HTMLGIANT / August Evans

Sleek and Hypnotic: Lina ramona Vitkauskas’s A Neon Tryst

neontrystA Neon Tryst
By Lina ramona Vitkauskas
Shearsman Books, 2013
84 pages / $15  Buy from Amazon or SPD

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lina ramona Vitkauskas’s ekphrastic book of poetry, A Neon Tryst, has just been released by UK publisher, Shearsman Books. It begins:

Contents

Black Patent Translations
to L’Eclisse                                                                                                     7

Wilson, 722
to Seconds                                                                                                      29

Into the Black Flocks
to Wild Strawberries                                                                                        59

These parts each begin with a short summary of their respective film:

L’Eclisse (1962) stars the sleek-silver-hypnotic Monica Vitti as a lost woman re-discovering herself after leaving her husband…

Seconds (1966) stars Rock Hudson as an aging, bored, East-coast man who is encouraged to commit pseudocide by an ominous group of wealthy men called ‘The Company’…

Bergman’s classic film, Wild Strawberries (1957), tells the tale of an aged, retired professor travelling cross-country to his alma mater to receive a lifetime achievement award.

I liked being reminded of Antonioni’s L’Eclisse, in particular, geometric Monica Vitti dripping across the screen, her crystalline angles and lines, filmed in black-and-white.

Printed on the back cover of A Neon Tryst is this:

all the main characters share an internal conflict—losing identity with the passage of time.

The book’s cover art is a still from the film, of Vitti’s sleeping face, doubled and cropped. Vitkauskas manipulated the image herself. She has made it wilder: she has given it color:

neontryst This is a Neon Tryst. The monochrome Monica Vitti has been given layers. Her sleeping eyes lit from below, impressed from above, the Vitti on the cover sends a different signal than the Vitti of the film. We are reminded whose tryst this is—Vitkauskas’s: electric, in neon.

L’Eclisse, Seconds, and The Wild Strawberries were all made during the late 50s and early- to mid-60s, in black-and-white.

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July 29th, 2013 / 11:00 am

Green Lantern’s Synchronous Releases Teach Us How to Love

the-white-house-dust-jacket-edition The White House                                  
by Joel Craig
Green Lantern Press, 2012
80 pages / Dust jacket edition $20;  Regular edition $15

&

Palm Trees
by Nick Twemlow
Green Lantern Press, 2012
82 pages / Dust jacket edition $20;   Regular edition $15

 

                                                                                                                       

 

 

Two synchronous 2012 releases, Joel Craig’s The White House and Nick Twemlow’s Palm Trees, invoke the communal support Chicago’s Green Lantern Press evokes in its intimate independent practice: small groups collaborate in the sort of devotion that can only survive beyond the constraints of money, friends sutured together in the simple creation of works of beauty.

Craig and Twemlow are longtime Chicago friends. Craig co-founded and curates the Danny’s Reading Series, and is the poetry editor for MAKE: A Literary Magazine. Twemlow now lives in Iowa City, where he writes and makes films. He also co-edits Canarium Books.

Because of Craig and Twemlow’s friendship, Green Lantern’s founder, Caroline Picard (who launched the Press and Gallery years ago, with pal Nick Sarno) released their respective books of poetry simultaneously, so the friends could tour together.

No Green Lantern release is regular; every book steeps in curiosity, newness, the unexpected. Every release is bound with delicacy, according to the “slow media” approach, making each book a curatorial site. It feels limiting to call them books. They contain ephemeral inserts, silk screen covers; artist plates.

The books might be siblings. They do bear some physical resemblance:

the-white-house-dust-jacket-edition palm-trees-dust-jacket-edition

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February 11th, 2013 / 12:00 pm

Psycho Dream Factory

Psycho Dream Factory
by Caroline Picard
holon press, 2011
111 pgs / $20  Buy from The Paper Cave

 

 

 

 

 

 
In line at the grocery store Shiloh perches in Angelina’s arms and Whitney Houston is dead. Celebrity eyelids: collated rainbows. All the flesh slick, like paper money.

      Celebrity

millions upon millions upon millions of images of Marilyn

                        Monroe:

 

 

 

her absence.

Psycho Dream Factory sat in a prominent area of my home for most of winter so I could see it because it’s beautiful.

One page is a glossy, hot pink. On it, Mark Fisher, author of Capitalist Realism:

“If memory disorder provides a compelling analogy for the glitches in capitalist realism, the model for its smooth functioning would be dreamwork.”

One morning in December I took the book off the table and brought it down to the floor. On my knees I opened it. A slip of paper tumbled out: white postcard bleating sleek, black, hyper-large:

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May 7th, 2012 / 12:00 pm

We Are Already There: Gretchen E. Henderson’s On Marvellous Things Heard

On Marvellous Things Heard
By Gretchen E. Henderson
Green Lantern Press, 2011
91 pages / $12    Buy from Green Lantern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pupil…having fallen sick, was dumb for ten days; but on the eleventh, having slowly come to her senses after her delirium, she declared that during that time she had lived most agreeably.[1]

 

Chicago-based Green Lantern is a non-profit press helmed by Caroline Picard and other artists, focused on bridging contemporary experience with historical form. The Press brings forth “emerging and forgotten texts” within a cultural climate where the humanities must often defend themselves. You may recall their notable release of last summer, Erica Adams’ utterly innovative The Mutation of Fortune. Blake Butler wrote in March, 2010:  “Green Lantern Press is simply making some of the most beautiful, singular limited run book objects of anybody in the pack. If you haven’t browsed their catalog recently, it’s overflowing: such a wide range of things to dig in, from new translation of Rimbaud, to art space phone books, to indexes and collection, so on.”

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Reviews / 3 Comments
November 11th, 2011 / 12:00 pm

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