Wednesday, March 21, 2007

artaud said, and we should listen,

...the human face
is an empty power, a
field of death ...
... after countless thousands of years
that the human face has spoken
and breathed
one still has the impression
that it hasn't even begun to
say what it is and what it knows...


Blogger St. Anthony said...

Wonderful quote of Artaud's ... outside of France, I don't think he's been given his due as a theorist or artist.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 7:45:00 am  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

probably because it know's fuck all.

must look this artaud chappie up. looks an interesting cove.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:51:00 am  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

a snippet from wikipedia. pretty pointless i guess as you already know the gent....

Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud, better known as Antonin Artaud (born September 4, 1896, in Marseille; died March 4, 1948 in Paris) was a French playwright, poet, actor and director. Antonin is a diminutive form of Antoine (little Anthony), and was among a long list of names which Artaud went by throughout his life.

Biographical information
Artaud's parents were partly Levantine-Greek, and he was much affected by this background.[1] Although his mother had many children, only Antoine and two siblings survived infancy.

At the age of four, Artaud had a severe attack of meningitis. The virus gave Artaud a nervous, irritable temperament throughout adolescence. He also suffered from neuralgia, stammering and severe bouts of depression. As a teenager, he was allegedly stabbed in the back by a pimp for apparently no reason, similar to the experience of playwright Samuel Beckett.

Artaud's parents arranged a long series of sanatorium stays for their disruptive son, which were both prolonged and expensive. They lasted five years, with a break of two months, June and July 1916, when Artaud was conscripted into the army. He was allegedly discharged due to his self-induced habit of sleepwalking. During Artaud's "rest cures" at the sanatorium, he read Rimbaud, Baudelaire, and Poe. In May 1919, the director of the sanatorium, Dr. Dardel, prescribed laudanum for Artaud, precipitating a lifelong addiction to that and other opiates.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:53:00 am  
Blogger Inconsequential said...

hmm, i'd say it says nothing through apathy...

Friday, March 23, 2007 8:04:00 am  
Blogger Dr Anthony Donovan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, March 23, 2007 11:12:00 am  
Blogger Dr Anthony Donovan said...

Thanks, CJ. Artaud very underated, as Anthony suggests. Big influence upon Foucault, and a worthy addition to that whole Surrealist art-historical grey-ball. He was unhinged but had great clarity. It was seeing the Gilbert & George show currently at Tate Modern that made me think of him. Like G&G, Artaud was an outsider - areal one, not one of those pretend ones; mentally, socially, and he used that, let's see, status/disposition/affliction as an existential starting point. Like G&G, Artaud knew about absurdity and how useful that is, as a methodology, and how those who avoid confronting it and using it are missing the point in some fundamental sense. CJ, can I say that I sometimes think you think I post somewhat willy-nilly and just hurl out nonsense and near-nonsense images and fractured prose, as part of some undifferentiated quaint Dadaist nod. We all do this to some extent, it might be fair to say. I do use these things, but, as I said previously, there is a plan behind my ejaculations! That said, I trust to and champion G&G's ninth commandment (I think it was), something like 'thou will not always know what thou is doing but thou will do it anyway'. I totally subscribe to this - an in-process, real-time, making-it-up-as-one-goes-along, make-do activity: Life that is. Themes emerge - most often, I feel, because they are given prescence, by being posted. Reactions, in the form of comments, help sometimes, and are welcome always; but for me it is the images and words existence as things which clarifies the situation as a whole thing. I would not be interested in just blogging for its own sake. I see the blog as a thing. Quite Platonic this; Beuysian, too. I'm an unreconstructed Modernist at heart; I believe in the arguments and attitudes associated with that 'movement'. Within that, I hold to a kind of Punk Dadism. I'm learned enough art-historically to know how these things are connected and can be connected, but my artworking is as intuitive as it is academic. It is academic, though. I know my facts! But so what? One has to find a way to be, to live, I feel; grand stuff, but modestly sought. From this flows my own critique of modes of social realism, in artworking, and as a way to see the world and to talk about it, in galleries, at home, in pubs, anywhere. Personally, I see little in supposed 'formal' reality to suggest that what the Dadaists said in 1916 isn't still sharply-valid now. All these touchstones - G&G, Beuys, Dada, and Surrealism, and the likes of Chris Morris, Paul McCarthy, Eno, Chris Marker, Patrick Keiller, and the best of Vic & Bob - happily cling to absurdity and to the seemingly surreal because they know that to do so offers the opportunity to say something more penetrating and meaningful about reality than any half-baked, cloying Ken Loach flic.

I say: how does a Mark Thoms-style comic intervention work as politics? Better, I feel, to use the methods of Chris Morris. He is decidely more political. Thomas is all GCSE-level comment; Morris, meanwhile, works with, what is in effect, philosophy, revealling structures and bringing into focus the bollocks which we all mutely and passively accept everyday.

Trust-funds do make bombs. We are all framed as items in UK PLC. Our leaders are shameless cunts. There's no point just saying this anymore. Hats off to Chomsky and his ilk. But better, I think, to undermine the cunts than to argue on their ground, using the strictures of the media. They are in it together - same schools, narrow social bands, good old backward England, with its nepotism, social inbreeding. When I think of this, though, I think of the film, 'Society', not some piechart on Channel Four News.

Personally, I'm very angry about how shite all this is. But my anger manifests as black comedy; a gallows humour. Growing up in the 1970s, I was told that 2001 would be this amazing free time, of machines, time to think and to learn.

Not so! What a shock, eh?!

Hence logic is found in the following places: Lydon's snear... ie. 'ever feel like you've been cheated?'; in Morris' surrealist, absurdist snear.... 'Jaaaaaaaam...'. Hence: Punk. Hence: a best-I-can-Do-Dada.

Up the Kraftwerkers, toiling in some Lilliputian Koyaanisqatsi; Tiny mound; Frownland/Poundland.

Our leaders are cunts. With Dada in mind, where is our neutral Switzerland?

Friday, March 23, 2007 11:14:00 am  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

i catergorically DO NOT think you do anything willy nilly. i know that everything you do has a purpose. you are the very opposite of me as my sole purpose in life is (it strikes me) from cradle to grave to be a constant stick that prods and pokes for no reason other than i want to.
your academic bent bewilders me as much as it scares me. too be so well educated is frightening. good for all us working class oiks but scary when you are a witless clod faced with an intellectual who can dance circles around you in heady conversations.
oh, i am sure you can just easily float down the pub and make chit chat tere as well (i am not much cop at that either)but i know that everything you do has meaning.
some of what i do does but equally as much doesn't.
you sir, make me feel stupid and, before you jump in all defensive like with a barrage of 'not at all's', not because it is your intent but rather my own estimation of myself. highly intelligent but a witless cur when it comes to anything vaguely intellectual or academic.
sorry if i have given youu the wrong impression. i have HUGE regard for you.

Friday, March 23, 2007 12:03:00 pm  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

PS. the only crticism i would level at you is, and only because i am so unaware of all the clues you leave, is that the 'in jokes type mentallity' is fine if you are the equally high browed and learned st.anthony who understands every thing you do but jerks like me scratch our heads whilst watching all that knowledge fly above us.

Friday, March 23, 2007 12:07:00 pm  
Blogger Dr Anthony Donovan said...

Thanks for your response, CJ. Only sorry I seem to have caused you some upset. That wasn't my intention. Sorry for my evidently awakward prose. Hard to intonate 'wry' into dry comment-box words, but my intention was more lighthearted than it came across. Still, valid points made, I hope. Not for a minute do I or did I think that you are some intellectual lightweight. By the same token, neither do I claim to be or think myself to be an intellectual or artistic heavyweight. I'm just exploring my slice of the universe, is all. Apologies if some of my postings have the feeling of 'in-jokes', as you term them. I see what you are saying; and some of the postings are certainly directed toward a particular friend, yes. The Pig Ignorant series is a case in point. That character began life as a facet of an earlier incarnation of murmurists; being made between my friends, Bill and Dave, and me, up in the North West. I think it was Bill who came up with the name; and the idea of a pig character eating bacon, using that as a metaphor. But it happened, in stages, between the three of us, in an hysterical to and fro. Bill photographed me, as PI, in pig-mask and labcoat; subsequently painting the image, super-realistically as he can, the talented man he is, and kindly giving me the painting as a going-away present. So, I started posted versions of PI for Bill - to give him a chuckle, and because, in moving to Northampton, I missed him. So the blog functioned as that: a homesick part-remedy and a way to make a mate laugh. Then Inconsequential latched onto PI - liking that character in particular. So, the PIs I do now are for Bill and Inc. They are not in-jokes, so much as little asides between, well, friends. Bill is a friend; Inc is a blog-friend. But I like them both. It feelsnice to know they both get something from a new image of PI. So, it's about friends as well as art. Blogging is partly about that for me; though I do not blog to seek friends, I have made a few. My partner, Annie, and I have met up with a few blog friends. That kind of thing, also, might prompt similarly directed posts, with the intention of raising a smile in those quarters. So it goes....

Again, apologies if I seemed terse at all. I just felt that, because of your comments, you might think I was only after being court jester.


Friday, March 23, 2007 7:48:00 pm  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

doc A, please do not appologise. i wasn't offended at all. i know my limitations and hold you and what you do in high esteem. i just feel a little in awe of your thoroughly hard earned and well deserved knowledge and the way you are able to articulate at length so many things.
as i said, i am not thick by any stretch of the imagination and like a lot of rebellious teenage wildlife now in their middle years, i wish that i had listened and learnt more when i had the chance. i still recall my headmaster berating me with the usual diatribe of "leek (my tragic surname)if only you would use that bright brain of yours for learning rather than leading your teachers a wild goose chase".
please, please, please do not think i am in any way offended or cross. i am not. you are one splendid fellow and i value you and your art.

Friday, March 23, 2007 8:44:00 pm  
Blogger Dr Anthony Donovan said...

Thanks for that, CJ. Peace.

If I added a PS, though - and if it didn't look like that tiresome having to have the last word shite - it would be to say I too was that non-listening rebel teen, I too had the same teacherly advice. I messed school up in grand fashion.

We are in the same boat; and that if fine, in my view.

Best wishes.

Monday, March 26, 2007 12:02:00 pm  
Blogger Molly Bloom said...

Excuse me for making a comment here. I've just read (with relish) your comments here. Please may I add something to your debate?

Sometimes I get the references that Dr. A makes to theorists and artists and sometimes I don't. I don't necessarily think that you have to have that prior knowledge to access the art. For me, it is the dark, gallows humour and the juxtaposition of disparate words and images. CJ - I don't think you need to 'get it' every time, that's what great art is, it's what you want to take from it. Someone might focus on the eyes, or the changed images. Sometimes we might focus on the words and the interplay between the puns and the pictures. I think, as long as you enjoy it, you mustn't feel that you have to get any 'in-jokes'.

It always astounds me that people with creative minds and artistic talents put themselves down. CJ - you should think more of yourself mate. Your work is up there with the best. I love it and I know loads of other people do too. Also, some of the fun is in finding out. You made a jump to wiki to find out more. I think that is fab. I do that all the time.

We never stop learning. We never stop exploring. That is the joy of life. I hope you see this comment, both of you, but not sure if you will.

I think you are both amazing. Tis all.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 9:29:00 am  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

molly>>>you are a little star.
a proper little gem.
i sometimes feel inferior and stupid but i expect no sympathy it is really my problem and i shouldn't drop it on anyone else.
thanks for all your sweet comments.
i have a huge ego BUT sometimes, in light of you splendid people who i am learning so much from (just finished cocaine nights by jg ballard and now on book of dave by will self)feel like pond life!!!
thanks again and sorry for making doc a's fantastic site into ME ME ME.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 9:45:00 am  
Blogger Geddy Lee Helium Voice. said...

Molly thanks ... Anthony here, in GLHV alt-guise. In a way, it's good to have exchanges of the kind arranged above. I don't have a problem with something engaged, honest, and constructively-intended. So I welcome that intensity. It can often prompt moving to a more interesting level and can, relatedly, save time if one is headed in that direction anyway. Typed words are weird, I feel. I try to be careful, but it is hard to intonate subtle things using that medium. I am almost always wanting to be comic, but, by the same token, I think this blogging stuff is serious stuff, too. I like this community, and I like to contribute towards it, with my own little slice of self. I think blogging matters. I think it is a 'now' thing that will be remembered in times to come. I think your analysis was and is spot-on, Molly, and I appreciate the interpolation. For the record, I see this as a public forum - so anything said here isn't private by implication. I'd take that material to an email. That said, blogging is essentially a published diary - and I see it that way myself. Always one for ambiguities and farting about on the edges of things, between borders, with muddy hybrids, I like the sliding nature of something simultaneously a bit private and a bit public. Ratifying these two poles is one of the things I like to mess about with in my posting. Hence, in that respect, posting directed stuff - what CJ perceived as in-jokes. Fair enough, I feel, on his part. That's the edge I dangle them over. The structure of this problem is a mainstay in art, actually. It is perhaps an ominpresent problem with all forms of communication, in point of fact; insofar as all meaningful utterances are simultaneously particular and directed and open to generality and generalised reception/interpretation. (A case in point, if you know the reference, is the A6 murder, and it's phrase 'Let him have it'.) English is a weird, gooey language, good for comedy but too inexact for the faultless transmission of plain meaning. Other languages work better, I believe - Turkish, I am told, is effective for logical expressions, but might be less good for comedy. I'll take the comedy any day. Thing is, in taking the comedy - in using English, and in pushing that language, in dangling meaning over the edges of it - one can get into difficulty, be misunderstood, etc. The anatomy of any argument I've ever had or heard has been made up of one misunderstanding after another, one partial reading after another. Before the protagonists know it, they are angry and emotional, whilst unable to recall what started the disagreement in the first place! All I set out to do was comment upon the nature of your comments CJ, and what I deduced from them as your feeling about my work. Great that you realised that my words were meant friendly and constructive. Glad we did not dive into tit for tat blog-wrought-bickering, as I have seen before elsewhere with others!

So hats off to you CJ, for seeing beyond that, and for not thinking I'm just an art-twat with my art-blather art-wanking my way to piss-artistry.

Hats off to you Molly for being as profound and caring as ever.

Thanks both.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 9:34:00 am  
Blogger Geddy Lee Helium Voice. said...

PS. the blog is also a sketchbook. So not all posts are meant as finished things.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 11:44:00 am  
Blogger Molly Bloom said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thursday, March 29, 2007 8:38:00 am  
Blogger Molly Bloom said...

Sorry, too many typos. Yes, I love the fluidity of art too Dr. A or should I call you GH?? I like the way that you can permeate the boundaries between the words and the images and how we can see all sorts of things in what we say, do, write and create. I love it. For me, that is what it is all about. We bounce off each other (I now have an image of me bouncing up and down on a space-hopper for some unknown reason! Lol) and get new ideas. We create meaning from each other. Isn't that fantastic? It takes us off into different directions, sometimes new, sometimes taking us backwards to places we have been before. If you think of some of my music posts, for example, you have often said that it 'takes you back' to places you have been before. For me it is about the new and old, but always about discoveries. You are both wonderful. Keep creating.

Thursday, March 29, 2007 8:41:00 am  
Blogger Molly Bloom said...

Also, by saying that the words and the images are disparate, I'm not saying that they are not carefully thought through. I know that they are. I was trying to say that the discordance is what makes the meaning if that makes sense. I hope it doesxx

Thursday, March 29, 2007 8:42:00 am  
Blogger Geddy Lee Helium Voice. said...

I agree, Molly - and thanks once again for sharing your insights. For me, regarding ratifying accord and discord, the starting point - conceptually - might well be music. I've already thought of problems with that determination; but let's entertain it as a possibility for a moment. The loveliest sounds are those which contain some kind of discordancy - ie. some kind of inner tension. Take a plain C maj triad. Three notes - all white ones: the root, C, a fifth, G, and a major third, E. There's a harmony there. Sounds balanced. But sounds somewhat bland. Now make a Cmajor7th - by adding the major7th in the key of C, which is B. Here, one has added a note only a semitone away from the root. So there's a kind of harmonic clash: discordancy. Usually the root and these risky notes are separated enough across the octaves as to offer only polite clashes. Take a song by Killing Joke. They might use the same root and maj7th, but they are likely to place them closer together across the octaves, probably side-by-side. ie. a semitone apart. So the clash is more brutal, more felt. This is where it starts getting interesting, I feel. All those attitudes and devices occur in the music I like: King Crimson, PIL, Killing Joke, etc. The same attitude to mixing it up occurs in the work of Chris Morris, Gilbert & George, Paul McCarthy - even though they use other materials. It is all messing with reality, though. To continue the music analogy ... add to that root, fifth, maj3rd, maj7th, say, an augmented 4th, or a flattended 5th or 6th, mess about with the placement within the octaves of these notes, and complex and beautiful music can be made; stick within the major scale and one's ears become bored. Same thing, I feel, with all things: art, writing, work, sex, decorating - you name it! Humanbeings are made to search out difference. We love the edges of things. We love to hybridise, to contaminate. That allows us, in turn, to marvel at purity and the stick-to-your-guns attitudes of the purists! We stoke up on complex discord; then love to hear something straight, celebrating its simplicity! Hilarious and awkward we are. Good for us.

Thursday, March 29, 2007 9:03:00 am  

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