Telling us what to think is not the same as moving the mind to think differently. Powerful art can slow and stun us. The sense of a shock is something to shake off, and yet to draw the reader into silent attention – this is the power that moves us. The mind slows.
I know when art makes me attend better to the world. How might we know the heart breaks – is it metaphor? – if the fissure was not made perceptible? How would we understand the pain of loss if we could not sense absence? There is the hollow, the what-is-not-there. This is the stuff of slowing.
We interact, react. In this both/and simultaneity of art the experience is “intraactive,” in the words of Karen Barad.
[Anne Blonstein died much too soon on April 19, 2011. She had by then created a remarkable series of works in which she employed & transformed traditional numerological and hermeneutic procedures (gematria, notarikon) in the composition of radically new experimental & multilingual poems. Too little known, her oeuvre, as I would read it, is in a line that goes from Abulafia to Mallarmé & Mac Low & various poets of Oulipo and Fluxus, among others, while the devotion & precision that she shows throughout are clearly & powerfully her own.
Jackson Mac Low speaks during a long question-and-answer session at New Langton Arts in San Francisco, c. 1984. This recording came to PennSound’s archive in two parts, and — thanks to the efforts of Hannah Judd — we now make them available in segments roughly topical.