Monday, November 8, 2021

The Many Masks of 'Doc' Mortag

Outtake from "The Many Masks of 'Doc' Mortag" by Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan (Asemic Front Series #2)


The second book (first edition) in the Asemic Front Series has been released in digital form free on Scribd: 

https://www.scribd.com/document/538328322/The-Many-Masks-of-Doc-Mortag-by-Shawn-McMurtagh-De-Villo-Sloan-Edition-1-2021




Wednesday, November 3, 2021

"He do the Police in different voices" - An AF2 review of "Today" by David Chirot & Cheryl Penn


From Today, a collaborative book by David Chirot (Wisconsin, USA) 
& Cheryl Penn (Durban, South Africa)



Today by David Chirot & Cheryl Penn. Internet Archive (Collection: opensource, visual poetry, collaborative poetry). Published 11.06.2015. 17 pages. Free e-book & pdf


By De Villo Sloan


The sad passing of Wisconsin, USA, visual poet David Chirot (aka David-Baptiste Chirot aka D-BC) in June of 2021 has elicited international sympathy and sorrow. I am pleased we are seeing a concerted effort to locate, preserve and share Chirot’s work.

This review is meant to shed light upon a relatively obscure but I think significant D-BC collab with South African visual artist and poet, Cheryl Penn. The resulting book, Today, was published digitally in 2015 at the Internet Archive. Penn writes Today was made for her publication An Encyclopedia of Everything – Expanded Version.

The book can be downloaded from the Internet Archive free of charge in a variety of forms. Cheryl Penn has made another version available on her collab blog. I strongly recommend image-text readers keep a personal library apart from the internet.

https://archive.org/details/Today_201511/page/n15/mode/2up

Cheryl Penn's Collaborative Poetry & Writing blog:

https://collaborativecanto.blogspot.com/2015/03/today-david-chirot-usacheryl-penn-south.html?fbclid=IwAR3VMSvLKwSK_yLu3LODlZg1bKnxfg4xaep4Js2ibZPSldQdG1Yv1a7WXss

The 17 pages of Today showcase (unfortunately for harrdcore vispo fans) only four image-text pieces (2 X Chirot; 2 X Penn). “Correspondence with David began 14th August 2014, and has not ended – it was just time to commit to the printed word,” writes Penn.

Both Penn & Chirot are much-admired in the Eternal Network (international mail art community). Perhaps Today is, albeit subconsciously, inspired by the “Correspondence Novel” theorized by postal artist, David Zack.


Polyphony - Polyvoiced


Today is a dialog between two (disembodied) voices. This rhetorical and literary form is ancient and well-tested, Plato being one, prime example (to whom Chirot & Penn allude in their dialog). In English language 19th century verse the dramatic monolog was a popular form (Browning) just prior to the rise of Modernism.




The dialog blossomed during 20th century Modernism into complex points of view and poly-voiced scores, mutating even further among the avant garde. A Pre-Modernist dialog with affinities to Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Colloquy of Monos & Una” (1850), which features discourse between the dead and the living.

Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975) is widely acknowledged as having first applied the term “polyphony” from music to literature in an effort to describe tendencies he saw in Fyodor Dostoevsky's novels. The “polyphony” or “polyvoice” concept was widely disseminated via the use by Pound and Eliot in “The Wasteland” (1922) and also via Woolf, Joyce, Stein and other Moderns. 

Bakhtin identified the “dialogic” (and the oppositional “monologic”). He located attributes unique to the modern dialogic: one is an emphasis on language and syntax. Bakhtin’s views were embraced in critical theory, especially by the Post-Structuralists (a branch of pomo critical theory sometimes called Deconstruction, although this interchange is contested in some quarters).

Some critics have analyzed polyvoiced works as a single voice and, conversely, others approach polyvoicing as multiple, fragmented voices in various time-space states of simultaneity. (I feel like a battered freedom fighter in The Terminator desperately trying to explain time travel and killer robots to an armed Los Angeles cop, but the critical theory has practical use in a realm such as this review, really.) 

Chirot & Penn – neither of whom I suspect would appreciate my designation – give us a fascinating example of a Postmodern dialog. Here in 2021, in the blazing disintegrating tail of pomo lit, this Chirot and Penn collab is part of genre evolution.

I believe Today is a complex text that can reveal its esoteric charms with concepts from critical theory, including the significance of silences. My goal is not to provide a package reading of Today but instead offer possibilities for those who wish to explore this text.




Neon lyricism - Defenses, Deflections, Silences

Much of the appeal for those who seek and ultimately read Today is likely curiosity about two writer-artists well known in the vispo & asemic communities. (I must clarify here Cheryl Penn is alive & thriving!)

Today will not disappoint on the the cult of personality level: Thanks to the font key provided you can try to identify the individual author of every word, line and stanza in Today (not as easy as it appears). The dialog is a maze of knots, tensions, insecurities, complex defenses, deflections, guilt and apologies. Here is an excerpt:


            Air in room cold, quiet, as leftover lamb

            Gnawing on the bones of awakening

            Odd found totemic objects emerge slowly

            Adjusting fading dyslexic eyesight

            New choreographies appear

            The singing of things

            Begins

            broken scattershot drumming

            Among the gathering muscles, nerves & bones 


The neon lyricism and film noir ghosts of Today’s early section (above) describe the construction of a sign-shifting wall in the poem that eventually disappears. Voice and tone shift, meander but unite solidly at the end of Today for a lyric crescendo. Read as polyphony, the poem becomes a montage of "poetic" moments:


            The violins are fine tuned, no party frocks in sight.

            Are you ok?

            I’m not supposed to say anything

            but someone broke into the library.

            Mingle please

            when all  humans are extinct

            start up a conversation

            you own all your remaining

minutes

            May I take a few

            seconds?

The passage above, an example of lyrical elegance, is less material realist and more focused on dialog. Subjectively, I envision an afternoon cocktail party, hushed conversations, whispered confessions. But neither narratives nor dreams persist for long in the Chirot-Penn collab. My quasi-Victorian scene is no more than a mirage. To borrow a term from Jim Leftwich, I have had a “pansemic” flash of temporal understanding. This, then, is one great pleasure of Today.

All in all, Today is an example of a quirky, literary B-Side – distant relative to the roman a clef – that is, essential material for our explorations deeper into the works of visual poets Cheryl Penn and David Chirot.  








Thursday, October 28, 2021

Accretions : A New Asemic Front 2 Collab by DES & De Villo Sloan

 






"Accretions (1)" by DES & De Villo Sloan 
(Elbridge, New York, USA) (October 20, 2021)


"Accretions" is the result of a face-to-face collab session at AF2 headquarters on October 20, 2021.  Last year, longtime collaborator DES & I had a similar, productive, "live" session. How fortunate to have "Take #2!" 

For me, everything I am doing seems contextualized by Cheryl Penn's genre-bending interrogation of vispo & the timbered, green frontier of "Vispro." 

My only certainty regarding this matter (well, near-certainty) is that "Accretions" is "visual writing" that makes an attempt to conform to Cheryl Penn's theory (Vispro). Is not the collective wisdom: Theory should not drive practice?

- De Villo Sloan



"Accretions (2)" by DES & De Villo Sloan 




"Accretions (3)" by DES & De Villo Sloan 




 "Accretions (4)" by DES & De Villo Sloan




 "Accretions (5)" by DES & De Villo Sloan (October 20, 2021)











Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Studies from Asemic Paintings by Cheryl Penn (South Africa)


By Cheryl Penn (Durban, South Africa)


Cheryl Penn is a longtime contributor to the Asemic Front Project. Recently she has been working with asemics on large-scale canvases. Studies from these - to me extraordinary & breathtaking - are featured here today at AF2.  

Cheryl Penn is also conducting current research with practicing writers & artists on genre questions concerning the poetics of visual poetry & the possibility of a previously undetected form, which she calls "Vispro," emerging from the current dynamic & global progression of vispo & asemic writing. 

Cheryl Penn is a leader in the Eternal Network & collaborative projects. She is an innovator in asemics & visual poetry. I learned a tremendous amount just working with these images & examining them very closely. I hope you have a similar experience: Make sure to click into larger versions.

Her findings will doubtless be of great interest to the AF2 audience. I will be sure to provide updates. Meanwhile, deepest thanks to Cheryl Penn for sharing this work with AF2.

- De Villo Sloan




By Cheryl Penn (Durban, South Africa)




By Cheryl Penn (Durban, South Africa)




By Cheryl Penn (Durban, South Africa)




By Cheryl Penn (Durban, South Africa)









Friday, October 22, 2021

"The Many Masks of 'Doc' Mortag" (Part 2): Asemic Front 2 Collabs by Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan


By Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan





By Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan





By Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan 





By Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan




 By Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan






By Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan






By Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan





By Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan




By Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan





By Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan


(End "Doc" Mortag saga)








Monday, October 11, 2021

"The Many Masks of 'Doc' Mortag" (Part 1) : (AsemiX = Corrupt File Concrete Comix) by Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan


The Many Masks of "Doc" Mortag
by Shawn McMurtagh (California, USA) 
& De Villo Sloan (New York, USA). 
AsemiX = Corrupt File Concrete ComiX).




by Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan




The Many Masks of "Doc" Mortag by Shawn McMurtagh 
& De Villo Sloan (p.3)





The Many Masks of "Doc" Mortag by Shawn McMurtagh 
& De Villo Sloan (p.4)




by Shawn McMurtagh & De Villo Sloan (p.5)




The Many Masks of "Doc" Mortag by Shawn McMurtagh 
& De Villo Sloan (p.6)




The Many Masks of "Doc" Mortag
 by Shawn McMurtagh 
& De Villo Sloan (p.7)





The Many Masks of "Doc" Mortag by Shawn McMurtagh 
& De Villo Sloan (p.8)





The Many Masks of "Doc" Mortag by Shawn McMurtagh 
& De Villo Sloan (p.9)




The Many Masks of "Doc" Mortag
 by Shawn McMurtagh 
& De Villo Sloan (p.10)





The Many Masks of "Doc" Mortag by Shawn McMurtagh 
& De Villo Sloan (p.11)




The Many Masks of "Doc" Mortag by Shawn McMurtagh 
& De Villo Sloan (p.12)



The Many Masks of "Doc" Mortag by Shawn McMurtagh 
& De Villo Sloan (p.14)












Saturday, October 2, 2021

More Corrupted File Concrete Collabs (KFCC) by Eduardo Cardoso & De Villo Sloan


Collab by Eduardo Cardoso (Sines, Portugal) 
& De Villo Sloan (Auburn, New York, USA)




From an artist's book by Eduardo Cardoso (2021)




"Fake Ancient Text" - Collab by Eduardo Cardoso & De Villo Sloan (2021)




Collab by Eduardo Cardoso & De Villo Sloan




Collab by Eduardo Cardoso
& De Villo Sloan