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Ornamental Lightyears Tracery

I found myself interested again in Turner’s paintings again today.

Why? Color– the modulation of color-tones.  Color not as paint-color but as light-color.  Light-color that changes in an enviornment with respect either to movement or time.

Marian Zazeela, who not only is one of the most beautiful singers I have ever heard, but is also a criminally underappreciated artist.  She works in light, light filtered through additive synthesis.  In paint, colors added together darken.  In her work, in light, colors added together brighten– the possibility of pure white, all colors together.  Here is an image of her “Magenta Lights” in the former Dia Dream House.

Her light transforms with the day.  Like the tones of the raga cycle, with one modal scale for dawn another for dusk and another again for midnight (the midnight mode of Raga Malkauns is like a country blues scale, only more demonic).  It reminds me of the unending quality of Ben’s writing, each square touching another and continuing, as well as the frames of Stan Brakhage’s “Dante Quartet” that attends to color with the same devotion.

I began to think about this listening to the harmonium works of Hermann Nitsch, his attempt at a music of the spheres, and looking at images of star-formation in Hubble Telescope images.  The colors rendered by the photos are from light passing through gases.  It is similar to musical tone, which is perceived as vibrations through a gas (air) that moves in time in the inner ear.  The question I ask myself is, besides raga, what music could modulate so slowly and so beautifully its timbres so as to attain this kind of light-movement.


From Mallorca to the Dog Star Man

Creeley + Still from Brakhage's "A Child's Garden and the Serious Sea"

THE BIRDS  by Robert Creeley

for Jane and Stan Brakhage

I’ll miss the small birds that come

for the sugar you put out

and the bread crumbs.  They’ve

made the edge of the sea domestic

and, as I am, I welcome that.

Nights my head seemed twisted

with dreams and the sea wash,

I let it all come quiet, waking,

counting familiar thoughts and objects.

Here to rest, like they say, I best

liked walking along the beach

past the town till one reached

the other one, around the corner

of rock and small trees.  It was

clear, and often empty, and

peaceful.  Those lovely ungainly

pelicans fished there, dropping

like rocks, with grace, from the air,

headfirst, then sat on the water,

letting the pouch of their beaks

grow thin again, then swallowing

whatever they’d caught.  The birds,

no matter they’re not of our kind,

seem most like us here.  I want

to go where they go, in a way, if

a small and common one.  I want

to ride that air which makes the sea

seem down there, not the element

in which one thrashes to come up.

I love water, I love water —

but I also love air, and fire.


Intonation, beyond affect in song

1.  Singing in tune is not easy.  To aspire towards long, sustained, beatless tones with the voice, moves the singing past personal expressiveness– the materiality of the infinite possibility of scales rises up in the voice.  Singing in tune is not easy.  Roughly 20 cents, 1/10 of an equal-tempered semitone, is the difference between a just Major Third and an equal-tempered one, yet the difference in clarity and consonance is like that between linear perspective and the actual functioning of the eye.  La Monte Young’s “Well-Tuned Piano” is an example of the difference in sound.

2.  The piano as we hear it, its 12 tones and chromatic scale, are fabrications of the industrial revolution.  Its tones are approximations of geometrically exact tunings and musical space.  Just tuning is an art–its scales are aesthetic choices, a choice of structure, an architecture of frequencies.  The equal-tempered piano was produced to make all musics exchangeable.  Qualitative difference of sound, and pitches, vanished.

3.   Neither Bach nor Beethoven composed on equal-tempered pianos.  We don’t hear their music in the concert hall.  Musical education, like all education, is in desperate need of reform.  Music should be studied within a geometric-spatial field, first.  Not as the reproduction of dissonance meant to naturalize untutored ears to equal-tempered scales.

4.  “Voyelles” by Rimbaud.  Even vowel-sounds have specific and qualitatively different timbres.  The study of sound-color as a poetic and literary art lays fallow, since sound is not considered in the most basic musical study as a material in itself.  Just scales, the first production of melodies, where intervals do not repeat, became rigidified in an unmusical, dissonant form so that each step, each key of the piano, would be exactly the same distance apart.


GI : : BM

And how would we do this, if we were to give it a shot? What would the physical and pedagogical topography of the place be? A way of defining common interests.  

black mountain courses I  black mountain courses II

Images are from here, with lots of other resources about the College.


PAGE 108

After we take that Deep Leep, let’s all take a Deep Breath and finish this shit . . . 


PAGE 108

And the cool evening flowed into the autumn rivers, and the somber tides became the sigh of birdsongs.

You: How can I escape this never ending maze?

Hollis Frampton: Whatever labrynths it involves itself in . . . it will eventually resolve itself in favor of the protagonist and that the protagonist is the spectator of the work. There’s going to be no momemnt when an identifiable person appears . . . [rather] it offers to the spectator the possibility of a posture that’s so active in relation to the work that it orders on the utopian or is utopian.

You: This is heaven? Where’s Sylvia? How can I get out?

Douglas Messerli impersonating F.T. Marinetti: The mysterious rulers of this desert island are the Paper People, cone-shaped beings “surmounted by circumflex book-hats,” who hiss their instructions into the ears of the Negro guards. In short, not only is this world ruled by people of the written word—not unlike bureaucratic paper pushers—but is metaphorically ruled by the author and readers—the ultimate Paper People who push and bully their raw entrapped characters into a bizarre series of events.

You: Do they know where She is?

HF: Now we are not perfectly free to make of language an agonist in the theater of desire which is itself defined by the limits of language. Every artistic dialogue that concluded in a decision to ostracize the word is disingenuous to the degree that it succeeds in concealing from itself its fear of the word . . . and the source of that fear: that language, in every culture, and before it may become an arena of discourse, is, above all, an expanding arena of power, claiming for itself and for its wielders, all that it can seize, and relinquishing nothing.

You: I? I must do what?

U as GI Joe: The Power lies within I?

DM as FTM: And indeed it does! Form . . . a coalition with a few revolutionary Paper People, the Negro guards and the Untameables, led by Mirmofim, lead the River People into rebellion, determining to attack and smash open the Cardboard Dam—metaphorically, the pent-up creativity of the working class.

Whether you want to or not, that Master Signifier is shaking in its boot heels. Get that Girl! and don’t get shark bit, turn to PAGE 102


Structure and Baroque Art

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“Wake up, Jake-ofs Lad!” Or reading, I


Joyce’s mode of punning is synthetic– proceeding by the concretion of words within words based on the basic logic of homophony.  

The puns proceed like imagistic-collages.  Think John Cage’s “Imaginary Landscapes” of tape-collage.  When I read, I try to create unfolding fields of meaning, imagistically, among other ways of feeling one’s way through the text.  It’s not unlike experimenting with cognitive dissonance, a la Duchamp’s “Anemic Cinema.”  

So, for example, a found-image interpretation of an early sentence from FW.  


“Sir Tristram, violer d’amores,” 



Making collages like this is a fun way to proceed.  If you so choose, read a few pages, find a juicy pun, hemorrhaging with meanings, like a palmofgranite, and make a field for it (sound collages are also a possibility–or computer programming or flow-proofs in non-euclidean geometry).  If a method like this isn’t too constricting.

January 2020
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