Paul Chan’s aesthetic and intellectual work has been largely informed not only by his “reckless reading” but, most importantly, by mis-reading. For some of his pieces, he has mis-read and appropriated classics such as Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Plato’s Phaedrus, The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade, as well as the thinking of infamous and iconic figures such as Duchamp, Saddam Hussein, and Nietzsche.
His new series of essays is no exception. He’s currently mis-reading Homer’s Odyssey and thinking of Odysseus as an artist. Keywords in his essays include: that moment, elation, “echo reconciles,” Adorno, form, “fatefulness,” Calypso, cave, contemporary art, homesickness, zones of engagement, Ithaca, luxury, alienation, the Iliad, force, gravity, cunning, polutropos, Athena, sophia, honor, themis, aristoi, Hesiod, aidos, glory, demos, bow and arrow, harbinger, reason, Athenian democracy, Sperber and Mercier, confirmation bias, credit card fraud, and art as cunning.