From the monthly archives:

October 2009

I’ve been meaning to post something by Anis Mojgani since I first started this scrapbook. And while I feel there’s something in Mojgani’s work that these videos don’t quite capture, there’s no use waiting for perfection.

As a representative of the night-time cereal eaters, among several other characters listed, I give you “Shake the Dust”:

And be patient with this one — it really unfolds in the last minute or so, from the moment he says: “Because every breathe I give…”:

“…and the answer comes:
Already am,
Always was,
And I still have time to be…”

To learn more about Anis Mojgani: LiveJournal | MySpace

Listen to audio from IndieFeed’s Performance Poetry channel:

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I went to a lecture by Kenneth Goldsmith last night about UbuWeb, and it was a great reminder of the riches available there. I scribbled a few fragmentary notes.

(All quotes are 99% accurate, though I have re-ordered them a little bit.)

  • UbuWeb can be construed as the “Robin Hood” of the Avant Garde. Only a handful of artists have given explicit consent to be featured.
  • “If we had to ask permission, UbuWeb wouldn’t exist.”
  • “We don’t really fuck with economies — because there’s no economy for this stuff.” (This stuff meaning, the music of Marcel Duchamp or Jean Dubuffet, for example.)
  • “We respect legitimate economies.”
  • UbuWeb features five terabytes of work from 5,000+ artists.
  • When he was working on his collection of Warhol interviews, Goldsmith went to the offices of the Warhol foundation to get permission, and they “laughed him out of the office.” In their view, Warhol’s words are valueless.
  • “Download everything you possibly can from UbuWeb — it won’t last forever.”
  • “The outsider stuff is becoming the inside.”
  • “There’s so much stuff on UbuWeb that I don’t know what’s there.” (Editors help him by managing different sections.)
  • UbuWeb is not a democracy: The collection is “highly curated, highly selective.” Most submissions don’t make it on the site.
  • UbuWeb has a Facebook page, created by his students, but Kenneth Goldsmith was unequivocal: “I hate Facebook.”
  • “I have problems with the idea of quality in Web 2.0.” And donation buttons make him sick.
  • From time to time, he gets offers — up to US$50,000 — for the domain ubu.com, from companies who want to sell products that “help you be you!” etc. And he takes great pleasure in replying: “Fuck you: This is reserved for poetry.” (I instantly pictured an orange traffic cone with this response, embossed on a metal plate, sticking out of the top. And the entrepreneurial part of my brain thinks it would make a great embroidered fishing hat…or maybe stickers that could be placed wherever logos lurk?)
  • UbuWeb may look institutional, but “it’s made of toothpicks and tissue paper.”
  • “I’m not an art historian…there are holes…it’s a horribly-flawed fanzine…the taxonomy is atrocious…it’s an art historian’s nightmare!”
  • “We’re in the Summer of Love for the web right now, and it’s not going to last…We’re in the midst of a revolution that’s so large we don’t even recognize it.”
  • “Old hippies are the worst in the world” in terms of copyright, control, permissions and sharing. “It’s generational.”

A few gleanings from a look around the site this morning:

  • A film about Poême électronique, the collaboration between Edgard Varêse and Le Corbusier at the 1958 World’s Fair
  • John Cale — Loop (1966) (links directly to mp3)
  • Canntaireachd — “Dating back to the sixteenth century or earlier, canntaireachd developed as the art of “chanting” pibroch (piobaireachd), the classical form of Gaelic bagpipe music.”
  • They have a podcast, in collaboration with the Poetry Foundation.

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From Best Thought, Worst Thought by Don Paterson:

“What kills the writer, in the end, is the absence of a direct causal relationship between effort and reward. Thus it is rarely true *work*, in any way our bodies can understand. A free day, all the kids off to their grandmother’s, the house deathly quiet; half an hour’s meditation; a cafetière of Costa Rica in the study; no sound but the rain dripping from the trees in the back garden through the open window….And I cannot introduce two words to one another without them falling out immediately. Today, feeling exhausted, ill, overweight, the house full of yelling, my mind a roiling broth of fear and resentment and professional jealousy — a dozen problems I have pored over for weeks have been solved in twenty minutes flat. I end the day feeling worse than ever, as if I had accomplished nothing at all.”

From the Songs for Drella collaboration between John Cale and Lou Reed, which reflected on their time with Andy Warhol:

“No matter what I did, it never seemed enough,
He said I was lazy, I said I was young.
He said “How many songs did you write?”
I’d written zero, I lied, and said “Ten.”

“You won’t be young forever –
You should have written fifteen!
It’s work!”

….

Andy said a lot of things,
I stored ‘em all away in my head.
Sometimes, when I can’t decide what I should do
I think: “What would Andy have said?”

He’d probably say: “You think too much!
That’s cause there’s work — that you don’t want to do!
It’s work. The most important thing is work.
It’s work. The most important thing is work.”

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I went momiji-viewing late this afternoon, and there was just something in the air, or the light, or the drizzle, or the combination that seemed like an ending.

Can fall be over already?

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In an excerpt from from his recent project “A Week at The Airport“, Alain de Botton interviews the head of British Airways, and considers the true yield of ‘profitless’ industries:

Considered collectively, as a cohesive industry, civil aviation had never in its history shown a profit. Just as significantly, neither had book publishing. In this sense, then, the CEO and I, despite our apparent differences, were in much the same sort of business, each one needing to justifying itself in the eyes of humanity not so much by its bottom line as by its ability to stir people’s souls. It seemed no less absurd to evaluate an airline according to its profit-and-loss statement than to judge a great poet by his or her royalty statements. The stock market could never put a price on the thousands of moments of beauty and interest that occurred around the world every day under the airline’s banner: it could not describe the sight of Nova Scotia from the air, it had no room in its optics for the camaraderie enjoyed by employees in the Hong Kong ticket office, it had no means of quantifying the ecstasy of takeoff. In order to understand such things properly, society would have to learn to look at airlines as one might consider a work of art.”

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From one to two:

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MacArthur Fellow Heather McHugh, in a recent Newshour profile:

“If you look around, the surface of the water is never the same any two moments, much less any two days. Any skyscape is never the same thing. You can’t possibly see it all.

We narrow meaning to make our meanings of it.

For me, the whole point of poetry is to liberate the larger sense. The great paradox of poetry is it’s the smallest unit of language you can make that releases the greatest number of readings.”

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On the 60th anniversary of the founding of the (so-called) People’s Republic of China, this image resonated with me:

Camouflage 2 by Liu Bolin

Camouflage 2 by Liu Bolin

From photographer Liu Bolin:

“I choose to merge myself into the environment. Saying that I am disappeared in the environment, it would be better to say that the environment has licked me up and I can not choose active and passive relationship.

In the environment of emphasizing cultural heritage, concealment is actually no place to hide.”

via Shoot! The Blog and designboom

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