Many thanks to Miranda Mellis for–beyond the writing–extending her helpful suggestions in the crafting of the writing experiment below….
This post includes: LINKS TO THIS WEEK’S READINGS, DUE WEDS, and A LINK TO THE WRITING EXPERIMENT DUE SATURDAY including optional further reading links. Note that one assigned reading is a hard-copy handout, the Ultra-Red booklet, which was handed out in class Sat. Please read this whole post.
TO START: A BIT ON SOME OF THIS WEEK’S THEMES:
This week we’re working with sound, elision, and memory as sites for, of, and in performative writing. There are, of course, numerous texts we can look at, and hear, that would help us–thus the larger-than-usual list of optional further readings below. I picked these for us due to their size and what they afford us in terms of some specific writing techniques we’ll get to in class.
I recommend perusing UBUWEB for more examples. I hope to play a short piece in class for us as well. But both our writing experiment (linked below) and our readings will help us explore and work on how we hear our ear as it listens (to paraphrase poet Rob Halpern), how (and if) we hear being listened to and for what purposes, and in what sense sound and omission of sounds–as a political function of sociality–can be usefully recorded and investigated as a way/form of doing “creative writing.” Sounds and the omission of sound stack up and systematize into a language such as poetry or natural spoken languages, thus producing “meaningful phrases” (and meaningless phrases). Sounds perhaps get us saying that our languages “refer to” or “mean” things. Assuming that languages are often meaningful (for now), then we might ask: can training our attention (and our ears) on sound systems and the performance of written language serve any social-political function? Well, let’s have that discussion via writing, reading, and…. well… discussing what we’ve read and written!
Without further ado, OUR WRITING EXPERIMENT for this week, followed by links to THE READINGS for this Wednesday:
WRITING EXPERIMENT (due Sat Week 3, our next Sat):
***Directions, in 3 steps, to the writing experiment are here IN THIS PDF LINK***
As part of these directions (same link as above), as usual, tips and explanations are included for each step. A further note at the end of this post might also help you with the writing–but otherwise is here to get us started, i.e., to remind folks of the first step that I also outlined in class on Wednesday. Last, again, make sure to a) bring this writing to class on Saturday of Week 3 (our next Sat class), b) to type it single-spaced (unless the forms you are playing with calls for different spacing) and c) send a copy of this week’s writing, as usual, to my inbox by Saturday evening–attached doc, rtf, etc file please. Thank you!
READINGS DUE TO BE READ FOR NEXT CLASS / WEDNESDAY WEEK 3:
1) Ultra-Red, “Protocols…,” handed out in class (not available online). NOTE: if you did not get a hard copy, let me know by Wednesday’s class, or just after class, and I’ll try to get you one.
2) Miranda Mellis, “Misapprehensions: A Mobile In Ten Parts,” in Conjunctions, LINK IS HERE. (This was also handed out in class.)
3) Caroline Bergvall, 2 excerpts from “About Face”, WRITTEN TEXT LINK IS HERE and AUDIO LINK IS HERE
4) Ultra-Red, “Ten Preliminary Theses On Militant Sound Investigation,” THE LINK IS HERE — also available on Ultra-Red website.
OPTIONAL/RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING:
a) Caroline Bergvall, “Piece In Progress: About Face (Goan Atom, 2)”: LINK IS HERE — NOTE: this piece found in the wonderful journal HOW2 is helpful in a couple different ways: it allows us to think about what, in Bergvall’s work, is being elided, and perhaps more importantly, in describing some of what went into this work, Bergvall refers to and contextualizes some key texts that will be assigned later, and highlights in so doing some key concepts and problems we’ll explore in future weeks.
b) Ultra-Red WEBSITE LINK IS HERE. Very cool website, with (as I recall) several archived documents, footage, etc.
c) George Oppen (via The Poetry Foundation), excerpt from Oppen’s book of poems, Of Being Numerous, LINK IS HERE — Note: a question for us: what here in/about this part of Of Being Numerous is being elided?
d) Rau’l Zurita, audio from Songs For His Disappeared Love LINKED HERE in Spanish & English. Note — I ask us the same question about Zurita’s work here as I do of Oppen’s.
FUTHER NOTE ON WRITING EXPERIMENT–TO GET YOU STARTED if necessary: The link to the directions for this week’s writing experiment are above. Please review them if you have not already. Begin with the writing as soon as you have read one or more of the readings, since it’ll take at lot of the week to do the work. For now, i.e., between now and Weds, you are working on describing sounds from memory, that is, working from one part of the longer workshop in your handout, by jazz artist and scholar George Lewis for Ultra-Red (we are not doing Lewis’s whole workshop, but incorporating one small part of it into the first part of our own experiment–and our writing experiment is linked above, to state again if you missed it…). For the next steps, not listed below, we are “translating” our freely-written descriptions into interconnecting pieces of performative writing (or one larger piece of performative writing) that elide the four sound memory writings below.
Just so you are clear: Step 1 of our writing experiment involves responding to the questions posed by Lewis: to recall, then write on each of the following sounds (spend 10-20 min per sound):
Recall and describe in writing:
1) A SOUND that oppressed you
2) A sound that deceived you
3) A sound that empowered you
4) A sound that saved you
This is restated in the linked pdf above as part of the whole set of directions. Enjoy–i.e., enjoy!