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Aira, Appel & swipey lingual motion studies of fish sleeping under windy conditions

Dear Internet,                                                                           May 28, 2013

These are turning into 'the week in review' entries .. semainal entry instead of journal entry ....

Sent The History of Luminous Motion to the printer .. here's the landing page if you want to check out the final cover, blurbs from the likes of Ballard, etc.

History of Luminous Motion

.... ends up we couldn't use the original font (Bayer Modern) that we showed in the version from a few weeks ago .. the license didn't allow us to embed it (buyer beware when getting fonts from Victory Type) .. so we got another version from the P22 foundry .. which ends up we like more & seems more true to Herbert Bayer's original.

Also wrapped up Sleepingfish this past week. Made a bunch of interstitial art for the issue .. to fill in the gaps in usual sleepingfish style. Here's a smattering of them .. though they probably don't make a lot of sense outside the context of the issue ....


(in response to James Wagner & Gary Lutz)



(in response to Wagner & Daisy Atterbury)(& if you look close you'll see some Egon Schiele in the mix)


Gary Lutz facts

(in response to Lutz)



Aaron Apps

(in response to Aaron Apps & Wagner .. spreads across two pages)



James Grinwis

(in response to James Grinwis)



Elizabeth Mikesch

(in response to Wagner & Elizabeth Mikesch)




(in response to Michael Zell)

As well as trying to encapsulate (in an abstract sense) the aesthetic of the texts, we also tried to recapitulate the aesthetic of the various visual artists also appearing in the issue, most notably Daisy Atterbury & Rosaire Appel (& a bit of carry-over from the art we made recently for the above mentioned Bradfield book .. some of which we showed last week).

The pieces by Daisy Atterbury, she took various existing texts & .. with the help of some linguistics software .. she created corresponding 'phoneme maps'. You'll have to buy the issue .. haha .. to see the images .. suffice to say it is an interesting way to synesthesically map the 'aura' or fingerprint of a text .. in a snapshot .. kind of like those thumbnails where all the sequential frames from a movie are compressed into one barcode-like shot ..

Movie barcode

all of Apocalypse Now compressed into one frame

We were also inspired by the works of Rosaire Appel .. also appearing in the issue. Appel's work is usually classified as visual poetry or 'asemic writing' .. but we think there's more to it than that .. she incorporates asemic elements in form of cryptic captions or comic bubbles, in made-up script (though the pieces in Sleepingfish have captions in English) & we suppose you could call it 'visual poetry' .. but you can call anything visual poetry if you want. What sets Appel's work is apart is a certain defined comic strip element .. not unlike Lichtenstein .. or the warped child of Lichtenstein & Pollock, whose only tool is a photocopy machine. It has that streaky-smeary broken scanner aspect to it .. with broader swipes reminiscent a bit of Gerard Richter, but moreso of the calligraphic watercolors of John Cage (of which we blogged about before here)(& speaking of Cage .. you may recognize the symbolic font set he created peppered through some of the images above) .... all glued together & laced with a cohesive distortion that we find appealing to the eye.

Here's some images from Appel's And Yet. . . book that we picked up somewhere .. probably Printer Matter .. of which the only words appearing in the book are her name & the title And Yet.

Rosaire Appel


Rosaire Appel

Rosaire Appel


Rosaire Appel


Rosaire Appel


Rosaire Appel

Rosaire Appel


Rosaire Appel

Perhaps what makes it asemic or visual poetry is that it is art that seems meant to be read .. that carries information (in it's deformation) .. a quality we also to strive for in our own work.

Still don't know what will be on the cover of Sleepingfish 12 .... we are in the process of acquiring this Fish Catalogue by Dmitry Babenko, of which we hope to get a cover image .. but it is still in transit.

They've been filming a movie again on the grassy knoll outside our window .. a low-budget one wherein they've recreated a portion of the nearby 125th street subway platform. They've built the set & taken it down twice.

And down the street below the same subway platform they've recreated (perhaps just coincidentally?) .. a bigger Hollywood movie production with firetrucks, cops, Ben Stiller & 100s of extras [apparently called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which also features a 3-legged dog & Sean Penn .. we didn't have our camera with us tho J got some footage with her iPhone from a good viewpoint up on the subway platform].

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between who/what is real or not.

It's been ridiculously cold the last few days .. not sure what it means. Oh, and we dyed our hair .... we were going for the platinum blonde look (think Budgie of the Banshees), but our hair is stubborn & nothing really took as advertised. We tried 3 different brands of 'extreme blond' or 'lightest white', with 40 volume peroxide, but all that happened was our roots turned a yellowish hue of blond. Maybe the other problem is we just have too much hair & kept running out before we got it all the way through, or the dye just got spread too thin. Lesson learned .. & we knew this going into it but we're just too lazy & wanted to do it in one-fell swoop .. but, if you have dark hair & want platinum blonde hair, first bleach the fuck out of it (using Quick Blue) .. then use the platinum blonde stuff. And contrary to what you might expect, the roots dye faster, so start at the ends.

Listen to us .. we sound like a girl.

This week we read The Seamstress and the Wind by César Aira.

Cesar Aira Seamstress and the Wind

Aira uses that self-referential framing technique in Seamstress .. wherein he tells the story of himself writing the story (sitting in a cafe in Paris), which takes place in Patagonia. We didn't like Seamstress as much as we liked An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter .. but still, Aira is Aira, one of the best living South American writers .. in our opinion.

The story stems from a dream .. or the inkling of a dream that he forgets & tries to recreate. It is not so much the story-telling as the bits in between where Aira is best. Like this about the art of forgetting:

«Taking control of forgetting is little more than a gesture, but it would be a gesture consistent with my theory of literature, at least with my disdain for memory as a writer's instrument. Forgetting is richer, freer, more powerful ... and at the root of the dream idea there must have been something of that, because those serial prophecies, so suspicious, lacking in content as they are, all seem to come to an end at a vertex of dissolution, of forgetting, of pure reality. I should note, in parenthesis, that the kind of forgetting that erases dreams is very special, and very fitting for my purposes, because it's based on doubt as to whether the thing we should be remembering actually exists; I suppose that in the majority of cases, if not in all of them, we only believe we've forgotten things when actually they had never happened. We haven't forgotten anything. Forgetting is simply a sensation.»

Would've been a good book perhaps to read in Patagonia .. where we are planning on being next winter .. but alas, we're sure there are other Aira books set there & places to go before then. Today's task is to get tickets for next month in Nepal ....

  >> NEXT: Self-annihilating language in ritual & graphic incision: on goats, Moscona, crows, Gladman, dogs, Lutz, fish & Babenko

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