The HairFlip Clinic

The Soul selects her own society,
then Shuts the door.
e. dickinson

Thursday, July 24, 2008

HairFlip Poetry Hotline.

The HairFlip Poetry Hotline

Step 1: Determine the purpose of your Hotline.

Who is Your Intended Audience?

Our intended audience will be for poets and people interested in poetry.

We are not limited to any specific kind of poetic readership. Anyone
interested in listening to us read our poems over the telephone or cellphone
is welcome to call. Callers will not be discriminated by age, ethnic background, religion, political views, artistic and poetic schools or preference.

What type of service will your hotline offer?

Callers may also read their poetry to us. The idea is to read our work in progress to each other. We are open and willing to provide personal critiques for individual poems that are read to us over the phone and would like the same from our callers. This will be an opportunity to provide space for open dialogue regarding poetry and poetics, exchange ideas, refer and site works (printed or online) of other poets whom we may or may not know. The conversation may also lead into various other art forms and tie back in to poetry/poetics. This hotline is also intended to provide an intimate platform of talking about poetry without any preconceived ideas about who the poet is. The caller may also remain anonymous. We are here to learn from you.

Will you hotline offer to send information packets to callers?

If the poet/caller would like a transcription of the conversation they are free to wire-tap the phone or tape-record. HairFlip can also take notes of the conversation and email them to the caller free of cost.

Step 2: Decide on the geographical area your hotline will serve and hours of operation.

Will the hotline be Centralized or Decentralized?

Depending on the volume of callers, HairFlip will begin with neither. We will first invite you to call our personal phone number since we do not have access or funding to centralized calling which would be toll-free. However, we will be in one centralized portable location since we will be using a cell-phone. A decentralized hotline would cost more money and require us to have several call centers across the county. A way for us to talk "toll free" would be by using your cellphone after 9pm-6am, depending on your carrier. We are using Cingular Wireless so if you call us from the same carrier anytime during the day, it can be considered toll-free.

Will Your Hotline have a Toll-Free number?

Kindly refer to paragraph above. We will not have a toll-free number as of yet.

What will be the Location of Your Hotline?

Since we are working from our cell-phone we can be anywhere. We may work from our home and/or any public space.

Do you Need a Multilingual Service?

We offer service in English, Spanish and a little bit of Tagalog.

We will consider more languages in the future if needed which would be wonderful.

What Hours Will Your Hotline Be in Operation?

Preferably, we would like to dodge daytime calling charges on our cell-phone.
But if its an emergency, we will make an effort to speak with you briefly during the day. Ideal times for calling are 9pm-6am which might also be limited since we do need rest.

Step 3: Determine the Management structure of your hotline.

Will Your Hotline partner with other organizations?

We would be happy to merge with other organizations (on and/or offline) that promotes the discussion and readership of poetry in any shape or form. This can be worked out. If our Hotline can be of benefit to any organization, we can try to work together with donor support.

Step 4: Determine the promotion and evaluation strategies for your hotline.

How will you promote your Hotline?

HairFlip will begin promotion by posting this outline on the HairheartsFlip blog at We will also accept suggestions from our readers! We may also send out a mass email to friends and post them on bulletins on Myspace and Facebook. If you would like to help us in promoting the hotline, feel free to contact us by leaving a comment on the blog or calling our hotline number. We will gladly accept critical and positive tips on how to go about this.

How will you evaluate your Hotline?

Anyone interested in monitoring the hotline by assessing and providing quantitative data about calls and quality of service is welcome to do so. We have to figure out how this can be done through cell-phone use or perhaps tapping into our phone system which we would rather not.

Step 5: Set Goals and Objectives:


The Goal of HairFlip's Poetry Hotline is to provide a national telephone readership, listernership, a space to share information regarding poetry/poetics, and a mutual exchange of referral service of constructive criticism, ideas, and support for poets in this day and age.


- To listen to anyone read their poems over the phone.

- To read our poems to anyone over the phone.

- To provide a space of intimate readership and critical listening of each other's poems.

- To provide dialogue regarding the poem if desired by the caller or dialogue concerning poetry and/or other.

- To provide each other up-to-date information regarding ongoing readings happening locally depending on where the caller is.

- To make the hotline accessible to poets or anyone with an appreciation for poetry in the USA.

- To provide a respectful, empathetic, and critical listening.

- To operate the hotline in a personable, light-hearted and humorous manner.

Operator is on standby. Call Flip at (818)282-5400.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rip My bad TV-self, Mr. Belding.

So Basically, WTF is Going on Here?!

The desire for a physically tangible approach regarding TV, and the content "within" or "on" it is one that deserves more attention requiring a medium which can work to physically interact with the non-space of TV through its basic outer physicality; the screen. In this case, hook and loop fasteners, or more popularly known as velcro, serves to relinquish an appetite for the desire to physically engage with TV provided by the gesture to rip, displace, and reconfigure the transient surface of TV flow (inclusive of narrative, place, time, and multiple drives contained within it like a battery and toy of culture constantly charging and playing.) The attempt to interact with TV through the aforementioned gestures requires an adhesive and/or double layering of the screen itself; velcro would then function as an intermediary, and to an extent, serve as an organ for the effect and sensation of un-hooking. In the essay Touch Sensitivity & Other Art Forms of Subversion: Interactive Artwork" Lynn Hershman writes, "The art of our century, says Katherine Kuh, has been characterized by 'shattered surfaces, broken color, segmented composition, dissolving form, and shredded images'." (193) The rearrangement of form, content, and color of TV through velcro is a process borrowed and traced from aesthetic shocks of Modernity, when she continues that "New technologies and their interactive uses by artists now extent many previous conceived ideas such as the use of multiple perspective and simultaneous viewpoints as explored by Cubists; incorporation of randomness, everyday experience, and the audience as investigated by the Surrealists, and the deconstruction of form as explored by the Dadaists." (195) Velcro, as an adhesive and marker for the sensation of ripping, is not only relegated to its function of security, but, when repeated in the act of hooking and un-hooking onto the loop surface does it develop an object-oriented fetish according to its basic function and gesture to secure one surface onto another.

In this way, the gesture is then appropriated into a metaphysical field of TV flow in which velcro attempts to (literally and metaphorically) fasten onto the transience and illusion of there being an inner and outer quality of TV flow due to the dimensions of the moving-image seeming to simultaneously appear "on" and "inside" its own frame, or as video artist Pipilotti Rist put it "The screen is a membrane that allows the constitution of an inner and outer world, the separation of the familiar from the uncanny." (Rist,10) What is considered uncanny, with regard to TV, is partially toyed with in the attempt to give it a velcro surface; to give a physical surface to a metaphysical current of moving-images.

Without coming across an article that addresses the specific physical gesture to rip, displace, and reconfigure TV flow, Margaret Morse's essay "An Ontology of Everyday Distraction," briefly touches on the notion of physically "sqeezing". (yay, squeezing!) She writes, "The representation of the copresence of multiple worlds in different modes on the television screen is achieved via division of the visual field into areas or via the representation of stacked places which can be tumbled or squeezed and which, in virtual terms, advance toward and retreat from the visual field of the viewer. (206-207). The ability to move and shift hook pieces around the loop surface personifies Morse's concern for "dislocation," when she writes, "In a quite literal, physical sense, freeways, malls, and television are not truly 'places'." (199) Considering the TV screen as an outer jacket that contains and displays an ever changing stream of culture that also works to homogenize the (virtual) world, Rist may have borrowed from Morse or makes a similar connection when she asks "What is the relationship between image and surface? What happens, for example, when the surface of the screen and that of the body meet? Can the television "membrane" become permeable? What happens when it dissolves? Can we break through it"? (Rist,15) Physically breaking through the screen itself would destroy the possibility of interacting with the non-space and flow occurring on it. Morse refers to the screen almost identically, as she writes, "The membrane between virtual and material reality is an actual and easily verifiable second skin...Television, [...], cultivates a far thinner membrane between itself and everyday life, since its very function is to link the symbolic and immaterial world on the monitor with an actual and material situation of reception." (Virtualities: A Conceptual Framework, 17) Because of its fragility, attempts at penetrating through the screen can be made without destroying it. In this way, adhesion may serve as a means and end dependent on certain gestures linked to its function, creating a principle of interaction with TV flow projected onto a TV screen covered with the standard black fuzzy loop material and white pieces of hook fasteners in varying shapes and sizes. Hence, a broken mirror effect. Consider a broken mirror of narrative, time, and place that allows for interaction with the pieces in the attempt to re-arrange them; a breakdown of linear convention that prompts one to control it in such a way.

The issue regarding distance involves interaction with TV in attempt to manipulate it, while also inviting whomever to step out of the conventional mode of viewership and into a more tangible realm of interacting with the screen while whatever occurs on it poses as an ongoing and endless happenstance phrased by Morse as "happening out there." (An Ontology of Everyday Distraction, 199) She also refers to John Ellis' notion of "double distance [in] television's complicity with the viewer against an 'outside world' represented as 'hostile or bizarre,' and the viewer's delegation of 'his or her look to the TV itself. Both means of distancing [blink towards] 'the opposition of inside/outside,' which insulates the viewer from events seen by TV." (ibid) Being able to move around the hook velcro pieces would disrupt and enfold creases on TV narratives, since select portions of the TV show would be seen. The process would then work to open up a space to create a montage or "broken mirror effect" that also depends on select TV moving-images. The temporality of time, moving-image, (and perhaps identity with regard to TV as a metaphor of a mirror or vice-versa) is re-evaluated, or at least aroused in this way in the concept of re-arranging a TV show through hook velcro strips in varying sizes & shapes. Also, the process addresses the standard screen-ratio of TV sets in that each velcro strip varies in length and width where only parts of the TV show are shown. A part of the whole TV show is visible on velcro strips, while the remaining the parts are projected, or in a sway, subsumed, into the invisible dead space of black loop velcro.

Miniaturization, as a reference point for the sake of arguing, works to playfully control TV flow by substituting multiple sections of the moving-image with small velcro pieces intended to move around. Morse goes on, "Miniaturization is a process of interiorization, enclosure, and perfection, one in which the temporal dimensions of narrative or history are transformed into spatial ones, a plenitude of description of seemingly endless details." (211) The ability to physically engage with the moving-image, and endless/seamless TV flow requires a pliable medium and flat surface that would allow for a TV show projection to appear for the pleasure of ripping apart. So far, it seems that the hook & loop processings of velcro may work to play with this desire to touch, rip, and dislocate the flow of time and narrative taking place in that seemingly non-space. In this case, velcro would provide a dimension, or at least an illusion of it, by providing the urge and means of engaging with the colorful and "hollow" space of TV by way of un-stripping parts of a show projected onto itself or a large wall.
In reference to the computer screen, Morse touches on a certain desire to physically merge with the screen. "It is as if one were capable of moving around inside a drawing that responds to one's changing point of view--or for that matter, as if one were able to climb into a monitor and experience the symbols inside without apparent mediation." (Virtualities: A Conceptual Framework, 17) The same concept could be applied to TV as well; the impossibility of being able to physically jump inside it creates more possibility to interact with it. "It is television that first raises the problem of constructing full-fledged parallel visible worlds and then linking them with our own, via speaking subjects, proxemically "near" to and addressing the viewer with some degree of intimacy. Apart from having a private intimate affair with certain characters on a show, interaction with the screen itself does permit another kind of intimacy, one that forces one to get close to it, touch, rip a projected TV show apart and assemble it however way, and raising issues about subjectivity and the viewer that has remained another passing subject of controlled viewership involving parts of the self (as a subject of cultural experimentation) and the constraint provided that it can also create multiple approaches for installation, interaction, and aesthetic cultivation either on, in, or around TV itself. Morse completes it when she says "Conceived in this way, the interface and interactivity may be seen as obstacles or barriers to "immersion"- a concept that conveys the state of being totally inside a created world both virtually and emotionally [...] The wish to design an interface that is transparent, and an interaction that is "intuitive," [...] who aim at immersive involvement." (The Poetics of Interactivity, 3) In this way, velcro-TV, for its rough and soft surface is driven by an intuition and minor deconstructive drive to rip TV flow off from itself as a middle finger salute to Zack Morris an in homage to our childhood being unconsciously subsumed into the canned laughter of Saved By the Bell that everytime an alarm clock goes off I have visions of Jessie Spano's frizzy ass perm.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Turn Around, Get on Yr Face.

Daytime Television: A View of Oprah & Cops as Confessional Apparatuses

The oral-technological operation of confession, as it is executed in first-person discourse in TV shows such as Oprah and Cops, is reflective of binaries regarding power and pleasure which requires a positioning of the person or "guest star" as subject (on the show) for the viewer to exert administering patterns of scrutiny and categorization. The main subject of the TV show and viewer (also a difference in "live-studio audience" viewership versus being situated in front of a TV) equally participate in a culturally-specific confessing arena. Confession, as spectacle, is also exclusive to the space in which it occurs in; the tight ventilation of a confessional booth in a Catholic church versus an accessible, vast, and participatory production studio, such as Oprah's Harpo Productions or the selective "on-site" geographical (usually economically down-trodden) pockets of America portrayed in Cops. "...Social and spatial operations of the TV set [...] focuses attention on the ways in which the audiovisual and material forms of TV blend with the social conventions and power structures of its locale." (McCarthy, 2) Spatial (in terms of location, audience, and live performace in which the first-person discourse is contained and captured) difference between Oprah and Cops effects their contextual, and therefore, confessional scripts and modes of "confessional production." While both are "on-site" or on location, Oprah's studio audience is fixed in Chicago, while Cops exploits an array of "moral truths" via cinema verite, in an attempt to stir, anticipate, and capture acts of misdemeanor. "The term site-specific is generally used to describe a certain genre of installation art-work designed solely for a particular place or institution, work that cannot be transplanted elsewhere." (ibid) In turn, the ritual or commodity of confession (generated and framed by TV production and it serving as a filter to execute certain modes of confessional styles and not forgetting the costs for airtime) is subject to site-specificity since the confessional gesture is pre-determined, installed, and made available for distribution, which, in part of the viewer, can be interpreted as being "heterotopical" (in another place or medically, a collection of normal neurons in abnormal locations) depending on the location and etiquette of the confessional venue. "There are also, probably in every civilization, real places-places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society[...]all the other real sites that can be found within culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality. Because these places are absolutely different from all the sites that they reflect and speak about, I shall call them[...] heterotopias. I believe that between utopias and these quite other sites, these heterotopias, there might be a sort of mixed, joint experience, which would be the mirror." (Foucault. 1967) Analogous to a mirror is that of a TV screen, in which the viewer too, can reference parts of his/her self through the actions and/or "faults" of the first-person subject on the TV show. Foucault then goes on to compare the mirror, in relation to his position in front of it, as a "virtual space that opens up behind the surface; I am over there, there where I am not[...] but it is also a heterotopia insofar as the mirror does exist in reality, where it exerts a sort of counteraction on the position I occupy." (ibid) It can then be said that Oprah and Cops, in their differences and similarities, unfolds permutations of confessionalism through a subject (or messenger) which mediates (or unknowingly relays) culturally specific moral codes to the viewer (be it on studio location, home, or public space). They also provide a means to examine how the audience and featured guest or "sacrificial lamb" are mutual receptors of obtaining pleasures from effects of power, revealing that confession as spectacle, when appropriated into a culturally specific currency of power and pleasure, provides a rate of exchange between subject and viewer and how both are equally participating in the particulars of a moral code. Apart from confession being "an enclosed , private process, crucially secret and therefore immune from any democratizing possibilities of open speech in the 'public sphere', [it serves] as an open de-ritualized [arena]." (Dovey, 107) Oprah and Cops (which I consider TV utopias in their own right) stages and administers two different types of "utopian-confession." One being that the first-person subject, or lets just say person, has made the choice to seek and objectify his/her absolution through affirmation or negation of a public, and the latter being caught red handed to the extent of self-reflexive parody. Oprah and Cops, as logos or doctrines (both TV shows which provide instances of speaking) will be viewed in their productions of"utopian-confessionalism" and the way in which the first-person speaker is subject to the workings of dominant power interests behind the veil of self-empowerment.

Confession, with regard to TV that has an ability to frame, produce, reproduce, and endlessly generate commodifiable emotional states is divided by episodes or simply, time slots. One example is the apparition-esque appearance of Britney Spears on the syndicated Oprah Winfrey show on February 4, 2002. A young woman wrote to Oprah stating that it was her dream to meet Britney Spears after having gone to several of her concerts in every attempt to meet her. Oprah meets the young woman backstage, greets her to the light-hearted and literal reaction of "you white girls all look the same" and leads her to the main stage where an audience awaits in a bright cascade of studio lighting as though descending through clouds above, praises stapled upon the atmosphere in a thunder of clapping until they are standing, in camaraderie, at the center of the stage. Oprah then reveals, with her hands at the center of her chest, the "original" (as though handwritten) letter of the young woman pleading for Oprah to perform the miracle of Britney Spears to appear. The woman's words are read aloud by Oprah as though one of the criteria's to make Britney appear is if the plea were first released out onto the public to gain an inevitable stamp of approval, as the crowd too, desires it for themselves. Part of what evokes the bargaining gesture to be categorized as a "confessional" one, is that the woman begins to cry during the recitation of her letter. It is unclear to the viewer as to why she is crying, perhaps a montage of various registers: excitement, happiness, embarrassment that Oprah is reading her letter aloud, anxiety, not any singular drive that could stand solidly on its own. Perhaps no one will really know except herself. The woman, as a subject to be scrutinized and/or empathized within the gaze of the audience and Oprah (as a sign and/or organizing persona/replica of omniscience), exerts an ecstatic reconciliation of her fantasies coming to life and in the flesh through a more or less poetic and inarticulate code; that which is quantified and mediated through her tears within the confessional ring.

The woman has become subject to a tripartite relationship between power, pleasure and confession. The role of confession serves as a tool or mode of the Greek root techne for the former drives to be commanded in such a way within the confessional container, be it in a booth, closet, or TV show. In the case of Socrates who ironically saw the operation of techne or technology as a threat to order and Aristotle who viewed it as a human imperfection in an attempt to imitate nature, both interpretations of techne are applicable when assuming that the act of confession (derived from its Christian DNA) is on the brink, if not already a commodity of technological expression within TV production. Confession, as a televised working (socio-political) currency which requires production, and not metonymical, sets a specific tone and atmosphere for discourse to emerge between the talk show host, subject, and viewer. "Talk shows not only promote conversation and debate, they break down the distance between the audience stage." (Shattuc, 171) However, the distance between stage, audience, and outside viewing also speaks to the lack of distinctions between them. "They elicit common sense and everyday experience as marks of truth." (ibid) The tight circuit between subject and viewer is needed in order for common problem-solving and solutions to be made, problems which are relevant to themselves, including the viewer, in which the subject serves as an epicenter for the discourse to emerge. In regard to typical daytime shows that "... do not discuss specific governmental institutions, they are clear debates about the public sphere's growing intercession into the family, the home, and the regulation of the individual body," Shattuc privileges Oprah to the extent that her program "privileges process over a single truth or closure." (173) With the lack of distance between audience and stage and the value of "process" (perhaps also motivated by confession as an apparatus to link all three) considered as an ultimate approach to problem solving, certain moral codes also seem to be exclusive in that it caters to a specific 'species' of participants or viewership, and therefore, thrusting a pedagogy of "Oprahism" (also now being aware of creating neologisms as a potential drive for power in the act of naming), which is then returned to the subject and viewer as a mark of pleasure/empowerment or as a purple ribbon of open-ended reconciliation. "For Foucault, 'speaking out', naming, confessing, are part of a 'perpetual spiral or power and pleasure'." (Dovey, 106) In relation to this specific power drive executed within/through language, it is clearly executed in the baptismal fountain of identity-politics on the Oprah set. "The ubiquitous guest labels or "I.D's" (in production parlance) underline the social representativeness of the guests[...] The labeling offers a popularized version of the logic of identity politics, which attempts to break down the hegemonic notion of homogeneity or that "we are all one." (Shattuc, 174) However, although a hegemonic breakdown seems to appear on the surface, they collectively and literally wear their problems on their sleeves as labels, as in "a mother who wants to give away her violent child" (ibid), making them distinct individuals within the overall Oprah arena of "process" based discourse. If the label is a sign of individuality, then there is automatically a concern for where such a confession is taking place if self-identification is already in debt to the daytime talk show as a potential producer of identity in itself. However, individuals which actively participate and adhere to "process" oriented problem solving and to the identity-politic taking place, Oprah (also as an ideology) would inevitably be a source of self-empowerment, since part of the nature of a self-sustaining TV production is that it must maintain its own creed in order to build trust from its viewers and participants, hence, a self-reflexive flow of continuity provided by the entirety of the utopian-production. Power interest may have begun in a linguistic impulse to name and categorize, which is partially what the Oprah Winfrey show promotes on the flip-side, if an audience member claimed "Don't tell me how to feel. I am my experience." (178) Yes, one can claim to own how one feels, however, its a question of "owning" and "feeling" within a site-specific discourse in which it takes place inside of and to what extent an audience member is critical about what exactly it is that they "own" and "feel". Perhaps if society (or TV society) were truly self-empowered, there would be no need for daytime talk shows to imitate the need or seek it, but instead, realize it within themselves in a place where there'd be no need to display it under scrutiny or categorization if the empowerment could occur anywhere, far removed from any mediated gaze and more often in each others eyes, and where there'd no longer be a need to evaluate and affirm the "I" in relation to "experience" if it were simply lived without having to create a spectacle of it.

A 2003 episode of Cops begins with a few police officers gathered in a tattered office station in awe of a bicycle manufactured by Mercedes Benz in which they, as though playfully, make their way into a low-income pocket of America to implant the bicycle as bait on a sidewalk in a mostly Hispanic neighborhood. A middle-aged Hispanic male sees the bicycle leaning against a wall and decides to "go for a ride" in which he is already being studied by several positions: the hand-held camera, cops, producers, entire camera crew, and TV viewers. Not long after riding around a parking lot for roughly twenty minutes, it is as though a conglomeration of all the mentioned viewing positions rushed towards the man (as though a sale in a department store erupted where doors break open) through an artifice of rugged cinema verite convention. He is then man-handled and questioned for taking the bicycle in which he responds to the honest effect of "I took it because it was there." His "confession" is one that is pre-ordained, plotted, and provoked; the "scene of the crime" is staged in order for a discourse of confession to emerge which will then be used as a currency to buy him time if he admits to it. His confessing-subjectivity is clearly displayed as a mantle-piece or plaything on the altar of male policing while the cops themselves do not know how to gauge the honesty of his "petty theft." Moreover, the staging of the crime is self-reflexive and (ready) made available for anyone in the neighborhood to find himself trapped in the "interactive-installation." Participation in the pre-determination and parody-making of a crime is one that adheres to a shrewd limitation of free-will while part of the production of Cops is to produce (if not only the image of) "criminals." In effect, the production of criminals is heavily weighed upon developing a consistent stereotype of criminality which casts a net toward lower-income individuals in suburban pockets nationwide. In terms of power, especially when certain "moral codes" are instigated and enforced upon, this specific episode exemplifies that an object so neutral as a bicycle could serve as a symbol and medium for power to be exercised and where the "victims" of the plotted crime are seduced/manipulated into becoming unaware social actors for the sake of criminal production taking place within a theatricized arena. In this context of Cops, targeted individuals that play a criminal role unawares are ironically trafficked into the situation in which money is ultimately being made from their existential expense. In this sense, confession functions as a monetary tactic which cashes out at the vertex of live-video recording of the criminal's often forced submission to power partially based on a scripted plot. The police officers are in an equal position; a penumbra to the criminal's shadow since it takes both contrasts for monetary ends to inevitably emerge from the drama. Either way, the criminal is not only subject to serving as a social actor, but falls victim to an ongoing circulation of Cop's financial revenue which passes through his utterance of "I took it because it was there."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

So basically, Circus is the New Disease.

Haircrobat, mic check this real quick-

FASHIONS in dress often have their origin in the wish to hide disfigurement caused by disease. The voluminous trunk hose worn by English gallants at the beginning of the seventeenth century were introduced by James I as a means of concealing an unsightly malformation. Slaves of fashion to whom Nature had refused an adequate curve of the hip had to supply the deficiency by art. Readers will remember the story told by Carlyle of the discomfiture of the unlucky courtier who sat down on a nail, and on rising to receive His Majesty instantaneously emitted several pecks of bran, and stood a pitiable figure with his breeches hanging in folds about his shrunken person. The introduction of the crinoline is often attributed to the Empress Eugénie before the birth of the Prince Imperial; as a matter of fact, a similar apparatus had, under the name of farthingales, vertugadins, and what not, been used by ladies in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The patches which added so piquant an effect to the faces of the beauties of the eighteenth century were first used by officers to disguise the scars of wounds received in battle. If the late Sir Robert Peel had been a royal personage his manner of wearing his hat at an angle that seemed intended to express defiance of public opinion would have become fashionable among young "bloods," as they are beginning once more to be called; yet we believe it was really intended to conceal a scar. In a second series of his Indiscrétions de l' Histoire, recently published, Dr. Cabanès cites several other instances in point. In the fifteenth century Philippe le Bon, having fallen ill, had his head shaved. Like the fox in the fable that had lost his tail, he tried to persuade the nobles of Burgundy that the human head looked much handsomer when its shape was not hidden by a mass of hair. They did not see the thing in the same light, but, unlike the fox, Philippe had the power to compel people to be of his opinion, and, shaven heads perforce became fashionable. The daughters of Louis XI had feet of a size which made it necessary for them to hide them; hence the society dames of the day thought it due to themselves to wear trailing gowns. The wife of Philip III disguised an abnormally long neck with a high wimple, and was imitated by all ladies who wished to be considered fashionable. Henry Plantagenet, anxious to hide the deformity caused by an outgrowth on the foot, had boots made with extravagantly curved toes, which straightway became the only wear for courtiers. Louis XIV wore a wig to hide unsightly wens on his head; the fashion of wearing wigs has also been attributed to the havoc played by syphilis among the "love locks" of the seventeenth century. Many other instances could be given, but these will suffice to show that there is a closer connexion between fashion and deformity than might at first sight be suspected. This may serve to explain how a thing ugly in itself may come to be accepted as the stamp of social. ( BMJ 1905;ii: 88)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Red Lipstick-USB

The spacing, there, some
rain. What it does to none
of me as a result of forgetting
where the piano keys go or a window
cutting all weathers into boxes
on a calendar. Look, today's
May and there's a pile
of quiet electricity bills
I am sending through a shredder
in case you didn't notice
we never left the house.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Shove a tree into a paper shredder.

1. Find a tree, any size.
2. Buy a paper shredder.
3. Try and stick the roots of the tree
first into the mouth of the shredder.
4. Keep doing this until the whole tree has been shredded.
5. Open the shredder and take out whatever bits of the tree is left.
6. Make an image of a tree out of these scraps.
7. Project it against the exterior building of Kinkos.

Monday, April 7, 2008

So what's the Use of this Hour


Curtains are drawn, literally, to conceal a black and white repartee of what could otherwise
be material for charades when putting them on mute, a portable theatre built for two. Though
there is only so much makeup and body to fight with silence, keep us interested unless placing
a laugh on repeat, the sound of it pulling downward to the floor. So I lie down to see if its
true, if the seam between laugh and image has anything to do with getting to the bottom
of repetition. There is nothing down there but a darkness gaining popularity the more the back
of a head presses against it or what velcro could possibly sound like if it gave up any attachment
to understand or refusing to count all that sheep walking across a stage.


Refrain it here: when distance is subsumed into its own icon, as if in mid-air an object
gaining volume, making the wooden desk another echo of an online forest I can barely
conceive of. Its not that I don't like nature, but that its not convincing enough to
try and touch. Does it become another chat-room to log on to, making birds more
conceptual and flat than a forest has ever been, if their chirping presses against itself
so that I can't hear it.


The ampersand is an erogenous thing, a body with one arm ceaselessly touching itself
under the table. Or a telephone cord loosening between two mouths, snapping a morpheme
in half, how a relation-ship can also go divided and never sustain. At first, a knot was tied.
At second, it sailed away. What if I told you we were sailors this whole time, perusing the
water like googling out of habit, latching onto the many options of how to live when its
all built out of air. I can feel you googling me, she said, don't stop.