11.12.2017

I HAVE BEEN ALIVE SINCE THE LATE 17TH CENTURY! (Picture and Details Below)

                               Sketch of Me (Yes, Me!) Circa 1728, originally called
Study For A Portrait of Unknown Man by Maurice Quentin de La Tour



What I am about to express here in this text will have a great likelihood of shock-value that will flutter across the planes like butterflies with halos, carrying blurs to and fro from the mind, like paintbrush-strokes: lacquer across the soul, preserved in the waxing of Doubt, of Disbelief, of a supposed Tomfoolery or mere made-up quaking quacks in a littered space of indivisible fiefdom. With or without believing what will be shed forth is one’s own choosing, one’s own free-will choice, of milk, of snow, of egg, of daisy petal’s songs now in a wind long-gone, or a wind still the color of the substances seen around us in an enchanting Spring garden: what are we but mere canvases, metal, fiberglass, paper: a color before the senses, after the senses: centuries of paint? Unable to explain it to just anyone, including myself.

I have existed in different bodies since the late 17th century. In other words: for centuries. I am not a vampire, as legend might suppose, but I am a living person that has lived for a very, very long time. I say that like one might recite a poem. By “long time,” I do not mean by some art-form tiny in the distance of my being or anyone else’s being, opened up by movements of a bloom-swollen-kind of verisimilitude, worn off, worn away by Time itself, by “existing” in the leap-up, the art-form, or mere ‘chance’ such as spinning Wheel of Fortune’s titular wheel mechanism: (the kind of sound you remember in childhood, perhaps: the sounds that it made from a living-room in some summer evening: The Host of The Show, the Ultimate Optimist or an objective mask: his voice obfuscated in the illegible white background noise of it all), but, no, think of it like Keats and the thought of the Invisible Tongue so as to keep words from getting gummed-up or dirtied, but preferring them to be contaminated by celestial, collaged, dreamwheel-mechanisms of distortion (the way that Picasso was the real ‘founder’ of collage, perhaps), and little florets are plucked, tickling the fractured funny bone, the way that a dog might come and sniff the back of your knee as you are out dining upon some tasty sustenance, sipping entities or entiTEA in the sunshine, while the owner of the said dog rushes to drag the dog off, while you are thinking of the idea of The Horseman’s headless horse, which is more like it.

Once again, I repeat: I HAVE EXISTED IN DIFFERENT BODIES SINCE THE LATE 17TH CENTURY. Universal lineages? Universal heritages? I only know what I know, or have come to remember, so vividly, so delightfully!

To begin, I was a long-time friend of the French Rococo portraitist, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, who was a charming, brilliant individual, who seemingly never let anything bother him. He collected strange objects and had several dogmatic rituals he would perform during his daily routines, which were looked upon as “odd” and always smiled, and told silly jokes. His heart was light. His skin was thick as a multi-layed callous with steel-plates attached to it (metaphorically, of course: he wasn’t easily-offended by any stretch of the imagination!). When asked about how he ended up departing his hometown and winding up in London, he said that he was merely intrigued by the scene and knew “someone there” (he didn’t say who exactly) that wanted him to “join” this particular individual (a woman?), and gave no explanation (I asked, but he obfuscated) but laughed and laughed when speaking about it. He tooted a horn or three before putting to rest the “outrageous rumor” that spread about him in relation to the married woman that he supposedly “fell in love with” who, along with her husband, had tricked him one night when La Tour had expected to have a nightly-romance, but turned sour when they tricked him into hanging from a basket outside of her house (you can read this tale anywhere, but I’ve known it to be false all-along; or, at the least, I believe La Tour’s side of the story). In a rebuttal, La Tour tells me that this “outrageous” “rogue” “pluckable pincher” (his words: not certain what he meant by ‘pluckable pincher’, but I recall it with ease!) was a rumor that was started by a fellow that had grown maliciously envious of him and wanted to “ruin him” for reasons unknown. (If this sounds far-fetched, then it should; I am not expecting anyone to believe me!)

In any event, with or without the detritus of putting the proper language to these impressions so as to have them rise into a fruitful coaxing isn’t my intention, and if they are looked upon like the dying embers and waves settling after crashing into the sabliere, then so be it...

What I will express now, and what everyone should be privy to, is that La Tour had me ‘sit’ for many of his sketches, but most of the occasions I could barely contain myself and remain stoic for his wit-whistled expertise because of the smiling, the laughter that he would have me contained in, like waves of joke-bubbles exploding into my external-composition (in which case, on one occasion, La Tour arose and started dancing, leaping into the air like a gazelle fleeing from a predator, yet gleeful, as if tipsy-toeing upon the beak of the Dodo, the way we all await some “big moment” to occur out of anywhere, and having made his way over to me, began making marks upon my face! He then briskly ran goofily back to his seat, expecting me to remain still, which in this incident did not occur! So, we had drinks instead and he then began telling me of several people* that had “interest” in me, all of these individuals remarkably, and quaintly, paralleling my entire 20th and 21st Century Timeline).

However, there is one sketch in particular that is the center of the entire purpose of sharing this information, and it is the one that I have showcased called “Study For A Portrait of Unknown Man”. Now, if I were to inform the reader that this “unknown man” is myself, one would likely laugh or raise one’s eyebrows (or both) and would understandably find it difficult to believe (“Poppycock!” one might even scream outloud!).

On the contrary, dear readers, that is indeed me you see in this sketch.

For further consideration: In the “Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography: Illustrated, Volume 13,” one can find documented a paralleled version of myself of what I would resemble today, having been born September 6th, 1696 (a photograph, if it had of been possible, would have resembled me today, circa 2017, in the year 1731 if one synchronizes my current age today versus then, etc.). I came from a background of settlers. I was, indeed, married and had children, so at least those documents can be found to be accurate. Not only was I living in France as a native Frenchman as now known as “The Unknown Man” (I have no recollection of my French name, unfortunately.) It was circa 1728, however, that the portrait of me that you see showcased was sketched. I was 32 years of age, which was roughly one year or thereabouts after La Tour told me that he had “made his glad return to France”. Our friendship lasted many, many years.

According to the text cited above, I “died” in the year 1776 (if looking at it from a paralleled viewpoint), but this is inaccurate information, of course. I have been alive, at the least, since the late 17th century, and have lived numerous lives. This past June, I celebrated my 321st Birthday (that I know of).

____________________________________________________________________

*The “people” that La Tour stated were “interested” in me were three women of which—as previously stated—parallel women that I’ve known in my current state of existing in the 20th and 21st centuries, although the stories of each of our connections do not coincide with then and now, but oddly, each of them are named the same—three of them: Elizabeth, Elisabeth (with an ‘s’) and Elizabeth again. (La Tour joked that they were triplets! Turns out, they were each of different family backgrounds). Two of them had mental breakdowns, almost eerily similar, and the final Elizabeth was really more interested in La Tour than she was me, but La Tour disregarded it, and nothing ever became of it.


                 My old friend, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, Self-portrait with Lace Jabot, 1751







5.28.2017

DREAM


Image result for roberto matta


Painting by Roberto Matta

I dreamt that I was an interdimensional Vitruvian Man with a Spirit-governed Body, and that, at first, I was existing inside of a building that was inside of the architecture of a world of 5 dimensions surrounded by walls of glass windows and holographic elevators, all at synthetic distances. The elevators had large pipes inside of them which featured waterfalls, but the water within the pipes were flowing upward like geysers (the Nile River of the Cosmos, perhaps!). The other 6 dimensions which are curled up in less than 10-33 cm, as is known, were directly above my existing spaces in the metacosm, which were no longer elusive to my former 3-dimensional limitations and were now knowable.  




Later in the dream, I 
graduated to Infinite-Dimensional Hilbert Space, but before that, I was limited to only several dimensions. It was understood that every thought (mine and others) were considered as one photon" within the hyperspaces of existence, and that, in the dream, the building that I was in was the manifestation of, again, one photon from the mere thoughts of other people, as well as including other mysterious subatomic particles. 




Image result for roberto matta
Painting by Roberto Matta


As I walked around the borderless/frameless building, I entered into one of the holographic elevators, which featured a waterfall pipe (the 'living water' rising on the inside of it), and immediately without warning my interdimensional body became attached to the pipe, as if I were magnetized to it. My back was to the pipe, my arms above my head, also attached to the pipe, which by that time, had become a mere pipeless gushing of geyser-like water that still retained its pipe-like form. Moments later, I began to rise upward with the water at the speed of light (said the narrator of the dream) and the elevator had burst out of its limited dimensions and into the previously mentioned Infinite-Dimensional Hilbert Spaces (the elevator appeared to have disintegrated and disappeared as I rose with the pipe-like properties of the upward flow of the water). 





Image result for roberto mattaPainting by Roberto Matta


It was understood to me that I was moving upward at the fastest measurement of time, although it appeared, at times, that I was moving in slow-motion (in fragments). At the same instance, a wall of colors (reds, yellows, purples, greens, oranges, pinks, etc.) were hovering around the pipe-like water geyser that I was attached to; the colors were moving around me gracefully, moving into one another, blending into new colors, glistening in and out, spinning around me and finally possessed my entire body, now fully glorified, so that I was literally clothed in a body of colored light which resembled 12 precious stones: the turquoise, the amethyst, the beryl, the ruby, the topaz, the jacinth, the sapphire, the agate, the diamond, the onyx, the jasper and the emerald. 





1.21.2017

Chess, Mostly Chess, But Also: Subconscious Free-thought Streams, A Swivel-head of Random Thoughts, etc.


The Chess Players (1831) by Frederich August Moritz Retzsch

More information HERE about the painting above: 


 “Your Dream-book is a numinous Computer...” 

                                                                                            —Wilson Harris

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve posted to this shimmering wall of iridescent canopy; the senselessness of it all, the sense of sensing nothing at all, or sensing ‘Everything’ at the same instance—thinking of something like a scrub-away ‘erasure’ in the calendar, in the Time of ‘ALL’ (or nothing), something like rushing back to see a wolfpack plotting. 

                     Wolf——A—us Mo—art, the visible Wolfengänger.

             Invisible Music begins playing like a wall of jukeboxes only heard by children.

Thinking of Chess. Thinking of playing Chess.

Thinking recently of discovering a kindred-spirit, fellow artistic soul, who’s family background is “full of chess players,” including herself, naturally, and interesting that lately—as Shakespeare’s Tempest thought of the swirling oceans within me first to become what it became, and now, the longing, the ache having manifested itself into a rainbow that shoots through me like a prism, pulling out the yarn of my soul, unraveling my DNA, knitting outward the color of everything that I behold—I realize that not only does collaboration or the mere discussion of ideas make a wall of erupting glistening-listening-dances of bliss explode throughout my ever-starry body, but it is so powerful, at times, that I feel like my very words could raise Shakespeare from the dead! He would shake off his graveclothes and I’d put them on like a halo around my head.
Interesting, ‘roundabout this time, I’d discovered one of my favorite writers—Sir Thomas Browne (who, quite frankly, is on par with Shakespeare, in my opinion, but oft little known or obscure!)—who I had discovered was apparently a lover of the game, as wellwho said about Chess (out of his Religio medici):
I know that Manna is now plentifully gathered in Calabria; and Josephus tells me, in his days it was as plentiful in Arabia; the Devil therefore made the quoere, Where was then the miracle in the days of Moses: the Israelite saw but that in his time, the Natives of those Countries behold in ours. Thus the Devil played at Chess with me, and yielding a Pawn, thought to gain a Queen of me, taking advantage of my honest endeavours; and whilst I laboured to raise the structure of my Reason, he strived to undermine the edifice of my Faith.”
One cannot help but to think of Thomas Middleton’s comical satirist play, A Game at Chess, which was first performed by “The King’s Men” in August of 1624 at “The Globe Theatre”. Interestingly, Middleton was arrested in London after producing the play, which satirizes the proposed marriage of Prince Charles of England with a Spanish princess. After his arrest, the play was censored and wasn’t allowed to be shown again. What a bunch of powderpuffs!
Mostly gloriously, as one analyzes (without the “paralysis of analysis”!) further into the lush regions of Browne’s chess-glinting spaciousness; his love for chess was apparent, for, one rapturous stream from The Garden of Cyrus, Browne says about Chess this sparkling-water of sea upon the subject:
In Chesse-boards and Tables we yet finde Pyramids and Squares, I wish we had their true and ancient description, farre different from ours, or the Chet mat of the Persians, and might continue some elegant remarkables, as being an invention as High as Hermes the Secretary of Osyris, figuring the whole world, the motion of the Planets, with Eclipses of Sunne and Moon.”
In Sophia Psarra’s book, Architecture and Narrative: The Formation of Space and Cultural Meaning, she writes about Browne’s text:
[Browne] suggests that the pattern of ancient plantations was the quincunx, which captured the mystical mathematics of the city of heaven. In the opening chapter [of The Garden of Cyrus] he proposed that the original pattern was not the square but the lozenge generating a triangular grid. This configuration allows closely packed circles to be formed, providing the densest planting of trees in an orchard (Moore, Mitchell and Turnbull 1988: 161). For Browne this was also the original pattern of chessboards that brings us to Albert’s question to Yu Tsun: ‘in a riddle whose answer is chess, what is the only word that must not be used? ... The word “chess” I replied’ (Borges 2000a: 85). Albert’s question aimed at demonstrating that in Ts’ui Pen’s book, an enigma whose answer was time rather than space, the word time was deliberately omitted. The association of the quincunx plantation as cosmic model of heaven, with the chessboard and the maze, expresses the relationship between the human mind and the world whose logic it deciphers in the form of the ordered patterns of geometry, mathematics and language (Irwin 1994: 140).”
She goes on:
Irwin argues that Ts’ui Pen’s labyrinthine book alludes not only to Browne but also to a garden that is both a labyrinth and a chessboard—the garden of Looking-glass House in Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking Glass (1994: 75). Carroll’s book creates temporal reversals and spatial inversions. Gardner comments that Alice’s dream of the red king who dreams of Alice suggests infinite regression like two mirrors facing each other (Gardner 2001: 198). For Gardner chess encompasses the notion of the mirror by the reflectional symmetry of the opposing chess pieces at the start of the game. The allusions to Carroll and Browne then seem to suggest that by reading The Garden of Forking Paths we are reading a riddle whose answer is chess.
She continues:
“Calvino in Invisible Cities has also used chess as a metaphor for the structural relationships underlying a narrative. For Peponis it refers to Saussure’s comparison between language and the game (Peponis 1997a: 43). Each move on the chessboard is understood within the structural rules, in the same way in which words in a sentence are understood in terms of their relationship to other words. It can be added that the comparison with chess points also to another fundamental proposition by Saussure. The mode of signification is governed not only by sequential operations (of noun and verb, subject and predicate etc.) apparent in a sentence, but by structural laws of association which relate each signifier to other potential, but not actually present, signifiers within the total system of language (Saussure 1983: 124). In Calvino’s Invisible Cities, laid out as riddles, Kublai Khan tries to decipher their logic with the help of the chess game. The name that is not used but is always implied is: Borges.”


             
               Game of Chess
(1535) by Giulio Campi


I find that my Surrealistic psyche’, the dream theory and the ideas, that proposed to spin around me at a young age, propelled me to create images along these same lines, but images that are not self-conscious (un-self-conscious?), but are reflections of my own dreams, imaginations, and perhaps a collective mindfulness of surrealism, poetic language, the oneiric, et al. Having a life, early on, that was primarily sheltered, a lot of my work early on was taken ‘in-doors’ (which, incidentally, was brought to my attention by one J. Kelso, of which I recall when we first met, as we discussed our work, photography and art in general, etc.: “I’ve noticed that most of your work is shot in-doors,” he said! So I suppose it’s quite conspicuous to other people—not that it’s such a mystery or secret, considering it’s quite obvious to see that I do a lot of shooting in-doors, but it is what it is.
In the way that Chess, Physics, Dreams, and Image-making seem to be intermingled, I feel that the Camera is a kind of Time Machine with a nature of never being a split-second early or a split-second late. Photographs seems as real, yet as elusive, as moonbeams (one has to observe closely). Photographs must have heartbeats that could beat our doors down; our walls, our rooms, pulsating and flashing like neon lights that spray color on all that they touch. Photographs never seek to be liberated from anything—they are what they are, nothing more. I envision a camera “running away” with a photograph in some romantic rendezvous.
Mindful as I am now—one refers back to my newfound kinship: our future chess-playing, and new collaborations with iridescent curtains in wide-open fields, like portals we walk into, out of, back into again. Like playing a game of chess with ‘Death’, I’d mentioned Ingmar Bergman’s masterful film, The Seventh Seal to her, in which she said it sounded familiar. Bergman had seen Albertus Pictor’s painting/fresco of ‘Death playing chess’ from the 1480s, which is showcased in Täby Church in Täby kyrka, Täby, north of Stockholm. This: 


Death playing chess from Täby Church, by Albertus Pictor


Related image

      Scene from The Seventh Seal (1957), Chess With Death!



This makes me think
              of the thought of the skeleton
                                       underneath my flesh
                                                       making my bones rattle with glee 


as the world spins, spins, spins on its rusty hinges.
                                         Tattooing myself with a dewy wind;
                         the droplets
            slowly
                      lift
                           from my skin,             new clouds
                                   to follow me,      like trained vultures.

I am caving into my own body with crossed fingers.

Life burns like lightning and lightning refuses to stay still, like a natural flame. 


The pendulum swings into the congested disorients of flowing Surprise Confetti.

I sit here by the window, the light on my body speaking in a different language, yet there is silence, a cold silence, like someone sitting in the blackest darkness, waiting to be phoned by no one. 


Chess awaits...





Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, La Partie d'Échecs (The Chess Game) (1943)

7.27.2014

Distant Resonances, Abstract Language, Golden Silence & Other Thoughts

William Baziotes, The Drugged Balloon, 1943




Wordsworth: “Blank misgivings of a creature / Moving about in worlds not realized”

Jean Hélion: “I realize today that it is the abstract which is reasonable and possible. And that it is the pursuit of reality which is madness, the ideal, the impossible.”

There must be a labyrinth of lungs where something, or some ‘thing’, impressionates my airwaves. Perpetually overhearing conversations where, amidst those conversations, you hear the person say, “...and dada-dada-da...” or “...and yadda-yadda-yadda...” which are like vocal et ceteras or vocal et als. Foreign Language, too, spoken into the air: the sounds are abstract to my ears, but the sounds are interesting and creates a new “system” of verbiage for my English Language Brain. The ideas seem to merely fall from someplace, glowing invisibly into me, then arising from another place and hanging on. Often the ideas will vanish, for whatever reason, as if tarnished by not writing it down, or concentrating enough, or mulling over it enough so as not to “lose it” amidst being remiss, which happens on its own and obviously isn’t something that you want to happen. It’s terribly tragic, in some cases—in particularly with old age—how the Memory can become antiquated.

It’s especially beautifully abstract when I hear things from a distance, which are like fading memories that don’t quite fade away entirely, but rather just lingers there in the mind like a rainbow barely seen in a fog. Of course, the audible quality depends on the atmospherics and ambiance of the location, which can add to whatever words are being spoken from whatever source. Often times listening to the abstraction from a distance produces new sentences and phrases in my head, which really goes for anything; for example: hearing people talking on a radio or television, etc. It’s beyond loveliness. I also like when I read something wrong, initially, and the abstraction is so lovely that it produces a totally new emotion, and often fuels old ideas or spawns new ones. 

In a section of David Toop’s beautiful book, Ocean of Sound, there’s an amusing text, this:   

“In Gargantua and Pantagruel, a serial satire written by Rabelais between 1532 and 1534, the captain of a ship tells his crew not to be afraid when they reach the edge of the frozen sea. Sounds of a bloody battle between the Arimaspians and Cloud-Riders had been frozen and are now melting as spring approaches. Pantagruel finds some that have not yet thawed, frozen words and jokes which look like crystallised sweets, and throws them on the deck where they lie, colourful but inert. Warmed between the hands, they melt, sounding their words as they do so. One, a frozen cannon shot, explodes like an unpricked chestnut thrown on to a fire. Others are battle cries which melt together in a riot of sound poetry — hin, crack, brededin, bou, bou, trac, trrrr — that recalls Marinetti's Futurist free words, fruits of the inspiration of machine war.”

Then, Paul Valéry, out of Some Simple Reflections on the Body:


“And as a protest arose within me, the Voice of the Absurd added: ‘Think carefully: Where do you expect to find answers to these philosophical questions? Your images, your abstractions, derive only from the properties and experiences of your Three Bodies. But the first offers you nothing but moments; the second a few visions; and the third, at the cost of ruthless dissections and complicated preparations, a mass of figures more indecipherable than Etruscan texts. Your mind, with its language, pulverizes, mixes and rearranges all this and from it, by the abuse, if you will, of its habitual questionnaire, evolves its notorious problems; but it can give them a shadow of meaning only by tacitly presupposing a certain Nonexistence — of which my Fourth Body is a kind of incarnation.’”

Just recently I dreamt that I left my tripod in the gymnasium of a middle school. The audible sounds spinning around me was like listening to a static-swathed AM radio station. In recent days, I’ve overheard many beautiful and strange words, conversations, phrases, etc., from a distance:

“If only this place were smaller. You can buy less stuff in smaller places” (I may not have heard the words correctly [although there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in such cases], but quotes that are legible are often snippets of abstractions in any event). Little snippets everywhere in the air that can be snagged at ease—legible or illegible—but one must react quickly, like catching butterflies. “People don’t know how to react when they get called out on it,” a woman says.

AMBIENT RADIATION FROM FARAWAY VOICES like spaces for spaces



                            “         ”

Imagining Thought without Words. 

“Speed up the warp” (abstract overhearing)

This brings to mind metaphors, poetic imaginings, etc., or like the thought of what precisely makes, in one’s mind, Silence as “golden.” Each individual response, as with anything, is categorized and perceived differently (for the most part), so perhaps when one makes reference to such a cliché phrase (and I’ve always said that clichés are clichés for a reason!) so each person’s situation at the time, their perspectives or experience in that moment depends on the “silence is golden” monicker. It may also be rather commonplace (one of Sherlock’s favorite terms—commonplace) if one is serious about using the phrase, rather than one that uses the phrase as a joke or in a comical tone. Sometimes, like a falling leaf that can start an avalanche, so can observations, and amidst those observations, segue overheard words or conversations or spoken-aloud-thoughts or noises from other people. “Not only knocking, but battering the door down!” Humphrey Bogart speaks exceedingly well for a fella who barely opens his mouth (literally).

The literal verbiage of baseball announcers making references to their “calls” during a baseball game can also be very interesting (and this goes with any sport, whether it be football, basketball, soccer, hockey, cricket, et al), for just recently I had been listening to a game on the radio in my car, and to take quotes literally makes for a lot of Joycean-type fun, but only when one completely allows them to be literate in the great imagination of it all. Examples below:

“the good part of the bat” “names, changing teams” “gathered his feet” “bang-bang play” “the little man in the bag tripped him up” “shot it through the shift” “move the whole field to the right field”

It goes on and on. To take them literal is exciting for Language’s sake; bringing phrases such as this to a new surface, or a new world, with force. Are mistakes really mistakes if you have an imagination? Mistakes in Language, I refer. For example, Frank O’Hara would tend to not correct mistakes in poems, and would leave them be. One example of this would be O’Hara’s kneeness” when he meant “keenness.” ‘Tis a beautiful development! And appropriately, Nabokov (to Vera): “If you catch me rewriting my texts, please shoot me.”

Newshounds are thoroughly convincing. My brain, however, has been unlocked.

Montaigne: “We are dragged into old age, facing backwards, and our youth, facing forward.”

During the winter, Uncle TH says to me: “I want to make a pie just so that I can be around something warm.”

Remiss in blog posts; or, distracted with mere thoughts. I’ll segue back into abstractions with overhearing, as well as observing...

In an old journal of mine, I wrote:

“Crack open that lustred ebb (e66); watch the youthful unborn sicken flow out like the runny jelly of a seeing spy.”

Also, I found this written in the same journal:

“Godzilla birthed Yoko Ono.”

Seeing through sunglasses, darkly? Strange what emotions can do to a soul! Nostalgic Patina. Finnegan should have stayed asleep?

“Did you think that I spoke to you just to move the wind? Speak up!”

“Close your eyes. Tell me what you see.” “The backs of my eyelids.”

“I gotta weird feeling in my head”

“I’ve got a funny feeling inside, but I ain’t laughing”

“I need that like I need a rattlesnake in my backpocket”

“the birds here love my cookie crumbs” “we’re not creations, we’re just givers of names”

“It makes a little buzzy sound and then it does something weird”

*

Schubert’s opening to “Victor Record Catalog”:

“Most unexpectedly it happens, just
As you don’t know what you say till you
Say it. Sleighbells in the winter of
My discontent.”

De Kooning: “Art never seems to make me peaceful or pure. I always seem to be wrapped up in the melodrama of vulgarity. I do not think of inside or outside—or of art in general—as a situation of comfort. I know there is a terrific idea there somewhere, but whenever I want to get into it, I get a feeling of apathy and want to lie down and go to sleep.”

Percy Shelley: “. . . That from heaven or near it / Pourest thy full heart / In profuse strains of unpremeditated art . . .”

John Ashbery: “[O]n the whole I feel that poetry is going on all the time inside, an underground stream. One can let down one’s bucket and bring the poem back up.”

When models don’t respond, I call this The Silence of The Hams.


*

A month or so ago, I met a woman, Penny, who told me stories about her haunted apartment in San Francisco in the ‘90’s, where she lived for 7 years, and a beautiful memory in her native New York:

“There were two old men and they were always in the garden, and other people would notice them, but not everyone. My friends would come over, and one of them said, ‘I’m never coming back over here again, because of that strange presence in the hallway.’ I, too, felt that presence in the hallway all of the time, but I truly never thought anything of it, but there was definitely a lot of strange things going on around there. Indeed, that friend of mine was so spooked that she never did come back over.”

“When I was living on Staten Island, I would be at my desk, and every now and then, I’d hear someone out in the foggy night playing bagpipes. I told a friend of mine that I had the urgency to run out towards the sounds, and really, it was so beautiful that all I wanted to do was to thank him.”



All of this, so intriguing:

“Near the close of the 15th century
the wine-dresser of Belvedere caught a lizard,
which he presented to Leonardo da Vinci,
who constructed out of the skins of other lizards
two miniature wings, filling them with mercury
so that they moved and trembled when the lizard walked.
And he made for his pet a little beard and some horns,
and kept it in a box; and it gave him pleasure
to offer his friends this grotesque creation.
To think deeply right now would terrify me.”

–Evan S. Connell, Jr., out of “Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel” (1962)


Then, more from Connell’s story:

“Leonardo, therefore, having composed a kind of paste from wax, made of this, while it was still in a half liquid state, certain figures of animals, entirely hollow and exceedingly slight in texture, which he then filled with air. When he blew into these figures he could make them fly through the air, but when the air within had escaped from them they fell to the earth. One day the vine-dresser of the Belvedere found a very curious lizard, and for this creature Leonardo constructed wings, made from the skins of other lizards, flayed for the purpose; into these wings he put quicksilver, so that when the animal walked, the wings moved also, with a tremulous motion: he then made eyes, horns and a beard for the creature, which he tamed and kept in a case; he would then show it to the friends who came to visit him, and all who saw it ran away terrified. He more than once, likewise, caused the intestines of a sheep to be cleansed and scraped until they were brought into such a state of tenuity that they could be held within the hollow of the hand, having then placed in a neighbouring chamber a pair of blacksmith’s bellows, to which he made fast one end of the intestines, he would blow into them until he caused them to fill the whole room, which was a very large one, insomuch that whoever was within was forced to take refuge in a corner: he thus showed them transparent and full of wind, remarking that, whereas they had previously been contained within a small compass, they were now filling all space, and this, he would say, was a fit emblem of talent or genius.”

*

OBSERVATIONS GALORE!

A little girl, eating her food, looks over and says to her Mom: “This isn't a brownie! This isn’t a brownie!” The Mom says: “Oh? It's not a brownie? You’re right! It’s a blondie.”

The “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section of Amazon is more of a tease than Bettie Paige ever was.

A couple kisses, then a fly lands simultaneously on both of their heads.

Ticks should tick like clocks when I get close to them, so that I could avoid them easier.

Recent observations:

Behind me, a woman and man are sitting beside one another, conversing. She is discussing in great detail how Curtis Mayfield became paralyzed. “Something, I can’t recall what, just, BOOM, dropped down on him.” She speaks about her various concert-goings back in those days.

To my right, a man with dreadlocks wearing an Ol’ Dirty Bastard t-shirt and tinted black shades pushes his glasses down for a moment to look out of the window at something that catches his eye. “Whatever you’re comfortable with,” I hear in the distance, as laughter breaks out like a hive of smiles bursting from a Happy Bubble. I’m suddenly startled by the ear-splittingly loud racket of a cabinet closing. Everyone looks around at one another to observe everyone else’s acknowledgment of this moment. Some shrug, some shake their heads, some look disgusted, but others smile. Sometimes, all of these at once, or different combinations of them. 

In front of me, a couple sitting side-by-side. The boyfriend is wearing a green t-shirt, and the girlfriend, a blue t-shirt. His hair is sandy blonde. Her hair is golden blonde. They are watching Motorcross videos on a laptop. They are sharing earbuds. One bud is in his right ear, and the other bud is in her left ear. She looks bored out of her mind. Pretending to be interested to appease the boyfriend? If so, a good woman, indeed. Assumptions, yes, but appropriate. Suddenly, he blurts out: “I just don't understand the whole fist-pumping celebration before a win! I mean, I broke my hand one time. I literally broke my hand one time...” Every now and then the girlfriend rubs his back, while looking up at the ceiling. She says “awww” very softly, and scratches her arm, grips it, holds it, yawns, tilts her head to the left, sighs, looks down at her phone, taps it, types on it, and looks back at the laptop screen, looks at him, looks back at her phone and then eyes me observing her; she looks away but I do not look away; she puts her hand to her head and back to her phone and sighs again. He doesn’t know that she’s not watching as she rubs her eyes, yawns again, looks down and begins picking at her fingernails, and then rubs her nose, sniffs, rubs her left elbow delicately, slowly. Body Language is a tell-all beast.

*

Now, I am drifting along to the tunes of my inner Träumerei, heightening the senses, with a nod to Robert Schumann (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z82w0l6kwE)



G’nite O Starlight O Lunalight O Wide-eyed Wonderers... 


 William Baziotes, Mirror at Midnight II, 1942

6.28.2013

The Susurrus Glides, Selcouthly



Vladimir Zuev, Summer



Summery susurrus is here. Muggy to the point of maliciousness; I’ll just eat a banana, then split. To get right to it...

Duane Michals, on the benefits of skipping art school, in a recent interview by BOMBLOG:


SM: “Sometimes getting out of town gives you the anonymity and the balls to try things out you might never try at home.”
DM: “Exactly. You know, it was all on a lark. I wasn’t taking myself seriously as a photographer. I borrowed a camera, they wanted to give me a light meter and I wouldn’t take it. Here is my photo education: when you’re outside in bright light you put the thing on 16 and you put it on 250 or 500 or something, when you’re outside and it’s cloudy you put the thing on 16 and you put it on 60, and when you’re inside, you go by the window and you put the thing on 2.8 and the other thing on 30. That’s what I did and all my exposures were perfect. That was totally my education in photography.”
SM: So we should tell people to save the hundred grand they are going to spend on a BFA education?
DM: Yes! I was shocked. I don’t get it. I gave a graduation talk at The New School and I asked one of the students how much money they owed and he told me around 20000 dollars. I couldn’t believe it. Indentured servitude! And you know what they have to show for it? When they walk out they have a portfolio containing a hundred pictures of their girlfriend’s ass. That’s it. They sit around in seminars and talk about each other’s work and then they’re on the street. It’s pathetic. It’s like the cost of buying an apartment….”

SM: “I thought a good school was supposed to teach you the rules and the history of the rules, and then why you should break them?”
DM: “But you can do that all on your own. You don’t need school. See, I’ve always been self-motivated. I never needed anyone to give me an assignment. When I was in high school, I used to prepare for the scholastic contests. I would paint all summer on my own. I always liked working towards a goal, like a contest or an exhibition. I would constantly give myself assignments. What schools should do is free you to be you, and how to find your thing. I found my thing and my thing is . . . many things! I keep evolving....”


Nan Goldin said it best: “I care more about the content of a photograph than I do about the formal aspects of it.” There’s always going to be opposition in the Arts, at some point or time, whether or not the reflection is cast off of another reflection, that is cast off of another reflection, or cast off of another reflection’s object, or objective’s object or object’s objective, just as the sun’s light is reflected from a cloud—there is always going to be naysayers, and the sayers of the unsayable are the poets; O’Hara, do I hear thee in these quivering walls? Everyday I wake up, and there usually isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look at myself in the mirror, to see what changes have occurred (nasolabial folds are slowly manifesting), to see if perhaps it’s all a pipe-dream, a fragile fantasy (phantom fantasy)—to get people to see the ‘anxious body’ manifest in front of them, would be like seeing an avalanche, an iceberg, slicing the starry innards of a so-called shatter-less ship.

My body feels like an avalanche; I’m caving-in to myself, or caving out of myself. I seek to locate every particle of my Being. Not surprisingly, it’s quite dewy. There is a kind of barrage of madness in stability. If I looked for myself in the places where I wouldn’t think I’d be (like where keys or remote controls get ‘lost’/‘misplaced’), I’d likely find pieces of myself, or another Self, a Statue of Me, a kind of Prelude to the idea of changing without changing.

I feel superimposed, at times, over the world, but the heavenlies pull me back again, cremating my existence into a silhouetted smoke beyond the understanding. Perennial manifestations of fire in the air (in the inner-air); what screams from the Matrix of my irregularity is never wayward, but is rather like a perpetual operatic drama that will always remain unmanageable.
 
What to say about Photography that hasn’t already been said? I have realized that I always (most of the time, anyhow) have to explain myself; or, rather, I often have to expel energy towards convincing people to participate/follow-through with the ideas that I’d like to experiment with and become a reality, and the most difficult part of all is not feeling an awkward blockage within the aura about it (which deflates the balloon); it’s easy to say that one could pay one’s models, but that takes it to a totally different nexus. My God, what happened to simply trusting the artist? What happened to wanting to create simply for the love of creating art? This “anyone can be a photographer”-Digital Age has really vampire-sucked the life out of what a ‘photographer’ is, or isn’t. Photography has become a sequestered, like sticking one’s tongue to a frozen pole—it just remains stuck until you pour something over it to loosen the connection; what I seek to pour over Photography is typically a particular approach that either makes one turn away, or makes one question my reasons, my approach(es), my understanding of what I’m seeking to do, and it’s just a blather of sewage that is often frustrating.

“I’d definitely love to collaborate with you at some point” becomes either the echolocating sounds of cricket-noises, or I’m consistently lead on (though I’ve learned not to get too disappointed; ah, experience!—Shakespeare said that [e]xpectation is the root of all heartache, so I’m on top of the totem pole, in that regard)—Tom Clark once reverb’d: “Like musical instruments / Abandoned in a field / The parts of your feelings // Are starting to know a quiet / The pure conversion of your / Life into art seems destined // Never to occur.” Oh! But it always occurs, but history often repeats itself in patterns, in the proverbial ‘domino effect’; or, as Patricia Coelho would write: “[a]ccount history no empty chair….”—or shall I just ignore the red squiggly-lines underneath the texts of Art? That’s the color of the blood-life of Language, of Art, of Music, of Poetry, et al.

The thing is, Photography has a million eyes, and more than that. I strive to create, to be creative, to showcase it and to literally become the “process” of it, because (and this is usually where I’d say something about how “it’s in my blood” or “because I’m a visual poet,” and so, and those things are true, but it warrants more) it breathes with a thumping heartbeat within my heartbeat; my brain has eyes, has heartbeats; my body is a living example of creativity; creating art is outside of the wall, outside of the ineffable, per se, and when I come to terms with any attempt at making an explanation to the whys and whats and hows and consistently having to answer or explain-away or even (at times!) defending why I’m an artist, it just feels blasphemous to Art, in general. It just seems awkwardly-wrong. Words explain. What does Art do? It explains, yes, but it explains visually what no words could ever do. Art, a Visual Image, shatters language as written-word, or vocal commentary. I heard an artist once say that explaining ‘why’ or writing about one’s art can be akin to “making a really tasty meal, and instead of eating it, you’re given the recipe to read.” I agree with this, wholeheartedly, and it seems like a cliché’ to write about, all of this Art-talk-and-why-an-artist-shouldn’t-have-to-explain-oneself, etc., but I suppose the truth only hurts if one has been lying to oneself. This idea that it is the ‘camera’ that makes the art is foolishness. I love what Nobuyoshi Araki said about that: “Cameras have too often been the masters of photographers. A Photographer, a slave to a camera. No longer will I be a slave to my camera. To any camera.” Imagine the vitriol/laughter this would seemingly produce in many ‘art schools’ today! They’ll steer clear from these beautiful truths, like staying out of a river of swarming piranhas. Why should I be trying to convince people to ‘get it’ or even want to delve in to an artistic idea, or even an artistic thought? 

Imagine inserting photographs of stop-signs where punctual periods (‘.’) would be, without enlarging them, but keeping the images as the same size of the punctual period, would be a synchronicity not to be missed. The ‘.’ should be re-examined. Edmond Jabes once stated that the period at the end of a sentence is an eye. To me, they are like stop-signs, darkened, like black holes, or some kind of infinite void. If one reads a sentence, without reading too quickly, and allowing that sentence to soak in, one may fall into that very void, along with the sentence itself, which may or may not allow the sentence to collapse in on itself, collapsing in on the reader.

With that said, I’ve been walking through cemeteries lately. I find it incredibly appealing how gravestones appear to be quivering when you walk a certain way, in a dim-lit surrounding. Perhaps they’re quivering at the sight of human life. Gravestones are like unforgettable souvenirs. They seem to be in bondage, somehow; or, they are mirrors of what lies underneath them; or, they are simply trees that have been turned into conflicted Identities.


*
 

One of my favorite writers, Georges Perec, writes:
 





“Be present, be yourself. You are here. Objects are here. They are for you only, because you see them” (said by some Tibetan Lamaist). Contemplations of everything. Observing everything. Like Sherlock Holmes, who was based on real-life man, Joseph Bell, who once said: “In teaching the treatment of disease and accident, all careful teachers have first to show the student how to recognise accurately the case. The recognition depends in great measure on the accurate and rapid appreciation of small points in which the diseased differs from the healthy state. In fact, the student must be taught to observe. To interest him in this kind of work we teachers find it useful to show the student how much a trained use of the observation can discover in ordinary matters, such as the previous history, nationality, and occupation of a patient.” T.S. Eliot would write: “I learn a great deal by merely observing you, and letting you talk as long as you please, and taking note of what you do not say.” (“Taking note of what you do not say” makes me think of Williams, out of The Great American Novel: “Words cannot progress. There cannot be a novel. Break the words. Words are indivisible crystals. One cannot break them—Awu tsst grang splith gra pragh og bm— Yes, one can break them. One can make words. Progress? If I make a word I make myself into a word. Such is progress...”).

Vladimir Nabokov: “the more you love a memory the stronger and stranger it becomes.”

Becoming a better writer is, and will always be, about practicing the craft, just as it is with anything else. If the hours that I spent writing to people early on in my twenties (whether handwritten or via email) could be turned into fortunes of some sort, I would be a wealthy gent. It was just yesterday that I spent daydream-like moments pondering all of the “love letters” that I had written to former sweethearts in the past and especially those sweethearts that could write equally well to the extent that our commonplace, everyday language within our exchanges gradually turned into poetics (not that I’ve had that many to write to at such an intricately-poetic capacity, but nonetheless). As if language can BECOME poetic, as if it wasn’t already poetic in a subliminal way(?); words began to become far more about putting together Impressionistic Imagescapes to, not necessarily ‘one up’ the other with these poetic exchanges, but to essentially write maniacally because one had to, because this love-force closes all barriers, clogs schisms with magical contents, and gives one a kind of pinnacle of enchantingness that seems to be directly underneath some divine pull. It had to come out. It is what love does to a person, madness!, perhaps, madness!, of some sort, and you just feed off of the other person’s love, and poetry comes from that particular geographic thumping in the very existence of one’s being-alive-ness.

*

How gloriously enchanting/frightening (but far more magical, at least with the right amount of fuel [literally]) to have been randomly chased on motorcycle by a gray wolf? THIS

*

Trailer to the documentary about artist, Renaldo Kuhler, ROCATERRANIA, which is (and I quote from thegodfaceis.blogspot.com):

“…a feature length documentary exploring the secret world of scientific illustrator and visionary artist Renaldo Kuhler. This screening is presented by Phantasmaphile.
In the last four decades, seventy-six-year-old Renaldo Kuhler has created hundreds of plates for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, illustrating diverse flora and fauna for obscure scientific journals and reference books. Before the making of this documentary, no one knew that Kuhler is also a prolific visionary artist—and the creator of an entire imaginary world called Rocaterrania.

Rocaterrania is a tiny nation of eastern European immigrants who purchased a tract of land along the Canadian border—just north of the Adirondack Mountains in New York— after growing restless with America’s notions of “democracy.”  Over the next six decades, Rocaterrania saw two revolutions and the rise and fall of a succession of czars, dictators, and presidents among a cast of characters vaguely resembling Russian historical figures. But, as the film reveals, each change in government reflects a deeper meaning for Renaldo, an outsider who struggled to escape an emotionally abusive family and searched for freedom within a real nation threatened by forces of conformity.

Rocaterrania unveils Kuhler’s astounding body of work to the world and reveals the powerful story of his life in the process. Among other themes, the film is about the insidious nature of conformity, the courage to be one’s true self, and the redemptive power of artistic creation.  Featuring an eclectic original score by Merge Records recording artists Shark Quest.




A link to the trailer HERE.

*


Many say “epic” for something outrageously wonderful, but when I look at a really crappy photo that I’ve taken, I say: “Ehh Pic”. Irony, especially when absurd, is so soothing. Like Aloe. Staring at an undeveloped roll of film, I hear “the man behind the curtain” inside of the film, saying, “Go on! Do look behind the curtain!” which is contrary to the typical.

Wallace Stevens: “fictive things / Wink as they will.” 


Walt Whitman: “To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough...”

Isn’t it really just enough?







 by Oren Eliav