On a Personal Note

Prologue:  I do not know what I am about to write.


Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

In less than one week I will be in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in the midst of a thousand novel things.  I am going as a participant in the European Graduate School’s PhD in Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought program, studying with 15 or so others, guided by Simon Critchley, Giorgio Agamben, Christopher Fynsk, Boris Groys, and Luc Tuymans, et. al.

For weeks now, any spare moment has loomed like this:


working my way through the bulk of Agamben’s corpus, Heidegger, Hegel, Kojeve, Derrida, Brecht, Benjamin, Nietzsche, Deleuze & Guattari, Spinoza, and columns of secondary literature.  I do not know what to expect.  I expect small seminars of conversation and dialogue, led by persons tattooed on my arms – persons I “assume”? “understand”? are paid to think – employment I would SO love to land – to experience & think, inquire & think, research & think, & report.  Perhaps?  So we’ll gather for 6 to 9 hours a day (or more) – discuss principal thoughts/texts/events of human thought-about human thought-about human being-experience…and…?

Walk in the mountains – Nietzsche claimed his thoughts would only be possible up here.  Sleep.  Read.  Think.  I really don’t know.

It’s been the first time in my life (I can remember) in which the hours of reading I’ve poured into this have actually eventuated in headaches.  Distinguishing terminologies and concepts.  Following trails of thought.  Engaging them.  Responding to them.  Add to the above William James, A.N. Whitehead, Eugene Gendlin, Mikhail Bakhtin, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Steven Shaviro, Brian Massumi, Gilbert Simondon – my own favorite philosophical corpus – to construct conversations, critiques, and alternate points of view through.  To think-through-with.  And still with thousands of pages to go.


Here the classrooms and buildings.  Mountains and trees.  Novel, novel, novel.  The minds I’ll encounter.  Novel.  From all over the world, perspectives, perceptions, reflections, opinions, resources, references, practices, habits…novel.

And mostly (always?) I still simply want to write.

As my mindbody gestates and swells with new jargon and lingo, concepts and theories, voices and styles, there are many moments of cluster, confusion, conjoining and merger.  Thoughts disarrayed.  Set loose from their sources and synapted to knots and knobs of my own kernels of thought & experience.  A pregnant field.  A chaos.  I will need to walk.  Need to sleep.  i lose my bearings.

Language.   Other moments it feels everyone is considering the same things in different voices.  The same ‘truths’ in variant language-games.  The same purposes.  Not always.  But those hunting and haunting human experience – with that strange zeal and compulsion, near-desperation of finding-something-out, making-sensequesting meaningful presence…from diverse times and cultures, languages and histories, feelings and vocabularies…

I sense similarities, ties.  Tangles and diversions.

“the chief error in philosophy is overstatement”

-Alfred North Whitehead-


is what I have written at the beginning of my notebook for the journey.  What are you talking about & how? written just underneath.  Wittgenstein.  Whitehead.  Bakhtin.  James.  What we experience together alters everything we bring.  When we dialogue occasions occur, events happen.  When we encounter and meet.  Interaction.  Action and process take place, differentiated, by Other.  

From another pile: Knausgaard, Mary Ruefle, William Bronk, Wallace Stevens.  Ivan Vladislavic, Ben Marcus, David Foster Wallace, Joshua Cohen.  In my readings – Valery, Rilke, Holderlin.  Blanchot, Kafka, Beckett.

Voices.  Styles.  Experiences.  Occasions.

Interpretations.  Experiences.  Thoughts.  Language.

EGS crest

What I expect is that “something is doing.”  Activity is going-on.  We/I will be being-with and being-in.  There will be convergence, dissonance, emergence and change.

It will be a variant “me” coming “home.”


(live webcam of area)

To the mountains then.  To think.  To learn.  To live.  To be-with and be-in.

To become.

Life in Relation to Art

My super-wife (http://lifeinrelationtoart.wordpress.com/) strikes again – a triptych selected for exhibition opening this Friday at City Arts – Wichita, KS.  Come participate if you can – a varietous juried show!  Congrats love!

mixed media - Holly Suzanne
mixed media – Holly Suzanne




Announcing: STUDIOVOGUE Gallery Group Exhibit “Harmony in Diversity” with Holly Suzanne

Announcing: STUDIOVOGUE Gallery Group Exhibit “Harmony in Diversity” with Holly Suzanne.

So proud of this particular artist!  Congrats – wish we could be there!  Love you brilliant wife!

Waterplay – a triptych by Holly Suzanne


Waterplay – a triptych by Holly Suzanne

Waterplay – a triptych by Holly Suzanne


What we know for certain is the steady stream of life, the flood, the flow, replete with bits and currents.  Immersion.

What is less clear is whether we are rising or falling, whether paradoxes hold true, what that might look like.

And if we’re swimming together, how that alters the land, changes the buoyancy, rearranges our standards of measure.

We – individuals – no longer a fixed point of reference.

Now “I” that formerly looked oh-so-much like a “1,” is just a needle in a flurry of dried whirling pines.

Rising up, rising down, in relation.

The self, the other, the flood.

In certain light, it shimmers.  In little light it bleeds dark.

It’s not as if we’re provided decoders, infra-red goggles, enlightenment.

I’m as much in the sea of life as you.

We share, in this sense, an equal, fluid, ground.

And not as something to step up or out of.


The self, the other, surround – weighted flotation devices.

I’m in, at a kind of “over here.”  So are you.

There is no escape.  We sink.  We rise.

N Filbert 2012

(My apologies – these pieces have proven very difficult to photograph in a way that presents the depth of layering and colors truly present.  These are fairly large oil paintings created of Autumnal colorings and glow, many more greens and yellows, oranges and hues filling out the originals.  It is painstaking to present them here struggling with glares and digitalia in a way representative.  Forgive me, and if you are able come see the originals through the month of November at Mead’s Coffee House in Wichita, KS – they are rich to behold!)


Feeling Blind

Antoine Coypel – Studies of the Blind


Feeling Blind

“Art always divides objects and offers a part instead of the whole, a feature of the whole, and no matter how detailed it is, it still is a dashed line representing a line”

-Viktor Shklovsky-

“A fragment is not a fraction, but a whole piece”

-Lyn Hejinian-

“Those girls!,” we say of our puppies, as if we know.  As if they behaved like us.  We are, after all, wild animals, without a master large enough to keep us from fighting.  The puppies are so small.


I remember filling a large square of canvas (“large” being relative to my body, not a mountain) with loads of spattered paint.  It felt good and looked neat, even interesting, crammed as it was with accidents and intentions.  Runs and spills and layers of carefully made strokes.  Nothing was recognizable or familiar in the result, but I’d swear it was representation.


Again and again I attempt to feel blind.  Not empathetically, by tightly wrapping my head and completely covering my eyes with some solid fold of cloth, then wandering through a day or night or week of time.  Nothing like that.  I’m capable of removing my glasses and learning the world without edges or shapes.  Feeling blind is usually sexual for me.  In the way I use my senses.  It’s never the same if I know what I’m touching or tasting, hearing or smelling.  To “feel blind” means losing familiar.  I write blind every day.  Defamiliarizing myself in order to learn something.  About language, about emotion, about me and a world of signs.  It’s de-meaning.  Bring me my lover’s body replete with organs and breath, thoughts and flesh, and lay her down beside me.  I’ll tell you what it’s like.


They like to escape, to cross boundaries.  If you turn your back, they scamper.  They’ll sniff and chew on anything, and leave their feces anywhere.  Artistic mediums rarely work the way I want them to.  Paint slips away where I place it thick and neat, clay cracks when it dries or fractures in the fire.  Words mean something else.  Her breath creates an atmosphere, moving particles and waves.  I can smell the colors of her thoughts.  At this distance it is easy to hear the goosebumps on her shoulder curling forward to her armpit.  I feel her hair, thick and brown, around my ankles.


I try to use mistakes.  The pups will eat their poop.  Her buttocks create parentheses in my dreams.  If I stack the pieces just so, another thing will happen, come to be.  Sticks preferable to stuffies.  The arches of her feet never cease whispering their curving tones.  I rarely intend what I make.  They stumble their way to fresh treasures of foul-smelling, old-buried rot.  Her crotch controls weather, I ache deep in my bones when it’s humid.


It does not cease to amaze me, what’s found.  Candy-wrapper, weed-stalk, squirrel-scent.  Everyone’s a critic.  The purposeless finds purpose in the eyes of the beholders.  The meeting of the needs.  The way the caps of her knees taste like buttons of mushrooms, just that tiny and soft on my tongue.  The slogans her scent shouts into my ears, rushing the drums like a throng.  They drag it until it dissolves.  Everyone makes up a context.


And eventually tire.  With ignorance things are recharged.  She is different when I open my eyes.  I had registered warm mango with coconut milk, they’d spilt honey on an old wet rag.  Apparently the “trajectory of my new works on paper.”  She came with a gasp and a shudder as I deciphered her Braille, she had never liked crowds and my mouth was crowded by terms.  No one understands it, or perhaps they do and I don’t, pups fast asleep and me feeling so blind with attention.



Experiential Ekphrasis

Figures Seated in Mid-Air
by Holly Suzanne

Experiential Ekphrasis.

Hello dear followers – I can hardly thank you enough for taking time out of your lives to look at, read and engage things I am involved in the making of.  Your support and attention is a constant encouragement.  THANK YOU!  (and thank you for offering and creating your own!)…  I wanted to invite you (if you are interested) to visit/follow a couple of other blogsites I also create in/with –

www.ekphrastixarts.com and