Thursday, August 2, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 42.2 (Juliana Spahr)

Response
Spahr, Juliana
Response

I am not sure where I got this book, but I have this vague feeling I got it on the cheap, possibly at a remaindered or used book store.

I feel like I have had it for a long time.

I love the cover.

It's very clean and stark and spooky.

I think I saw her read from this book at the Ear Inn back in the mid-nineties.

I am kind of drawing a blank this morning.

I feel like the silhouetted figure in the photo, contemplating an empty screen.

That is almost a literal truth.

I am seated, and I am staring at a screen thinking.

However, the screen isn't empty.

It is full.

It is over full.

It is overflowing with images and icons and text, all of them prodding me to take action.

"Publish"
"Save"
"Preview"
"Close"
"Schedule"
"Compose"
"Link"
"Send Feedback"

I will use the "Publish" button at some point.

But that wasn't the point at all.

I was comparing myself to the seated figure on the cover of the book Response, by Juliana Spahr.

I am not silhouetted and the screen is not empty.

The figure on the cover is both passive and contemplative.

I am contemplative, but not passive.

I am interacting with the screen.

I am producing text.

I am preparing to edit and self-publish the text that I produce.

The figure on the cover stares at the blank screen.

The blank screen stares back.

Or it doesn't.

The blank screen glows.

The light in the room in which I sit is bluish this time of day.

It bears little resemblance to the stark whites in the photo.

I read that the photo depicts a sculpture by Nam Jun Paik called TV Buddha.

That is a very literal title.

Unlike the Buddha, I am seated in a chair at a desk.

My legs are not crossed.

I am not looking at a TV monitor.

I am looking at laptop monitor.

The laptop monitor is not looking back at me.

Not as far as I am aware.

from Response

You can download the whole book at ubuweb:

http://www.ubu.com/ubu/pdf/spahr_response.pdf


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