Monday, May 24, 2010

Excerpts from Appropriation: Documents Of Contemporary Art. Edited by David Evans. The MIT Press 2009.

26. AUTHORS: One should 'know a few authors': no need to know their names.

26. Now Mr Mutt's fountain is not immoral, that is absurd, no more than a bath tub is immoral. It is a fixture that you see every day in plumbers' show windows.

26. As for plumbing, that is absurd. The only works of art America has given are her plumbing and her bridges.

27. One can imagine a time when the painters who no longer mix their own colors will find it infantile and unworthy to apply the paint themselves and will no longer consider the personal touch, which today still constitutes the value of their canvases, to possess anything more than the documentary interest of a manuscript or autograph. One can imagine a time when painters will no longer even have their colour applied by others and will no longer draw. Collage offers us a foretaste of this time. It is certain that writing is moving in the same direction.

27. An electric lamp becomes for Picabia a young girl.

35. Minor detournement is the detournement of an element which has no importance in itself and which thus draws all its meaning from the new context in which it has been placed.

35. Deceptive detournement, which is also termed premonitory proposition detournement is, in contrast, the detournement of an intrinsically significant element, which derives a different scope from a new context.

35. For example, in a metagraph [poem-collage] relating to the Spanish Civil War the phrase with the most distinctly revolutionary sense is a fragment from a lipstick ad: 'Pretty lips are red'. In another metagraph ('The Death of J.H'), 125 classified ads of bars for sale express a suicide more strikingly than the newspaper articles that recount it.

36. It is a real means of proletariat artistic education, the first step towards a literary communism.

36. Apart from the various direct uses of detourned phrases in posters, records or radio broadcasts, the two principal applications of detourned prose are metagraphic writings and, to a lesser degree, the adroit perversion of the classical novel form.

37. . . . , which envisaged a pinball machine arranged in a such a way that the play of the lights and more or less predictable trajectories of the balls would form a metagraphic-spatial composition entitled Thermal sensations and desires of people passing by the gates of the Cluny Museum around an hour after sunset in November.

38. . . . , at the counter of a truck-stop bar, for example, with one of the truck-drivers saying seriously to another: 'Ethics was in the books of the philosophers; we have introduced it into the governing of nations'.

38. If detournement were extended to urbanistic realizations, not many people would remain unaffected by an exact reconstruction in one city of an entire neighborhood of another. Life can never be too disorienting: detournements on this level would really make it beautiful.

38. Titles themselves . . . are a basic element of detournement. This follows from two general observations: that all titles are interchangeable and that they have a determinant importance in several genres.

39. Finally, when we have got to the stage of constructing situations, the ultimate goal of all our activity, it will be open to everyone to detourn entire situations by deliberately changing this or that determinant condition of them.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Excerpts from Flights Of Angels: My Life With The Angels Of Light. Adrian Brooks. Arsenal Pulp Press 2008.

15. . . . I could see props and huge masks: a carriage with prancing horses, plague monsters, a brilliant red starfish, giant rats, and icebergs.

18. Ours was no mere avant-garde; avant-garde implies social connectedness or possible future integration, like Andy Warhol's scene in New York. We were Underground, in a wholly different and distinct secret society that had not been tied to, absorbed, or even glimpsed by the mainstream.

18. My ball gown was pale blue lace and pink satin spangled with silver stars and violet velvet bows. Birdcage-like contraptions thrust my skirt to a horizontal width of six feet. My neck was sheathed in rhinestones, a virtual pillar of "diamonds." Amethyst drops dangled from my bodice and, as the Countess Flushette, I sported a toilet on my head.

21. "You know how to separate the men from the boys in San Francisco?" he'd crow: "With a crowbar!"

22. John was a tall, radiant black ecologist with flashing eyes who'd given up talking and who wrote on a pad of paper to communicate, if words were necessary. As a personal ecological statement, he'd also given up riding in a car and, for years, walked everywhere he went, no matter how far.

24. "New York is red."

29. At eight, I blithely informed classmates at Friends Central School that, when I grow up, I wanted to be a peacock.

39. "What kind of socks do you wear . . . ? Oh . . . White? That's nice. Always white? Oh. Cotton or wool too? Oh fabulous. Sweat socks . . . uh-huh . . . What about short ones? Oh, well, how tall? The kind you fold over? Do any have a stripe at the top? Thick stripes? What color? Oh . . . blue . . . oh, that's great. Are those the sweat socks or the other kind? Do they all match? Oh. Do you ever wear one sock with a stripe and one without . . . ?"

57. Chicken-breasted Irving Rosenthal was a bearded and diminutive Byzantine padding about the periphery of the scene. A figure in his own right, as editor of the Big Table Review at the University of Chicago in the 1950s, he'd publish a seminal issue that featured excerpts of William Burroughs' Naked Lunch, which he edited, and Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." Later, after appearing in Jack Smith's film Flaming Creatures, Irving penned a stylish novel, Sheeper, in which he famously attacked women, ordering them to cease reading epicene prose that be summed up as a boiled testicle impaled on a Faberge hatpin.