The Spectral Lens & Apparition of a distance, however near it may be by Paul Soulellis
I met & discovered the work of Paul Soulellis at the recent LA Art Book Fair and got super excited right away.
As taken from his website (as are the photos above):
The Spectral Lens (Twenty-Six Stories from the Book Machine) (2012) is a visual poem featuring images photographed by Google book scanners through tissue paper. The scanner treats the tissue paper as a “valid” page in the book and scans it as it would any page, capturing the image (or text) behind it. The images are degraded in various ways, depending on the texture and opacity of the vellum. Rips or folds in the tissue are sometimes captured.
The images are “mistakes”—visual information that might normally be corrected or removed by bots. Instead, the errors remain as permanent additions to the Google Books library, forever altering the viewer’s perception of the work.
I search for these mistakes and treat them as found photography. My screencaptures expose deviations in the algorithms hiding deep within the archive.
The Spectral Lens is at once the glass eye of the book machine and its faceless human operator; it is also the lens-less “camera” of my computer.
I was immediately struck by the haunting simplicity of these images, that such a strange and technological process could aid in creating such immediate & subtle emotional works.
His other project, though similar in technological source looks at a different sort of glitch. Also from his website:
Apparition of a distance, however near it may be (2013) is a collection of found images portraying Google Books employees physically interacting with books inside the digital space of the book scanner, gathered into a 42-page print-on-demand publication.
As accidental recordings, the images mistakenly add human physicality, movement and distortion to the experience of consuming the static book in a browser window. These anomalies are usually corrected or removed by bots, but sometimes the errors remain, becoming spectral additions to the Google Books library and permanently altering the viewer’s perception of the content.
Here the images aren’t haunting, but slightly unsettling and creepy. Something about the lingering, partially-gloved hand that adds a strange layer to the usually austere realm of Google Books.
Books by Impossible Mike
What I’ve received so far:
And can’t wait for the rest. 3 out of 4 pictured are from the supremely awesome 2013 Zine Club, & you can still get in on the action by the way. Getting things like this is the mail like this is one of the happiest experiences. We should be mailing each other beautiful book objects all the time. These beautifully crafted books are full of brilliant, contemplative, questioning, profound writing. Thanks for making these Mike.
Excerpts from Put Things In Your Body Until You Feel Like God:
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
the god of the mountain’s resonant voice echoes across the blank sky
HOW MANY NAMES HAVE YOU HAD?
too many to have them all remain in my memory
Béla Tarr, le temps d’après by Jacques Ranciére (Capricci)
I’m currently obsessed with Bela Tarr. Obsessed might be an understatement. I’ve just finished a creative project inspired by the films of Bela Tarr in which I watched The Werckmeister Harmonies, Damnation, The Turin Horse, and Satantango on repeat. Yes, I’ve watched Satantango multiple times. And plan on watching it many more times. I’m also working on a collaborative critical project with Jared Woodland in which we’re investigating the unique function of the long take in Bela Tarr’s Satantango, but also looking at the brilliant novel by László Krasznahorkai alongside. So anyways, knowing of my obsession, my friend Amar Ravva got me this book for my birthday and I’m really excited about it but there’s no English translation yet and I don’t read French. So I guess I’m going to learn.
Grace Period: Notebooks, 1998-2007 by Aaron Kunin (Letter Machine Editions)
I just recently got this along with Edward Berrigan’s Can It!, both from Letter Machine Editions and can’t wait to have a moment to sit down and delve into the text. I’ve been a fan of Aaron Kunin’s work for awhile. His collection of poems The Sore Throat & Other Poems lingered in my mind for a long time after, and so can’t wait to enter the aphorisms, fragments, poetic statements, and notes of Grace Period.
Upon flipping through, one “note” that caught my eye:
90. Everything he says is followed by “I think.” (155)
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke (Dalkey)
Just reading the introduction gave me goosebumps. I can’t believe I waited so long in my life to read this book. Seriously. This ought to be required reading. The reconceptualization of what it means to “see” is haunting, invigorating, inspiring. The introduction by the translator Burton Pike describes: For Malte the price of this will to wait and to observe is living in a state of complete inner and outer isolation. To keep himself perpetually in a state of seeing and waiting involves willing the sacrifice of separation from family, friends, and society.” This, to me, is utterly tragic and incredibly noble at the same time. The introduction later continues, “Malte aims for a unity he cannot reach, but his honest keeps him from faking it, and the honesty of his attempts is one of the signal accomplishments of Rilke’s novel.” As Malte states, “I am learning to see,” and later “Suddenly one has the right eyes,” I question the honesty of seeing behind our own writing today.
Killing Current by John Pluecker (Mouthfeel Press)
My good friend JP was visiting Los Angeles this past weekend and I was given a copy of this beautiful chapbook. You can buy one here. As his bio states, John Pluecker is a writer, interpreter, translator and co-founder of the language justice and literary experimentation collaborative Antena. And I feel like you can add cartographer to that list. The poems in this mini-collection draw intricate lines, both visually and linguistically, like this:
Various chapbooks/pamphlets from Eohippus Labs
2013 has been a productive year for Eohippus Labs! I’ve received a bunch of new titles from them, pictured above, and as it’s been a hectic year for me so far, I haven’t had enough time to go through them all yet. I tried to take some pictures of them all but one of my dogs got in the way. Guess she’s excited about them too.
An excerpt from Nocturnes and Etudes by Sarah M. Balcomb:
On nights they run the dark city streets. The moon a ping pong ball. Each star fading in the gray. Each step a life. Each look a longing. Every man a uniform plotting the kiss.
Ghost Dance Dir. Ken McMullen
“Cinema plus Psychoanalysis equals the Science of Ghosts” – Jacques Derrida (from the DVD cover)
No, this isn’t a book, but a book I often return to is David Appelbaum’s Jacques Derrida’s Ghost: A Conjuration, and I often think of this film in conjunction with that book. The entire movie used to be available free online somewhere but it seems to have disappeared though there are clips, like this one, floating around. I received the DVD as a present and am excited to own a copy. It’s strange and sometimes tedious, but there are many snippets I quite enjoy a lot.