Archive for February, 2011
Shearon Van Riggins’ unofficial video for MEN’s “Who Am I To Feel So Free” ft. Antony:
here’s the official video:
I like this little movie about Rodarte, where the sister describe how they were influenced by Japanese horror and clothes that look like they “might be slashed or debris”:
Montevidayans, identify yourself by aggregate by taking our first ever Montevidayo Consumer Survey. This week’s topic: Face-Eating Art.
1. Has Art Eaten Your Face?
2. How frequently in the last month has Art eaten your Face?
3. What should I do if Art eats my Face?
The third track on Radiohead’s King of Limbs, Little By Little, opens with a snare drum hit followed by more of the South American percussion that was a feature of Morning Mr Magpie. A jinky bongo, cowbell, and maraca groove underpins the track, but rather than the band jamming along, this time the percussion is in at odds with the dance. A plodding bass line relentlessly conforms to the beats of the 4/4 time signature, a drudgery mildly alleviated by a guitar that curls around the bass, filling in some rudimentary rhythmic interest. Against this an acoustic guitar is strummed in a manner reminiscent of a Western. The effect is disorienting and discomfiting. Are we at a Brazilian carnival, in a dusty street in the American west, or sluggishly walking home from the office on a grey rainy day?
A film by Göran Olsson - about the swedish artist Leila K
[My old roommate Matt Miller has written a book about Walt Whitman, finding the explanation for Whitman's legendary discovery of his revolutionary style, not in sexual awakenings or something like that, but in the medial experimentation with collage. This is the U of Nebraska's description of the book:]
“Collage of Myself presents a groundbreaking account of the creative story behind America’s most celebrated collection of poems. In the first book-length study of Walt Whitman’s journals and manuscripts, Matt Miller demonstrates that until approximately 1854 (only a single year before the first publication of Leaves of Grass), Whitman—who once speculated that Leaves would be a novel or a play—was unaware that his ambitions would assume the form of poetry at all.
Art thus captures an element, a fragment, of chaos in the frame and creates or extracts from it not an image or representation, but a sensation or rather a compound or multiplicity of sensations, not the repetition of sensations already experienced or available beyond or outside the work of art, but those very sensations generated and proliferated only by art.
- Elizabeth Grosz
Art is not chaos but a composition of chaos that yields the vision or sensation, so that it constitutes, as Joyce says, a chaosmos, a composed chaos…
- Deleuze and Guattari
I’ve been reading Elizabeth Grosz’s Chaos, Territory, Art, which is a detailed study of some of Deleuze’s more controversial (and biological/evolutionary) concepts about aesthetics. Overall, it’s fascinating: she even has a fairly persuasive argument that Darwin and Deleuze shared a similarly radical (and non-utilitarian) sense of evolution, one that stresses sexual selection (with its tendencies toward excess, even self-destruction) over natural selection (which reduces so much phenomena to the single template of I-must-mate-to-ensure-my-genes-will-survive).
There are many elements in this book I plan like to discuss, because I think Grosz writes about art in a highly materialist manner that I find intriguing, but I first wanted to briefly discuss the way she and Deleuze approach aesthetics–the macro view here–and it’s a way that I’m very much in sympathy with. They see art as a plane of composition. As a space that is separate from chaos and yet a manifestation of that chaos. And as a surface that generates sensations.
1. Strange (Political) Meeting s
In my reading of Wilfred Owen, I’ve suggested Owen constructs a continuous spasming necropastoral mask/masque in the charnelfields/skin of Europe. This necropastoral stages strange meetings; the dead meet the living, or the dead meet the also-not-more- or –less-than-dead, the war eats holes in itself to move the speaker around, the speaker and Death moan together, the worms/words move through bodies and continually produce new masticating/speaking heads; in all these modalities before, after, and even event are also spasmed and distended. The ‘strange meeting’ might be enfigured as an ampersand, which is a kind of eaten-away Moebius strip, incompletely delivering impossible contacts, inefficiently flooding, dumping, jamming, breaking out, collapsing, gesturing, speeding up, distending, suspending, petering out. The ‘pity’ of war emerges like goo from these pits, but it is also the force that creates its own distended tissues and pitted surfaces. The Pity is Art. As Owen said, The Poetry is in the Pity.
This spasming, ampersanding, defective interpenetration, with its goo-, moan-, and pity-effects, is of course a model of politics and temporality completely alien from liberal models of the body and the state, of points and events, of agency, of hierarchy, of flowcharts of power, linearity, historical time.
2. Case Study 2: Christian Hawkey’s Ventrakl.
In Christian Hawkey’s dossier-like Ventrakl, Hawkey ‘tracks’ the dead poet Trakl through a series of texts, intertexts, countertexts, translations, translation games, interviews, photographs. In a familiarly post-modern (reductive) way, we could say that the ‘holes’, the aperture between Hawkey and his subject or ‘target’, become a field of indeterminacy that then become gradually sedimented with text to create the diagrammatic, essay-like body of the book. But what kind of diagram is this?
In this photograph, which comes towards the end of the book, a face emerges—or does it? Is it a face or a stain? The dark spots propose competing features which nevertheless cannot completely blot out the face. The face and the stains make an assemblage, a strange meeting here, an excess production which goes further than the portrait photograph ‘should’. What does face say to stain? Or does stain wear a face mask: my head, my head? The face-stain are an ill production, erraticness itself, material as errata, out of time and place but stinking, persisting. Or maybe dead. A spasmatic non-chronology. In the strange meeting, they are ill-distributed, defective, a defective ampersand, linking and breaking, blotting out and emitting, speeding up all over her face.
These residues are goos, actives, pitties, piercing through the face of Art and spreading more Art all over its face. These residues are the strange meetings. (continue reading…)