thought notes language

Multilingualism. In Dutch, the word We, Ons, is possessive: Ons, We or Us in Dutch, usually is followed by what belongs to We, it is also the word for the measurement (an ounce). There is no frequently used word to set a difference from soul and mind, ‘Geest’ and Geestelijk, like in German Geist, ghost, is the soul, spirit, most often spoken of pragmatically, as in geestelijk gezondheid, mental health. To not speak of the geist, the word ‘spiritual” was imported.

In Spanish, unlike other Romance languages, the grammar and intonation of a sentence can alter in such a way to make clear that the I, yo, is speaking–allowing the I, yo to disappear from a sentence. I, yo can be omitted in Spanish while a sentence remains grammatical, unambiguous–such an omission of the je in the more modern romance cousin-language French is never allowed.  Spanish is feudal, mystical, whereas French is liberal,  a doer: there is always an insistence on je, the self-identifier when the self speaks. In Spanish, the self can speak from a hidden place and be understood–like when the moon stands behind a mountain range, the light on the frays of the mountain tell us where the moon is, the moon is there, and range is charged with a different light. The yo can be submerged, like the moon or like a child when playing at making itself invisible stands behind the curtain in a room and starts talking, pretending the elders in the room will not see its feet under the textile hem.  The sentence allowing the I a hidden place is not thereby headless merely by the fact of omission.

The moon allows the mountain to eat her like a shining fruit. The yo surrendering allows itself to be consumed, overpowered, completely altering the body of the eater, perhaps as in the ritual of eucharist or in a pagan or Indian rite. The self-identifier in Frankish je, in Dutch ik, in English the capitalized I, stands upright, enlightened from the cannibals’ practices, self may never be savagely eaten or passively consumed. Such a sentence grammatically determined by I, je, ik, but without the marker of self-identifier, will be treated as an insane or idiot sentence, in these more modern languages that wrote the principal texts of liberalism.

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Pavane (translation of my poem for the French gypsies, in La Revue Des Ondes)


Link to the French translation by Marie Moore of my poem Pavane, a poem inspired by the cause of the gypsies in France. Thanks to the translator and editors of La Revue Des Ondes.

Originally posted on La revue des ondes:

Arturo Desimone

Une gitane est allongée près d’une fontaine
(dans son esprit) une balle entre les dents

et une balle dans chaque pli de sa robe.
Le ciel est vide de vautours
mais plein de France.
Des mains noires font tourner l’horloge qui rassure
les passants
de l’appartement au bureau
par les mornes parkings
ils arriveront à l’heure à leur travail
insensibles aux prières des mendiantes
à leurs jupons de sarabande
aux jeunes garçons qui dansent.
C’est l’heure de la messe, la vigne est abondante
mais personne n’est caché sous la treille.
Le pays, une pomme acide, coupée en deux
avec dedans un ver blanc
et un mille-pattes beaucoup plus sombre
chacun défends ses droits pour ne pas être dévoré
deux moitiés, l’une scrutant l’autre férocement
Dans ce pays à odeur de savon
sculpté dans la graisse d’un cygne borgne
on vote à couteaux tirés, c’est devenu sport de combat

View original 385 more words

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technical notes towards a manifesto

It is difficult to define art, yet it is necessary for artists and the intellectuals who think about art to strive to do so. Defining art is a quest to be taken beyond merely asking the question with a flippant shrug of irony and sarcasm as if to answer ”nothing and everything”, the paradigm of anti-art, neoliberal post-modernity and elite vanguardism.

Trying to define art becomes impossible in the forever nuance-seeking language of academics, scholars and activists for social reparations.

The language of the art-world today consists of the same catchphrases and technical abc’s given to the young, ascendant ruling elites who have paid irreparable tuition fees and have been bred in the great capitalist compromise, the new paradigm of financial ambition of the 21st century pragmatic intellectual. Their schooling invests in a compromise between awareness and self-critique of the brutal nature and history of capitalism, and their personal need for advancement within it. Power’s new language includes critical theory and deconstruction, post-structuralism, gender and subaltern theory and the elite-anti-elitist aesthetics of the social sciences. Despite claiming a posture of radical opposition to capital, the new, dead language is dead and faceless, just as capital, and similarly attains its self-reproduction and multiplication despite being dead. This might have been how William S Burroughs warned that ”language is a virus”, an almost dead, self-reproducing organism, and how many writers who were masters of language, such as Goethe, saw language as a dangerous force that needed in itself to be transcended. Jargon is not anti-language, it is the reinforcement of language that is not to be transformed, dead matter. The jargonauts, the masters of jargon, float about in the spaces of postmodernity–which, as argued by Frederic Jameson, is a landscape in which there is no time, but only space, time having been transcended in favor of clean, static space. Such spaces as exist in timeless, frozen postmodernity are a close relative to the monumental, empty spaces of 20th century Fascist esplanades and Fascist art and architecture–despite that postmodernity, based on historical misconception, in essence justifies itself on a rejection of the ideologies that culminated in mid-20th century Fascism. The most rejected ideology on whose elimination postmodernity based its triumph was the postmodern (really post-war) repudiation against romanticism and against neo-romanticism. Postmodernity attacked these ideologies, and favored relativism, glib sentimentality, the sociology insisting art can at best only be handicrafts to repair wounds in a community, while the university lecturer must have the envied glory previously known only to the Author and the artist. Postmodernity is post-war, politically correct mercantilism and the stuttering of cowards who fill their deep pockets while spouting shallow theories to a French ear (the way Dali’s fetus spat blood and ejaculate into the host–Dali’s fetus prophesied the lecturer on literary, critical theory)

Critical Theory, Gender Theory and Creative Writing can be abbreviated as CT GT and CW, to place them in a rubric as the Occidental, Western variant of the Oriental, South Asian disciplines of IT (Information Tech) Gender Tech, abbreviated into GT, also places it alongside its older sisters such as General Motors (GM) and Hewlett Packard (HP) (the latter two are sporting tough, strident female CEOs interviewed in Forbes magazine’s frequent lists of women chief executive officers to look out for)

The ownership of degrees in the theoretical arts vastly increases a young graduates’ future likelihood of exorbitant salaries, employment in high posts of power in the financial and ”humanitarian” institutions.

Leading universities, those between UCLA  on the Pacific coastline to the European Institute in the Swiss mountain enclosure –where they begin to truly think about gender and justice on the banks of the lakes of Evian–ready their pupils into an official work of apology-maker and advocate. The educational system has built a new liberal priesthood, a class that is oratorial and devoted to the making of ”Discourse” which in the Roman empire was called ”Rhetoric” or the work of rhetoricians, who entered into a gladiatorial rivalry with the poets–Rome’s rhetoricians were more often well-paid, whereas only some of the poets could compete on the strictly financial and property-owning terrain with the rhetoricians. Today ”poetry” in the imperial society, becomes a prestigious form of recreation, and a credential for the young rhetorician, the one who writes for the establishment newspapers and political, legal and financial journals also practices poetry as a form of exercise, to be exhibited in the literary journal like a trophy awarded to the winner of a national fencing league competition. Poetry has become a credential for the powerful rhetoricians. This is why the dominant aesthetic, as the literary critic Anis Shivani pointed out, is one of an imperial sentiment of grief within the strict form of a politically correct poem that quickly resolves its formal crisis in an Epiphany. To his diagnosis, can be added a comparison to another late imperial form, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: one of grief while being Stoic, chaste, repressing emotions and daimons, sexless and in a searching for New Age-like reflection or epiphany. In poetry, the imperial form is simple and seldom too mysterious, unless its mysteries are cerebral, seeking resolution to crisis in practical quotidian Illuminations that arrive to the highly domesticated, hyper-rational person. This movement in the history of empire’s poets as if Minerva, the sexless goddess of Wisdom, in the goddess’ old age and senility resulting from too many wars of counter-insurgency, was returning to the mouth of the imperialist in the form of a fly, laying its last eggs before dying in glucose. The widely published MFA poets are seeking a momentary pause from a chosen life of constant regularity and consumption and want to share it with you, there medium would be more justified in the hospital bed greeting card than in the literary journal whose editors they possess on a leash.

 Being that they form a clerical class, in their nonfiction and apoetical intellectual language, that of Discourse, there is a reliance on a dead language, a language of obscure monk-like scholasticism and nominalism. The monastic dead language of Critical Theory, conceptualism, gender and post-structuralism serve to inaugurate the sciences of social control and repression as if they are uplifting, saving, emancipating.

Their studies are part of a political Telos, a goal and historical movement from the vast elites towards the humanization of the ruling financial order. They produce the sub-languages of the humanitarian institutions and the transnational Non Governmental Organizations, the ”non-profit” which is the ultimate tax-skirting profit-seeking firm, the tongue of  the battalions of ”gender studies” and ”subaltern studies” which have absorbed the majority of the youth of the middle classes and serve to confuse the origins and nature of social oppression. Thereby they make make themselves competitors and enemies of any revolutionary art, despite that their language of scholasticism and nominalism is spoken by the art world, by the majority of curators, by the departments of literature that teach anti-literature.

A dead language, spoken by the intellectual of the autumn-struck imperial society and by the establishments who claim to be vanguards, is a sign of an era of rampant genocides resulting from the imperial warfare of counter-insurgency. The topic of such wars and genocides are forgiven by the vanguard intelligentsia who have served to either obscure the order and power relations or have constantly changed the subject to the superficial totems and narcissisms of skin-color, and genital-shapes as politics in order to postpone any genuine or intellectually mature confrontation of the system.  The speech of trailblazers seeking to make their way in Washington’s lobby industry or in the international network of Non Governmental, for profit organizations, is a richer yet familiar cousin of the dialects used by the curators and presenters of the conceptual art scene, and to the language of the departments of literature and of ”cultural theory”. The art objects in conceptual exhibitions are no longer portals to other worlds–they are instead affirmations of the need to have a brain-exercise to increase musculature and self-esteem for those who want to further control this world. Conceptual art is one of puzzles, mind-games, brain and word games. The puzzles are a discipline far removed from painting or novels, not merely in their underlying theory. The idea-based art, getting its ideas parasitically from mechanically-produced academic literature, is one where the viewer exercises her mastery of the concepts taught in masters programs of critical theory, which are part of international relations studies and the sciences of management. The conceptual art pieces, unlike the works of Caravaggio and Monteverdi, cannot possibly humble the viewers and listeners. The conceptual art, as mental jigsaw, is exercise, training, to reaffirm mastery of the dialects of Boston, Washington, the esotericism of the Pentagon and New York political and thinking, gaming-class. Conceptual art, if it has a parallel in any pre-existing figurative medium, can be compared to the game-pieces in which painters made technical drawings of the hunting tools and trophies of the land-owning, reflecting a physical achievement, a mental and physical exercise in the land-owners dexterity. The game-piece was an unfree form, making it difficult for the painter to subvert the rules of the commissioner, for unlike in a portrait-drawing it did not allow the artist the opportunity to mock the vanity of the future owner of the painting. With all but immaterial art made unfree and isolated, there is a transplantation of the post-literary concept about Death of the Author, Birth of the ”Reader (or the one giving ”close readings”) from the literary into the visual art world: the death of the artist and the birth of the curator. Here the curator again is one of the rhetoricians, like those in Rome–they were called orators, mastering the skills of sculpting oratory, which today is dubbed creative writing craft. To curate, as to speak as maker of immaterial art, is oratory, valid in the pits of the senate and of political and sales congresses. The curator is also an editor, organizing existing and refining existing knowledge more than creating the crude matter of knew knowledge: it is as if libraries were filled by books that had editors and no writer.

The non-conceptual, or pre-conceptual Arts, become the equivalent of a form of handicrafts in the post-industrial society. They stand are under political and economic pressure to prove their utilitarian, rather than spiritual, worth to the community. It is in this situation that a new role arises for the ”minority”. Minority-artist, means the artist whose origins are from the continents on which the world’s teeming majorities live and suffer–that is not enough to make him a minority, however, or we would include Frankétienne, Mia Couto, Doris Lessing, St Jean Perse or the white South African artist whose exhibit in Paris was recently shut down by activists within the art establishment: minority means his origins are genetically, evidently from one of the majority of the world’s resource-providing continents. In the area of arts as handicrafts, the non-conceptual art of the minoritarian is highly prized, if it fits within the format of handicrafts, meaning that it becomes a form of souvenir. Souvenir is to be taken literally, in the imperial semantics: a sentimental memory of past imperial glory, or a token of admission of guilt for one’s having inherited the diamond couch sculpted by ancestral colonialism’ victories. If a tourist wants to own a souvenir handicraft, he might choose the sand-painting by blond-dreadlocked hippies inhabiting Oregon or Cape Cod Massachussettes. But if the curator (as advanced form of neo-colonial tourist) can acquire the more authentic souvenir made by a Guatemalan vendor, sold in Mexico DF or Tijuana  stands for handicrafts, or the Medina and Souk in Morocco offering discount sufism, he will opt for these and won’t even be too self-righteous if aware of being ripped off on the price. The masterful creation of handicrafts becomes endorsed and aggrandized as if it is a Unesco or United Nations project, motivated in part by guilt and in part by nostalgia for the radical immoralism of empire. Furthermore, there is a genuine awareness that the post-industrial society cannot give birth to a Caravaggio or a Goya. Caravaggio, Goya and Chagall therefore have to be found in the archaic realms that exist before the death of tragedy, in the Middle East, Africa, Russia and South America, where there is plenty of physical daily evidence that tragedy is alive and well, an ogre impossible to ignore. The films of Michael Haneke stand in radical contradiction to the era of Western forensic voyages into the non-West to find tragedy: his work is concerned with mining the somnambulant German society for its tragedy. The filmic, anti-postmodern project of Haneke perhaps at times meets Gunter Grass’ prophetic confrontation, with a Germany pretending ignorance of its 21st century turn towards irresponsible populism, and its pride in the non-violent colonization and abuse of Greece.

Once the maker of souvenir and exotic handicrafts has been ”curated” and saved, by importation to the Western auction-house, the new native is taught the new language and discipline: that of postmodernity, meaning the achievement the timeless, static spaces, the liquefaction of absolutes, the martial arts of sociology and self-marketing. This process can be renamed The Curating of the Oriental. In the era where political correctness has inflicted academic Anti-Orientalism in the language of intellectual or polite society, there has been a way of compensating for the abolition of Orientalism. The imagery of 19th century romantic Orientalism, whether of the colonial academy or of Delacroix’ revolutionary radicalism, stands outlawed. The curatorial and art establishment, operating on the ethos of liberal guilt and Non-profit rescue missions, seeks to curate the Oriental, instead of the Oriental’s mere objects. This applies whether the Oriental is from the Orient, the Middle East or Asia, Africa or Latin America.

Curating the oriental often results in the artificial, often involuntary politicization of the art made by the Oriental artist who has no choice but to allow an invasive, North-Occidental politicization of the Oriental artist’s work. The Oriental artist, a guest-worker (gast-arbeiter) must tolerate the Deus-ex-machina-like politicization of his work, alienating work from artist, if he hopes to have a chance of survival by selling or by access to funding.

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Selected Nudes Volume 1: Drawings by Arturo Desimone. //Book for sale on Blurb or Al-mammon.zom Sell sell, sell like their ain’t no hell

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The Fly and the Lute

The Soeur-chatter swarms in my head. I have gone
I have left
I have been slid down the cords, the ridges of metal, the levers broke
under my back. I am the playful, decadent fly
circumferes swoops under and over the cords of the varnished wooden lute. The unvarnished lute means nothing, it is a bird-house
played by a monk.
I am the fly whose 6 ankles are trapped in the varnish
the lusterlacquer of the lute
that shakes the oranges, still bluegreen, tiny fists, timid, invisible.
I have fallen from the whiskered mouth,
from the grease-crowned head of the player,
I have missed the gaping hole of the cedar
that represents the hole in a woman’s back
through it I once had stuck my murk-head
with more eyes than Argos constable
of the cow stable. (Eyes of blue-red-green clarity, like stable windows
without cumbersome glass, through which bats and death can enter
without breaking traffic laws of the private.)
I have not found the fruit-sugar of my pilgrimage,
I have died before the end of the concert,
drowned in the varnish and not
in blood swirling,
not in the flames
where the lute will find its end like all rails that guide the locomotives
of sliding hands and of selves and of volition intelligently orchestrated.

For the lute must not outlive its player, unless to be held an kissed by his talented orphans
born of the holes in women’s backs, longing for the iron laws of their iron pansy-liver’ed, warrior-lutist fathers.

and the honey cleaned with fire of the flies’ feet,



–Arturo Desimone

Buenos  Aires 2014

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a source of troubling thoughts

The recent disappearance of the forty Mexican students in Ayotzinapa is still a source of troubling thoughts. Probably they are either under a river or under a desert earth as hares and vipers travel between the dead and the sun-dwelled soil as couriers. Doubtlessly the cause of the disappeared forty has little to do with the Aztec faith–though I vehemently disagree with those staunch public relations apologists, who maintain the Aztec religion to be a ”religion of Peace.” The origins of the absence, holes eaten by vicissitude of the solar hare into youths who were not of the unblinking new model citizens known as the desireless Last Man prophesied by the Zapotec priest Zubalanque: they are also not to be located in the often-invoked, convenient Latin American Machismo (though it was necessary to import a word from Spanish for that force which the Anglo-Saxon had not previously conceived or dreamed of.)
Beyond any doubt, the tragedy results from the usual boring reasons: endless warfare in the region resulting from trade agreements, drug and terror wars, a neo-colonial relationship with the United States. It was announced that some of the students made obscene cartoons–surfacing in recent investigations–and Ministry of Interior, a prominent progressive, seemed to insinuate this justified the murders. Actually the student Israel Gonzalez had been studying the Aztec hieroglyphs, a language with letters including men eating skulls and snakes, humans copulating before the sun, and people holding a chili pepper in their ass. The Ministry of Interior, despite having many foreign-educated sanitized-gloved progressives, in its reasoning resembles that of Friar Martinez and Friar Boccioni, who decided in 1534 that the Aztec libraries and literature needed to be burned to not further offend or corrupt the souls of young Indian boys being trained as monks and as eternal sopranos of the lord christ.

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Poema y blog de Leli Busquet

Poema de Leli Busquet

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