I’m running through files trying to organize things and adjust to a new computer. Once in a while I stumble on something I hardly remember making but still feel a deep accord with. This was one of those things. I think it stands for. Still. What.
(i only wish it were still freezing)
(being an experiment, in theory
It is hard.
It is hard and it is cold.
Hard as in difficult.
And cold because of the weather. Well below the freezing point. But his gloves staid on, his lips held a cigarette, and he boxed.
He could box that paper. That paper-thin page. Already beaten to a pulp.
Him with a theory.
The theory a sort of equation.
The equation as follows:
ALL (whatever a person is, has, does) + ALL (a person’s skill, effort, strength, talent, knowledge and ability)
= Appearance of Art (momentarily)
Notation: A + A = AA
An utter mystery to him.
So he sat in the freezing cold, a pen in his hand, the ink sludging slow, paper on a desk, digging/ exposing / exploring himself, believing / composing / revising language,
oh, and the catalyst necessary to the actual experimentation of this theory – (he writes) – MAKING
One had always to be making (working, acting, writing, performing) with ALL (of him or herself) and ALL (of one’s capacities, faculties and tools) to carry out this experiment, i.e. to test the hypothesis.
Catalyst: (he notes) making (out of/into/with/toward)
Source and goal (purpose, intent) unnecessary, indifferent
Any action requires an energy source. In this case: living organism possessing capacities, perhaps even proficiencies, and coffee, and cigarettes.
No specified laboratory or station or constituents (conditions) to each his own [marginalia]
Quite a simple test really.
Requiring no great funding, no special services or permissions, few qualifications, variant supplies.
Simply vast amounts of time and consistent (persistent) and enormous amounts of effort. (As he saw it).
Reviewing centuries of other experimentations and practitioners of this simple eternal test led him to observe : “results in momentary airy results”
(often discovered in different places at different times dependent on observer – even in same test results – thus airy, ephemeral moments)
Feeling he had yet to produce an AA. A momentary Appearance of Art, he was compelled to introduce a compendium of criteria – identifiable attributes – whereby to justly analyze resultant artifacts and actions.
Again the qualities boiled down quite simply: put the equation into reverse for the observer or verifying assistant:
an Appearance of Art results through the remaking process or catalyzation of the observer,
requiring as a result, ALL of the observer’s person and ALL of the observer’s capacities,
Notation: criteria for AA to be AA:
AA = (must equal) A + A
He practiced this experiment from both sides of the equation – attempting to verify Appearances of Art by engaging / observing / remaking results that demanded enormous effort, large amounts of time and all of his experience and capacities, and as the performer of the experiment – devoting vast amounts of time, energy and effort of his total self to the making of Appearances of Art.
It wasn’t going well.
It is hard (extremely difficult)
And it happens to be very cold (causation: weather in Winter)
He’d read of other conditions explicated by practitioners before him: contingencies such as warmth, geographical position, silence, wealth, solitude, suffering (the Ss came up quite often); specific environments, times or places, assistant substances or particular tools or resources, even difficulty itself had been recorded – but there seemed to be no rhyme or reason, certainly no agreement, in fact, very often direct and incommensurable contradictions between one catalystic experimentor of A + A = AA and the next, which led to his marginal note (copied above): “to each its own”
He carried on, in spite of the grave difficulties, confusions and multivalent referents of the equation’s elements. Once in awhile he believed he had discerned a momentary result – an appearance of art in his own private performances of the experiment; unfortunately he could not obtain verification of his tests from contemporary scholars/students/or adepts of the ancient and cryptically-clear equation.
He had no trouble himself verifying most attested AAs, given sufficient time and effort, but, as he progressed in his work, identification became more efficient yet verification demanded more and more of him, devouring his time, energy and effort, interfering with and greatly complicating his own experiments and test cases from the equation’s other end.
He began to understand why past personages were led to choose to practice and perform the experiment from one side or the other.
It is hard.
It is cold.
And there is only so much time and effort.
There is only so much living organism to be had.
Limitations began to seem insurmountable.
But by now he had come too far.
There was only to go on.
It is hard, he wrote.
It is hard and it is cold, he recorded.
Hard as in difficult.
And cold because of the weather.
But my gloves stay on, he wrote, and my lips still hold a cigarette, right to the end.
His gloved hand fighting the pages.
There is only so much life.
N Filbert 2012