Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Against Expression

I have one quibble with the publisher's description of this new anthology, namely, this line: Charles Bernstein has described conceptual poetry as "poetry pregnant with thought." Now there's nothing wrong with it per se, unless you consider conceptual writing as nothing more or less than a kind of laughable pleonasm. Like Water is really wet. Or Thinking makes my brain hurt, etc.. The thing that most people don't get, is that poetry, as an object is actually aconceptual. Poetry does not think. There is nothing in poetry but the trace of a supposedly, or variouly arrayed trans-subjective marking procedure. People are what is pregnant with thought, and yet at the same time, people seem to be utterly bereft of thoughts. What possible version of intelligence would allow this choice morcel to fall into the description of a book of such rarified and specialized approaches to thinking? The paradox of writing based on a cultural phenomenon in which the status of the art object was being questioned is certainly apropos, but the book-object is precisely to poetry what the sculpture or painting object was to art, in one sense. The use of writing as fodder for conceptuality is nothing new, either.
Joseph Kosuth had already initiated these discussions years ago with things like his giant replica of the Rosetta Stone, and he references Duchamp. Traditional theology itself seems like the real precursor to conceptual writing and art with cliches like "How many angels will fit on the head of a pin?" These are paradoxical statements whose objective reality can neither be substantiated nor denied, ie the essence of pure conceptuality is this very depth 'without substance' effect that the writing or marking procedure allows.
Writing is sometimes called a partial object in psychological discourse because it is like the one hand clapping idea, or a tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it, a human mind completes the ideational circuit with any external thought prosthesis, and, as in "object-based" computer language, this can be something of a misnomer, or abnomer, as the "object" and the "non-object" both live in the physical world, and are constructed unities or pluralities with a variety of entrances and exits.

Now, this doesn't mean that there is no room for writers to do something else with these themes, but there is certainly not much more in it than an academic exercise, and that's fine. We all need a few more academic exercises, and exorcisms as well from time to time. What I don't understand is the kind of social entrainment these, well, rather thin ideas elicit in the community at large. I mean, I would probably enjoy hearing some odd newspaper article from 1922 read aloud as art, but would I pay for it? In the Internet age? Can't I just surf the internet? Isn't the internet 'pregnant with thought' enough? Nothing I have done on this blog has ever gotten any kind of normal attention among these sorts of people. I have been published a few times by these kinds of people, but isn't publishing anything anymore, more or less academic. I mean, just look at the SPD catalogue, and is there anything you really want to read anymore? Why would I pay 15 dollars for any book of poems when I can just surf old scraps of flotsam and find weird junk and call that a 'conceptual art experience' and actually have that "be true"? And whats more, wasn't L=A=N=G already the conceptual wing of the writing planet. I mean, these were guys that were in that period! Do you guys even know what's going on in the art world anymore? There are things which are conceptually inflected, but who, and what would writing look like that would, say, be the analog of someone like David Altmejd? I could name a hundred other current contemporary artists. You can't say this isn't an extension of this 70's version of conceptuality, or I guess I suppose you can, you can say anything, and that is the point more or less. But, this is nostalgia is what it is. Which is fine. I would say that Charles Bernstein's kid's work is looking a little more contemporary than this stuff, as it looks like this famous weird gay/clubkid/absurd video artist Ryan Trecartin. At any rate, it seems like every year some version of the grotesque or absurd tries to come back, some version of hard-edged modernism tries to come back, some version of politically inflected identity 80's pomo yadda tries to come back, painting has its vicissitudes. There is this whole kind creepy goopy thing going on in Germany, with some hyperrealist versions, which is like a long way in a way from like Neo Rauch.. It all just starts to run together really. It's all semiosis. I mean, if yo want to like get into the whole politics of difference, etc, that fine, but like my old Daddy used to say, I hate eating anymore, it all just turns to shit.

Maybe I should be more Against Expression? No?

I think this is probalby a good book. I would buy it, but it kind of just looks derivative.
What I would like to see is a whole book on this artist who blew up bombs inside of metal tanks submerged underwater, and to have the distorted forms shown as sculpture. That just seems rad.

Anything involving art and scuba seems rad.
Anything especially involving
Art Scuba and Conspiracy Theory or Alien Theory Archaeology
you know

Like Art + Von Danikin + Scuba

like you could have these wild brightly colored luminous inflated velcro colored building block things
and like build these giant underwater arcimboldo statues

maybe they could be coral reef scaffolds

stuff like that.

Just publishing another book
gives me limpies, mostly.

Most art anymore is really limpy.

I want things that fly or float
or are large and you can be in them and have an experience
like a really weird experience.

that is way more conceptual
it is the kind of conceptuality which speaks directly to difference.

Experience is individual, but rapture can be social.

A backyard hover fan thing would probalby do it for me.

That would be cool. Like in the morning you have your coffee
then like go outside and flick the giant fan thing on

do some flips in the nude inside your private fan cupola rotunda

painted with deep sea alien arcimbooldoi goolems etc..

Costumes are good.

Every good avant garde movement has good costumes.

Conceptual art,..

Not so hot with costumes.

Dada, yes.
Even Rauschenburg could whip out a tennis player on Rollerskates.

I did think it was admirable when Kasey put on that racing suit.

But does that mean he's a 'racer' like poetry speed racer.

If I showed up, and they would never ask me, I would dress like someone
from L'il Abner. or maybe try to get a full on Samurai costume.

Anyway. Whatever is fun.
It is hard to have fun when you are old
and you know life sort of sucks a lot of times.
It's too short.
You're too poor to do anything really cool
so you have to puff up like a christmas turkey which a bunch of other goons and nerds
who like the same crap you do.

It's sad, really.

I used to go to the old man skate nights at the indoor park in PDX.
I was one of the better old dudes there, I mean we all really sucked, but
one dude was like 43 then, I was probably 38, and I could still do

fakey rock and roll sliders! yeah!
but this mother fucker was ripping inverts
doing stylie grind overs

like come up on top grinding with your back trucks
go into a 50 50 then grind only on your front trucks
and then go in fakey

there is a name for that, but it's probalby like

madonna's hairpie or something.

all the names are really odd.

they sound like you feel
when you smell your own feet
after you've been wearing van's slipons all day
without socks