Saturday September 16, 2017

With my eyes closed, I imagine from an external vantage point the sight of my arms held above me. As if into a phone, I request the identity of the one with whom I speak with the phrase, “Who’s calling?” “Nevermind that, now,” it answers, “let me buy you a drink.” I pull the phone away from my ear and stare at it. My head drops through the screen and tumbles downward, as if into a fantasized space. I unlock a new level, where life resembles Campbell Logan’s video for D/A/D’s “Orion Beach.”

Looks good, right? With other work I sometimes purse my lips. My head ricochets backwards, overstimulated, distracted, and bored. Try again, but don’t push so hard, urges a voice. Capital’s subjects perform their function — chasing “good business” to the letter — because they’re abused by the thought that they’re always being hunted. “The wolf, thy brethren, will come for thee,” says an imaginary ancient prophecy. We are immersed in a zone of consciousness called Ideology: an illusory yet sensate world. The nightmare world, with adjustable levels. We need to start dreaming ourselves differently. Cognitive liberty means the right to allow thought to toboggan down mountains, wander through strange neighborhoods in search of moments of clarity. A part of my self tells another part to check out Edmund Berger’s Uncertain Futures, as well as his essay “Into the Mystic.” As I stroll through my neighborhood, I realize that every house has a hum. The night’s performances make use of helicopter, lawnmower, cars, air units, and cicadas. Sarah runs her hand through lavender and remarks on the evening’s strange music: “complex conversations,” she says, “in alien languages.” Afterwards we watch a bearded asshole of an old man grumble, “Actions have consequences.” Ozark, by season’s end, has become a variant of what’s that show, eaten by goddamn worms: ding-dong, The Walking Dead. Also a family-based reality tv show. The family of contestants receives a new challenge each episode: to accept, say accept. To decline, say decline. Marty Byrde is understood to be the reluctant but masterful god and devil, capital incarnate: the show’s Zen-like tragic hero.

Wednesday September 13, 2017

Jason Bateman ends and begins episodes shouting, “Jesus! Fuck! They put up a cross.” To me, those people are invasive of ecosystems, turning every town into a bait shop. Zombies pissing into oceans. Starlings in Central Park. Established entities like that worry me. Drug money, narco-dollars: that’s the world for me. The weeds, the rich earth: which are we? Is drug money the capitalist economy’s pump primer? So says Ozark, as I try to get my bearings. Voiced bodies make me laugh. Among creatures, they’re pretty peculiar. We shouldn’t be arming them. Many of them also know kung fu. Reality becomes gridded as I relax in my mission. I started this blog out of a perception that present iterations of the maze-world lack authentic, whole-person modes of communication — modes attentive as well to the always schizoid, always provisional nature of contemporary subjectivity. Bath products hanging from my shower-head advertise themselves as “Damage Detox” elixirs and provisioners of “Nature’s Therapy.” Let this blog extract from all such things the kernels from the husks. Let it compensate for the fact that a student of mine showed up to class this week wearing a “Raised Right” GOP hoodie. (Alas, my only remaining hope involving this country is that I may one day escape it.) In yesterday’s case, “Nature’s Therapy” meant sitting in a room, drinking from a thermos, listening to the progression of sustained and unsustained notes that fill the air below the vaulted ceiling of Sarah Davachi’s cathedral, The Untuning of the Sky.

To transform ourselves, we must allow ourselves to wander. By the way, Full Spectrum Records was founded by a pair of heads in Greensboro in 2008; they’ve been churning out high-quality head treatments ever since. Check out Build a Mountain Where Our Bodies Fall, for instance, by the Andrew Weathers Ensemble, or beneath the by Des Moines-based artist Lindsay Keast performing under the project name Tree branch Twig.

Witness, too, the heartbreaking window onto the canine soul that is Laika’s Lullaby, Keast’s collaboration with animator Julia Oldham, for a 2015 exhibition at the Portland ‘Pataphysical Society. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a city where that was a thing? All right — enough, then. Go lightly on thy way.

Monday September 11, 2017

Pour water on fish from a glass decanter. It was like Medusa: you can’t just rationalize it away. The Self models a home and stages a territory. A whole new game: small beginnings can bring down mountains. One must imagine trying to play the game: hands there, on the joystick, a voice says, pointing. I hope to spend some time, perhaps next summer, exploring the contents of the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection at Harvard’s Houghton Library. It’s the world’s largest private collection of material documenting altered states of consciousness. Since the bulk of the collection came from Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Jr.’s acquisition of San Francisco’s Fitz Hugh Ludlow Library in 2001, Harvard now refers to it as the Ludlow Santo Domingo (or “LSD”) Library. Time to start hunting for grant money. “Wow, it’s really coming down out there, man,” says a gloriously reverbed voice belonging to a member of The Electric Peanut Butter Company.

That guitar solo mid-song, and that drum solo that succeeds it, shall serve as my coping mechanism, a memory of a lofty peak on an otherwise dreary work day. Joy is a revolutionary hammer and sickle that one can deploy in plain sight. Heavens are portals everyone can step through into blissed-out, gravityless, non-dimensional modes of being. Alien creatures like Chocolate Vine fruit start showing up in a side garden: light shines down on one’s shoulder. A new development: I feel alright. Beautiful weather today. Getting high resembles the shape of Ought’s “Beautiful Blue Sky.”

I hear in it nods to Native Nod, The Van Pelt — a tour de force spoken-sung vocal performance taking some inspiration, perhaps, from Life Without Buildings. “Goes fast. Don’t waste it,” says a voice: “Afterwards, it’s cold.” Speaking of wasting it: the Netflix Original series Ozark sickens me with its perverse valorization of the hypertrophied work ethic, its characters flinging themselves through life in pursuit of money. Fishing is the name and metaphor for this mode of being — except capitalists drop their hooks on their peers.