Saturday, February 03, 2007

Blood Noise

after Kiki Smith
with Betsy Bonner

"intestines in eyelids [...] while still living"
~ Leslie Scalapino*

If we see this holography
"Intestines in eyelids"
As nothing less than being
Vascular or clawed to

We were a fault our own
Mothers of all types
Of wolves woman nearby
In this sense singing a lullaby

In blood *blood noise*
All this welling-up like we
Were here the heart
Exterior as *see* itself

Mould me to your claws
You who sing me out
Woman as far as we are
Known is me like a bird-

Song attached moulds
Distant the blood pumps
Like wax out of this
So we can see then circulation

Above & outside & on high
The tears falling from
Their outlines nothing wanting
Nothing but this body told

To look at while we were not
Here while a below
Animal is for not inside
Next sequence head cleaves

Penitent or sacrificial or witnessed
The black & substituted night
Of form the skin worn from wood
*Waxen and everywhere*

We can see while we range thru
Every wood sequence head
Where does the human come from
*I've come so far steeped*

Clearly we are from iron &
Wax and anywhere plaster
We make a pun on forms
Of the earth in the material air

Strike the frame to flesh
From figures blood
Out like sound
Outfits the wounded skin

Cells void just before without
Stirs a night of forms
Elongated simulacrum in shadows
Tears where jars are kept

What is left of us to fill
The animal fills as it sheds
Its own separate within
For whom this meant the little

Objects of desire
That make up the rest
An immaculate percept stained
To *sign* within *within*

Sounded the bone mimicked
That separates divide
Makes series because the word
Is a series of patterns repeating

Like body thinks its mind
Duration is this coupling Pieta
Act immitates nature
Nature immitates act

Acts replicate structure
And structure mimics caw
Given to shallow shade
Given to burst cells

Tears and excrement of wax
Of wax the wax scratched
By substance a distant idea
Of this what's that in your mouth

The failed absolute bird
String or song like a field
We can't enter my heart can't hold
All this blood my hands

Are a mould bejeweled for no one
Distance from whence we began
In blood monsters your ridinghood
Animal within wounds

We are foregone stamps
Of simulation & death masks
All the animals started dying
All we could do was continue

Drained of blood my heart
Can't hold it all my heart can't
Hold it all I've come so far steeped
What is left of us to fill.

*trascribed from Scalapino's reading at St. Mark's with C.S. Giscombe last Weds.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Can't Night Be Saved

Can't night be saved night
Of deer Oppen summoned
All teeth or rocks water
Underneath his boat sailed

Among night should be saved
For itself those deer we actually
Saw walking grounds in winter
Under stars beams like dark itself

Moving in dark saving night must
Be like this to grasp night moving
For itself sufficient and peopled with
Its own creation those animals

Desires whose eyes grasped us
Actually teeth flash tufts through
Trees appearance eyes adjust
Just before they were gone into.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Affirmative and the Infinite

If the situation is as we say it is--the disjunctive synthesis of two nihilisms--then, as we see it, it is a frightening one. It announces the repetition of disasters.

As such, it is incumbent upon philosophy to welcome into thought everything that distracts itself from that synthesis. Philosophy must make the condition of its own existence everything that affirmatively seizes something real and raises it to the level of the symbol.

But to do that, it must break with whatever leads it through nihilistic detours, that is, with everything that restrains and obliterates affirmative power. It must push beyond the nihilistic motif of the 'end of Western metaphysics'. And more generally, it must de-link itself from the Kantian heritage, from the perpetual exmination of limits, from the obsession with critique, and from narrow forms of judgement. For a single thought is far greater than any judgement.

In a word: it is essential to break with the motif, omnipresent today, of finitude. With origins in the critical as well as hermenutical traditions, as well regarded by phenomenologists as by positivists, the motif of finitude is the discrete form by which thought crumbles in advance, by which thought is forced to play the modest part of conserving, in all circumstances, the fierce contemporary nihilism.

So Philosophy's duty is clear: to reconstitute rationally the infinite reserve of the affirmative that every liberating project requires. Philosophy is not, and never has been, that which disposes by itself of the effective figures of emancipation. Such is the primordial task of what concentrates on making thinking political. Instead, philosophy is like the attic where, in difficult times, one accumulates resources, lines up tools and sharpens knives. Philosophy is exactly that which proposes an ample reserve of means to other forms of thought. Right now it is on the side of the affirmative and the infinite that philosophy must select and accumulate its resources, its tools and its knives.
~ Alain Badiou

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Literal Hallucination

For the past year or so I have been making works with Photoshop software I have been calling literal hallucinations. While the term literal hallucination is taken from Louis Zukofsky’s *Bottom: on Shakespeare*, the actual works are indebted to my engagement with Susan Howe’s writing, as well as the art of Ed Rusha, the manuscript-texts of Hannah Weiner, the films of David Lynch and other sources. Something that has long interested me in Susan Howe’s work is the way she engages manuscript texts as visually based objects transforming them through diagrammatic and transcriptive forms. In the sense of these engagements I believe Howe hallucinates literally, or the literal: that is, she SEES radiantly printed objects in their object-hood, and translates this perceiving of objecthood from an “aural” (often) non-print based existence into a mechanically reproduced one—where her primary tools are the typewriter, photocopier, and (in more recent cases) computer/scanner. Such literal hallucinating is not only a vital way of subjecting textual-visual objects to mechanical transformation, but of expositing the original meanings of objects through description and diagram. Vision bears across in Howe’s use of the page where she often resorts to palimpsestual collages to display the noisy relationality of textual histories as well as in the poet’s significant inclusion of fascimiles; visions also of course come across in explosive uses of typographical and bibliographical elements. As literal hallucinations, Howe’s transcriptions themselves act as exercises allowing the poet both a closer identification (if not an invaluable *over*-identification) with her critical object, and a means of seeing that object more clearly in its information—whether “information” be penmenship, watermark, or illegibility (smudge, cross-out, ink-spill, etc.). In this latter respect Howe is not unlike Ed Ruscha who I’ve always found to have an uncanny way of laying bare the basic information of an object or objective relation to a point of revelatory estrangement; in the former, Howe is singular in her enthusiasm, and her determination to undergo the object of her perception and intelligence in order to convey that object’s actuality, therefore meaning. In this attempt to undergo there is a critical-aesthetic intelligence that trumps traditional literary scholarship in the latter’s neglect of alternative methods of study, and especially the investigation of visual-aural elements of meaningful emergence.


"Begin anywhere"
~ Louis Zukofsky

I've also kept falling in your lines
Wherefore elsewhere a *voice blown
From print* still pervades our singing
Scornful eyes still overlook Aton's
Light in the event horizon of our fears
For tears we always did a La Jetee

Like a corpse moved to its forgotten case
Sensitives discontinuously behold
The rap from the lock & mainly
Reprieve a love of eyes replaced
Smitten by construct your site goes here
A cite to see better the thought seized

By thinking itself kernel of all that eyes were
The subject dives to pitch-blend mixed down
Totalling totality again scrapping rates of labor
This must be the place of accelerated mistake
Making incommensurability an argosy of command
Or land a trace divided by irony flowered

To mental floss these trap doors in second
Reflection make video games all thumbs
In this Negativeland so-called the One
America facts bear witness against our dismissals
Their missiles want sites non-sensed
Cites sensed inwardly shuddering to felt

Cites sensed inwardly shuddering to felt
Their missiles want sites non-sensed
America facts bear witness against our dismissals
In this Negativeland so-called the One
Reflection makes video games all thumbs
To mental floss these trap doors in seconds

Or land a trace divided by irony flowered
Making incommensurability an argosy of command
This must be the place of accelerated mistake
Totalling totality scrapping rates of labor
The subject dives to pitch-blend mixed down
By thinking itself kernel of all that eyes were

A cite to see better the thought seized
Smitten by construct your site goes here
Reprieve a love of eyes replaced
The rap from the lock & mainly
Sensitives discontinuously behold
This corpse moved to its forgotten case

For tears we always did a La Jetee
Light in the event horizon of our fears
Scornful eyes still look on opposing Aton's
From print* still pervades our singing
Wherefore elsewhere a *voice blown
I've also kept falling in your lines

Monday, January 29, 2007

For Haskell Wexler

Look ma
I'm on TV!
Bleeding from
A truncheon please
Pay attention please
Stop these states
From themselves
Cameras seem to plead
Except when they're rubbernecking
A human interest story
Will not be interesting

Roll tape in the interstices
Of pityless flows
Number remains
To be crunched but
Multiplicity emerges.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

from Laurel Harris (Correspondence)

If history, defined by its factuality, its extra-aesthetic relevance, imposes (or, perhaps, presupposes?) on the “mythopoetic” seal of Barney’s films, is this interruption a violent break? What kind of interpretation does it bring to the closed and total world of the films? Does it make the films, despite themselves, allegories of their world (to use Jameson’s language)? Furthermore, where is history’s interruption located--in the text, in the spectator, in a collision or collusion of cinematic and extra-cinematic histories and horizons?

I haven’t seen _Drawing Restraint_ yet, but I can’t help but wonder if the awkwardness of “appropriation” in the film is not only cultural, but might also lie in pointing to the problem of labor and work itself. In the preview I saw for the film, the Japanese ship captain comments on one of Barney’s more practically insane spectacles, only to shrug it off with a kind of helpless indulgence, adding that he knows nothing about art. In this film, it seems, you have the art works, the artist at work, and those whose labor is more “everyday,” the traditional worker, for lack of a better term, at work, and possibly this work coincides and does not coincide?

This representation of work itself might be a point of strange resemblance with Vertov’s Soviet film. What you have in these frames is a reflection, for Vertov in _Kino-Eye_, of cinema as a productive labor of socialist society. What is produced? A new way of seeing? Social and aesthetic possibility represented by the trope, as Annette Michelson says, of revolution as a literal revolving, as of machine parts, as of the camera itself? Is this the “total process” as, paradoxically, a means of reconstruction rather than an end in itself? And in the almost hypercapitalist counterpoint of Barney’s films, in which this “total process” might be cast as ends not means in this reduction I’m making, does the responsibility for reconstruction, an interpenetration of history and its reflection perhaps, then shift from the man with the movie camera to the spectator herself?

Siegfried Krakauer claims that film reveals through recording, but, because of what you could call an “ontology of images,” this revelation is also a dissimulation in relation to a lived world. Film becomes a self-justifying record defined by and outside of a precise identity between an image and its impressed object. What happens, I wonder, when the visual historical archive becomes film’s content, becomes aestheticized beyond its initial intent? I’m very interested in the Italian filmmakers Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci’s work with archival material from World War I in this regard. They’ve restored war images from archives throughout Europe and aestheticized this archive, so to speak, through hand tinting and an original score. Reference is made to the original location, but the images themselves are inscrutable. For example, we see prisoners in an Austrian camp at work--men sewing, baking bread, butchering, dancing together, building carts. The images form a semblance, a viewpoint which is ultimately an anti-war warning, or even parable, according to the filmmakers’ intent. Yet, where does this inscrutability, this illegibility even, come from? Is there something in every image that won’t be given up, and how might this affect an idea of “total process”? Would it depend on the angle of perspective as to whether such an inscrutable historical kernal were the justification or undoing of this self-becoming and self-making?
~ Laurel Harris