Friday, June 08, 2007

Two Old Posts

1. As ever, proofreading, I am aware of the strange punctuational malady from which suffer: hyphenism, characterized by gratuitous and ornamental bridging of modifiers and nouns with hyphens. (Not to be confused, of course, with hyphy-ism [more on this later]). I am anxious about connections, anxious to make them. Am I making sense yet? I want you to nod your head. But, oh, things fall apart--nor all the king's adverbs, nor all the king's sutures, prevent the unchaining of the signifier after the cops visit the party and tell the people in charge to turn the music down and then drive away to do cop-type things.

Nor does the recourse to the indirect style of the fragment really help matters, forcing an attention to the types of coherence that are internal to phrase units, to meaning units. The layering and proliferation of polysemousness, of vernaculars, puns, auras, mediations, icings and smogs is, it seems, also another attempt to make things stick, connect.

The pin near the top of the assemblage pops out. It holds a thread which, wrapped anxiously and multiply around each of the links, those little dead spots in thinking, makes it seem as if these words actually fit together, had receptors and nodes and agendas and budgets and all that. But no, they just drift away from each other in zero-g.

2. One month ago or so: a perfect day (clear, windy, cloudy-sunny) for looking at office park sculpture, most daring and difficult of art forms. I left my phone (see: 1, things fall apart) in the lecture hall at CCA after the tremendous Ed Roberson/Evie Shockley reading, and some kind soul found it and then found me and, after driving over to pick it up, I decided to finally head down to UCSF Mission Bay to see Richard Serra's sculpture installation there. A gigantic cruise ship was beached in a parking lot that was pretending to be water. The parking lot stretched from the early 20th century to the early 21st century. There was monumental architecture and monumental absence, construction debris, machinery and light rail, as in, perhaps, Antonioni's Red Desert or any number of Pasolini's films.

Ballast, the Serra installation, consists of two 50 ft. high rectangular steel slabs, tilted off vertical--both laterally and frontally-- by some very minute number of degrees. They are 133 ft. apart and communicate on some sonar dolphin-frequency to which ordinary perception has no access. I got up close, underneath one of the slabs, and looked up along its oxidized surface. Because the slab was off vertical, that's how I felt too, and on that day in particular, with low, fast clouds moving overhead opposite the tilt, a kind of weird counterbalance, I felt as if I were both improbably weightless and impossibly heavy.

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