeur’s last books. Until now, it has long been out of print.

Birnbaum’s study explores Husserl’s theory of temporality in relation to his conception of the Other. Examined together, these two issues illuminate one another as well as phenomenology’s idea of what it is to be a subject. In opposition to the commonly held view that a “decentered” and open subject has developed subsequently to and partly as a critique of Husserl’s position, this analysis endeavors to show that his notion of subjectivity is based on a highly sophisticated understanding of alterity. The book provides a theoretical framework for Birnbaum’s more aphoristic essay Chronology (2005, new edition 2007) and features a series of interventions by artist Olafur Eliasson, whose work can be understood as an attempt to reposition our perceptual possibilities beyond the phenomenological.

16.5 x 24 cm, 278 pages, 19 b/w ill., softcover
ISBN 978-1-933128-28-3

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