Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Secret Word

(When we last left our synchronized protagonists, Walt and Virginia, they were taking an intermission:
Like many alien satellite adventurers
wandering the desert of unrealtime

Virginia and Walt are going underground

Will they return?

Angela seems to think so

She says that that they are
unconditionally spinning
in the death-defying
double somersault of love

Their unusual story, previously captured in excerpted form in this blog here and here and here, is still, behind the scenes, developing into another novella. Herewith is another draft excerpt from this work-in-progress...)

Angela corrects herself and says that
it's not so much that Walt and Virginia
are going underground as much as
they have always been underground

Underground in an overground sense

What I mean (she said)

is that they have always been surfacing

You would think that a couple such as them
would have by now become something like
a part of the traditional or mainstream discourse
a kind of George and Mary Washington
for the elitist culturati who throw money around
buying shares in the prestige markets

But really there are very few people who even know
who they are or what they have to offer

and by offer I don't mean offer as in "deal"
although they too of course must deal
with and in things that have some value

some currency

Which brings me to another subject
and that is the intimate relationship
between the currency markets and the prestige markets

I'm not talking about the 15-year high
for the yen against the dollar
or how much the euro is worth or not worth
in relation to the pound
or why the Chinese keep artificially deflating
the value of the yuan
so that they can keep
exporting the hell out of everything
so that they can then reinvest their voluminous profits
back into the US bond market and essentially own us all forever

No (said Angela ... but who was she talking to?)

What I mean is the aesthetic currency
that comes with being en vogue
and how that gets translated into
value-added networking opportunities
(opportunities to see and be seen
but also opportunities to fuck and be fucked with)

This all has to do with how we maintain
(said Angela with elegant emphasis)
or not just maintain but enhance
our ongoing digital lifestyle practice
(and with this she unconsciously checked
her iRod for incoming dissemination)
as if such a thing were possible
given the state of our ongoing
Global Great Recession

How (she once again drew an emphasis)
to at least maintain that value-added
state of presence (literary presence)
in the networked space of flows

And she really meant it
when she said literary

As if she were saying something more

But more what?

The alchemy of emotions

The mysterious resonance

The absolute need to mirror neurons

Ah, but what about the networked space of flows?!
(asked Virginia [somewhat rhetorically] --
now that she had entered the picture --
but what does it mean to enter the picture
that is to say where does the picture live
so that phantom figures in the time slot of history
may use their generative figures to pervade
the quantum uncertainties that a picturesque
series of occasions intends to deploy)

You're here! (screamed Angela, genuinely surprised)

Indeed I am (Virginia responded -
a bit snarky but still ready willing and able
to alter her persona at a moment's notice
in order to accommodate what had become
a flux-like situation)

I was just talking about aesthetic currency
and how it might relate to what I think of
as the prestige markets -- the culture business
specifically the high end segment that seems to be making
a rebound in the minds of many but necessarily
involves the comfort of experiencing
an accumulating i.e. on the verge of orgasm
sense of entitlement due to the wealth effect
which can be measured in ones pure liquidity
if you know what I mean

I do know what you mean, Dear

At which point Walt walked in too

(Was he out parking the car?
Was there such a thing as a car in his
flux-like situation? Cars seemed like
such a thing of the past -- were they not
for the very worst off of society
poor slobs risking their lives every day
motorizing themselves through the death traps
while trafficking in the sublime slime of
mere dollars and sense?)

I have a new idea (announced Walt)

What?! (asked Virginia and Angela in tandem)

Power Pataphysique

PP! (screamed Angela)

OK (Virginia was playing with him)
please make your Power Point
and let's get on with it

Is it a new business idea? (asked Angela)

Could be (replied Walt)

I am not sure I want to go into business
although in theory I was made for business

But that's just in theory
and in theory anything can be a business
even the business of theory

He's in the theory business (said Virginia)

She's always giving me the business (said Walt)

At least you will never go out of business
not as long as she's around (said Angela)

True (said Walt)

And this reminds me of something
Yogi Berra might have said
had he ever been around in our time
to actually say it

and that is

"In theory there is no difference
between theory and practice.
In practice there is."

There was no immediate response
from the two women who were
performing the role of hostage audience

But the issue (Walt continued)
is not whether Power Pataphysique
is or is not a viable business model
because let's face it

(and here he cleared his voice)

anything is a viable business model
as long as people will pay for it

Yes (said Virginia)
but we are not interested in cash dollars anymore

We agreed that only aesthetic currency
would drive our purchasing power
in the so-called prestige markets
as Angela calls them
and even if we were to discover
the ultimate form of Picturesque Theory
we would not then turn around and market it
so as to generate more cash dollars
to fiddle away as we lose ourselves in the alter time

Losing ourselves in the alter time
repeated Angela in a kind of delay-pedal effect

Even if you say so yourself
said Virginia as if stepping on a flange

Yes (replied Walt)
and I mean every word of it

Just as you and Angela mean every word of what you say too

But that's not what concerns me right now

What concerns me is how we go about
filling our various domains with a network of objects
that when programmed correctly
would behave in such a way as to

a) alter time
b) intensify our pleasure
c) intellectually challenge our discovery process
d) ...

--- don't say it! (begged Virginia)

d) take us beyond the realm of metaphysics!

There (said Walt) -- I said it

Besides (he went on) you can't sell that sort of thing

(But then he self-corrected)

Well OK you can sell that sort of thing
and that's where Power Pataphysique comes in

Let's look back at what Alfred was investigating
before his untimely demise in his thirties

-- his thirties!

He claimed that pataphysique was
"the science of imaginary solutions
which symbolically attributes
the properties of objects
described by their virtuality
to their lineaments."

Here there can be no question (Walt elucidated)
that we have in one fell swoop entered the realm of
The After Physics

And yet everyone is so hooked on their body glam

that is to say

on making their body glam
and its concurrent "virtuality"
a networked reality sensation

that we know for a fact that The After Physics
will now and forever distend the laws of both
physics and chemistry while creating
another kind of -- dare I say -- alchemical
postproduction process that is powered
by the imaginary performance of the pataphysicians

What this means is that we can now
autohallucinate our own cinematic adventures
as ongoing works of time-based media
where we all play multiple personas
each persona informing the quanta of energy
that exists as a statistical flux or range of
possible states of mind for our digital images to embody

Digital images to embody ... ? (Virginia was skeptical)

Yes (insisted Walt)
in the age of digitally postproduced images
we have all essentially become body-images

Body-images (repeated Angela)

Yes digitally embodied images that think

That roam and charge and download and delete

That form and disperse and fragment and play

That condense into aesthetic currency trading
on the foreign prestige market

Foreign prestige market?

Yes since prestige itself has become foreign
at least to the vast populace

You are so elitist Walt

No! I am the exact opposite --

Remember this: the adjustment of reality
to the masses and of the masses to reality
is a process of unlimited scope

and the instant the criterion of authenticity
ceases to be applicable to artistic production
the total function of art is reversed --

we no longer find ourselves drowning in ritual
but rather engage in another kind of practice


This is our networked condition
and in this condition I think I have relocated
what I thought I had lost


although this aura is not unique
i.e. it has nothing to do with
the unique art object
and has everything to do with
the democratization of innovation itself

This is what it means to be avant-garde!

Now if only you could market it (said Angela, half serious)

But that's just it (said Walt)

Market it for what?

Cash dollars?

Who needs that?

I have a perpetual Internet connection

I have unending spools of pleasure unwinding
from the depths of my very being becoming something else

I have access to the most beautiful woman in the world

Women (said Angela -- where was Virginia?)

I have the ability to creatively inhabit
all of the source material the world has ever produced
so that I too can playfully postproduce
the very networked condition that now
after all of these years of self-denial
suggests that life itself is an aura worth investing in ...

Great (interjected Virginia -- she was back)

So how do you monetize it? (one of them asked)

Especially since you are obviously not going
the route of dollars and sense (added Angela)


(Walt was getting pleasantly agitated
and by that he meant that he was setting himself up
for yet more bouts of defeat and deflation
and was going to let everything bug him
in a positive way because he was sure
more sure than he had ever been
that he was on the right track this time
and nothing -- not even catastrophic failure --
was going to get in the way of him
playfully signaling from the flames
while burning down in auto-affect mode)

What's it? (asked Virginia)

My idea: Power Pataphysique

Go on ... (they prodded)

It's the future and it can be summarized in one word

"Say the secret woid and you win a hunerred dollahs"
(said Virginia auto-morphing into a tranny hybrid of
Elenor Roosevelt and Groucho Marx)

And the word is? (asked Angela)

Walt waited for their undivided attention:

The word

(he said -- pausing yet again for prolonged effect)




Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Written On A Napkin

I still get a kick out of using napkins as spur of the moment canvases for improvised language works and occasional drawings. For example, my Napkin Series is comprised of found (OK, permanently borrowed) high end white cloth napkins from restaurants that I then, later in the evening or the next day, use as a canvas to trace the outlines of my hand using archival markers of various colors. So, for example, the work "Napkin Series (Green)" includes a heavy white napkin from an excellent foodie joint in Miami and the hand tracing is done with an archival quality green marker. The thing is, I always trace the outlines of my right hand with my left and then I write inside the palm of the traced-out hand with my left hand as well. But, as you may have guessed, I'm right-handed, so the fun is in trying to write something that fits in the palm of my hand, is relatively centered and justified within the contours of the line, and that says something that I'm really feeling that day. With the "Green" version, now with a private collector, I wrote: "My right hand does not know what my left hand is doing."

To be sure, that one line says a lot about my contemporary arts practice.

I have a few paper napkin works selectively displayed in my studio as well, including the first study I did for the colorful Napkin Series. A "study," in this case, is my attempt to sell myself on an idea I have, and if I find it worthwhile, I invest more time in its development and see where it takes me.

In fact, many of the paper napkin studies I have around the studio and in archived boxes are where my works, some of them major, get seeded. Another example: the opening quote in Immobilite, "Every story is a travel story -- a spatial practice," comes from a napkin study following a critical reading of Michel de Certeau that I conducted with an artist friend in a Boulder coffeehouse (that one has a small self-portrait drawing too).

The reason I even mention all of this, as if it were important (it's not, but that's why I find it useful today), is that there is a cool breeze complementing the 75 degree heat of this spring afternoon and the breeze has allowed one of the brown paper napkin studies to take flight and land right in my lap. This particular napkin must have been splayed in a location I do not normally frequent because I had forgotten about it. There is no drawing on it but the fine dark blue marker combined with my "feel-good" flourish creates a kind of drippy absorption into the paper so that, to me, it feels like art.

Musing over the words, I read and then re-read the text:


breath spirit

rhythmic contours

of the shapely medium

"coming to terms"

with itself as

creative process.

Where do these 

generative thoughts

come from?

Is it The Deep Interior

or is it more

a manifestation

of the surface appearance

of things --- of mind grabs

(the same way we think 

of "screen grabs")

captured as digital

imprint on network


The third eye sees.


Obviously, it looks and reads better on paper.

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