“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Subject to Change 12

Jeroen Nieuwland (Charles University in Prague)

“Hybrid Contingencies: Entanglements of Expression, Text, and Bodies in Conceptual Poetry”

I’m interested in chaos
change, serendipity, contingency: radical uncertainty

Stephen Gould: punctuated equilibrium
all kinds of crises

Meillassoux: the necessity of contingency
every object is contingent in itself but conceptual poetry frames pieces of the world as objects
allows this contingency to come forth

Craig Dworkin: parsing a book from 1874 on grammar

poetry books of transcripts of abused children (good heavens)

radical contingency in which anything can function as a poem

expression is displaced from the subject to the object

lyricism is transcendent while contingency is immanent, affective (how different is this really)
each form is contingent in itself (where have we heard this before)
Duchamp’s urinals
conceptualism is allegorical: minimal difference between original frame and its relocation 
Morton: rift between appearance and essence

one object with its infinite contingent possibilities

Dworkin’s Parse (a version of Abbott’s How to Parse): the rift is internal; rules of grammar applied to themselves
there is no system that does not contradict itself
Nietzsche, “we still believe in god because we still believe in grammar”

author: “I’m holding up a mirror and making people look at their own reactions”

some sentences are parsed very generically “Word word word word punctuation mark” etc. 
some are parsed jokingly “plural first person subjective case pronoun used in bad faith to suggest a camaraderie with the reader auxiliary verb adverb”
some are not parsed at all “write the book that pleases you best. What is the subject of pleases?” 

Morton’s concept of aperture: irreducible uncertainty

conceptualism is not the first to think about contingency

concept and contingency are entangled
this open space is an interesting ethical space

I like the idea of a non-conceptualism; not necessarily negation, but more as entanglement

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