[-empyre-] Starting the Third Week: Michael Boghn and Jerome Sala

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Sun Nov 20 07:15:16 AEDT 2016

Hi Jerome, by your question on the nature of "knowing" in poetry, I
think you touched a critical point, an issue running throughout the
discussions and presentations this month.

Knowledge that poetic experience contains or "reveals" does have
multiple facets. On the one hand, the knowledge (in some incarnations,
message/propaganda) may be transactional and implicitly points or
leads to action. Some great classics are of that sort, for instance,
Lucretius's On Nature or Virgil's Eclogues, Shakespeare's Henry V and
also, in some sense, though a book of "revelation," The Bible, etc.
The election of Trump last week drove the discussion to the
transactional side of poetry (art), and rightly so. That is what all
the writing invited to be sent to Dispatches for the anthology all
about. So are the post cards Craig refers to, as conceptual acts.

There is another kind of knowledge that poetry "reveals," not
necessarily leading to action-- of course, the distinction is somewhat
artificial since a poem or work of art contains both simultaneously
each time creating a different balance. If one extreme side of this
spectrum is propaganda (all nations/cultures/languages have propaganda
masterpieces), the other extreme is gnosis-- a knowledge not quite
contained in the practicalities of a language, but in its peripheries,
the often unacknowledged overtones that emanate from words, space,
etc. (embedded in poesies).

It is in terms of this same dilemma (the nature of poetic knowledge)
that Heidegger is discussing technology in his essay. On the one hand
it is defined as "enframing" nature to exploit it (in terms that
Francis Bacon asserts as "knowledge is power"). On the other hand, it
returns technology to its roots as techne, a making that reveals the
truth. Their relationship is dialectical.

I have been on Empyre list for about two years, following it on and
off with interest because it presents to me a digital culture that is
of great interest to me; but in which I am not directly involved as a
practitioner. What struck me most is that, save for important
exceptions such as Alan Sondheim and Isak Berbic (and I am sure there
are others), the focus of the participants was on what the internet or
the computer can do for them, on the computer as a new potent enabler,
the computer as artistic or political power. As far as I can see,
little attention was given to it as a revealer of "truth," the
knowledge of human condition and psyche in a digital technological

In my view, poetry (art) is doomed to die without containing within
itself both these knowledge, though the melange may be different in

The underlying focus for me this month has been, that is why I
accepted the invitation to moderate, to explore whether the computer
(and the web as its consequence) has the ability to expose and
criticize the condition it has created, in other words, whether the
digital can be the "revealer of its own truth." I can not say I have
been that successful up to now.

The primary text for this month is the fifteen minute video clip I
referred to in my introductory statement at the beginning of the month
in which the film maker Jean Renoir discusses the effect of technology
on art (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7Mtd6GE_PI ). He says that
art becomes boring to the extent that that the art maker is in total
control of his or her own materials and techniques. He refers to a
group of 11th century French tapestries (the Bayeux, the first known
ones) where the threads were coarsely spun, the colors were primitive
and of a narrow range; but they contained great beauty, revealing the
strife of their making.

That is why "Overcoming Technique"--the first two words of my
introductory title-- is crucial, whether one finally agrees with
Renoir or not. In our daily lives with family and children and
teaching and grading papers, etc., I hope some of us find time to
re-focus on these issues the remaining days of this month. As artists,
the issues are important for all of us.


On Sat, Nov 19, 2016 at 9:28 AM, Craig Saper <csaper at umbc.edu> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Relevant to the discussion and the “dispatches” this event might speak to the issue of, what Jerome Sala called in a recent "poetry is a particular way of knowing the mind” …
> "Post Card Avalanche"
> Join in and send a postcard directly to Trump! Here are the basic instructions to participate:
> ** IMPORTANT - Don't mail your card until NOV. 26th **
> In the message section, write this simple message: NOT BANNON!
> Throw a post card Avalanche party. Make postcards.
> Address it as follows:
> Donald Trump
> c/o The Trump Organization
> 725 Fifth Avenue
> New York, NY 10022
> Affix a stamp - you can use a 35 cent postcard stamp, or a normal letter stamp.
> Take a picture of your postcard that you can share on social media using the hashtag #stopbannon
> Drop it in the mail! We are aiming to get these mailed between Saturday, Nov 26th and Monday, Nov. 28th to create a concentrated avalanche of postcards.”
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

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