William James Austin

visionism 4 /

de-form-I--is-m, technocraticals, & the house on fire

fire and smoke.  unlocked in the (k)not of whirl. into out of form. structural dissolution

the vision burns off its endowment. what do I see that is constant? not the objects of space. not history or its language. nothing I feel

to deviate is to de-form, and the deformative accounts for all things. never a matter of simple discovery and registration. rather speed in space/time, with its heels dragged screaming across the ether. eee-motions that move like rockets, sparking some distant, unfathomable destination. obsessive deviation, from pattern to pattern, within the pattern. where there is motion the construct cannot hold, un-making itself in every making moment. every form of-in I (eye). I (eye) of-in every form. to "see" the (w)hole. to seek it out. the language of myth. the myth of language. the shape-shifting fire as the signature no-body. its center without form. its production smoke

in art, as in politics, innovation is always individual, always the deviant gesture. harmony a sweet notion, but bogus. the collective marks a scattering that dreams of consonance. there is only the individual, the fracturing, the one of ones. no uni-form. group aesthetics bah! to universalize is to stagnate. creativity means perversion. I and I

in the past, mystery insured this mission of exploration, this ongoing deflection from the abyss-mal. hamlet's failed homecoming but one example. his resolution as myth, as story, as play. likewise the "essentialist" imagination of coleridge's remaking, remarking -- remaining therefore without the essential OTHER - de-pressed, forming and de forming. picasso too who traced the crevices of both psyche and body - looking for what? - what else but broken seams and hinges, their gathering/dispersal, from all perspectives at once, of his desire. what is it he dreams? the fracturing. the lost love

but much has changed. digital culture fears the dark, preferring instead a passive acceptance of replication, of endless duplication. polyvalence terminated. techno-valence -- the exposition of tools, implements, utensils, doohickeys, doodads, gizmos and thingamabobs -- rules. even the organs of sexual pleasure have been re-imaged as mere gadgets, pharmaceutically enhanced, for no other purpose than that they work. in the case of poetry we are left with little else besides display. of what? merely the DNA functionality of language, the mechanics of language, its ability to clone its operations from any and every point of its system. efficient factory output. linguistic navel-watching

the trend is to ignore art altogether, or nearly so, and admire instead its work-station. but poetry cannot tolerate an even-up exchange for philosophy, or for linguistics, though it may unfold on the rim of these disciplines (the most potent art, historically, does). no, the poetry that moves us, that sets us in motion, con-verges not on the materiality of mechanisms, but rather on the desire which both effects these linkages and is made meaningful as desire by them. desire housed nowhere else but in the individual which itself is both the seer of the system and its product, site (sight), legend, story. the dream conceals its nuts and bolts, certainly. but it remains (w)hole as the hub of deformation centering our lives -- spectral and sensate, traced as its aftertaste -- the self-dream, the love dream, the art-dream

russian formalists did it. futurists did it. l=a=n=g=u=a=g=e poets have doodled it. even picasso claimed that in order to know the real, we must first be taken out of it. good for them. but our continuing obsession with de-familiarization has become a rigidity, an exercise in outmoded subterfuge, assuming as it does a conventional distinction between the ordinary and extraordinary. these days it is the world of common perception that appears most strange and least familiar. we believe, for example, the printed version more substantial than its computer image. yet we name this palpable a "hard copy." the real as imitation of the unreal. cds/dvds apparently document a performance, but the instruments rarely engage one another. they are recorded separately, track over track. sham performance anxiety. the document a simulation of a simulation of a non-event. this surfeit of media images has redefined who we are or, more specifically, has engineered the reversal of who we are and the replica of who we are. even this is not quite accurate, since "reversal" suggests a division between elements that is no longer in play. we have entered the mirror. the image of reality reflects the reality of the image. it makes little sense to label this or that writing "obscure" since nothing skulks below the surface. there is only surface. what is left over to de-mystify? who are we, really? who knows? the triumph of the modern age that we are, finally, myth without endorsement, rooted in nothing

clearly old distinctions, however make-believe, no longer function. they have been erased. what, after all, is meant, projected, produced? merely the indicator's employment of itself. yet even this slurs comprehension since, if by virtue of the collapse of sign and reference -- of the deletion of a shared borderline -- no distinction obtains (the medium as message), then the signifier ceases to exist as a conveyer of anything whatsoever. its function no longer to serve as transport from point a to point b, but rather to vacate its own identity as a sign. a sign of what? for what? for its own inability to signify

what gets advertised, of course, is a cool snoop into language's inner life, a revelation of how lingua constructs, manipulates, cons. truth? fiction? both? neither? what is witnessed? an unfolding of language's functions, or the eradication of them? does the work offer a return? or do we find ourselves merely intrigued by the grind of mechanisms, without intensity, without feeling -- without, finally, anything like ideational trajectory? the reader (if such a creature still exists) reduced to the status of, at best, technical assistant or, at worst, gaping onlooker

reduced to this: a burlesque of language pre-production -- man/woman exchanged for the industry of chromosomes -- what art means when meaning is deflected -- what poetry feels like when it feels nothing -- what life is like in the absence of life. we think ourselves free, at last, from solitary anguish -- from gravity's oppression, from profundity's weight, from mystery's obstructions and disappointments

house on fire. no freedom from that. the man-god eliot pronounced his severe division between art and life, i.e., between myth and human experience: "only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things" ("Tradition and the Individual Talent"). nonsense. there can be no division between art and life. life is art. art is life. air within air. language, we should all get by now, conceptualizes everything for us, as us, including personality, emotion, eating, shitting, and the old in and out. we live nowhere else but within myth, as myth. poetry cannot separate itself from itself. or rather, as ongoing deviation, it both disintegrates and is re-arrested at every turn of its being. each turn a re-turn. every notation mytho-logical

something is missing. let's see. language the birthplace of humanity, right? our mother tongue? exiled as myth we nevertheless yearn for our homecoming. language desires this deformation. language, as us, desires. what OTHER beside language, or below? the animal? we track our sensations, our passions, therein. but we are not at home. the OTHER cannot be known. life/language, apart from the mythology of experience, cannot be known. knowledge cannot separate itself from itself. poetry cannot survive its own death

so where's the payoff? do we exchange art for technique, abandon our empty traps, settle instead for the comfort zone of our own mechanisms as subject-matter? where is the adventure, the threat, in that? where is the comedy, the tragedy, the beauty? yes, beauty -- that bittersweet blend of gain and loss. I an appliance of language. but I am also its dream, its story, its speed-flash and cry, and it is mine. I (eye) a-part from the OTHER. but the chase, its hollow heart, gives something back -- an idea, an emotion -- that blinks over dark the love-fear of deformation, and so of life and death -- that imagines to disrupt the barrier between this isolated I (eye) and whatever god of nothing lurks unadorned, unconcerned, unfettered on the other side of failure, on the other side of everything

house on fire                [home]                smoke

desire. to re-cover what is lost. a nostalgia for the future. visionism up to its metaphors in it. art is meant to make us feel. it is not an escape from emotion. it is an escape into emotion. and shit, we need it bad. synchronized to digital screens, lovers as maps of broken signifiers, the image without reference, without bowels, we have come to believe, once again, in a flat world. not too far from the truth -- not very far at all

     far enough

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