Tag: evil eye
by Joyelle McSweeney on Nov.26, 2010
Apropos of Lucas’s comment on my Bolaño/Beuys/Nazi post below, I’d like to explain specifically how Bolaño’s short story ‘Mauricio ‘The Eye’ Silva’ figures into this theory of Art’s Evil Eye that I’m building around Bolaño’s work. I’ve written it all out in a lengthy essay (as I’ve mentioned before– I’m obsessed with this essay) in which this story plays an important role.
“Mauricio ‘The Eye’ Silva” is one of those Bolaño stories in which a narrator comes in contact with a figure who then delivers the story through a kind of ventriloquism or double speech, and then is destroyed either in the frame narrative or in the narrative itself. In this case that figure (as so often) is the title character; Mauricio ‘the Eye’ Silva is a photographer who relates to the narrator/interlocutor how he rescued two boys from an Indian brothel and fled with them to the countryside where he raised them as his children until they died in an epidemic.
In my essay, I show how ‘The Eye’ is doubly inscribed in this story as The Moon, often shown as drifting across the sky, emerging or disappearing into shadow, and casting a light-like gaze which becomes entangled in the tree; in this sense the double image of The Moon/Eye recalls the montaged image of Moon and Eye at the beginning of Chien Andalou. In that movie, Continue reading “Art’s Evil Eye: Bolaño’s “Maurico ‘The Eye’ Silva’” »
by Joyelle McSweeney on Nov.11, 2010
People, last year I had the opportunity to be the final judge for Fence’s Modern Poets Series. I read some awesome, potent manuscripts but the one which did the most mental damage to me was Nick Demske by Nick Demske. Want to know why? Here’s a poem:
“the very word is like a bell”
I didn’t think it was loaded. But it was a kn
Ife. So we’re both right. I foresee
Blinding enlightenment. I beat these children like the deadest of horsies.
The people cheer at their victory. Peasants dan
Cing in gutters, commoners singing like so many
Semi-trucks braking. This is the ultra-vulgarity to they who make
The definitions. This is cops getting shot in abnormally
Broad daylight. I will make me beautiful if it takes
Uglying everything else; a reflect
Ion so unfamiliar you feel impolite confronting it. I am the awestruck lex
Icographers, staring back into a nightingale. I will beat these
Precious children back to life. Fuck me, shit me.
Remind me what it’s like to be offended, Nick Demske.
Ah. Already with thee.
And here’s what I write in my fancy judge’s intro to the book:
Nick Demske writes from culture like the Hollywood version of a rebellious slave, the role shredding off him, culture’s synthetic exemplary tales shredding and piling up on the floor of the projector room, but non-biodegradable, sticking around, the pancake makeup also strangely persisting, rendering his face plastic and one with the material of the film, the celluloid itself. How can we tell this dancer from his nasty dance? Language has ecstatic prison sex in these narrow cells, de-synchs and hooks up in detrimental sequences which will make the baby sick; the sonnet form both persists and shreds, goes on talking/being a talkie; his own name copies itself again and again like a one-man “I am Spartacus”—splits like a wascally wabbit before the Law. One lump or two? Or, the sonnet is one brief sequence played backwards and forwards until its fake, twitchy face says everything: “This poem is named after you, like a slave.” “Nick Demske, you are everything wrong with the world. Which is to say: the wor/Ld.” Is it shit or is it speech? Is Language the patented dance move of the sapiens sapiens or the catchy scat that shows where we’ve passed? The staff or the shit of life? “This humor so dark you mistake/It for chocolate.” “God wins because he’s bigger,/Until I digest this cracker, converting it on/Into the drabbest defecant His face will ever don.” Yum yum! A poet both coprophilic and narcissistic finds his own face reflected in some pretty dirty places. Or, as Catherine Clément has held, “To eat the placenta, one’s excrement, or one’s Dasein, to devour the loved one with kisses or to make love with God: these are some of the possible equivalences to the body’s debris. The angel is part of it, as is the beast that follows him like a shadow since Pascal united them, one behind the other in an ineluctable procession.” Or, per Demske, “I enjambed that promise/So far up the Muse’s tuchis he still shits shards of meter.” “Ick, narcotica prissy self-gratified non-prophet: AWE SHIT.”
And check it, the cover is COVERED with evil eyes, evil eyes that shit art.
by Joyelle McSweeney on Nov.03, 2010
“The evil eye, which is nothing in itself, exists in its lethal traces or effects as a form of iteration that arrests time—death/chaos—and initiates a space of intercutting that articulates politics/psyche, sexuality/race. It does this in a relation that is differential and strategic rather than originary, ambivalent rather than accumulative, doubling rather than dialectical.” [55/6]
This “evil eye” is evil because it has rejected its perch as the king of the senses and “initiates a space of intercutting”—as good a gloss on the function of the eye wound at the opening of Chien Andalou as any. For indeed, to view that film for the first time is to be initiated into just such an “space of intercutting”, of bold and gratuitous montage that exists in the slash mark, the mark of violence that, in the Surrealist project, links “politics” to “psyche”, “sexuality” to “race”. The slash mark of montage also fulfills all the first terms in Bhaba’s sequence; it establishes a voltaic differential, marks a literal ambivalence (the join that sunders), and it doubles—envisions an ‘or’ that is really a kind of impossible ‘and’.