From a 1993 group show, these three posters by Richard Hydal provide a note of defiance to the show's title: I Love You But You're Dead.

As someone concerned with HIV we must not fall into the stereotypes and cliches of AIDS. As artists, we need to look at how we represent AIDS. We must ask who constructs the crisis and why such a construction is formed at such a time and at such a place. You must question and reject the various crisis mentalities constructing AIDS around or within you!

The very notion of 'crisis' in the context of AIDS raises critical questions about the politics of representation. Apart from headlining the epidemic, making it horrific news on par with wars and stock market crashes, what has the term 'crisis' done to organize our perceptions of the syndrome and it[s] cultural impact? How has it constructed AIDS for us without having to think about it? We can all perceive that AIDS has been used to articulate profound social fears and anxieties, into a dense web of racism, patriotism and homophobia. It is this web, spun out of words sticky with blood lust, contempt, hatred and hysteria, which hangs across the entire media industry of the western world and within us all.

As someone who sees the global development of the disease represented to me I ask why is no one telling me the end is not near! That what we have here is a chronic manageable disease!


And with these bleeding colours and words, we revisit that tombstone:

The mourning is carried over into the fight for the living.

And so for day 2013

Nexus: between seed and fruit

"Take back the fruit: public space and community activism" is about the "Fallen Fruit" project in Los Angeles.

The description of the project leads to a question:

But who is the public? This question is at the core of Fallen Fruit. One way we like to frame this question is to suggest that the public is the nexus between those who have access to resources and those who do not.
The city has a policy of not planting fruit trees, though they will tend established fruit trees in public space (since their mandate is to keep the city as green as possible). The primary reason they cite, and not without justification, is the litter problem: fruit fall to the ground and end up feeding the city's unstoppable rodents. Thus the choice to plant a public fruit tree entails a commitment to its care and harvesting, so that the fruit will be an asset and not a liability to the neighborhood in which it grows.
Published in Food Alphabet City 12 edited by John Knechtel.

And so for day 2012

Rest and Replay

The dust jacket is shiny blue. Inside the book has a red cover. It seemed all blue to me in memory. It appears that sea of blue had a moon reflected in waves — all a blur to me — I was concentrating on the title words and the background — the title actually bisects the image making it a challenge to see it whole.

We consolidate memories mostly when we are either at rest or asleep, because these are the quieter times when we are not processing any new external events. […] Spontaneous replaying tendencies at rest have a second set of implications. Both our ordinary leaps of creative intuition and extraordinary peak experiences usually occur during pauses. Each requires an extra, dynamic ingredient, not just he mere replaying of a problem long incubated but still unsolved. Novel closures often means that some new item or motive source of energy has closed the information gap. Instantly, large networks shift into brand-new configurations.
James H. Austin. Zen-Brain Reflections

And so for day 2011

Making Room

Lisa Robertson. Thinking Space

There is a series of rooms. Each room frames a table, a book, and an opening to the outside—an aperture of some sort. At times they may be called studies or observatories or libraries but they are only rooms. Each has shaped a research.
This is the bold pared-down opening. Towards the end she quotes Carlyle and asks us to consider the "description of the study of the disappeared Herr Teufeldröckh".
It was a strange apartment; full of books and tattered papers and miscellaneous shreds of all conceivable substances 'united in a common element of dust.' Books lay on tables and below tables; here fluttered a sheet of manuscript, there a torn handkerchief, or a nightcap hastily thrown aside; ink bottles alternated with breadcrumbs, coffee-pots, tobacco-boxes. Periodical literature, and Blücher Boots.
Frame and framed. Flow and channel.

And so for day 2010

Just My Cup of Tea: Typography

The Ceylon Tea Bureau, now known as the Sri Lanka Tea Board broadcasting its presence at Pure Ceylon Tea.

These elegant information leaflets are here represented by the second, third and fourth in the set. I like the layout — plenty of white space and pleasing to the eye. Also smart is the "anytime is tea time" logo with its stylized moon and sun.

And so for day 2009

Repurposing Rites

There is a certain thrill in hollowing out a framework and replacing its content. The form serves another purpose. Take for instance the six rights regarding the administration of nursing which can be adopted and generalized to communication situations. (

Right Drug
Correct message
Right Dose
Correct number of instances of the message(s)
Right Resident
Correct audience
Right Route
Correct mode
Right Time
Correct time
Right documentation
Correct metadata
Of Drugs, Messages and Time suggests "Exercises that enable students to conceive of themselves as creators and as custodians and as commentators flow from the observation and description of transactions. "

The method can be applied to other areas such as this take on Christian sacraments:
Mon, April 4, 2005


Your recent post and comments on the Catholic Church got me thinking of sacraments. They seem to be signs of the incarnation which I relate in some history of ideas fashion to the socialist value placed on labour as making the world.

Norman Pittenger in the entry from the Encyclopedia Americana writes:
All Christians, except the Society of Friends, have accepted baptism and the Eucharist as sacraments "generally necessary to salvation," in the sense that their use is the normal way to admission to and participation in, the benefits of Christ [...] Catholic Christianity in both eastern and western forms, has said there are five other rites, of a sacramental nature, which may properly be called sacraments. These are confirmation, marriage, absolution or penance, holy orders or the rite of setting-apart for the ministry, and unction or the anointing of the sick or dying.
In what might be a heretical move for a believer, I have had fun mapping these 7 sacraments onto the work of the literary critic or the life of an academic [or an organic intellectual].
a naming -- I am a reader
I have not read everything; I desire to read more; there are somethings I have read; there are somethings I do no wish to read
I belong to a body of readers; their confessions are similar in form to mine but they take different objects (they've seen flicks I haven't and would never want to view movies that I would gladly watch thrice over)
degrees -- marks of accreditation not to be confused with peer recognition
Holy Orders
not the same as taking vows to become a mendicant Franciscan or a contemplative Carmelite; taking up the activity of professing; an organic intellectual would be a teacher of some sort able to hear confession and dispense absolution and solemnize marriages
the publication of "offspring" recombinant memes
Last rites
Archiving, donating and otherwise disposing of cultural artefacts; the bodies of the community readers don't seem to require this rite; the reader it appears does not need last rites... extreme unction, perhaps. Last rites would be like writing dust jacket blurbs that call out to readers ... reading will change your life. From this perspective all the sacraments seem to tend to an anointing of the sick and the dying.
In the Church of Literature, every act of reading is a self-anointment: the reader comes to occupy the position of both minister and ministered.

The sacraments so transposed seem to invoke the Benedictine rule, ora et labor, and recall the workings of a meeting where waiting upon the spirit to move through the friends gathered in silence.
Could it be that the paths opened up by Vatican II have allowed many ex-lapsed Catholics (who are never going back) to take the lessons of their catechism and live lives patterned on the sacraments? Would they not be people who have considered that the Anglican Book of Common Prayer states "The unworthiness of the minister hindereth not the sacraments" for these are "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace" and not so much moved on as adapted the form to a new reading?
Living in ceremony; writing in ritual; reading in carnival.

McSweeney's 31 devoted to the refurbishing of old forms has a consuetudinary done by Shelley Jackson in which we read:
Reading takes place in the past—you have to raise the dead to recall where we started. The word of sits up, shaking off damp clods and cobwebs, the rises in turn, raising a skeletal arm; and structure points a juridical finger. Of course, all looking is looking into the past, as de Selby has shown, but the special kind of looking that is reading permits a look further back than ordinary looking, without mirrors or telescopes. Thus reading was not just an intimation of her further interest in the dead, but a form of First Contact, albeit unrecognized as such. What, after all, is a ghost? It is an inanimate object or substance—a parch of cold air, a light that comes and goes, a gelatinous blob growing in the basement—that is endowed with some of the properties of intelligent life, but not all. It bears the imprint of the thoughts and desires of someone long gone.

And what is a book?

Consuetudinary of the Word Church, or the Church of the Dead Letter
The editors of McSweeney's rightly preface this pastiche with the reminder that "Read today, consuetudinaries provide invaluable insight into the longstanding traditions of a lifestyle closed off from the outside world." Ivory tower?

And so for day 2008

Backlist Item - Sold Out

Here is the description of the book from a scene with Marilyn Simonds in conversation with Hugh Barclay from Gutenberg's Fingerprint. They are examining all the books published by Thee Hellbox Press

Every book is different in size and shape and colour. A range of genres is represented: poetry, memoir, essays, fiction. It's had to grasp a binding thread through all these Hellbox books, in either form or content.


I pick the top book off the pile, turn to the first page, and read aloud: "The old chief who made us welcome in English and then offered prayer in the soft poetic tongue of the Ojibwa radiated a concern for the future and the past of the North American Indian."

Hugh leans across and flips forward to an illustration of a warrior that seems to dance across the page. "I wanted to show the dynamics of the powwow, a bit of the dance," he says. "So I carved three images and over-printed them in progressively fading colours."
The book in question was the first produced by Thee Hellbox Press in 1983. It is entitled A Letter to Teresa. It was produced in a limited edition of 72 numbered copies.

And so for day 2007

Patterns, Rhythms,

First the injunction:

The structural theme must be conceived dynamically, as a pattern of forces, not an arrangement of static shapes.

Rudolf Arnheim, Entropy and Art: An Essay on Disorder and Order
From force to actant:
In 1968, Barthes pointed out that the Proustian narrator is not the person who has seen or felt, nor even the person who writes, but rather he who is going to write.

Jean Frémon "Delta" in Proustiennes translated by Brian Evenson. "Delta" is the final section of Proustiennes.
The opening conclusion, appeal to the reader:
[The concluding sentences to "Delta" and to the book recall the chapter/section on calculating à la Leibniz the ultimate finite number of books and then the necessity of repetition.]

In dreams, in books, in pieces of music, in paintings, in the beings what we love, as on hiking trails, there are sometimes, scattered, signs of gratitude such as compose the traveler's joy. They are fleeting, like sand, unstable, like sand can be, innumerable… They attest to the presence of something else, as do the shadows that reveal what's in the light, as do the efforts of the dead who haunt the living.
[Before this is] "The Traveler's Joy the English call the climbing viburnum because its presence on the hedges lining a road signals that you are approaching a hamlet."

For "hamlet" read "home". Always approaching. Hear hameau. Always approached. Approach.

And so for day 2006

Led by the Nose

Cleverly designed ephemera.

There's a twinkle in the eyes from some small cutout triangles and of course there's the nose inviting the reader to open the card to get at the words in a script as if written by hand.

And the double play with the puns in both French and English (announcing a German book fair): "Nose out a good story", " Ve-nez donc voir".

"3.000 books and magazines from 500 publishing houses" — in case you read the back before opening… now ya knowz.

And so for day 2005

Synth Perv

Top right corner, green ink, partial underline: probably indicates the topic: synesthesia.

Green highlight of a paper by Peng Yi with Latin phrase (Litterae Pervversae) in the title; right margin inscription: Peversity [sic] & Synesthesia.

Long line down the edge of the page in same green ink.

Green line terminates in bibliographic information inscribed in blue. [Listen to Shape and Warm is a Circle]

The whole page looks like a table top for moving pieces.

A Boolean search for "perversity" AND "synesthesia" nets:
An intensive trait starts working for itself, a hallucinatory perception, synesthesia, perverse mutation, or play of images shakes loose, challenging the hegemony of the signifier. In the case of the child, gestural, mimetic, ludic, and other semiotic systems regain their freedom and extricate themselves from the "tracing," that is, from the dominant competence of the teacher's language—a microscopic event upsets the local balance of power.
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

Set as an epigraph to "Introduction: Cinema and the Affective-Performative" in Deleuze and the Cinemas of Performance: Powers of Affection: Powers of Affection by Elena del Rio
I now return to note how the individual events/papers are packaged in sessions:
  • Plenary Session
  • Cultural Relativism and Conflicts
  • Problematic Identies
  • Inscriptions of Identities
  • Chinese Women in the West
  • Intercultural Contacts
All under the rubric of the 14th ICLA Congress of a Tuesday morning in Edmonton in 1994.

That many of these are concurrent sessions makes me think of time. And enter Sarah Perry with After Temporality, a piece on chronesthesia at RibbonFarm:
Linear temporality (time as a sequential series of experiences) and chronesthesia (time as many simulations of past and future) are not conflicting models. Rather, they are deeply interlocking models that constantly construct each other. They are both illusions, though the way in which they are illusions is different. However, they are both highly functional, and the ways in which they are functional are complementary.
She uses the experience of shopping via a grocery store to illustrate the concepts at play and through this she underscores the opportunities for mental time travel: "I think it’s interesting how much mental time travel is involved in crushingly mundane activities."

And one more point: "Interestingly, there is evidence that remembering the past and imagining the future are not opposites, but expressions of a unified underlying capacity."

And so for day 2004