(Isn’t it funny) Rape is a crime but WAR is not
For when was it last, that a general was shot?
1.No. I’m not building a case for A JUST RAPE. No, this poem isn’t a joke. Nor were its subjects lightly considered. Perhaps you think the men outside my window, the ones operating the VERY LOUD TREE EATER,
perhaps you think they are joking?
2. BUT: I like you. You give us hope. You understand. You understand THE BIG LIE. You understand MOST EVERYBODY IS ASLEEP. You understand ALMOST ALL THE ARTISTS ARE JOKING. You stand under a tarp in the rain, the tarp we shall call: 21st Century Globalized Arts-based Research/Practice-based Arts Methodology & Theory Production (whew!).
And the tarp is good and fine but the rain is now blowing sideways and the rain is coming from below and the rain is the scientific paradigm and the rain is looking to dole out some funding and the rain is in our eyes so we’ll have to wrap ourselves in this tarp (if this be allegorical, what really is this rain, anyway?) and so we wrap up in it but then they bury us in the tarp (suddenly we realize that’s what they meant by Alter-modern) so now we’re in the ground with artists who fought the evil, like Lorca, insouciant,
and, like the other glorious dead, we can’t move we daren’t speak and we can’t create.
Some questions: %. Since when does a painting combat a clear-cut?
- Can creative work serve humanity and corporations at the same time?
^. Did your poem prevent fracking? Cruelty to animals? Greed?
- Does the pace of desecration oustrip the pace of cultural/critical response? of illumination?
Some Answers: (audio: the sounds of empty spaces, like the moon)
(image: a dog fight) suck it up / forget the past / fight each other for the grant money / learn to sing and shin-kick at the same time
4. A Place of Mind goes banking
We’ve been writing Linda Josh who works at UBC Treasury and we’ve been asking why HSBC? why does UBC employ HSBC? especially when HSBC is widely regarded as one of the most corrupt banks in the world? and we keep asking and Linda Josh keeps saying “We have to give HSBC a chance to explain themselves” and the months are rolling by and HSBC isn’t answering and Linda Josh keeps saying “UBC Treasury awaits a response from HSBC”.
and we come to understand THIS IS THE EXPLANATION.
NO EXPLANATION is the explanation.
We are students/workers for a corrupt institution, one that supports terrorism because its bank supports terrorism and we support drug cartels and murder
because our bank profits from drug cartels and murder and we engage in corruption because HSBC evades taxation (taxation that paves our road, pays our teachers, puts gas in the ambulance, supports our seniors)
HSBC hides executive monies in offshore accounts HSBC manipulates LIBOR HSBC violates securities laws in multiple nations…
BUT WE SEE THIS BORES YOU
YOU’D RATHER BE IN YOUR STUDIO
MAKING A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION
TO ARTS-BASED RESEARCH
well, don’t let the door hit your assumptions ON YOUR WAY OUT.
Didn’t we say we liked you?
We’re just trying to SPEAK with you.
We didn’t mean to get all RAGEY.
and, shit, maybe THIS IS RESEARCH?
and maybe THIS POEM WANTS A GRANT?
THIS POME WANTS SOME MONEY
SO IT CAN WRITE SOME POEMS
THAT FUNCTION LIKE
so we’re no better than you.
that’s what we wanted to say:
we’re no ARTS-BASED FREEDOM FIGHTERS
and you’re no Ezra Pound,
licking the boots of Mussolini
(Mussolini, who said gov’t + corporations = fascism).
anyhow, we’ve more important things to talk about.
5. How to Measure Your Success in the Arts:
there’s really only ONE WAY.
if they come in the night, and the jack-boots kick down your door, and they DRAG YOU FROM YOUR BED, and you end up in a scene from a horror movie, with chains and torture and fake blood (except, well, maybe the blood isn’t so fake) THAT’S WHEN YOU’VE MADE IT, A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE LIFE FORCE.
YOU’RE AN ARTIST, BABY! Like the Romans with Jesus, or the Russians with Rasputin,
or the Fascists with Lorca, or the countless patriarchs who lynched the WOMAN PROPHET, POWER HAS COME TO IMMORTALIZE YOU.
YOU’VE MADE IT, KID (so why are we shouting?).
6. On Forbidden Methods
permitted: students competing for money
permitted: people fighting for position
permitted: enforced boundaries (FN, fine arts, Whitey, economics,
Asian, anthropology, African American, medicine, Arab, biology)
permitted: feeling like a mashed potato under the weight of grad school [heavy bond]
permitted: spouting eco-centric from the heart of Plastic Mountain
permitted: making sausages out of a perennial supply of high school kids
NOT PERMITTED: A GROUP MFA
NOT ALLOWED: opting out of hierarchy
GROUNDS FOR EXPULSION: breaking with Malthus
PROBABLY MARTYRDOM: a student strike to draw attention
to the corporatization of the academy
7. In Praise of Despair
“…rise up, children, shake the Devil out your soul,
rise up, children, shake the Devil out your soul,
rise up, children, shake the Devil out your soul,
rise up, children, shake the Devil out–”
We’re sorry, but perhaps you forgot:
we’re searching for dignity and fulfillment,
we didn’t come to join the ranks
of the sons of educated men.
We didn’t come to the IVORY TOWER
to take part in PRETENDING EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT,
to join in telling the BIG JOKE to September’s arrivals,
the BIG JOKE
This guy with a gun walks into a university and tells everybody to relax,
“Just go on about your business like nothing is out of the ordinary,”
Meanwhile, THE BIG CRASH SMACK-DOWN COLLAPSE APOCALYPSE
IS HEADED STRAIGHT FOR US like a SHIT TORPEDO
and it seems like he wants us to PRETEND IT ISN’T.
or maybe not that,
maybe he just demands that we TALK IT OVER FOR AWHILE,
BALANCE IT AGAINST COUNTERVAILING THEORETICAL MODELS,
SPECULATE ON THE VALIDITY OF THE METRICS,
ENDORSE PYOTR’S RELATIVE APOCALYPSE
RATHER THAN MARWEATHER’S TOTALIZING CATASTROPHE.
in essence, the guy with the gun says
“do whatever you like, just don’t:
WANDER DOWN THE IVORY TOWER STAIR-WELL
TO THE LAY CAMP BELOW,
TAKING TWO TABLETS,
AND START WARNING PEOPLE FOR REAL.”
maybe we should call the police,
but the guy with the gun IS THE POLICE.
the guy with gun IS THE CHANCELLOR.
guy with the gun IS THE FUNDING AGENCY.
guy with gun WON’T RELEASE THE MORTAR BOARDS.
and guy-with-gun is teaching us how to hold it properly,
where the safety catch is, how to reload,
how to tuck it in your pants so it IMPLIES HIERARCHY,
and how to wave it around so it resembles COLONIALISM.
8. And Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County,
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay?
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking,
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away. – John Prine
Did we mention we’re studying MARIJUANA WORKERS?
Did we mention they have MUCH TO TEACH US?
We did not.
Do you suppose they could teach us
what it must be like
to be SUBALTERN?
Do you suppose they are becoming legitimized,
moving from the illicit margins of the sub-continental floating casino
to the metropole of the glorious congregation of legal capitalism?
JOE TRIMMER: “No, man, we’re here to show you
how to SURVIVE IN THE UNDERGROUND
because of Bill C-51,
and EVERYBODY IS A TERRORIST
according to Stephen Harper (except his favorite Aunt and the RCMP),
so you’re all gonna need to know
how to live outside the law.
And as Prof. BURTON CUMMINGS has pointed out,
life isn’t any fun as a fugitive.”
CLAY MCCANN: “When the organizers of WORLD WATER DAY
asked to see the poem I was to read for the crowd,
the crowd then assembled,
to make sure “it isn’t political” (whatever THAT should mean)
I realized we are all taking part in EXHUMING STALIN,
We are already ON A SLOW TRAIN TO TREBLINKA.
We’re on our way t’ward
YOU HAVING YOUR LECTURE NOTES APPROVED
before the kiddies get to see your SONG & DANCE.
It’s not morning in the academy, and it hasn’t been for a long, long time”
(thank you Nelson Algren).
9. Bourriaud, meet Badiou.
Bourriaud: “How, finally, to make art anything but a secondary type of merchandise in a system of values entirely oriented towards this ‘general and abstract equivalent’ that is money, and how can it bear witness against ‘economic horror’ without reducing itself to sheer militancy?”
Badiou: “The ambitious artist has arrived upon a cruel impasse, to steadfastly produce nothing rather than contribute to the invention of formal ways of rendering visible that which the Empire already recognizes as existent.”
Burroughs: When you cut into the future, the present leaks out.
Bongwater: I don’t want harmony. I want harmony.
10. How should an artist behave?
Stop calling us “artist”.
We must stop calling us “artist”.
When the chair is empty and the barber shouts, “artist!”
we must pretend we are reading Vanity Fair.
“Artist” is alone in a giant studio that used to be a factory.
Cultural workers sweat the whistle blow rivet horn the silversky…
hands unbound raise high a roof-a-lo…
picket line assembly line party line…
the objects now…
that fight desire, sooth a fever, kiss the baby, jail the banker…
objects that defy Post-modern dissemblage, despair, dementia…
the performances that corrode the capitalist capo de tuti…
props, proposals, propaganda that dismantle the Earth-eaters…
the paintings, sculpture, constructions,
the recordings, the video, the starlings in wild formation…
songs and drums and dance and burst FANDANGO!!!
don’t call us “artists” you’ll wreck the dance
don’t say “artist” you’ll start believing in mirrors
cut it with that “artist” crap or you’re out on your ear
SORRY: MAYBE WE’RE NOT BEING CLEAR…
cultural workers = a gang of genius rainbow love
artist = a lone, lonely loner, mad with grief and echoes
to focus on the art, the artist,
means to overlook the souls down here, dreaming it all into day.
Just ask yourself: is this machine working for me? or do I work for it?