September 21st, 2010 / 4:03 pm

All Context, No Content

Here is an image of a small boy walking along the precipice between a zone of water and a monolithic structure.

Hi. My name’s Mike. I will be posting here periodically (thanks Blake). I had planned for my first post to be about Tan Lin’s Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004. The Joy of Cooking (Airport Novel Musical Poem Painting Film Photo Hallucination Landscape), which Adam Robinson mentioned last week, because I finished it yesterday and wanted to say something about it because it’s amazing, but I left my copy at home. I don’t like writing about books in detail if I don’t have them in front of me.

Instead of telling you about Tan Lin’s book, I will tell you about myself. Sometimes I really like talking about myself, and sometimes it makes me really uncomfortable. Most of my “author bios” are really brief and include a statement about how I am going to kill myself in the ocean. I also generally point out that this may or may not be true.

My primary interest, in terms of literature, is French literature. I have no particular reason for this outside of the fact that it is this that makes me most excited. Perhaps it’s because, at least from the 20th century on, French literature concerns itself primarily with what would be considered “non-traditional” writing, that is–if we’re lazy–experimental writing. Emphasis on “writing,” of course, as the wonderfully loaded term l’écriture implies.

I spent a large amount of time exploring post-“new novel” writers this summer: Philippe Sollers, Claude Royet-Journoud, Anne-Marie Albiach, Liliane Giraudon, Jean Daive, Alain Veinstein, Pierre Guyotat, Maurice Roche, Edmond Jabès, Marie Redonnet, Mathieu Bénézet and many more that I’ve encountered in journal back-issues who have names that I can’t remember. Let’s talk about these authors if you’ve read them, I like them lots. I expect to mention at least half of these guys & gals in posts in the future. I am obsessive & spend an excessive amount of time tracking down out of print books & neglected articles/translations from small journals. The hunting down of an abandoned or forgotten text is, most of the time, just as satisfying to me as reading the text once it’s in my hands. I first noticed how much I enjoyed hunting for lost things when I started my (now mostly abandoned, but potentially coming back in the future) film blog, but I guess I tracked down enough “missing films” in the process that I had to move on to a new medium.

Other than French lit, I spend most of my time thinking about architecture, “post-genre” film (specifically the films of Andrzej Zulawski), contemporary art, hot dudes and trivial daily irritants. I am one of two editors of the lit journal LIES/ISLE, I run the small press/label SOLAR LUXURIANCE and I keep my “fine art” portfolio & other miscellaneous things at Topology of the Impossible. I blog overwrought statements about art at Brutal Fucking Murder and I post really sweet images on my tumblr. I also play in 4 bands that have almost nothing recorded and rarely play shows outside of the town I live in. I am very, very obsessed with Georges Bataille.

This is a pile of dirt. I like how this pile of dirt looks.

Uhm, yes, well, I just wanted to say that I am excited to be here, and will be back with some substance soon.

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  1. Tyler

      Is that dirt piles picture a Goldsworthy photo?

  2. Alec Niedenthal

      Welcome, Mike! Glad you’re over here. I’ve never read any of those authors you’ve mentioned except for some Sollers through Derrida’s “Dissemination.” Really interested in what you have to say about them, however.

  3. Guest

      please more about “post-genre” films please

  4. Matthew Simmons


  5. Tim Jones-Yelvington


  6. Sean

      These introductions read like an assignment, but you’re reading list kicks donkey-ass.


  7. Sean

      Also your.

      What the fuck are post-genre films?

      I wish I knew more about film. But then I feel that 3 hour film time I could be reading a book or fishing.

      I know little about film. Wish I knew more. Don’t see it happening.

  8. Gabriel Blackwell

      Oh man: Zulawski! “Possession” is such an incredible film.

  9. Tyler

      Is that dirt piles picture a Goldsworthy photo?

  10. Ken Baumann

      Welcome, Mike! This made my day.

  11. Tim Jones-Yelvington


  12. Blake Butler

      i read Redonnet for the first time this summer. Forever Valley. so fantastic. i was really surprised at how simply she was able to put the functions of ideas into the writing, like so calm and simple in narration, but building so much horror in it, and ambiance. i need to read more of her. excited you are here.

  13. Owen Kaelin

      I’ve read Hotel Splendid, I liked it.

      Oddly: I’ve just noticed I actually own a copy of Forever Valley, and totally forgot. Maybe it’s time I read it, eh? Eh?

      …Sigh… I’m such a scatterbrain.

  14. Owen Kaelin

      Mike: Who composed the dirt piles? They’re great.

  15. M Kitchell

      Nope, I am kind of a snob and hate Goldsworthy because he makes earthworks seem really “simple” and based purely on some existential battle towards “just doing things” when most of the most awesome earthwork art is really intense and theoretical. It’s a Mario Merz piece, Merz is a very cool guy.

  16. M Kitchell
  17. M Kitchell

      Forever Valley is the only book in her ‘trilogy’ (which includes Rose Mellie Rose & Hotel Splendid) that I haven’t read yet. Yeah, she’s a weird force, and really, it’s sometimes these terrible earth shattering things addressed in like the most subtle voice possible.

  18. M Kitchell


  19. M Kitchell

      Thanks Ken!

  20. M Kitchell

      Zulawski kills. L’IMPORTANT C’EST D’AIMER, SZAMANKA, and ON THE SILVER GLOBE are probably my favorites with POSSESSION and LA FEMME PUBLIQUE in tier two. L’AMOUR BRAQUE and MY NIGHTS ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOUR DAYS and THIRD PART OF THE NIGHT are tier 3, I guess, but they are still killer. The rest I haven’t seen.

  21. M Kitchell


  22. M Kitchell

      Sollers is intense, through from my sampling I actually (and this is always the way it works) prefer his works that haven’t been entirely translated into English yet. Excerpts from PARADIS & PARADIS 2 are probably the most amazing things I’ve encountered from him, and of course they are not available in their entirety in English. This is a problem!

  23. Tadd Adcox

      Oh! Hi Mike. You’re on this site now. How’s it going?

  24. Owen Kaelin

      Cool, thanks. I’m on his Google train right now.

  25. cbren

      zulawski places really jarring choreographed fight scenes right at the beginning of at least three of his french movies and as i recall they always have equally jarring, genre-quoting “dramatic” music accompanying them, then there are the gratuituous explosions at the end of “possession”—it’s part of strategy that i can’t quite articulate, “post-genre” is a good descriptor

  26. A-Z

      People do not need to see the reality of their daily life on the screen anymore. Cinema must be as a
      peacock’s tail. Everything must be considered : comedy, drama, children films, intimate stories, epic films.

  27. jackie wang
  28. M Kitchell

      augh, i swear to god I responded to this last night… anyway:

      i have not really been “able” to write about film for like almost 2 years without it being really difficult, perhaps i should embrace the challenge

  29. M Kitchell

      post-genre was a term suggested to me by reza negarestani as isolating similar characteristic of the films i was grouping under my esotika banner, namely “sex, art, horror & experimentation in world film”

  30. Anonymous

      Hey Tadd. It is going o.k. I think I have become addicted to solitaire, and that has me worried.

  31. Anonymous

      yes, zulawski is good, guyotat is good, and that song is good too. hello!

  32. Anonymous

      zulawski’s use of music is part of what makes his films so amazing for sure

  33. M Kitchell

      Hey Tadd. It is going o.k. I think I have become addicted to solitaire, and that has me worried.

  34. M Kitchell

      yes, zulawski is good, guyotat is good, and that song is good too. hello!

  35. M Kitchell

      zulawski’s use of music is part of what makes his films so amazing for sure

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