Distribution Automatique

Monday, September 1

Chris Lott has been struggling for awhile now whether or not to continue his blog,- Ruminate-. In a recent post, he mentions that bloggers have suddenly become concerned with "essential texts" and provides his own interesting list. I must admit that the moment I read Chris' perception, I had the thought: "This is because blogging is causing these texts to be *less* essential." Is it possible that Chris is surfacing the fact that our blogging activities may be causing our previous poetic practices to become more marginal than ever?

When I became interested in writing theoretical texts, which resulted largely from my study of the critical work of Robert Smithson, I had the feeling that the theoretical work might make the poetic work more accessible. Gradually I realized that my theoretical work was changing what I wanted to write and how I wanted to write. My theoretical essay writing eventually gave way to writing aphorisms which eventually gave way to my creating a form I called "theoretical objects"- a term that Douglas Messerli provided me with.

Now I am finding that my blogging writing, that I had convinced myself would bring new readers to my theoretical objects, is driving me towards still another change in perspective, one that is more collaborative, more open, less constructed, more responsive: the qualities of the typical blog that I enjoy and admire. I may as well adopt as my motto the last line of "The Great Gatsby" which has long preoccupied me: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." But I would also reverse it and say: "So we look back, longing for origins, borne forward ceaselessly towards the unknown."

Only there is no "past", no "present" no "future." These are constructs, all of which may be morphing into something that is becoming harder and harder to recognize, and even more difficult to adapt to.

So Chris' conflicts about Ruminate may be more relevant and challenging than he thought. As he struggles, the alternatives appear to be becoming less and less relevant. Maybe even less real.