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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

=last drawing on the last page of my sketchbook, fittingly=

-finishing a sketchbook can be like saying goodbye to a friend in whose company you've spent 4 or 5 months, traveling, sharing people, places, ideas, and things. It's sad, but you also realize that you've become a little tired of them. It's time to move on. And that means you can start tomorrow on a new journey with page one of a brand new sketchbook.

=a couple of blue cats, one unreal, one less unreal=

=some sketchbook pages=

--a couple of experiments using a "jittery" line, as if my pen were connected directly to my brain by wires and recording my brainwaves so that I'm functioning as a biological ECG machine while I'm drawing/seeing the scene in front of me: a view up 7th Avenue in Park Slope and a street corner on Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, respectively. 

The ultimate notion is to add life to the line, specifically the life of the viewer, to find a drawing line as unique as a personal signature, and also to show the brain's attempt to make sense of the light waves and particles which is the "real" stuff from which our mediated view of the world is built. 

Therefore the line, which is more or less continuous from the beginning of the drawing to the end, is constantly refining the image, leaving the early approximations and distortions intact, which is what I think impart whatever "life" there may be to the image, that being the attempt itself to see it.   

Sunday, September 8, 2013

=happy birthday alfred jarry!=

He was five feet, three inches tall.
Neither of his legs were fake.

He was born on this date (September 8th) 1873.
This happened in Laval, France.
That is 3,637 miles away from Brooklyn, NY.

Because the universe is expanding, Brooklyn, NY was closer to Laval, France at the time of Jarry’s birth than it is now. In fact, everything was a lot closer then to everything else than everything is now. The explanation for the rapid development of mass communication can be found in this ever-increasing alienation of one thing from another. High-speed internet being the latest manifestation of our desperate attempt not to lose touch with each other altogether.

He lived only thirty-four years.
We say “only.”
Many people live much less, maybe two or three years at most after the onset of puberty.

He did not serve on either side in the American Civil War, having been born eight years after its conclusion.

He was, however, in the army (French) but not for long.
His unsuitability for military service became rapidly apparent.
He was, to make a short story about a short man shorter, a disciplinary virus.
If he were allowed to persist among the ranks, armies would be smaller, soldiers, ever an endangered species, would eventually become extinct.

His bicycle: a Clement luxe 96 racing model.
A typical outfit of clothing: full cycling regalia with the addition of porkpie hat and hooded cape.

He was openly homosexual.

He met Oscar Wilde.
He stepped out with Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas.
Did they all three have sexual intercourse? We suspect so.

He was dismissive of women. He thought a woman’s only valuable asset to be her natural submissiveness. Still, his first great patron was a woman, Marguerite Vallette-Eymery, a controversial writer (under the name Radchilde) in her own right, (Monsieur Venus and La Marquise de Sade.)

Jarry to  Marguerite Vallette-Eymery: “Madam. You are an insignificant bundle of atoms clinging together. But we grant you one quality. You do not cling to us!”

His deathbed request: a toothpick.

He kept owls.

He bent forward a lot.

He drank prodigiously: two litres of white wine after waking, three absinthes between 10a.m. and noon, red or white wine with lunch, with more absinthe. Coffee and brandy throughout the afternoon. At dinner: aperitifs and more wine, two more bottles typically.

At the end of his life he drank pure ether.

Question: Did he and Isidore Ducasse, aka Comte de Lautreamont, ever meet?

Answer: No. While Jarry did count Lautreamont as a literary influence and professed admiration for his work, Lautreamont would have  already been dead 10,019 days on the day Jarry was born. It would have been difficult, then, for the two men to have ever met.

Qualification: Due to certain persistent uncertainties and irregularities in the account and record of Ducasse’s death of plague at age twenty-four on April 4, 1846 it is entirely possible that he might have survived his illness and still been alive at the time of Jarry’s birth. For that matter, if he had survived, Lautreamont would only have been 61 at the time of Jarry’s death.

Revised Conclusion: From the aforementioned facts we conclude nothing, definitively, either way.

Therefore: it is entirely possible that the two men met.

He lived for a while with Henri Rousseau.

He died on November 1, 1907 of meningeal tuberculosis.

As of today, Alfred Jarry has been dead 51,135 days.
When you are dead that long, you will be a lot deader than he is now.

Some anecdotes:
He once went to the opera wearing a paper shirt with a paper tie painted on it.

He wore yellow high heels and bicycle racing shorts (badly soiled) to Stephen Mallarme’s funeral.

He practiced his shooting against the side of a neighbor’s house. When the mother who lived there pleaded for the safety of her children, Jarry replied, “Madame, should I accidently kill one of your brood, I should be happy to make some more with you.”

Andre Gide on Jarry’s peculiar manner of speech: “A nutcracker, if it could speak, would sound no different.”

Question: How accurate are these anecdotes?
Answer:   No more or less accurate than most anecdotes.

Question: Is it possible that Jarry is still alive today?
Answer: Yes.

Things Jarry said:
“Blind and unwavering lack of discipline at all times constitutes the real strength of all free men.”

“God is the tangential point between zero and infinity.”

“The work of art is a stuffed crocodile.”

“It is one of the great joys of home ownership to fire a pistol in one’s own bedroom.”

“It is mad to try to express new feelings in a mummified form.”

Things we can be “almost” certain that Jarry didn’t say but not absolutely positive*:
“I wouldn’t miss Ben Stiller in a Focker movie for a million simoleons.”

*Note: Jarry was given to wild bursts of “irrational” utterance not just in his texts but in his personal life as well, not nearly all of the latter having been recorded. These utterances were fueled by an extraordinary imagination as well as the massive ingestion of drugs and alcohol. The point is: he might have said virtually anything. The probability that he might have said the above words either entirely by chance as a form of “nonsense” poetry or in a moment of psychic lucidity or even both is miniscule, one must rationally concede, but, one must concede by the same rationality, not quite zero.