The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

August 28, 2005


Subject: send out around May 14? - Rock essay for website (fwd)
2nd time around 1st time here



Rock


fuck this didn't go anywhere it's not sounded

be fame / Ashley Bickerton was having a show and Mary Boone said to me
that the artists were the rock stars today. Mary Boone was a student of
mine and opened the most famous 80s gallery in Soho and she still has a
gallery. I haven't seen Mary in years. Chris Frantz or was it Franz and
Tina Weymouth were students of mine. Al Wilson was a close friend of mine
until he was Canned Heat, sometimes I hear his goin down the highway or
was it another song I think he was called the owl then. We used to play
together. I tried to play with the Talking Heads when they were The
Artistics or was it the Artistics. Kathy Acker and I made a terrific tape
together. I was on the stage with Bob Dylan at Carnegie Hall but I was
really part of the audience. I knew Son House but not well. David Salle
told me his style wasn't my style or was my style not his style. I'm
desperate for fame, I'm a star fucker. I watched Vito Acconci and Laurie
Anderson swell into greatness and I used to call them Vito and Laurie and
I thought I was in love with Laurie when I was running around with Vito's
ex-wife. Don Munroe or was it Monroe was a student of mine and then ran
Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes on MTV. Nicole Miller the fashion designer
was a student of mine, so was the artist Tyler Stallings and I knew Marvin
Minsky slightly but not well enough to call him Marvin. I met Guattari in
Paris and I might have called him Felix, Mark someone who translated was
also there. I met Trinh Minh Ha and Gayatri Spivak at a friend's house at
different times. But back to the rock stars. My drummer was Rafi Zabor who
later wrote The Bear Comes Home and made a lot of money and got a lot of
attention why he was even on the radio. I heard the Ramones and of course
Talking Heads and Blondie from the very beginning but only the Talking
Heads or The Talking Heads knew me. Rock's got that edge that goes on and
off stage, it's furious, we're all lame walking around programming, it's a
different thing, not even like Coleman Hawkins. I met John Fahey who loved
my playing but didn't take the tape. I knew Bernie Stollman who took both
records. I heard Mel Lyman many times, maybe he had his cult then. Geoff
Muldaur too, but it was mainly Al Wilson. I was backstage at the Newport
Folk Festival with the blues guys. I was a city blues player, whatever
happened to Tim someone who was better but I was wilder. I. A. Richards
liked my freshman year poetry I wrote at Brown University. I lived with
Clark Coolidge and Aram Saroyan, but let's get back to rock, I knew Marty
Mull fairly well. This is the only real there is, the real that takes the
body, that names the body it takes. We're all going there, we're all
wanting furiously to go there, we'd drop everything else in an instant if
the doors were opened. I was within three feet of Janis Joplin at her
cafeteria concert at RISD. I knew a lot of artists but they were artists,
they weren't on stage. I still play guitar faster than anyone I know, but
it's weirder, avant-garde, and no one plays with me, I've gone solo. It's
my axe and I've had gigs. What about Maria Muldaur, she sent chills up
down my spine. I yelled at Derrida, he had a bevy of academia hangers-on
or I'd like to say hanger-ons. But I didn't envy Derrida the way I envied
Tina Weymouth, and I never will. For she had what he'd never had and
couldn't understand, why he'd fall flat trying to have it.

"Is it just a need to make an adolescent dream come true?" Adolescent
dreams are our last _true_ dreams, the furious sexual psycho emotional
onslaught we spend the rest of our lives recuperating. You're _in_ rock,
you're _in_ rockstar mode, or any _music_ mode that devours you. "Is it an
urge to become more pop(ular)?" No, it's got nothing to do with that
_thing_ which is always already elsewhere, that _thing_ that dominates as
you grow older, turns into finance, economy, that _thing_ that becomes a
matter/mass of calculation. It's inside, it's the movement of the body,
the _twitch,_ what happens to the marrow of the bone and mind. "To reach a
greater audience than the (net)art consumers?" To inhere that energy,
injest it, to _move_ with it as a _tree_ moves or a _demon_ moves, to fuck
god, not deny him or her or it, to swallow god, to turn the _thing_
upside-down. "Is it a throw at reintroducing pleasure in art producing?",
its dance is the dance of pleasure-production, it leaves you behind, it's
dragging the body with it, it's tethered to the body, it's exaltation, "Is
it about making the body on the screen?", there's _no body,_ there's no
_body,_ there's no _screen,_ there's no screen _memory,_ there's nothing
at work, there's nothing at play, the words take you away, the words wrest
you from them, "About taking control of the body of the word?", not on
_your life_ when the word grabs you with the knife, when your skin _sears_
Peter's rock, when ecstasy makes you hear and there ready for anything
that comes along, you swallow _anything,_ Jesus, Mary, Muhammed, Buddha,
Marx, you swallow _anything,_ Confucius, Derrida, Bush, idi Amin, Gandhi,
"Is it to escape from the emerging net art production patterns?" but what
patterns when your body can't do but the walk the walk can't do but the
talk the talk, it's not belief, "Is it because we believe 21st century
rock stars will emerge from the net?", it's not cause of belief, it's the
living sound of the world, the sound in which, as in every sound, the
sound in which _matter vibrates,_ in which you can only _hear the things
in the world,_ in which all existence is _the murmur of the world,_ and
you're doing it, you're doing it, you're doing it -

all tied up in star-fuck skein, in fuck-me-you skein, in fuck-you-me
skein, in terror-bombing-paradise skein, is sweet-talking pillow-soft
skein, in folded skein, stretched taut skein, in ready-to-break skein, in
crying-broken skein, in your skein-skin, in her skein-skin, in his
skein-skin,

when _I sing_ my body makes a noise, there's nothing else, just air that
does it, the air that lives me, it's that matter, it's all microsound, the
body's no beginning, no ending, a bridge or a structure, flesh and its
muffled motion, just as a wave is the wave of a grain, just as a particle
is the feel of its wave <

Anyway so is it this, the body/movement/fame/sex/langue/truth/teen/wave no
not at all, it's the plan-out screech-wave, it's the cool theory David
Byrnes wave, I couldn't play with him, I didn't hear the chords, I was
going elsewhere, a total fuckup failure, I wanted _it_ so bad I could
taste _it._

I use laptop, a lot of us do, it projects, you can get into it, sound/
projection, whatever, you can fuck up, you can't fuck up, it's all there,
it's the screen-world, it's confined by your patches, well whatever you've
done to it, whatever you've put _there_

like Diamanda Galas or Gallas how can I remember or Annie being a bad girl
or Clements tilted or the other where Shulgin makes the screen the star
and there's that economics again but it's after the fact, the spectators
are _moving_

There's a big split between construction constructibility, building the
grain-wave, and the flesh devouring, the grain-fuck wave-fuck, but they
cum together when the sound begins

but like when you play your axe and you're moving so fast and you lose
track of your arms your hands your fingers it's just the sound coming out
of you or being you but everywhere, no time to ask

"Why is there being rather than nothing?"

I want to _taste_ it, it's almost always 4/4 time, this constant _cutting_
into time, the other signatures are clever, superfluous, place half here,
half there, begin again, or cut, it doesn't have to be a half, just use
the haft of the axe, cut again, it can't go on forever, you hear around 22
notes/second or play that, of course they're exceptions,

old difference between Lydia Lunch and Janis Joplin living on or in
something spoken or sung

in any case "When you're doing it, you're _doing_ it."

fuck this didn't go anywhere it's not sounded out

(too _male

Art and experiment, vision of the PLAGUE


The IMAGE of three folding wooden rulers, German, millimeter rules:
PLACE these in a triangular configuration: two from the wall down,
one across the endpoints of the two. AS IF these formed an equilateral
triangle, however BROKEN by virtue of the WEIGHT of the wood, the
intrusion of the physico-inert into the virtual-inert of the static
euclidean WORLD.

I do not know or give their LENGTH.

Remnant of memory: Early 1970s Bykert Gallery NY show: collapsed hyper-
cube made from nylon cord - topological accuracy but disrupted per-
ception. The IDEAL held; the perceptual-real, i.e. constructed meaning,
collapsed.

No progress now: This current work represents no progress whatsoever;
the theme is tackled with only the DISTINCTION: the topological is
trivial (a loop) or absent (an irrelevant loop). The MEASUREMENT is
ANALOGIC, the ideal DIGITAL, a world of zero tolerance - well, perhaps
analogic as well.

Can this be? A zero-tolerance analogic world? A wave-equation collapse
or even rounding-off - that REWRITES the digital, INSERTS IT as
permanent markers? Or rather, perhaps it is the zero-tolerance digital
world that REWRITES and analogic, REINSERTS within the analogic.

What of this REWRITE? I have often said: I write myself into existence.
I write myself out of existence. And ONLINE? See early Internet Text,
Nettext sections: Existence is equivalent to CONTINUOUS REWRITE; when
insertion ends (and this is insertion THROUGH the mediation of digital/
analogic means INTO the analogic WETWARE of the perceiving SUBJECT),
MEANING begins.

The ANALOGIC measurement of the rulers, with WEIGHT and problematic or
rough TOLERANCE, is the measure of MEANING as well, coupled with the
idealized MIRRORING of the digital within the analogic (as if the
analogic were a cast-off of the digital, or as if the digital were a
cast-off of the analogic).

The rulers, in their UNGAINLY stance, are a source of DIS/COMFITURE or
the DIS/EASE of GRAVITY. A straight-line bending, inconceivable! The
misplacement of tolerance: Unforgivable!

Yet this is what we are confronting in our cultural-political world
today: digital laissez-faire and the bending of the analogic, as RULES,
not rulers, are bent to meet every contingency: Let us, for example,
over-develop this nation, these wetlands, this war, in the guise of the
ABSOLUTE - of freedom, of god, of Capital. As with the Procrustean
Bed: Cut off what doesn't fit! Purify at all costs! In this regard, the
future is always already cleared, cleansed, and ready for action.

(All development is over-development or under-development.)

Back in the Gallery: I will gather the rulers, take them with me across
the United States, sleeping, measuring only the unease of dreams. Four
of them, found in a small second-hand shop in Copperton, Utah, next to
the Bingham Copper Mine excavation, the largest human-made scar on the
face of the earth. Next time, the plague.

Generated by Mnemosyne 0.12.