Sunday, March 04, 2012

Digitograms and Pictograms from the Interior of the Internet


Digitogram based on Grouse pictogram from China


On her blog (which features "ERRATIC POSTS BY METIS/MIXED BLOOD WRITER, SOMETIME ACTIVIST, MOTHER,") Joanne Arnott posted a verb-visual discussion of one of Fred Wah's Pictograms from the Interior of B.C., the very fantastic, "Blue Grouse Wakens Stars for Us." A lovely circumloccumulation of thoughts and images related to Fred's original. The pictograms are poems (intriguing verbo-visual image-machines) which I'm always glad to be reminded of. And they're really great forms for remembering how texts and points-of-view are located in specific world-views, image-sets, physical and cultural realities.

So: I made this little Pictogram-inspired (or more like, local underpass graffiti-inspired) poem for her this morning, thinking about the blue grouse, and the chickens.

In what cultural matrix am I located in? By what am I triangulated? (polyhedrated?) What are the idioms of thought? How do we represent it? How does language-ambiguity represent or interpret the ambiguity of visual suggestion?

I previously discussed Fred Wah's Pictograms from the Interior of B.C. here.


*


for Joanne Arnott

big?
the chicken horizon
past sight

yard-above-yard
night and scattered stars

shopping mall
gravel pit

look
the mind feathers

time so far away
it never arrives





3 comments:

Joanne Arnott said...

thanks for the poem, gary, fun to cross-fertilize!

a correction, tho, your Digitogram is based on a Chinese pictogram, the word for "bird," not a Salish one:

my emphasis on Salish is due to the location of the original pictograms that Fred was inspired by, and the longtime/longlongtime that Salish people and the blue grouse have been sharing both territory & life

& sharing the same space with the interpenetrating world of diasporic nomads, people (Salish, Irish, Metis, Chinese, and every other possible root) with families marked by transience, a surprising number of whom prefer tags like "Just Canadian"

which is fine, if your inheritance doesn't flash cues of inherent diversity of roots

but if your inheritance does flash that diversity, you're in for a lifetime of similar-sounding questions & quizzes
& a whole lot of trying to parse it all out in words & images

cheers!

gary barwin said...

Thanks, Joanne. I've fixed it.

I'm very interested in diasporas (someone once pointed out to me that the word is an anagram for paradise-I don't know if that means anything. We all are diasporas of ourselves, of our pasts, of our ancestors, both human and single celled...) and nomads. My own family is Ashkenazi but through succeeding generations has been on the move, accruing identities or affiliations with the places that they've lived (Lithuania, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Canada.)

Joanne Arnott said...

the anagram must be between "diaspora" and "paradiso" --those two words tell the whole story, hey
(etymologically)-- a culture uncomfortable with itself & full of finessing!

good to find words that say the same things in an opposite way, the celebratory notes-- not defined by the driving away & escapes, but joyful with where we've arrived at, and who we are now that we are (for the moment) arrived

all the long road & multiple routes/roots that led to the moment-- more like a peak of a wave than something built from bricks or lego

+ comfortably within the current landswatersplantsbuildingsair context, without shame

no need for the walled compound + contained environment,
as time goes on it becomes less & less feasible anyway

best,
j.