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Sunday, 18 April 2010

At the Life Opera


Marcel  Duchamp Fresh Widow 1920, replica 1964

Fresh Widow: Marcel Duchamp, 1920; replica, 1964 (Tate Collection)

Can one make works that are

Not "of" art?

Fresh Widow / French window

Painted light blue

With black leather "panes" so that

At the life opera

All day it's night

File:Solar eclips 1999 4.jpg

Total solar eclipse, France: photo by Luc Viatour, 1999

This progress we feel ourselves to be making in the life opera is also a regression an illusion

For as our brilliantly appointed gypsy wagon proceeds along the predetermined course of this track

Inside the enormous administered industrial Trumanshow opera house of history

We eventually return to its starting point

Having traversed every part of the track

Without ever encountering an edge in a work of art

File:Möbius strip.jpg

A Möbius strip: image by David Benbenick, 2005

Conditions of existence inside this great theatre or opera house were initially fixed

As it remained closed off from the ebb and flow of life outside its walls

Making it appear a safe and logical location for laying down the gypsy wagon tracks

But with time certain inconsistencies began to creep into the tracking system

Due to the hasty rounding off of numbers in computation as human fatigue set in

And these errors rendered longterm prediction of the exact course the careening gypsy wagon might take

All but impossible, yet still we rattled on, happy, unawares

File:Lorenz attractor yb.svg

Plot of Lorenz attractor (icon of chaos theory): image by Wikimol, 2006

Tinkerbells of chaos

Heavyweights in our imagination

In reality light as feathers

Dancing on the heads of pins

(Our own)

And there is in this lightness for us great consolation in this lightness there is our gypsy joy

For from emptiness comes the unconditioned

And from the emptiness of our sagesse arises stillness

And in stillness is joy

Action and non-action emanate from us in the same moment


Feather structure of Blue-and-Yellow Macaw (macro): photo by Jörg Groß, 2009


Tinkerbell: partial frame of wallpaper from Disney Hadas (Disney Latino version of Disney Fairies): image by Lord Opeth, 2010

For the spectator even more than for the artist

Art is a drug

That creates addiction

No one wants to be hurt by a work of art

File:John L. Sullivan1.jpg

John L. Sullivan, heavyweight champion: cigarette advertising card, 1886: image by Ivo Shandor, 2007

File:Tinkerbell map.png

Tinkerbell map (chaotic attractor), discrete-time dynamical system: image by Claudio Rocchini, 2006

A styrofoam sugarcube

And a marble sugarcube

Falling through infinite space

Have exactly the same weight

The birdcage full of sugarcubes floats before us

This tickling feeling this sense of irritation what is it

Works of art do to us

We could worry over it until the end of our nights and days

And nothing would ever change

For we will always remain over here where we are

And works of art will always remain over there in eternity

So why not sneeze and see what happens

Why not sneeze Rrose Sélavy (Pourquoi ne pas éternuer)?: Marcel Duchamp, 1921 (Walter Arensberg Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art


Solar eclipse: photo by Javichu el jefe, 2007




A beautiful unfolding of 'things' (words/pictures) along the track here, from one 'click' to the next. Night then day, one side of the Mobius strip then another, shadows then light then shade. . . .


silver edge of sun in branches above ridge,
golden-crowned sparrow calling oh dear me
in foreground, waves sounding in channel

acts of perception possible,
to bring into picture

stands in shadow, this “and,”
is only a consequence

line of cloud in pale blue sky above point,
sunlit green slope of ridge across from it

Curtis Roberts said...

This is exquisite. The firm and sure descriptions of the biggest uncertainties (and is anything more uncertain than what will actually follow a sneeze?); the procession and architecture of the images. Historians and critics with the best intentions have regularly trivialized and denatured the ready-mades in their descriptions as well as in their praise. I suppose they do sort of defy description. But I think you’ve done for the ready-mades what you did for Bellmer the other day. You’ve given them speaking voices, the ones they’d probably use backstage at the life opera. They’re famous actors, of course, but serious artists also. They want to be understood.

TC said...

Stephen, Curtis,

Many thanks to you both for conducting the evening (well, mine anyway) into the post-desire path from within whose hidden windings and turnings seemed to emanate the slightly off-key motif of this modest opera for three voices... or maybe it was just the screws turning once again, deep within the battered old old house, groaning as the next low bears in...?