Virginia Wolf on Words


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Dennis Cooper and the Altered Experience

Confronting Form + Structure

“Allow me to edit Jean-Paul’s press conference to smithereens because, while its gist does need to fortify your intake, this story will be headier if it leapfrogs this peculiar episode. Plus, I need to start herding this section back to Paris.”

The Marbled Swarm, Dennis Cooper

In this brief, Brechtian moment, Cooper – via his narrator – reassures his reader that his/her uncertainty in navigating the hazy narrative is not only acceptable, but intended. Slyly permissive, this passage instantly alters the experience from uncomfortable/unfamiliar to intriguingly mysterious/freeing.

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Gazing: Rineke Dijkstra Retrospective

Contemplating the gaze, intimacy, and social/club dance at the Guggenheim

The Gaze

  • Eye contact is the entry point.
  • What do you see about the person you’re looking at?
  • How much of what you see is actually about you?


  • How can you feel intimacy with a static image?
  • What does that say about intimacy?
  • Or about the possibility of simulating intimacy?
  • It is possible to be over come by an experience shared with a static image, but the human image carries a different weight than other images.
  • Are clarity and directness of gaze requisite for an intimate experience with the subject?

Social/Club Dance

  • There is no specific vocabulary, just a general sense of common aesthetic.
  • Rhythm grounds abstract movement
  • The Self is projected into a specific context with the awareness of being seen.
  • Repetition of individual movement vocabulary brings attention to more subtle physical activity, which becomes the most compelling aspect of each subject.

Photograph by Rineke Dijkstra from Beaches series

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Experimenting with Sound

From Measuring Irregular Volumes: Study III, Performed on Sept. 28, 2012

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Discovering Louise Bourgeois

Coming out from under an art history rock/Fodder for Meat Game III?

The Couple, 2007

The Good Mother, 2007


The Good Mother, 2007

The Rivals, 2007

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Notes: Tere O’Connor on Composition

Notes from a one-week composition workshop with Tere O’Connor, July 23-27, 2012.

  • Vacillate between intuition and objectivity.
  • Ask yourself: How am I defining relatedness?
  • Practice wide listening – more observation than action.
  • Consider the temporal delivery system of surface images/references/readable symbols.
  • What does “development” mean, in a non-academic way?
  • Work with range. Even if you’re only working from 0-15 (on a 0-100 scale), create your own 0-100 within 0-15.
  • Grammar eats the noun. The delivery system (temporal) makes a statement about the symbol.
  • What is the structural voice for your material?
  • Some examples of structure: sequence, blueprint, spacial/geometric, organization/disorganization, parts of a whole, frame, rules, skeleton, zoom-in/zoom-out.
  • Structure structure.
  • Potential structures can be inferred from actual structures.
  • Thing to thing. Everything that happens relates to the thing that happened before it and that happens after it.
  • What kind of hallway do you use to throw someone out in a giant field?
  • Cross-fade moments –> read what a moment gives off.
  • Merge abstractions to further the material.
  • Unravel thought: what you feel about your material is not always what the material is.
  • What kind of system is emerging?
  • There is no such thing as a transition, there is just a hierarchy of things.
  • You have to make the paint, and then you have to paint with it.
  • Create “potential futures” for your work.
  • Find betweenness.
  • There are always many structures interacting with each other. Multiple structures/braided chronologies break assumptions and re-identify what the thing is.
  • When making formal choices, ask: Why? Does it have a social resonance?
  • Can you translate social or thematic questions into formal questions?
  • How do you finish your work? Finishing is a different state than cultivating.
  • Ethics of editing: What are the politics of what gets chosen for the final version?
  • It’s unhelpful to work as if there’s a mistake that needs fixing.
  • Structure: manipulate and allow.

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