Friday, March 27, 2009

There is still more, afterwards

This is what it looks like, the death of a tree (or two?) the 456 pages that make up the completed PhD, the pile of drafts that clutter the apartment. The room, pre-turning in the final version where books are piled like upward-growing stalactites as the bibliography is checked. The days and still more staring into the pages to see whether a space is off, a period missing, a comma. The page numbers and illustration lists matched. Everything gets checked and double-checked (except the remerciements page--OOPS!!!) I try now to laugh about it as I reshelve, decide to tuck away the large annotated copy with manuscript pages of Mallarmé's Un coup de Dés. Vacuum off layers of accumulated dust, uncover aborted chapters that have been hiding in binders and now get refiled into the folder labelled: "if I ever write another critical article in French, here is its beginning". The house feels empty, but not lighter. I feel I should stay in, be completing something, scanning an image into the computer, backing up files. Instead, I go out to a museum with friends. Mid-afternoon staring into de Chirico's flabby pout painted over and over in his own hand, I feel panicky, like I am forgetting something, a wedding, a funeral, a fundamental event. A task. The wall (or rather fluorescent bulbs in the Musée d'art Modern) reads "reel" "ce monde reel" "avec ce monde reel" "en finir avec ce monde reel" as I cross from one end to the other of the museum, look out at the Eiffel Tower, back at the words. "Reel". It, too, is missing an accent. Sometimes little things just drop away, without our noticing, no matter how hard we try. I go up into the salle Dufy and am surrounded by pastels. I am thinking, what is more unnatural than being away from the desk? I look down onto the museum, the sopping courtyard beyond, the day darkening into night. My friends gather me up and we go for dinner. I have been away from the house for an entire 15 hours. It feels like twenty times that. At home the next day, I sit and stare at the walls, they are barren, the post-its peeled off, the lists of little consistent errors to check for, like the spelling of Rosmarie or Grandmont. I listen to the apartment building, the comforting silence of the pianist who has ceased to play nonstop; she has put a dampener on her instrument so it is now only a whisper. The radio or TV program of another neighbor rumbles and chases characters in dialogue. Someone's on the stairs. I am conscious that the world is. How long have I not felt it going on there, just beyond the door? Grey sky day with no rain. My own breathing feels concentrated. Unfamiliar self as body. What remains intact through all neglect. The cupboards barren, kitchen needs a scrub-down, though the dishes are washed. A load of laundry hangs like limp cats over the drying rack. I am their screech. The howl. I try to sleep, but dreaming too is unfamiliar. I wake every two hours, or three. I feel there is something I should do. I must be doing something. Now, no? I see the light through the curtains and with a heart-flutter think "Oh, my, what day is it? Should I be ....?" It is the weekend. The first weekend of the rest of my life. That cheesiness amuses me. I have already begun writing poems. After bleaching down the shower and tub, of course. De Chirico figures in them, his Lassitude of Orpheus. I collect them in a little file and read them over and over. My stomach is in knots. The day feels long and short. There is a list, there is always a list, of things still to do, things set aside, things upcoming.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

ArtSeen V: Zoé Chantre & Alexandra Pianelli

To film, write, see, encounter, explore, reflect, know self or other, know other or self, to mirror, to make, to video, to be made, to create art, to be part of the art--its material form, to exist, to be body, to be mind, to mind the body's being, to disconnect, reconnect, to visit, to watch, to detail, to sketch, to specify, to enter the fluid spaces of making and unmaking, to expound upon the processes, to be in the constant moment of..., to share, to think as one or as many, to think many as one, to absorb the space of another, to visit, to exchange, to undo the voyeur in the watching of you or you or I, to be eye in the I in that universal you, to journal, to invest a space, to be a space invested in, to question, to be pondered, to re-examine, to admire the everyday, to be in the day of every living thing, moment, to scratch down an image, to make words, to leave a trace, to trace that which is, was, where we you I am going, to travel, to go from or towards, to look at, to see, to see seeing, to be seen.

My article, ARTSEEN V, the fifth in this series, is UP NOW online at EyePreferParis Blog:

ArtSeen V: Zoé Chantre & Alexandra Pianellié-chantre-and-alexandra-pianelli.html

2 books by Zoé Chantre & Alexandra are also available : Projections Privées (éditions des Rives Dangereuses, 2008) & Confidences de Boutons (co-édition by the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg & Candide publishers, 2006)

List and links to previous ArtSeen Articles on EyePreferParis:
Artseen IV : Georgio Fidone,
Artseen III: Julie LeGrand
Artseen II: Seulgi Lee
Artseen I: Kate Van Houten

Still image taken from Zoé Chantre's film, Extraits de Corps

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Exciting Space where Art Meets Word

Concrete Material Space. What is that? Object? Form? Real or Reality? The book meets the visual artist and is in ways undone.

Or, from another point of view, it wakes. The book, the writing, the word gets up, takes a walk, goes out into the world and touches it.

After all, is that not what the word wants? To be? Just as all of us do, in our ways, want to be a mark, a word indelible, printed in permanent, immortal ink.

Much has been written about this, and much explored, and as I wind down the final final final final (I swear they are the final) alterations and changes in the PhD (which I have been obsessively revising for a year now!!!) it is such a pleasure to continue discovering more and more visual artists working in the realm of the written word, since I had elected to work on writers who have been in ways (though within the book) working in the realm of the visual. One such artist who I had known existed but who I have been really looking at hard this week as I relook at the book which brought me here to France, the author who led me into this French language (Mallarmé and his Un coup de Dés jamais n'abolira le Hasard), is Marcel Broodthaers (whose images I have included here).

Broodthaers has been working for decades now on the spaces where word and image meet.

As Marie Muracciole wrote in her fabulous article from 2000, « …Une fiction permet de saisir la réalité et en même temps ce qu’elle cache », " [...] en exposant la nature distincte des véhicules de la pensée [...] Broodthaers évoquait plus sûrement la langue instable de l’obscurité, la poésie. Contaminant les arts plastiques, cette poésie s’est transposée dans la matérialité du monde."
As Muracciole also says, "En affirmant qu’il s’agit, non pas d’œuvres d’art, mais d’éléments d’une combinatoire, Broodthaers en fait la métaphore du langage. Le langage entendu comme système d’articulation, dans sa capacité à produire des images ou à établir un discours" This is a great article, available online on Le Portique, so give it a read!!!!

Currently showing through the 25th of May 2009 in the show "THE SPACE OF WORDS" in Luxembourg at Mudam Museum. I am even considering a special trip just for the show!!!!

I also stumbled upon the very exciting blog INTERCHANGEABLE LANDSCAPES, worth peeking at, too, though it seems this person is no longer blogging (so it is a read of what was once being blogged).