Material Evidence from the Outside

A friend of mine recently commented, regarding a grip of 12 inches he was posting photos of on Instagram, that he loves the cover art for Italo Disco singles because there’s something slightly off about them, something that reminds him of the bizarre record stores that pop up in his dream, with titles and covers impossibly absent from the real world. As someone with a consistently over-active dream life, there’s something so necessarily true about this that I can’t help but return to the idea regularly. For me the recurring temple of capitalism is a bookstore (never a library, but I can’t be surprised about that considering the world as it stands), never architecturally the same, but always with an impossible swathe of books and journals and ephemera that I’m utterly thrilled by, absent from the waking world, and also sad to lose upon entering morning light.

I’ve been thinking of this in a way of sort of manifesting a material object that crosses the border from this impossible “outside” into ours… for me, lately, the ‘discovery’ of Adam McKeown’s journal in the 90s, Intimacy has been tantamount. Modeled after and dedicated to Paul Buck’s Curtains (which in itself has been infinitely important to me), the journal, at least the 2 issues I’ve read so far of the 3 I’ve managed to track down, is consistently fantastic. Some minor work from authors I’m familiar with (translations of Bataille’s & Artaud’s poetry that are fantastic and rarely discussed, among other things) along with amazing and often sexually transgressive works from authors completely unfamiliar to me, often writers that went on to write little else (at least, little else that’s been published). This invisibility plays into this imagined idea that these are transmissions from the outside… Materially, the journal itself is somewhere between Mimeograph, Digital printing, Xerox, and “professional,” but often in strange formats and with fading text. Materially interesting in its imperfections, makes me wish I had never tried to pretend that Solar Luxuriance needed to make perfect objects (when interesting objects should have actually been the goal).

But I’m losing focus–I don’t want to wander into a discussion of publishing right now.

I’ve been enjoying, recently, somewhat of a return to form in my reading, predicated upon my encounters with Curtains and Intimacy — my route into experimental literature actually came from just being a young curious pervert, and it feels good to return to that. I’ve always been primarily interested in experimental narrative forms — even in film and “poetry” (or more precisely, écriture), the work I enjoy most has some sort of “narrative movement,” even in the most loosely defined manner. But the narrative can’t just be whatever for me to really care. I’m a horror movie fan true and true, I “like” perversion, sex, transgression, violence. At an entirely base level. To be more accurate, I gravitate towards limit experiences — both within the text, and in life (though in life my aim towards that quest is accomplished in a way different than perhaps expected, but that’s an exploration for another day). I was reminded a few days ago that I started reading French literature almost exclusively due to Georges Bataille and Alain Robbe-Grillet, both capital P Perverts if there ever were any, and I’m 100% fine with this. I’ve read fairly widely (though away from the dominant paradigm) over the last 10 years, but my explorations that are more directed have been the most fruitful. It has felt nice to just be ok with indulging in my preferences, no pretense given that I have to be well rounded or anything.

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