28 August 2009

Quotes of the last few days

You're a cunty cunt cunt.

You can't rely on Nietzsche.

Rose Miller

Well, I thought they were funny. But then I've been drinking a lot.

27 August 2009

Herzog's Lessons of darkness

I've just watched Herzog's Lessons of darkness. I've only seen it once before, and it bears repeated viewing. I want a copy of my own. It is one of the best documentaries ever, exemplifying Herzog's idea of the ecstatic truth.

It starts with a quote, allegedly from Pascal: 'The collapse of the stellar universe will occur – like creation – in grandiose splendour.' The quote was actually written by Herzog.

Then, to shots of an alien-seeming landscape, Herzog's voiceover: 'A planet in our solar system. Wide mountain ranges, clouds, the land shrouded in mist. The first creature we encountered tried to communicate something to us.' The creature is a fireman in front of one of the fires in the oil wells after the first Gulf War.

Kuwait and the war are never identified. Given this subject matter, most people would use it for petty political point-scoring, but not Herzog, oh no. It's all about the 'grandiose splendour' of a brutalised landscape, and the folly and madness of humanity. And it is grandiosely splendid. Giant machines become dinosaurs. The fires of the oil wells the fires of hell.

At the end, after a long sequence showing a fire being put out and the well capped, 'Two figures are approaching an oil well. One of them holds a lighted torch. What are they up to? Are they going to rekindle the blaze? [The torch is thrown into the oil, which reignites.] Has life without fire become unbearable for them? Others, seized by madness, follow suit. [Another torch is thrown into another well.] Now they are content. Now there is something to extinguish again.'

Now for a nice cigarette and then Fata Morgana.

26 August 2009

Doctor Who

I'm watching the classic Doctor Who episode Stones of blood. It's research for my literature review, don't you know. (Fuck, I love being a fine arts student!) The actress Beatrix Lehmann, as Professor Amelia Rumford, steals the show, even from Tom Baker, which is no mean feat.

Some quotes:
Professor: 'Doctor, I know you're under a lot of strain, but don't you think you should get a grip?'

Professor: 'Are you from outer space?'
Doctor: 'No. I'm from what you might call inner time.'

Doctor: 'You know what they say about hyperspace?'
Professor: 'No.'
Doctor: ' They say it's a theoretical absurdity, and that's something I've always wanted to be lost in.'

Wall Works at the Adam Art Gallery

From the invite:

The Adam Art Gallery opened on 21 September 1999. To mark this occasion and to celebrate our first ten years, we have invited eight artists to spend ten days working directly on the walls of the gallery.

The exhibition runs from 8 September to 4 October. The artists are Michael Harrison, Patrick Lundberg, Julia Morison, Simon Morris, Reuben Paterson, Kim Pieters, Jeena Shin, and me. I was invited because Tina Barton thought there was a particular space that I'd be particularly suitable for – the toilets.

I think I'll have fun with this. The first ten days of the show are when we'll be working on the walls, so if you want to come and harass me you'll know where I'll be. Rather than an opening at the start, there'll be a party (with a $5 door charge) in the middle, at 8pm on Saturday 19 September, featuring performances by Bek Coogan, Torben Tilly, and Double Ya D.


I do like how annoying those videos are.

There was a good documentary about Roky Erickson on at the film fest a couple of years ago. It's well worth hunting out. He got snapped for having a joint in Texas in the late 60s, ill-advisedly plead insanity, kept on escaping from the low security place he'd been put in, and was transferred to a high security place full of full-on insane murderers and rapists, with whom he promptly formed a band. After he'd been let out, he got some kind of official affidavit or something declaring that he was an alien from outer space.

Some final Nietzsche for the night

156 – Who is most influential – When a human being resists his whole age and stops it at the gate to demand an accounting, this must have influence. Whether that is what he desires is immaterial; that he can do it is what matters.

158 An inconvenient trait – To find everything profound – that is an inconvenient trait. It makes one strain one's eyes all the time, and in the end one finds more than one might have wished.

166 Always in our company – Whatever in nature and in history is of my own kind, speaks to me, spurs me on, and comforts me; the rest I do not hear or forget right away. We are always in our own company.

172 Spoiling the taste – A: 'You keep spoiling the taste; that is what everyone says.' B: 'Certainly. I spoil the taste of this party for everyone – and no party forgives that.'

173 Being profound and seeming profound – Those who know they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound strive for obscurity. For the crowd believes that if it cannot see to the bottom of something it must be profound. It is so timid and dislikes going into the water.

174 Apart – Parliamentarianism – that is, public permission to choose between five basic political opinions – flatters and wins the favour of all those who would seem independent and individual, as if they fought for their opinions. Ultimately, however, it is indifferent whether the herd is commanded to have one opinion or permitted to have five. Whoever deviates from the five political opinions and stands apart will always have the whole herd against him.


Roky! Roky fucking Erickson!

The original psychedelic:

Roky! Roky! Roky!

25 August 2009

Received in the email

Somewhat appropriately, it almost killed my computer.

Another Picabia poem


I am a beautiful monster
who shares his secret with the wind.
What I love most in others
is myself.*

I am a beautiful monster;
I have the sin of virtue for support.
My pollen stains the roses
from New York to Paris.

I am a beautiful monster
whose face conceals his countenance.
My senses have only one thought:
a frame without a picture!**

I am a beautiful monster
with a velodrome for a bed;
transparent cards***
populate my dreams.

I am a beautiful monster
who sleeps with himself.
There are only seven in the world
and I want to be the biggest.

*Compare with Nietzsche:
240 At the sea – I would not build a house for myself, and I count it as part of my good fortune that I do not own a house. But if I had to, then I should build it as some of the Romans did – right into the sea. I should not mind sharing a few secrets with this beautiful monster.

242 Suum cuique [To each their own] – However great the greed of my desire for knowledge may be, I still cannot take anything out of things that did not belong to me before; what belongs to others remains behind. How is it possible for a human being to be a thief or robber?

**See Picabia's Tabac-rat:

***Apparently, transparent cards are a name for pornographic pictures. See also Picabia's transparencies:

Some Nietzsche for Rose

88 Being serious about truth – Being serious about truth: what very different ideas people associate with these words! The very same views and types of proof and scrutiny that a thinker may consider a frivolity in himself to which he has succumbed on this or that occasion to his shame – these very same views may give an artist who views them and lives with them for a while the feeling that he has now become deeply serious about truth and that it is admirable how he, although an artist, has at the same time a deep appetite for the opposite of mere appearance. Thus it can happen that a man's emphatic seriousness shows how superficial and modest his spirit has been all along when playing with knowledge. – And does not everything that we take seriously betray us? It always shows what has weight for us and what does not.

90 Lights and shadows – Books and drafts mean something quite different for different thinkers. One collects in a book the lights that he has been able to steal and carry home swiftly out of the rays of some insight that suddenly dawned on him, while another thinker offers us nothing but shadows – images in black and grey of what had built up in his soul the day before.

93 – But why do you write? – A: I am not one of those who think with an inky pen in their hand, much less one of those who in front of an open inkwell abandon themselves to their passion while they sit in a chair and stare at the paper. I am annoyed by and ashamed of my writing; writing is for me a pressing and embarrassing need, and to speak of it even in a parable disgusts me.

B: But why, then, do you write? – A: Well, my friend, to be quite frank: so far, I have not discovered any other way of getting rid of my thoughts. – B: And why do you want to get rid of them? – A: Why I want to? Do I want to? I must. – B: Enough! Enough!

I might have to steal from 93 for an artist statement. Fuck it, my last one ripped him off, and I don't see why I should stop now.

24 August 2009

Some classic Herzog


I check my stats from time to time, to see who's fool enough to read this shit. People fairly often stumble across this blog after googling something, and then stick around to have a look around. I'm in two minds about this. I'm sometimes tempted to make the blog private, so I can still use it but none of you bastards can, but that'd be a bit too precious. It'd be almost as bad as not allowing comments.

One stumble-upon visitor went to the trouble of translating this blithering output of a deranged mind into Arabic.

Arabic's read from right to left, and it's nice to see they've swapped the pictures around as well. It's also interesting to see what does and does not get translated: 'cunts' does, but 'evil' doesn't.

Oh yeah, speaking of you bastards, how many have been game enough to venture an opinion on whether Picabia plagiarised Nietzsche? Not one.


A video about Duchamp

Only the individual matters to me. The artist in particular matters as an individual not as a group.

I'm not a fan of Marcel Duchamp. His work is boring, as are many of his ideas. However, I do like his attitude. This and those of his ideas that aren't boring are derived from Max Stirner and Nietzsche, both of whom Picabia put him on to.

Come to think of it, I suspect I'd think better of him if everybody else didn't think so much of him.

Speaking of things to look forward to

This film, directed by Werner Herzog and produced by David Lynch, looks to be a doozy.

Of course, you ignore the silly voice-over and editing of the trailer. The synopsis is 'Inspired by true events, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, is a story of ancient myth and modern madness. Brad Macallam, an aspiring actor performing in a Greek tragedy, commits the crime he is to enact in the play by killing his mother. The mystery unfolds in a series of flashbacks displaying the psychological destruction of the killer set off by an ill-fated white-water kayaking trip in a distant land.'

Madness, myth, a river in Peru: Herzog!

Arthur Ransome

I've been taking a break from Nietzsche to re-read some Arthur Ransome novels. Ransome's a really good writer. He has a deceptively simple style. He reckons he developed that style as a journalist during World War I, where he had to send his stories by telegram and so had to fit as much information into as few words as possible. (Ha ha, and there's the Nietzsche connection – the philosopher with a hammer wanted 'to say in a hundred words what others require a book to say', a very laudatory aim.)

There are a very many interesting things about Ransome's books (don't worry, I won't go on about my theory that they're anarchist propaganda). He sacked the first illustrators of his books and not only did the illustrations for all subsequent books himself but also went back and did the ones that had already been published. I suspect this is because they weren't accurate enough.

The Ransome drawings (including the maps) are an integral part of the story, and convey a great deal of information. As drawings, they can be a bit patchy. Some of them are great, but others can be too heavy-handed with the ink. And for some bizarre reason he couldn't draw faces. Some of them are pretty funny as well – there's a night scene that's just a black rectangle.

I wish I could remember where I saw the reference photos that he took for the drawings. I remember that comparing the photos with the drawings was a very useful exercise.

There's a new biography of Ransome coming out, focusing on his activities as a double agent in Russia during and after the Revolution. I can't wait.

21 August 2009

More Nietzsche

57 To the realists – You sober people who feel well armed against passion and fantasies and would like to turn your emptiness into a matter of pride and an ornament: you call yourselves realists and hint that the world really is the way it appears to you ... That mountain there! That cloud there! What is 'real' in that? Subtract the phantasm and and every human contribution from it, my sober friends! If you can! If you can forget your descent, your past, your training – all your humanity and animality. There is no 'reality' for us – not for you either, my sober friends. We are not nearly as different as you think, and perhaps our good will to transcend our intoxication is as respectable as your faith that you are altogether incapable of intoxication.

58 Only as creators! – This has given me the greatest trouble and still does: to realise that what things are called is incomparably more important than what they are. The reputation, name, and appearance, the usual measure and weight of a thing, what it counts for – originally almost always wrong and arbitrary, thrown over things like a dress and altogether foreign to their nature and even to their skin – all this grows from generation unto generation, merely because people believe in it, until it gradually grows to be a part of the thing and turns into its very body. What at first was appearance becomes in the end, almost invariably, the essence and is effective as such. How foolish it would be to suppose that one only needs to point out this origin and this misty shroud of delusion in order to destroy the world that counts for real, so-called 'reality'. We can destroy only as creators. – But let us not forget this either: it is enough to create new names and estimations and probabilities in order to create in the long run new 'things'.

I cannot believe it's taken me this long to read this. Ye gods!

I am an idiot!



20 August 2009

Last Nietzsche quote for the night

41 Against remorse – A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions – as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all. To be annoyed or feel remorse because something goes wrong – that he leaves to those who act because they have received orders and who have to reckon with a beating when his lordship is not satisfied with the result.

42 Work and boredom – Looking for work in order to be paid: in civilised countries today almost all men are at one in doing that. For all of them work is a means and not an end in itself. Hence they are not very refined in their choice of work, if only it pays well. But there are, if only rarely, men who would rather perish than work without any pleasure in their work. They are choosy, hard to satisfy, and do not care for ample rewards, if the work itself is not the reward of rewards. Artists and contemplative men of all kinds belong to this rare breed, as do men of leisure who spend their lives hunting, travelling, or in love affairs and adventures. All of these desire work and misery if only it is associated with pleasure, and the hardest, most difficult if necessary. Otherwise, their idleness is resolute, even if it spells impoverishment, dishonour, and danger to life and limb.

This and today's other Nietzsche quotes (including the poems) are from The gay science (which is not about homosexuality but rather about Nietzsche's approach to philosophy). Yes, just in case you couldn't tell, I'm very much enjoying reading it.

On the advice of the translator, I'm reading it in its entirety from start to finish, as opposed to just dipping in here and there, as I've done with other Nietzsche books (Thus spake Zarathustra and Human, all too human) or reading secondary sources. After this, I plan to read Human, all too human properly.

A Picabia poem (to compare with Nietzsche)

Let chance overflow

Faithful to nature and incomplete!
In the end I write what pleases me
But what pleases me???
That which I think I know how to do!
If I was allowed to choose freely
I wouldn't choose anything
Perhaps a little spot for myself
in the midst of happiness
and for me still
and more willingly before its door
My quill scrawls
Who then reads what I write?
But you are from above
for you live even above praise
Predestined to your orbit
you acknowledge only a single law
Be pure!

This is an example of what Marc Lowenthal alleges is Picabia's plagiarism of Nietzsche. The sources he gives for all but the last five lines are a couple of posts below (numbers 55, 57, and 59). The last five lines are allegedly from:

60 Higher men

He should be praised for climbing; yet
The other men comes always from a height
And lives where praise can never get–
Beyond your sight.

63 Star morals

Called a star's orbit to pursue,
What is the darkness, star, to you?

Roll on in bliss, traverse this age–
Its misery far from you and strange.

Let farthest world your light secure.
Pity is sin you must abjure.

But one command is yours: be pure!

Considering that Lowenthal translated the Picabia poems, used the same translation of Nietzsche as I have, and would want to make the best case for his claim of plagiarism that he could, I think we can discount translation for the differences between the Picabia poem and the Nietzsche ones.

Lowenthal makes a big deal of being the first to discover Picabia's plagiarism. I think he's making a bid for art historical relevance that's not warranted. If he'd toned down his claims to borrowings, appropriation, or influence, that would be a different story.

You have the evidence. What do you think? Plagiarism or not?

Underground musician takes on the IRD

Mick Elborado, underground musician who's played with such luminaries as the Axemen, the Terminals, and Spacedust, and who's supported this by working at the IRD for a long time, couldn't take it any more and drove his car into the Christchurch IRD office. You can read his reasons for doing so here.

I've stolen the pics from the Axemen blog. Click that link for more.

Some nice Nietzsche poetry

7 Vademecum – Vadetecum*

Lured by my style and tendency,
you follow and come after me?
Follow your own self faithfully–
take time – and thus you follow me.

10 Scorn

There is much I drop and spill:
I am full of scorn, you think.
If your beaker is too full,
There is much you drop and spill
Without scorning what you drink.

14 The good man

Better a whole-hearted feud
Than a friendship that is glued.

18 Narrow souls

Narrow souls I cannot abide;
There's almost no good or evil inside.

24 Medicine for pessimists

Nothing tastes good to you, my friend?
I'm tired of your belly-aching.
You spit, rage, slander without end;
My patience and my heart are breaking.
I have a remedy; just follow
My good advice and rest assured:
A toad is what you need to swallow,
And your dyspepsia will be cured.

33 The solitary

I hate to follow and I hate to lead.
Obey? Oh no! And govern? No indeed!
Only who dreads himself inspires dread.
And only those inspiring dread can lead.
Even to lead myself is not my speed.
I love to lose myself for a good while.
Like animals in forests and the sea,
To sit and think on some solitary isle,
And lure myself back home from far away,
Seducing myself to come back to me.

43 Admonition

What you want is fame?
Then note the price:
All claim
To honour you must sacrifice.

55 Realistic painters

'True to nature, all the truth: that's art.'
This hallowed notion is a threadbare fable.
Infinite is nature's smallest part.
They paint what happens to delight their heart.
And what delights them? What to paint they're able.

57 Choosy taste

If it depended on my choice,
I think it might be great
To have a place in Paradise;
Better yet – outside the gate.

59 The pen is stubborn

The pen is stubborn, sputters – hell!
Am I condemned to scrawl?
Boldly I dip it in the well,
My writing flows, and all
I try succeeds. Of course, the spatter
Of this tormented night
Is quite illegible. No matter:
Who reads the stuff I write?

*Vademecum: a manual or guidebook; literally, 'go with me.' Vadetecum: go with yourself.

Fair warning: There is likely to be a fair bit of Nietzsche on its way.


I had a couple of amusing meetings with tutors yesterday. One of them said the problem with talking to me was that a couple of days later there'd be a blog post about an earnest lecturer talking bullshit over a cup of tea. The other said they were finding it difficult talking to a nihilist.

It's simple, really. When everything is meaningless, you might as well have some fun. Nothing is sacred. As Picabia put it: 'Free rein to the very point of excess!'

'For me, happiness is to command no-one and not be commanded.'

Next up, some nice Nietzsche poetry...

18 August 2009

Quote of the day

How repulsive pleasure is now, that crude, musty, brown pleasure as it is understood by those who like pleasure, our 'educated' people, our rich people, and our rulers! How maliciously we listen now to the big county-fair boom-boom with which the 'educated' person and city dweller today permits art, books, and music to rape him and provide 'spiritual pleasures' – with the aid of spirituous liquors!

How the theatrical scream of passion now hurts our ears, how strange to our taste the whole romantic uproar and tumult of the senses have become, which the educated mob loves, and all its aspirations after the elevated, inflated, and exaggerated! No, if we convalescents still need art, it is another kind of art – a mocking, light, fleeting, divinely untroubled, divinely artificial art that, like a pure flame, licks into unclouded skies. Above all, an art for artists, for artists only!

We know better afterward what above all is needed for this: cheerfulness, any cheerfulness, my friends – also as artists: let me prove it. There are a few things we now know too well, we knowing ones: oh, how we now learn to forget well, and to be good at not knowing, as artists!

- Friedrich Nietzsche (the first dada), Preface to the second edition of The gay science

17 August 2009

Another boring post about school

We had a workshop on framing this arvo. I was the only person to show up.

I think we've pretty much got this stupid group project done. It's really been doing my head in. It strikes me as make-work, to get the little bastards who aren't doing much actually doing something. From my point of view, it's been a dead-end waste of time that's distracted me from my own work.

I've got another assignment to do – an annotated bibliography and literature review of all things – that will require some time and thought, but apart from that I think I can just get stuck into doing some drawings. I may not post them on here though.

I've had a couple of interesting conversations about the dangers of recuperation recently. I'm a bit worried that Massey is winning but am not sure what to do about it. One of the problems is that I like the tutors. As Rose put it, 'You've got to know them as people and can't just treat them as cardboard cut-outs any more.' Damnit. I reckon the thing to do is not worry about it too much. After all, the whole point of this art lark is to amuse and enjoy myself. Fuck what anyone else thinks.

At the moment, I'm very much enjoying doing line drawings (the more derivative, the better!). I don't really distinguish between painting and drawing. Piero della Francesca, abstractionist that he was, defined painting as lines and colour on a flat surface. I think you can dispense with the colour part of it, unless you count the black of the line as colour. I suppose you probably should. I did start a largish abstract painting but have abandoned it, at least for the meanwhile. It was boring.

In other news, I've quit Can't Play Won't Play.

13 August 2009

The crit

I had a crit yesterday. I wore my suit. The idea was to present myself well and my work shabbily, i.e. the opposite of what most students do. The work was drawings and slogans on A4 paper sellotaped crudely and wonkily on to my studio wall. I probably should take a studio photo again soon.

The crit went pretty well. Some of the slogans got laughs. There was a nice comment about being juvenile (that referred to a particularly infantile slogan). My assessor also made some interesting remarks about not needing to be obsessed with contemporaneity. After some initial doubts, I've come round. I've got a fair bit of confidence in him. Hell, anyone who likes Daniel Johnston is all right by me.

There was one particularly interesting question from the floor about whether my interests and opinions have changed over the years. The answer is both yes and no. There's definitely a core that hasn't changed.

I've mentioned before how I first discovered dada in the Encyclopedia Brittanica when I was 13. That was it until I found a copy of Hans Richter's Dada: Art and anti-art when I was 15. I still have that copy, though it's unreadable cos I cut it to shreds so I could stick pictures on my wall.

That was when I discovered Francis Picabia. His pictures stood head and shoulders above the rest. They really blew me away. It's now 24 years later, and I'm still obsessed with dada and still can't get over good Picabia is.

The main thing to come out of the crit was being put on to Henry Flynt, described as an artist no-one looks at, a musician no-one listens to, and a philosopher no-one reads. Story.

11 August 2009

Groups are pissing me right off

Fuck I hate working with other people. For school, we've been told we have to do a collaborative group exhibition. This as part of our alleged self-directed studio paper. One of our group, when talking about our initial idea, got told that we weren't being collaborative enough. It's really putting me off school in general.

Apparently, we were told about this at the the start of the year, but I missed it, along with every other member of my class I've spoken to. But then communication and organisation are not exactly Massey's strong points.

Jesus fuck, I'm pissed off enough as it is with Can't Play Won't Play. I don't need this dictatorial bullshit as well. I really don't like working with other people, and I object to having it forced on me. I don't give a fuck if it's the latest academic fashion. And I really am not into jumping through hoops for jumping through fucking hoops' sake. Though the reaction of another member of the group's been usefully telling.

However, if I sabotage it, I'm doing in the other members of the group, which is a little unfair. But fucking hell, I'm tempted.


The image above is the piece that Rose put into the Vent group show at Thermostat Gallery in Palmerston North. It's called Now hear the word of the Lord. She dug the skull up in the garden. There are some pics of the opening here.

I haven't bothered including a pic of the boring painting I put in. You've seen it before anyway.

I reckon Rose's one is very nice indeed, and I'm a bit annoyed that it sold at the opening. I selfishly would've liked it on our wall. However, it's spurred her on to do more stuff, so it's all good.

We've just been up to Palmy to check the show out. We couldn't make the opening cos of the film festival. We ended up buying a pile of books, some coats, and a work from the show.

10 August 2009


Friends! Wake up!

Escape from all originality. Take your penetrating mind, your sensitive psyche, and throw them in the rubbish bin. Make large numbers of old works. Never work. Say no to life.

No time has been more imbecilic than ours. What are you doing here?

07 August 2009

Quote of the day

Today, with art being practically driven out by machinelike competence and gimmicks, with the course of the world no longer influenced by humanitarian ideas derived from art, , with art and artists limited to a small professional in-group, with art being judged quantitatively and pluralistically (namely, according to mass success), people may understand what we were saying.


In an age in which base jokesters are the idols of the nation and earn millions of dollars, the cultural worker should devote himself to laziness, indifference, or some sort of practical work. Since 'intellectuality' is not only not appreciated but totally misunderstood, one has to be careful not to let one's artistic work play into those whose guilt feelings make them look for aesthetic decorations. Art is not meant for people who believe that manufacturing shoes is more important than writing good books or painting.

- Richard Huelsenbeck, Memoirs of a Dada drummer

This is a somewhat depressing book. It was written in America during the McCarthy era, and Huelsenbeck goes to considerable pains to distance himself from any association with communism, despite such Berlin Dada slogans as 'Dada is on the side of the revolutionary proletariat!' and Huelsenbeck's statement in the Dada Almanach of 1920 that 'Dada is German Bolshevism'. However, despite the revisionism, it's still well worth the read.

Oh, and I chose laziness and indifference long ago. Bollocks to practical work.

Here's another quote from the Dada Almanach:

One must be enough of a dadaist to be able to take a dadaist attitude to one's own dadaism ... Dada is the great parallel to the relativist philosophies of this era; dada is a state of mind independent of schools and theories, involving the personality without raping it. You cannot pinpoint the principles of dada. The question: 'What is dada?' is undadaistic and sophomoric in the same sense as it would be in regard to a work of art or a phenomenon of life. You cannot comprehend dada, you have to experience it. Dada is immediate and self-evident. A person is a dadaist simply by living ... Anyone living for this day lives forever. This means that anyone who has lived the best of his time has lived for all time. Take, and give yourself over. Live and die.

06 August 2009

Another crappy drawing

The poet with the world's shortest hair tells it like it is

I write to infuriate my colleagues ... With such intellectual readers as mine, I am obliged ... to say that I consider a man intelligent only when his intelligence has a temperament, since a really intelligent man resembles millions of really intelligent men. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, a man of subtlety or refinement is nearly always nothing but an idiot.

- Arthur Cravan, quoted in Dada culture: critical texts on the avant-garde (a book with little else to recommend it)

Yet another project to go unfinished

I'd like to write a science fiction story set in Zurich in 1916. Two time-travelling agents: one from the intertemporal avant-garde, the other from Control. The Control agent plans to kill Dada dead in the water by using mind control rays to ensure the audience for early performances at the Cabaret Voltaire find them boring. While he's at it, he'll do Lenin in as well by kaiboshing his deal with the Germans.

05 August 2009

Quote of the day

'Creativity' may well be one of those words that must be abandoned as irredeemable at the growing garbage dump destroyed by advertising and politics. The list of such words is long, but it includes nearly every word used by politicians, professional inspirational speakers, preachers, and degreed poets, with the possible exception of conjunctions and some adverbs.

- Andrei Codrescu (a degreed poet), The posthuman Dada guide

I'm very much enjoying this book, lent to me by my assessor (who recently signed an email 'Tineye'). The first two sentences are: 'This is a guide for instructing posthumans in living a Dada life. It is not advisable, nor was it ever, to lead a Dada life.'

It is written in a very readable, chatty style, as the above quotes should make clear. I'm a little dubious about some of what he says. He likes the Dada language. The contrast between Tzara and Lenin seems a bit forced.

It draws quite heavily on Dada East, a very interesting book (though also a bit forced) on the Romanian origins of Dada, but Codrescu is very selective in what he draws from it – no criticism of Tzara for him, no, no! I suppose these Romanian poets stick together.

Also, it's a small point, but Codrescu coins a new pronoun 'herm' to use instead of 'he or she' when there's the perfectly good 'they' available. Wanker.

Hmm, these comments are not exactly a glowing endorsement, but it is a good book that's well worth reading. I want to get my own copy.

A couple more drawings

04 August 2009

Don't forget

Both Mock-up on Mu and The posthuman Dada guide mention the temporary autonomous zone.

03 August 2009

From an email I sent today

Got to love a project where you hang round public toilets for research!
visitors since 29 March 2004.