Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gormless Gurning

Conceptualist Tony Gormley, a substantially subsidised intellectual ex-public schoolboy and deep thinking sculptor whose rusty works supply a metaphor for all that is (not) new, exciting, shared, (or) inclusive in Britain, and whose conceptually common experience of Britain mediated through the mind of an artist who can empathise with the average Briton so much they attract £140,000 of gambling tax to elevate pedestrians seven meters above Trafalqar Square for the incredibly creative removal from the common ground, (so) the body becomes a metaphor - has today been honoured for his contribution to the Culture of Foetry and Flarf, with an audience of compliant participants in stationary behaviour his genius has contextualized into generating Art whose Conceptual gravity and merit is wholly spurious, it has been alleged by Allegro Cortina, the grand-daughter of Conceptual Art founder Marcel Duchamp.

Ever since her grandfather's reverse-psychology upended the art world by prioritizing and framing ideas instead of material Creation, by the simple act of rotating a standard Bedfordshire urinal 90 degrees, giving it a title of Fountain and signing it "R. Mutt 1917" - the subsequent success of Conceptual art has been assured.

A success contingent not on the quality of the physical, but on the proclamation, promotion, propagandizing and publicity in the mass media organs, of whatever theory, idea and intellectual scaffold the artist can convince others to believe as, Reality.

R. Mutt (Duchamp) so signed this toilet 'sculpture', because he didn't want his fellow jurors on the selection commitee of the Society of Independent Artists - who had announced it would exhibit all submissions for their 1917 Exhibition - to know it was him submitting the 'sculpture'.

The only terms for inculsion to this show of a Society claiming itself Modern, was a six dollar fee, which generated $12,500 from 2,500 entries.

Duchamp, who had very wisely decided not to be a proxy murderer for a small bunch of closely related multi-millionaires who instigated the first mass-mechanised orgy of slaughter so their class of (so called) civilization could continue - on arriving in neutral New York, found himself already a celebrity with numerous (wealthy) art lovers offering him patronage.

He fell in with a group of anti-art surrealists and dadaists including Italian Futurist Joseph Stella, and Walter Arensberg, a wealthy American art collector and the son of a steel company president - who all rejected the 'reason' and 'logic' of bourgeois capitalist society, whose Ideology they believed had led to the insanity of the first world war.

The dadaists exhibited this in ways which appeared to embrace irrationality, and because the Modernism manifests in behaviour we have not experienced before, its conception and first becoming attracted global interest solely because of its novelty and Uniqueness - coupled to highly developed self-promotional abilities and the eloquence of a handful of artists.

Arensberg, Duchamp and Stella bought History when they attended J.L. Mott Iron Works on 118 Fifth Avenue, purchased a urinal, and at 33 West 67th Street:

"..took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view - (which) created a new thought for that object."

After much debate on the artistic legitimacy of Fountain by the commitee members (most of whom did not know R. Mutt was one of them) the toilet bowl was excluded from the catalogue and hidden from view during the show, with Duchamp and Arensberg resigning from the commitee after the exhibition and setting about stage 2 of the psychological heist.

In the second (and final) issue of their mag The Blind Man, poet Lousie Norton attached her name to an article on the 'disappearance without disussion' of Fountain (in which the quote above appears) - mocking the bourgeois aesthetic and proclivities of the jurors on the committee and obliquely referring to them as 'ornamental monkeys' - because the object was irrevocably associated in their atavistic minds with a certaion natural function of a secretive kind - (having a leak)

She began by likening humanity to the philosophers in Dante's Inferno, their heads set the wrong way on their shoulders. We walk forward looking backward, each with more of his predecessors personality than his own. Our eyes are not ours - the author wrote, before introducing a host of contemporary writers, paraphrasing the' sacred marriage of ideas' from La Dissociation des Idees, by a recently deceased French Symbolist poet and highly influential critic (when alive) Remy de Gourmont.

S/he claims someone likened Fountain to ladies legs in a Cezanne painting, introduces a counter quote by Montaigne 'the very "essence and motion of folly", followed by a rebuttal of this 16C French authority, before the wisdom of a now unread Gertrude Stein pops up along with a famously forgettable quote by schizophrenic Friedrich Nietzsche, and ending with the weight of the most recently cleverest deceased, de Gourmont.


The difficulty for those who follow them of course, is that conceptual Art is what American Poet Laureate Thomas Brady has noted - 'very professional, very protocoled Author Bio statements in the journals, Museum-performance brochures, and University of' - Gormley's (mission statement) "..of metaphor, the context of Trafalgar Square with its military, valedictory and male historical statues to specific individuals, elevation of everyday life to the" blah blah "elevation onto the plinth, and removal from the common ground..position formerly occupied by monumental reflect on the diversity, vulnerability and particularity of the individual in contemporary society": ie, you and ME, skint in a bedsit being a concept/reality.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Segais Omphalos

What is the Muse but Memory of a great tradition, Finnegas and Finn McCool speaking the meaning of *éces* - which the modern Irish word for poetry, *éigse* routes to.

Éces is an Old Irish word which the word *poetry* as we understand it today doesn’t really capture. In the most basic of sense it means the nuts and bolts of knowledge.


Mnemosyne, the original Greek muse, the etymology rooting to a house of the moon, its essential meaning is, Memory.

Her pool in Hades was the opposite of Lethe, which was a pool/river of forgetfulness the dead drank from so they would not remember their past life when being re-incarnated.

The Orphic Mystery rites had initiates drink from Mnemosyne’s pool so they would remember in order to acquire omniscience, and instead of being re-born on Earth, pass onto the Elysian Fields, which Hesiod in Works and Days refers to as the Isles of the Blessed, far to the west and which in Celtic Mythology are Tír na nÓg, (land of the ever young) the most popular of several Celtic otherworlds where happiness is found, similar to Avalon in Brythonic myth.

The poetic Tradition of Gaelic poetry, is called *on coimgne* - which Kuno Meyer translated as *historical knowlege*. Meyer was an early 20C Celticist who, along with Rudolph Thurneyson, Osborn Bergin, D.A. Binchy (uncle of Maeve) and others, first translated Gaelic manuscript and were part of the Dublin milleau of Yeats and his cronies.

On Coimgne breaks down into 350 tales, 250 primary and 100 secondary. Secondary ones were never written down and only learned from grade four cano (whelp) up to seven ollamh (poetry professor), passed from lip to ear.

A list of 187 primary tales in 16 genres appear on folio 189b of the 12C Book of Leinster: Do nemthigud filed, -- Of the Qualifications of a Poet.

Destructions (9), and Preyings (11), and Courtships (14), and Battles (9), and Caves (11), and Navigations (7), and Tragedies (13), and Feats (17) and Sieges (9) and Adventures (14) and Elopements (12) and Massacres (38) and Eruptions (2) and Visions (7) and Expeditions (4), and Marches (13).

The maxim following this primer reads: “(s)he is no poet who does not synchronize and harmonize on coimgne” - the ancient knowledge.


Which brings us to the Muse of Gaelic tradition.

The otherworldly omphalos, the wet muse of Irish myth, is known by a variety of names: the Well of Segais, Sidhe Nechtan and Connla’s Well.

The mythology surrounding the well states it is a still-pool source of the Boyne river, and informs us how only Nechtan and his three cupbearers were allowed in the vicinity of the well, to perform magical rites, walking round it clockwise, chaunting incantations to invoke a supreme intelligence they hoped would deal favourably with their wants and wishes.
One day Nechtan’s wife Boand (who gave her name to the river Boyne) broke the taboo or *geisa* of not going near the well, and walked round it counter-clockwise, causing it to erupt in fury and bring the river Boyne into being, whilst scattering Boand’s limb and body parts in places whose toponyms etymologically route to her name and are recorded in another body of lore the poet need learn to qualify, the Dindsenchas.

The dindsenchas are 176 poems and prose commentaries which recount how places got their name. There is a 23 stanza poem of the dindsenchas which tells how the Boyne got hers.


The well is surrounded by nine hazel trees, and each nut contains total poetic wisdom, and these nuts are known as *the nuts of knowledge* — cnó coill hEolas which (according the Cauldron of Poesy, a 7C text laying out poetic principles):

“…cast themselves in great quantities like a ram’s fleece upon the ridges of the Boyne, moving against the stream swifter than racehorses driven in the middle-month on the magnificent day every seven years."


Unlike the fruit on the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, there is no sense of the forbidden about them, (indeed they are greatly prized if highly elusive) and the short-cut way to dispense with the 12 difficult years of training in the bardic curriculum, is to catch a Salmon of Knowledge who has fed on the nuts in the well and eat it, thereby ingesting the full of poetic wisdom seciond hand. The earliest name for the Salmon of wisodm/knowledge is eo fis and the modern name is bradán feasa.

A Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn son of Cumhaill) tale encapsulates this poetic of getting it all at once by eating the Salmon of Knowledge, which appears in the body of lore known as The Boyood Deeds of Finn McCool, found in the Fenian Cycle of Irish myth and which there is some debate as to the era the tales where set in, but in the centuries around the time of Christ, and these started getting written down in the 7C.

There are four cycles in Irish myth, the other three being:

2 - Mythological Cycle - detailing the pagan invasion mythology and featuring a cast
from six races of gods who fight amongst themselves for control of the island.

3 - Historical Cycle - cycle of kings detailing tales of legendary kings

4 - Ulster Cycle set ion the time of king Conchobar mac Nessa, in the time Pliny was writing around the time of Christ and detailing the adventures and battles of of the Uliad and their hero Cúchulainn, with ther rivals in Connacht, led by Maeve and the prime tale being Táin Bó Cúailnge - cattle raid of Cooley.


Finn McCool is the name of a person whose birth-name was Demne: (finn means *fair, bright, shining* and with a positive charge on fair) a poet-warrior who was the last chief of the fianna in Irish mythology. The fianna were independant aristocratic bands of young men who lived outside of society and were called upon by various petty kings in times of war to fight their battles amongst themselves, and who went raiding across the sea for thralls and spoil.

Finn’s father Cumhaill, was also a chief of the fianna, killed by his rival for the leadership, Goll mac Morna (goll meaning one eyed, an injusry sustained in his fight with Cool senior). The fight came about because Cool had abducted Muireann Muncháem (”beautiful neck”) the daughter of Kildare druid Tadg mac Nuadat (Tadg son of Nuada), who appealed to High King Conn Cétchathach (”Con of the Hundred Battles”) who outlawed mister Cool and gave his rivals the perfect excuse to do away with him.

But Muireann was already pregnant by Cool by the time they got her back, and her father didn’t want to know after this, so baby Finn — who, remember, at this time was known by his birth name of Demne - was put into the care of his father’s sister, the druidess Bodhmall, and her female warrior companion Liath Luachra, who raised him in the forests of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in Offally and Laois (pron. leesh)

He got the nick-name of Finn in childhood by some boys seeing him swim in the river, because of his pale hair glinting in the sun.

He was brought up trained in the art of warriorship and druidry, andas a youth, entered the service of a number of local kings in the midlands incognito, but such was his skill his true identity was always discovered and he was sent packing because it was too politically sensitive for a minor king to be having the son of Cool in his camp.

At the age of 15, he fell into with Finn Éces, or Finnegas the druid, who had his nemeton (druidic grove) by the banks of the river Boyne, where he had set up hoping to catch a Salmon of Knowledge, and took Finn in as his pupil, teaching him in the poetic craft.

Finnegas is a cipher for bright, good, positive (finn) knowledge- Finn Éces, and Finnegas had been told a prophesy, that though he would indeed catch one of the fabled Salmon of Knowledge, but alas he (Finnegas) would not get to profit intellectually and from the magical nuts of knowledge the fish had feasted on at Segias, as another person, someone called Fionn, would instead.

Now, this tale already has two people called Finn, one of whom is going by a nom de plume and with a real name of Demne and Finn Éces being the original name of Finnegas.

One day after seven yrs waiting by the bank and practicing druidry whilst also instructing his pupil Demne, (seven years being the time it took to enter the ollamh zone) Finnegas caught the fabled fish and naturally, remembering the prophecy - that not he but a person called Finn would get his mind altered by it, recieving the source of all poetry — Finnegas would have no doubt had a look around, checking that no likely candidtae was about for the fish to fall into their hands. Giving the fish to Demne he told him to cook it, but on no account eat any of it, not even a crumb, as the s/he who had the first taste, got the poetic gift, all at once.

Demne/Finn was cooking it, and some fish fat accidently splashed onto his thumb, and instinctively sticking it in his mouth, the knowledge from the nuts of wisdom, instantly infused him and when Finnegas came back to the cooking area, could tell straight away by the look on Finn’s face, what had happened.