blog,personal commentary,reflections on the human condition,ephemera,notes from the underbelly
http://web.ncf.ca/ek867/wood_s_lot.html - Dec 9, 2013 1:35:48 PM - Nov 28, 2004 7:34:47 AM
December 09, 2013
The Witnesses1968Wifredo Lamb. December 8, 1902Ivan Alechine: Muxa Uxi, a Poem from the Huichol Sierra with Notes by the Author Translation from French by Wendy Parramorepresented by Jerome Rothenberg
I followed the path I wrote in the snow I drew in the sand against and to the flow with the lines and with the walls of earth with bucketfuls of whitewash splashed howling mute slap-dash from my sponge – suitcase from my hand to my eye from Pierre to Christian from Jean to Charles and from Asger to Scylla I saw I see the path winding its way through the oaks and pines I saw it I see it begin at the barbershop in Dublin It’s there in front of my eyes as I sit on my chair leaning my back against the dried mud wall unmoving I keep on walking my foot on the high plain the least movement a word
Dunes In Winter1972Ian Hornakd. December 9, 2002
Arguments from a Winter’s Walk Thomas Bernhard translated by Adam Siegel
Out here are peculiar valleys, said the doctor, and in these valleys are castles … one goes into them and there is nothing more in the world to seek out, the world whence one came … doors open, and behind them, enthroned, sit people in expensive clothes, as though drawn from nonexistent portraits, unheeding … one enters … one is addressed, seemingly without ever hearing a voice or language … having always been untutored in this art … I know nothing of words … nothing of answers … one doesn’t speak, one just listens—everything has a serviceable name, a label, none of it applied in error, you should know … they say simple things that float above you like a cloudless blue sky … nothing fantastic though it all stems from fantasy … nature—the greatest simplicity, opulence, amiability, nary a trace of sin … not even a hint of discord … a perpetual honeymoon, you should know, just cool reason and the innateness of concepts … all our days and all our nights—comely faces for now and for always … sleeping and waking … the air wrought so clear … my God—how apt! … the slow effect of ideas, feelings, climaxes, feigned amazement … laws that lack the punitive element have a certain validity, mind and temperament united in human nature—logic set to music … old age capable of beauty, youth rising like foothills … in the afternoon the shadows fall … truth lies in the bed of the river, they say, the inscrutable as realization … this is, said the doctor, more like a revelation from a dream, but truer than most means of contemplation …
Family Party1983Leon Kossoffb. Dec. 7, 1926
On ViolenceEdition no. 1... contents to include: “The Dignity of Non-Violence” by Todd May; “The Remains of the Day” by Brian Massumi; “Violence Against Violence” by Saul Newman; “No Magic Bullets” by Nancy Scheper-Hughes; “Theater of Mayhem” by John Steppling; “Unjust Justice” by Lewis Gordon; “Addicted to Violence” by Henry A. Giroux; “Violence, Truth & Courage” by Michael Dillon”; “Combat & Combat” by Cynthia Enloe; & “An Open Letter to Immanuel Kant” by Julian Reid.Inaugural Statement Brad Evansa project of Histories of Violence
The concept of violence is not taken lightly here. Violence remains poorly understood if it is accounted for simply in terms of how and what it violates, the scale of its destructiveness, or any other element of its annihilative power. Intellectual violence is no exception as its qualities point to a deadly and destructive conceptual terrain. Like all violence there are two sides to this relation. There is the annihilative power of nihilistic thought that seeks, through strategies of domination and practices of terminal exclusion, to close down the political as a site for differences. Such violence often appeals to the authority of a peaceful settlement, though it does so in a way that imposes a distinct moral image of thought which already maps out what is reasonable to think, speak, and act. Since the means and ends are already set out in advance, the discursive frame is never brought into critical question. And there is an affirmative counter that directly challenges authoritarian violence. Such affirmation refuses to accept the parameters of the rehearsed orthodoxy. It brings into question that which is not ordinarily questioned in any given state of political affairs. Foregrounding the life of the subject as key to understanding political deliberation, it eschews intellectual dogmatism with a commitment to the open possibilities in thought.
Perhaps the most difficult task faced today is to avoid the false promises of violence and demand a politics that is dignified and open to the possibility of non-violent ways of living. This demands new ways of thinking about and interrogating violence such that the value of critical thought becomes central to any mediation on global citizenry. As we all increasingly find ourselves in a position where the radical and the fundamental have been merged to denial of anything that may challenge the violent effects of contemporary regimes of control, the inevitable assault upon the university and all intellectual spheres continues with unrelenting force. This is not incidental to the violence of our times. It is one of its more pernicious manifestations. Our response, as the authors in this inaugural edition make clear, must be to counter this violence with a commitment to the value of criticality and public education. Hopefully “On Violence” will provide a modest counter to those who insist that violence may be reasoned for the greater good. Without this hope that the world may be transformed non-violently for the better, the fight for dignity is already lost.
Patience (After Sebald) a walk through The Rings of Saturn dir. Grant Gee, 83 min, 2012Monoskop a wiki for art, culture and media technology. via Synthetic_zeroa multi-layered film essay on landscape, art, history, life and loss - an exploration of the work and influence of WG Sebald, told via a long walk through coastal East Anglia tracking his most famous book The Rings Of Saturn.Spit on history. History is the history of oppression told by the oppressors, a history from which oppression conveniently disappears, a history of Heroes, of Great Men. Spit on history. History, even our history, is a history in which the struggle against oppression is invaded by the categories of the oppressors, so that it too becomes the history of Heroes, of Great Men, of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao.Change the World without taking Power: the Meaning of Revolution TodayJohn Holloway full text
Spit on history because "an ideology of history has one purpose only: to prevent people from making history".
We live in a world of Monsters of our own creation which have turned against us. They stand there, apparently independent of us, oppressing us: Commodity, Money, Capital, State and so on. They were there yesterday, they were there a hundred years ago, two hundred years ago. It seems certain that they will be there tomorrow. They are oppressing us, dehumanising us, killing us. How can we free ourselves, how can we get rid of them? They have been there for so long, their existence seems everlasting. How can we possibly escape? "Wake up," says Papa Marx, "it"s just a nightmare. These Monsters are an illusion." We wake up and the Monsters are gone, we see that they were not everlasting, their duration is dissolved. But no. It is not as simple as that. Maybe our vision of Marx was just a dream, because when we open our eyes the Monsters are still there, and more aggressive than ever, attacking Iraq, closing factories, reforming universities in their own image, subordinating every aspect of our lives to their domination, turning us into little monsters ourselves, so that we run around worshipping Commodity, Money, Capital and State. The nightmare continues. Yet Marx was right, it is a nightmare, and the Monsters are illusions. But they are not mere illusions, they are real illusions. They are what Marx calls "fetishes". But what is a real illusion? On that hangs the meaning of revolution.
The Shadows of DaysWifredo Lam 1970
December 06, 2013
Night in a Small Village
multi-block woodcut, printed with oil-based ink
The Revolving Moon: 25 Prints from China
As we mourn the poet, do we not mourn the loss of what he had in his keeping: a way of living that served us for aeons?
by Sven Birkerts
I had not thought until recently that these two occasions — my visiting Peter’s campus to talk about the transformations of the reading culture, and his later notifying me of Seamus’s death — belonged together in an essay, but I see now that they do. Not easily or obviously, not in tongue-and-groove fashion, but more broadly, thematically, with all the allowances of essayistic elasticity. If I pose for myself the two big questions that I am forever asking, that were, in effect, the basis of my talk — namely, what is the transformation that is taking place? And what is it that I fear the loss of? — then the connection starts to come clear.
It is dangerous, I know, to have a person stand for something, be ‘representative’ in the sense that the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson had it in 1850. That one individual could in any way ‘embody’ the spirit of a historical period seems archaic, as does the notion that a period could have a spirit. Our cultural mantra is plurality, complex polyvalence, and the intensifying deluge of information ensures more of the same. Character itself is a contested concept.
Yet when Heaney died in August, in the days and weeks that followed, there was a sense, throughout the literary world, but in the larger culture as well, that a singular and — I will risk the word — representative greatness had been taken from our midst. ...
Not only does our digital living condition us profoundly, and by the stealthiest increments — so that with every new upgrade, every app, we are not only further empowered, but also more deeply reliant — but it also creates in us an estrangement, a sense of void. We gain in so many ways, pulling the info-world around us like a wire-woven cowl, creating planes of lateral linkage, giving and receiving messages — most of them tokens of ersatz connection — through a switchboard of disseminated impulses. We take the old limited one-self and refract it in every direction, and all around us people are doing the same, confirming us in our impulse. How easy it is to move in that direction — enabled flow — and how hard to move even slightly back the other way. If it’s so easy, it must be right.
But those gains are not without their sacrifices — though, as I observed, it gets harder and harder to see what those might be. Still, we do mark them, sometimes obliquely, by proxy. With, for example, the force of our sadness for a great man who has died, a poet with the rarest access to how things were, to the time and space of the old dispensation. T S Eliot’s ‘still point of the turning world’. We mourn the poet, but are we not also mourning the loss of what he had in his keeping? A language that mapped a way of living that served us for aeons, that we are now exchanging for other ways. We don’t regret our progress, not for the most part. But there is a tug. And in contemplating a poet such as Heaney, we understand what it is that still exerts that pull.
b. December 6, 1898
Shane Rhodes On Beauty
All of this is to say that it is easy to become enamored with the production of beautiful language and the ceremony of its performance. Governments and large corporations are particularly good at this – we call it propaganda but I think that makes it sound too specialized as it is a strategy used in many subtle ways that might not meet that jingoist threshold. In art, I think it is imperative to understand how our ability to make beautiful language can also divert attention away from the ugliness in the world around us. Throughout history and in the present, we can see art used again and again as diversionary tactic. I’m not saying that every poem has to be a realist examination of social ills, but good art, complex art, seems knowledgeable about how it is consumed and about the society in which it takes place and that this must, in some way, be part of the artistic production and product itself.
So often we are led on by ideas of beauty and deterred or stopped by ideas of ugliness and disgust – but it is important to think of how these terms can be politically motivated and used. Colonization has very real psychological manifestations in any settler society; one of these manifestations is an unwillingness in the settler to look realistically at the injustices of our histories and current actions in the name of settlement. In Canada, who wants to read the treaties? Who wants to read the Indian Act? Who wants to look at such blatant racism? All of these texts are ugly; they are ugly because they rub against the beautiful myths we have created of our just and peaceful society.
Shane Rhodes, X: Poems & Anti-Poems
reviewed by rob mclennan
Shane Rhodes - X: Poems & Anti-Poems (an interview)
Toronto QuarterlyYou Are Here
Though not endorsed by the treaty commissioner, I would like to
acknowledge this book was written in the said country
While this book was written, contested territory was tested
I would like to acknowledge the Secwepemc, the Cree and the
Algonquin nations, upon whose territories this book was written
The land was “shovel ready”
I would like to acknowledge I did not ask for permission, that I
felt too uncomfortable to ask and didn’t know how to, that I don’t
know if asking is the answer because I barely know the questions
I would, however, like my acknowledgement to be acknowledged
Warning: this book is not about faraway lands, Greek and Roman
philosophers, Japanese haiku masters, and Elizabethan poets will
not be discussed
This book is about desire
the desire to look elsewhere
This book is about where I live, a place still settling, still making
the land—law by law, arrest by arrest, jail by jail—its own
As stipulated in subparagraph 12(1)(a)(iv), paragraph 12(1)(b) or
subsection 12(2) or under subparagraph 12(1)(a)(iii) pursuant to
an order made under subsection 109(2), a dispute cannot be made
under this section of my book
Warning: this book of verse demands more of verse, this book
This book uses words as heard in annual reports and business prospectus,
the smooth cadence of policy platforms and parliamentary
committees, the shouts of protesters and riot police
Failing to Levitate in the Studio
The Way We Live Now: Surveillance
The Occupied Times
The Deep State: An Emerging Concept in Comparative Politics
Patrick H. O'NeilAbstract:
Over the the past two decades there has emerged a new term in the discussion of authoritarian and illiberal regimes, one known as the deep state. In spite of its increasing use, the utility of this concept is limited by its lack of clarity, often appearing to mean little more than tenacious military rule. This paper is an attempt to delineate the concept of the deep state and assess its value in understanding certain aspects of authoritarian and illiberal politics. I define the deep state as a set of coercive institutions, actors and relationships beyond those formally charged with defense, intelligence and policing. Driven politically by a logic of tutelage and exercising a high degree of autonomy, the deep state justifies itself through the need to defend the nation against purported existential threats. I begin the paper by expanding on the term, discussing which elements are central to the concept of the deep state and which are not. Second, I relate the deep state to a number of other concepts in comparative politics. Third, I briefly consider these elements to address the contexts in which a deep state may emerge. Fourth, I look at cases of deep states in Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran. Finally, I conclude the paper by discussing political transition and the deep state, and how the latter can prove a particular obstacle to democratization.
Human Nature/Life Death/Knows Doesn't Know
b. December 6, 1941
Self-translation / Self-destruction
words without borders(....)
... And what good company I was now in—I thought at once of one of my all-time favorites, Samuel Beckett, and how he had continued to write in both English and French, before self-translating his work one way or the other, as required. It was a dream come true. I got down to work…
And what a pain it turned out to be. ...
... I happened upon an old interview with none other than Beckett himself, in which he rued that his desire for control had led to him taking a hand in the German versions of his writings, and how translating his own work into French or into English was a kind of torture, given that “the whole business of creation has already been done, and going through it all a second time over is extremely dull.” Here was the key to the puzzle. While translating someone else can be a fascinating form of “creation,” which entails grasping a text as closely as possible, then “making” another language “say the same thing,” the entire creative process has already been gone through in great depth when writing a given text for the first time. Recreating it in another language is thus not only tedious, but strangely “artificial,” and the result quite often abortive, while someone else could well have breathed new life into the piece and made it live again happily in its new linguistic world.
Years later, I still write in English and French. (Why one, then the other? Sorry, that’s quite another story.) And I still translate. But never, if it can be helped, myself.
December 05, 2013
portrait of Mother
b. December 5, 1891
Fear of the Inexplicable
Rainer Maria Rilke
b. December 4, 1875
But fear of the inexplicable has not alone impoverished
the existence of the individual; the relationship between
one human being and another has also been cramped by it,
as though it had been lifted out of the riverbed of
endless possibilities and set down in a fallow spot on the
bank, to which nothing happens. For it is not inertia alone
that is responsible for human relationships repeating
themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and
unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new,unforeseeable
experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope.
But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes
nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation
to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively
from his own existence. For if we think of this existence of
the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident
that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a
place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and
down. Thus they have a certain security. And yet that dangerous
insecurity is so much more human which drives the prisoners in
Poe's stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons
and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their abode.
We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about
us, and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us.
We are set down in life as in the element to which we best
correspond, and over and above this we have through thousands of
years of accommodation become so like this life, that when we
hold still we are, through a happy mimicry,scarcely to be
distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to
mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors,
they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abuses belong to us;
are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if only we
arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us
that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now
still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust
and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those
ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into
princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses
who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps
everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless
that wants help from us.
Walter Rosenblum interview
Camera & Darkroom 1991(....)
When I began in photography, Strand was my mentor and friend. I knew very little about printing, while Strand was a great master. One day, while I was helping him at the warehouse where he stored his photographs, he came across some old platinum prints. As I looked over his shoulder, he calmly proceeded to tear some of those prints into small pieces. Finally, I got up enough nerve to ask why. “Not good enough” was his reply.
It was a wonderful lesson for a young photographer. Tearing up a print over which you have labored intensively because it is not good enough means you are in control. When I go into the darkroom, I am establishing a rapport with a piece of film that must become my friend. That negative has many secrets that I need to explore. It is a lifeline between what I saw and what I can produce as a finished print.
Over the past several years, as cities in the United States have faced increasing fiscal pressures, there has been a reinvigorated interest in the promise of smart cities, intelligent cities, digital cities, open source cities and media cities, which advocate the use of digital technologies to make cities more efficient, productive, innovative and attractive. However, the appropriation and use of urban technologies have transformed the aesthetic, symbolic and lived experience of cities in important ways, which have not been well described or theorized. Based on theories from communications, science and technology studies as well as more specialized fields such as urban informatics, this article attempts to understand the ways in which urban technologies are appropriated and used to co–produce place relying on empirical examples from art and design, social science, and information and computer science. Finally, it illustrates the ways in which place is constituted at the intersection of socio–technical practices as dynamic, relational and interdependent.
The Way We Live Now: Data Economy
The Occupied Times
Corporations in Our Heads
Redeye: Vancouver Cooperative RadioTheatre for Living's new show investigates how our psyches have been colonized by corporations from Lululemon to Enbridge and begins the process of transforming our relationship to that messaging. We caught up with artistic director David Diamond on tour in Langley. David Diamond speaks with Redeye host Lorraine Chisholm.Redeye 100.5FM
Study for 'In the Hold'
b. December 5, 1890
People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun's motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.
How could it not be difficult for us?
Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet - #8
December 03, 2013
some free offerings at Open Humanities PressArchitecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Time, Science and Philosophy edited by Etienne TurpinNew Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der TuinThe Democracy of Objects Levi R. Bryant
Humanism for a globalised world Ten years after his death, Edward Said’s work remains a guide for how to hold universal principles in increasingly diverse societies Priyamvada Gopal –
While he was a fierce critic of empire, Said was profoundly interested in what could be done with a concept like humanism, laden as it is with the baggage of colonial civilisational missions and Eurocentrism, the worldview that assesses the rest of the world through the lens of European and white superiority. Perhaps surprisingly, at least for those who (despite his vocal protestations) read him as the originator of a postmodern and postcolonial approach to culture, Said describes himself as a humanist, insisting that “attacking the abuses of something is not the same thing as dismissing or entirely destroying that thing.” He himself remained unaffected by the antihumanism that characterised academic postmodernism with its “dismissive attitudes” to ideas such as enlightenment and emancipation. What then is the humanism that Said wishes to not have thrown out with the bathwater of discredited colonial or racist projects? For him, “the core of humanism is the secular notion that the historical world is made by men and women, and not by God and that it can be understood rationally ... Or to put it differently, we can really only know what we make.”
Said’s sense of the secular – he had long championed a style of thinking and scholarship that he termed “secular criticism” – is much more substantial than an insistence on compulsory atheism or a formal separation of church and state. Secularism for him has much more to do with being able to step outside the paradigms or ideologies to which one is habituated and then challenging not just others but oneself to question received ideas. At the heart of the practice of humanist secularism is a refusal to “denigrate, demonise, and dehumanise” or to “consolidate and affirm one tradition over another.” But Said was emphatically no relativist and had little time even for the more acceptable academic versions of relativism that underlay postmodern shibboleths like “indeterminacy”. The point he is making here is a nuanced one – that cultures and traditions are not, ultimately, neatly sealed off from each other and, just as none has a copyright on humanist values or ideas, none can be regarded as constitutively backward.
Interview with André SchiffrinGwenael Pouliquen, Jacques Testardthe white reviewThere are people – like François Maspero in France – who did a lot more than we did. Sadly, now, publishing is almost entirely a matter of profitability, meaning that if you want to publish something that is immediately profitable, it’s very rare that it will turn out to be predicated on strong ideas, or dissident ideas. That’s a big problem. It has considerably reduced the amount of good books published, even though now there are small independent publishing houses who are publishing whatever they want to. My German editor, who wrote a fantastic biography of Kafka, says that without a free publishing industry, there can be no democracy. And that is particularly the case in France, where most of the newspapers belong to people who manufacture weapons, and books are just about the only place where you can express ideas that are not mainstream.Reading about the death of publishing giant André Schiffrin , the longtime editor in chief at Pantheon Books who also founded the New Press, led me to reflect on the importance of books in my life. Without independent-minded publishers like Schiffrin, who was willing to lose money in order to publish books he deemed important, would I have become an academic? It’s a serious question. Two of the books Schiffrin published at Pantheon were crucial to my early intellectual development: The Chomsky Reader (1987) and Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988). These books, and Noam Chomsky in general, taught me how to read texts through a critical lens, and how to recognize the biases of the politically powerful in even the most seemingly of objective expressions. Even though I have since come to different understandings of power and knowledge—even though, for example, I see the merits in Foucault, whom Chomsky famously debated in 1971 —Chomsky was my gateway drug to a hermeneutics of suspicion.My guess is that Chomsky started many people down similar paths.Andrew HartmanThe Society for U.S. Intellectual History
Slaves to Contradictions: 13 Myths that Sustained Slavery Wilson Ray Huhn Social Science Research Network (SSRN)Abstract: People have a fundamental need to think of themselves as “good people.” To achieve this we tell each other stories – we create myths – about ourselves and our society. These myths may be true or they may be false. The more discordant a myth is with reality, the more difficult it is to convince people to embrace it. In such cases to sustain the illusion of truth it may be necessary to develop an entire mythology – an integrated web of mutually supporting stories. This paper explores the system of myths that sustained the institution of slavery in the antebellum United States.The New Nullification Movement Some states are reviving disenfranchisement schemes that date back to the antebellum South. Ari Berman The long shadow of slavery Omnivore
Shatin MorningFan HoThe Invention of Photography W. S. Di Pierothreepenny review
* In the fearless 1850s, mad-hatters forged images of dolls, doilies, sewers, eight-year-old odalisques in off-the-shoulder nighties... Gentleman Brits claimed their Sphinx and Hindoo temples. We had our Civil War, rail cuts and silver mines, darkroom vans racked with plates, jerky, mule feed, cameras the Sioux called shadow catchers. * Pull the lens cover, the ground glass blinks a century to a two-minute wonderment, when every decent family craved its Polaroid and waited to see what it would make of us, how inhale blood matter and lick it into life. *
Yesterday’s World: A Stefan Zweig Festshrift Robert BirnbaumourmaninbostonUpon seeing Jonathan Franzen’s recent The Kraus Project(Farrar Giroux Straus)it occurred to me that perhaps the wrong fin-de siecle Viennese Jewish intellectual was being rescued from the aforementioned dustbin of history.
December 02, 2013
b. December 2, 1859
interviewed by Pedro Reyes
bombErasmus of Rotterdam claimed there were three types of people: those who lived in a dream world, those who lived in reality, and those who were able to turn one world into the other. The Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez belongs in this third category of people for whom the boundary between reality and unreality, reason and madness, is not only shadowy but also worth delving into. For the Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing such constructs do nothing but create artificial divisions whose function is to ensure the preservation of the status quo. If, in a similar vein, Téllez’s projects build a bridge between these two worlds, opening the possibility of creative collaborations with the so-called mentally ill, he avoids the pieties associated with art therapy by warning us that he seeks “not a therapeutic practice to cure the insane but rather one to cure the sane of their lucidity.”
Téllez and I once played telephone with tin cans perched on trees at the Utopia Station site for the 50th Venice Biennale, but, for the following interview, we discussed his increasingly depurated film projects—Oedipus Marshal (2006), Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See (2007), and Caligari and the Sleepwalker (2008)—over the less cumbersome and more contemporary mediums of the telephone, email, and Skype.
b. December 2, 1891
Walmart and Downton Abbey:
rampant inequality and detachment from reality
Sadhbh WalsheI'm not exactly sure what it is about the hit British TV series, Downton Abbey, that has enthralled so many of us. The scenery is great, Lady Mary's wardrobe is just fabulous, but there are plot holes so huge one could drive Lady Edith's car through them. I suspect the fascination it provokes has something to do with nostalgia – a hankering for a simpler time, when everyone knew their place and where the classes, though separate and unequal, were at least able to be polite to one other. Whatever it is that we find so charming about the series, however, we should try to keep in mind that the rampant inequality it celebrates is not something we should be hankering after.
The Bridge at Courbevoie
W. S. Di Piero at the Poetry Foundation and Poetry InternationalOnly in Thingsquoted in
W. S. Di Piero
Some days, who can stare at swathes of sky,
leafage and bad-complected whale-gray streets,
tailpipes and smokestacks orating sepia exhaust,
or the smaller enthusiasms of pistil and mailbox key,
and not weep for the world's darks on lights, lights on darks,
how its half-tones stay unchanged in their changings,
or how turning wheels and wind-trash and revolving doors
weave us into wakefulness or dump us into distraction?
This constant stream of qualia we feel in our stomachs.
The big-leafed plant lifts its wings to greet the planet's chemistry,
the sun arrives on rooftops like a gentle stranger, rain rushes us
love to love, stop to stop, these veins of leaf, hand,
storm and stream, as if in pursuit of us and what we are becoming.
Conversation: W. S. Di Piero, Winner of the 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize
The End of a Jetty, Honfleur
Words with Borders: Writing from the Oulipo
Daniel Levin BeckerAs the prevailing image used by book reviewers to praise literary translations is that of transparency—limpid, pellucid, crystalline—it seems clear, so to speak, how ready we are to think of language as a window onto meaning. Whatever difficulties a translator may have encountered in carrying that meaning over into a new syntactic, lexical, and cultural idiom, we tend to expect his or her fingerprints to be wiped away by the time the text arrives before us, and for the resulting view to be more or less the same as the view enjoyed by the native reader. For better and occasionally for worse, we tend to be correct.
The Oulipo—ouvroir de littérature potentielle, or workshop for potential literature, a Paris-based literary collective dedicated to exploring how literature might arise from structures, rules, and constraints borrowed from linguistics or mathematics or parlor games—presents an uncommonly acute challenge to that expectation. To write an Oulipian text is both to draw a picture and to solve a puzzle, and more often than not these two missions blur together to the point where it becomes impossible to discern where the language ends and the meaning, such as it is, begins.
So, as you might imagine, things get doubly complex when a second language comes into play. Each language is a system unto itself, with its own rules and cheat codes, its own alliances and enmities and tunnels and trapdoors—and since exploiting all of these is the very essence of Oulipian methodology, since language is not only the raw material of an Oulipian experiment but also its demonstrandum, we might ask what, in this context, translational transparency even means. What happens when, to bedevil McLuhan, the window is the view?
E-Literary and the Social
electronic book reviewIt often seems that autopoiesis and self-reference play a crucial role in the basic understanding of e-literature, which the established scholarship (e.g. e-literary criticism) considers first and foremost in terms of its new media specificity. This practice is distinctly contextualized and embedded in contemporary society and its paradigm shifts. In the present time, defined by capitalism, which does not leave anything outside of its influence, there is also no point in leaving the e-literary text outside, i.e. without any references to "the social" and to theories that deal with new social and cultural paradigms. The challenge of broader social theory application in this field is therefore the current topic of interest in this essay. To emphasize the specificity of an e-literary piece (as a performance, event, procedure, program, ride, textual instrument) directs us to its materiality, which is a very historical, changeable category. The requirements for full autonomy of this field as separated from the social (the claim of modernist aesthetics), have passed. Today we recognize that software is also a cultural and social tool (Galloway, 2012). In this essay, we are going to discuss some key theoretical notions on the issue of "the social" at the present time and their application in the field of e-literature.
b. December 1, 1884
November 29, 2013 _______________________
Draft 112: Verge
Rachel Blau DuPlessis
Sizes, wires, assizes in the site, other boundaries on this border. Maps and lines are drawn over bodies. Where did “history” put this place? Why did it not “stay there”? What about “them”? Should they live here, or are they basically foreign? What are the facts about myself? What is my where? It’s true that once there was an ending. It seemed as if this were what I had wanted. Why did it then open? I hardly can remember, but then it’s suddenly vivid, though even my own stories have veered over time. Another time pulses through the stifled civic membrane.
Decisions, decisions: the fate of virtual literature
Books from Finland(....)
Now that we really do have this always-on connectivity, you will indeed be available every waking hour: you will update your status, check your inbox, post pics and be available for chatting, texting, a quick email and a message or two, just to make sure no one is offended by your unreachability, since – from experience – a week’s worth of not tweeting or facebooking can make someone think that something serious has happened, or that you don’t even exist anymore.
Exhausting, I know. It’s no wonder some of us might feel overwhelmed, unable to choose what to do with our new-found freedom to not just consume information but to produce more and more of it. They call it decision fatigue: the loss of willpower after making too many choices in an environment that presents us with too many of them. Willpower is a muscle, and it can get very tired in this day and age.
What social media and its drive towards constantly sharing what we are reading, seeing, thinking about, feeling, eating and drinking has done is to make us all producers of content: all of us are now storytellers, and the story is ourselves.
Except that the story is happening in realtime, before we or anyone else has had time to evaluate its particulars, to reflect on the experience as a whole, because everything has to be ‘liveblogged’ immediately in snippets of text and image which are reducing the representation of identity down to forms which cannot capture life’s transcendent nuances and are only good at recording or manipulating its immanent surfaces. This situation, I sometimes feel, is detrimental to the presence of other kinds of storytelling formats on the internet, such as literary journals, and indeed literary culture as a whole.
the teller of tales
Photo by: Lauri Kettunen
Photographs of Liv Villages
The National Board of Antiquities
from Death and the Dervish
(translated by Lazar Pascanovic)
presented at flowerville(....)
I felt as if there wasn’t a single thought in me, as if all my senses were numb from a stroke. But, oddly enough, I was aware of everything, more sensitive and susceptible to everything that was surrounding me. The ear could catch the tinkling sounds of the night, clear and purified, as if they were echoing, bouncing off the glass. I could discern every single sound and yet they all flowed into the joint humming of water, birds, light wind, distant lost voices, and the quiet buzzing of the night that lazily bends under the strikes of the invisible wings. And none of this bothered me nor upset me, I wanted there to be more such voices, hums, buzzing, fluttering, more everything, outside me. Maybe I was hearing so clearly in order not to listen to myself.
It was probably the only time in my life that voices and hums, light and shapes, emerged as what they were, as a sound, a murmur, a smell, a shape, a sign and declaration of things outside myself, for I was listening and watching, separated, uninvolved, without either sorrow or mirth, neither ruining nor improving. They were living alone, without my partaking, unchanged by my feelings. And so independent was I, true, unassimilated into my thought about them, like a foreign, unrecognized thing, something that goes on, that happens past everything, vain and futile. I switched out, and I was disconnected, separated from everything around me, and the world was filled with ghosts, alive but indifferent. And I was free and impenetrable.
The Occupied TimesWhen I hear the phrase “democratic psychiatry” I immediately think of the rhetoric of “service user involvement” and the ideology of empowerment. These aren’t the directions psychiatry should take simply because this is the direction psychiatry is already taking and which it is already perfectly able to assimilate. I am opposed to this rhetoric and ideology not because I think they will be the ruin of psychiatry as it exists, but because I am convinced that they will not.
The sleep of reason produces monsters
1797 - 1798
alligatorzineThe Sleep Of Reason...(more)for Clayton EshlemanWords imprinted on a sign
by Goya glowing
white against a surface
the sleep of reason
that produces monsters.
He is sitting on a chair
his head slumped
resting on his arms
or on the marble table,
pencil set aside,
his night coat open
All things that fly at night
fly past him.
Wings that brush an ear,
an ear concealed,
a memory beginning
in the house of sleep.
His is a world where owls
live in palm trees,
where a shadow in the sky
is like a magpie,
white & black are colors
only in the mind,
the cat you didn’t murder
springs to life,
a whistle whirling in a cup,
gone & foregone,
a chasm bright with eyes.
There is a cave in Spain,
a fecal underworld,
where bats are swarming
the blackness ending in a wall
his hands rub up against,
a blind man in a painted world,
amok & monstrous
banging on a rock.
[From "50 Caprichos after Goya" in Concealments & Caprichos, Black Widow Press, 2010]
November 28, 2013
"The Conquest of the Air"1913Roger de La Fresnayed. November 27, 1925
Man vs. CorpseZadie Smith
Talking about him over dinner—like groupies discussing their favorite band—I discovered that although most people felt as strongly about their time spent under Karl Ove’s skin as I had, we had a dissenter. An objection on the principle of boredom, which you sense Knausgaard himself would not deny. Like Warhol, he makes no attempt to be interesting. But it’s not the same kind of boredom Warhol celebrated, not that clean kind which, as Andy had it, makes “the meaning go away,” leaving you so much “better and emptier.” Knausgaard’s boredom is baroque. It has many elaborations: the boredom of children’s parties, of buying beers, of being married, writing, being oneself, dealing with one’s family. It’s a cathedral of boredom. And when you enter it, it looks a lot like the one you yourself are living in. (Especially true if, like Karl Ove, you happen to be a married writer. Such people are susceptible to the peculiar charms of Karl Ove.) It’s a book that recognizes the banal struggle of our daily lives and yet considers it nothing less than a tragedy that these lives, filled as they are not only with boredom but with fjords and cigarettes and works by Dürer, must all end in total annihilation. But nothing happens! our dissenter cried. Still, a life filled with practically nothing, if you are fully present in and mindful of it, can be a beautiful struggle. In America we are perhaps more accustomed to art that enacts the boredom of life with a side order of that (by now) overfamiliar Warholian nihilism. I think of the similar-but-different maximalist narratives of the young writer Tao Lin, whose most recent novel, Taipei, is likewise committed to the blow-by-blow recreation of everyday existence. That book—though occasionally unbearable to me as I read it—had, by the time I’d finished it, a cumulative effect, similar to the Knausgaard. Both exhaustively document a life: you don’t simply “identify” with the character, effectively you “become” them. A narrative claustrophobia is at work, with no distance permitted between reader and protagonist. And if living with Tao Lin’s Paul feels somewhat more relentless than living with Karl Ove, there is an element of geographical and historical luck in play: after all, Karl Ove has the built-in sublimity of fjords to console him, whereas Paul can claim only downtown Manhattan (with excursions to Brooklyn and, briefly, Taipei), the Internet, and a sackload of prescription drugs.
Pretty Polly MineSidney NolanIt is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted, To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer, To listen to the hungry raven's cry in wintry season When the red blood is fill'd with wine & with the marrow of lambs. It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements, To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan; To see a god on every wind & a blessing on every blast; To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies' house To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, & the sickness that cuts off his children, While our olive & vine sing & laugh round our door, & our children bring fruits and flowers. Then the groan & the dolor are quite forgotten, & the slave grinding at the mill, And the captive in chains, & the poor in the prison, & the soldier in the field When the shatter'd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead. It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity: Thus could I sing and thus rejoice: but it is not so with me. - William Blake (b. November 28, 1757), from The Four Zoas
Seiobo There Below – László Krasznahorkai reviewed by Matthew Feigfull-stop
László Krasznahorkai’s Seiobo There Below also begins with a white heron standing transfixed in the water. But far from a dumbfounded dream, it demonstrates absolute concentration, standing perfectly still for hours until the perfect moment is reached, when it strikes in a flash. As in Yeats, the bird’s hunting ritual is at once transcendent and dangerous — the bird represents a beauty both vulnerable and “unbearable” — and Krasznahorkai, like Yeats, is fascinated by the possibilities and perils of such transcendence through art and ritual. The bird embodies at once the potential of intense observation to give meaning to everything but also the tragedy of beauty wasted on an indifferent or inadequate observer, or lost forever:. . . .no one is looking, no one sees it, and if it’s not seen today then it is not seen for all eternity, the inexpressible beauty with which it stands shall remain concealed . . . something is lost before it even has a chance to appear, and there shall be no one to bear witness to the recognition that it is the one that gives meaning to everything around it . . . the unyielding artist of this landscape, who . . . as the fulfillment of unswerving artistic observation, rises once and for all above that to which it gives meaning, rises above it . . . above the local meaning permeating everything, as well as above that of its own actual activity, because what is the point of being beautiful, especially when it is just a white bird standing and waiting . . . .Observation itself is the ritual, which is a neat example for a book about ritual and observation. In Seiobo There Below, we see in disparate examples Krasznahorkai regarding art and artists through the lens of Noh; the very act of making or viewing art becomes a chance to abut the sublime, or to crash into it.
DiaboloRoger de La Fresnayec.1914The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could percieve. And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country, placing it under its mental deity. Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslav'd the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects; thus began Priesthood. Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. And a length they pronounced that the Gods had ordered such things. Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast. William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Philosophy of Information: An Introduction Andrew Iliadis The PI Research Network.How has media affected cities in real, concrete terms? How do “bits” and “waves” become “bricks”? This large special issue, edited by Matteo Tarantino and Simone Tosoni, collects 15 papers by Giorgia Aiello, Thomas Apperley, Joshua Breitbart, Greta Byrum, Roderic N. Crooks, Michiel de Lange, Martijn de Waal, Sophia Drakopoulou, Leopoldina Fortunati, Lee Humphreys, Dale Leorke, Tony Liao, Didem Ozkul, Pietro Palvarini, Cesare Silla, Sakari Taipale, Federica Timeto, Simone Tosi, Shenja van der Graaf, and Wim Vanobberghen, all examining the ever evolving relationship between cities and digital media.
Sidney Noland. November 28, 1992Around the pillars of Urthona, and round thy dark limbs, On the Canadian wilds I fold, feeble my spirit folds. - William Blake, America: A Prophecy
November 26, 2013
Has the Image Killed the Imagination?Professor Ben O'LoughlinInaugural Lecture
The Department of Politics and International Relations
Royal Holloway University of LondonTry to imagine the future. You can’t. You’re reading this. The screen has you trapped. Another image is catching your eye now too. The image is crowding out the future, a continuous drain on attention. Politics is dreams, goals, plans. It needs the future. Without time to imagine, what is left of politics?Backdoor Broadcasting Company Academic Podcasts via —synthetic_zero
On Poetic Production, "The Embattled Lyric" and a Topography of Hope
A lecture in the series "History & Forms of Lyric," Poetics Colloquium, University of Chicago, May 1st, 2012.(....)via The Page poetry, essays, ideas
Until some two years ago and ever since I can remember, I was engaged in a search for some sort of ultimate meaning – if you like some kind of “spirituality.” A longstanding interest in esoteric writings of all sorts and in the phenomenon known as initiation; eventually lodged for many years in Mahayana Buddhism, first in Zen, later in the Vajrayana. Then, some two years ago, during a morning walk, I suddenly felt all of that dropping away like some garment no longer required. It has seemed to me since then that all religions, all religious systems and practices, are ultimately brought about by attempts to deal with the universal fear of mortality. With the fear of what I call “the nothingness of nothing” since the word “nothing,” by itself, is incomprehensible. I eventually went as far as to see all established institutional religions – and especially the Abrahamic ones – as nocive when acting within their static, interminable, cultic redundancy and their authoritarianism, no matter how strong their consolatory functions might be. An ultimate pessimism regarding the fate of the human race in the hands of equally authoritarian politico-economic powers made me into what I have come to call a “terminalist.” Not, of course, “Repent, the End of the World is at hand!” but: Given the way in which humanity continues to behave toward itself and toward Nature and despite numerous praiseworthy efforts to stem the negative tide, it is more than probable that the human race will do away with itself in an already foreseeable future and, in any event, well before the end of this planet’s existence.
At this point, despite the claims on me of isness, ipseity, immanence; despite the cardinal directive of virtually all secular or profane philosophies – i.e. “lead your life in the moment and nowhere and at no time else,” I continue to find the questions “why? what for?” fundamentally overwhelming. Entertainment left completely behind, the point of producing Hope in the form of poetry seems to withdraw into immeasurable distance and alienation. In plainer words, how and why does a thinking human being continue the activity of hoping when in the absence of all apparent ground for Hope? When, as a poet, one has lived longer in death than in life? When to be a poet as fully as to be a human being is to be in a great many ways already dead? A little later, I’ll be going into the figure of Orpheus as the archetypal poet-visitor from the dead.
Gianni Berengo Gardin
Lydia Davis's Proust: The Writer As Translator, The Translator As Writer
... What does it mean, then, to be both a writer and a translator, who in each role is affected by the whims of the marketplace, the need to make a living, and, by extension, the critics who deem a text worthy or unworthy of being bought and read?
It’s fascinating to explore the intertextual and labyrinthine connections between Lydia Davis’s own fiction; her translation of Marcel Proust’s Du côté de chez Swann; her methodology for translating; the critical response to her work by critic, novelist, and memoirist André Aciman; and, finally, her fictional response to that particular criticism. As an award-winning writer of short stories, poems, a novel, and essays, as well as translations, Davis has focused on exploring in her “best stories . . . problems of language, its insufficiencies and irregularities, how lives can be undone—or remade—by a preposition or pronoun. . . . Misunderstandings pivot on the misapplication of an adjective or the absence of one,” as Jason McBride notes in an interview with the author.
I would add that Davis’s fiction also focuses on the inner workings of the mind, the convoluted thought processes we experience, the paradoxes inherent in language and thought. In this way, her concerns can be viewed as similar to those of Proust, for in language and the use of tenses one is inevitably concerned with time, be it lost or found.
'This language materialized'
A review of Mary Burger's 'Then Go On'
Burger’s thoroughness accomplishes an occupation of time and space that yields agency. She starts with nothing, beginning at the beginning — her phonetic protolanguage — and never denies nothing’s constant, in the cracks of contingency to either side of reason or its semblance. “The Man Without Stumps,” for example, foregrounds an absence of legible form. Mid-careen down a crumbling cliff face, the man “notices then that he is not standing on anything, that he is in fact surrounded by nothing … Not just nothing he recognizes, there is nothing at all”. The man is nondescript, bouncy, soft, the terrain sliding and loose. Any form they retain is a turbulent blur. In a strophe on raising tents: “Always at the fulcrum of the lift there is a chance someone will give out. One pole will swerve wildly, others will waver, suddenly the whole sky will lurch to one side and collapse”. No determinate shape or area is reliable, all’s in flux, spanned by “the cloud of being that dispels millions of colors in gray matter, an atomized mist, [that] surrounds us and is chilly, we can’t separate ourselves from it or feel any perspective, we can’t look at it because we are in it”. Burger manages to write in, of, and by this cloud, manifesting not only that form is fluid, but that myriad appearances coexist of a truth that can’t be defined.
...(more)I Like Purple
Excerpt from Then Go On“I like purple,” she says. “I don’t know why.”for Iris Vitiello, age almost 6
She tapes plastic farm animals to a piece of cardboard and calls it a farm. She has colored the cardboard green. We accept her premise.
It wasn’t so hard to understand what we’d done—
create a work in which “being” was always in question—
but the existence of the work defied understanding.
A study on narrative positivism—the novel represents public and private space, violence represents subconscious urges—cannot account for it.
Walk me through the body.
That everything be a playlet—the accordion-playing rabbit, the finely detailed plastic hippo (“West Germany”), the fish vase with the round eye hole and the open mouth, the Indonesian shadow puppet, all enact a drama on the dining room table—and we keep going, as if we knew their parts and could play them.
The truth came out: I did not know how to read.
An ego gets formed, and a vocabulary, which may at first seem easy, even trite, may seem to determine specific ideas, may seem to prevent the transformation of an embroidered peasant shawl into a wriggling hallucination—girls lined up, one row above another, as if in the corridors of a cell block, a bar or scarf floating across their middle, and below the heads of the next row, the bars moved and danced with the girls, and it seemed the whole system might split, but it didn’t.
1961 production of
b. November 26, 1909(....)
I had simply not ‘got’ Tristram Shandy when I read it as a teenager. Ironically, I recall my overriding response as impatience: I just wanted the author to get on with the story. Returning to the novel years later I had an epiphany. I was working on a large project about men and the eighteenth-century home, reading the vast array of documents written by men in their domestic spaces, documents about themselves, their families, their histories, their houses, and a store of miscellaneous topics. Wasn’t this what Tristram was struggling to do?
Every day for at least ten years together did my father resolve to have it mended—'tis not mended yet;—no family but ours would have borne with it an hour—and what is most astonishing, there was not a subject in the world upon which my father was so eloquent, as upon that of door-hinges.—And yet at the same time, he was certainly one of the greatest bubbles to them, I think, that history can produce: his rhetorick and conduct were at perpetual handy-cuffs.—Never did the parlour-door open—but his philosophy or his principles fell a victim to it;—three drops of oil with a feather, and a smart stroke of a hammer, had saved his honour for ever.
—Inconsistent soul that man is!—languishing under wounds, which he has the power to heal!—his whole life a contradiction to his knowledge!—his reason, that precious gift of God to him—(instead of pouring in oil) serving but to sharpen his sensibilities—to multiply his pains, and render him more melancholy and uneasy under them!—Poor unhappy creature, that he should do so!—Are not the necessary causes of misery in this life enow, but he must add voluntary ones to his stock of sorrow;—struggle against evils which cannot be avoided, and submit to others, which a tenth part of the trouble they create him would remove from his heart for ever?
By all that is good and virtuous, if there are three drops of oil to be got, and a hammer to be found within ten miles of Shandy Hall—the parlour door hinge shall be mended this reign.
Laurence Sterne – The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
Gianni Berengo Gardin
_______________________ _______________________ _______________________
"On the Oka"
November 25, 2013 photo - mw
Ad nauseam The more we hate it, the more it agrees with us. How advertising turned anti-consumerism into a secret weapon Adam Corner aeon
Corporate advertising is the ultimate shape-shifter; the perpetual tease. No sooner had the virulently anti-capitalist 'Occupy Wall Street' movement begun than the American rapper Jay Z's clothing label created and marketed an 'Occupy All Streets' spin-off T-shirt. But as citizen cynicism has advanced, the space in which advertising can operate without tripping on its own rhetoric has become ever more restricted, and ever more bizarre.
Satire has long been acknowledged as a paradoxical crutch for a society's existing power structures: we laugh at political jibes, and that same laughter displaces the desire for change. As such as Chipotle's - which express our concerns about the failings of globalisation in a safe space before packing them away - are surely an equivalent safety valve for any subversive rumblings. We all like to think that we're above the dark art of advertising; that we are immune to its persuasive powers. But the reality is that, though we might have been immunised, it is not against ads: it is against dissent.
Deconstructing The Demiurge: Eschatology of Reason "The Gilded Index of Far-Reaching Ruin" Carlo ParcelliFLASHPOINTI: A Brief Course in Secular Eschatology In this rift, Among these books towering above me The war between Heaven and Hell rages. To some by their very substantiation, Heaven and earth were unified. “But they were wrong.” The mind fractures and Ancient fault lines are manifest, The body and blood, Dionysus, Orpheus, the Prophet and The apocrypha of Alkan crushed by his Talmud. Or like Charles-Valentin-- Gillespie, Parker and Charlie Christian, The free masonry of be-bop, its Insurmountable technical problems Designed to damn the poser, The Skull and Bones of flatted fifths. Lord, I am the scourge of human engineering. Hear my taunt. Mostly it’s a Te Deum to tedium, But then the tree line lit up so close We took mud and bone incoming. And ever since some go in and out; Some came back with a vestigial tail. Some were taken up meek and treacly. But most are bitter and abandoned. And a very few angry and dogged. Next to plastic jugs of mixed nuts, adrenal, Diving from the strobe of a ceiling fan, Regrouping at the rows of Mossbergs and BARs pointed heavenward, Laying down cover, Keeping the angels pinned down behind the cumulus While I make my getaway. High noon in the big box store Scattered among the pixelations on the High Def TV Sucked toward the white light beyond, thinking, Kyrie Eleison, Will they have their way and pixelate me? “Mam, my arm. Touch my arm! Please, mam, TOUCH ME!” Carbatrol, depakote, klonopin, lampictal, risperdal, Topamax, thorazine, lithium, tofranil, seroquel; Ten miracle drugs For every one miracle in the bible, For every sustainable superstition. Transubstantation works for loaves and fishes, bread and wine, Snakes and sticks, even Lazarus; When Christ deejayed and catered Canaan, Did he collect dove droppings For his nanobox off the copper roof At the Roman Legion’s gymnasium and wedding hall, Because, shit to sangria, that Nazarene kid has kept that party hopping?
In conjunction1886 Konstantin Korovin
Poetry isolation and collective clumsiness An antonymic exploration Maria Damonjacket2“Poetry Communities and THE Individual Talent” — if THE individual talent is that of T. S. Eliot, then why am I here? If including the definite article is not intended by the conference organizers to actually describe anyone or anything, I can be more comfortable, but in general the antonymic is my preferred mode: isolation instead of community, collectivity instead of individuality, and clumsiness instead of talent. But “collectivity” doesn’t quite do it; it’s too purposeful and suggests focused endeavor. It might be more interesting to consider a surround of creativity, or uncreative, haphazard, epiphenomenal creativity, an environmental aura of spasmodic restlessness without clear agency, as a model for a poetics that erodes any lingering traces of Eliotic attachment to talented individualism. Although, it must be conceded that his wistfulness for disappearance into a personality-less tradition — albeit because of his overwhelming sense of personality — resonates with Michel Foucault’s (and John Keats’s and Jack Spicer’s) observation that the writer disappears into writing. “Tradition,” by which Eliot meant the Western literary canon, has been wisely reconceived here as the folksier and pluralized “poetry communities.” There are, indeed, traditions comprising paraliterary heritage, but they are largely anonymous and hence more interesting. But the individual talent? The invidious talon? The toxic infection? Talent’s etymology alone qualifies it for suspicion, as its travel from weight to currency to penchant to giftedness solidly implicates it in the world of commodities, while Eliot’s use of the word as metonymic for “person” or “poet” overdetermines its status as alienated labor, an extraction of one appealing and desired resource from the “standing-reserve” of the populace in exchange for prestige, professional advancement, reification as a name, and so forth. Why resurrect this embodiment of an outmoded literary ambition almost half a century after Foucault wonders whose multiple and anonymous murmurs waft him downstream on the history of discourse?
At the Oke1892Konstantin Korovin b. November 23, 1861Leaves: and their uses as nonsense Barbara MaloutasAufgabe #3 (...) Leaves and their uses as multiples joined: The use of thorns, grass stalks or other methods of joinery (such as water) are necessary but not often lasting. Joining may produce linear or specific and shapeless flats Shapeless flats present the least distinction and may be mistaken as native Specific flats can be extremely intrusive Considerations of a new place and where touch begins The craft can be learned and refined – with patience – over years Assistance happens: Reasonable speed is vital. Helpers are essential. Once acquiring a reputation, these are easy to gather. There will be many who wish to be part of a record or trace of nature. There remains the question of whether an end is ever an end. A good camera is essential: The single way to acquire a reputation (and therefore a name), is through recording projects from beginning to end or the end of recording. A presence in the frame during recording is not essential There is no other frame Editing shapes the narrative This is not about narrative
photo - mw
The Conservatives’ treatment of veterans is hypocritical Gerald CaplanIf the politics of contempt is the hallmark of Stephen Harper’s governing style – for Parliament, for accountability, for critics, for science, for journalists – nothing is more shameful than its contempt for Canada’s veterans. It’s not merely that vets have won the right to so much better. It’s also the flat-out hypocrisy, the unbridgeable chasm between the Harper government’s rapturous rhetoric and its actual policies.
The Rob Ford scandal has been a genuine black eye for Canada. His continuing presence on the political scene is as mystifying to foreigners as it is embarrassing to Canadians. But one day, thankfully, Ford will be gone. In a variety of areas including climate change, the damage being done by the Harper government to Canada’s global reputation is a stain that will stay with us for much longer.
November 22, 2013
A Georgian Epiphany
Poemas Del Rio Wang"The photographs of the series “Anatomy of the Georgian Melancholy” (1993 – 2004) were taken while living in Tskneti, a suburb of Tbilisi where refugees had settled after escaping the war in Abkhazia: at the time, Lado Pochkhua was learning English from a copy of Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy."
That which cannot be said must be passed over in silence:
thoughts on setting Thomas Bernhard to music
Adam DonenMy introduction to the author whose work would destroy a year and a half of my life, and will most likely poison many years more, began the evening of a horrific party filled with so-called artists of the sort with which London is littered. Yelling drunken inanities and clumsily attempting to lure each other to beds, dozens of them swarmed around the warehouse in which, back then, I made my home. “Listen to them,” I yelled, gesticulating at a half dozen or so sat opposite me, “sitting there in their wrongness, being wrong.” My interlocutor, a German journalist whose presence at the party remains a mystery to this day, presented me with a copy of Thomas Bernhard’s Holzfällen the next day. And so it began.Wave Composition“All of the decrepit garbage of this totally decrepit European civilization, or rather, to hold nothing back, this totally decrepit modern world of ours, this era that keeps grinding out nothing but intellectual muck and all this stinking constipating clogging intellectual vomit is constantly being hawked in the most repulsive way as our intellectual products though it is in fact our intellectual waste products…”Months later I found myself in a quandary. Put it this way: imagine you have a feeling that bears expressing. As with all feelings, words can at best render it imperfectly. Through metaphor and juxtaposition, you could, perhaps, render it obliquely, creating a map to the feeling with its scale different for each reader. Or else you could render it scientifically, describing its effects while hammering out any trace of its essence.
Here’s another scenario. If you’re Thomas Bernhard, crushed by the misfortune of having studied music alongside a genius (Glenn Gould), you could, at least, try to get words to come as close to music as ever they have.
And if you find yourself, as I did, thirty years after Bernhard’s death, trying to create orchestral music (“serious music”, as its rather wonderfully rendered in the German-speaking world), you might find yourself – for a variety of reasons – wanting to complete that translation back from words to music. What emerged would become my recently performed piece The Bernhard Suite. But more on that later.
first ice on the Rideau
photo - mw
Avant-Garde in Crisis
In one important sense, modernism cast a spell to fix the future at an endpoint: our relationship with the present is a process beholden to the past. Sweeping transformations today in the wake of global finance capital, intensified displacement, greater high-speed communication networks, and reverberating effects of these experiences on labor and value, have all but eroded the developmental time frame of modernism and its understanding of scale. To be sure, this ongoing historic process has yielded increasingly site-specific environments of impact and evaluation; and in these locations it has modified concrete and potential economies of imagined cultural status. If the modernist project and capitalism continue to associate as a shared repertoire of aspirations, certain cheerful inflections of avant-garde practice today appear so untroubled as to largely ape or disregard the symptoms of these deep-seated social transformations—and the role of the United States in that process. This omission speaks of a modernism complicit with “the long line of capitalist accumulation methods [that have] eventually exhausted its potential: once more capitalism, in the course of its expansion, has eaten up the milieu indispensable for its survival.”[i] In this scenario, modernist methods for producing critical antagonism are readily subsumed as just another carefree aesthetic consumer choice. Why not? If the crisis of the avant-garde is commensurate with the global downturn, with the perverse logic of credit boom and bust, then admission into the cultural marketplace is jeopardized by the expanding numbers thought to guarantee the cultural benefit of a few. In brazen pursuit of immediate gratification, how many advocates of formal innovation risk losing sight of modernism’s critical reason for being?
There is a vast range of poetic practices that so work in tandem with other forms of knowledge as to provide contradictory pleasures that also hazard a diagnostic. ...(more)
(1832 – 1909)
The economy of contribution in the digital commons
Culture and Organization, 2013 Vol. 19, No. 4abstract
This is an article about digital production and the crisis of capitalism. It is about production in the digital commons and its implications for the building of alternatives to a commodified world. As digital production is at the very heart of cognitive capitalism, the digital commons is not just any other disruption of the process of commodification. This is the field of a fierce struggle over the future of the Internet and the future of capitalism itself. It is potentially the moment which moves back the frontiers of measurement, value and quantification towards qualities, values and an expansion of the gift economy. For this potential to unfold, it is vital that those who are giving, sharing, and contributingfor the benefit of humanity are supported by global policies that enable them to do so. They have to be supported because their gifts are not based on reciprocity and the obligation to return the gift. This is an argument about the future of digital labour. The article concludes that this could be achieved through a global basic income scheme.
Barricades of the Commune
The $10 Trillion Heist
The Great Corporate Tax Shift
Jack RasmusThe great corporate myth-making machine has been hard at work of late, attempting to create the false impression that US corporations are increasingly uncompetitive with their foreign rivals due to the fact they pay much higher corporate taxes in the US and abroad than their capitalist counterparts. But that is one of the great myths perpetrated by corporate apologists, pundits and their politician friends. The myth is high in the pantheon of conscious falsifications their marketing machines feed the American public, right up there along with such other false notions that 'business tax cuts create jobs', 'free trade benefits everyone', 'income inequality is due to a worker's own low productivity contribution', 'overpaid public workers are the cause of states' budget deficits', or that 'social security and medicare are going broke'.
If corporate America can create and sell the idea that they pay more taxes than their offshore capitalist cousins, then they are half way home to getting their paid politicians to provide them still more corporate tax cuts-a proposal by the way that both Republicans and Obama are on record for, in their joint proposal to reduce the top corporate tax rate from 35% to 28% (Obama) or 25% (Republicans).