Monday, May 26, 2008

Wavy Gravy

Speaking of pony-tailed radicals and their crazy wisdom, Ken Kesey once wrote:
It isn’t by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world ... by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.
Easier said than done, no doubt, but something an artist in the heat of (chemical) (de)composition must achieve if they hope to attain any sense of flow in the fluidity of their performance. I find that this holds true even when I am actively cutting up pre-existing texts or intentionally creating seemingly impenetrable roadblocks for my creativity to smash into. This was the case when writing my last novel, 29 Inches (Chiasmus Press). Instead of waking up and writing whatever came to mind as I wrote it, or conducting deep research into a subject that would give my novel some social-historical heft, I would instead go to my computer, open up my email, and look for whatever spam messages were waiting for me. Then I would read them all, sampling the bits that resonated with what I felt that day, eventually pasting them into my manuscript and starting the overwriting process. At times it felt like clearing a wide swath of spam brush. At other times it felt like I was meticulously pruning the secretly revealed buds that appeared most potent for whatever use I had for them. Eventually, when I had enough pruned spam fragments situated on the screen, I added my own unconscious connective glue to what at first glance may have seemed to be nothing but data noise destined for the desktop trashcan. But the idea was to break my own flow by turning the media noise into aesthetic signal, by taking what could easily be disregarded as useless material and convert it into totally useful compost for the organic narrative I was recycling (maybe this is what we mean by the term compostproduction?).

But then I wanted to bring it all back to the performative nature of my creative advance into the transmuting aesthetic moments of my ongoing hyperimprovisational drift and to do that I would have to develop a wavelike counterflow that would gradually become something like an ongoing postproduction fluidity, one that would enable me to oscillate between the source material that constrained me and the unconscious (on-the-fly) remix machine I was becoming while performing. In 2006, I referred to this as VJ writing and found it applicable to both composing literary texts and live A/V [audio-visual] performance. The opening section of META/DATA aka Spontaneous Theories elaborates on this kind of VJ poetics.

In some way, this kind of trash-can remix strategy parallels the art practice of Bob Rauschenberg who I blogged in my last entry in reference to his recent passing.

My new writing project, Remixology (The Book), will try and locate useful points of intersection between the unconsciously projected frequencies of the artist-medium who "can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because [h]e become[s] the waves" and the compostproducer who turns to the detritus of digital / pop / consumer culture as source material one can remix in on-the-fly versioning of their flux persona.

For me, this is the best way to write autocriticism as biological formalism as fiction.

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