Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kocik/Fain Interview at Critical Correspondence

Here is an interview I co-conducted with Daria Fain and Robert Kocik in early November. Thanks to Alejandra Martorell for including me in the interview, and doing the bulk of the editing/transcription. And, mainly, for bringing more of Robert's and Daria's words into print...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Amy Balkin's Recommendation

Tuesday, 1/8, 6:30 pm: A Few Zines: Dispatches from the Edge of Architectural Production

In the 1990s, zines such as Lackluster, Infiltration, loud paper, Dodge City Journal and Monorail subverted traditional trade and academic architecture magazine trends by crossing the built environment with art, music, politics and pop culture--and by deliberately retaining and cultivating an underground presence. Much has been made of that decade’s zine phenomenon--inspiring academic studies, international conferences and DIY workshops--yet little attention has been paid to architecture zine culture specifically, or its resonance within architectural publishing today.

"A Few Zines: Dispatches from the Edge of Architectural Production does both." Rather than attempting to present an exhaustive retrospective of architecture zine culture, it highlights complete runs of several noted zines that began in the nineties. The exhibition also features contemporary publications that continue to draw inspiration from the self-publishing tradition, such as Pin-Up, Sumoscraper, and Thumb.

To launch this exhibit, curator Mimi Zeiger has published a new issue of loud paper and organized a party and panel discussion, including:

Luke Bulman, Thumb
Felix Burrichter, Pin-Up
Stephen Duncombe, NYU professor and author of Dream and Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture
Mark Shepard, Situated Technologies
Mimi Zeiger, loud paper

Moderated by Kazys Varnelis, AUDC

Free and open to the public

This exhibition will run from January 8-February 28, 2009


All I ever wanted was your participation
Both a weapon and a ribbon yield participation
Both the sky and the earth imminently
We will no longer sing we will be
A carnival instead we will be a farm on the outskirts
Of which highway subtending a disaster
Of feelings singularity will be interrupted
By a fantasy of becoming
On the edge of another’s skin a portal like
The past enveloping these future words
The book we could make and be bright
All I ever wanted was your blood to beat
With mine we made a quilt we made a sign
We set up a booth and amplified through
Simple signals our causes
The Round Table was once an image
Of this such utopias that pink
Table didn’t do enough to save
Some names from their oblivion
Some shapes we recuperated from malice
There will be new names for your participation
Whole worlds secreted by what
You decide
Entire universes simulcast.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hearing Boccaccio

The sound of this singing out there in
Your mouth what hails us and halos
Are both constructed from the sun kill

The lights all I get is this shallow sense
Of cause the bawdiness in your socius
Sniffs a story not a moral obligation your

Penchant for evidence of Italian dick and
Young pretty things may their flesh be
With us is what you seem to say placating

What is realer inside you visions of older
Stories that are also real hearing Boccaccio
No thing operative except that it is trans

missible so the muse is said the young
Marxist grows-up all he cares about
That history entertain our future anterior.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Come Out, Again

If you were pointing here
To this histrionics in my
Hand blood ruptures esse
nce and sound erupts all

Around as witness is not
What we understand or a
Theory under seeing’s th
umbs I heard your screa

ming move left to right in
My ears and be of neither
Hemisphere of the brain
Since chiasmus is always

Elsewhere a pinch of the
Bruise or a squatting for
The bowels points to this
Legal sense we must all

Be heard that this hearing
Must become us I taste
Your blood as singly as I
Hear that there is singing.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

To John and Taylor

There are walls that
Do fall because in

That falling we are
A community without

Disposable wings
Or limbs like a mon

ster we must carry
With us everywhere

A protuberance this
Remaining which

Was never the given
ness of form or in

novation our various
complicities with the

Real a sky for your
Crying a hell for your

Song but as you also
Say birdsong some

where in between
Falling and rising in

Its different motions
We live & die by this.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Suzanne's Reply to My Meme

Suzanne Stein has replied to a meme I sent to her about a month ago after a reading she gave at St. Mark's:

My response is pending due to end of the year business, but thank you Suzanne!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dawn Lundy Martin SEGUE intro

A couple summers ago, teaching a translation of Sophocles’ Antigone at Bard College’s Language and Thinking workshop, instead of reading the play linearly, I circled every instance of negation in Antigone’s speeches. From these moments of Sophocles’ text—no doubt a translation of a translation of a translation—was born a new text distilled from the force of Antigone’s famous refusal. Approcahing Dawn Lundy Martin’s work I also want to highlight the moments of negation, which are many, and which cumulatively effect a power of refusal comparable to Antigone’s own:

“…an unforgiving, inchoate world.”
“No mold to make…”
“…I cannot tell you because it is not known.”
“But the body will not be buried there”
“Hands are scarred, almost dead.”
“You write “grandmother” and cross it out.”
“Finger pointed at the body and then at the sun, realized nothing and fell again taciturn”
“…as if I could, but could not”.*

Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to situate Lundy Martin’s negativity in writers closer to our own era, however no less mythical. In a tradition after the Negritude of Aime Cesaire, for instance, Lundy Martin’s work also journalizes her seasons in hell, making them literal joyrides, where to “go down” evokes literal encounter with one's lovers (women, in Lundy Martin’s case), and with the facts of one’s own gendered-racialized body.

Likewise, after poets as diverse as Myung Mi Kim, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Susan Howe and Audre Lorde, Lundy Martin dramatizes voices becoming articulate, wresting articulation from an empire of signs:

“All that has been spoken. All that threatens the legitimacy of that which is attempting to be said. Phonemic struggle—I’ll call it a precursor to blathering. Scintilla. Something dragged in the sand.”

“The fit is tight. Splitting into? Stiff cup. A dark mouth moves, enters the tremor of a voiced, Uh. But, all this is not love, not love in the way one milks the center. Instead, chronic terror stripped to bone grating upon bone. Of down home, twang twang, and promise. My knees pressed behind ears.”

And as in Kim, Howe, Cha, and Lorde, in Lundy Martin’s work any coming into voice presents many difficulties, as it involves the presencing of irreconcilable social antagonisms and considerable personal suffering. But whereas Kim et al broach despair through the voices they undertake and inform through their writing, Lundy Martin’s writing winks at its reader knowingly, as though having already passed through affirmation, or being upon a threshold of that moment so central to overcoming—a conversion where “a no becomes a yes,” as Wallace Stevens might have it. That in her poem “Negrotizing in Five or How to Write a Black Poem,” Lundy Martin references the Negritude and Black Arts movements, Third Wave Feminism, femme ecriture, LANGUAGE writing and Susan Bee’s and Mira Schor’s arts journal M/E/A/N/I/N/G, pays homage to a continuum of radical arts communities while working in relation to these cultural formations from a revisionary distance.

What, in turn, rears its head necessarily in Lundy Martin’s writing is the specter of various struggles for recognition and liberation as they are given form by singularities—by the particular experiences and percepts of one’s autobiography, their life. Through Lundy Martin’s work, a work that can neither be said to be merely “experimental” or concerned with identity politics per se (though experimentalism and a politics of identity both inform that work’s authority), a culture work concerned to presence the stakes of particular identities within larger cultural formations becomes simultaneously legible and ambivalent.

*all quotations taken from Lundy Martin’s poems “Negrotizing in Five or How to Write a Black Poem” and “Unspeaking”.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

After Bhanu Kapil

There is nothing safe
In migrating or maki
ng a hole where you

Should be given birth
To a bardo a monster
Of the bardo Frapuch

ino products combu
stible and red blood
lusting which is us in

A wilderness the wild
Ocean becoming us
As we don't seem co

mpletely to cross its
Thresholds distracted
By the sentences in

Your skin space rese
mbles everything it is
Not so we become sp

ace travel in our name
A kind of occulted
Name we wouldn't wi

sh upon anyone no
Longer any land beyo
nd the sea just these

Points in real space
We dissemble heart
beats spotting sites.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Poem for Immediacy

So in its mediated way
Of that windshield
It is the fact that no

Glass obstructs which
Bothers us proves some

thing surprising for
The eye entranced the
Hand reaching through

It to that beer can
History race class an

tagonism inversion of
This obvious trope lost
In the missing glare.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Extent to Which

here is the official press release and some rehearsal pics for Daria Fain's and Robert Kocik's collaboration The Extent To Which, which opens this Wednesday, December 10th.

"…some of the most innovative movement around."
The New York Press

A Danspace Project Commission

Presented by Danspace Project & the Center for Performance Research--CPR

Tuesday, December 9 at 7 pm (Gala Evening Honoring Pauline Oliveros--please note correct start time)
Wednesday, December 10 - Saturday, December 13 at 7 & 9 pm
Sunday, December 14 at 3 pm

All performances at the
Center for Performance Research--CPR
361 Manhattan Avenue (between Jackson and Withers, L train to Graham Avenue)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Tickets: $20/$15 Danspace Project members

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Leslie Scalapino intro for Segue

The next couple months thru January I will host the Segue reading series with Evelyn Reilly. The following is my first introduction for the series, which I read last night to introduce Leslie Scalapino:

In a letter to Charles Bernstein dated May 25th, 1989, Hannah Weiner writes:

"I think there are four ways the poet of the future can work, and you can combine them also. One is to work politically, ecologically, whatever work that needs to be done in the world, one is to raise the level of as I explained consciousness (this I think is done by like us language some other poets of course using disjunctive, non-sequential techniques) one is to work with power, and disguise yourself that quits keep clear about writing new poetry. Meaning grounds you in every day speaking consciousness and cannot alter the mind by technique. Alter the mind and you work politically with greater effect […] The mind obeys unconsciously giving strict orders that are agreed upon by someone who twice dying explains without clear motive like once clairvoyant journal explained." (163)

When I read this letter, excerpted by Patrick Durgin in the collection of Weiner’s writing, Hannah Weiner’s Open House, I cannot help but think of Leslie Scalapino, who for the past thirty-five some odd years has fulfilled all four of Weiner’s "ways," combining them with dedication and passion through writing, teaching and her Bay Area based press, O Books—a press which continues to publish new writing, and organize a discourse about language, politics, and social responsibility. What’s more, Scalapino makes Weiner’s four ways seamless by discovering a writing radically hybrid and anti-categorical that abolishes traditionalist distinctions between poetry and philosophy opting instead to activate thinking through acts of composition. The proof is in the gerund (think-ing) as Scalapino advances many of the problems most famously articulated by Stein, whereby writing must continually enact meaning and not merely describe it. Composition as explanation; but also composition as that which charges experience with meaning.

To immerse one’s self in Scalapino’s work, and track its evolution (and to do so is now made a little bit easier for many of us by the recent publication of Scalapino’s selected poems, It’s go in horizontal) is to also witness one of the most rigorous practitioners of what Weiner calls “twice dying”. As I understand it, to “twice die” is to undergo thinking as that which interrupts a psychological “stream of consciousness,” and thus presents the otherwise within eidetic experience (ideation, perception, memory). This, of course, is not achieved by thinking alone, but by thinking as it is mediated and made possible though writing. Like the yoga master or Sufi, the thing is (lifting a term from Jalal Toufic’s work) to die before dying; that is, to experience living itself as a discontinuous condition. It is an interruptive dialogism (or dialogic interlocution) which perhaps describes Scalapino’s writing most succinctly, as one is not only never in the same syntactical stream twice, but neither before nor after a nexus of subjects and objects determined by event (what occurs, and what happens as what is). To twice die, as Weiner’s statement insists to me, is to give shape to new thought-forms which themselves may raise consciousness, in tandem affecting the political and social as those realms wherein the struggle for a new subject, and therefore new actualities, are born. More than ever we need these emergent thought-forms, and it is with great pleasure and a deep admiration that I often look for them in Leslie Scalapino’s ongoing work.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Kevin Killian is my hero...

...because he can write things like the following, from his book *Action Kylie*:

"But what does one do with one's enthusiams? Where do they keep? There's an anxiety in declaring oneself a Kylie fan--similar to how coming out used to feel. (Nowadays it's the same exact thing I suppose.) Dennis Cooper can say, "Oh, I'm influenced by Bresson," and people will nod with approbation, even if they're thinking of *Cartier*-Bresson. I suffered some credibility loss while under the spell of Dario Argento, but nothing like the waves of shame and misery that engulf me when people say, "Kylie who? That girl who did "the Lo-comotion"?" I think I like her because she reminds me of myself, I don't have Dennis' genius, not to mention Bresson's, but like Kylie I can stretch out a second or third rate talent and make it mean something by a) insisting on its smallness; b) attempting to push the envelope, usually by collaboration with others and c) feeling no guilt when, in a corner, at the end of my tether, or upset by something in my personal life, I retreat to my roots and produce XYZ of the thing I know you'll like from me."

...a testimony to Kevin's critical genius, and hilarious self-reflexivity.