|Photograph courtesy of sxc.hu|
and Keith Syvinski aka LeoSynapse
of Franklin, Indiana.
Goldsmith always insists on primacy of the talk about the so-called book--talk about the object rather than any kind of encounter with the text (and since the text might not be nothing but an out-of-date train schedule, say, that is a profound relief to him and us--whereas I'm always thinking that what writers say about their books is interesting and sometimes very delightful or fascinating but in general doesn't really matter because: a. they might be wrong or misleading or have forgotten what they were doing ten years ago; and b. after art goes into the world it belongs to the world.
Of course when I say that, I am still saying something, and I may be entirely wrong... Afte all, I generally feel that I know what I am talking about when I talk about my work.
However, since it's talk about the book that matters and not the book itself in Goldsmith's case and according to his avant garde lights, I shall deal with his entire oeuvre by talking about it and him without reading it or knowing him (though I should very much like to see him in his paisley suit.) In this way, I shall perform an uncreative act in keeping with his own beliefs.
Since Goldsmith likes to talk around his work, perhaps he will show up here in one of those marvelous paisley or striped or polka dot outfits and answer in some circuitous (or direct--he can be direct) fashion. But since nobody has any authority, feel free--whoever and wherever you are--to answer on his behalf and become Goldsmith. In that way, the meaning of Goldsmith will be altered (if you want to give your name and be some hybrid of Goldsmith-and-another, feel free to do that or link to your identity or else encode your real name in the text) and the project will become interestingly muddled. Oh, I like the idea of encoding your name in the text!
1. Do you believe that every story has been told, and so there is no sense in adding to the world?
2. Is the lyric gush of words from the fount alien to you? Have you ever felt it, or would you manfully (or even womanfully or childishly) suppress such a thing in the interests of the avant garde moment?
3. Goldsmith, some say, is the foremost figure in conceptual writing these days, and I for one am perfectly willing to believe them. A curious thing to me is how your work is considered so new when really it is a deliberate, purposeful recycling of long-familiar ideas, which you appear to claim because written arts are "behind" visual arts--as though art was about progress somehow. Do you think art is about progress? On one hand, the avant garde appears to worship "progress." On the other, the avant garde artists or, as you say, "word processors" seem to believe that there are no new ideas. Duchamp, Warhol, Borges--these are progenitors of the avant garde of 2011?
4. Would you follow Borges's Pierre Menard and steal a novel in that "intellectual" way? Would it have to be in public domain before you had the courage of your convictions? (Are they convictions, or are they just playful? Is conviction utterly irrelevant?) Would your attempt stand up in court if you, say, snitched the latest novel by Danielle Steel or some other empress or emperor of the popular with a lawyer at her or his beck and call?
5. If you knew the world would end (i.e. uncreate) in December, would you still bother with your uncreation? Why or why not?
6. If a student showed up in your "Uncreative Writing" class and insisted on usurping your role as professor and leading the uncreation, would that be all right with you?
7. How about if that student appropriated your signature and then that rectangular text, your paycheck? Would that still be all right--I mean with you, rather than with the eminent University of Pennsylvania? Why or why not?
8. How about if he adopted your Goldsmithian name and tried to go home to your family?
9. I can't find any images of your sculptural work that preceded your verbal uncreations. Why did you stop sculpting--and what was your medium and what were your concerns?
10. Is the avant garde secretly horribly puritanical and adverse to pleasure?