Monday, February 22, 2010
"Everything absolutely has a tiny and flaring point which makes a person or a thing different from others, like the incalculable stars in the sky make concerted effort to emblaze the sky at night." --Chris Xinyu Chen
"Impurity's the watchword here; you get that the minute you step off the boat." --Rodney Koeneke
The fact is, everybody’s other. We’re all womb-apostates – exiles – from the get-go. The logical extension of everyone being other is that
1) everyone is linked by otherness, and
2) no one is really other, if you really sit and think about the nature of matter.
All the same, there are infinite grooves of perceptible difference, and that’s what this talk is about. It’s about consciousness of self as other and what we are calling “a winking exploitration (exploitation/exploration) of the otherness of self and other,” viewed through the various lenses of the elaborate artifices of cultural ethnicities.
If we lean further towards east and south Asia in our own exploitrations, it’s only because of our personal experiences and preferences. These concepts could probably be applied to any cultural extrusion – certainly even our “own” culture, if we could make it strange enough, and of course, we always/already do.
In this presentation, we will wallow around in different strains of strangeness as they make themselves manifest in music, film, dance, art, and, of course, writing. It will probably, if we are successful, add up to an ecstatic blur – our aim is to communicate our enthusiasm for the autré (the outrageous other) almost as if you were sitting in our living room.
For ease of presentation, we were compelled to break down our ideas into a fixed number of conceptual rubrics. The works we chose to fit under each rubric may actually fit into more of or all of them. There are certainly other rubrics which we could have explored but didn’t think of and others we chose to eliminate for the sake of time, like “the hybrid and macaronic,” but these are the five categories that seemed to clamor most for our attention:
REVERB (inappropriateness and cultural misprisions or “misprisions”)
CONTORTION | PAROXYSMS
INGENUOUSNESS | “INGENUOUSNESS”
We make no claims for the newness or originality of any of these concepts. The works themselves are so full of newness and originality, however that you may find yourself, at some point, weeping, or mopping your brow, or getting very excited indeed.
[Note: This talk was designed to be taken on the road, with local poets reading their own work. In San Francisco we had Stacy Doris, Rodney Koeneke and David Larsen come up on stage and do just that during the sections where we discussed them. Had we given this talk in New York, say, the line-up would have been different.]