Microscripts by Robert Walser

Microscripts
by Robert Walser
New Directions, 2010
160 pages / $25  Buy from Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

At their most definable, Robert Walser’s microscripts are meditations, essays, parables, and sometimes distillations of other authors’ works. Then there are more unclassifiable pieces; these are awkward journal entries, truncated portraits, and non-narrative stillnesses. In Microscripts, twenty-five of these handwritten miniatures appear in facsimile form with their English and German translations. Aside from their physical smallness, what the pieces have in common is a narrating voice that often pays self-conscious attention to its language. For Walser, words are a dangerous delight; they easily get away from him and can even embarrass him. Microscripts offers a tacit commentary on the author’s difficult relationship with language and writing, as well as an extension of his artistic project. Continue reading “Microscripts by Robert Walser”

Who made who?

The “art as nature” vs. “nature as art” quandary may not be something we’ll solve today, which is fine, though artist Tim Knowles seems a little closer to the answer, or at least more keen on being the provocateur of such disparity. Is it harmony in entropy, or just taping pens to trees in a some sublime post-MFA bong hit? I don’t know, but I was immediately reminded of Monet’s waterlilies, whose tendrils of weeping willows seem to dance the surface of water in some attempt at recording their presence. Modernism was far less self-conscious, so we’ll leave it to Knowles to beg the question: What if trees, inherent with nature from soil up, were given the chance to flay their mark upon a most glorious human enterprise? What if the tireless human transcript of culture were merely incidental, just some random wind?

Continue reading “Who made who?”