conceptual writing

Listening out the collectivist window: 'Okay, my name is so-and-so ...'

Here are two facing pages from Rob Fitterman’s This Window Makes Me Feel. Written in the long shadow of 9/11, this book of prose poetry “replaces the individual poet’s response to catastrophe with a collective, multi-vocal chorus of everyday” expression. Parts of the work have been published before, but this Ugly Duckling Presse edition is the first time the whole poem has been printed as one. It is one of the earliest examples of a long poem solely composed with repurposed language taken from the web. We at ModPo will be filming a short video about this excerpt (see below) of Fitterman’s work. I received my copy the other day and cannot stop reading and rereading the sentences.

'But most by numbers judge a poet’s song'

A review of Randall Couch's 'Peal'

Photo of bells in Uzbekistan (left) by Adam Jones, via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of Couch (right) courtesy of Randall Couch.

“Amongst other Diversions and Recreations practiced by, and delightful to, the Inhabitants of this Island; none is more diverting, ingenious, harmless and healthful, than the ART OF RINGING, used and practiced with Discretion,” writes Fabian Stedman in his 1677 book Campanalogia, or, The Art of Ringing Improved.

“Amongst other Diversions and Recreations practiced by, and delightful to, the Inhabitants of this Island; none is more diverting, ingenious, harmless and healthful, than the ART OF RINGING, used and practiced with Discretion,” writes Fabian Stedman in his 1677 book Campanalogia, or, The Art of Ringing Improved.[1] Stedman is widely considered to be the father of “change ringing,” a practice that emerged in sixteenth-century England when new methods of hanging sets of church bells on whole wheels enabled ringers to control the speed and order in which the bells we

Ready-made shirts, ready-made readings

“The McDowell Garment Drafting Machine” (1888) cover detail. Smithsonian Archives Center, Washington, DC, Warshaw Collection of Business Americana: Business Ephemera: Pattern Industry, box 1, folder 21.

In Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith’s introductory essays to Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing, the authors trace the algorithmic-appropriative condition of Conceptual writing back through Conceptual art to its emergence in the work of Marcel Duchamp.[1] (The volume’s excerpts from Stéphane Mallarmé’s 1874 La Dernière Mode, or Denis Diderot’s eighteenth-century literary appropriation, seem to represent anachronistic exceptions to their rule.) For Dworkin and Goldsmith, Duchamp is the heroic initiator of

On settler conceptualism

Claire Fontaine, 'Untitled (I've stolen it),' 2014.

My initial engagement with and understanding of the expanded practices of Conceptual writing is situated within a particular geography — Denendeh, or the Northwest Territories of Canada — during the proposed Mackenzie Valley Gas Project hearings held throughout the territory. The purpose of the proposed pipeline was to pump natural gas from Arctic Ocean reserves south across the entire territory to Alberta, where it would fuel the production of tar sands oil.

A note on terrapoetics

Eugene Thacker's 'In the Dust of this Planet' (2011), Evelyn Reilly’s 'Apocalypso' (2012), and Juliana Spahr’s 'Well Then There Now' (2011).

 There appears to be an anaesthetic edge to the conceptual, as the concept’s generality implies an inactuality that thwarts the presence presupposed by the here-and-now of aesthetic experience. Conversely, things that exist but cannot be encountered are nothing but pure concepts to us. As the concept of an ecosystem, for example, is not exemplified by anything you may encounter wandering through it, it escapes our aesthetic faculties entirely.

There appears to be an anaesthetic edge to the conceptual, as the concept’s generality implies an inactuality that thwarts the presence presupposed by the here-and-now of aesthetic experience. Conversely, things that exist but cannot be encountered are nothing but pure concepts to us. As the concept of an ecosystem, for example, is not exemplified by anything you may encounter wandering through it, it escapes our aesthetic faculties entirely.

Appropriative resistance

Derailed MRT train. Photo by Rey Laguda, from an article by T. J. Dimacali, courtesy of GMA News.

I am writing this two days past Independence Day, a national holiday that witnessed anti-imperialist rallies organized by a broad multisectoral alliance that critically involves the Philippine Left to combat bureaucrat capitalism of which expansionalist efforts by China and the US are symptoms and operations.

An affective response

On canon, Kenneth Goldsmith, and reading

Photo by Gina DeCagna.

I pitched this piece before Kenneth Goldsmith’s March 2015 performance at Brown University, and I wrote the interlinking reflections that follow the first section right after Goldsmith’s performance, so the progression of my thinking within this reflection is contorted and strange, especially now that I’m writing this preface months later.

Preface 

'I'M A REAL ARTIST'

I’M A REAL ARTIST
I’M A REAL MAMMAL

I’M A REAL SON

I’M A REAL AMERICAN

I’M A REAL HOMOSEXUAL

I’M A REAL BROTHER
I’M A REAL HOMINID

I’M A REAL CREATOR
I’M A REAL THIRTY-YEAR-OLD
I’M A REAL FRENCH
I’M A REAL UNCLE
I’M A REAL COOK
I’M A REAL MASTURBATOR
I’M A REAL DESCENDANT

I’M A REAL PRACTITIONER
I’M A REAL READER

Selections from 'The Beginning'

A way to begin is finding a way to begin without. Writing with brown outs and without internet on this island is to begin without access to the etymology of the word begin. On this island you learn to live off scraps washed up from where. The word begin is made of scraps washed up on fishermen’s shore. The words are plastic post apocalyptic bits: a pink child’s wallet, soda bottle wrappers, Shoe Mart shopping bags.

A way to begin is finding a way to begin without. Writing with brown
outs and without internet on this island is to begin without access to
the etymology of the word begin. On this island you learn to live off
scraps washed up from where. The word begin is made of scraps
washed up on fishermen’s shore. The words are plastic post
apocalyptic bits: a pink child’s wallet, soda bottle wrappers, Shoe
Mart shopping bags. The scrap collector fisherman was bent over
picking through whatever could support his life and house. Things

Manifest

Sophie Calle, “Exquisite Pain #71.”

List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the Commissioner of Immigration at Port of Arrival
Required by the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, under Act of Congress approved March 3, 1893, to be delivered to the Commissioner of Immigration by the Commanding Officer of any vessel having such passengers on board upon arrival at a port in the United States[1]

List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the Commissioner of Immigration at Port of Arrival
Required by the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, under Act of Congress approved March 3, 1893, to be delivered to the Commissioner of Immigration by the Commanding Officer of any vessel having such passengers on board upon arrival at a port in the United States[1]

1. No. on list
49 x 49 (7 x 7 = 49)

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