How looking at atomics informs the celestial is how parts of letters construct a word. The keyboard as periodic table, as stillness and value assigned to each button. Accelerated molecules go streaming out the mouth. Elements are floating everywhere. A sub-atomic splice of Q caught in an asterisk. The mega volume of billboard words being staved with a diligent stare. To confound the dictionary by purposefully eroding cohesion between the letters that form a word. Like a word, like biscotti snapped in two, in four parts, into crumbs. Then there are aspects of an erupted B dangling off a row of commas.
Morton Feldman said of Philip Guston’s abstract expressions that he was taking snapshots of Time Undisturbed. What is staring but that, Time Undisturbed, until the fidgeting subsides, until the pace is realized, until thought is cleared out enough to allow the material to enter. A repurposing of the given till new possibilities emerge.
What can you say about seeing? It’s wonderful, well, that’s not nearly enough. Try as you might, and thousands have, to describe the joyous nature of seeing. Some of it romantic, some of it informative, but all of it detached. It’s removed, if you will, from the very moment of sight. An image getting, not so much lost in the translation parts of the vision system, but diluted through distance. That distance or measurement where content is vulnerable to corruption. It’s a passage from the thing through the eye into the brain. Seems like a fantastically long journey where anything can happen. And it does. And no one ever seems to really be there. No one ever gets it right, so we continue to look, to stare.
a)there is nothing to cut loose from
b)the goal is ecstasy
c)now is supreme, break the stiff neck of habit
d)the constant baptism of newly created things
e)the white fertilizing ray
f)motion leaks everywhere
g)the god is inside the statue
h)the rest is ease, pause, grace
i)between above and below can be no mirrored reflection
j)i am talking from a new double axis
k)the mystery remains – an open reality and each reality is endlessly multifaceted and polyhedral
l)i am to build a house of ice/because it is more liquid
m)I was visited nearly every day by the Superior of the birds named Loplop, my private phantom, attached to my person. He presented me with a heart in a cage, the sea in a cage, two petals, three leaves, a flower and a young girl. Also, the man of the black eggs and the man with the red cape. On a beautiful autumn afternoon he told me that one day he had invited a Lacedemonian to come and listen to a man who imitated the nightingale quite perfectly. The Lacedemonian replied: “I have often heard the nightingale herself.” One evening he told me some jokes which didn’t make me laugh: “Joke: it would be better not to reward a beautiful deed at all than to reward it badly. A soldier had lost both arms in a battle. His colonel offered him a five dollar bill. The soldier responded: “No doubt you think, sir, that I have lost only a pair of gloves.”
1. A point is that which has no part.
2. A line is breadthless length.
3. The extremities of a line are points.
4. A straight line is a line which lies evenly with the points on itself.
5. A surface is that which has length and breadth only.
6. The extremities of a surface are lines.
13. A boundary is that which is an extremity of anything.
14. A figure is that which is contained by any boundary or boundaries.
These pieces were created using the TypeDrawing app for iPod.
VerySmallKitchen writes: Nico Vassilakis’ staring@poetics began as a presentation at the Avant Writing Symposium 2010 in Colmbus, Ohio, comprising a written text and a series of images (the later created whilst in attendance at the conference).
Images and essay intertwine in the book published by XeXoXial EdiTions in 2011, in which Nico observes:
“The initial act of reading is staring. When you add saccades you initiate movement. Text itself is an amalgam of units of meaning. Words, right. As you stare at text you notice the visual aspects of letters. As you stare further meaning loses its hierarchy and words discorporate and the alphabet itself begins to surface. Shapes, space relations, visual associations emerge as you delve further. Alphabetic bits or parts or snippets of letters can create an added visual vocabulary amidst the very text you’re reading.”
which I relate to Susan Sontag’s observation in “The Aesthetics of Silence” (from Styles of Radical Will, 1969):
“Consider the difference between “looking” and “staring.” A look is (at least, in part) voluntary; it is also mobile, rising and falling in intensity as its foci of interest are taken up and then exhausted. A stare has, essentially, the character of a compulsion; it is steady, unmodulated, “fixed.”
Traditional art invites a look. Art that’s silent engenders a stare. In silent art, there is (at least in principle) no release from attention, because there has never, in principle, been any soliciting of it. A stare is perhaps as far from history, as close to eternity, as contemporary art can get.”
Nico’s “silent art” is vispo and his text unfolds staring as the strategy for both its practice and its discussion:
“How to speak about vispo? For one, the relatable denominator is how we see. How language affects us visually, how staring at language is essential to reaping functionality out of vispo. In this case, we’d consider a stare to be an elongated gaze, and staring the hyper-focused verb from which we gain further insight.”
Also, this text/talk tells: “When staring bores an opening it defines the border where breathable atmosphere and relentless space meet.” “Staring at textpo creates the potential for vispo.” On several occasions such considerations become list and litany, document and invocation:
Staring at simple shapes
Staring at alphabetic division
Staring at new logic
Staring at elegant contraption
Staring at destruction
Staring at evasive composition
Staring at annihilation of word
Staring at newer logic
Staring at the seed of looking
For more information on STARING POETICS see here.