from Four American Composers (1983), directed by Peter Greenaway
To be played concurrently; or, for singular viewing screen: here.
Michael Nardone is in transit.
For indeed I have shown above the hollow cloudsWhile the exact details of his account are certainly suspect, this accumulation of careful observations is science in its purest form. The chapter to which this excerpt belongs is introduced in a synopsis at the beginning of the book as dealing with:
Must contain very many seeds of fire
And must receive many from the sun’s hot rays.
Therefore, when the same wind that has driven them
Into one place together, has squeezed out
Many seeds of fires, and in so doing itself
Has intermingled with the fire, the whirlwind
Finds its way in, whirls round in the narrow space
And in the hot furnace sharpens the thunderbolt.
For the wind is kindled in two ways: by the heat
Of its own motion, and by contact with the fire.
Next when the wind has reached a mighty heat
And the strong impulse of the fire has entered,
The thunderbolt, now as it were ripe, cleaves through
The cloud by a sudden blow, and the heat, shot out,
Lights all the place beneath with flashing flames.
Thunder, lightning, and thunderbolts. Waterspouts, clouds, rain, etc. Earthquakes. Why the sea is always the same size. Volcanoes (Digression: difficulty of assigning the true cause to all phenomena). Nile floods. Why some places are fatal to birds. Peculiar properties of springs. Magnets. Epidemics3.A strange yet beautiful selection, to be sure: it is important not to forget that in the case of a data set (as with a poem) it is both the content and structure that are important and hold meaning4.
– uu – uu – uu – uu – uu – xIn dactylic hexameter, “ – ” is long, “u” is short, and “x” is either long or short. The term itself is derived from the finger (dactyl) by looking at the knuckled sections from hand to fingertip, as is seen in the drawing above5. A very good example of dactylic hexameter being read aloud can be heard at:
DAY,CENTERLAT,CENTERLON,FCOUNT,totalCount,totalTimeInSecondsThe first line is a header, explaining what each column stands for; the following lines are the actual data (telling us here that the strike took place on the first of February in Winters, Texas). When opened in Excel or a similar spreadsheet program, the data gets cleaned up into more readable columns. This format will be examined in more detail in future posts. As a nice coincidence, the National Climatic Data Center’s lightning reports, like Lucretius, are divided into six sections per line…
C(EX)AB1(X) & N(EX)BC2(X) & N(EX)CD3(X) & N(EX)EF5(X) & N(EX)FG6(X) & C(EX)GH7(X) & N(EX)HI8(X) & N(EX)IJ9(X) & N(EX)JK10(X) & C(EX)KL11(X) & N(EX)LM12(X) & C(EX)MN13(X) & C(EX)NO14(X) & C(EX)OP15(X) & C(EX)PQ16(X).
And clothes hung up beside a wave-tossed shore
Grow damp, but spread out in the sun they dry.
But how the moisture first pervaded them
And how it fled the heat, we do not see.
The moisture therefore is split up into tiny parts
That eyes cannot perceive in any way.
Then too, as the sun returns through many years,
A ring on a finger wears thin underneath,
And dripping water hollows out a stone,
And in the fields the curving iron ploughshare
Thins imperceptibly, and by men’s feet
We see the highways’ pavements worn away.
|Oct.,2010- performing a live soundtrack to the|
1974 film "Zardoz" at Drift Station.
In the midst of an art opening at a Paris gallery in 1902, Ambient music was born. Erik Satie and his cronies, after begging everyone in the gallery to ignore them, broke out into what they called Furniture Music--that is, background music--music as wallpaper, music to be purposely not listened to. The patrons of the gallery, thrilled to see musicians performing in their midst, ceased talking and politely watched, despite Satie's frantic efforts to get them to pay no attention.
Today, Furniture Music is unavoidable. Nowhere are we free from the tyranny of it; we can't walk into a store or deli without hearing the generally dreadful stuff drifting through the environment. As a matter of fact, people buy Ambient music to fill up the space, to make it easier to work in, to make love in, to relax in; today, there's a goddamned Furniture Music industry. When was the last time you were at a dinner party where there was no Furniture Music tinkling away in the background?
But on the other hand, given a source of energy which you can direct, you can direct yourself out of the picture. Then given the cooperation between the host poet and the visitor—the thing from Outside—the more things you have in the room the better if you can handle them in such a way that you don't impose your will on what is coming through. [...]
Now, Creeley talks about poems following the dictation of language. It seems to me that's nonsense. Language is part of the furniture in the room. Language isn't anything of itself. It's something which is in the mind of the host that the parasite (the poem) is invading.
June 25. I pace up and down my room from early morning until twilight. The window was open, it was a warm day. The noises of the narrow street beat in uninteruptedly. By now I knew every trifle in the room from having looked at it in the course of my pacing up and down. My eyes had traveled over every wall. I had pursued the pattern of the rug to its last convolution, noted every mark of age it bore. My fingers had spanned the table across the middle many times. I had already bared my teeth repeatedly at the picture of the landlady's dead husband.
Toward evening I walked over to the window and sat down on the low sill. Then, for the first time not moving restlessly about, I happened calmly to glance into the interior of the room and at the ceiling. And finally, finally, unless I were mistaken, this room which I had so violently upset began to stir. The tremor began at the edges of the thinly plastered white ceiling. Little pieces of plaster broke off and with a distinct thud fell here and there, as if at random, to the floor. I held out my hand and some plaster fell into it too; in my excitement I threw it over my head into the street without troubling to turn around. The cracks in the ceiling made no pattern yet, but it was already possible somehow to imagine one. But I put these games aside when a bluish violet began to mix with the white; it spread straight out from the center of the ceiling, which itself remained white, even radiantly white, where the shabby electric lamp was stuck. Wave after wave of color--or was it a light?--spread out toward the now darkening edges. One no longer paid any attention to the plaster that was falling away as if under the pressure of a skillfully applied tool. Yellow and golden-yellow colors now penetrated the violet from the side. But the ceiling did not really take on these different hues; the colors merely made it somewhat transparent; things striving to break through seemed to be hovering above it, already one could almost see the outlines of a movement there, an arm was thrust out, a silver sword swung to and fro. It was meant for me, there was no doubt of that; a vision intended for my liberation was being prepared.
I sprang up on the table to make everything ready, tore out the electric light together with its brass fixture and hurled it to the floor, then jumped down and pushed the table from the middle of the room to the wall. That which was striving to appear could drop down uninhindered on the carpet and announce to me whatever it had to announce. I had barely finished when the ceiling did in fact break open. In the dim light, still at a great height, I had judged it badly, an angel in bluish-violet robes girt with gold cords sank slowly down on great white silent-shining wings, the sword in its raised arm thrust out horizontally. "An angel, then!" I thought, "it has been flying toward me all the day and in my disbelief I did not know it. Now it will speak to me." I lowered my eyes. When I raised them again the angel was still there, it is true, hanging rather far off under the ceiling (which had closed again), but it was no living angel, only a painted wooden figurehead off the prow of some ship, one of the kind that hangs from the ceiling in sailors' taverns, nothing more.
The hilt of the sword was made in such a way as to hold candles and catch the dripping tallow. I had pulled the electric light down; I didn't want to remain in the dark, there was still one candle left, so I got up on a chair, stuck the candle into the hilt of the sword, lit it and then sat late into the night under the angel's faint flame.
Mon pauvre vieux, les empires s'écroulent, les républiques s'effondrent et les imbéciles demeurent.
Bravo, Monsieur Ségalot. Ça c'est du meuble.
|Image of Trevor Wishart from Steina Vasulka’s video, “Trevor.”|
Friday, January 21, 2011
on a body. Vowels as saturated. Rimbaud drinking coffee in a room with red and yellow wallpaper, looking out the window at the jungle rain. But commas as a scarring process set in motion by the abrasions performed by other kinds of punctuation. I like commas. I like semi-colons. Though they mar a lyric effort, I want them. I want a sentence that takes up the theme of bodies and violence, thematically. The theme of the sentence is its grammar. "What appears in the photograph is unfamiliar. We don't recognize it." (Duras.) Like that: a content dissipating before a person's eyes. Like smoke trapped beneath a glass, in fairytales. And bars. As a late-night trick, in the time when you could light up. Inside. So that what I assess is the pollen index of a poem, the places where the surface is speckled or torn, with drifting grains. A dash. A line. A stop. Every texture is diasporic. Every body, in its fundament, will loosen from its radical core and drift, too. This is why I prefer cremation over burial. I don't want to be buried. I want my ashes to be taken to the Ganges, and to the coast of Oregon, at Florence, where I first saw the Pacific -- I heard it before I saw it, and my heart swung wide. (Notes towards an Asian-American Grammar Book.) (Notes for the sea.)