Friday, April 23, 2010

Interview With Charles Bernstein Part I (@ Harriet)

Thom Donovan: Making a selected is a time to be retrospective obviously. I was thinking of Zukofsky’s notion of a life-work, his Bottom weaving the strands of an organic whole. What emerges for you as the strands of the weave?

Charles Bernstein: I wanted to create a work that was refracted by changing forms, in changing parts (synchronic); the retrospective aspect gave me an additional diachronic scale to work with: works/themes/motifs changing over time, an old-time trope for sure. And one of the things that I’m interested in is seeing how far I can not follow that Zukofsky idea that everything is connected, to see to what degree everything is disconnected, or simply acknowledge that there is disconnection. I don’t think either is true or not true, by the way. Connection and disconnection, in the sense I mean here, are heuristic devices. When things seem to be disconnected on the surface that allows for other kinds of connections, elsewhere. So, in the end, I think that the relation of part to whole is unstable (or modular); still, shifting constellations emerge. … and that you discover what those constellations are not by trying to consciously make things that connect, but often by a poetics of aversion. In aversion we find unexpected connections (my own Emersonianism).

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