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notes quotes provocations and other fair use conversational drift, informatic license, exquisite enclaves by jouke kleerebezem

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18 September 2000
an experiment in living

Entrepotdok 29 1018 AD Amsterdam                            Le Moulin du Merle 58210 St. Germain des bois
à la maison comme à la maison: what change?
Slowly I begin to remember how change works, in a sense that our move from Amsterdam to St. Germain des Bois, from the lofty canal side warehouse in the center of the city, to the spacious villa du moulin in the midst of the green, now begins to affect how I live my life and how my ideas develop. That's what it seems like... after a year and a half. But it's only just begun. We left aimlessly—having fallen in love with a site, the house, the river, the fields, but never even having entertained the idea to migrate from NL. So we did. We bought the house within three days (more like three hours, it was). We returned to NL, told our loved ones what had happened and prepared to move, sold 2/3 apartments, bought a car, packed, partied and parted. Change? Just like following orders.

How to perceive change? For me, now, it is like sensing a growing promise, 'coming out of nowhere' really—and for the moment, leading nowhere either, which makes for its value. It's a massive unresolved coming at me, quivering and floating like one of these giant soap bubbles. Its a big one again, like I've known some, and cherished and respected them ever since I was a very young kid. It contains a promise of understanding and ownership and, yes, creation, of a life worth living. It is the total opposite of ennui. It pushes forth a feeling of power beyond 'control', power through un-controlling rather, un-controlling an un-resolved; managing a process, without forcing it, enjoying all the other powers that move it, in response to, and then again acting upon, your own input. But the change is yours, only yours. That's the most fascinating thing about it. No matter how many people, causes or contracts are involved—the change is and will always be yours. It's possession of the world, original ownership, without control, without property—that is, besides the usual household, be it small or big, some books and music, some bric-a-brac souvenirs, some work. Peu importe on the scale of the unresolved, those are merely households indeed.

what experiment?
Living this life, beginning to understand it, more and more I come to know it as a true experiment. After the impulse and the decision, after change as we used to know it, something else forms. Something that I know will influence me deeply, change my life completely, change my soul and all my relations to those processes and people I'm most connected to. If I was superstitious, I would hesitate to acknowledge this dawning feeling as early on as this. But since a few weeks I recognize an excitement I had long forgotten about, which is too vital to remain unmentioned here. Since it is no subject matter in the usual line of business however, I will again be silent about it after today. It'll seep through my actions and writing anyway.

16-17 September 2000
art and part

(...) Poor Art! what a sad state the slut is in, and these gentlemen shall help her. The artist alone, by the way, is to no purpose, and remains unconsulted; his work is explained and rectified without him, by the one who was never in it—but upon whom God, always good, though sometimes careless, has thrown away the knowledge refused to the author—poor devil!
   The Attorney-General said, "There are some people who would do way with critics altogether."
   I agree with him, and am of the irrationals he points at—but let me be clearly understood—the art critic alone would I extinguish. That writers should destroy writings to the benefit of writing is reasonable. Who but they shall insist upon beauties of literature, and discard the merits of their brother littérateurs! In their turn they will be destroyed by other writers, and the merry game goes on till truth prevail.

(James McNeill Whistler, 'Whistler v. Ruskin: Art and Art Critics', in The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 1892)
critic and artist: on the how and the whether
Tapping in on HTC's Ray Davis' recent 'Errata' and 'Talking to yourself', and prior discussions at Alamut and NQP, on outsider/insider positions in the arts, and related to On Talent.

Today's wake up dream: 'Always stay within the language of the discourse', someone uttered from behind a backstage dressing room table, between lectures, at some information design gig. Could have been Conrad Taylor, from the looks of'm. Anyway. My mind drifted to Ray's Le critique malgré lui (1995), and then the g-pack's discussions and publications—are these art pieces or critiques? Bit of both? Who wants to know? But this was early. Dawn just setting in behind the shutters, of what looked like another overly bright day, morning pinks, thin clouds stretched over the east hill and milky white prairie haze et al. Amazing enough I'm thinking about my friends out there to begin with.

The critics of this world are primarily concerned with the intricate how of reception, while its artists are essentially concerned with the obstinate whether of realization.

noblesse s'amuse
The better (luckier) artist doesn't doubt the 'whether' of her or his own production (but could have concerns about its realization and distribution and eventually reception), while from her/his privileged position profoundly enjoys the production by others, who (s)he respects and might connect to. The better (luckier) critic has no concerns about the how of her or his own production either, if (s)he gratefully accepts its workings vis-à-vis the arts, while from her/his privileged position profoundly enjoys the development of critical thought and writing, as a genre of literary production by itself, intimately related to another exciting genre or even medium. Noblesse s'amuse. At the cost of itself, if necessary.
'Never take an artist's advice on another artist', a well-known and well to do Dutch collector held as a rule, 'artists will always guide you to a lesser, never to a greater artist'. If this applies to any link out of your site, think again.
The unlucky misguided artist worries as much as the unlucky misguided critic: nothing's ever simple, nothing just springs from the tools and the concentration and the repertoire, long lost years of education didn't leave a single imprint of insight—education which should have been the only way to make the most of meagre inspiration in the first place. Even if professionally schooled and aware of the technè, the unhappy artist or critic always stumbles after it, generally in the wrong direction.

the minor artist (notions of clique and publique, frame and fame, ego and ergo)
What makes someone a minor artist/critic? Rather the ego than the ergo (hey, it's their own bloody mistake—not a conspiracy). Rather the frame (of mind) than the (lack of) fame. Rather the clique than the publique (which is always with the underdog anyway, and otherwise doesn't want to know shit either). Or: the major problem with a minor artist/critic is his ego, his clique and its myopic frame, its lack of influence and attention, hence frustration, hence deterioration. It's not as much a lack of talent which is showing, but the inability of its tuning. Would the minor talent artist/critic recognize the hopelessness of her/his ambition, in this or that direction, (s)he would turn to another trade, thus better exploiting available ('given') talents, while improving appropriate skills at a much faster pace and with much better results, and at the benefit of a greater and more attentive audience. Of all the frustrated, underachieving, complaining talents out there, 90% would perform better, be more contented, even get fair attention deserved, if only—if only it would follow a different career path. Most of the 'minor' in the 'minor artist' is just that lack of ability to tune the talents, to a production proper, and audience. (I'm not saying, or meaning to say, that it is 'all their own fault'. Like I mentioned before: there's big pressure on achievement, there's tons of opportunist disinformation in the media and no proper education, guidance or advice to be found, to get the individual best out of any of us). Markets content with second or third best. The 'tuning of the talent' is also a problem to the (too) smart.

Ray Davis (first voice) and his critique malgré lui, David Auerbach (second voice):

1) - The real problem is when talentless cranks band into an insular group, cheering on each other's mediocrity and adding an ugly self-righteous odor to their formerly fairly innocuous waste product.

And unless you're talking bestsellers and movie deals and posters on bathroom walls, it's awfully hard to be sure you've made it off an insular group and onto the mainland. "Professional" or not, in my cartography, the arts and book reviewers of the semi-major media look just as self-congratulatory and determinedly deluded as any communal gallery, small press magazine, indie rock scene, little theater group, or crosslinking weblog....

2) - THOSE WHO FEEL IT (being the outsider, ed.) FROM WITHIN still don't use it as a primary marker in their work, though they may try. I look at Bruno Schulz's work and compare it to Beckett's, and while I see them trying for similar effects, I think Beckett is more successful. This despite Schulz's Kafka-like isolation and Beckett's (relative) integration into the various scenes around him. I'm tempted to see the issue, then, as irrelevant to the quality of the work being produced -- though it may just be that Beckett was just such a prima facie genius to everyone around him that he could have been totally maladjusted and still fit in.
Isolation is no guarantee for inspiration, no matter how many deprived you share it with. What else is new? Anyway I don't think one should compare artists (like Auerbach does) on 'trying for similar effects', without exactly explaining what you mean by that. Which effects? And what exactly is meant by an artist 'trying for an effect'? A contemporary generation is just so criticized by Auerbach, for 'trying for effect' ('the current crop of writers is too civilized to do it -- being the outsider, ed. -- honestly'), without knowing what they're about. Schulz and Beckett did not 'try for similar effects', just like Picasso and Braque didn't or Madonna and Prince didn't, or Ray and David don't—I'm quite convinced, "and the merry game goes on till truth prevail".

the merrier game
Disciplinary antagonism has long been replaced by media complicity. Artist and critic are kin. They've adapted to the same curriculum and media. Literature, secondary literature, literary criticism... it all reads alike: good or bad prose, an entertaining story, neat design—whether a theory, a fable, a news item, what's the difference, as long as you 'stay within the language of the discourse'? It is the state of a Literature (it all 'tries for similar effects' after all?), on its way to hypertextual interactivity. Actually I was going to write about that, but I got distracted by the century old and probably older battle between the how and the whether, between those outside and inside the jargon wars. I was planning to pick up a default user and show her or him around hypermedia, going for her or his story to see how it would improve my own. Instead I meet old friends: the critics, the artists, the Ruskins and the Whistlers and the Schulzs... and I start juggling. As does Ray:

- As a certified holder of a Bachelor of Mathematics certificate, I can confidently assert that rationality exists only as a way to juggle all the words one feels compelled to throw into the air.

&nd otherwise
("Poor Art! what a sad state the slut is in, and these gentlemen shall help her. The artist alone, by the way, is to no purpose, and remains unconsulted; his work is explained and rectified without him, by the one who was never in it—but upon whom God, always good, though sometimes careless, has thrown away the knowledge refused to the author—poor devil!")

Courtesy Generosity Metalog: "Bouvier's law dictionary from 1856 has enough words-of-the-day for a lifetime. I got about as far as 'ART AND PART.' It has the word "art" in it, heh, heh heh."

ART. The power of doing. something not taught by nature or instinct. Johnson. Eunomus defines art to be a collection of certain rules for doing anything in a set form. Dial. 2, p. 74. The Dictionaire des Sciences Medicales, h. v., defines it in nearly the same terms.

2. The arts are divided into mechanical and liberal arts. The mechanical arts are those which require more bodily than mental labor; they are usually called trades, and those who pursue them are called artisans or mechanics. The liberal are those which have for the sole or principal object, works of the mind, and those who are engaged in them are called artists. Pard. Dr. Com. n. 35.

15 September 2000
more moulin meanwhile...
Tonight we had the Thurigny/St. Germain des Bois comité des fêtes at our house. We were outside on the veranda—it was that kind of soft weather, a little windy. Indian summer. Which happened to be the subject line of Barbara Bloom's email I received today, announcing her arrival December 1, when she has her opening at Pièce Unique in Paris Dec. 7. So finally she'll make it here. I'm looking forward to discuss Dahlias and whatnot.

It's interesting how week-ends are quiet, on the net. Friday night, all Saturday, are slow with email and updates, then Sunday during the day some traffic emerges, very low. I guess if I still lived the city, it would not occur to me as odd. Here the week-ends do not differ much from the week days. Sun up, sun down, moon up, moon down. Feed the animals. Attend to the house. Fall's announcing. The smell of wood fire. Write. Browse. The Beuvron is still low. I connect. Tomorrow I have to get new gas bottles for our kitchen stove. Damn, I forgot to ask the comité for a cheap firewood supplier. More Levinas and Amboy Dukes: Baby Please Don't Go.

'Sleepless in St. Germain des Bois'

14 September 2000
dear diary; attempted self-depreciation babble

dear diary logo
thus, in blindest panic, I turn to photoshop for the dear diary logo and call it a day
day in a life
Today I finished 'culture is our nature', the pamphlet I wrote to enhance a discussion between politicians and artists, on the subject of how to develop, present and sell the local Ronde Venen nature. It's up on moerstaal, as 'cultuur is onze natuur'. Also it had to e-travel from a Mac to a PC, as a word processed document, so I ended up html-izing and posting it, to safeguard the typographical accents. Then I searched for violations of human rights in NL (there ain't none, why did I leave?), on behalf of Francine's piece for the Marseille University law faculty. She found NL clean, in her research. Close. The nearest to anything like it Paul and I could think of was the violent arrest and subsequent locking up and interrogation and forced identification of several hundred European Union summit protesters (EU rot op, 'EU fuck off', being their nice word play on Euro-top: 'European summit') in June 1997—avant summit—under the faux-charge of suspicion of membership of a criminal organization (being anti-EU protesters). That didn't really work out: the protesters were off the street, but all who filed a suit against government after, were granted Dfl. 2,500 ($1,000) smart-money in a civic procedure, and some good media coverage of their cause.

I briefly checked Generosity, its discussion and secret metalog, to find some promising response to yesterday's NQP entry and other excitement over what the g-pack is doing to itself—more about that later. When I opened the shutters this morning, my smoke detector spotted two, no three big fires, which next-door Monsieur farmer Seutin had set to his debris in a prairie near us. Hm. We're covered in ashes by now. Fall season.

WEIN? I'll try to think of something. Still listening to Nick Cave (Idiot Prayer, on The Boatman's Call) and again Avalon—in sync, the first from the other Mac next to the i-Mac, Bryan Ferry booming from the salon. I need male voice.

Oh yeah, I browsed Emanuel Levinas' Reality and its shadow (La réalité et son ombre, 1948), Benjamin's Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter etc. (1936) and Bill McKibben's End of Nature (1990) for the C=N pamphlet, and found all three of these texts again excellent. I need past excellence.

Later I did some therapeutical painting: the large table top (2.5x13ft) which goes in the attic is now a glossy vintage office green, like 1D6343-ish. The final layer would be somewhat lighter, and with a touch of grey, more like 588A6E. As to enhance the contrast of the work that will be on the table, like papers and drawings and photographs and printed matter and letters and sticky scraps and cardboard and passe-partouts. I need microscopic dust.

What else? Photoshop! Paint a sign. I need a flag.

13 September 2000
compatibilité d'humeurs; on talent

Hi, if you've come for Ray, you'll find him most probably in his parlour.

I just want to see things coming: out of nowhere. First in, first served.

out of nowhere
Yesterday's late night illumination, 'out of nowhere', echoes in today's entry and in my early morning concentration. From out of nowhere (really) my mood swung and focused on frustration. (Maybe it is something I read). 'Arrested development' is one of the sadder phenomenons in life to witness. 'Lack of competition' is another. Like lack of opposition. Lack of friction. 'People talking not listening' another. 'All things loud but shallow' another. I could go on. All would file under incompetence, or lack of confidence. Sad, because talents are wasted here and everywhere, due to a systematic and dominant lack of esteem, discreteness, modesty, respect ...undermining confidence, in spectacular industries that only exist to pump up whatever volume, not to enhance individual development and (as a cornerstone to) collaborative intelligence, not to support with all means the exploitation of talents, or excellence, or art. But who's smart, never blames the context.

When Stewart reminds his addressee (us), in a letter on 'what matters, professionaly' ('Knowing What I Want'), published on sylloge, like letters are fortunately published today, so to serve to build a wider audience, support it intellectually, make it smarter, make it recognize its talent better:
- ...Part of what I'm looking for is a place where there are people who are better/smarter/more experienced than me, where I can learn and where there is some kind of tradition and theoretical framework for doing design. (For just the same reasons why it is more fun to play music with people who are better than you.)
I think: I know this argument. It's good, I've used it to improve my play. Only the confidently smart search the smarter. 'Stand on the shoulders of others. You have a better view up there' (Bruce Mau). To play with (or to compete with) the better will improve your skill, always. Then, once you're comfortably up there, the 360° view reveals infinite directions, myriad bright spots in the landscape. And the smart shouldn't complain the choice, never blame the context, remember?. That's the only downside of smartness: no complaint. The smarts' only commitment is to 'know what they want'. Is this being hard on the smart? I don't think so. Of all the things hard on smart, the smart is always hardest on him or herself: there's a smart definition, if ever you need one. It causes confusion, and lack of direction, precisely if talents support different directions to choose from: if one has 'all the options' to visit all the brightest spots and see who hang out there, who make it shine so clear.

So what's the original direction of talent? Into the light? Into trouble, I'd say. Into complication. Ignotum per ignotius, looking for clues, 'out of nowhere'. Since: clues out of talent itself, is too un-talented, too easy. Clues out of people more talented/experienced are the best help a smart (wo)man can get, but in/by themselves only one of the conditions for the better view—the best view being to have a view on your own talents and their direction, allowing to share these talents, without being forced to waste them on more bullshit. Stewart:
- I've found that most consultancies which do just web development and design (i) have too many inexperienced, unschooled and marginally talented employees and (ii) believe their own bullshit too much. I just can't take 90%+ of the talk about user experience and information architecture and their cross-products; it's hive-mind-driven, pretentious and empty.
Watch the smart suffer. Let's watch Ray talking to himself, and then some, on HTC:
- Perhaps because so much of my life centers around no one understanding what the fuck I'm talking about, I've always enjoyed the company of animals who attempt conversation.
standing on the shoulders of others

Aren't the smart odd too? They'll stand on the shoulders of animals, they'll stand on the shoulders of cats and dogs, parrots, donkeys, and porcupines, they'll stand on piles of books on top ladders on top chairs on top tables on carpets folded over threshholds, or on rooftops, they'd climb trees and hillsides even molehills, just for a peek. Actually the smart would stand on anything they can get their hands (and feet) on, to look for a direction for talent. They'd start weblogs and they'd throw it all out for grabs, to people willing to pull up themselves and stand on their shoulders: on the shoulders of weblogs. Panorama! Eureka! Welcome to the new genre for talent to be wasted on. Blow some light.

see it coming out of somewhere
Could the smartest light coming out of talent, be to overcome 'talent', and its tendency for complication, for the new and the exciting and the change and the unknown and the standing on anything to get the better view: the world empty, talent dizzying itself, not knowing what it wants. Wouldn't the final talent to be recognized, be the one that overcomes talent? It's an unresolved. And not a very satisfying one either. That's what we call a frustration. Which is what came out of nowhere this morning.

meanwhile, moulinwise...
It was a real pleasure to see Erik and his friend Bernie. He knows about his trees and Dahlias. In different ways, our visitors (whether we've known them for years or just met, whether they stay for a few hours or for a week) all add to the moulin's knowledge. Compared to most of the social and professional contacts where we came from, when sharing information is primarily aimed at keeping things from deep change, this is quite a different performance. Since we 'changed' our lives by coming here, 'change' is a focus in most discussions. Today we talked arts and friends and what we are doing to keep them together, mix and match. Bernie is at W139 artists' space in Amsterdam, so we shared some experiences with the discussions in these kinds of organizations and Erik, well he draws these real big things, and knows about his trees and Dahlias (mine are poor this summer), like I said. So we scanned the moulin for a wall and hope to have them back for a longer stay one day.

12 September 2000

St. Germain des Bois 12 septembre 2000
Now the party's over, I'm so tired
then I see you coming, out of nowhere
Much communication in a motion
without conversation or a notion

'Out of nowhere'. All of a sudden it clearly dawns upon me that 'interaction' isn't obvious, or necessarily a 'good' thing.

God. All these technologies, wasted on miscommunication, lies, opportunism, a selling of arguments, people who do not listen, only talk, the prime lie of 'communication' and 'information': we have a relationship. We have a problem.

No there's no relationship. And the problem isn't technological.

I just want to see things coming: out of nowhere.
meanwhile, around the Moulin du Merle
I spent most of the day on the rapidly advancing 'Culture is our nature': a note to the Ronde Venen project artists, which they will use to discuss the project's progress with involved politicians and organizations. The Ronde Venen area is situated in the Dutch 'green heart', the blot between Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, which is either developed as a city park for an imploding Randstad (A+TH+R) , or museified as ecological container and migration zone.

On the still greener side of things Joke's 'no hortus is conclusus' invitation arrived today. Friday 15, from 1pm, through Saturday 6pm, at the 'Marres' space in Maastricht, a versatile series of free lectures and presentations and events, loosely re: the institution's garden. For a program phone Marres T +31 (0)43 327 0207.

Then Erik Odijk phoned me from some 300kms South and asked if he could step by. Maybe I will see him tomorrow.

9-10 September 2000
insider web, outsider web

mass momentum media
While the web was conceived as a tool for collaboration and document sharing from dislocated workplaces, its graphic (think: porn) interface immediately projected it as the next big thing in mass media.

We're not easily impressed but some emergences are too easily forgotten, and hence lose development momentum. With the web already it needs a great effort to bend part of its use towards collaboration and information sharing, instead of perfecting/perverting it as another few-to-many publishing format, even when having all important new features.

fit shoe, will trip
Taken inside out.

meanwhile, around Le Moulin du Merle
A distinct smell of fire permeated the morning brumes, as far out as Ouagne

8 September 2000
when all the world's a desktop

reprinted by kind permission
Never-to-be-printed matter is of course beside the point. Actually every web document can be printed by 'everyone, everywhere, at every moment'... with just a minimal hardware set-up (which can be shared in a community). Hard copy serves just no longer as the format-of-choice for the expanding docuverse. Remember Gelernter's 'Mirror Worlds'? Read Lanham's 'The Electronic Word' (as a hypercard stack :-)? So we know it's not the technology which prevents the other technology to come about, or live on, it's not the web competing the library, not a technology-eat-technology world out there—it's us, we do it ourselves, all the rave and all the brave and all the bravura are all of us. We pay attention. We are that 'market'. We do the web, or do the library, or do the garden, or do all. If you don't agree on something you hear about the web or the library or the garden, and how they relate, you say, 'excuse me', or 'wait a minute', or 'just forget it'... you say anything against the industry lies and you say it out loud, as you know these things do not happen as some sort of 'ways of the world', leaving us confined to the desktop.

now playing Janis Joplin: Get It While You Can.

now printing

This morning I received an email from Dirk Hine, whose Subterranean Notes I especially recommend as a prime digital art outlet, with those friends who reluctantly enter the web (it's happening every day) from the fruitful realm of print, paper and ink, paints and solvents and canvas, stains and scratches, pigments, tubes, bottles, brushes, crayons: the works, in short. I send them by Dirk' s site and hope for them to bookmark left and right and fire their printers. So his email had a great facsimile URL in its body, which I downloaded to share with you. My first association with it was the watercolors which I saw exhibited at the 10C Noirlac convent a few weeks ago, which were painstakingly painted in the 1950s(?) after existing murals in Roman churches throughout France. Highlighting thematics and symbolics that photography would 'oversee', or blur. Like I used to have this drawing teacher in art school who did medical illustrations, in the OR, to see where photography couldn't reach. The rich ways of perception, interpretation and (re-)production never yield. Paint my world URL.

let's assume
Ray of Hotsy Totsy Club on outsider art today: "Insider Art is art produced to fit the particular marketplace in which it's exhibited. Outsider Art fetishizes the disconnect between the artist's assumed goals and the audience's assumed attitude." Assumptions rule the inside/outside validation. Border traffic is always heavy. While one would assume the artist to aim at an Insider Market, Ray allows every art to become outsider art, in the long run. Meaning, over the course of its existence, all art drifts far from the necessity and locus of its conception and realization, ending up in a random niche, remembered as mere exoticism. True. That's why Borges meant, art should be made in a dead language, to start with, to save it from our petty inside/outside validation, which is indeed 'pretty unsatisfactory' to everyone indebted to the idea of any necessity with art at all, of place and placement, of movement between different orders, between different moods and tempers, between necessity and possibility, just so to achieve its workings in the transaction and transgression between states.

Then wouldn't a lot depend of what can be acknowledged today as the 'original context' for art: it being rather the museum and the gallery (market), than the studio; rather the media, than the street—'success and relief', as Ray names the artist's benefits, is found in ad lib distribution rather than ad hoc creation. While there's inside and outside to be figured out in the museum market place, where there's inside and outside in those media 'without a here', is a different story. Include me out.

meanwhile, around Le Moulin du Merle
80% of France's gas stations are dry since a few days of strikes and blockades prevent deliverance, of the way too highly priced carburants. My car is good for another 200kms and that's it. Luckily AOL just introduced its 99FF flat monthly fee ($13) on connection time, including telephone costs, so I have to change my provider ASAP, er, today. I pay 10 times that amount, if I go easy on checking my mail :-)

Then today at 5:15am a fire was detected in our neighbour's open barn, 1km down the road towards Thurigny, which then burnt to the ground, with the straw and machines it contained. I passed by at 9, after having driven R+r to school, and found half of the village on site. Damn. The owner is one of the older farmers here, must be approaching 70, working with two sons. He's a very gentle man who loves to dance at the occasional village fête. Said he's insured. But what will he be recompensed? He rented out his well-kept larger equipment, which was of a certain age, functioning well, but I guess of little value to an insurance expert. He said to me the fire was set, which I think is the general opinion. 'Revenge', the baker's woman said when she passed. What do we know. All we can do in our new community is to be present and show that we care.

7 September 2000

St. Germain des Bois 9 September 2000

I've always loved the representation of printed matter in other printed matter, as facsimile. I've used it at several occasions, starting with my first personal publication L'école perdue du vraie in 1986. Later I exhausted the principle in 'Multiple/Multiplying/Multiplication', the catalogue with the exhibition of the same title, at the Jan van Eyck Akademie. Here I designed a different faux-facsimile for every artist in the multiple show:
a publication of never-been-publications.

Works completely relying on facsimile are of course those standards of typographical history, like 'Jan Tsichold; Leben und Werk des Typographen', or Kapr and Schiller's 'Gestalt und Funktion der Typografie', or even Spencer's 'Pioneers of Modern Typography'. 'Ian Hamilton Finlay; Prints 1963-1997 Druckgrafik' is another marvellous collection of facsimile jewels. Odder works include those on typographical ephemera, like 'Label Design' by Claude Humbert, or 'Documents Dada', by Poupard-Lieussou and Sanouillet, and Imre Reiner's 'Typo-graphisme'. Hors concours are Hermann Pitz' Michelin Guide appropriation 'Panorama' and Ernst Lehner's 1955 'The Letterhead; History and Progress', which consists of a spiral bound collection of letterhead offprints, on the original paper, including embossments etc...
dali bookmark bookmark dali verso

recto/verso bookmark (original size, gold foil rim), free choice with Museum Boymans-van Beuningen visit

BL 019
Salvador Dali (1904-1989)
Landschap met touwspringend meisje
Girl skipping in a landscape

©Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Printed by Daiichi Process Pte Ltd, Singapore
never-to-be-printed matter?
As a matter of principle, rather than printing, today we use publishing media that do not as much represent and reproduce other publications, but relate to the original other publication by way of linking. Without loss we could rebuild the other document on our own server, but the click to it usually takes you to another server. At this end the document might have been changed in the meanwhile, possibly rendering the link obsolete: downloading its constituting elements and rebuilding them on the referring server would be more secure, but the trouble is seldomly taken.

There's two methods (apart from quoting its textual content) to represent another publication in print: using its photographic image, or rebuilding it, from the original typefaces, colors etc., possibly using original models (in the case of offset or digital printing). A photograph shows an individual original of given publication—one single issue out of the edition. The object might show individual marks, traces of use and the like. Its colors could be slightly faded. It's an object that posed for a photograph, instead of its constituing information having been re-used, without the wear and tear of the actual object showing. The photograph shows the historic state of a given object in its proper context, while its information, being reconfigured renders a new original in every context, without a trace of the prime object..

Whichever reproduction technique we choose, we can imagine to build an endless follow up of facsimiles of the facsimiling, a single growing volume, infinitely expanding, with an all-encompassing collection of (printed) matter, on one containing sheet. A long zooming out from the smallest piece in the collection, to the larger than the second largest, ad infinitum, each larger item containing all the smaller ones that went before, annotated, juxtaposed, represented, collected.

re: the literature
The literature leapfrogged to hypermedia. The paper library's possibilities of annotation, footnoting, quoting, facsimiling, were limited to using an image of the referred to publication. The printing press is limited in size. Now the literature's documents live in linked-in-all-directions hypermedia. Given the risk of discontinuation of any document, or other disruption of the link, we'll have to decide with every reference whether we want its object to be rebuild into the referring document, or simply be linked to. Both possibilities (and their decisive differences) are core interests for those who aim to contribute to a lasting accessible and referable body of work.

6 September 2000
blacking out

I woke up at 5.30am on a nightmare in which the truly disturbing effect was that the major detail of the horrible scene (like the blood and the guts) was hidden from me by pixelation, blurring my center of vision while leaving the surroundings in focus... how much more proof do you need for technology framing our perception?

(table insert highlighting courtesy hotsy totsy, where they usually center 'm)

guided by the dark
What seems a mess to me could be the clearest of all pictures to you. Knowledge clears up our perception. Then, it clouds our imagination. We see data instead of experiencing information. Re: the logbook of Monsieur Teste (1896-1926), by Paul Valéry:

- Il y a des personages qui sentent que leurs sens les séparent du réel, de l'être. Ce sens en eux infecte leurs autres sens. Ce que je vois m'aveugle. Ce que j'entends m'assourdit. Ce en quoi je sais, cela me rend ignorant. J'ignore en tant et pour autant que je sais. Cette illumination devant moi est un bandeau et recouvre ou une nuit ou une lumière plus... Plus quoi? Ici le cercle ferme, de cet étrange renversement: la connaissance, comme un nuage sur l'être; le monde brillant, comme taie et opacité. Otez toute chose que j'y voie.
ce que je vois m'aveugle; ce en quoi je sais, cela me rend ignorant
'What I see, blinds me; what informs me, makes me ignorant'. I quoted this passage before (NQPAOFU April 19 1999) and today I did (again?) not find an English translation on line. I don't dare to do it myself. Who owns an authorized translation of the book might want to slip me this log entry.

Remember the alchemist motto, that used to rule my ideas of art's 'workings' on reality: ignotum per ignotius, to clarify something dark by something even darker.

5 September 2000
unresolved beauty

20000905 links
Raw Visions' links to outsider order (www.rawvision.com/rvlinks.html)
Les Allumées de l'Art Brut: more links (www.arte-tv.com/societe/artbrut/ftext/liens.htm)
Un Antimusée, Lausanne CH, introduction by curator Michel Thévoz (www.artbrut.ch/artbrut/antimusee.html)
Collection de l'Art Brut homepage (www.artbrut.ch/artbrut/museum.html)

- Dust is being so different from us. Just that absence of defined form... one might want to change into a tree, but to change into dust—into such a continuous existence—would be so much more tempting. What an experience! What information!
(from Jean Dubuffet, Empreintes 1957)
a model mess
There's no principle model, no manual for making a mess. While there's ordering principles a plenty—while most disciplines are ordering disciplines, only—when you would look for a model mess, you would not likely find one. The mess and the model exist in different universes. Chaos and community. As soon as you would think to have spotted a model mess, it would turn out to be like another 'unresolved problem' fata morgana, chaos evaporating in front of your eyes.

In the everyday's didactic institutions, in the musée, the constructed mess is a model mess: an isolated image of a mess, serving to teach us about ordering and cleaning up, telling you to get a grip, recognize the pattern and go on with your life.

'Making a mess' is no natural propensity with most of us. Messing things up, right, is a routine. We do it all the time. Big deal. Thoughtfully creating a mess borders on what is commonly perceived as insanity, a sign of outsider intelligence. Rather than prime mess, most man made mess is of a different order, invented language, or misunderstanding. We do it. Every time 'nobody understands', you presented a mess to your audience, you presented your order, without a key to it.

Art's original assignment is to un-resolve. In a society increasingly organised as information, in information and by informational decree, hanging on to politics of control using the tools of information, we still have to find out if there will develop some kind of outsider 'art', the un-resolving power, using informational tools and techniques and channels to craft alternative keys for a breakthrough to an existence more divine, more erratic, creating complexity that nears the complexity of a living soul—not as a model, or a representation, not to control it, not as another Utopia either, but as a natural environment to it.

While 'worrying' about the indirection of conversational drift I'm cutting the grass that's knee high all around. The angry débrossailleuse throws the sappy weeds into my face and spins around all different kinds of green smell. I'm swinging it left and right, mowing half-circles around me, slowly proceeding, then close around the trees where I can't get with the tractor. With every repeated action you develop the skill, low, parallel to the ground, shaving, gently avoiding obstacles that will shorten the nylon thread's lifespan.

Alamut 1999, June 9, on the artist 'as' outsider

Alamut 1999, February 8, on the power of isolation (i'd say).

4 September 2000
the unresolved II

what went before: the unresolved

unresolved artistry

The one obvious and relatively safe to share (the one that I feel most positively secure about, not needing a solution) unresolved issue of my life is that of my artistry: I will not allow it to be resolved into one of the carreers its context might offer me, nor am I driven by any single-track divine talent that would define it for me and that context. Moreover our time and age allows for all kinds of forms, rather than the historical two, tradition and counter-tradition (or avant-garde). The latter itself has become a tradition, since the modernists. As something like a 'traditional avant-garde' lacks a defining element of breaking the rules (just following those of traditional 'rupture'), it became another 'solution' to artistry, the domestication of amok talent. We all know this and yet we satisfy ourselves with its solutions over and again. That's what domestication does to your ability to progress. Leave only tradition.

The finest artworks provide the only moments that draw near something like an articulation of the unresolved, hallucinatory beauty shimmering at the horizon of sensual perception.

'simple information'
Imagination needs little information. It is easier to escape a pattern, than it is to escape chaos. To escape chaos, a flee into pattern needs more information than a flee the other way around. The unresolved is a challenge to imagination. Yes, it is fed with information (since no complete flight of fancy, 'ex nihilo'), but it is close to a dream state, close to designing better worlds for all of us, 'peace and information', close to ultimate challenges, a break with the modest, the domesticated. This was Alamut today, as far as articulation of the unresolved goes:

- From Barbara Comyns' final novel, 'Mr. Fox' (thanks to Ray Davis who recently brought this remarkable writer to my attention):

"I suddenly began to feel awfully happy. When I rode about on my heavy bicycle it seemed as if I was flying and I went down the hills without back-pedalling. I enjoyed all kinds of things I'd never noticed before -- people, for instance. I'd never cared about them much, but they really were rather nice. Often I'd stood in a street looking at them and thought how ugly they were; if only the street became filled with squirrels and bears and deer and foxes, how different it would look! How could people think they were lords of creation when they were so hideous and miserable and wherever they went they made ugliness and called it 'progress' and 'civilization'?

"Now I began to notice how kind some people looked and how interesting others were, and some were so good-looking it was a pleasure to see them and watch them moving. I thought perhaps people are an acquired taste like olives."
Beauty. Acquired taste. I have to quote Paul at greater length here. Our mood swings sometimes push one another in the back, like a favorable wind...:

- Erratica. Creative turbulence.

(...) one realises how the instruments of the playground, the seesaw and the swing set, the merry-go-round and the ferris wheel, have come to represent, as metaphors, the changing states of our experience. As rhythmic oscillations, as regular ups and downs and to's and fro's, the seesaws of the playground seem to satisfy our mental and bodily desire for simple movements -- ie. those not possessing too many degrees of freedom and which are, more or less, predictable.

Simple movements are the result of the simple application of simple forces. I e. simple information...

But what about more complicated, non-linear, movements? The chaotic 'erratica' (erotics) of wide open systems fuelled by complex forces and contradictory information? Where the future is completely unpredictable? Where are the metaphors for systems that are either on the verge of breaking down entirely or re-organizing at some greater level of complexity? (Aquiring new behavior...)
Fall is the erotic season. Late summer. Quietly cooling from the melts, our imagination faces the upcoming 'unresolveds' of erratic energies. Things begin to move other things again; there is interaction, play, winds, pushes, rustle, migration, falling and sliding and teasing, the dimming light and fading contours, but also a painfully clear view, the long lines, the Alps at the horizon, white peaks showing, standing with F. atop a vineyard, the car abruptly stopped in the middle of the narrow road, as if frozen in time. The sounds from the valley hardly make it up the hill, but they've come from afar and they endured. Fall is a busy time, spurred by erratica, enhancing the unresolved. 'Enjoying all kinds of things never noticed before.' État de grace. Towards 'greater levels of complexity'.

4 September 2000
the unresolved

Several situations, questions in my life are unresolved. This may sound like an understatement, or a truism, but a few unresolved situations in a life is a lot already. Most of what one might consider 'unresolved', in reality has been solved in a conventional way: I am consciously avoiding the word 'problem', in relation to 'unresolved', precisely because labelling some situation an 'unresolved problem' is already a conventional solution, ending the unresolved. In unresolved situations I rather try not to look for solutions, but to contain the unresolved in some way as to keep it unresolved. Keeping some of ones questions unresolved is harder than you might think, therefor a business of secrecy. As soon as you communicate the unresolved, your addressee will be inclined to help you solve the 'problem'. If that would be your intention, you would already have done it at your own strength, or maybe you would be asking for 'help', rather than sharing your unresolved for the sake of the unresolved—as I would mean to. Alas, my unresolved questions have to remain secret here, for the very reason—not to even begin at solving them. Let me first complicate them a little further.

Rather than to worry about unresolved situations, I am attracted to the idea of a value in them, even currently inclined to catalyse a process of 'unresolving' my life, by its complication, in a non self-destructive way. If I make the unresolved questions in my life more complicated, by adding information to it, and by acting upon them to pervert them in such a way as to make a solution ever more improbable, I am preventing a 'replacing of the possible by the necessity'—you know I am not looking for (more) problems.

The unresolved is as impossible to conceive of, as it would be to maintain 'it'. There is no such 'it' as 'something unresolved'. Some of the elements, or preconditions, and their (possible, or wished for, hinted, suspected, to be created) relations, can be discerned in a state of being unresolved. In the unresolved the possible and the impossible are equally present.

Everything we know (every known problem) is resolved, as we know it, even if only 'by name'.

What else can I be unresolving about than man and woman, love and work, responsibility and creativity, structure and process, lust and pain, talent and inclination, insight and paradox, trust and challenge, opportunity and discretion, poetry and strategy, and then some. I'm just trying to pay more attention to these of my issues than anybody else does: they remain largely unnoticed as I keep them to myself. Until. Until sharing some outlines is a way to further complicate (inform) them. Until a format allows for some sharing and a lot of unresolving.