Thursday, August 13, 2009
Uwkwurd Grummur: Eunoia
I've enjoyed & admired Christian Book's bök -- sorry, that's Chröston's Biaks' bik, I mean, Christian Bök's book, Eunoia, immensely, as a text, as a recording, and as a challenge. Christian's work has a beguiling intensity of conception and realization. It really was, beautifully thought. (Eunoia means 'beautiful thought.)
However, just as I balked when my dad told me to cut the grass in parallel lines (which made me want to randomize the pattern, or start one pattern and change another), Christian and his inspired, rigorous methodical approach makes me want to throw a spanner in the works. Langage is a beautifl spannnr in the wrks. Beautiful thinking can resemble Christian's, or it can be a 'harmony of whims' (“Art is not a set of rules but a harmony of whims.” -- Rubén Darío as quoted by Gabriel Gudding).
I love perfect 'pataphysical systems. Language is 'pataphysical. But what's more 'pataphysical than a system that isn't a system? A system that breaks down. A flawed or incomplete solution to an imaginary problem. Quasigrammaticasualty is the perfect 'pataphysics, though I prefer )pataphysics -- i.e. replacing the quote or inverted comma -- the ascended comma -- with a right parenthesis, a patanthesis, or actually two, a left on the right, and a right on the left.
so that everything that comes before and after is part of the )pataphysics( and all thought is parenthetical and open-ended or has started before the language has got going.
Last year, derek beaulieu and I began playing around with Eunoia. I played around with substituting the vowels. For example, I took the 'a' chapter and replace all the a's with u's. And so it begins: Uwkwurd Grummur. Each vowel stands in for another vowel as each word stands in for itself or for something else. Language is always itself but always something else, always the promise of something else, but something else's fulfillment. Words are always 'patanyms or )patanyms, not the same or opposite to anything. Just beside anything.
I'd love to do a performance of Eunoia in Pig Latin, with its insistent artificiality, and insistent insertion of the vowelsound 'ay' into every word, or find a way to translate it into Hebrew, a language that can be written without vowels. I see Eunoia, in addition to being a marvellous and inspiring book, as a matrix, a funhouse, language in crystalline (Christianline?) form. I love the idea that as English changes, the book, leaves out new univocal words, or maintains obsolete ones. This is part of its implicit )pataphysicality.