Friday, September 18, 2009

rumble, day of opening, aka day 3 of questions.

ken working on Cliffs (EMPTY). photo by Chris Vitiello.

pringle:A lot of what you are saying here rings [in my mind] to Shklovsky's [and others] defamiliarization.

"The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects ‘unfamiliar’, to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important." (Art as Technique)

Some of us Durhamites were lucky enough to have the time to go see a Jed Rasula and Jerome Rothenberg lecture on Picasso and Poetry [poets, too] last night. We got to live inside a space of sights and sounds narrated to us... [i had to close my eyes a lot so i could really see]. But, Jed mentioned something about how common it is for audiences / viewers to go "text blind" [or maybe this is me hearing Jed through my own furniture] when viewing dadaist or futurist or psychographic poems.

How much of these ideas inform yr work?

I think what has been so appealing and satisfying to me about yr work is the way in which you are able to be both absent and present... simultaneously [even with Cliffs (EMPTY) you will be hidden and incommunicado but also fully present]....

[is this a question?]

rumble:Hmm, I'm curious about what Jed meant about "text blind" -- like I think I can guess, but would love to hear more about it. So he thinks people become unable to see or engage the work? or that the use of physical letterforms get defamiliarized such that the letter image becomes "just" image? That would be a great thing to do.

Not really all that familiar with Shklovsky actually, so I appreciate the point in his direction -- seems very close to what I think about, want to do, hope I accomplish.

A few small quibbles with that quotation is that I don't really necessarily think "difficult" has to enter into the equation. I know there's a lot of ways to read that word (Randall Jarrell's essay on the "difficulty" or poetry is one that engages that word in a useful way I think), but I'll take the common usage of it. I think that objects, writing can be made that accomplishes what Shklovsky describes while also being really compelling and seductive to audiences both familiar and unfamiliar with the genre/discipline. [Maybe I'll leave it at that for now in hopes you ask another question about it (smile.)]

So that's one quibble -- the other is that I think the object and its artfulness cannot be separated; this is another problem of language -- it's ability to reify ways of thinking about things into actual things themselves. We have words for "outside" and "inside", but those are totally arbitrary ideas, right? Beyond the arbitrariness of links between signifier and signified -- "outside" / "inside" is a language game in the vein of (my amatuerish) reading of Wittgenstein -- the apple is not red.

So words can make one thing (an object which includes its artfulness) appear to be two things (an object and its artfulness) and then we talk about these things and we're just shaking hands with phantoms.

Totally love this "to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known." Hell yeah.

pringle: I think Jed meant that the poems were "unreadable."

rumble:Like the author's wanted them to be unreadable? or that the work "failed" somehow?


like... unreadable as words.

not so much failure. i'm not sure about intent. either. see this link

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