Thursday, February 02, 2006

We revise the State

Suzanne Stein, Alli Warren & Laura Moriarty

"Here is the axiomatic triumverate of we revise the State starting in our own neurology:

First, that we can replace the either/or world with a both/and world.

Second, 'every intellect is capable of assuming every shape'

[omnis intellectus est omniformis]

Third, whatever the spirit can imagine, it can also realize"

From Suzanne Stein’s chapbook Tout va bien [Everything’s Fine], a print reproduction of a site-specific performance that took place on September 29, 2005, in the theater at New Langton Arts, San Francisco.

This quoting of Jean-Luc Godard -- referencing performance, demonstration and changing the world -- seems timely in relation to Andrew's post. The images, from Suzanne's collage of the movie in her performance & book, are strangely contemporary.

“What is art? Form becoming style. But the style is the man. Therefore art is the humanizing of forms.” The narrator comments in Two or Three Things I Know About Her (Godard, 1967).

I missed Suzanne's performance last fall, but the chapbook she put out was given to me recently by Alli Warren who was very enthusiastic about it. When I read it I was reminded of section of Duncan’s The Truth & Life of Myth I had just read so I typed the passage into an email and sent it to Suzanne and Alli.

Alli let me read your recent chapbook (which I liked a lot) and it made me think of something by Duncan I was reading recently. There seems to be a connection between this page of Tout va bien and the lines from Duncan I have typed in below -- though he wrote them almost 40 years ago. What is the nature (or source) of the commonality here I wonder? (Alli, do you have a thought about this as well?)

From Duncan:

It has never seemed to me that the true form of a poem was a convention or an ideal of form, but, as in life, a form having its information in the language of our human experience, as our bodies have their information in the life-code of the species, and our spirits in the creative will. The individual poem stirs in our minds, an event in our language, as the individual embryonic cell stirs in every area of my consciousness, for the DNA code it will use toward its incarnation is a code of resources my life pattern itself carries; not only thought and feeling but all the nervous and visceral and muscular intelligences of the body are moved. Awakening-- listening, seeing, sensing -- to work with the moving weights and durations of syllables, the equlibrations of patterns, the liberations of new possibilities of movement; to cooperate in the aroused process. Attending. From the first inspiration, breathing with the new breath. Man's myths move in his poetry as they move in his history, as in the morphology of his body all his ancient evolution is rehearsed and individualized; all of vetebrate imagination move to create itself anew in his spine..." Robert Duncan, The Truth & Life of Myth, 1968

Suzanne responded:

I didn't know this text by robert duncan, but I was reading a lot of him a few yrs ago & what especially made profound impact on me at that time is the way the structure of rime writings leap book to book--- I didn't much care & don't remember what they SAID---i was thinking a lot about what that leap did for the internal, 4-dimensional geometry or geology of the brain, thinking about it forwards & back in time & space [real, physical spatiality] btwn the books, both the writing of, the reading of,---I wonder if I can articulate that that time I started to think about the real, absent object & its real, present effect on the body thus the brain or vice-versa.[also, thus the spirit] is that present in those books? i'm forgetful of the specifics. Also because I have a long history thinking about the plastic arts, for example installation work in particular is relevant here; also my own sense of absolute space [for ex., i "could" rebuild the spd office exactly from memory---but text-less, i wouldn't remember titles of the books lying around unless i knew them already by size/color]; also the easy fact of architecture on the psychology, thus on the body, thus on the brain--- So, one part of thinking about this whole spatial 3-dimensional in writing, specifically poetry, was informed a little bit [or maybe a lot] by those 3 books of RD. I don't know the rest of his writing much at all.

the commonality, NATURE, and source of an a-literal connection to energetic sense of Duncan---ie, well beyond reading experience---would be first Norma---I don't think it's possible to be in contact of any kind w/ norma & fail to begin to have a sense of the possible arriving out of what is not possible. and also my friendship & long conversation w/ robert kocik, who probably was the person who gave me language to say what i already felt, that the impossibility or improbability of something is exactly what makes it possible & factual. I'm not sure if this is clear---I just mean that these are two people whose conversation & brains have had profound effect on the shape of mine, & they each had and have particular & intimate relationship to RD & his work…

the difference btwn my text & what duncan writes here is that he is speaking about experience or apprehension, and I am acting. Or, he is indicating; I am indicating and actualizing. perhaps just the simple difference btwn what manifests as "poetry" & what manifests as "prose".

"omnis intellectus et omniformis" is Pound/first canto; whatever the spirit can imagine it can also realize is perhaps out of yoga/ sanskrit, i don't know where, & the first demand is "my own"

i've written too much, i'm sorry. but of course this is also ridiculously abbreviated.


oh, PS---i was born in 1968, same yr Truth & Life of Myth, according to below, can we PLEASE not say 'almost 40 years ago'.....37 yrs ago....

It occurs to me (Laura) to say that Godard's Tout va bien, which came out in 1972, is part of the same revolutionary milieu that Duncan was writing out of -- a sensibility that is invoked by Andrew's observation of the affective intensities of recent events.

Alli responded to Suzanne’s book and to this exchange. The quoted lines are all from Suzanne's Stein's Tout va bien.

From Alli Warren:

We begin being with placement, a placing (situating) which is immediately (already) displaced, replaced, (re)produced. To imagine a world and thus a prosody which maneuvers with and acts out its body, the fact of our being cells.

Tout va bien with its stunning maxims and syllogisms, suggesting possible outcome(s?) at which we aim in our not aiming we. An axiom is self-aiming, aims at itself, our selves. So too actions and events such that any given outcome becomes a viable one – in as much as it can be imagined as imaginable.

To return is to begin, as we are in a both/and world. In which a mirror is a structure, a guide. To make the maxim incomprehensible by maps and charts. Offering roots and then severing them. Or, making them to break them. Severed, unfathomable and full of spirit.

To posit the impossible is to make it possible: “The only thing in the universe without form (structure) is poetry.” In that it is nothing but? Or malleable? I don’t know and love that I don’t. I want to talk about it with you and you and you, and in my own work, attaining the un-pin-downable. Creating and assuring an outcome in the claiming of it. The impossible claim as “world-actuating.” Or, comprehensible in its unbelievability.

I do not believe what is most real.

The unfathomable becomes real via the maneuver. The “psycho-surgical” (poetic) one. Bodies change in the writing of the happening of it. The enacted tracing of viability.

What is I (reader) made in the reading of we? – “we to you/ that’s/ I/ and I/ and I”. Which is what a maneuver aims at / for: “to fondle the aural possibility/ of naught/ anymore. Our dead / eye milkens,” where milk is to draw out or extract from, to bring what is inside outside, from destined placed to destined place. Origin and destination as exchangeable. What would monkeys think.

The chemistry of intervention. “I want / to help you—it hurts—I want to help you—” Even in not knowing the we, we know. In the uttering of an eye there is the other, its pair.

The faciality of address A face in a dress, it hurts. One addresses oneself, one dresses. One addresses all – the psycho-surgical maneuver. The faciality of prosody. As in ethics. (This) writing enacts an ethics – the imagining is the foundational act, the moral standard.

All a way of coming to a Praxis about which I’m (we’re?) not sure how to answer an Authority’s questions – Who What Where. But the Why? : “starting at the outcome, in order to get to fathoming of it.” But also Not, how could. In the writing and the reading, in the fathoming and the beginning: “branchless, rootless, flowering and leaving”

in order to get to the there there. To assume the form and to explode it.


Blogger Stacey Tran said...

this is an incredible thread. thank you for sharing! the connection you make with stein and duncan is exquisite. i've just recently discovered stein's tout va bien and have loved godard for a while now, what wonderful meshes of the afternoon.

12:50 AM  

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