Monday, 25 April 2011

utopian limit

Utopia is not even popular speculative holiday destination these days. It's so deeply unfashionable that they have stopped evening brochures. The climate is deemed too warm and fuzzy for our cleanly defined clarity seeking fragile psyches. Twenty years ago my friend foz lent me Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson. Early on in the book Wilson lays out an idea of the thinker prover mode of research. In short we discover what fits with the tunnel.reality we have constructed for ourselves. since then I have always tried tones beyond the end of my nose even when lying to myself. The rest of the book was slightly baffling and a little unnerving in their apparent inpenatrability. Recently I picked the book up again and found myself skipping through its overviews of expanded consciousness with that ineffable joy that cometh falling in love writing beautifully clear and such like phrases in the margins. The book felt even more current despite being almost thirty years old. the reason I mention this is that now it is quite easy to watch a video of R. A. Wilson on you tube and see for yourself how unscary and sensible he seems to be. Seeing him to be more like a kindly uncle than drug crazed guru makes reading his books even easier. I can also see how if you already thought he was quaint then this would be sure fire proof.
When writers talk their ideas come out differently. I have sometimes found myself unable that the bombastic fool infront of me came up with such life affirming insights. I think this also applies to Twitter somehow. Is this something to do with a general desire for the consummation of tasty sound bites which negate the more discursive approach -  "leading us round Jack's barn" in order to feel enlightened. Unlike a lot of writers R A Wilson seems to successfully simplify his ideas when speaking. I was struck by how often he said, " I am an optimist" followed by a soft chuckle as if to say he was aware of how anachronistic that seems. In his writing he is able to expand on the chuckle.
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Sunday, 17 April 2011

sleep walking detective drama

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metaphorically speaking

When I read that an artist such as Oscar Tuazon tries to avoid "all that stuff" when asked about metaphor my hunch is that they mean simile. Metaphor is not a controlled adjunct to the creative act, rather it occurs inspite of the artists desire to control every aspect of their work. The story called the Fugitive by Primo Levi beautifully illustrates how the poet can never retain control over a piece of inspiration. Increasingly I feel like artists are turning into town planners who are not generally employed for their ability to create something that adds up more than the Sum of its parts. We seem to adopt the model of Duchmpian forward thinker but just as I am sure Aristotle did not envisage himself as the godfather of compartmentalised ring-fencing I also suspect that Duchamp did not himself as the assassin of intuitive thought processes in art.
I like to imagine that in the future we will look back at this time as the era of The Art Cage and laugh softly at how rigidly we defined the valid arenas of creativity. If you really want to stretch the point the era began when Barnett Newman made it his ambition to make painting a valid career option. Or perhaps when frames were first put around pictures. Tuazon addresses the inability of the gallery to capture that which is important in an art-work and this is what I believe Duchamp endeavoured to address. All good but blueprints are available to be viewed in your local townhall.
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