Jasper Spoelstra, 2015
Terrain: essays on the New Poetics, Olga Pek, David Vichnar (eds.), 2015, Litteraria Pragensia (Prague).ISBN 978-80-7308-526-1 (paperback). 208pp. Publication date: December 2014. Price: € 12.00 (not including postage)Order: paperback / Kindle / Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
A collection of essays from VLAK magazine 1 – 4; ejected into tangible, palpable, odorous, aural, circles of reader, criticizer, completetit, mouldy beermat, funky doormat, dusty corner , squeezed flat breathless bookcase nostril flaring, auto-fragilic page flip frickle, humping, sighing, Google frenzy finger wiring.
Expertly edited by Olga Pek & David VIchnar (also of EQUUS Books), graphically kneaded & strung together by Louis Armand. Cover art, a map of London underground, depicting, besides actual infrastructure, myths, stories, colloquialism.
“The macroscopic behaviour of dynamic systems like earthquakes, wildfires and sand-piles, might be observed to be governed by spatio-temporal scale-invariances typical of a phase transition, even when the control parameters, together assume a macroscopic agency, take a collective stand, and collectively matter (cf. also Karen Barad, my note). Their agenda being situational, it might be better to speak of their tactic in lieu of a programme, and, instead of ticking off the various critical boxes, chart the lines of their tactical formations. After all, sand – among the most chaotic and evanescent formations – is the best surface on which to draw connecting lines, an ideal background on which to draw maps of. “
They say that the map is different from the territory. But what is the territory? [ … ] What is on the paper map is a representation of what was in the retinal representation of the man [sic] who made the map; & as you push the question back, what you find is an infinite regress
, an infinite series of maps. The territory never gets in at all. [ … ] Always, the process of representation is only maps of maps, ad infinitum. (passage by anthropologist Gregory Bateson, a most brilliant, titillating, evocative twirler of quills. The phrase “the map is not the territory” however, was coined by one Alfred Korzybski, general semanticist.
… the key to newness lies precisely in ceasing to understand [things] in isolation, & beginning to realise their shared synergy. If “newness” can be produced at all, it is always & only as the result of a selective, idiosyncratic recombination of the past old, & “new” chiefly in its effects on the present, in what it makes possible & gives rise to. & as creative praxis, or poïesis, is coterminous with the subjective in the medium, its theoretical programme is doomed to fail if conceived prescriptively or formalistically. Its only chance of succeeding lies in being as case-specific as possible, [a] set of recombined & re-applied tactical operations (suturing the “in-between”, fusing the centre & the margin, resisting systematization, staying true to the medium, etc.). It is, indeed, only in collection, in their collective agency, that the new poetics is produced in these essays, characterized by a shared adherence to concrete topography, to the materiality of language (what Armand calls “The Resistance of Medium”), to the inter-determination of the medium & the message & the real & the represented, to the profound link connecting poïesis, theoria, praxis, & polis.
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Within our global-local environment there reverberates a polyphony of realities that are inter-actual, intersecting, constantly contested, and always in the process of assuming new forms, forming new hybrids, taking new plunges in transversal directions. The essays collected in the present volume have been written in & between London, Paris, Berlin and Prague and first appeared in the arts and poetics magazine VLAK
. As such, the essays position themselves “in between”–internationally, interculturally, and intertextually–in order to map the terrain of an emergent poetics. Contributors include: Guillermo Suarez Ara, Matthew Hall, Louis Armand, Jeroen Nieuwland, David Vichnar & Olga Pek.