Friday, September 18, 2015

ex nihilo ad absurdam, jim leftwich

ex nihilo ad absurdam
jim leftwich

ts’ao-shu — “draft script”, or “grass script”
k’uang ts’ao-shu — “crazy grass script”


Robert Duncan — “The freedom of the individual lies in his institution of anarchy where before he was sole ruler.”

Sandra Jeppesen — “Anarchy is about cultural production.”


there are no masters of prepared pen calligraphy. each stroke invents an indeterminate future for itself, redacts the tangential vectors of its lineage, instantiates the processual just prior to its present, moving the experiential as is as if experience of itself.

posit and deposit, ink doubling against offhand occlusion, wrapt mirrors reverse prestidigitation, to prophesy the faceted contexts of a revisionist ahistory. recursive loops inscripted evolve a past of fractal basins.

start with a sharpie. steal it from the imagined museum of a nameless workers’ collective, it will have been the improvisational compass for their dérive. continue with a knife: archaic emblem of betweens, glyph for the phase transitions in a dialectical carnival of subversions.

it is the hand and the breath, the chair and the desk, the time of day and a matter of scale. if the heart was the size of a moon it would see the earth’s rotation and hear its orbital song, this leaks into the hand and oils the slippage, wrapped recursive mirrors, the pen praying among itselves in pagan glossolalia. subatomic orbits inside each synapse infect our thoughts with timeless void, invisible rainbows drip like angels from a bestial tongue.

carving the pen: too much attention contaminates the surface with a discontinuous logic, the logarithmic reproduction of imitative failures. attend to the inscrutability of the pen’s facticity. allow the blade to whisper along each edge, sensuous and sinuous. forget the ancient stories, and remember not to replace them. the serpent never sleeps. at the center of the sign is its absence, signifying against the science of silence.

you will want to carve several pens: gradations of fine to chisel points, spectral colors. each one requires an emptying of ancient ritual, enacts the spiritual awakening to recollection constructing itself. memory, like spiritual awakening, is a cultural metafiction, disquisitions of the captives upon refinements of their cage. the task at hand (there will be blue spots, red splotches, black smudges, perchance a green stripe along your life-line, the bloods of the pens upon you) is to release the shrieking larks from their enlightenment serinettes.


misdirections through lineage & context:

John Cage — “I decided that what was wrong was not me but the piano. I decided to change it.”

Jean Dubuffet — “I have the impression, language is a rough, very rough stenography, a system of algebraic signs very rudimentary, which impairs thought instead of helping it.” — “Written language seems to me a bad instrument. As an instrument of expression, it seems to deliver only a dead remnant of thought, more or less as clinkers from the fire. As an instrument of elaboration, it seems to overload thought and falsify it.”

Jean Dubuffet — “I declare that every phase of the natural world (and the intellectual world is of course included), every part of every fact — mountains or faces, movements of water or forms of beings — are links in the same chain, and all proceed from the same key, and for this reason I declare that the forms of screaming birds which appear on my ink-spotted page have the same source as real birds, just as the gestures I reveal in those same spotted pages, the glance which shines from one place, the laughing face which appears in another, are the result of mechanisms which produce these same gestures, glances, laughs, elsewhere, and are almost real gestures, real glances, are in any case their cousins, or, if homologues are preferred — abortions, unsuccessful aspirations.”

Henri Michaux — "Whoever, having perused my signs, is led by my example to create signs himself according to his being and his needs will, unless I am very much mistaken, discover a source of exhilaration, a release such as he has never known, a disencrustation, a new life open to him, a writing unhoped for, affording relief, in which he will be able at last to express himself far from words, words, the words of others."

Richmond Browne’s letter to Jerry Coker, in Improvising Jazz:

“I believe that it should be a basic principle to use repetition, rather than variety - but not too much. The listener is constantly making predictions; actual infinitesimal predictions as to whether the next event will be a repetition of something, or something different. The player is constantly either confirming or denying these predictions in the listener’s mind. As nearly as I can tell, the listener must come out right about 50% of the time - if he is too successful in predicting, he will be bored; if he is too unsuccessful, he will give up and call the music ‘disorganized’.

Thus if the player starts a repetitive pattern, the listener’s attention drops away as soon as he has successfully predicted that it is going to continue. Then, if the thing keeps going, the attention curve comes back up, and the listener becomes interested in just how long the pattern is going to continue. Similarly, if the player never repeats anything, no matter how tremendous an imagination he has, the listener will decide that the game is not worth playing, that he is not going to be able to make any predictions right, and also stops listening. Too much difference is sameness: boring. Too much sameness is boring - but also different once in a while.”

Jean Dubuffet— “From the very outset, the very question of madness must be rethought since, all things considered, it has hardly any criteria other than the social.” — “The notion of psychotic art is absolutely false! Psychiatrists emphasize it because they wish to believe they are in a position to differentiate, to tell who is sane and who isn’t.” — “I believe that the creation of art is intimately linked to the spirit of revolt. Insanity represents a refusal to adopt a view of reality that is imposed by custom. Art consists in constructing or inventing a mirror in which all of the universe is reflected. An artist is a man who creates a parallel universe, who doesn’t want an imposed universe inflicted on him. He wants to do it himself. This is a definition of insanity. The insane are people who push creativity further than professional artists, who believe in it totally.”

Jean Dubuffet — “We can only rid ourselves of the Western bourgeois caste by unmasking and demystifying its phony culture. It serves everywhere as this caste's weapon and the Trojan horse.”

Sandra Jeppesen — “Anarchy is a struggle for the present moment.”

Stephen Drury — “The first task in writing for the prepared piano is the selection and placement of the preparations, building a palette of pings, thumps, and drum and gong-like noises, with hints of microtones lying between the cracks of the keyboard, often a single sustained pitch ringing on after an initial burst of noise. The creation of a piece thus begins with a choice of materials rather than a theme or motif (or even a twelve-tone row). Each prepared note takes on an autonomous character, like a chord or harmony complete in itself. Composition then becomes the act of ordering and combining these previously chosen sound-objects, rather than creating melodies and harmonies out of the available pitches.”

Tim Gaze — “Asemic works play with our minds, enticing us to attempt to “read” them. Some asemic works make the viewer hover between “reading” (as a text) and “looking” (as a picture). This is a very interesting state. They form a bridge between art and writing. In Chinese culture, poetry, painting and calligraphy are deemed to be closely related arts. Here is a Western analogue.”


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

jim leftwich, poem

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visual poems 2, 2015, jim leftwich