Monday, September 17, 2007

Writing about Alex Caldiero

I've had the pleasure of writing about the art and poetry and performance of Alex for more than a decade now.

"Intermittent Conversations" is the beginning of an essay written for the 1994 exhibit at the Salt Lake Art Center of works by Alex and 4 other artists under the title of "The Unclosed Hand."

I just posted this essay on my professional page, along with several other publications on performance and art and poetry. With Alex, if you worry about generic purity or about how to categorize his work, you're already a day late and a dollar short. He's got a whole set of interdisciplinary genes, inherited from his Sicilian parents, mutated by his Brooklyn upbringing.

Today in our class about LANGUAGE, Alex wrote the first two letters of the word "cry" on the board and declared that the C was the mouth, the r the tongue.

Here a couple of his drawings from that Unclosed Hand show that illustrate the visual nature of Alex's sense for words:


Torben B said...
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Torben B said...

Thanks for uploading these onto your professional page. I'll make sure to read them. Alex's performances are so fascinating to me.

michael morrow said...

I attended a Native American flute recital in the backyard, at the home of sculptor, Gary Price, in Mapleton on Friday eve. very cool, meditative, hills ring'n with sound. Then I shot to SLC for a poetry read'n that included Alex Calderio. The times, they are a'chang'n the more they same'n "DANGER!! DANGER!! LANGUAGE XING" class/discuss'n has mood swing'n like a chimp on a hot ti'n roof!! I feel'n to bust down every convention, especially those unspok'n by anyone matter'n. Passiveness, YEH!!'m specialty. right!! Like diversity, tens'n and frict'n spark'n, cream'n out cracks between Plato, Socrates and Swedenborg, time is now for to rise up sing'n, spread'n wings, tak'n to creative sky'n, no cry'n

I just came across this website of a very cool happening in San Fran. I wont be offended to learn everyone else found it first.

If nothing else, in spite of ugly appearances, goodness is distilling out the mis-mash of shit, culture, language ongoing in our midst, personal translation is the link between change, productivity, and personal interpretation. Here's the link, check it out.

michael morrow said...

I just love the bull shit metaphor presented as the spring board for the discussion we are engaged in. I find great balance and satisfaction within my personal thought cauldron where satisfactory/unsatisfactory bull shit is predominant but manageable nonetheless. Bull shit is a powerful image, one loaded with connotation, denotation, history, packed with just enough strain and tension to elicit one's undivided attention, especially when it is followed with dialogue and narrative as important as the one we are engaged in. There is a space within where earth shattering ideas bubble and brew, stew and foment, crawl all over one another; mixing/matching, some smothering, some expanding, some blending and acting as catalyst for new and ever revolutionary possibilities; others old, stale, giving their nutritious energy, augmenting growth and change not to be realized until timely.

Narrative/dialogue/object is inseparably connected and simultaneously they only co-exist. Very often, for one individual, word/object presentations are so connected to one another they could never be seen as otherwise. Conversely, for others, the connection could not be more non-existent. All the while, when given careful consideration, all must agree that there is always some amount of "air space," even if only on a very minute level, to be found between the word, its letters, its history, its assumed meaning, its accepted meaning, its metaphorical meaning and the actual three dimensional, concrete object word is presented as a reminder of, and responsible to convey certain hard information about.

The discussion today was interesting in that we used Alex's previous presentation of ideas regarding the bull shit thought that word/thing could ever be separated as a lens through which to consider the wordthing/word-thing binary. We actually used these ideas of total connectivity as the foundation for talking about the thought that they obviously could never be anything but separated. The idea that metaphor is provided as the closest "thing" available to even come close to describing reality proves to me that word and thing are inseparable, too. Provision of a tool as important as metaphor is an indication of the balance and connectivity our thought processes are capable of; and it all takes place inside our own personal thought brewing and distilling cauldron of right/wrong, bull shit/ fragrant roses, love/hate, female/male, creative/destructive.

I suggest that word and breath are always inseparably united, inside the personal thought brewing cauldron, at least. Cessation of the act of speaking is not an indication of simultaneous cessation of the word/breath connectivity. Dialogue/words are as ongoing and internally endless as is life-giving breath. I propose breath is designed to provide and loaded with the oxygen, perhaps sugar metaphor is in order, required to keep internal, worded dialogue/narrative ongoing as a means for us humans to invent, mull-over, and discuss, both internally and externally, ideas such as whether or not word and thing even exist. The possibility that wordthing could ever be connected/disconnected is a bonus. And life on the level we are absolutely blessed to be engaged in is the ultimate bonus.
I’m going back to bed.

michael morrow said...

I need to get this out before I forget. Experience, what place does experience play in the word/thing equation? I propose experience, like word/object/breath, becomes a very important thread in the narrative/dialogue/breath fabric, too.

Scott Abbott said...

what a fascinating discussion of some of the ideas from yesterday's class. Or better than "discussion," what a stimulating set of thoughts that take off from the class beginnings and move in productive directions all their own.
Sorry you weren't sleeping.
Glad you weren't sleeping.