Friday, 11 January 2013

Agnostic Mystery Cabaret

Back in 2009 I completed a visual studies course as part of my degree. Essentially an art foundation, the course culminated with a final project called Worlds in a Book. Inspired by Book Art the brief was to create a book (either afresh or by modifying an existing text) that could be considered a beautiful artefact.

I think that was the gist of it, anyway... as you can see, I did not quite manage to create something beautiful.

The concept of La Gabia (Catalan for The Cage) was the impenetrability of art, especially when other languages are thrown into the mix. The text of PRePOSICIONS INDECENTS i LOCoCIONS PERVERTIDES by Laia Martinez i Lopez was cut up into its component parts (i.e. the individual poems) and transcribed by hand onto small pieces of paper by non-Catalan speakers before their imprisonment within tiny index cards held inside a cage.

Get it?

Laia and I have been friends for nine years or so, having met in the Old Dairy in 2003 back when I was the licensee. I considered that the content of what was then her most recent work ideal for this project. Of course, since it was all in Catalan no-one would understand it anyway but...well, its as much about what cannot be seen as what can be seen, I think.

Laia had put a great deal of work into  PRePOSICIONS INDECENTS i LOCoCIONS PERVERTIDES;  I felt a little uncomfortable taking it from her and using it in a mere undergraduate project. So we agreed a poetry exchange, and I hastily threw together a selection of the (what I considered to be) best poems I'd written between up until then.

It was called Agnostic Mystery Cabaret, and today i found a copy. A bit of personal archaeology, some of which I'd like to share.


Give me a list of names
And a simple process
Combining different procedures,
Starting and ending at the screen
In between
Some walking, some thinking…

Occasionally I would like to go into a basement
And fetch something antiquarian from a high shelf.
I will use a set of steps on casters.
Can it be a wooden box?
Might I blow away the dust and smell camphor?
If there were some things in need of cataloguing
That too I would enjoy.
Would it be okay if I worked alone?
My department of one
A mystery to all:
Yet, respected and valued. A few people my acknowledge me
In the cafeteria
But only the security guard knows my name.,
Bidding me goodnight as I leave my place of work.
I would prefer it if he were of African extraction.

Every now and then I will receive messages from the past
Via the vacuum tube…
It would be an interesting hobby
To collect them,
A rare break from the drudgery of my appointment.
Not long before my retirement
A local news crew may wish to make
A feature out of me and my hobby.
In my dotage I will find this quite baffling,
But will endear myself to them and the viewers at home.

God once gave me walls to paint, but not any more.
If you have anything similar to what I have just described,
I am ready for an immediate start.   

I'm keen to post some more but only if I can find/ produce suitable images to go with them. Until then, cheerio.
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