rimbaud: letter of the visionary (utdrag)

To Paul Demeny
Charleville, May 15th, 1871. 

I've decided to give you an hour of new literature.

Neither joke, nor paradox. The reason inspires me more certitude on this subject than a Young-France would ever have had with rage. Besides, freedom to the new! To execrate their ancestors: we are at home, and we have time.

For I is someone else. If brass wakes up a bugle, it is not his fault. That is obvious to me: I witness the unfolding of my thought: I watch it, I listen to it: I make a stoke of the bow: the symphony makes movement into the depths, or comes in one leap upon the stage.
If the old fools had not found only the false significance of the Ego, we should not now be having to sweep away these millions of skeletons which, since an infinite time!, have been piling up the fruits of their one-eyed intellects, proclaiming themselves to be the authors!

In Greece, I said, verse and lyres give rhythm to the Action. After, music and rhymes are a game, a pastime. The study of this past charmed the curious: many of them delight in reviving these antiquities: - it is for them. Universal intelligence has always thrown out its ideas, naturally; men picked up part of these fruits of the mind: they acted according to, they wrote books about them: so was the way things went on, the man not working upon himself, not being yet awakened, or not in the fullness of the great dream. Civil servants, writers: author, creator, poet, this man has never existed!

The first study of a man who wants to be a poet is his self-knowledge, complete; he looks for his own soul, he inspects it, he tests it, learns it. As soon as he knows it, he must cultivate it. That seems simple: in every mind a natural development takes place; so many egoists proclaim themselves authors; there are many others who attribute their intellectual progress to themselves! - But the soul has to be made monstrous: after the fashion of the comprachicos*, if you like! Imagine a man planting and cultivating warts on his face.

I say that one must be a seer, make oneself a seer.

The Poet makes himself a seer by a long, immense, and rational dissoluteness of all the senses.
All the forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, to only keep their quintessence. Inexpressible torture where he needs all the faith, all the superhuman strength, where be becomes, above all others, the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed, - and the supreme Savant! - For he arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his soul, already rich, more than anyone else! He reaches the unknown, and when, terrified, he ends up by losing the meaning of his visions, at least he has seen them! Let him die of his bound through the unheard-of and countless things: other horrible workers will come; they will begin from the horizons where the other has succumbed!

So the poet is truly the thief of fire.

He is responsible for humanity, even for the animals; he will have to make feel, touch, hear his inventions; if what he brings back from over there has a form, he gives form; if it is formless, he gives it formless. A language has to be found.

- Besides, every word being an idea, the time of a universal language will come. One has to be an Academician, - deader than a fossil -, to bring to perfection a dictionary of any language. Weak-minded people beginning to think about the first letter of the alphabet, would soon rush into madness!

This language will be from the soul for the soul, summing up everything, perfumes, sounds, colours, from the thought latching on to thought and pulling. The poet would define the quantity of unknown awakening in the universal soul in his own time; he would give more - than the formulation of his thought, than the notation of his walking toward Progress! Enormity becoming the norm, absorbed by everybody, he would really be a multiplier of progress!

This future will be materialist, as you see; - Always full of Number and Harmony, these poems will be made to stay. - In fact, it would be still Greek poetry, in a way.

Eternal art would have its function, since the poets are citizens.
Poetry will no longer take its rhythm from action; it will be ahead of it.

These poets will be! When the infinite servitude of woman is broken, when she lives for herself and by herself, the man, - hitherto abominable, - having given her her freedom, she too will be a poet! The woman will find some unknown! Will her worlds of ideas be different from ours? - She will find strange, unfathomable, repulsive, delicious things; we shall take them, we shall understand them.

Meanwhile, let us ask the poets for the new, - ideas and forms. All the clever ones would soon believe that they have satisfied this demand: - It is not so!

* comprachicos: word from "L'Homme qui rit" by Victor Hugo (1869). Children kidnappers who mutilated their victims to make monsters of them and win money with their exhibition.


se, s fine de er!

vårt sosialøkonomiske system har unektelig en kreativ evne til å estetisere for så å gjenvinne kommersielt, radikale ideer og sosiale tilstander.
metoden består i å ta en virkelighet ut av sin sammenheng og deretter omforme den til lett fordøyelig og trygg forbruksvare. 
i dette tilfellet kan lutfattige landarbeidere fra sør-afrika bli omtalt som: "united in the dignity with which they carry out their tasks, dressed in practical, protective garments with a well-worn, inimitable elegance".

disse bildene er del av en reportasje i tidskriftet VIEW ON COLOUR nr. 25, 2005, til salgs i europa for £40 eller rundt €60, avhengig av landet det kjøpes i.
fotografen jackie nickerson forteller om hvor imponert hun ble av : "their positive attitude and pride. this naturally followed on in every aspect of their life including how they dressed".
og dette til tross for en arbeidsdag som knekker ryggen deres.
i motsetning til arbeidsetikken vi blir fôret med, at gjennom arbeid kan vi bli frie og uavhengige mennesker, erfarer disse arbeiderne den harde siden ved produksjon av goder. 
det er tydelig at det neppe er dem som har mest utbytte av sin egen arbeidskraft, men derimot kaffe-, tobakk- og te-multinasjonale selskaper. disse er hovedansvarlige for utviklingen av et globalt samfunn som er delt mellom produserende land der arbeidskraften er billig og land hvor innbyggerne er redusert til forbruksenheter.  

likevel blir disse arbeiderne beskrevet nærmest som glamourøse moteskapere, mens deres eksistens isteden er preget av tvang og dårlige levekår.

 142256-39      142256-38

"I am very grateful" - sier fotografen med misunnelsesverdig letthet-  "for the good natured way in which I was invited into their lives and for the opportunity to photograph them."

et inspirerende innslag i et tidskrift som henvender seg til reklamefolk og designere.

ad reinhardt: monolog


"I got out of Columbia and I got into the WPA project and then into the American Abstract Artist group, which had almost all the abstract artists in the country in it, about forty or fifty. There weren't many abstract artists not in it. I think Stuart Davis didn't belong because he still liked belonging to the social-protest groups.

I'm talking about 1935 and 1936. Intellectually and aesthetically the important thing was that there was absolutely no relation between the abstractionists and the surrealists. The main idea and the whole tradition of abstract art centered pretty much around art-as-art or that art either had involve with aesthetic essence or not. Whereas the surrealists were involved with everything else. I suppose even programmatically they were anti-art. They were involved in, I don't know, life or love or sex or I don't know what. They were living it up. I remember Mark Rothko [for Rothko go to National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.] saying he had liked the surrealists because they gave better parties than the abstract painters. Well, the abstract painters were always dull in that sense.

I finally made a program out of boredom. After all these years I think now that for a long time I've paraphrased Schopenhauer, saying, 'Interest is of no interest in art.' I've taken on all the bad terms of the thirties. Everything that the artist were called that was bad I've picked up and I've made them not bad words. Like meaningless, useless, imageless - those kinds of words. Words like inhuman, sterile, cold - they became cool. Everybody affected to be cold, inhuman sort of. And the others - academic, dogmatic, absolute - I picked them up and said, "Well, why not academic?"

I tried to oppose the academic to the market place. I think in the future I see mainly the university academy as the proper place for the artist because the market place is insane. But the way it has been up to now the university academies are absolutely deadly and the market place, the gallery groups, for the past ten or twenty years have been more lively here. Now almost every artist outside of New York is connected with some school or some museum school and even in New York the majority are. That's an interesting fact when you take the idea of making money, making a living selling paintings. Only a dozen or two painters do that. I've never been involved in that particularly. I've been teaching for almost twenty years. I've never been called a good teacher, incidentally. I'm proud of that. You know, there is nothing deadlier than to be called a good teacher like Hofmann or Albers. It's like making boredom a central fact about art. If somebody is interested, there is already something wrong. They are interested for the wrong reasons.

Anyway, in the late thirties I was a member of the American Abstract Artists and then in the early forties I ran the gamut of commercial and industrial jobs around New York World's Fair that Russel Wright, Norman Bel Geddes, and so forth were in on. I did that about as quickly as you could possibly do it. I guess I could do any commercial or industrial job and then I got on PM in forty-four.

Then I was drafted in forty-five and I was a sailor for a year. They didn't know what to do with me so they made a sort of photographer out of me. I was in Pensacola and San Diego. I was always thrown in with a bunch of kids. I was twenty-nine then. I was called Pop. I was the old man of every outfit. They tried to make an aerial photographer out of me. Aerial photography was outdated already because all the cameras were completely mechanical, but they had aerial photographers. So I went to Puget Sound and spent time. Then I finally got on a little carrier. I waited in Tacoma, Washington, and we saw the carrier built, and when it was ready, we sailed out and then they dropped the atom bomb. We were all ready for that invasion. That was a fluke. The dropping of the bomb prevented me from getting anywhere near anybody shooting at me.

After the war I had my teaching job at Brooklyn College. The job at Brooklyn is interesting because Brooklyn reflects what happened to university art departments everywhere. It might be the worst department now and yet at one point it was the best in the country. It was the best when the Bauhaus first got a little hot here. I was hired not only because I was a painter but because I had a reputation with PM and they thought working for a newspaper was the greatest thing that could happen to an artist. All those people were a little naive. They still had the idea that an artist has something to say so you give him the means and then since there are a lot of people who don't know, he'll tell them for you. Art as communication. So then what better place, if you think that way, than being on a newspaper? You can tell everybody everything.

The department at Brooklyn changed. It was called the Design Department and the old Art Department - nudes and still lifes and painting classes - was out. We didn't have painting classes. We had Introductory Color, Advanced Color, Descriptive Drawing, Free Hand Drawing. Then less than ten years after that, they changed the name back to Art again. At that time the word Design didn't sound so good and it became an art department again but with more emphasis on art history. I taught a lot of art history, especially Chinese, Japanese, and Indian. But the painting classes came back. The nudes came back. Not so much the still lifes. So now our department is the worst department, partly because it has the worst facilities, I think. Otherwise art departments are exactly alike everywhere. I've been around everywhere. I went to Chicago two weeks ago. Minneapolis. Washington. I've watched this anyway for the last ten years.

They're all exactly alike, if some student came up and wanted to know where to study painting, you'd want to suggest some place but there's no place. I wouldn't know where to send a student to study. I think this is an interesting development because Brooklyn was the first one to be hit by this Bauhaus thing, and then it swept the country."

Ad Reinhardt, Art as Art, The Selected Writings of Ad Reinhard, edited by Barbara Rose, p. 23-29 

ad reinhardt (1913-1967) 142256-37