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Peter Schwenger in Words and the Murder of the Thing :
“In the satirical hodgepodge that is book three of Gulliver’s Travels, the prize exhibit is undoubtedly the Academy of Lagado. Among its improbable schemes is one designed to avoid the “Diminution of Our Lungs by Corrosion”; as well, this scheme would achieve communicative precision and provide an infallible esperanto. It consists simply in abolishing all words and replacing them with their referents:
‘Since Words are only Names for Things, it would be more convenient for all Men to carry about them, such Things as were necessary to express the particular Business they are to discourse on [...] which hath only this Inconvenience attending to it; that if a Man’s Business be very great, and of various Kinds, he must be obliged in Proportion to carry a greater Bundle of Things upon his Back, unless he can afford one or two strong Servants to attend him.’ Read the rest of this entry »
Homologue is changing. Five print publications are coming together in a series called TEXT AS.
The text I described earlier this week has 554 words and 39 of them are “can”. In total there are only 173 different words in the text, and all the others are repeats. Whenever it was possible to use a word I had already written, that’s what I did.
The high incidence of functional words is unremarkable in the text. There are 31 instances of “the”, 29 of “to”, 16 “and”s, 15 “them”s and 14 “a”s. They don’t particularly show.
Most of the other repeated words do pretty much the same job each time they come up: “tell” (10), “each” (9), “inhabitant” (9), “rhythm/s” (10), “tap” (3), etc. But I’m interested in the words like “make” (11), “part” (9), “play” (6), “pause” (6), and “you” (37), which from time to time shift their referents in significant ways.
A short text I’m working on at the moment ends like this:
Then you can start to group the amended inhabitants into a number of parts and tell each part the names and orders of certain musical notes part by part, and you can tell them how many beats they can have in each second. Part by part you can count each group briefly and very quietly back into the general song and when you have told everyone to play there can be applause.
The text is a set of less than explicit instructions that repeatedly uses the form “you can” to explain how to commandeer the frequencies of local short-wave radio stations and then how to instruct the listeners at home to communally play a piece of polyphonic music using constructions they can make from household objects.
My new audio work Holidays Vocabulary was first aired on Resonance 104.4 on September 21st as part of the weekly antepress series Digestives. You can listen to the work here if you missed it at the time.
Tomorrow from 12-6pm I’ll be at FormContent with antepress. Here’s a bit about them:
FormContent is a curatorial project space, initiated in 2007 by Francesco Pedraglio, Caterina Riva and Pieternel Vermoortel in London’s East End. Its mission is to create a space in which to experiment with ideas and exhibition formats, to foster an active collaboration between artists and curators while challenging their roles.
… and here’s a bit about what we’ll be doing there:
Here’s a short extract of What To Do, a 35 minute ‘blank talk’ that flattens its own text as it goes along.
Just for fun, below are some rough copies of the diagrams, some of which eventually appear in the talk itself.
Read the rest of this entry »
Things Are Exact is a short audio play between an indistinct number of matching voices battling between script and spontaneity. The voices try to catch time. They try to distinguish their sore throats from sadness, their sadness from the passing of time, and the passing of time from the impossibility of shared experience.
Things Are Exact was first broadcast on Resonance 104.4fm on July 13 as part of the antepress Art Writing series Digestives.