Saturday, February 24, 2007

Late Winter; Potential Projects

In society, the illicit taking of property is called theft.

In art, it is called appropriation.

Lately, Harper's Magazine has focused on art theft, "appropriation," imitation, the plague of plagiary, the communion of cooptation, pastiche, simulation, whatever term enflames the propertied or property-less soul. A few issues back discussed the use, re-use, and mis-use of a photograph of a Nicaraguan revolutionary; then Jonathan Lethem, glib but insightful, discussed the heritage and heresy of taking, turning, and re-making already existing art objects.

Not so much in league with this line of concept is a preferable one-- inspiration based on made work, seizing a dialectic between multiple parts, and synthesizing them but in one's own words. Selection could commence with random commonalities, such as words in a title. So you could take Kafka's The Castle, Celine's Castle to Castle, and Edmund Wilson's Axel's Castle and attempt to fuse them stylistically and thematically, despite their distinctions, the contradictions abounding among them, and the fact that their fusion would be a collision. Glorious un-accident!

If this seems too ambitious for late February 2007, one can save it for the swelter of summer. As a substitute, one might ensure that when books are being judged by their covers, they are in fact being judged by their contents. writes a short novel (the form we deem it is unimportant) in which the text is on the cover and the cover art is found inside, as one opens the book. People, get ready...and get working. curley