Saturday, September 24, 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016. Some new collages & notes.

I started making collages as a child. I picked the practice back up and put it back down many times between then and now.

When I was small, my mother brought us to the Goodwill for clothes. In Santa Cruz, there was a gigantic warehouse we would go to and I'd get lost in the piles of clothing. That is where I bought most of my clothing--and I can see now how the practice of mag pie-ing from the remains and then pasting it all together is a practice that has informed my life and my practices.

For instance, this is exactly how I have written my poems--using images and placing one next to another. It is also how I made my collages and the montages I have been making my entire life--placing one image next to another on the wall and seeing what meaning I can conjure.

New Poem & Photograph up at Zocalo Public Square

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Katrien de Blauwer

Archive Entry, August 13, 2016.

Benko Imre, A Future Prima Ballerina, 1974. 

Benko Imre, Felszabadulas ter, 1986. 

Katie Sketch, The Organ

Monday, August 8, 2016

Notes for the Archive Project: Day Six

Two edges are created: an obedient, conformist, plagiarizing edge (the language is to be copied in its canonical state, as it has been established by schooling, good usage, literature, culture), and another edge, mobile blank (ready to assume any contours, which is never anything but the site of its effect: the place where the death of language is glimpsed. These two edges, the compromise they bring about, are necessary. Neither culture nor its destruction is erotic; it is the seam between them, the fault, the flaw, which becomes so.
                                        --Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text 

This in-between space, where can it be found? I think there a small window of possibility in places,  in cities, existing in his in-between. Berlin, for example, and Warsaw--we are already, of course, welling full throttle capitalism here (Warsaw, especially), and yet these spaces (what Barthes might cake obedient, conformist) contrast the dead or, really what I should call most alive, spaces in the city. In the case of Warsaw, what I am referring to are the old buildings not yet torn down for another Zara or Burger King--and the neighborhoods outside the places the tourists see. "Dead," because they are old, from another world, existing as remnant, residue, perhaps even filth and yet these are the spaces where possibility still exists. Not conformist--not yet a shopping mall or tourist spot selling replicas of replicas, in the Old City (which is actually New, a new old city since the old city and nearly all of the city was decimated in the war) so here even the Old City is a replica, a simulacra.

In Warsaw these two edges do still exist--the old (post war but pre Capitalism) and the new. And it is in this in-between space that possibility exists.

This space between is necessary--and can be found, of course, in many places. In Warsaw, in Berlin, but also in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where the two worlds are in collision  and walking down the streets of Manhattan, for instance, one can see the two worlds juxtaposed against one another and within this moment--this in between--before the city has been completely redesigned to emulate a high-end suburban shopping mall, small quiet spaces, residue and remnant, dregs and shadow can still be found. And it is within these spaces, these small quiet places, that possibility exists. possibility for the creation of a new language, of new yet unmade work--and, as Barthes writes, these spaces, the seam, when we see it, recognize it, is "the place where the death of language is glimpsed. These two edges, the compromise they bring about, are necessary. "Neither culture nor its destruction is erotic; it is the seam between them, the fault, the flaw, which becomes so."

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Notes for the Archive Project: Day Five.

Gosha Rubchinskiy, Youth Hotel 

In Gosha Rubchinskiy's photograph taken from his collection titled Youth Hotel, it is the eyes, the eyes of the young man fixed in the center of the photograph, upon which the entire image radiates. 
Of course he is also towering above the other figures and his facial structure is beautiful—both child-like while, at the same time, angular. To his left are another young man and a young women—they might be his friends. They seem similar in their subtle deviance—the man wears an oversized leather jacket and has a shaved head which allows us to see the long curved scar that appears on his scalp. The young woman is a blur in the background. What she is wearing is not evident and due to the blurring, but she too, like the scared man, is looking in the opposite direction of  the man in the center. I assume they are watching  a band perform on a low stage. To the right of the man in the center are a woman and man both wearing sweaters, and one with a backpack. Because of their attire, their sweaters and backpacks, my guess is that they are of another crowd. They are onlookers while the three in the center of the photograph are active, alive. They are the center. 

But back to the eyes. It is in the man’s eyes that he is smiling. There is something open about them. And this openness, this opening up, is what changes the photograph. It is a kind of halo washing over the photograph and it begins with him. He is not looking where the others are. And wherever he is looking, his eyes are happy. The sensualness of his hand behind his head, too is a form of openness. And this gesture, too, alters the image—opens it, hinges the photograph open. 

Desire is in his eyes. He is seeing something he wants. That we don't know, that what it is exists off camera, in the gutter of it, adds to the energy of his desire and of the photograph. 

Desire is always something we want, and something we cannot have, at least not during the moment we are wanting it. Desire becomes stronger as this aspect becomes stronger. The man’s eyes are desiring something, something only he can see, something off camera. And perhaps this not-seeing--our inability to see what he desires--is not entirely coincidental. What we desire is often not the thing itself--the person, the object--but what hovers around it, something intangible, not seeable. And because we cannot see or even comprehend what it is precisely that we desire, one more layer of desire is added on and, with it, one more layer of remove. This, of course, causes more pain.

Inside of desire is pain--the space between where we are and where the object of our desire resides. This reach is want and the longer we remain within this space and the larger the space--the bigger desire, the larger the pain. We cannot get to it--it is beyond our reach. 

And in this way desire is a kind of death. Because it does not exist—in this image—resides only in the gutter of the image—it asks of him, the man who desires it, to move out of his world, his realm, and step toward the abyss. This is often what desire asks of us. And this explains the smile in his eyes—and the slight turn of his lips toward a smile. He is both inside the room, inside the confines of the frame of the photograph, and he is not--he is already elsewhere. His mind and his spirit are where his desire is. This fragmenting--the break of the body, mind and spirit when desire enters the picture--is violent, is a death of sorts. But of course, it is also, an absolute beginning. 

Desire, Archive Fever, asks of us a kind of death, a violence that is also an energy, an energy that is filled with life. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Notes for the Archive Project: Day Four.

Annemarie Schwarzenbach photographed by Marriane Breslauer

Sie war von Kontinent zu Kontinent gewandert, und doch war ihr rastloses Unterwegssein mehr ein Schweben, ein Tanz, ein Versuch diesem Erdball zu entfliehen. --Ernst Merz

Ich bin nicht so wie ihr mich haben wollt.
Ange dévasté--

I am not as you would have liked me to have been.
Angel, devastated. -- Annemarie Schwarzenbach

In Marriane Breslauer’s photograph of the writer, Annemarie Schwarzenbach, it is her eyes that reveal desire. 

Perhaps because the composition of her face is so perfect--her eyes or, rather, the immense sorrow evident in her eyes--becomes more pronounced. She is looking past the photographer, past the frame, the room, the world she is enclosed within. 

Unrequited love, for one, but also, her compulsive travel; the need to always be on the move, to always be leaving, going someplace, chasing after. Not unlike racing after the archive; archive fever. If archive fever is a changing after and an attempt at breaking the archive open, what then is endless travel and a blind racing after something one does not know?  It is as if the desire is for racing after but never reaching. The space between, the distance between what one can get to and what can not. And the sorrow implicit therein. 

If desire is the need for something unknown that remains unattainable—then this is precisely what we see in the immense sorrow in Schwarzenbach’s eyes. 

And in this, an other, photographs, her sorrow speaks to the future, to the futility of chasing after despite the fact that she is still in its grip. Her sorrow speaks to the promise (of attaining her love interested, of reaching a kind of home) and her knowing that this promise will remain unfulfilled. As Derrida writes in Archive Fever

The archive: if we want to know what that will have meant, we will only know in times to come. Perhaps. Not tomorrow but in times to come, later on pr perhaps never. A spectral messianicity is at work in the concept of the archive and ties it, like religion, like history, like science itself, to a very singular experience of the promise. (36)

Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Unknown photographer

Friday, August 5, 2016

Notes for the Archive Project. Day Three.

Edie Sedgwick, The Factory 

Desire (verb):  early 13c., from Old French desirrer (12c.) "wish, desire, long for," from Latin desiderare "long for, wish for; demand, expect," original sense perhaps "await what the stars will bring," from the phrase de sidere "from the stars," from sidus (genitive sideris) "heavenly body, star, constellation" Related: Desired; desiring.

You can see it in her eyes—the intensity, a white heat, an internal smoldering. The childhood she drug with her all the way from California—a darkness unfathomable, preverbal. Primal, before words or language. So much so it becomes its own warped language. Residing inside the body, using the body as its form of language.  Starving and later, her use of methamphetamine, winnowing herself, that body, down to nearly nothing and cutting off all her long dark hair, bleaching it. Snuffing out desire, ours and hers, by neutering the body and by neutralizing the mind vis a vis starvation. 

In the photograph, she stars directly into the camera as if daring the cameraman--to continue filming and taking her in. It is a kind of nourishment, the camera, how it devours her; how we devour her (her image) by way of the photograph; the way one stares at another, taking that person's aura in. And those eyes—animal like—huge like a child, starving.  

And the sorrow in them. It is a contradiction: she is in the Factory, with Warhol, in New York City, a Warhol Superstar. In other words, she is at the beginning but at the same time this beginning is also an end: the death of who she was before she made herself into "Edie Sedgwick" and, presumably, the death of her past, of her terrible childhood and family; the end of California. But it isn't. In fact, that fire, that nightmare, is what lives within her--as desire, as the fire that threatens to swallow her whole. 

If desire is a wish, an unfulfilled need, what was it she was hoping to glean from the Factory? But, no , that question is wrong. Of course she knew—she was drawn to it—the scorch, the burn. She went there racing after it—the way one runs after the archive--knowing it would destroy her.  Desire works that way—it draws us into it, then it puts us out. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Notes for the Archive Project. Day Two.

Within the archive (archive fever) is the death drive.

Today I will smoke my last cigarette.

Smoking is the death drive; inside the act of smoking a cigarette is the desire to die. It is also, of course, a desire for life--a wish to enter the tiny flame, the white hot smolder.

I began smoking this summer because smoking seemed to me linked to desire; to a desire for life.
But, in the end, it is nothing but a death wish.

And, though my guide for this journey is a smoker, in this one practice, I will deviate. 

When the desire to smoke arises, it feels like love's semblance. 

But when I smoke, when I've taken it in, when I have finished smoking the cigarette, it is the taste of death that remains in my mouth. 

In Lars von Trier's film Melancholia, when Kirsten Dunst's character, Justine, is deep in melancholia, unable to rise from her bed, living inside a kind of sleep death, her sister wakes her in what appears to be the middle of night. Justine sits herself at the dinner table where she is served her favorite meal, meatloaf. But when she tastes the food, her favorite childhood food, she cannot swallow it. "It tastes like ashes," she says, melancholia having absorbed itself entirely into both her mind and her body.

No nourishment in the promise of security inside the food from childhood, the white flame glowing inside the cigarette, or the sweet beckon of endless sleep inside melancholia. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Notes for The Archive Project. Day One.

Let us not begin at the beginning, not even at the archive.
                                     --Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever 

In Archive Fever Derrida pursues the idea of the archive--chasing after it like a man deep in fever. Which is what he is, is what any man or woman is, who attempts to capture its essence. Every time he tries to label it, fix it, it becomes yet another thing. The archive, the idea of the archive, changes, duplicates or replicates into infinity. A tiny maddening machine.

Desire is implicit in the archive or, rather, the idea of the archive and the drive after it. And the death drive, too, is a part of all of this--the death drive is an energy, it is the fire that fuels repetition compulsion--desire exists inside the archive, the idea of the archive, and in the drive after it. But what I am most interested in is the energy--the drive--which is desire.

"It is to burn with a passion. It is never to rest, interminably, from searching for the archive right where it slips away. It is to run after the archive, even if there's too much of it, right where something in it unarchives itself. It is to have a compulsive, repetitive, and nostalgic desire for the archive, an irrepressible desire to return to the origin, a homesickness, a nostalgia for the return to the most archaic place of absolute commencement."      --Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever

How, then, to begin when each time I think I reach it--the archive, it smolders from me. And where, then? For guidance, we'll turn to our mentor, Derrida. But the archive is spectral, it ghosts away.

"The question of  the archive remains the same: What comes first? Even better: Who comes first? And second?"

Tuesday, July 26, 2016