Revisiting a Neighbour

Kim Kutner used to be a neighbour. A very pleasant neighbour she was. I am lucky to have some of her bookwork. I have discovered that she has since branched out to work in fabric. Some of her art is viewable at Kim's Suitcase and in a Flicker stream.

I still treasure a tiny book Rachel Wholebloom's Coming of Spring (1995) It is hand lettered and stitched. It's a gem.

I am particularly fond of a particular page because of where the narrative focalization chooses to rest its gaze. It's a unique perspective, there for just a moment, and the page turns and the story moves on and we are never to dwell upon "Rachel's middle hair parting". The image is exquisite because the reader is also parting with this instant of the story as the page turns.
[Rachel is in a video store. You, gentle reader, may remember those.]

She chose something she
had heard about, something
that looked familiar, something
advertised in an old newspaper
she had been rereading. She
took the video to the counter.
The clerk a man in his mid-
forties, smiled a gold toothy
smile as his eyes fell on
top of Rachel's middle hair
There is something iconoclastic about this little book. Although there are illustrations, none depict our protagonist. We are left to imagine her. All through telling details are told and tiny pictures are shown: the rubber boots, the city bus ride, the toast, the video cassette, and of course the buds beginning to open. Like the coming of spring an image forms of Rachel Wholebloom.

I, in holding the book, remember a good neighbour and wish her well wherever she may now be — somewhere where springtime comes cutting a pretty caper.

And so for day 1437

Lucent Lunacies

At the heart of stasis is repetition. À l'image-temps.

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs


A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs
This is what having seen the loop of planes crashing into skyscrapers has revealed again — there is a standing still in the jetztzeit. For us, finding Benjamin's notion in the repeated lines Archibald MacLeish's Ars Poetica.

How very interesting about the punctuation (or lack thereof). In the anthology The Imagist Poem edited by William Pratt, the lines quoted above from "Ars Poetica" have no punctuation marks at line ending. This for me lends more of the arresting effect when the identical lines are re-encountered in the reading. However, the Poetry Foundation serves a version from the Collected Poems 1917-1982 (copyright 1985) which version groups the stanza in sections and offers variant punctuation.
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind—

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.
The Poetry Foundation also offers a facsimile of its publication in the June 1926 edition of Poetry magazine where the lines are punctuated differently (and no grouping of the stanzas) …
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs;


A should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.
Pratt included in the Imagist anthology a version from Collected Poems by Archibald MacLeish 1917-1952 (copyright 1954).

So my stasis-as-repetition comment rests on but one version of a poem that exists in multiple versions. One tiny moment caught in the aperture of criticism.

And so for day 1436


Roland Barthes
Empire of Signs
trans. Richard Howard

"The Interstice" is about food preparation (tempura) and makes reference to the Branch of Salzburg. Which is a reference to Stendal on the crystallization of love.

In the summer of 1818 Stendhal took a recreational trip to the salt mines of Hallein near Salzburg with his friend and associate Madame Gherardi. Here they discovered the phenomenon of salt “crystallization” and used it as a metaphor for human relationships. "In the salt mines, nearing the end of the winter season, the miners will throw a leafless wintry bough into one of the abandoned workings. Two or three months later, through the effects of the waters saturated with salt which soak the bough and then let it dry as they recede, the miners find it covered with a shining deposit of crystals. The tiniest twigs no bigger than a tom-tit’s claw are encrusted with an infinity of little crystals scintillating and dazzling. The original little bough is no longer recognizable; it has become a child’s plaything very pretty to see. When the sun is shining and the air is perfectly dry the miners of Hallein seize the opportunity of offering these diamond-studded boughs to travellers preparing to go down to the mine."
Stendhal (1822). On Love. New York: Penguin Books
A different selection from the Stendal source, crystallized around the branch of a French Wikipedia article and with a link to an optical scan of a 1906 edition.
C'est dans le chapitre 2 de De l'amour, intitulé « De la naissance de l'amour », qu'il décrit les étapes par lesquelles l'amoureux pare l'être aimé de toutes les qualités, certaines imaginaires : « Aux mines de sel de Salzbourg, on jette dans les profondeurs abandonnées de la mine un rameau d'arbre effeuillé par l'hiver ; deux ou trois mois après, on le retire couvert de cristallisations brillantes (…) Ce que j'appelle cristallisation, c'est l'opération de l'esprit, qui tire de tout ce qui se présente la découverte que l'objet aimé a de nouvelles perfections »
And so via Barthes and throwing a branch into the salt mines of the World Wide Web we capture the crystal of a reference to Gallica and its publicly-available treasures from the Bibliothèque nationale de France which into its search engine we throw "tempura" and become acquainted with the traces of French acquaintance with Japanese cuisine.

And so for day 1435


word image text - be mindful of the order

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum wrote (March 11, 2005) under the title "Being Read" a brief blog entry on the reviews to his "The Word as Image in an Age of Digital Reproduction" which has been published in Eloquent Images

In the comments I speculate…

It seems that in some fashion there is a lucid dream at work in the writing. It is a dream of parsing. A dream that unites the realms of production and reception, that plays with the fluid identities to which [Johanna] Drucker points. In the field of resistance and rapture that the electronic form of word, image, text, graphic engender, parseable pixels exist and are manipulable. But as in the classic dreamwork of Freudian psychoanalysis, the parseable pixel is neither a word nor an image yet it is inherently textual. The parseable pixel functions almost like computing's unconscious. Almost like a hint of irreducible materiality as the other face of textuality. Almost at most.
only just struck me that dreams are parseable too

And so for day 1434

Circling the Scan

This intriguing illustration appeared in a booklet put out by Worldstage at Harbourfront Centre. The design reminds me of the organizational development charts that track the factors at play in good institutional interaction. This isn't that.

It is almost unreadable on paper due to the colour bleed from blue to purple and from the selection of the type. Scanning however proves wonderful.

Here is the whole view.

And now the elements orbiting the centre core.
And the core

Intrapersonal, Ecological, Political, Personal, Cultural

And so for day 1433

Kiwi Attitudes

On engagement:

"typically at the core of the their motivation is a wish for their ideas to prevail"

State Services Commission. The Policy Advice Initiative: Opportunities for Management. (Wellington, New Zealand, 1993; rpt. 1995). page 41.
On detachment:
"analysts need to internalize the value of mobilising knowledge held by many, and that displaying advice to robust scrutiny is a good practice."

State Services Commission. The Policy Advice Initiative: Opportunities for Management. (Wellington, New Zealand, 1993; rpt. 1995). page 45.

And so for day 1432

Realms of the Real

Kant. Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals. Translated by Lewis White Beck. P. 55, n. 17.

Teleology considers nature as a realm of ends; morals regards a possible realm of ends as realm of nature. In the former the realm of ends is a theoretical idea for the explanation of what actually is. In the latter it is a practical idea for bringing about that which is not actually real but which can become real through our conduct and which is in accordance with this idea.
Somehow this mapping of a realm of ends from the actual to the possible may be a way of broaching the appearance of the "force" entity in the possible world semantics of fiction as explained by Doložel (See Heterocosmica: Fiction and Possible Worlds). Needs some thought but there is something here to consider about a relation between actual and fictional: the real.
Doležel places discussion of these felicity conditions and performatives under the heading "World Construction as Performative Force". World construction is inflected towards questions of authority and authentification.

It is the characterization of a process, world construction, in terms of force that attracts my attention. I am intrigued by this aspect of the model. And I recall earlier in the monograph, a certain tension between the chronological and the logical is played out in the presentation of force as entity and its appearance in the catalogue of entities in the construction of a world. In a "starter terms" section, Doležel introduces first a world of states "where nothing changes, nothing happens". Then appears the nature force as a new entity and the result is that "[w]e have now constructed a dynamic world, where changes orginate in one, inanimate source." Finally, "[i]n the third stage, the world is augmented by a new category, the person". (Doležel 32)

Possible Intersections - Poeticity, Theatricality, Narrativity
Would it be possible to mediate the move from "force" to "person" via Kant?

And so for day 1431


word route or math path

lotto = taxed dreams
biodestiny = you die
And so for day 1430

Abstractable Time Lines

Seymour Chatman. "What Can We Learn from Contextual Narratology?" Poetics Today 11:2. p. 312

[Chatman is arguing against an undermining the discourse-story distinction.]

All that narratology argues is the difference between the act of telling (or showing) and the object told, and between their different temporal orders. All that it presumes is that these time-orders are abstractable for discussion.
This distinction, for me, can be considered as one of the theory-building primitives (as in not developed or derived from anything else) of systems of interpretation. I tend to think that such a split is not merely a feature of story telling but also a metadiscursive dimension of language applicable to other contexts:
As demonstrated by Émile Benveniste in his essay "Sémiologie de la langue", the sign system of verbal language possesses not only a communicative function, it exists also in a relation of interprétance to other semiotic systems. He links the metalinguistic element of verbal language to its ability to form interpretative relations between semiotic systems.
Whatever is presented is open to interpretation: analysable.

And so for day 1429

Cinema Capturing Chance: Constructing the Event

From the 1995 English Institute Conference, Language Machines (1997) Editors Jeffrey Masten, Peter Stallybrass & Nancy J. Vickers, in which appears Mary Ann Doane, "Screening Time", from page 147 of which I quote

What comes to be known eventually as "deceptive" in the reenactment is made harmless as "illusion" in the narrative film. Clearly, the progressive domination of the industry by narrative is overdetermined (culturally, economically, technologically), but from this point of view, narrative would constitute a certain taming or securing of the instability of the cinematic image. In the same way, narrative becomes the model for the apprehension of the legal unity of film.
The role of "narrative" in taming (I almost wrote "training" in transcribing the passage) is set up by the thematic of event earlier in the piece. See p. 141
The confusion of construction and contingency around the concept of the event is crucial in the historical elaboration of a cinematic syntax. At the turn of the century, contingency is both lure and threat, and this double valence is played out in the rapid representational transformation of the cinema. The embarrassment of contingency is that it is everywhere and that it everywhere poses the threat of an evacuation of meaning. The concept of the event provides a limit — not everything is equally filmable — and reinvests the contingent with significance — The contingent is in effect, tamed.
Story. Shot. Cut.

And so for day 1428