by Sarah Fox on Aug.03, 2011
It’s no small matter that the word influence derives from Astrology, since Astrology’s objective, in large part, is to elucidate the interplay of mythic characters engaged in mythic narratives, and subsequently apply those insights to the revelation of psychic material (á la, for example, Archetypal Psychology; or Freud also works (less well), et al, pick your poison, but some practice of Astrology has been influencing & informing human consciousness–at the very least–since the advent of human consciousness). As a practice, Astrology is both Socratic and Mystic in its aim to expand consciousness and its exaltation of same. I think the ancient folk knew what they were doing (“considered future generations”) when they fastened the old stories to the cosmic field–an inclusively visible, celestial overmind. Astrology, perhaps, proposed and provided the original framework for managing a collective unconscious, one timelessly reflected in the vast mythic map imprinted up there in the sky.
The word “zodiac” comes from the Greek zodiacus: “little creatures.” Horoscope (“watching hour”): a map of the planets on the sun’s orbital plane (eclipse) at the exact time and place of one’s birth. What are the little creatures up to up there. One is born beneath a vibrating mirror of sky on which the little creatures play, one takes one’s first breath, one has a face now, is influenced and influential. Enfaced enfant. A karmic event that happens well in advance of Lacan’s discombobulated mirror, linguistic utterance, alterity, standard assessments, and so forth. I’m a doula, I’ve seen this. Like seeing in the Tiresian sense such a mirror–cosmic horizons replacing, as boundary, placental ones; a primal transcendence.
If Astrology, like Art, belongs to superstition (Latin, superstitio: “standing over in amazement; surviving; religious exaltation”), then in order to accommodate, in my own conscious assessment of reality, the existence of: the stock market, corporate personhood, wildly unbalanced distribution of global resources, the weather, “products,” “democracy,” the CIA, state of the union addresses, the fucking media (bar Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!, which I wish everyone had the wherewithal to watch or hear every day), bail-outs, wars on “drugs” & “terror,” or simply the brutal fact that our government’s chief occupation is mass fucking [moral] murder, etc etc, I have to either get extremely high, or constantly and radically re-evaluate the signifiers that determine cultural convention. Or both, which has proved a winning & recommended tactic thus far. Continue reading “Women Under the Influence: An Interface (Part 1–Julian Assange)” »
by Joyelle McSweeney on Jan.13, 2011
The Pastoral, like the occult, has always been a fraud, a counterfeit, an invention, an anachronism. However, as with the occult, and as with Art itself, the fraudulence of the pastoral is in direct proportion to its uncanny powers. A double of the urban, but dressed in artful, nearly ceremental rags and pelts, the Pastoral is outside the temporal and geographical sureties of the court, the urbs, the imperium itself, but also, implicitly, adjacent to all of these, entailing an ambiguous degree of access, of cross-contamination. (The Pastoral, after all, is the space into which the courtiers must flee in the time of plague, carrying the plague of narrative with them.)Moreover, the anachronistic state of the Pastoral is itself convulsive and self-contaminating, accessing both a Golden Age, a prehistory somehow concurrent with, even adjacent to, the present tense, and a sumptuous and presumptive afterlife, partaking of Elysian geography, weather, and pastimes.
A Velvet Underground.
Rather than maintaining its didactic or allegorical distance, the membrane separating the Pastoral from the Urban, the past from the future, the living from the dead, may and must supersaturated, convulsed, and crossed. This membrane is Anachronism itself.
Another name for it is Death, or Media.
by Joyelle McSweeney on Oct.30, 2010
Why is this album cover so beguiling? I think for its gyre-like qualities–the vortex– occult/Modernist qualities. The golden ring feels like an error AND like a media effect– an accident of light, a glitch or warp of the film or lens?– making us feel the presence of (archaic feeling) non-digital apparatus by which this photo was taken. At the same time, it looks like the iris of an eye. So the eye is somehow the ‘same as’ the glitch, the error, and the media– the archaic media. Here, rather than representing rationality and insight, or even just perception in its various definitions, this eye is excessive to itself. It is an eye that can see itself (rather than a transparent eyeball), an eye which seeps (or leaks) its own gold material onto the image itself.
And the image itself has rat-nest, imperialistic qualities. Like Marlowe, or any armchair imperialist, Bob Dylan has lugged a bunch of knowledge ‘back home’, rendered here in material form. Knowledge is materialized everywhere as books, magazines, sheet music, portraits, furniture, friezes, woman, I guess. The woman has a knowing look. She is not the Intended, despite her black hair, because we are at the end of History, here, everything has been or is going to be shortly consumed. Foreshortened to the point of convexity? Perhaps to be consumed by a conflagration, that is, by the evil eye, which does not see but leaks, stains, marks. Stigmatas. (Eye-stigmata.)
Culture as the possessions of the dead.
Shortly to be (re-)possessed by media the eye.
Et in arcadia, I was (always?already?in the process of being!) possessed by media!
by Joyelle McSweeney on Oct.12, 2010
l7. I need to buy socks but which socks? What can the kid not kick off? And why won’t the kid sleep? I ask the mirror. It’s certainly nighttime you can tell just by looking in the mirror, the way it slumps and tries to shie away. The mirror is cracked from too many launchings and each launch is a foothold where my kid can lodge or sag but instead she’s fitful, insists on jerking in time to the jumps she makes in the quarter. In the quarter, in the quarter, just jitter and skitter on down. Catch a knife when it’s falling, drive the spittle into the ground. Find me a fateful woman if you can. Find me a fateful woman if you can. I’m clocked in junk, it’s a racket, it keeps the kid awake, I have to hack it, I have to hack it up. I have to empty out the junkdrawer of the grave.
In the quarter, in the quarter, in the nickel in the dime, in the cash drawer, honey, that’s where you find a real good time. Draw the ewer full of water draw the sewer full of lime, won’t you stay the same forever, won’t you ford that never twice.
My kid’s alive a live live wire like Lethe the nevermore. Skinny kid, for a baby, everybody says. How she jumps right out the window through the eye of the needle and into the eye of the grave.
8. The doctor says if the kid won’t start gaining soon we’re going to have to take measures. Since we measure her constantly I say like what. The doctor is half-coralled, half-wild, skinny in the face. She turns her back to me to write in a chart. Her little stool shrieks as she turns around. It’s freezing in here. That’s what my kid says to the sock it’s shoved in its mouth.
I’m in love with the doctor.
You should pay more attention to that kid. Continue reading “Salamandrine: Or, Genre’s Queer Occult Temporality” »
by Joyelle McSweeney on Sep.30, 2010
I have the pleasure of being included in the new 2nd Avenue Poetry dedicated to the occult. It’s a very ghostly and spooky format which obscures all the names of authors and even blacks out some of the text. However, if you can perservere with the format you can read my essay. Here’s an excerpt:
Loser occult is a rejection of any concept of literature still trying to worship at that old altar of patrilineage, of literary inheritance. Do even poets, the most marginalized, penniless and emasculated of cultural producers, have to work day and night in the salt mine of that old sexist and property-obsessed hierarchy? Yet we, more than almost anyone, are supposed to celebrate an exclusive, narrow and harrowing traditionalism. We’re supposed to be its guardians, after all, like those old ladies sweeping the streets in Soviet Russia with twig brooms, as photographed for Newsweek magazine. This generation did this, that generation did that, this old man was the forebear, this young man is the inheritor. The loser occult knocks that edifice down, hangs out in the rubble huffing, hallucinating, gossiping, making out, wasting time, confecting new and obscene humanoid and nonhumanoid forms. Loser occult envisions a kind of leveled, ambivalent, invisible perpetuity without precedence or antecedence, not based on permanence but on decay, infloration, contamination. It rejects youth, youthful promise, power, vigor, resonance, and shared experience but allows for the possibility of weird mutation, arbitrary reanimation, coincidence, corrosion, drag and psychic twinship.
I, Miss Ronald Reagan: I have to live in squalor, (chewing noises) all day long playing hide and seek with odors. I want to be uncommercial film personified. That’s the…. oh wait… have to live in squalor all day long playing hide and seek with odors… no kidding folks. They love dead queers here. (music) [Jack Smith, ‘What’s so Underground about Marshmallows?’]