August 3rd, 2013 / 2:20 pm
Craft Notes & Music

Art & “Sound” Violence (Jhnns Göransson – A.D. Jmsn)

johannes 2

fascinated with “sound” violence”

Ovr at the Potry Fondation (yes, the Poetry Foundation) gust blggr Johannes Göransson begins his first post with a late 19th century qute abut Kren Music by Henry Savage-Landor:

This music is to the average European ear more than diabolical, this being to a large extent due to the differences in the tones, semi-tones, and intervals of the scale, but personally, having got accustomed to their tunes, I rather like its weirdness and originality. When once it is understood it can be appreciated; but I must admit that the first time one hears a Corean concert, an inclination arises to murder the musicians and destroy their instruments.


destroying it all

Jhnnes gos on to tlk about ART as a “zone which both hrts and is hrt” and how, qoting his wife Jylle McSney, “snd is a knd of violence” and, fnally, sying “I am invested in this violent aspect of art: it fascinates and hrrfies me.”

So, nyways, a few hrs fter I read Görssn’s engagng Ptry Fdation pst I found myself thking again abut snd, vlence, snd-vlence, and other thngs as I lay in a rlly hot bth reaing A.D. Jmson’s xcllent “Amazing Adult Fantasy”:

You’ll be the guy who finally knifed up Indian Jones. Some’ll love you and some’ll hate you. Some’ll never believe it and never give in. Some’ll send flowers. Some’ll look for and find the younger Indian Jones.

The casl skm-reader will glde rte ovr and thrugh the repted usages of “some’ll,” just skmmng out mening, but for me the lok, fel and snd of that strngeness on the pge, and in the ar, too, tk me abck—and I fond myslf, like Johnnes, facinatd and horifid.


completely horrified

And, a prt of me wnted to ris up out of the bthwter “to mrdr the musicians and destoy their instrments.

The writer (in this case A.D.) certinly does weld a pwer and a vlence that is excitng, surpising, horfying and fscnating. Part of me (and I’m exagerating here a bt, like I was about the mrder and destuction) wanted to thow up and I don’t know, relly, what, if any, sort of vilence (plasrable, scry, fascnatng, orrifying, etc) that A.D. enured, nurured or nfliced upon himelf in the writn of his stries but I can imgine him crating, cldly, gleflly, pasnately, in what Görsson calls, via Aase erg I think, a “deformtion zne.”

And this all makes me think of athor as serl kller, mrderer and the adience as vctim. And, of crse, the victim (or tended victim) will sbmit to this and/or rbl.

blood knife

sound knife — deforming

(note, too, that the repted uses of “some’ll,” whch are like a gn pushed into yr side, or bck, or like a kife at your thoat, come rght after “the guy who finally knife up Indian Jones.” And nte too that the athor here aready knifd up Indian(a) Jones by slcing out the “a.”)

This is soething I’m prbably going to think o more—and flsh and knif out frth in psts don the rod—but ju nted, ere and ow, to et the sd-viole strted.



  1. A D Jameson

      I’m glad you’re enjoying AAF, Rauan! Though if you’re finding Indian Jones sickening, then I should send you a copy of “The New Boyfriend,” which is my truly “violent” MS. At least one person claims to have thrown up while reading it…

  2. Rauan Klassnik

      what can I say, man — i’m a sensitive guy (very much so at least when it comes to sound and language) … and, sure, send whenever, whatever,.. i’ll leave the light on!!
      and, yes, I am enjoying AAF,…

  3. A D Jameson

      Oh, me, too. I actually don’t have much stomach for violence (or “violence”) in art :)

  4. Rauan Klassnik

      my attempt to promote my post on Goransson, sound, violence, etc, gets me this email in return

      “F$ck you, Ruan. Please stop violating me with your violent emails, composed of language which is inherently violent, and take me off your list.”

  5. deadgod

      Nice discussion of Johannes’s opening bloggage at the Poetry Foundry site.

      Unmentioned by Johannes (and maybe by Joyelle), the most important making of “parapornographic violence” argument in the Western literary and philosophical histories, to my knowledge, is Plato’s, in books III and especially the first half of X of The Republic. That one’s inward “violence” tuning forks can be resonated sympathetically by a physically non-violent experience (like listening to a rhapsode recite ‘Homer’s’ hexameters) is a core (and perhaps founding) moment in thinking about art, at least in the West.

      From ONLY the evidence of the Savage-Landor quotation that Johannes platforms and Rauan repeats (with emboldening), I don’t think Johannes’s suggestion that the quote is (imperialistically) “racist” rings true. In that snippet, Savage-Landor foregrounds the difference between “European” and “Corean”, which, I think, works deliberately against normalizing–‘normativitizing’?–the one of the two that Savage-Landor considers familiar to himself.

      In other words, that quotation — out of context — doesn’t privilege “European”, but rather, leaves open the privileging of familiarity to include, say, a Korean perspective, in which it’s that Beethoven shit that makes a ‘normal’ person want to kill the musician in self-defense.

      It is interesting that engagement itself with something different is framed by Savage-Landor, Johannes, Joyelle (I guess), and Plato as–Savage-Landor’s word–“diabolical”, or ‘violent by being malicious’. It’s like ant pheromonality, to the tiny extent that I understand such a thing; as soon as you realize the scent of a sound is from a different nest, IT’S ON MOTHERFUCKER.

      Does it have to be that way?

      Does it have to be that “Sound” — or anything — that one is not familiar with yet has first to pass in one’s experience of it through a stage of one’s “violent” self-defense before familiarity can slowly, what, anaesthetize or otherwise inure the antibodies of one’s immune system to those foreign proteins?

      Is it possible to estrange violence and normalize transformation — even painful transformation? (I think to do this one would have to distinguish “violence” from pain and, maybe, from fear, or, if fear is native to violence, fear from pain.)

      Horror — good horror: that makes you have to be brave — , from Oedipus striking his eyes πολλάκις τε κοὐχ ἅπαξ (‘both many times and not once’) to Sade and Jaws and Wolf Creek, is a genre that trafficks in making fear and pain pleasurable–a kind of normal.

      That’s cool. But is there a way to make “violence” itself violent?

  6. Johannes Goransson

      Dead God,
      Good comment. I think you’re right. I used this quote because in many ways it seems like an honest account of encountering something foreign. For me it’s the context of imperialism that makes it a bit troubling.

      As for your final set of questions, hopefully I’ll answer them in future posts, but in short I think of art as a kind of violence, a violent force. It’s afterall not violent contents or “horror” that makes the Korean music violent.


  7. Rauan Klassnik

      “Does it have to be that way?” –I guess not, as we can condition ourselves against our instinct, our blood, but as an Artist I can appreciate wanting to play on and with people’s instincts– to orchestrate, as A.D. did, in the same way as a man with a knife at your throat, or gun at your book, maneuvering you around, making you do and feel what he wants,…
      also, some people find “violence” (“violence” not of horror or the sensational but simply of that which is surprising) quite pleasurable… this too, I guess, can be a bit of an acquired taste,….
      and i’m looking to see what else Johannes has to say in future posts

  8. Rauan Klassnik
  9. Brief Notes on Johannes Göransson’s Poetry Foundation Posts | HTMLGIANT

      […] Klassnik already wrote a little bit responding to the first of Johannes Göransson’s recent ‘Corean Music’: Art and Violence […]

  10. “Uncontrollable Leakage” v. “Hygienic Barrier” | Supplicium

      […] for example, poet Rauan Klassnik wrote an essay in response to Johannes’s essay on violence, then emailed other writers to let them know, most folk responded […]

  11. "Uncontrollable Leakage" v. "Hygienic Barrier" | Montevidayo

      […] for example, poet Rauan Klassnik wrote an essay in response to Johannes’s essay on violence, then emailed other writers to let them know, most folk responded […]