Saturday, November 27, 2010

Keep your eyes and ears on these two

Jen Nugent and Patrick Lynch give a layered, semi-aleatory sound & visual performance, stretching the attentions of audience as well as actor/performer. A full artist statement/description of the piece, as well as other, static, visual works, are provided at Jen's Tumblr. Enjoy!

Performance and Collaboration with Patrick Lynch from Jen Nugent on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

History never was, only Now is... scoot over, Fukayama

"History, so conceived, was inexorably culminating in nihilist catastrophe—in the form of inter-imperialist war and barbarism for the Left, or as The Decline of the West for the Right—and the will to confront this inescapable decline was, non-dialectically, the will for an absolute rupture from it. This took the form of projects of transcendence, the creation of a new man, understood either as the construction of an unprecedented universality, communism, or as a return to the vanished origin, fascism. It is important to note that Badiou never implies that this idea of creating a new man could or should ever be resurrected, for it was 'undoubtedly a bad project.'" -Gopal Balakrishnan, The Historical Absolute, on Alain Badiou's The Century (from Lana Turner, No. 3)

Balakrishnan casts some warranted doubt on Badiou's efforts to find "the real" in the shape (not contents) of the Subject, which so far sounds like a cheap neutralization of clashing, temporal ideologies. But I haven't read it, yet. I can appreciate the further atomization of relativism, and indicating the quasi-absolutism of mythologies like "History" and "periods," but I think there is more to analyzing contingent experience than the mere form of communications. Are the (yes, contingent) numerical and visual data subject to a formal consensus-or-nothing test, as well?

Art (not for sale)

Ben Lerner, on the late Simon Hanta├»: "A work that compels as painting has emerged from a procedure that questions painting’s possibility, and the pathos is in that contradiction."

Read the full Letter from New York, from Lana Turner No. 3

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Desire's desire

"It's at this question of desire that Youn's project intersects Herriman's—desire and desire's desire to refute itself in order to perpetuate itself. But, because it takes place in language, and takes language as its protagonist, Youn's project also lets the question of desire overflow the human to impinge upon language itself—a theme well-explored in critical theory and poetics since 1968, but Youn enacts it wonderfully in her emptying out of the Ignatz-signifier through the sheer inexhaustibility of its potential." -Cole Swenson, review of Ignatz for Lana Turner No. 3


"A gauze bandage wraps the land
and is unwound, stained orange with sulfates.

A series of slaps molds a mountain,
a fear uncoils itself, testing its long

cool limbs. A passing cloud
seizes up like a carburetor

and falls to earth, lies broken-
backed and lidless in the scree.

Acetylene torches now snug
in their holsters, shop-vacs

trundled back behind the dawn.
A mist becomes a murmur, becomes

a moan rising from dust-
choked fissures in the rock O pity us

Ignatz O come to us by moonlight
O arch your speckled body over the earth."

-Monica Youn

Monday, November 15, 2010

9/11: "verbal / visual; on the spot / on the periphery."

"Both Gross’s drawings and my writings rely on a serial aesthetic: one perception immediately follows the next, without an attempt to create an overall hierarchy or controlling narrative. The truth is in the array of particular details. Immediacy is valued more than commentary; local observation over symbolic resolution." -Charles Bernstein

Some of these Daze, Granary Press (limited to 65 copies), now available in PowerPoint format

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Marjorie Perloff

A talk from Unoriginal Genius delivered at The University of Richmond, Feb. 2010:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Poetics of coterie

Getting back to Vanessa Place's poetics of "radical evil," the trouble, really, comes when a radical/experimental Leftist poet accepts that (whether intentional or not) his/her audience is of a similar ilk poetically and/or politically, which therefore permits the kind of value-ations which radical Leftist poets are always trying to deconstruct; the task is not so "indeterminate" as LangPo would have it seem. This is really just a further exhaustion of the tacit notion that "Yes, we are the writer-audience, we guard the threshold of what passes for 'good'". Carl Rakosi, in a soundbite I just discovered (thanks Al Filreis) admits this very problem. And by problem, I mean obstacle, I mean challenge, I mean enablement (which by extension might also lend credit to the repressive traditionalist poetic factions: New Criticism, New Formalism, etc. that gave Leftists a defined poetic/aesthetic from which to diverge; but, whatever you do, don't count me in their ranks):

"To express your passion in a straightforward way, directly. It will not be interesting. They're already there, you haven't done anything to/for them. So, the... subject matter has to be transformed... something both powerful and beautiful." -Carl Rakosi, on being a communist poet

Filreis, I believe, understands this standard-bearing as more incidental (while still useful) rather than some deliberate act of pure elitism; as does Bob Perelman, who once made the aside (which I'm paraphrasing, I heard it in an interview, a long time ago): "Not enough criticism has focused on the more regressive aspects of avant-garde writers, I think."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It is [poetry] because I say it is

"Poetry is that which occurs within the institution of poetry. That is to say, form is not inherently important, words are not necessarily significant, language is utterly irrelevant, 'I''s can be put out with impunity, there can be nothing but thick-skinned idiotic literality, and [yet] it is still poetry because it exists as poetry." -Vanessa Place, "A poetics of radical evil"

Place hones in on the exact "place" where has lately been my poetic consideration: the frame of art. Of course, she's done the terrific scholarship (and creative output) that I wish to initiate, but the genius of conceptualism's "unoriginality"/"uncreativity" is that, as John Cage responded to the remark that 'anybody could do that,': "Yeah, but I did." A page from the phone book is simply that, until someone blows it up or submits it to a literary journal, at which point, if given to momentous circulation among the right people, it takes on the (whether Charles Bernstein likes it or not) "honorific" classification of Poetry. I'm not summarizing her short, lucid essay (anyway, you should read it whether or not I do summarize it), nor am I remotely conveying what she delineates as "radical evil," but I'm simply appropriating a quote for my own hackneyed (and yet still developing) poetic/political agenda. And there is a lot more to be savored in this the latest (3rd) issue of Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry & Opinion. New work by Marjorie Perloff, Derek Beaulieu, Augusto de Campos, Cole Swenson, Aleksandr Skidan, Susan McCabe, and more!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Phantom Left

Chris Hedges discusses the specter of the American Liberal class in the new century, or what he calls the Phantom Left, that exists perhaps, but outside of public discourse. What I mean is, the values of the radical Left, whether they have disappeared or remain only in the congregation of "elites," have become caricatured by both the Right-wing establishment and extremists, but also the Democrats, whose timidity (and let's add lethargy) can only be explained by their "selling out" to corporate interests. The most recent example is Comedy Central's rally to Restore Sanity, which conflated serious ideas with (sometimes) witty entertainment, politics with spectacle. What is needed, Hedges insists, is a return to the serious, radical organizing of the mid-twentieth century. It "would require the liberal class to demand acts of resistance, including civil disobedience, to attempt to salvage what is left of our anemic democratic state." It seems as though a Leftist dissent from partisan politics as usual is overdue. I agree with Hedges as much as I do with the Situationist critique he hearkens to, but with the populace generally absent from a serious commitment to self-informing scrutiny, cannot publicizing this view only further sever politics from spectacle, ideas from entertainment, further obfuscating (because purifying) the former? Isn't this election (and the Tea Party) evidence that power is still attained, and secured, by promoting collective anxiety, hysteria, and good ol' fashion ethnocentrism? I am the last one to stick up for popular anything, but even the elites understand that the public's lack of support for Healthcare reform is linked to this administration's evasion of transparency and articulation. In other words, Hedges gets why the Left is impotent, but I don't think he gets political efficacy. I personally wish there were a more vibrant, self-critical Left movement in the U.S., but my fear is that 1) it would breed the kind of mock-worthy antics and soundbites we hear from the Tea Party, and 2) if the majority of Americans cannot relate to the President (who most on the far-Left would call moderate), what makes us think that an intelligent, committed, purist Left would be any more understood? I don't have many of these answers, but I sit for now on the position that the moderate, entertainment-style Left of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is the our only current hope of political influence. Does it beckon the Corporatist sabotage-scheme into the spotlight? No. Will it take a few years for voters to see the detriment wrought upon our legislative and electoral processes by corporate interests? Probably.