SPQR P.S: Bruno Munari, Roman StarLINGs & a coloSSal PostScript to «Poste Restante»

[ORIGinal ARTwork [collagic rubBEings by Derek White] in this «SPQR PS SERIES» are for sale [unless there's a red X ] for $150/EA [includes INTL shipping from Rome] | all images are on 8.5 x 11" scratch paper—composed of graphITE, old letters/stamps/diagrams from the Porta Portese flea market, superimposed photos taken in Rome, [Ital.] red wine, [Ital.] coffee & MISC ephemera, grit, fingerprints & physical imPRESSions of Rome [with ADded REflections on Bruno Munari & starLING flight patterns| [click on IMaGes to see TEXTual detail in higher RES ] | all purchases include a copy of Poste Restante |

calculus hex spirit

PS 1: calcULUS HEX sp[i]rit

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PS i. Munari Sub-series

starting where i left off [where i delve into the physical proceSS of how these Roman rubBEings were made & the geoGRAPHic flâneurings during which they were INITiated]—though ACTually this could just as well be the SEQuel to last year's 3-part SPQR dispatch that i never got around to posting wHerein i wanted to discuss Bruno Munari whose exhibit we saw at Ara Pacis & it left an indelible imPRESSion | this year i REturnstile'D to Ara Pacis & of course the Ara Pacis [structure] itself was there but downstairs in the design museum was a great exhibit on Italian design [straight from the patent office [posted with official stamps & insignia—also having a bearing on the direction of these associative collages] but last year the space was devoted to Munari—the legendary Italian designer | 3 Munarian concepts in particular that i reMEMeber that influenced me [the book i got is in Italian so i'm not really able to «read» the theory behind the DEsigns—suffice to say this is my own associative interpretation looking at the images & from what i REMember about the exhibit]:

* THEORETICAL RECONSTRUCTING: as demonstrated in his «Riconstruzione teorica» series—collaging material from other conTEXTs to yield new theories |

* ILLEGIBILITY: Munari made a series [«Scritture illeggibili»] of unreadable textual drawings—in fact he was known for making entire illegible books | one of his most famous works—an ad he made for Campari—was effective in that with this it was discovered that people's eyes GRAVitated towards botched text—that people had a natural propensity to want to discover & fix perceived typos |

* NEGATIVE/POSITIVE: Munari's use of negative & positive space [most notably in his «Negativi-positivi» series] is something i could definitely learn from as i have a tendency to want to fill ALL space |

Also not shown here are a series [«Olio su tela»] he did with oil on fabrics in which he let nature run it's course [in bleeding into the fabric] | this element of chance is also inherent in my images [though i tend to use wine & coffee & ink & water-soluble charcoals or whatever is on hand] | here are a few of Munaris images to give you the idea...

Bruno Munari

Bruno Munari Reconstructions



Bruno Munari illegible    Bruno Munari

          from an illegible book                                                                      Campari Ad                           



Bruno Munari Negative Positive

from negative/positive series

& here's some from my P.S. series that [perhaps] demonstrate Munari's influence...


PS 2: SEArching for ROME[c]O



straits of zION

PS 3: sTraits of zION

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PS 4: SS REMus



Fishbowl Font Charity

PS 5: Fishbowl Font Charity

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PS 6: 2nd flOORED ARK [after a Mimmo Paladino mosaic in Ara Pacis]

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Opa Ad

PS 7: Opa AD

PS ii. Starlings Sub-series

also of noteworthy influence on this deveLOPING LEXicon were the flight patterns of starLINGs that remain forever etched into my bRain | i went into the birds in the last dispatch & possibly even last year too—i just couldn't get enough of them & their swooping vector FORMationS that allowed for a free-association of new TEXT-o-VISualizations [even if the Romans hate them because they shit all over their vehicles] hard for me to put in WORDs what they mean to me [if i could they would only mean less] | here's some IMaGes & a COMPosite video [though my shitty digital camera doesn't do them justice]—it's something you need to experience for yourself if you are in Rome...

roman starlings

roman starlings

roman starlings

roman starlings

roman starlings

roman starlings

roman starlings


composite video collage/trailer

& here's the sub-sequence of collage/rubBEings that [perhaps] demonstrate the starLING influence...


PS 8: EUR fonDUE



borealis tradewind

PS 9: BOREalis tradewind

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lAMBIC jingle

PS 10: lAMBic Jingle



MEMory Unit

PS 11: MEMory Unit



spoon swallow

PS 12: Spoon sWallow



accomdating invasion

PS 13: aCOMmodating invasION


spring sprout

PS 14: sprING sprOUT



caveden bird

PS 15: caveD[en] bIrd



tenT-silo comMUNIcation

PS 16: tenT silo comMUNIcation
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PS iii. «MISC ephemera»

& then there's more of the usual asSORTment of influences from our urban wanderings...

graffiti along Tiber



ancient TEXTual inSCRIPTions

textual inscription


& somewhere in between [residual adhesion]



PS iv. Poste Restante revisited & «Coliseum, Wyoming» in it's entirety

the strange thing about the starLINGs is that they visited me [in a sense] beFore i eveN eveR eXperienced them «for real» | something about them SEAMed FAMILIar & then it occurred to me that the last piece [«Coliseum, Wyoming»] in my my own Poste Restante [2006] is based on a dReam i had in July of 2001 about them—or at least their flight patterns | the first time i went to Rome was November of 2001 & even then i don't particularly REMember seeing the starLINGs | it wasn't until the trip in 2008 & this last 1 a few weeks aGo [DEC 2009] that they really started DEVEloping the silver emulsIONS in my bRain | but the deSCRIPTion in «Coliseum, Wyoming» refers to BATS: «I look up again and the pixels grow in size and number until they assemble into a dark cloud. The swarm takes the form of undulating, swooping vectors dancing in the charged borealis wind. The pixels amalgamate into an image of one living entity, a colony whose collective existence depends on the motion of each independent member acting in unison.» | the desSCRIPTion was SPOT on but i got the SPECIES wrong | i was conFUSING bats with starLINGs [though this dream-based story might have also been influenced by various caves i used to frequent around the SouthWest U.S. where you can watch 1000s of bats as they exit caves all at once in a mass exodus] ... not to sound like some sort of Shaman having a «vision» | in any evenT—these collagic rubBEings are a SEQuel in a sense—a PostScript to Poste Restante—whose accompanying collages also used common features like postage stamps [the final image on this page is from Poste Restante for comparison] | after these last 10 collagic rubBEings i'm including the entire TEXT from «Coliseum, Wyoming»—the final piece in Poste Restante | [which is [perhaps] trying to do the same thing in PROSE as these collages—which is to say that these images are intended to be READ]

bRead du jour

PS 17: bRead du Jour



Buffalo Wings

PS 18: Buffalo Wings



stoop to amuse

PS 19:STOoP to aMUSE

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4th Floor REsearched

PS 21: 4th Floor REsearched

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hiSTORIcal ERAsure

PS 22: hiSTORIcal ERAsure

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IUD IMplant Date

PS 23: IUD IMplant Date



Soccer stadium navigation

PS 24: Soccer stadIUM navigatION

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postscripting Poste Restante

PS 25: PostScripting Poste Restante



Coliseum, Wyoming
[from Poste Restante]

You, the warden, are patrolling the perimeter, arbitrating. You have assigned us this mission, but we are unaware of you or the assignment. We choose to enter this abandoned penitentiary. We are your detached eyes and ears, engulfed in the persistent sense of discovery. Perhaps we are adventurous enough because we have no intention of having offspring of our own. All we see is the inside of an enormous compound riddled with sparse gravel and weeds—a coliseum-like enclosure with a flat inner-expanse equal to 21 interwoven baseball fields. Not that the irregular triangular shape of a baseball field, with its rounded hypotenuse and embedded diamond, lends itself to be a unit of spatial measurement, but this is the playing field we are given (and the overlap is crucial).

It feels like The Coliseum in Rome—a place I have never been in vivo but have visited vicariously via historical fiction. The tiered stone bleachers still reverberate with the history of human drama and occupation. But now it is silent except for the stray cats and animistic ghosts we cannot readily detect. We are searching for where the bats roost, but have no idea of what we expect to find. We have nothing and everything to lose. I am carrying a duffel bag of second-hand clothes, with no hangars to hang them on.

My wife, the analytic one, counts our footsteps with measured accuracy. She tames my wandering into a meaningful trajectory. She plots our path so we don’t back-pedal or cover the same ground twice. She drops breadcrumbs so we can find our way home. In a reversal of roles, I ride on intuition. I look to the blue sky. I don’t search for the cave where the bats live, but rather I search the air for the bats themselves, knowing they will have to return to the cave at some point, revealing its location.

We work as a team. My wife keeps track of time. She knows that the bats will return exactly at sundown. I don’t know when that is, but if the buffalo come, it will be too late. I sense them stampeding just over the horizon. But the rising walls of the coliseum prison shadow the horizon, not only scrambling premonition, but obscuring temporal associations. From your vantage point, you know when the sun will go down and the buffalo will come running into the picture. But you stand silent in the watchtower, hidden behind a broken shard of mirrored glass that reflects only pieces of the moon.

We think we are alone until I hear the creaking of the rusty gates through which we entered, the only way in and out. I am momentarily afraid of being trapped inside the compound, but the vastness is comforting. Being locked in is the same as having the rest of the world locked out. The fear further subsides when the culprits of the noise present themselves—two kids with bicycles and slingshots, and shaggy bangs hanging in their eyes. The distance between us and the kids is so great that we cannot make out the features on their faces. We are still essentially alone, but the kids join the ranks of the buffalo as a nagging presence that weighs heavily on our subconscious, urging us toward completion. Urging us to propagate our own.

As we move along, the featureless field reveals details—{3 rusted eating utensils, 1 cashed disc of birth control pills, 2 bleached chicken bones, 1 storm drain}—evidence of occupation. When I look down into the drain I notice five discarded golf clubs. I try to understand their meaning, as if they are a clue to a mystery larger than the sum of themselves, but they have nothing to do with survival. I am struck by the absurdity of the sports that we, the human species, play. The vast playing field lends itself to be a driving range, but a driving range makes little sense since there are no holes or flags, or even distance markers. There are different tees for male and female players, even though there is no back boundary to the range.

“Hey!” I say, breaking the silence. “What’s the idea here? ‘Golf’ is almost the word ‘gulf.’ And a ‘club’ also means a membership to play with the clubs themselves.”

My wife whips out her pocket dictionary. “Golf comes from the Greek kólphos, which originally meant ‘bosom.’ It was later extended metaphorically to denote ‘bag,’ and also ‘a trough between waves,’ and these senses of the word (the latter modified to ‘abyss’) followed it through vulgar Latin colphus.”

I slip my hand beneath her thin cotton cardigan and fondle her breast. “Colphus sounds like a mix between couple and coitus.” I pull myself into her so I am spooning from behind, mocking our monkey cousins. It helps to ease the isolation. I am blind, fumbling around in an expanse of dead molecules for something alive, a conglomeration of living cells that vibrate when they impinge on my skin.

“...or corpus,” she says removing my hand from her breast. “Stop it! Those kids can see.”
“They are too far away.”
“Let’s get focused and find the cave. We can fool around once we get there.”
“What time is it?”
“It’s almost time.”

She keeps me searching, keeps me focused on the quest. I look to the sky, but it is only blue. It is not the same Gulf blue I remember in Corpus Christi, Texas, where I was born. I sniff the ground but it is futile to search for the cave by smelling since it is the absence of substance. “We must have patience and wait for the bats.”

Bats as in ‘baseball bat’ and ‘bat’ the species of animal come from entirely different origins. The source of the wooden implement comes from the Celtic andabata or ‘gladiator.’ The flying ‘bat’ comes from the Old Norse lethrblaka, literally ‘leather-flapper.’” A dark object flashes in my periphery, but when I turn to look it’s not there. The earth trembles with distant hooves.

“Gladiator,” I say, as if echoing the word solidifies the meaning of our quest. I search the coliseum walls to find you, the audience, but you remain hidden. You watching us from the shadows is necessary for our existence. Without an audience, who are we? Thinking of your presence, I regress to a primitive fight or flight state of mind. If our sole objective is to entertain, you have left us with two options:

1. I can seize my wife and copulate with her right here, in the middle of this field, or
2. You can unleash the enemy, and I can fight to the death.

When it comes down to it, these are the two things that matter in the end. And as if to confirm this revelation, I spot a dilapidated black and white scoreboard high up on the rim of the stadium. The home team are Buffalos and the visitors are Tigers—followed by a stream of panels with 0’s and the occasional 1’s that add up to a 1-to-1 tie. But I am not certain which team we are on and don’t understand the scoring logic. There is no quantitative measure. Reality is based on a binary numbering system where everything is yes/no, good/bad, win/lose, male/female, dead/alive. Certainly not as arbitrary as a number system based on the number of fingers humans can count on their hands. Following the lines of my hand, the end of the story leads back to the beginning with nothing in between.

...until I hear a distance shrill—the warbled sound of kids screaming. They jump off their bikes and cock their wrist-rockets at the sky. I follow their aim and see pixels of black infused within the gulf of blue. I blink and a negative image of stars, black specks on bluish white, drifts to the ground. I look up again and the pixels grow in size and number until they assemble into a dark cloud. The swarm takes the form of undulating, swooping vectors dancing in the charged borealis wind. The pixels amalgamate into an image of one living entity, a colony whose collective existence depends on the motion of each independent member acting in unison.

The granular image comes into focus, until at last I can make out the constituent parts—the bats. For you, the bats become formulating letters on this page. In concert with the low swooshing bass-line of buffalo, I detect aural indications at the bottom of the bats’ sonar spectrum—banshee shrieks that elevate above the hooting and hollering of the kids running toward them, shooting stones at the bats though they have no intention of eating them.

“What have we become?” I ask. As if in response, the colony ripples and gives, like water absorbing a tossed pebble. No individual bat is hit. The kids shots are in vain, as are their shouts. The bats are blissfully deaf and unaware.

As quickly as they come into being, the bats congregate, and then in one fell swoop they disappear into the ground. My wife notes the trajectory and location and we make a beeline for their point of entry. The kids give up their hunt and return to their bicycles.

The entrance is a small hole at home plate. We should have known. When we slither through and our eyes adjust, the cave opens into a large room. The walls are covered with formations, still forming, reminding you of footage you saw last fall on a volunteer farmstay in Wyoming of a surgical micro-cam penetrating the fallopian tubes of a sheep undergoing invitro fertilization. We are your eyes at the end of the scope—relaying images of liquid quartz crystal oozing and flowing, with bats roosting in the marsupial creases. As the micro-cam pans, you catch voyeuristic glimpses of larger-than-life pubic hairs in high definition.

And once we have become eyes for your sake, we lose ourselves. We have no need for children, for this is the end—the conception of who we are in the eyes of others. I can declare with certainty that the bats saved the ruins of The Coliseum until our arrival. Now it is a museum of memes and you are the muse. The bats have become alphabetic characters roosting on this page and the buffalo have come and gone without us knowing.



Poste W. the ME in colisEuM [the above text inthe gray box & this image are from Poste Restante]



(c) 2009 Derek White