In 1926 Marcel Duchamp exhibited his mysterious The Large Glass - the long title is Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even - for the first time at Brooklyn Museum. The phlegmatic Norman had been working on the piece for eleven years, painstakingly applying lead paint to glass, so you might expect him to have been upset when a bunch of sloppy museum employees dropped and fractured it. Duchamp, though, decided to turn the accident to his advantage, by incorporating the fractures into the work, as another layer of painterly detail.
Richard Taylor is another artist who thrives on happy accidents. The latest 'Room' in his ongoing blog-poem, 'Eyelight', wasn't supposed to look the way it looks:
I wanted something quite different from the text presented - it actually looks quite good - but is nothing like he image-text I was trying to get - I don't know enough yet about how to get images or texts onto the Blog so that they "follow" what I want...I emphasise again that I feel that the poetry-prose and poetry visual art divisions etc are for me limiting - I dont accept them except in that they are practical realities - limiting in many cases. I don't like to think of myself as writing poems as such but creating texts or processes...
As things stand, the sixth Room of 'Eyelight' looks a lot like a mashup of the previous five instalments. Has Richard inadvertantly invented a new type of poem?
I suspect that the folks at The Rotten Elements believe that they got there first. My review of their site has met with mixed responses. Rotten Element Lawrence Parker has some interesting things (scroll down to Thursday, December 21st) to say in response to my reference to Peter Calder's criticism of Ken Loach's latest film:
"In a review of The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Loach’s recent movie about the Anglo-Irish and Irish Civil wars, the New Zealand Herald’s Peter Calder takes Loach to task for putting too little emotion into his art. Calder bemoaned what he considered an excess of political detail in the film, picking out a scene where characters thrash out their political differences in a meeting room as a low point of the film. For Parker, a similar scene was a high point of Land and Freedom"
It's not a surprise that Calder reaches an opposite view in that I would suspect that he is running with a received view as to what a 'film' is. If you junk that then Loach's more politically astute sections cease to be an alien imposition and more legitimate. Bourgeois productions cramp any detail into a 'film' that can process much more quickly a narrow surface. The film Lord of the Rings is thus a 'quick fix' in the way that book is not. They are emblematic of a world that can quickly fix all manner of human relations and objects into one clunking equivalent — the commodity...
in my younger days I sought solace in...a whole host of Hegelian quick fixes (Lukács' identical subject-object was another idea that had me transfixed for a time). But this led me into some weird ideas such as arguing that because the ideology of the USSR was formally communist this must have somehow infected the reality of so-called 'actually existing socialism'. This was a cul-de-sac because it made me argue for cretinous banal ideas. Upward's simple triad in The Spiral Ascent (In the Thirties=thesis; The Rotten Elements=antithesis; No Home but the Struggle=(hey presto!)fusion) thus lost its appeal as a schema even though I find Upward's career endlessly fascinating...
Having said all that, the Maps poster has understood our project more completely than anyone I have thus far encountered, even if I think he perhaps reads idealist motives into us.
In a comment box over at the Aussie blog Leftwrites a bloke named 'Kev' - Kevin Bloody Wilson? - is less impressed:
Looks like Hamilton and his cobbers at Rotten Elements want to replace hard-hitting socialist literature with ultra-radical postpostmodern gobbledygook that no self-respecting working class person can understand. And all in the name of Marxism! What a petty bourgeois disgrace! I don’t know why Left Writes would sanction this tish. Aren’t you supposed to be trying to connect with the class?
Poor Rotten Element Zak Bickerstaff can't get it out of his head. Haven't the Poms had enough trouble from Aussies lately?