Samuel Beckett, Robert Smithson, and Sublime Entropy
Working through a number of Smithson's installations, gallery displays, writings, and films, the paper lays out a theory of the sublime with regard to force and movement.
Then in looking closely at a series of Beckett's texts, from THE UNNAMABLE to "Happy Days," cross-references begin to appear.
Framing these emerging dynamic tensions in the language of Rosalind Krauss's "informe" and Derrida's "supplement" and "dissemination," the presentation goes on to show how these vectors coalesce in the pseudo-dynamic of the vortex, as abyss (Smithson), circular hiatus (Beckett), and spiral (Spiral Jetty), and Derrida's idea of the Tower of Babel which collapses into the planar: the spiral (jetty).
The effort is not to make pat connections but to show how such disparate texts and approaches to art and text are actually orchestrated in a remarkable way.
Keywords: Samuel Beckett, Abysses, Voids, Pauses, Robert Smithson, Juxtapositions, Informe, Ruin, Jacques Derrida, Dissemination, Supplement, Sublime, Rosalind Krauss
Dr. Stephen Barker
Professor and Head of Doctoral Studies, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, University of California at Irvine