It happened one day, at a crossroads, in the middle of a crowd, people coming and going.
I stopped, blinked: suddently I understood nothing. Nothing, nothing about anything: I did not understand the reasons for things or for people, it was all senseless, absurd. I laughed.
What I found strange at the time was that I had never realized before; that up until then I had accepted everything: traffic lights, cars, posters, uniforms, monuments, things completely detached from any sense of the world, accepted them as if there were some necessity, some chain of cause and effect that bound them together.
Then my laugh died. I blushed, ashamed. I waved to get people’s attention. “Stop a moment!” I shouted, “there is something wrong! Everything is wrong! We are doing the absurdest things. This cannot be the right way. Where can it end?”
People stopped around me, sized me up, curious. I stood there in the middle of them, waving my arms, desparate to explain myself, to have them share the flash of insight that had suddenly enlightened me: and I said nothing. I said nothing because the moment I had raised my arms and opened my mouth, my great revelation had been as it were swallowed up again and the words had come out any old how, on impulse.
"So?" people asked, "what do you mean? Everything is in its place. All is as it should be. Everything is a result of something else. Everything fits in with everything else. We cannot see anything wrong or absurd."
I stood there, lost, because as I saw it now everything had fallen into place again and everything seemed normal, traffic lights, monuments, uniforms, towerblocks, tramlines, begggards, processions; yet this did not calm me, it tormented me.
"I am sorry," I said. "Perhaps it was I who was wrong. It seemd that way then. But everything is fine now. I am sorry." And I made off amid their angry glares.
Yet, even now, every time (and it is often) that I find I do not understand something, then, instincitively, I am filled with the hope that perhaps this will be my moment again, perhaps once again I shall understand nothing, I shall grasp the other knowledge, found and lost in an instant.
"In February of 2008, Dani and I recorded, mixed, and completed the music for ‘Salvaged Violets’. The words came as the subject line of a short poem, sent to me over email, included with an unrelated question. During these weekdays, our working schedules were almost the opposite, but we spoke over email constantly. Until recently, I did not notice how similar this was to our beginnings, sending letters as we were on different sides of the country. With no conceptual idea in mind, and since we were apart for so much time during the weekdays, we decided to begin ‘Salvaged Violets’, and see what came of it. Every night when I returned home, before sleeping, I would spend time working on the music that Dani had worked on through the afternoon, and had left on the desk. Every afternoon, she would find a different version to work on that I had left, and this continued for sometime. When together, we would sip our tea, laugh at silly jokes, cook, watch television, and so on. There was no need for longing while we were together.There was always laughing, pots and pans clanging, or a muttering television. In forming ‘Salvaged Violets’, we did not mix it in a particular arranged order. It was mixed simply by the order it was first played, compiling many miniature sections rolled into one. In this case, they were rolled into two. Nothing was discarded, nothing was rearranged. As the sound changed over time, the original form did not. When it was finally complete, we listened together, for the first time. I remember how familiar it seemed, yet I also felt that so much of it was unknown, and undefined. More than a year later, in September of 2009, I revisited the recordings for the first time since 2008. At this time, it was being mastered by our good friend Corey Fuller, so I was still listening to the original. Riding my bike through the endless suburban subdivisions, through the busy downtown streets, I listened repeatedly, for days, over and over. Something was familiar, but so much I was unable to recall, and yet I was able to relate. I returned home, put my bike against the door, and took my headphones off. There, in the still silence, I think I understood finally what it was about.”
*Danielle died in ‘09 of heart failure.
Celer is the sound, visual, literary, and artistic endeavor of the husband and wife duo of Will Long and Danielle Baquet-Long. Danielle was a teacher of special education and music therapy, a seasoned and published writer of poetry and prose, a painter, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist, also recording as Chubby Wolf. She had an extensive background in Gender Studies, Education, Basque History, Photography, and Tibetan Studies, as well as having lived in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the United States.
Will is a published writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, having studied English, History, Creative Writing, Philosophy, and Literature, with a basic background in music. Will and Dani met each other in 2001, and remained close friends until 2006, when they became a couple. At this time they also began Celer, which had been up until this time a constant exchange of letters, music, and love. They were married in March of 2007.
Their intent was producing works that reflect the sincere nature and importance of love, the fragility of life, and the importance of togetherness, through a relative and absolute symposium of expression.)
muddy horses running until their death for the pleasure of society. society itself running after its death for the pleasure of the economy. horse number one is a great black stallion who wears his sadness well, i would like to sleep in his arms. he reminds me of all the people who expect nothing, a full-proof horse. horse number two, limping horse, old solitary man who has lost the desire to love. i expect him to last long, his death will be slow, he cares for no one, he has no worries. mare number three, she takes everything so seriously, she has harnessed herself with the misery of others. it slows one down, it winds one down, it overexcites one’s heart. yet she is so tough now, she will be proud till the end. the fourth horse seems to be thirsty, his big dry tongue hangs on his right side. he has the will to live, he is interested. he keeps up with all the other horses from afar. he is so handsome, he is so blond, horse number five with all his ribbons he resembles the sun! he emits a heat, a fearsome charm. very popular, he runs as far as the eye can see. i put down all my money on the sixth horse, an adolescent horse charging towards eternity. a bad omen, forced arrogance. a wind from the north, a family torn apart. number seven is the horse who died first. polluted horse coughing up his lungs. he was yellow and sick, he fell on his side. the greatest of the clouds came and got him.
To test the limits of the relationship between performer and audience, Abramović developed one of her most challenging (and best-known) performances. She assigned a passive role to herself, with the public being the force which would act on her.
Abramović had placed upon a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use (a sign informed them) in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her. Among them were scissors, a knife, a whip, and, most notoriously, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions.
Initially, members of the audience reacted with caution and modesty, but as time passed (and the artist remained impassive) several people began to act quite aggressively. As Abramović described it later:
“The experience I learned was that…if you leave decision to the public, you can be killed.” … “I felt really violated: they cut my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the public. Everyone ran away, escaping an actual confrontation.”
no permitir que se nos desperdicie la gracia de los pequeños momentos de libertad que podemos gozar: una mesa compartida con gente que queremos, unas criaturas a las que damos amparo, una caminata entre las árboles, la gratitud de un abrazo. un acto de arrojo como saltar de una casa en llamas. éstos no son hechos racionales, pero no es importante que lo sean, nos salvaremos por los afectos.
el mundo nada puede contra un hombre que canta en la miseria.
i must not fear. fear is the mind-killer. fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. i will face my fear. i will permit it to pass over me and through me. and when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. where the fear has gone there will be nothing. only I will remain.
…it doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. the difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. the lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.
el hermoso consuelo de encontrar el mundo en un alma, de abrazara mi especie en una criatura amiga
hay días en que me levanto con una esperanza demencial, momentos en los que siento que las posibilidades de una vida más humana están al alcance de nuestras manos. éste es uno de esos días.
y, entonces, me he puesto a escribir casi a tientas en la madrugada, con urgencia, como quien saliera a la calle a pedir ayuda ante la amenaza de un incendio, o como un barco que, a punto de desparecer, hiciera una última y ferviente seña a un puerto que sabe cercano pero ensordecido por el ruido de la ciudad e por la cantidad de letreros que le enturbian la mirada.
porque a medida que nos relacionamos de manera abstracta más nos alejamos del corazón de las cosas y una indiferencia metafísica se adueña de nosostros mientras toman poder entidades sin sangre ni nombres proprios. trágicamente, el hombre esta perdiendo el diálogo con los demás y el reconocimiento del mundo que lo rodea, siendo que es allí donde se dan el encuentro, la posibilidad del amor, los gestos supremos de la vida.
the unabridged journals of sylvia plath; sylvia plath
…and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. to learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.
sexual freedom: why is it feared; robert anton wilson
the architect of modern anarchism, michael bakunin, wrote in his “god and the state” that without “god,” the state is impossible. he instances as proof the republics of france and the united states, both of which were founded by free-thinkers and atheists, but which both embraced the “god” idea very rapidly when the practical details of governing had to be faced. wilhelm reich’s “sexual revolution” and “mass psychology of fascism” document that pro-state attitudes and authoritarianism are usually joined with dogmatic religion and anti-sex fears, where as anti-state and libertarian attitudes are generally coupled with free thought and pro-sex affirmation. adorno’s classic “authoritarian personality” gives reams of statistical proof of the reichian thesis. a governor, we can safely say, has less problems in enforcing obedience if his subjects are mystical, religious and frightened of sex.
geldings, any farmer will tell you, are easier to control than stallions. the first governments, which were frankly slave-states, inculcated sexual repression for precisely this reason. besides creating loads of guilt and self-doubt in the slaves, thus making them easier to intimidate for the reasons previously explained, sexual repression is itself a contraction of the large muscles. you cannot banish a wish from consciousness, as groddeck demonstrates in “the book of the it”, without contracting your abdominal muscles. sexual repression in particular means what neill calls “the stiff stomach disease,” because the only way the genitals can be stopped from lively activity is by deadening them through abdominal armoring. it is wilhelm reich who deserves credit for seeing the ultimate implications of this. reich pointed out that loosening of the chronic muscle contractions which characterize submissive “civilized” man must be a process of physical pain and psychic anxiety. we are now able to understand the two great mysteries of social behavior: why sexual repression is accepted and why government is accepted, when the first diminishes joy and the second is leading obviously to the destruction of the species. submissiveness is anchored in the body.
the human race will begin solving its problems on the day that it ceases taking itself so seriously. to that end, POEE proposes the countergame of NONSENSE AS SALVATION. salvation from an ugly and barbarous existence that is the result of taking order so seriously and so seriously fearing contrary orders and disorder, that GAMES are taken as more important than LIFE; rather than taking LIFE AS THE ART OF PLAYING GAMES.
may you have the knowledge of a sage, and the wisdom of a child. fnord.
translation is entirely mysterious. increasingly i have felt that the art of writing is itself translating, or more like translating than it is like anything else. what is the other text, the original? i have no answer. i suppose it is the source, the deep sea where ideas swim, and one catches them in nets of words and swings them shining into the boat… where in this metaphor they die and get canned and eaten in sandwiches.
1. do not drop out. seriously, it’s good to live differently, to take uncommon paths, to minimize your dependence on a society gone astray. but if i were to say, “woo-hoo! dropping out is so cool! quit your job now and hop a freight train to bolivia, and you will be ALIVE while everyone else is DEAD,” then that might be worse than saying nothing. motivational writing is a drug. if you require a motivational writer or speaker to live differently, then as soon as that external energy shot wears off, you will fizzle and burn out. but if everyone is trying to discourage you from doing something, and you do it anyway, then you have the internal motivation to persist and succeed. so: dropping out is not fun - better not do it.
6. When you begin to get free, you will get depressed. it works like this: when you were three years old, if your parents weren’t too bad, you knew how to play spontaneously. then you had to go to school, where everything you did was required. the worst thing is that even the fun activities, like singing songs and playing games, were commanded under threat of punishment. so even play got tied up in your mind with a control structure, and severed from the life inside you.
freedom means you’re not punished for saying no. the most fundamental freedom is the freedom to do nothing. but when you get this freedom, after many years of activities that were forced, nothing is all you want to do. you might start projects that seem like the kind of thing you’re supposed to love doing, music or writing or art, and not finish because nobody is forcing you to finish and it’s not really what you want to do. it could take months, if you’re lucky, or more likely years, before you can build up the life inside you to an intensity where it can drive projects that you actually enjoy and finish.
8. there are no easy rules. (…) humans are map-making animals, and we’re always trying to make a map so good that we no longer have to look at the land. this is a mistake, and if you reject the dominant map, it’s best to learn to not use any map at all.
all in all, do authority and money really regulate how lovers kiss or the taste for wine, or your dreams, or the smell of thyme on a mountainside, since they govem what they cost? if it is and they do, then the world is upside down, and I want to set it right.
daylight has not yet dawned on real life. but behind all you shadowy figures, it is pushing through, under my very feet. we are all so sick of the whole shebang that we want to give up dying whilst gesticulating like the living. in the pit of despair the road stops… or climbs. am i the only one to oppose your society - in which desire turns to rape and the will to live becomes deadly? for me, joy cannot be sold, desire cannot be priced, and i do things because i feel like it, unconstrained by the laws of “scratch-my-back”. even the discouragement and lack of confidence drummed in since childhood have lost their power to persuade me otherwise.
only from pleasures is born audacity and laughter, which rings out at orders and laws and limits; it will fall upon all who still judge, repress, calculate and govern, with the innocence of a child.
a utopian poetics helps us to know our desires. the mirror of utopia provides us with a kind of critical theory which no mere practical politics nor systematic philosophy can hope to evolve. but we have no time for theory which merely limits itself to the contemplation of utopia as “no-place place” while bewailing the “impossibility of desire.” the penetration of everyday life by the marvelous - the creation of “situations” - belongs to the “material bodily principle”, and to the imagination, and to the living fabric of the present.
the greater the portion of my life that can be wrenched from the work/consume/die cycle, and (re)turned over to the economy of the “bee”, the greater my chance for pleasure. one runs a certain risk in thus thwarting the vampiric energies of institutions. but risk itself makes up part of the direct experience of pleasure, a fact noted in all insurrectionary moments - all moments of waking up - of intense adventurous enjoyments: - the festal aspect of the uprising, the insurrectionary nature of the festival.