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Daniel Minnick. Detail of Chief Imitation, 2009, Photobooth photograph, 8 × 4 3/4 inches. All images courtesy the artists.


From: suzannestein@xxxxxxx.com

Subject: text.

Date: September 20, 2009 2:28:16 AM PDT

To: m_tedsco@xxxxxxx.net

Hi

I have no idea why this is so crazy. At any rate, it is close, but NOT DONE. However, I’m attaching the whole, because it is done enough I think for you to start setting up, which is, it will not get any longer and the basic form will not change. It is only the first three pages, in straight up paragraph form, which will change. The paragraphs should function now as placeholders.

The text I sent yesterday is the same (altho i noticed some formatting weirdness) and the center three pages which are in verse structure will stay the same. It is just the first three pages which i need to keep writing

but i am too tired to keep on now. will be up again in the morning early to see what I need to do.

It’s been excessively hard. I’ve never had so much trouble with something. I might take a different approach tomorrow, but only inside of the form I’ve set up for those three pages full of paragraphs. This has taken longer than usual, even for me.

the other totally weird thing is that this is writing itself backwards.

xo

S

Loss of soul control coordinates (guidance systems) —Tom Clark

 


John De Fazio. Cloned Dogs, Siegfried & Roy, 2007, glazed ceramic, 17 × 19 × 16 inches.

I tried to outwit sleep but sleep outwitted me. While I was sleeping, I was writing this writing, purely. All the parts to be in it were in it at once, neatly—but too neatly?—captured, compressed, and constellated. An array, but bordered. So did sleep outwit? I did sleep: which was against my wishes.

But my sleep mirrors my experience; and because of the expressive dimensionality of a synchronous Net of Stars, and of the non-virtuosity of dimensional physical space, print alone has become a too-challenging Medium for me. I am seeking—

I have been dreaming about sleeping, and sometimes dreaming dreams while sleeping in dreams, and waking from dreams in dreams about sleeping—

It occurs to me I think They’re both concerned with some sort of essential badness—which I can only access as a possibility later, much later, late, late, into the late last day, the last possible day, (but the next to the last to the last day) and I’m stretching it into even yet another day, the writing this, lying in the grass thinking this, wondering why I am so fantastically failing at this, so fantastically bad at this, and so curiously expectant of my not-goodness at it. Along with this, my infinite capacity to both expect to fail, and then succeed at failing that, by my exposure of it. Lying in the hot grass, failing at it, touching a thought about ‘their’ ‘badness’ at ‘it’, an elaboration of the edge of an opening beyond the conclusion of this. What a thing to say.

Our repertory of likeness might include: bones, skulls, stars, skin, a psychedelic temperament, or else objects as pets; or the colorful names of pets; or pets as objects; or the colorless transgression of “ourselves” as pets. Outlaw, beside the law, regardless of the law, in the actual sense of the world, and for which we have currently little model—

I have been dreaming about sleeping, and sometimes dreaming dreams while sleeping in dreams, and waking from dreams in dreams about sleeping—

One of us forms an intimate, obscene obsession out of clay, one of us documents interiority in a booth, and one of us understudies accident in speech, on purpose. In all of us, a surface-oriented slippage, and a feinting bit of revelation. Cued to solitude; or is it? At any rate, the sleeper makes it on what the sleeper has, you do with it what you can do.

Of them, I’d say, an explosion of color in the one, and an explosion of texture in the other. Myself, under-studied—as per usual—I think I’ll concern myself with time. The stars play out in prism patterns: In the present text, I am, I will, present it.

Like John’s urns, and bongs, and skulls, and Siamese puppy-dogs, in this text I insist on over-working it.

The glossy, refractive, tactility of all our surfaces: Clay. Photostrip. “Speech”. What’s common to them are heat, familiarity, and a relationship—in inverse specificity—to time. There’s a shared contract with vision, and its expression in base materials unfriendly to capital’s traction. Alongside which, of course, the three of us, and an investment in derangement.

Over coffee, John takes the teaching stance, and I don’t entirely mind it. He says, “the decorative ceramic household object accretes meaning—by being identified with experience. What ceramics do you remember having in your house when you were growing up?”

It’s said the first item counted was time, by tally. Score-keeping, literally: Notches—the ‘scores’—in bones, each engraving representing one sighting in the firmament.

Fire (heat and light) fixes the ceramic. John articulates the need to conceive a vision and carry it—laboriously, patiently—through successive extended stages to achieve it. A ceramic object’s chronology of getting made has no reversal. It holds its record of time regardless, but to see the object is not to have its duration suggested: like this text, duration’s hidden.

A wig, a hat, a cape, a cloak, a nose. Borrowed affect to inhabit. A backdrop to be fixed, or held, opposite to the proscenium. In one one-hundreth of a second heat and light fix Danny’s photographic document and of course we grasp this in the instant of the capture. But the preparation for the private performative display is infinite, natal, and continuous.

While I am writing this, it occurs to me to remember that the archaeologist Denise Schmandt-Besserat makes a strong case in How Writing Came About for writing’s origin in counting and trade. Before now, she explains, there are just two trajectories of belief in the origins of written speech: the instantaneous [POOF] handing down “from heaven” of a ready-made alphabet and, finally developing in the 18th century, an evolutionary narrative of writing, moving in a slow trajectory of refinement from the ideographic to the phonetic.

When John offers me a glass of vodka I think Maybe, and pick up a Pepsi bottle made of clay; with an irridescent glossy-pearly glaze, it feels the way it looks. I try to imagine how John and I will feel about each other when I drop it.

There’s a chair in Danny’s bedroom, heaped—yet neatly—with stuff; it seems more politic to sit on the bed. What seems specific to a photobooth is its privacy: its intimacy. Or, its semi-privacy and the curtain that only sort of curtains. The reflective surface into which one projects one’s view, behind which the hidden Capturing Agent, the “Receiver” : Not unlike the Internet. Is the stage the little turning stool? Or the tiny proscenium of the screen? When two or more are in the booth, it’s an aggregression of what the space was built for. Or is it? That solitude of display of self, to self, to you. It’s you, a mirror, a curtain, a view.

While I am writing this, Danny tells me just enough about his Arizona upbringing to ID the source of dream-catchers, the cowboy fetish, the Indian bust on the highboy, the interest in desert kitsch. We sit together on the bed and I feel awkward in my politic.

I have been dreaming about sleeping, and sometimes dreaming dreams while sleeping in dreams, and waking from dreams in dreams about sleeping—

While I am Writing this I recall recalling a theory of Writing as descendent of an early trade: a system of accounting (goods) or (money), with the intermediary, clay: ‘Tokens’ in geometric form (ovoids, cones, discs, tablets, balls, and rarely, cubes) are employed to track livestock, oil, grain. “The first clay objects hardened by fire”—are first used

alone; and then later enclosed in other fired objects (vessels); and then markings added to the outside of the vessels, representing number of kinds of tokens held there; and then the realization that markings alone are enough to provide the tally.

While I am writing this Danny sends email suggesting something he and John have in common has to do with transcendence; with how you feel having an experience.

While I am writing this I have fallen in love on the Internet—

—with Dolly, the cloned ewe. She was a normal sheep with supernatural origins. Her telemons were older than the natural telemons. The breast cell from which she was cloned was six years old, thus We might have expected her to age, accordingly, at 6yrs faster and thus, to die, at 6yrs younger—

 

From: suzannestein@xxxxxxx.com

Subject: weird request

Date: September 3, 2009 12:18:29 PM PDT

To: alliwarren@xxxxxxx.com

Not sure i really need this but Do you have any POT?

 

the Dogs are barking, rattling their chains,

Why should I linger among the sleepers?

I’m calling it quits with all this dreaming.

 

For once, when thinking about it:

No render thought concretely.

 

Re-pleating aspect, I have trouble seeing.

bong! bong! bong! Went the doorknob

Bong

 

Aw, shoot.

The dream upholds exposure.

I’m acquiescent —in numbers—

 

to the booth, the site, the set. The anaphony—

The anatomy —of the Set—

Looking for correspondence everywhere, I find it:

 

The Cowboy, already In Character when he Arrives;

The de facto Slumberer;

and the ‘Dream-Catcher’. What the hell does he DO

 

Anyway? Of— Or how we might be neglected, but together.

A coyote, a camel, a fox, a hare

A dog, a wolf, a pet

 

—POW— POOF.

A universe expanding.

a Pop IN THE A of expanding.

 

ORANGES

& Drakes Cakes

tumble from the phosphorescent skie

 

David sends a message, saying:

“discontent grows with this civilization,

foreclosure along with information.”

— Lyotard

 

WHY Do I Linger Among the Sleepers?

 

Ah, work!

—instead of lunch—

 

While I am writing this—

 

I experience

real

 

I mean I

 

feel

Something,

 

hot

for example

 

While I Am

 

writing this

 

While I am—

 

While I am

drinking this

 

While I am

thinking

this—

 

Co-ordinates form & Pressure damns the Charge-of-Lucid trap.

Bark me away, you waking dogs!

but please, While I am writing this.

 

O Cloned Supernatural Dolly We love you Please get the Fuck Off of your fluffy—

 

Milk, I say to John, “& a trio of little kitties:

one upright One licking its paw one on All

FOURS

 

& a creamy pool of spilled ceramic milk, “pouring” from a little pail upended.

 

 

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Brandon Brown

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me: It’s a fiction!

Brandon: it’s a fiction

so, scene?

me: ok! what should it be?

sorry, forgot to get in ‘character’

we’ve been at a garden party, on a cruise ship, in an art gallery

a mountain

where else?

Brandon: yeah

in our rooms?

writing?

me: ha ha ha

uh

okay

Brandon: I sort of meant that as a possibility

but

me: yes!

Brandon: there cd be many

all right!

so

see you at 9:48?

me: what’s the next part? sorry, had a day

we’re in our rooms, typing

Brandon: yes

and at 9:45 let’s say we reconvene in chat to interview each other about what happened in our writing time

me: okay, kisses, bye see you at 9:45

Brandon: ciao

Sent at 9:17 PM on Thursday

 

My typing tyme. By Suzanne Stein.

35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 0910 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 10

Brandon is very patient with me, because I am always late, or postpone our dates, or cancel them or reschedule them, or underachieve in them. He’s never been audibly irritiable with me about it. I try to properly spell irritable three times. I am an excellent speller but I had a long day and now my phone is buzzing at me what does it want from me I can’t resist my phone it’s over there it wants me

this is preliminary write-up warming, warm-up writing

typing.

My typing time. While I am writing this, I get up and go check my phone. It’s a message from Julian, Mad excellent fucking news

On my way to retrieve my phone I thought, it must be Brandon texting me to interrupt me and see if it gets into my typing time, so I text Brandon It’s a fiction! to interrupt his typing time and see if it gets into his writing a scene

O! I am so distractable! I am supposed to be writing a scene. Ok:

I am in my room typing. Well, Brandon is in his ‘room’ writing, and I am in my ‘apartment’, typing. I am in the middle room the room that is in the middle of my apartment, I have a Couch, a Coffee Table, a Desk, two Bookcases, four Doors. There is one Mirror. I spend—No! crazy. There are two mirrors. I spend most of my time at home that is not sleeping where I am now: at desk. Looking into a reflective surface, moving my hands, my eyes, my lungs. I am Happy. In my room. Typing. I am supposed to be making a scene. !

Julian is making a scene in the text message window/

I look around my room for an object to tell a story about. Of course all objects in this room have a story to be told about them.

I think, what would Brandon do? Let me see if I can find the object with the least story to be told about it.

Look around the room where you are now, and find the object with the least, the very, the very very very least, story to be told about it.

You see my problem.

Of the forty or fifty objects in this room that I have let my gaze sit upon, of those objects, this object has the least story to be told about it: It’s an eight and a half by eleven piece of paper, that was once folded into four, and so retains the four-fold crease we’re accustomed to, and it is affixed to the yellow wall of the room where I sit, at my desk, in front of the machine. The wall, and the paper, is to my left. Ahead of me is a door. It is open. The paper is affixed to the wall with little gummy balls of goo, but if I think of the gummy goo the object-information exponentially expands and becomes a tragedy, so we—

I get a text from Norma Cole. It says, In Boise. Just had dinner with Martin Corless-Smith and told him about open space. He won’t remember because But I’ll tell him again tomorrow xoxo

I text back….wait, I haven’t texted back yet, but it is in my mind, what I want to text back. I will be right back.

I texted back. Big fan of martin corless smith! Bigger fan of you & wondered today how are you I love you xoxoxo

Of those forty or fifty objects in this room that I have let my gaze sit upon, of those objects, this object has the least story to be told about it: It’s an eight and a half by eleven [lest you think I copy/paste this passage I assure you this scene is actual and I retype it as I type!] piece of paper, that was once folded into four

Norma texts: He’s really cute Suzanne.

I text back: I hear he’s terrible. But hm….single?

Now I am laughing and have to start my fucking story all over again.

Of those forty or fifty objects in this room

Actually yes

So I text back (but is it for the sake of the flirt or the story?) (Only you know the answer, Dear): O. Hm. Tell him I’m brilliant and attractive.

(then I feel embarrassed and want to text that this is only for Art Art Art! but it’s not. it’s for Poetry, dammit

Ok. I can no longer see far enough up the screen to retype the story without scrolling.

So I read my text to Norma again and crack up laughing

Julian texts me again a frantic message about removing the image. Dammit. I will text him.

Me: (9:38pm) Can’t get to it this second but will remove but I think its beautiful Shit Brandon is chatting me

No it’s Chris Vitiello I left facebook on shit

oh writing project w/ BB this second sorry left facebook on how are you will write again in a bit xoxo

Norma: Yes I already told him that. And that next time he came to sf I’d have a party so he could Meet People

Me: (9:41 pm) Whens the party?

Chris writes again I get distracted by facebook Norma texts again Soon I hope!

What do I say back?

confused! BB gmail chats me

IT’S A FICTION

me: It’s a fiction!

Brandon: my first question: would you mind starting the interview part?

me: I don’t mind at all.

But please wait one moment while I adjust the volume,

ie, get a drink and answer my text and turn off the email

and log out of—

wait. Okay

Brandon: k

happily

me: My friend.

You are no liar.

I wish to—

ask

you what was happening in your room while I was not there.

Sent at 9:54 PM on Thursday

Brandon: That’s a terrific question. What was happening was contemporaneity. I was constantly not experiencing futurity at all, except as a sort of phantasmatic anticipation of this interview. Even that phantasm, I mean, was contemporaneous. And yet, looking back, I made a “body” of work—whee!

I also had a couple of drinks, and part of the fantasy of the contemporaneous was the thought, what if I started writing about what it would be like to have sex with each other instead of collaborating on a novel. I’m kind of ashamed to write that, obviously. But, you know, “I am no liar.”

Now. What I wish to ask you is, how did the text message you sent me intervene into your “writing” (obviously it WAS writing).

?

me: I am laughing my ass off, and a little drunk from also drinking and have been texting because What Happened Was, I Got a Text Message

Sent at 9:59 PM on Thursday

me: and I thought the text message was from you, interrupting me on purpose in order to intervene in my writing, but it was from Julian! But then I thought, BB needs a text to interrupt him and besides which, That’s a terrific question! Because What was happening was contemporaneity. I was not experiencing futurity at all, except as a sort of phantasmatic anticipation of people reading our exchange. That phantasm, however, was not contemporaneous. And yet!!! Looking back, and knowing it contemporaneous to its creation, I made a body of work! And yet, Looking forward! I will deploy it. Whee!

I am not done yet

As you are no liar, I have to admit to also being not much of a liar, and I mean this so truthfully that I think that this whole novella business is going to be exceedingly

I forgot what the word was I wanted

brilliant!

because I am so little of liar

But because I am so little of a liar I must say that I did not once during tonight’s expression think about writing about having sex with you instead of a novella

But all of our writing the novella is having sex with each other, I mean duh, is what I sort of generally think

I must say honestly, being no liar

Brandon: Do you have a question, or should I respond to that?

me: Oh, sorry, I worked all day and forgot to eat and then had drinks while writing

Let me pose a question

Brandon: k

me: How did my text message intervene in your writing?

Sent at 10:06 PM on Thursday

Brandon: I think that it was the catalyst for a certain kind of fantasy. When I got the text message, I fantasized that your “writing” was being framed as a performance, a site-specific performance that acknowledged the queer constraint we had set up for each other. I probably viewed my own writing up to that point as being so awfully narrative and sincere that I thought, wow, this collaboration is very truly strange and wonderful.

Instead of posing a question, could you respond to that?

Sent at 10:07 PM on Thursday

me: Yes. I had the realization during—sometime during this hour of our writing—that this writing, ours, is realizing something profound—terrible word—that I can’t name just yet, but which realizes something I’ve been after, in that other terrible unrealizable word, ‘prosody’, for a very long time

and that the collaboration, truly strange and wonderful, —well, I didn’t think this til writing it now—explodes narration

exactly the way

the way what?

sorry, I err, but I don’t know at what. Wait a second—let me think—

And let me say that Julian, who angers me so much, often says, it takes Time to think

Brandon: well

I can say…and since you haven’t read what I wrote it will seem kind of like “faking it” to the, you know,

like thousands of people who are our readers…that it might explode narration exactly the way sex does, and neighbors.

?

oh, and contemporaneity

Sent at 10:12 PM on Thursday

me the ‘faking it’ you send frightens me

as though I’ve been had

in front of the, you know, 6 people who are our readers

Brandon: well, that’s what reading is

I think

having

me: I don’t understand you

Brandon: Well, we are really kind of out of time. Should we try to like summarize or conclude?

me: Ok.

I am drunk now but I might try to publish all of this with Margaret for the 2nd floor thing as we will read some part of it at her apartment when the show closes

and it is embedded in

something

else

what does your having-been-had room think the fuck about that Now?

Brandon: I’m in.

me: BB, I mean my compatriot half-twin clone character

I adore you

Brandon: and I you. Wanna go talk off the record for a minute?

me: totes

Sent at 10:17 PM on Thursday

Brandon is offline. Messages you send will be delivered when Brandon comes online.

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On the occasion of the exhibition SWEET BELIEVER EXIT: John De Fazio and Daniel Minnick, [ 2nd floor projects ] San Francisco, on view 26 September – 1 November 2009.

 

About [ 2nd floor projects ]:

Since establishing [ 2nd floor projects ] in San Francisco in 2007, I have featured twenty-six writers in the exhibitions, with six writers forthcoming through 2013. My programming includes commissions to writers throughout the country to produce a limited edition: essays, personal narratives, interviews, poetry, or mixed-genre pieces in the form of handcrafted broadsheets or chapbooks. From early on in my art practice, I have been interested in trespassing disciplines. These visual, theoretical, and narrative crossings perhaps address an interstitial space of engagement with the artists’ works from the writer’s point of departure. A distal approach rather than the traditional essay model, such as an exhibition catalogue. For each exhibition, I design and print in-house, a limited run of 100 on archival papers. The writers are also invited to give a reading during the course of the exhibition, or to send a recording if they are not in the area. [ 2nd floor projects ] participated in the NY Art Book Fair in 2009 and 2010. BOMBlog will be re-publishing these pieces regularly over the next several months.

—Margaret Tedesco, Director

 

SUZANNE STEIN is the author of Tout va bien and HOLE IN SPACE (OMG!), and Passenger Ship (Ypolita). Poems, talk performances, and prose have appeared in War and Peace, Bay Poetics, On: Contemporary Practice, Counterpath Online; and at New Langton Arts, Berkeley Art Museum, Artist Television Access, Exploratorium, The Poetry Project, and elsewhere. She is editor and publisher of the small, Oakland-based poetry press TAXT and was codirector and film curator at f o u r w a l l s gallery (1994–1998) in San Francisco. She currently works as community producer at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, organizing a variety of talk- and conversation-based programs, and is editor-in-chief of the museum’s blog, Open Space.

 

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