just saw an amazing video document by harun farocki, "übertragung" (transference), about people touching monuments, memorials, holy walls, footprints of the devil or saints or mother mary, about sacraments, -in general about people all over the world doing absurd ritual acts, trying to touch the untouchable, to suck some kind of a power or spirit up their hands.
i know this strange and special behaviour very well from myself. evrytime i´m near very old trees or walls i enjoy touching them. i don´t know what i think about when i do that, it´s just some kind of a strong impulse to touch something very old that has seen more than you. it is definitely very obscure and even esoteric all this touching of lifeless material, as if to animate it through the touch. -allthough when i think of the touch of a loved one, i know it is indeed animating.
farocki´s video is a brilliant study of these seemingly shamanic and still everyday touching rituals.
it also made me think of something vilèm flusser once wrote about the absurdity of most jewish rituals (like not driving on fridays for example). he said, when the actions and laws of a community are in a way absurd, life becomes a celebration. when the actions and laws however become efficent, productive and rational, life becomes a domestic tragedy.