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Maybe It Is Yourself
February 2007
Mon, Feb. 26th, 2007 07:47 pm

Harriet Monroe Poetry 1931
Zukofsky "An Objective"

--no longer a poetics of vision -- describing instead of being -- objectivism

-- you must "think with things as they exist" Zukofsky
--"Words are real, in the Objectivist formulation, because they instate an existence beyond the words" (4).
--constant talk of the Objectivist's "clear physical eye" (11)

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Tue, Feb. 6th, 2007 09:56 am

The Question of Signature:

John Cage on Robert Rauschenberg




For me, the main interest in John Cage’s essay on Rauschenberg lies in a paradox. Cage writes “the signature is nowhere to be seen,” (98)[1] drawing attention to the disparity between Rauschenberg’s work and that of the abstract expressionists, who glorified the individual artist and attempted to produce works entirely of their own making. Rauschenberg’s hand is less visible in his work: objects are found rather than made, marks are indexical rather than expressive, and he incorporates an element of chance. Although Cage asserts that these aspects of Rauschenberg’s work make his signature absent, the opposite could be argued: the signature is all that can be seen. What makes the Erased De Kooning Drawing (1953) Rauschenberg’s is the signature he attached to it. If De Kooning had erased it, the work would hold no special place in the history of art. Rauschenberg’s story is that it took him a month to erase the De Kooning, revealing that it was a methodical and painstaking process. However, although laborious, anyone could have done it. Rauschenberg then, with Erased De Kooning Drawing, not only changed the way art is made, but also the status of the signature itself. His signature becomes “Rauschenberg was here” more than “Rauschenberg made this,” and this is in part what Cage means when he says the signature is absent.  But this is not the end of his story.

Cage assumes, “Let to myself, I would be perfectly contented with black pictures, providing Rauschenberg had painted them” (107). One is led to ask what then, is the role of the artist, whose hand is simultaneously visible and invisible? The answer lies not in Rauschenberg’s artistic talent or capabilities as a painter, but rather his capacities as a thinker or a dreamer. In other words, the all black paintings are interesting on a conceptual level. Perhaps Cage would not be able to distinguish Rauschenberg’s black paintings from those done by an imitator, but Rauschenberg’s ideas were uniquely his own: paint on newspaper, and he did. This holds true for the erased De Kooning and the tire track as well. The discussion of the work changes from “how these marks work together as a whole” or (per Greenberg’s ideals) “how these marks demonstrate what is fundamental to painting” to “what was done to produce this work.” This shift had already begun to take place during abstract expressionism (particularly in Rosenberg’s reading of the movement) and before. However, Rauschenberg’s work compelled critics and observers to focus less and less on the actual overall product and more and more on the circumstances and materials of its production, their multifaceted character, and the comparably passive role that Rauschenberg played in his own works. In reference to Automobile Tire Print (1953) John Cage asks, “But which one of us drove the car?” (98), but the real question is, “Does it matter?”  The answer is no. What matters is that someone thought to make the tire print and followed through.  Rauschenberg’s hand might be somewhat absent from his pieces, but his signature is always there in one form or another.  

[1] All paginations are taken from John Cage’s Silence (Connecticut: Wesleyan, 1939).

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Tue, Jan. 23rd, 2007 08:48 pm

       words in poems are       
shards of Chartres       blue glass
virginal                      in their naiveté
deflowered      by quotidian menstruation
which spills once daily    blue hues     coloring
the tiles     and the priest’s hands    with virginity   
of which they have no part;    they carry their lineage
    Mary’s blue robe         twice daily                    appears   
once                    according to the Sun’s circadian
once according to            the Moon’s Baedeker
neither        since their birth        arbitrary
producers of their own         progeny
one as ready to burn  as illuminate
one bringing in     whatsoever
comes in with    the tide  



Sun, Jan. 14th, 2007 08:29 pm

Seraphim, your eyes say you're Naturally Stunning

Fresh and laid-back, you take the same approach to your makeup as you do to life: Easy does it. We'd guess you're a no-muss, no-fuss kind of gal who doesn't like to spend too much time in front of the mirror. But that doesn't mean you still don't love to look great. You just do it in your own effortless way.

Truth be told, it's your grounded nature and straightforward sensibilities that make you so attractive. When someone looks you in the eyes, they immediately sense your integrity and down-to-earth spirit. And what could be more beautiful than that?

Seraphim, your true color is Black!

Your color is black. The color of night. Serene and mysterious, black conjures up images of elegant evening gowns, dashing tuxedos, and gleaming limousines. Traditionally a symbol of success, black also represents power and an uncompromising demand for perfection. Not surprisingly, you tend to set challenging goals for yourself and do whatever it takes to achieve them — your strength of character is second to none. This unfaltering determination, along with your natural elegance, impresses people. But keep in mind that your personality might be intimidating to some. Try to temper your demanding side with a little softness — trust us, it won't kill you. Overall, though, black is the color of professionalism and achievement, which means it's clearly the color for you.

Seraphim, you're a Type 5 - The Experimenter

Friends, family, and colleagues probably appreciate your probing intelligence and open-minded approach to life. They're also apt to know that when they come to you with a problem, you can be counted on to give them a carefully considered answer based on keen observations. As an Experimenter, you're likely to be seen as a capable and competent individual with a visionary outlook.

Being a member of this type puts you in good company. Renowned painter Georgia O'Keefe, with her reclusive nature and intense focus on her craft, and Albert Einstein, with his groundbreaking theorems and unprecedented view of the space-time continuum, were also Type 5s.

This means that compared to the eight other Enneagram types, you have a strong sense of perception as well as a curious and innovative mind. In fact, like many Experimenters, you have a strong drive to understand how things work.


Wed, Jan. 10th, 2007 09:25 am


Tue, Jan. 9th, 2007 03:34 pm

I was in Art History class today when I heard of Charlotte Moorman, well her name anyway. I've just been looking her up and realized something: the body is missing in music. Not always of course, and I'm sure countless musicians have explored this. First, let me outline my previous experiences with music and the body. Over the Christmas break I had one of my sisters give me a brief violin lesson--hold your bow like this, bow from your elbow, the bow should be parallel to the strings, bend your thumb, relax your shoulders--that was the whole lesson: what to do with my body. But to what end? To the extent that the violin might sound as if NO body was producing it. To make a "clean" sound. Some artists, such as John Cage, play with this and instead choose to view the instrument as a body of its own (his prepared piano). Although not music per se, sound poetry seems to be the closest "instrumental" music gets to investigating this question. [Obviously I'm not talking about vocal performances.] But this image threw me for an absolute loop:

Yes, what you're seeing is a topless cellist. We've seen nudity make its way into all the arts--theatre, dance, but perhaps most prominently in performance art--but not into music. One might argue that live music is performance art, but it seems that by perfoming topless, Moorman brought a whole new dimension to her music, brought her body completely into it and made it Performance Art. Even if you want to ditch the capitalization, it's just as compelling. Maybe I haven't said anything worthwhile, new or interesting. But it just jumped out at me. Oh my God! A naked musician. That's it!


Sun, Jan. 7th, 2007 10:33 pm

I spent the morning surfing the web, listening to radio broadcasts (Angela Davis and Kathryn Stockton) and sound poetry (bp Nichol, Stein, random Ubu stuff). Then I read some of my Pynchon novel and did a bit of yoga then went running. Went and saw Children of Men with my friend Alissa S. who was held up because she was filing a police report of a man who was jerking off while waiting for Trax. That's disgusting. I then went to fill my tires with air. Four gas stations and no luck! I stopped by a closed Jiffy Lube cuz it looked like there was someone in back. Indeed there was, and he was just closing up. We talked for a bit while he filled my low tire and offered to check the rest. He was so nice that it made my whole day. I subsequently went to Barnes and Noble to exchange a book for Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's. Then it was off to Sandy for dinner with the fam, a quick Nicole sighting, then back home to answer emails and read Breakfast, which yes, I haven't read yet, but can probably finish tonight. School starts tomorrow. I'm excited.


Sun, Jan. 7th, 2007 09:29 am

I don't have clasees until 11:00am or noon and they only last til 2:00. The mornings will be spent reading books and the afternoons will be spent writing. Nights will be spent at local events and with friends at coffee shops and bars. Fridays will again be spent making money. Sound good? I think so.


Mon, Jan. 1st, 2007 09:12 am

I need to get lost; serious changes need to occur.


Sun, Dec. 24th, 2006 11:58 am

Well, it's Christmas Eve and I have been residing at my parents' house for about a week now. What have I done? Played Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire on the PS2. Both are completed. I read Arthur Nessarin's THE FUCK UP for Jessica Faulkner's book club. I went there two nights ago. It was tons of fun. I didn't know anyone there but Jessica, but they were all cool and seemed really involved in literature. I miss having a group of friends that share similar interests. Like when my theatre friends and I would get together in high school we never ran out of interesting topics: plays we'd read, people's characters, psychology, reality. Conversations have seemed dull since then. Not that I haven't had some really good ones, but they're few and far between when they used to happen on a daily basis. Also, I think I'll like the book club because they read books that I would never have picked up or known about if it wasn't for them, since I'm interesting in reading for a rather different reason than most of them. They are the kind that know about all the new books coming into the Barnes and Noble--which I am consistently unaware of. I'm in the middle of Capote's IN COLD BLOOD. I love it more and more every page. The unique flavor that comes from following the killer's lives paralled with interviews of local people is thrilling. Also, for those of you who know the story from the recent film CAPOTE, the whole first part of the book is devoted to describing the Clutter family, a characterization that isn't given much time in the film. To have a book start with that sort of picture lends tragedy as well as a hip aspect. (Let's kill off the main characters!) Other than that, I've just been chilling with the family. Playing with the babies. Riling people up. That's about it. Happy Holidays!