What follows is in large part high conjecture. It takes aim at combinatorial relations between Phenomenology, Experimental Epistemology, and Hypnagogia. In brief, and as I comprehend it, Phenomenology aspires to acquire a primal innocence. Without assuming empiricism's conceptual presuppositions, the phenomenologist emphasizes an intentional-internal character of consciousness, focusing on introspective analysis; uncovering manifestations of immediate non-contingent experience.
Edmond Husserl, its central protagonist, conceived it as a descriptive in-depth exploration of forms of moral, religious, aesthetic, conceptual and sensuous engagement. In general, his take on Philosophy is that it is an exploration of “life-worlds” or an inquiry addressing the qualities of “inner life”. Husserl, in effect, argued that Philosophy is not, and will not be, a form of factorial science. It has instead its own private, exclusive methods and findings, which are fundamentally distinct from the conclusions of such formal systems as mathematics and formal logic. Thus Phenomenology assumes, while describing, the intrinsic features of “stuff” as they reveal themselves, open themselves, to intensified consciousness.
All genuine Art is an experiment in Epistemology, an investigation into the nature of knowledge of "worlds" generated from a specific subjective view and grasp; governed in general, by historical and cultural brackets. Fundamentally, an "episteme" addresses the questions: What can we comprehend or know outright? How do we know it?
Seeking and investigating the appropriate criteria for "truth" and what stands for reasonable belief; whether to rely on a customized mysticism, tradition, revelation, faith and intuition; or whether to invest one's attention in coherence, correspondence, consistency and rational deduction, e.g., Cogito ergo sum. To the point: Experimental epistemology features salient aspects taken from pages in the Phenomenologist's playbook. It relies on the necessary, if improbable, fusion of the two.
Hypnagogia was coined by Andreas Mavromatis in 1983. On the brink of sleep and wakefulness, hypnagogic events are typified and instigated by Lautremont's remark "A chance meeting between an umbrella and a sewing machine on the operating table". By misplaced concretion, e.g., walking into a restaurant and eating the menu; By Dada's exquisite corpse method of chance composition. And by perpetual shape-shifting. In an iridescent egg emerging from a volcanic summit.
Thus a nexus of phenomenology, experimental epistemology and hypnagogia in what follows:
1) Hypnagogic drifting
2) Dream soaked sleep
3) An external hovering, fully awake, observer
4) All three states of mind coexisting
From Yeats: So the Platonic year
Whirls out new right and wrong,
Whirls in the old instead;
All men are dancers and their tread
Goes to the barbarous clangor of a gong!
Gong!...I am on a cusp, I slip into a vast expanding confusion. From bend of bay to swerve of shore, I’m neither awake nor asleep. I fall and squirm into fragmenting grasps drifting through hellacious trenches. I drink therefore I am...I slide into dreams of schism and conflicting splits...Re: what is not compulsory is prohibited, prohibitive and ferocious...beauty is fury, fury is beauty...I seek, anticipate, relief from unexpected searing insomnia, with its endless yokes of necessity, smirking facts, glib cheek, erupting in flushes and congealed cascades of toxic spew. Res congitans vs. Res extensia, what exactly is any difference? After a pause, Whitehead reduces everything to its utmost simplicity and then distrusts it...thus we swim in his pools of distrust, in a counter-swarm of implication in which a frenzied simplicity claims its slipshod givens as self evident...Throw down the gauntlet...prepare for things unknown, brace yourself for current events, for a spinning eyeball, for comatose, catechistic whim and caprice...Manichaean torment, frothing-at-the-mouth, the usual twisted suspects...the usual maladroit diabolic morons...the usual phalanx of scabrous twerps...all gathered in a dipsomaniacal ball of melting wax. Cheers...a victory lap, mud in your eye...Mazel tov... And the whore of Babylon sat upon the waters. Fade to black.
I slumber, shattered, sis boom bah, grinning without bearing it. With a whip and a chair I'm semi-awakened...in a crystal mist of lucid hallucinatory panoramas...festering rivulets, brunt rage, sticks-in-the-spokes, fusillades of shit, stygian gloom, ebullient sloth, craven idiocy, unadulterated Evangelical zeal...A malefic, brazen Hobbesian nightmare emerges, illustrated by Bosh, featuring en masse turmoil groveling before wretched excess. Things thicken, beginnings fade, fame melts...sycophantic fits of pique dominate while desiccating those resisting slash-and-burn and party-till-you-puke, rolling in my sweat-soaked bed. I'm nearly awake, but the stream of images and alien vocalizations yanks me back to the sheets. A monkey finger probes its left ear, preposterous dead reckoning follows: 'twist & shout' the ape croons in perfect Queen's English with poise, precision, audacity. He forgoes the hysterical applause and evaporates. Jump-cut to numerous barmecidal feasts, one after another, after another, featuring the obese, those suffering from fatal gout, and bulimics. A sloshed chanteuse slips off the over-lit stage, dropping and smashing her green glass eye. Fade to black.
Tycho Brahe's gold nose emerges from a quivering darkness...jagged supernatural music slices through bleak chambers, a resurgent Demiurge suddenly takes charge, confiscates Tycho's gold nose, then sets off to a pawn shop. Fade to black.
Worms of fear grow long and fat, gimlet-eyed lip service dismisses the worms for dwelling in a Potemkin village...Xenophon, drifting down from the cloud of unknowing, proclaims: Those who cannot govern their own lives will be given other masters...the quivering monkey returns, though a bit funky, a bit destitute, and announces his intention to assume the haywire duties of one of those masters...ham-fisted blather follows. I slipslide left to right between soiled and sticky sheets. Slow fade to black.
Flatulent worms return, join the fray. The monkey is quite pissed...he assumed Xenophon would gleefully provide him with exclusive access to the Nomenklatura.Worms meanwhile entertain revenge, conjure plots against the flea infested ape, while setting alight his Potemkin abode. The monkey (whose name, by the way, is Pangloss) is trapped in a juke box with endless Sex Pistol's rustic tunes...e.g.: Mother McRhee, Danny Boy and all that rot...ah...sweet revenge. Jim Nightshade arrives from elsewhere seeking counter-revenge, since he's a dear friend of Pangloss as well as his brother-in-law…meanwhile back at their hardened bunker, Pangloss and Nightshade's lumpen proles conjure up scenarios of worms on the rack, of boiling rancid oil, of germ-infested fruits and nuts, mostly mixed nuts. HCE, Earwicker himself, enters this puffery of a fool's trip, of a fool's command to make war on the erupting wizardry of Anna Livia Plurabellum, operatic bloody violence ensues...Fade to a dark bleeding red.
All hands on dreck! Vile and violent mayhem spills into and over apoplectic, berserk, fatal picnics. Suddenly the praetorian guard takes over, easily assuming tantamount power. All is tracer bullets...keep those steaming nuke rods very very cool, keep the doors rigid and firmly concealed...flounce any and all positions which glorify Pangloss in the very best light...a radiant monkey suddenly arrives flushing out the quaking scope of mere fat worms. I feel an urge to take a whiz, I am now awake and cannot recall most of the above. So what, who cares, fuck you, drop dead. Fade to black?
Sleep arrives, neither Spartan nor Baroque push-back is at all useful, nor is it feasible. I resist to no avail...either-or...a smoldering flick of prior calamities pops up...self-sabotage and translucent pink demons enter stage left, combining withering intent with brass balls...we are off, slipping into deep smut...shifting sclerosis, slipping into drowning gasps. I resist this pathetic menace with wind shifts, screaming slipstreams, and nasty, gruesome incantations. There appears a flight of dragons without heads. I am off to the Arctic! Inscrutable, lush, and enfeebled by way of modernity's sly tricks. In a sweat I ponder Progress, in its triumphant gangster capitalism's slant. I ponder, for blatant example, just how it renders all things, all entities, destined for any and all markets...simply fungible stuff, granulating into cash...Abruptly, I roll over, and over again, then retreat from this gangster's nightmare, and rise & shine...the stink is simply awful...I slide back into delusional freezing environs, then discover that I'm not really awake, I'm floating above tectonic frozen plates, while they slip and shift into pools of snake venom...God speed headless dragons...In a flip, fanfares flow, hemorrhaging blind elisions flow, sudden swirls of snarls arrive with cock-and-bull alibis...Strip and flip, ice melts! Enter stage right: Billy the spear shaker and Willy the abject junky discussing the current value of Seneca, Pico della Mirandola, the Missa Solemnis, Jack the fat cat, Jimmy the bizarre wordsmith, Lady Gaga's most trusted valet, among other esoteric slop and jive. Three stooges emerge from center stage, slop and jive have met their supreme masters, indeed. "It's too good, it won't work" as the late great Gaddis was fond to remind me...I turn over, I’m on my back...With a blast of noise and hunger, and a need for a stiff drink, I finally wake up. Kiss my ass, the phone is wailing off its hook...a swank robo-voice is selling me life insurance, I decline while wondering how in Hell's due dalliance...Just how did this rookie metallic insect acquire my number? Never you mind, slack off, relax, chill...Knock back a single malt and return to sweaty sheets. Hagiographic chutzpah awaits. Lilliputians in drag confront drooling rabid psychotics with guns...A fragile, pellucid, crystalline probity has been defeated by armed-to-the teeth psychotics. Lilliputians in fish net stockings with pink, blue, and violet wigs engage the savage gang...it's a complete wipe-out, with a lemming-like disregard for them selves, the Lilliputians are toast...Shift to the drooling gang's stentorian high fives...meanwhile, back at the morgue, preparations are underway for a shallow mass grave on the front lawn. Fade to black.
Salad days arrive, amidst a wobbly equipoise...a reluctant misanthropy is out of with low tide, a sort of fragile good cheer sets in, rapid staccato images of Arcadian vistas alternate with compacted views of rambunctious children at play. All is apparently calm. Then I'm awoken...It's a robo-call again, asking "would you please contribute to mumble-mumble's re-election, it is urgent that..." click. I return to bed, thinking I will pick up where things left off. No such luck. Events turn ugly, swinging my cast of mind's deaf-ear…We don't know what you want, but we do know you want more of it’...I regret that I repeatedly forget this simple self-evident truth...I'm no longer amused. I slip, stumble, crash. In the virulent grip of a fresh tart nightmare, I witness a spectrum, a very wide spectrum, revealing all available versions of grief, while eating the ass end off an aging goat. We may be lost, but we're making very good time.
Hence I’m now preoccupied with survival, any such version of “quick,” any version! Things come and glow spiting out the teeth of Michelangelo. With bare warning, there appears a flight of dragons without heads. L.H.O.O.Q...I need this like I need another mustache...Smile! From such chaotic slumber, I emerge reverberating...Appearances solidify. I'm alert, caught swinging on a pair of wind chimes. Concertina wire, short hairs plucked one by one, molars yanked, klige lights, all slink away. Spit and stomp, the remnants of that final transit-dream devolves. Fade to soft satin black.
I skip, drifting while slipping, into a blend of some delusion’s fragile grasp. I'm on a glide path into a slugfest. All is maya. I grasp at straws, no avail, no transcendence, no nothing.
Refreshed, I recreate, I fornicate, I stipulate, I kiss the bird in flight. Hypnagogia, which brooks no quarter, has swept and snuggled in again. God speed the headless dragons, speed a murmuration of starlings, an exaltation of larks, the murder of crows, while pale confabulations twirl. Cranial winds, with ominous tinctures of forms of things unknown arrive...a swift, sudden segue ensues...Now, out of somewhere, I slouch on a beach with a yellow gazelle. A wide blue-green sweep of shore coughs up Prospero’s reading stack, a bit drenched, somewhat mangled. I open salted sheaths, in a blink, a multitude of palimpsests, layer over layer over sliced peaches, aches, fevers, poxes...I take bumptious pause before kissing a horse on its toothy upper lip. Slow fade to black.
Refrain, quit, throw in a molded towel...the near is ended, it’s a war of attrition...moods swing...depth, probity, and cogency evaporate, all is an avalanche of cauterized views, swelling in every direction, with every stench. Snap, I’m awake (well, sort of)...its that yelping phone again, it’s another wrong number, another round once again, in Morse code no less. Kiss my fling! Fade to sudden black.
In a slippery flick of digits, I’m now swamped. An umber ugly moment prevails. Cutting to several quicks at once, squirming in my usual cups at Jungle Petes, reflecting on oily, bleak implications with one-trick mules in a God-eat-God zeitgeist...boisterous within its pumps, mirthless intent, misological confusion, overwhelming insidious pits of hard-core embodied fantasies.
Now, aroused, I stink again, ergo I am again, slipping back with uncommon surrender…breezy archetypes overlap, flooding bins with agents provocateurs, innocent bastards, and other elaborate plumage. Its all a hyper-tech blend of mashing buttons, flickering lights, twirling dials. Stomp; within the inner tantrums of twirling sub-psyches, aging bleeds caution...Drizzling collapse, barfs, spits, up-spurts of force multipliers...Carry on in the dark...chill, push off to the Crozet Archipelago...Ahoy mates!
Quit, twitch, blink...Resume: calculate positions all conflicting intersections, while feats of clay emerge flaunting frail shapes...Frail horse, frail rider...As if from a shadow, Jack finally arrives without an alibi, without apologies. Now, alarm! All hands on dreck! Once again I slip, drifting into the decomposing rules of the Marquess of Queensberry in a demolition derby. With effortless ease, I float.
Hence the above scatter-shot ambience, a portmanteau, a paradoxical collage/decollage in time, a farrago gliding adrift from hypnogogic to awakened states in all of their mutual regards.
2014 / East Hampton / NYC
Frank Gillette Evolving Catalogue Raisonne & Selected Archives