#956 Work in Progress

Off to a slow start this year.
40″ x 30″ A paint-over of  #774    which I’ve never been happy with.
#756 wip


Deleuze & Guattari: Notes on Rhizome

Southern Nights

Quotes from A Thousand Plateaus in no certain order for a Book Project:

D & G: “How can the book find an adequate outside with which to assemble in heterogeneity, rather than a world to reproduce?”

Rhizome it.

The rhizome is an anti-genealogy.

Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of the rhizome is that it always has multiple entryways…

Writing has nothing to do with signifying. It has to do with surveying, mapping, even realms that are yet to come. …

The rhizome is altogether different, a map and not a tracing. Make a map, not a tracing.

A rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles. A semiotic chain is like a tuber agglomerating very diverse acts, not only linguistic, but also perceptive, mimetic, gestural, and cognitive: there is no language in itself, nor are…

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Nothing lasts but change


For generations, artists in the Euro-American traditions, like ancient Greek heroes, accepted the idea of posterity–the hope for an enduring place in history and myth, that they, and their work, might defy mutability–hope for a kind secular immortality; artists and poets might die, but art and poetry was forever.   On the brink of collective human suicide–and even if we should survive our human-made catastrophes, it will be but for a blink of the universal eye–who can believe in such a thing, now?

I’ve been thinking about this for some time. My work will never achieve an enduring status, and even if it did–what posterity…?  when, in a few generations, there will no humans left on the planet? And in the immensity of time, before the sun consumes the inner planets as a red giant, who can maintain the illusion of a lasting memory, of a lasting anything? What then, can take the place of that old fantasy–dead as the gods who belonged to that vanished world? What, but change itself? Like Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Seed. Rather than imagining, how works of art might endure, think of them in terms of what they do, as themselves, agents of change–which they are. As works of art and poetry have always been… done?

Lubricants to slide us another step into a future we can only know when we get there. The only past worth saving, is what will remain as we break the chains that bind us to it, the past that will survive, because it changes with us in a future we create together.


The Necessary Transformation of Rage


Confronted with individual cruelty, acts of hatred, I respond with anger, rage– and justifiably so, I think. But, then, I have to remind myself, that rage is also a cover for fear–not a simple fear of that individual, but a soul destroying fear of how, evil (let me call it that), threatens to rob me of my trust–in everything! Other people, the world, life itself…isn’t that what makes it, ‘evil?’
I know that most people who do terrible things, are acting as part of something larger, that the Charles Mansons of the world–those who seem inexplicably evil, are rare. They are the stuff of literature, the Iagos, the Judge Holdens, and they are so threatening, because they seem to embody, as individuals–that sort of almost metaphysical evil, evil as a positive quality–not, as with most of the worst, as having something missing (I think of Kissenger, Pense, McConnel, an emptiness that is filled with the swill of the cultures of power and duplicity. That makes them no less worthy of our anger, but they are not manifestations of metaphysical evil, of demonic power that threatens the very possibility of humanly constructed meaning.
I’m telling myself this, because, though I don’t formulate the rage I feel in those terms–I find that too often, I respond as though it were so–thrown onto a Shakespearean stage, the imaginary evil reified in those who wield power–from the elite who make a show of command, the sycaphants who carry out their orders, to the soldiers and cops who defend them. A living nightmare.
A nightmare… of my own imagining. A nightmare that threatens to undo me.
If they were, evil, in themselves–it would not be imaginary, but they are not. They are, in their actions, if not in their being, if not in what is left of their souls, ciphers. Empty ciphers on the gameboards of history. They can take my life, the lives of those I love, make a ruin of the world–but they do so as players in those terrible games. Like the little plastic and metal pieces on the Monopoly board. Pushed by forces they only imagine they control, around and around, going nowhere, arriving no where. Thy have no Way. And they have no power over me–of what grounds me in my essential trust in the world, in the circle of those I love, in the human family to which I belong.
Be angry at what you see! I remind myself, but let me turn my energy to the forces that have made these failed humans do what they do, made them what they are, what they have become! Let me work to understand and name those forces, and stand with others in imagining, and creating a world that fills and nourishes our souls, our love for one another, and the good and terrible earth we must make into our home.