Thursday, November 1, 2007

getting back to Gertrude Stein

I read Stein with great interest during my early twenties and it has been a major source of inspiration for me ever since. even though I've gotten to realize many alternatives since then, I am still re-discovering many of her ideas and statements as very valid for what I am interested in in my work. As I continue working with Robert and Dwight, these notions are coming back into my attention.

... I had in hundreds of ways related words, then sentences then paragraphs to the thing at which I was looking and I had also come to have happening at the same time looking and listening and talking without any bother about resemblances and remembering.


I said in the beginning of saying this thing that
if it were possible that a movement were lively enough it would exist so completely that it would not be necessary to see it moving against anything to know that it is moving.


As I say the American thing is the vitality of movement, so that there need be nothing against which the movement shows as movement. And if this vitality is lively enough is there in that clarity any confusion is there in that clarity any repetition. I myself do not think so.

No matter how complicated anything is, if it is not mixed up with remembering there is no confusion, but and that is the trouble with a great many so called intelligent people they mix up remembering with talking and listening, and as a result they have theories about anything but as remembering is repetition and confusion, and being existing that is listening and talking is action and not repetition intelligent people although they talk as if they knew something are really confusing, because they are so to speak keeping two times going on at once, the repetition time of remembering and the actual time of talking but, and as they are rarely talking and listening, that is the talking being listening and the listening being talking, although they are clearly saying something they are not clearly creating something, because they are because they always are remembering, they are not at the same time talking and listening.

quotes from Portraits and Repetition written in 1934, published in Lectures in America, Random House, New York 1935

with these views, I find Stein voiced what were concerns of the 20th century: get back to the medium itself, find out what it can do, rather than maintaining the conventions of the 19th century or in fact the conventionality of Euro-Asian cultures up to that time.

as I am working with two visual artists, one mainly in sculpture - one mainly in media, I too get back to what I believe is the essence of what my medium is about - kinesthesy and its shared experience with others.

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