Saturday, December 01, 2007
The following I read at the tribute to Hannah Weiner this past Weds. at St. Mark's Poetry Project along with selections from Weiner's *Spoke*, a book of 'transferences' as Weiner herself recognized it:
"The mind obeys unconsciously giving strict orders that are agreed upon by someone who twice dying explains without giving clear motives like once clairvoyant journal explained."
~ Hannah Weiner, from a letter to Charles Bernstein, 5/25/1989
I first read Hannah Weiner in the Fall of 1997. One of the things that made her writing stand out to me—among other writers linked to LANGUAGE—was Weiner’s sense of empathy, if not her tendency to identify. Identification has been a “no no” for a while now, after various critical theories, and after alterities more celebrated. My readings of Weiner in the past few years have helped me to attribute and recognize the otherwise in Weiner, whose mind-person were continually turned towards an outside of information, other people, discourse—language itself as that 'ultimate' other.
A particular identification or transference that has long drawn me back to Weiner is that with “the oppressed”. In this category I would lump the AIM activists with whom Weiner had longstanding friendships, African-Americans whose economic struggles are dramatized in Weiner’s book *sileNt teachers/remeMbered sequel*, the earth as it continues to be ecologically ravished, and women as Weiner often pokes fun at gender politics, and especially those within her most immediate communities.
Beyond these particular commitments one of Weiner’s ultimate concerns is with power itself, and most of all the status of her own powers in relation to others ("clairvoyance," "silent teaching" etc.). In this concern I believe she attained a kind of innocence. Not an innocence of reversion or regression, but to a place where her will could be involved with everything she felt, and came into contact with, and not least of all with the page on which she composed and gave aesthetic fact to her intentions. Only here—in the seat of the will—could Weiner not only claim the name of AIM leader Leonard Peltier as “I,” but conversely that of the neo-conservative American president, Ronald Reagan.
Not having had the opportunity to know Weiner, from the stories I’ve heard about her from others over the past decade, and thru her texts, she would seem emotionally privileged. Through this privilege she conveyed the person as an entity utterly singular through which events are named as powers, singularities among an open multiple.
for Robert Kocik & Eleni Stecopoulos
Impersonating the void we no longer
play in the dark
~ Eleni Stecopoulos, from *Autoimmunity*
1. Next of Kin
what ken we follow the blood down where future
should have been wherever ‘we’ goes geneo-
logies of monsters step teeth follow from them
productions from despair swords search-out
a limit to this body in the limitless dark ‘you’
are a cave for NO ONE will be forgiven 'kill
them all' he said the undead who shore words
against sense ascend if ever to follow them down
into a field of open letters into a force followed
a hollow all ours wound to a Balkan blankness
ensconced at the bottom of the self yet for them
something persisted believing in no grammar
no syntax in need but the words in your mouth
spill out myths spell mnemotechniques as
possible conditions in this wind 'I''s occluded
by sight who proffers an anthem excludes.
2. Our Immunity
declaratives operatives ‘I’ distends 'you' 'you' 'I'
we spoke of empathic radicals you are Greek to
me of that community of believers holding
Wisdom straps-up the bombs again hailing us
through smoke how could we do anything dif
ferent corruptible mortal immunizing whims
of progress difference saves face put the blood
and don’t triangulate don’t trilateral unilaterally
submits no more signs make fools of us con
tracts of letters debts others paying through the
nose for culture makes our culture totally fucked-
up some holistic imbalance points to ‘I’ doesn’t
want to make sense at a certain point sense be
came senseless where anger deafened flights
of degrees no one into those buildings swell with
history and forget their promise like a rainbow.
3. I Don't Go to the Movies
these two bodies belie emergency in the inside
getting sick to progress democracy purges itself
of justice the physician brothers Cosmos Damian fall
and we call this death two postmodern crystals
capitalist in their unwishing a sheen to all economic
indolence scrim subsides like butter does like healing
but in healing is laid waste real bodies accumulate
risk real bodies of exchange second life that was
none other than the other magic lantern x10
preparing for this lack of sense the bunkers were
them on the screen fantasy of us deterritorialized
or 'germy' what was in this code that told us
to be us while capital waited for a cure wishing
its jaundice on the world retroactive presentiments
of terror greener pastures property rites and rights
of the undead flung to the wind tell trauma slant.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Strategies of Occupation: Grabbing Land, and the Political Agency of the Artist
Thursday, November 29, 2007 – 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The New School
66 West 12th Street, #510
New York City
Admission: $8, free for all students, New School faculty, staff and alumni with valid ID
The exhibition “Land Grab” at Apexart gallery in New York, on view from November 7 through
December 22, presents an anthology of “grabbing” or claiming territory in current art practices.
Extending that inquiry, this accompanying workshop discusses the specificities and significance of
such occupations, shedding light on the artist as political agent.
The artistic positions considered here are not concerned with extra real estate or
anti-institutionalism. They contest a larger reality—the prolonged condition of emergency, for instance; the
global state of war and Orwellian group-think. Curators, theorists and artists (many participating
in the exhibition) will introduce their own strategies of occupation or ways of documenting and
criticizing them. The participants are also invited to analyze the positions taken up in the
exhibition: What does re-inscription of land stand for, as formulated in today’s art? What means do we
have, physical and intellectual, to occupy “land,” and how can this act be understood in a
post-colonial age? In a market-driven democracy, is occupation possible beyond capitalist desire? Who
is the ally, who is the audience? Finally: how can we define revolutionary subjectivity, the
power and potential to change the existing global order today, and what is its relation to “land”?
At the end of the workshop, a declaration will be created concerning the agency of the artist as
“land grabber,” a new definition of occupation, and a list of critical strategies of real,
utopian, or precarious occupation. This written or drawn work, together with transcribed parts of
the recorded discussion, will inform the matrix of a planned publication on strategies of (land)
occupation in the arts.
Lillian Fellmann, Zurich, co-curator of “Land Grab”
Sarah Lookofsky, New York, co-curator of “Land Grab”
Amy Balkin, artist, This Is the Public Domain, Los Angeles
Eteam (Franziska Lamprecht, Hajoe Moderegger), New York/Germany
Andrea Geyer, artist, New York
Jens Haaning, artist, Denmark
John Hawke, artist, New York
Albert Heta, Kosovo (invited)
Sergio Munoz Sarmiento, Clandestine Construction Company International
Vyjayanthi Rao, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research, New York
Martin Rosengaard, wooloo.org, Berlin
Felicity Scott, historian of modern and contemporary architecture and urbanism, Columbia
University, New York
Nato Thompson, curator, Department of Land and Space Reclamation (DLSR) (invited)
* This event is co-organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School and
presented as part of the center’s program cycle on “agency.”