Reading Diary 2022

JANUARY 2022- TT SESSION 13: Sounding Bodies-Critical Immaterial Art: A Workshop with Zeerak Ahmed- Readings 1-6

JAN22-READING 1. Silence, John Cage
For me, as a long-time Cage fan, reader of his writings, fan of his conceptual art, and listener of his music, highlights of Silence include:
His dada-esque approach to music composition, e.g., from pps. 8-9, ...Geometrical means employing spatial superimpositions at variance with the ultiruate performance in time may be used. The total field of possibilities may be roughly divided and the actual sounds within these divisions may be indicated as to number but left to the performer or to the splicer to choose. In this latter case, the composer resembles the maker of a camera who allows someone else to take the picture.
And his idea about the purpose of writing music, which I think holds true of the purpose of any kind of creative act, including, acting, dancing, designing, directing, documenting, art making, painting, performing, photographing, printing, sculpting, writing, etc. in any medium, e.g., from pp. 12, And what is the purpose of writing music? One is, of course, not dealing with purposes but dealing with sounds. Or the answer must take the form of paradox: a purposeful purposelessness or a purposeless play. This play, however, is an affirmation of life- not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we're living, which is so excellent once one gets one's mind and one's desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord.
Also interesting for me about Cage's 4'13", is that on August 29th, 2014, my composer/musician husband Baird Hersey's vocal group Prana performed it at The Woodstock Artist Association & Museum.
On August 29th, 1952, presented by The Woodstock Artist Association, pianist David Tudor premiered John Cage's 4'33". It is one of Cages most famous pieces. It is a meditation on silence/sound. Prana was invited by Norm Magnusson to perform this piece at the Woodstock Artist Association & Museum hosted by Carl Van Brunt on the 62nd anniversary of it's debut. The members of Prana are Amy Fradon, Kirsti Gholson, Bruce Milner and Timothy Hill. Click here to see/hear:

JAN22-READING 2. The Aural Walk, Ian Chambers
Ian Chambers' most interesting ideas about the 1980s-90s Sony Walkman the central focus of The Aural Walk and what we now know as the forerunner of today's iPhone, include that it exists as a ...privileged object of contemporary nomadism that... brings the external world into the interior design of identities.
His philosophical and linguistic insights on the Walkman are encompassing, e.g.,
Music is continually being decontextualized and re-contextualized in the inclusive and acoustic and symbolic flux of everyday life.; and ...the Walkman is simultaneously an instrument and an activity that contributes into the casting, into sense, to the re-presenting, or en-framing (Ge-stell), of the contemporary world. In retracing the etymology of "technology" back to the Greek techne and its ancient connection to the arts, to poiesis and knowledge, Heidegger suggests a wider frame for thinking its sense, its wider truth.
Interestingly Chambers points out political spaces that opened up by, and deconstructs what the Walkman may be, e.g.,
A previous spatial hierarchy has had increasingly to confront an excess of languages emerging out of the histories and languages of feminism, sexual rights, ethnicity, race and the environment that overflow and undercut is authority. The Walkman is therefore a political act? It is certainly an act that unconsciously entwines with many other micro-activities in conferring a different sense on the polis. In producing a different sense of space and time, it participates in rewriting the conditions of representation: where "representation" clearly indicates both the semiotic dimensions of the everyday and potential participation in a political community.
Finally, he cites Bruce Chapman's book The Songlines, which is the most poetic idea of his analysis, e.g.,
...we are presented with the idea that the world was initially sung into being: I have a vision of the songlines stretching across the continents and ages; that wherever men have trodden they have left a trail of song (of which we may, now and then, catch an echo); and that these traits must reach back, in time and space, to an isolated pocket in the African Savannah, where the First Man opening his mouth in defiance of the terrors that surrounded him, shouted the opening stanza of the World Song. "I AM!"."

JAN22-READING 3. Some Sound Observations, (from Audio Culture), Pauline Oliveros
I really enjoyed reading electronic music guru part because I know her music well via my musician/composer ex-husband who for a few years, managed her career...and in part because I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she was also a great and funny writer. I am inspired by how deftly she wove together, in tapestry-like fashion, with a seamless ease:
-Her stream-of-listening experiences of sounds around her while she wrote an article three days prior to the due date, i.e.,
My present bulldozer has started and stopped again. A faraway jet simulates a fifty foot tabla, accompanied by an infinite freeway tamboura....and,
I am tired of writing this article, but not of the opportunity it is giving me to listen and remember. My chair is creaking as restlessness grows. I wonder what God's chair sounds like? I would like to amplify it. I would like to amplify a spider spinning its web.
-Her responses to attending various live music concerts, i.e.,
Three days ago at UC Davis, I experienced a magnificent performance of Bob Ashley's Wolfman. My ears changed and adapted themselves to the sound pressure level. All the wax in my ears melted. After the performance, ordinary conversation at two feet away sounded very distant. Later, all ordinary sounds seemed heightened, much louder than usual. Today I can still feel Wolfman in my ears. MY EARS FEEL LIKE CAVES. Monday I am going to hear Wolfman again. It will be the fourth time I've heard Wolfman, and I can't wait to hear the feedback dripping from his jaws again.
-And, her ironic if not snarky critiques of academic music departments, their equipment and practices, i.e.,
In most schools and universities the language laboratories are better equipped for sound processing and modifications than the music departments.

JAN22-READING 4. Ocean of Sound: aether talk, ambient sound and imaginary worlds, David Toop
While reading some sections of Toop's two chapters, I had similar responses to those I had reading Oliveros...enjoyed, laughed, had a good feeling. But some of the reading gave me the opposite sense, that is I had a negative or creepy feeling. Though the two writers are stylistically similar and prose-y, for me, Toop might have needed a better editor...?
~Ch. 1 Memory: sound and evocation; Muzak, ambience and aethereal culture; Brian Eno and perfume; Bali, Java, Debussy
"Sitting quietly inn ever-never-land, -I am listening to summer fleas jump off my small female cat on to the polished wood floor...Truthfully, 1 am lying in intensive care. Wired, plugged and electronically connected, I have glided from coma into a sonic simulation of past, and passed, life.
...And then the note of conditioning, the slow glide of electronic curtains. My exit, probably. But I still hear the of fleas jumping off my small female cat onto the polished Wood floor."
...Yuck, but because watching David Lynch's Eraser Head altered my understanding of film making...and when it first aired, my then husband and I loved watching his Twin Peaks, I did enjoy reading the beginning of Ch. 13...
"Ocean of Sound: David Lynch; John Lilly; Kate Bush; David Sylvlan; shamanism; ambient; Information ocean
"I feel a little bit strange," says David Lynch. Well, what else? We are sitting in a large; L-shapedroom in his home. One wall, vast as a drive-in movie screen, is glass; behind it lies the vegetal mystery and darkness of the Hollywood Hills at night...
Although "Twin Peaks", designed by Lynch and writer Mark Frost for ABC TV, degenerated into aimlessness, the original pilot contained moments of genuine strangeness, particularly the music and the red curtain ending. The otherworldly quality of this latter scene came partly from the fact that it was shot in reverse. "The whole thing was shot backwards", says Lynch. "You start at the end and work to the beginning. All the camera moves therefore, are backwards. All their walking is backwards and all their talking is backwards but the whole idea of it, of course, is that it will not and it should not look exactly realistic but it should look somewhat realistic."
Later in Ch. 13 reading Toop was weird for me... maybe because when same-said ex that I mentioned earlier and I vacationed on the West coast of Mexico, c. 1983, with a small group of film makers and musicians, including Terry & Ann Riley, and John Lilly & his wife Toni, and the later two completely weirded the rest of us out, reading a few of Toop's Ch 13 paragraphs on Lilly's work triggered that memory. And ultimately Toop's Ch. 13 is very up-and-down, and as depressingly as he begins is exactly how he ends...
Sitting quietly in never-never land, I am listening to summer fleas hibernating on my small female cat...
London, 1995"

JAN22-READING 5. Sonic Warfare, Steve Goodman
Using excerpts from Goodman's Chapter 28- "2025: Déjà Entendu", in Below, I outline his key chapter ideas. For me, of the six assigned readings for this month's intensive, his writing is the most challenging, wildest, mind-bendy, of all. Reading it was an exercise in mental Jiu-Jitsu, and to get a grip I had to re-read it three times.
...the power of sound to abduct you to another time, to activate memories that obliterate consciousness of the present in front of you, in the blink of an eye, transporting you into previously overpowering sensations and affects. The potency of earworms is not limited to contagiousness. When audio viruses resonate in the host body, they can result in the feeling of temporal anomaly... We could say, perhaps only half jokingly, that it enters in this split second through an earwormhole...
...To unravel this phenomenon of déjà entendu, a symptom of the condition of schizophonia (i.e., sounds detached not just from their sources in space but also in time), we need a sense of memory in which the past and the future virtually coexist with the present so that memories and anticipated potentials resonate with each other in unpredictable ways.
In his text Bergsonism, Deleuze explores duration at various tensions, states of relaxation and contraction, and its relation to the virtual coexistence of affects from different times...In this sense for Deleuze, the "past is “contemporaneous” with the present that it has been.... The past and the present do not denote two successive moments, but two elements which coexist: One is the present, which does not cease to pass, and the other is the past, which does not cease to be but through which all presents pass. It is in this sense that there is a pure past.... The past does not follow the present, but on the contrary, is presupposed by it as the pure condition without which it would not pass. In other words, each present goes back to itself in the past... it is all our past, which coexists with each present....
...While Bergson is concerned with the virtual past, Whitehead’s insight here comes from the opposite direction: the potential future. He maps the retroactivity of futurity by focusing on the microtemporality of the immediate present. Memories for him exist between the immediate past and the immediate future. Here, the past does not determine the future but eats into it. In such achronological causation, the future is active in the present, unfolding in the process by which the past- present enters the present- future. He suggests that to prehend the transition between the immediate past and the immediate future is of the order of short-term intuition—time spans that last a second or fraction of a second—“which lives actively in its antecedent world.”...
...Whitehead defines this temporal immediacy as the enjoyment of the present: an open-ended enjoyment of re-enaction and anticipation where the future enters the present once the past has perished so as for futurity to populate the present anew....

JAN22-READING 6. The Glazed Soundscape, R. Murray Schafer from The Soundscape Newsletter, Number 04, September, 1992
I enjoyed the concise, smart writing in R. Murray Schaefer's punn-ily titled The Glazed Soundscape, which begins,
The soundscape of every society is conditioned by the predominant materials from which it is constructed. Thus we may speak of bamboo, wood, metal, glass, or plastic cultures, meaning that these materials produce a repertoire of sounds of specific resonance when touched by active agents, by humans or wind or water.
Schafer gives us a brief, smart history of the glazing of the western world, i.e., North America was originally a wood culture, passing, like modern Europe, to cement and glass during the twentieth century.
He focuses in on glass, i.e.,
...Glass is the most imperceptible soundscape material and therefore needs special treatment. Its history goes back possibly nine thousand years or more, though its prominence is much more recent. About 200 B.C. Roman glass makers learned how to roll out slabs of glass to make mosaics and also to close small window surfaces, though their semi-opacity admitted only feeble light. The manufacturing of glass wax improved by the Venetians after 1300 but it was not until the seventeenth century that the glazing of windows began on a large scale. In 1567 Jean Carre, a merchant from Antwerp, had received a twenty-one-year license from Queen Elizabeth I for making window glass in Britain, but it was Louis Lucas de Nehan's new method of casting in 1688 that for the first time permitted the production of large polished plates of flat glass of relatively uniform thickness from which it was possible to make excellent mirrors and fill large window openings.
Then Schafer outlines his point, which is... Our concern is with the change of perception brought about by glazing....
The glazed window was an invention of great importance for the soundscape, framing external events in an unnatural phantom-like 'silence.' The diminution of sound transmission, while not immediate and occurring only gradually with the thickening of glazing, not only created the notion of a 'here' and a 'there' or a 'beyond', but also introduced a fission of the senses. Today one can look at one's environment, while hearing another, with a durable film separating the two. Plate glass shattered the sensorium, replacing it with contradictory visual and aural impressions.
Then Shafer makes keen observations about our glazed societies... With indoor living, two things developed anonymously: the high art of music, and noise pollution -for the noises were the sounds that were kept outside. After art music had moved indoors, street music became an object of particular scorn.
Interestingly, he compares and contrasts Hogarth's celebrated print "The Enraged Musician" with... Brueghel's The Battle Between Carnival and Lent, stating Hogarth's print contains glass windows. Brueghel's painting does not. Brueghel's people have come to the open windows to listen; Hogarth's musician has come to the window to shut it...
Finally he concludes, ...Now the interior and exterior can become totally contradictory. The world seen through the window is like the world of a movie set with the radio as soundtrack. I recall traveling in the dome car of a train passing through the Rocky Mountains with schmaltzy music on the public address system and thinking: This is a travelogue movie about the Rocky Mountains -we are not here at all.
My main take away from having read R. Murray Shafer's smart piece is that because we have surrounded and desensitize ourselves with cold, hard, womb-like glass cubes, we are not really living as beings of this earth, but instead, we are observing it.
And, wow, is he ever astute.

FEBRUARY 2022- TT SESSION 14: Curating as a Political Action in Three Parts With LuíSa Santos, Ana Fabíola Maurício & Carles Guerra- Readings 1-6

FEB22-READING 1. 4Cs - From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture - This website, project and shear numbers of international organizations and people involved with 4 Cs is inspiring. It acts like a template for connected, collaborative creative projects.
Described as a...European Cooperation Project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, the 4Cs seeks to understand how training and education in art and culture can constitute powerful resources to address the issue of conflict as well as to envision creative ways in which to deal with conflictual phenomena, while contributing to audience development through active participation and co-production. The project aims at advancing the conceptual framework of intercultural dialogue and enhancing the role of public arts and cultural institutions in fostering togetherness through cultural diversity and intercultural encounters.
The site lists an Arts Lab, Conferences, Film Programme, Mediation labs, EU exhibition sites, Residencies, Summer schools, Workshops, a Map, a blog, a Participation link, Digital Library, Press Materials and Publications. As my praxis develops, I would like to participate in one like it.

FEB22-READING 2. Imagine Going on Strike: Museum Workers and Historians- Ariella Aisha Azoulay first outlines in her IGoS writing Alex Gourevitch's radical view of the right to strike, which he poses is derived from the right to resist oppression. And he argues, oppression is partly a product of the legal protection of basic economic liberties, which he states is why the right to strike has priority over these liberties. Then Azoulay outlines a parallel re-framing of the act of creative workers' strikes, so they're understood... not in terms of the right to protest against oppression, but rather as an opportunity to care for the shared world, including through questioning one's privileges, withdrawing from them, and using them. For that purpose, one's professional work in each and every domain, even in domains as varied as art, architecture, or medicine, cannot be conceived for itself and unfolded as a progressive history, nor as a distinct productive activity to be assessed by its outcomes, but rather as a worldly activity, a mode of engaging with the world that seeks to impact it while being ready to be impacted in return.
Then she details workers strikes as an anti-imperialist, de-colonializing activities. Going on strike is to claim one's right not to engage with destructive practices, not to be an oppressor and perpetrator, not to act according to norms and protocols whose goals were defined to reproduce imperial and racial capitalist structures.
Does Azoulay's "racial" mean racialized, or racist, or ___?
Later, Azoulay makes a plea to historians... Going on strike means no more archival work for a while, at least until existing histories are repaired. No more time should be spent in archives to look for what descendants of people who were destitute were able, against the crimes of the discipline, to protect and transmit in place of imperial documents. Historians should withdraw from being the judges (or angels) of history and instead support and endorse community-sourced knowledge. They should go on strike whenever they are asked, by their discipline and peers, to affirm what the latter should know by now, that history is and always was a form of violence. When more than one million women were raped in Germany in the spring of 1945, no war was ended; when 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homeland and were not allowed to return, nothing was established; when millions of African Americans were made sharecroppers, they continued to be exposed to regime-made violence; when millions from India, Africa, and China were made "indentured workers" to "solve" the "labor problem" of the plantation system, slavery was not abolished. Evermore, violence has been required to obscure the rape as lost memories to be discovered, events to be painstakingly reconstituted by scholars working in archives. To repair the violence, historians must go on strike to know that the violence still exists and that there is no such thing as the "postwar" world...
And she powerfully concludes with our re-imagining historians, refusing to use their expertise and knowledge until the precedents used to justify injustice are replaced with worldly and non-imperial rights, guarded and preserved by those who were destitute, beginning with the right to care for the shared world. Imagine historians striking until their work could help repair the world.

FEB22-READING 3. Errata exhibition guide potential history- Ariella Aisha Azoulay's errata exhibition guide is intended to correct errors and alleviate potential confusion about the UN sanctioned Jewish colonization of Palestine. Like other errata Azoulay has constructed, she uses photography and text to construct this "exibition guide". She re-interprets historical photographs to tell a less politicized, if not more realistic history of 1940s, on-the-ground Palestinian-Jewish peoples relationships and experiences. She describes her errata projects as her practice.

FEB22-READING 4. In Natural History of Rape, via found personal diary pages, photographs, and her publication of them, with added narrative, Ariella Aisha Azoulay cites numerous accounts of WWII/"post war" mass rapes in Germany, i.e., [Fig. 12] Over the course of several weeks, anywhere between a few hundred thousand and two million German women were raped, often in urban spaces where cameras were certainly present, as documented by the careful recording of the destruction of buildings in numerous trophy photographs. Destroyed cities were quickly crowded with photographers, some of whom acted as if nothing could stop them as they journeyed through the destruction, seeking out sights that constituted prime objects for the photographic gaze. The presence of rape, including both what preceded and followed the physical violence, did not require any special haste to detect. It was ubiquitous, but still, it did not appear as a prime object for the gaze of these photographers in the way the large-scale destruction of cities did.
Azoulay points out that the untold numbers of WWII/post war rapes of German women were so accepted that they were essentially un-note worthy. The implication is that patriarchal power is held in part or in large measure, through on-going mass sexual violence towards women.
She concludes with candid, sobering thoughts on our post WWII Germany/western world... New world order- Curfews, raids, body searches and arrests were pursued daily. I propose to see the imprint of patriarchal order on women’s bodies during the final stages of war, and the implementation of a ‘new world order’ after its end, as inseparable from the processes of naturalizing imperial bodies of governance as a neutral political language comprised of unqualified terms – sovereignty, citizenship, peace, war and the like. International law was codified and standardized to endorse these concepts and structures as incarnations of transcendental political categories, culminating with the creation of the U.N. as an apparatus that contains imperial violence within the realm of law and order. On this I’ll dwell on a different occasion.
Azoulay's Natural History of Rape is a brilliant, brutal, and vital to the actual history of the west's "democratic freedoms". Reading it reminds me of reading Two Venuses, and of so many other pieces that give voice to the previously voiceless women of our past. It is a vivid reminder that the misogynistic patriarchal western practices persist, and are so deeply ingrained, a millennium later, that we are blind to it. See The Burning Times

FEB22-READING 5. Unshowable Photographs is like all of Ariella Aïsha Azoulay's work, compelling, infuriating, painful, patient, political, powerful, revealing, smart, thoughtful, and very well-studied. In it she states that her research is of " and human rights." Her drawings remind of Jean Dominique Ingres' and Warholian styled "traced drawings" styles/techniques. Azoulay's are traces from photographs through I think, an unspecified tracing device. Whereas Ingres were traced from camera lucida projection, and Warhols, via the use of an electrically powered light projector.
Unlike Ingres' and Warhol's, Azoulay's are of un-available to the public images. It's a cleaver, rebellious and remarkable visual documentation of the essentially hidden photographs. HA.
In her drawings, titled Many Ways not to Say Deportation, she traced images of photographs taken between 1947-1950 that detail Evacuation of their ‘own free will’ (Tantura–Fureidis–Transjordan), Evacuation from a ‘Jewish zone’ to an ‘Arab zone’ (Ramle–Ramallah), and Evacuation of the ‘wounded and ailing’ (Tel Aviv–Jaffa) Her accompanying text narratives discusses the real life human rights tragedies of the 1948 Israeli Giza Strip occupation that ultimately gave way and the 1967 West Bank occupation.
Note...collectively Azoulay's work, here, Readings 2-5, calls to mind the brilliant, radical, sometimes funny in an ironic-tragic kind of way, sevearl US-based feminist artists, including some featured in Rutgers Feminist Art Project exhibition, Some Day is Now: Women, Art & Social Change:

FEB22-READING 6. Para-sites like us: What is this para-sitic tendency? by Janna Graham, Six Degrees Resident, tagged with Janna Graham, Fieldwork, Museum as Hub, Para-sites like us, Pedagogy, R&D Season, Six Degrees Resident, if I read it correctly, is initially premised on the idea that due to the fact as living, creative beings, inhabiting the same living planet within various more-and-less successful, socioeconomic structures, cultures/ethnicities are better off working together vs. separately and apart from our private and public artistic and educational institutions. That is, creatives working collaboratively with, beside or parasitically, artistic and educational institutions, curators, etc., towards common solutions to various social problems that we've historically and collectively created, i.e., injustices of all kinds... classism, ethnocentrism, racism, sexism, etc., is likely, and probably logically a more productive route than creating within isolated artistic silos or bubbles. (Graham cites, among other successful examples Michael Rakowitz’s “paraSITE” dwellings, which are conceptually, creatively and practically really cool.)
Then midstream Graham seemingly argues against potential productivity of parasitic relationships between artists, curators, directors, educators, stating that The host, while seeming outwardly amenable to progressive social elements, minority communities, etc., is so only when these initiatives and groups coexist with this banking concept and the invisible elements it solidifies....and later she still poses, The question at the forefront of their minds is: when are we the para-site and when are we the host?, citing the pedagogy of the para-site through Freire, which states an... intricate relationship is suggested between the oppressor and the oppressed. What results is a cast of political figures other than those whom we have come to expect in both political and cultural/artistic terms. They are neither strict heroes nor anti-heroes. They are neither at the front of the line nor on the outside charging in. Their positions can be gross and murkily embedded. Neither leaders nor followers, they are radically connected to what they take from and what they host. Like the many unspoken heroines of feminist activism, they are often known more for their organizational contributions than they are for loud speeches and grand gestures, but over time they have developed strategies for breaking the power relations in which they are embedded and for inducing change.
Graham concludes with an open-ended or deconstructed future of potentially constructive parasitic relationships... As late neoliberalism exposes what lies beneath the modes of inclusion of its earlier iterations in violent acts of policing and recrimination, the distance between the para-site and the host is lessened. In this, the very existence of the para-site is threatened, and silent and clandestine para-sitism may no longer be an option. It might rather be necessary to move from this quieter phase to one of amplifying contradictions in order to become more conflictual. If facilitated, such strategies might be opportunities for para-sites to gain, by way of exit or rebellion, new consistency and new ground.
Biological Para-sitic Typologies, from Graham's Appendix
Oocyst Parasites / Occupying Para-sites
In biological terms, Oocyst parasites move quickly from host to host. They simply use their host to catalyze their own development, leaving little impact on it.
Ectoparasites / Dialogic Para-sites
Are parasites that live on the host’s surface using its attributes to encourage the development and multiplication of para-sitic activity? An ectoparasite does not necessarily leave an imprint on the host’s cellular structure.
Endoparasiting / Critical or Transformative Para-sites
Endoparasites occupy spaces inside the host’s body, changing it as well as enabling the conditions for the community of parasites.
The Invited Para-site
The final category—in which the invited para-site is actively commissioned by the host to use and interfere with its body—has no counterpart in the microbial world. The difference between those relationships listed above and the one between the commissioned parasite and host is that, while hosts solicit the input of outside activist agents, these projects are not created through a real negotiation of the para-site’s demands. Rather, these projects are initiated through the interests and desires of those working within the institution, who then solicit outside agents from there.…

MARCH 2022- TT SESSION 15: Ars Moriendi Readings 1 & 2

MAR22-READING 1. Ono, Yoko and John Lennon. "[Excerpt]." Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions + Drawings, Simon & Schuster, 2000, pp. [1-32].

It begins,
Hi, My name is John Lennon
I'd like you to meet Yoko Ono.


500 Noses are more beautiful than
one nose. Even a telephone no. is more
beautiful if 200 people think of
the same number at the same time.
a) let 500 people think of the same
telephone number at once for a
minute at a set time.
b) let everybody in the city think
of the word "yes" at the same time
for 30 seconds. Do it often.
c) make it the whole world thinking
all the time.
1960 spring

on about the 19th or so page, it continues...

Imagine letting a goldfish swim across
the sky.
Let it swim from the West to the East.
Drink a liter of water.
Imagine letting a goldfish swim across
the sky.
Let it swim from the East to the West.
1963 spring

And this is one of the final poems of Lennon and Ono's book, Chapter 1:

Get a telephone that only echoes back your voice.
Call every day and talk about many things.
1964 spring

It is a really enjoyable collection of conceptual po~ems, and consistent with Lennon and Ono's oeuvres. It is also very visual, and somewhat reminiscent of John Cage's work. I see the through line from the "DuChamp-Cage Aesthetic" (dadaism or chance) --> Fluxes --> Pop art --> Pop music

MAR22-READING 2. Ars Moriendi: Coping with death in the Late Middle Ages FERNANDO ESPI FORCE, M.D., AND CARLOS ESPI FORCE, PH.D.
This piece is about memento mori (reminder of death), Ars Moriendi (The Art of Dying), and Opusculum Tri-partitum (Three Part Treatise), by Jean de Gerson (1363 – 1429).
In it, F & C Espi Force outline their research objective, methods, results, and conclusion... read excerpts:
The aim of our study was to perform a review of the literature concerning the Ars Moriendi in the medical field, to study the psychological mechanisms for coping with death anxiety in the Ars Moriendi; and, Death and epidemics in the Late Middle Ages finally, to explore its parallels with contemporary literature about death and dying.
We first performed a systematic review of the literature according to the PRISMA guidelines. We have used the Pubmed, EMBASE, JSTOR, and Project MUSE databases in search of articles concerning the medical and psychological aspects of the Ars Moriendi. All articles, no matter the language in which they were written, were considered. The search “Ars Moriendi” led to a total of 21 articles in Pubmed and 28 articles in EMBASE. The titles and available abstracts were reviewed. Some 17 articles were selected for full-length review. Of these, six were chosen and quoted because they fell within the scope of our study. The search “Ars Moriendi” in JSTOR allowed a maximum of 1,000 titles. All were reviewed, but none met the criteria for inclusion in our review. The entry “Ars Moriendi” in Project MUSE produced 10 articles, among them 1 that dealt with the topic. In total, seven articles were included and are discussed in the Results section.
Though we have not found any articles that directly analyze the text within the manual Ars Moriendi, we have selected seven articles that comment on the importance of the Ars Moriendi in the medical field. Bertman wrote an article on the way that a good death has been depicted in different cultures over the centuries... Leget points out the necessity of retrieving the strategies of the Ars Moriendi in modern society to help patients cope with death anxiety (Leget, 2007). After a brief summary of the content of the Ars Moriendi, Thornton and Phillips explore parallels between the medieval attitudes in Ars Moriendi and contemporary attitudes about a good death. In both, it is important to die surrounded by family members...
Ballnus examines and proposes the idea that the creation of hospices for the terminally ill and dying patients was first introduced in the textbook of the Ars Moriendi (Ballnus, 1995)... An article written by Feros Ruys explores how experience and emotion were strategies used in the late medieval and early modern traditions of the Ars Moriendi to help people prepare to die. She stresses the fact that fear could be used to guide Christians to acceptance of dogmas (Feros Ruys, 2014).
The Ars Moriendi was written in the context of a society coping with the devastation that followed the Black Death. It quotes two of the most influential pagan philosophers of the Late Middle Ages, Aristotle and Seneca. In the case of the Roman, his presence in the text serves the purpose of introducing the stoic concept of comfortable acceptance of the inevitable...
Today, even with dying patients, it is certainly difficult to talk directly about death. Even if psychiatrists and other professionals involved in palliative care must propose therapies congruent with the values of secular society, the strategies for coping with death anxiety in the Ars Moriendi could still be helpful for spiritual leaders in assisting the terminally ill.
Nevertheless, dignity therapy and meaning-centered psychotherapy are valid therapies in our secular society. Dignity therapy proposes the creation of a narrative of the patient’s life and values known as the “generativity document” (Chochinov, 2012). The second was developed by William Breitbart, inspired by Viktor Frankl’s experiences and coping skills after surviving a Nazi concentration camp. Meaning-centered psychotherapy proposes strategies directed at finding meaning despite terminal illness. Good examples are finding a new identity, exploring one’s legacy, and developing a sense of transcendence (Breitbart & Poppito, Frankl, 1959).
In summary, the Ars Moriendi was a helpful manual for friars of the mendicant orders in the Late Middle Ages to help moribunds and their families cope with death anxiety. It provided relief and hope for everyone, even for those who had committed terrible sins. The manual also offered a chance for salvation to those deprived of cognitive abilities due to their afflictions. The strategies proposed in the Ars Moriendi can also be analyzed from a modern psychological perspective and in the modern context.

APRIL 2022- TT SESSION 16: TRACINGS- Readings 1 & 2

APR22-READING 1. Surveyable by a Re-Arrangement: Wittgenstein, Grammar and Sculptural Assemblange" by Michael Bowdidge. [excerpts].

"...My work is driven by a longstanding and fundamental sense of excitement about the visual richness of everyday stuff and its potential for recombination and reconfiguration. This approach echoes that of the ‘bricolage’ described by the anthropologist and ethnologist Claude Levi Strauss, as ‘the rules of [the] game are always to make do with ‘whatever is at hand’ and ‘elements are collected or retained on the principle that ‘they may always come in handy’’ (1966, p.11)."

From my reading of your Introduction, and the 16 or so pages assigned of your "Surveyable..." Michael, I kept thinking of dadaist Marcel Duchamp's Readymades and Readymade-Aideds, (aka assisted readymades), which are the beginning of the assemblage genre. Your use of chairs, and writing about using them specifically brings his work to mind. I.e., Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel, 1913, an actual bicycle wheel mounted on a four-legged stool... both every day items that are immediately recognizable, because they are disrupted (the wheel is mounted upside-down onto the stool, so neither can be used "normally"...(the wheel spins, but not on the ground, and no one can sit on the stool), they are transformed into something new.

"Duchamp wrote, "The Bicycle Wheel is my first Readymade, so much so that at first it wasn't even called a Readymade. It still had little to do with the idea of the Readymade. Rather it had more to do with the idea of chance." As he further defined his concept of the readymade, he called this work, an "assisted readymade," indicating the alteration or combination of various found objects, a technique that greatly informed the development of Assemblage as a distinctive genre."…

Also, your writing about your piece Caught, and Ann Hamilton's use similar use of tables, "...This sculpture provides a good example of the twofoldness of the ‘click’ (even if chairs like this do not make such sounds when brought together). It can be said that these things appear to fit each other, yet it may be worth digging a little deeper into what is meant by that...", brought to mind Surrealist Dali's work...both written and painted. I think the 'click' is related to, or rooted in Dali's idea of his "paranoaic-critical" method. It is defined by Dalí as "irrational knowledge" based on a "delirium of interpretation". In your writing, including in your conclusion, you discuss "Duck-Rabbit", which is a perfect example of a piece created using Dali's "paranoaic-critical" method.

All of that made me think of Lacanian "paranoaic knowledge", which if not identical to, then must be related to what you write about Wittgenstein's ideas, i.e., again the 'click', ‘aesthetic impressions’, and the ‘noticing an aspect’. Through Lacan's reading of dada-ism, via Duchamp (they played chess together...some say that Duchamp fed Lacan his "gaze theory" and other kingpin Lacan-ian ideas), and of surrealism, via Dali, he came to read Freud and develop his own ideas on paranoiac knowledge.

Lacan wrote, "...paranoiac knowledge is all comprehension by humans, imbued with a sense of the "I" or the ego", which is notedly different than paranoia, disturbed thinking characterized by excessive anxiety or fear, sometimes to the point of irrationality and delusion.

Anyway, in my first very brief read of your work and your thoughts/writing on it, these are the artists, works, and the linguist/philosopher I think of. And for me, it's as engaging and smart as contemporary art inspired and inspiring.

POST SESSION FOLLOW- Based on your comments on Duchamp's stolen "Fountain", Michael, I re-read this piece, which is the first I read on it be accurately re-attributed to Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927)…

And I read for the first time, this article that accurately describes the situation, which " not that Duchamp “allegedly stole the concept for his urinal” from Von Freytag-Loringhoven, but rather that she was the one who found the object, inscribed it with the name R Mutt, and that this “seminal” artwork rightly belongs to her." (haha)

And very interestingly, maybe even more to the what Siri Hustvedt writes near the end for her 2019 The Guardian article "A woman in the men's room: when will the art world recognise the real artist behind Duchamp's Fountain?"

"To open oneself to any work – a sculpture, a book of literature or philosophy – is to acknowledge the authority behind it. When the spectator or reader is a man and the artist or thinker is a woman, this simple act of recognition can give rise to bad feelings of emasculation, what I call “the yuck factor” – the unpleasant sensation of being dragged down into fleshy feminine muck. But because the feelings are automatic, they may never be identified and can easily be explained away: she couldn’t think. She was a wild woman who wore tin cans for a bra. She turned her body into Dada. In 1913, she picked a rusted ring off the street, a found object, and named it Enduring Ornament, a year before Duchamp’s first readymade, Bottle Rack, but she wasn’t thinking. She couldn’t have influenced him. She was emotional, out of control – crazy. Duchamp, on the other hand, was dry, witty, a chess-playing genius of pure conceptual mind, a hero of high culture.…
APR22-READING 2. Geremia, Allison. "Maker, Wearer, Viewer, Object: the reflexive destabilisation of brooches in a contemporary jewellery making practice" pp. 13-35.

The two most engaging aspects of Alisson Geremia's "Maker, Wearer, Viewer, Object..." are her:

1. Outlined purpose, i.e.,
"...I have investigated the implications of considering jewellery as a social indicator as well as an aesthetic object. To remain within the notion of habitus, I refer to makers that reflect my cultural capital. By cultural capital, I refer to Bourdieu’s notion of the social assets of a person including education, style of speech, style of dress, and the access to these cultural symbols. I refer to makers as if they are a part of my “family tree”, so to speak, and therefore represent my own cultural capital and my specific social mobility."

(Note: Geremia contextualizes much of her thesis within a Marxist framework i.e.,
A. Social context
B. Social structure
C. Socio-economic class)

2. Philosophical reasoning, structured/un-structured rationale, i.e.,
"This structure of this thesis resonates with Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico- Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations in which he uses numbered remarks to structure his argument. This borrowing provided me with a useful way of clarifying research that was often so multi-layered that more traditional methods of relaying it did not do it justice.
Wittgenstein looks to disrupt language-games to reveal that the grammar that governs language. The concept of disrupting a language-game takes a normative definition of grammar and changes its familiarity. This can be done by the subversion of expectation of the acknowledgment of language as an active thing that we do; the subversion looks at the mental processes and the production of the sentence in terms of the order of words."

The result is a thesis that is:
1. Smart
2. Challenging
3. Fun to read
I.e., "The structured un-structuring of the thesis subject is also an intentional choice. By dividing the subject into sections and also striving for the reader to notice their inherent dependencies on one another, I aim to have the reader bear witness to the interdependence of the Maker, Wearer, Viewer, and Object. The proposed sections of the normative structure (i.e.: MWVO) are overlapping, dependent, categorical nuances of brooches. The identity of each category is the result of the process of questioning."

And in laying out the structured/un-structured format of their thesis, and specifically while discussing brooch and jewellery making, Garemia heavily relies on a Ferdinand de Saussure based linguistics, including:
A. Sign --> readily becomes --> B. Signifier (or C. Signified)
B. Signifier --> might become the --> C. Signified (or A. Sign)
C. Signified --> that may become an --> A. Sign (or B. Signifier)

As well as on post-structuralist Derrida's methods, they adopt multiple definitions of:
1. Brooch
2. Jewellery
3. Craft
This allows for open-ended interpretations, and/or for one to ask questions. And my take-away question is, was this thesis as fun to write as it is to read?