Anal Magic Attempt 2 Yesterday I wrote a little spiel about Anal Magic but, dissatisfied with what I wrote, the entry is lost somewhere in the nether regions of my hard drive. Hurrah! Not being a radio aficionado, I don’t really know the precedents for Anal Magic. Kenny G(oldsmith) is not a shock-jock like Howard Stern, nor is he quite the comedian of Groucho Marx; his style is quite his own. Being a American who has been out of the States so long that I am really a foreigner, it’s refreshing to hear someone on the radio who has a real sense of humor and cruel irony. Kenny know that I loved his reading of a George Bush speech of the torture sounds of Tortura, but there is much more to the show than that. Anyone interested in Sound and the recording arts really ought to listen to ANAL MAGIC. Kenny does play sound poetry at times but he also links this in with new modes of audition. John Cage, of course, frequently features on the repertoire as does Erik Satie. Then there are all of the sound art practitioners themselves like Amikhanian, Hodell, etc. I’m sure he even played some of the music from the Cremaster as well. All of this is really, very very important because the significance of the change in auditory perception since Russolo and Satie is consistently ignored by most literatures. (I know that was a bad sentence but, hell, I’m on my lunch break). I obviously have a bias, I won’t conceal it. For me sound and audition is extremely important for bringing the body back into poetry.. or rather is the juncture at which words can leave themselves. Literary types tend to downplay audition as such because other critical approaches Mail; Jeremiad: word of the day.. Er. Critical approaches, such as Freudianism/ psychoanalysis etc. lend themselves to either justify meaning or even add meaning in the case of certain poets. Sound. What do you do with it? Charles Bernstein arrogantly, in my opinion, dismisses sound as meaningless in his Radio Radio interview! He makes a bunch of obnoxious sounds (ok here’s my jeremiad for the day) and says essentially that there’s nothing in it. Sound involves a context. Sound poetry is often closely related to music and highlights the musical aspects of language. I think Mr. Bernstein would agree to the extent that sound poetry does much the same thing to the musicality of language that language poetry does for the social use of language. Sound poetry has moved on for people like Jaap Blonk who create wonderful textures of this raw material itself, beyond the concern with language per se. But there is more. Sound is always implicated in our environment as is as much of the fabric of the social and cultural domain as language. Oops.. Would like to continue, but I’ma outtada time
With 30 mins to go.. Yeah, it could’ve been. At another time perhaps before it snowed or rained I forget which. Or if you consider a trajectory to future events, it may reside in a nutshell. I like telling stories, not porkies, just narratives in which if we jump from side to side with an easterly tilt we can find a beginning middle and end. You aren’t following this. This is a monologue composed in complete sentences; I challenge you to find a missing subject object or verb, in that order. The subject is of course me; my own self-indulgence outdoes me. Object, if you’re reading there is one. Verb? Did I mention that verb always reminds me of gardening? My basil is dying, the rocket is dead, the goldfish is dead, but the fruitless Jalepeno thrives. Out there. On my balcony. That fascinating place between the home and the public. I wear my underwear near the window. Not to be existential, you know. I guard my pee in the best way I know how. Japanese pissers. Check google. They’re all over. Cherry blossoms line the street my balcony overlooks. They don’t blossom much and I miss them. I walk under them and squash the petals under my steel capped boots. Sometimes I slip and laugh about it. Other times I don’t. Cicadia’s sing through them through the summer. I could come up with an epiphenomenon. You know I won’t. Preferring prostitution to nature, I walk through my little hamlet in Tokyo. Go-go girls squash cigarette butts and slip through semen. They always talk to men with long hair and suntans. I don’t like them. They wear white terry-cloth socks. Someone washes their hair. In the suburbs the architecture is inclusive. I often feel the overhead cables and wires slip around my neck and pick my teeth. My gut rumbled through a mildewed tatami room opened onto the street. I notice all the laundry is white. The housewife has nipples as large as silver dollars, dark as grapes. She washes them with white soap. She observes a dark purple cock and eventually paints it; she still believes in representation. The authorities accuse her of reproduction. The laundry is still white. END 14.00
This is tangentially related to the poverty of poetry paperChristian Bök has some very interesting, clued in, things to say about the future of literature viz-a-viz technology. He says that with the advent of programs like RACTOR (an almost communicative program) that know nothing of literary history or poetry, can ‘write’ poetry better than humans who don’t know poetry, and perhaps better than those who do, presents a problem in terms of authorship and well as the future production of poetry itself. The authorship issue is essentially that with a computer that does not even understand what it is saying can produce poetry of such quality, then there is no reason why a person who supposedly does know what he is saying has much bearing on the reception of the work.. That’s not clear. What I mean is that RICTOR’s poems generate interest even though there is no author, why should knowledge of the author, therefore generate any more interest? This is an interesting take, although I do wonder why North American writers still feel it necessary to invoke this authorship in this way. As I discussed before in terms of Kent Johnson’s Yasusada, there are more culturally provocative approaches to deal with issues of authorship. To simply say that computers abnegate the author is relevant but a little banal. As for the future production of poetry Bök makes 2 interrelated points: that future poets will be programmers who make code that generates poems so that it is the code and not the poem that interests people and 2. we should be writing poetry for androids as they will be our future audiences. There seem to be poets out there already programming poetry, Alan Sondheim and Lewis Lacook come immediately to mind but there are many many others. However, to say this is the future of poetry seems a little steep to me in relation to the second point, that we should write poetry for computers. He’s saying that code, designed for androids, will also stimulate our artificial audience. I find this problematic for a number of quite complex reasons. First of all, it is unlikely that computers will ‘think’ in the way humans do. When critics of the technological drive to replicate the human say that a computer will need whole life experiences to match the human, these are not just experiences of your second birthday or all that crap about implanted memory from Bladerunner, it is of all the experience that we never notice.. like the fax printer droning in the background and various voices, my experience of space etc etc. That is, embodied experience. It may indeed be possible to create a semi-thinking machine that can ‘process’ highly complex information and handle many of the rules based activities that the human does and may even be able to interact on a factual level with humans, but a machine won’t think.. Now what may be possible would be to biologically engineer machine-like people (as if there weren’t enough already!) say by altering DNA so that they won’t emotion pain. HOWEVER, machines are new tools with which the poet must come to terms with. Perhaps we will come to love a poet’s code, but the question is why would we love the code? Would we live it because of its ingenuity of design, like some people love cars? Because of what it enables us to do? Programs can give you a sense of achievement, like the many poem generators. I guess I can see this possibility, although it reduces the appreciation of the poem to the level of a video game. Bök’s points are very important to discuss because underlying them I see a fundamental conception of the human. The view of this school of thought, just like the view underlying popular culture of Matrix, Bladerunner, and even AI is that the human is programmable and that interaction works on the level of information transferal. However, there is a school of thought (to which I lean favorably) that posits complexity, that information doesn’t really exist as such and that our body in the environment does not operate on the mechanistic model posited by Descartes and, more importantly, Newton. Now, my question is, where does this take poetry????????
Very little time today since I ventured further than the local corner store to get a negi-toro ikura don (onion, tuna and tuna roe on rice) and even, gasp, a nectarine! Over the weekend I went to a contemporary Turkish art show in Saitama. Sadly, the pieces on display there were quite underdeveloped. Essentially there were many good ideas that were poorly realized. I apologize for not remembering the artist’s names; I will give some examples of what I mean. There was quite a big section dedicated to sound (visual and aural) and perhaps the most interesting was a huge sequined banner with the words RUMOUR HUMOUR HOOVER The surround was silver and the words themselves were, hmm, green, red and, possibly blue conveying the image of quite tawdry looking women’s (or feminine style) discotechque clothing. There was a fan positioned to move the banner and create at least a little noise. As I read it, this was a comment on rumor and femininity, rumor being a basic concepts within noise of woman.. That is, traditionally rumor is understood as woman and is frequently depicted as having a million eyes (hence the sequins) and with horrible ears and mouth (the noise from the shaking of the sequins).. if this is even remotely close to the artists point, then well, it’s a good idea that simply doesn’t work. (notwithstanding, the sighs we all have when we come to the big center piece in an exhibition. There is always one!) .....