[...T]here seems to be a necessary hope that pointing to language itself (particularly the language of war, media, and politics) is a first step toward action and change. But in what ways is that pointing poethical?1
In this essay from Jacket 32 (part of the “Pressure to Experiment” feature from the issue), Osman weighs up differing approaches to realising formally procedurally composed texts, prompting questions of the aesthetic and formal (intrinsic to) social placement of poetic ‘found’ texts.
Cecilia Vicuña’s statement that
The media and the [political, social, and economic] powers have found a way to speak about democracy as if it were a given, something that is already here. That’s a substitution of reality. It represents a desire to see an image instead of what is real.2
is interesting given the differences of approach she has to Alfredo Jaar’s work:
I don’t see the point of utilizing the language of publicity to go against publicity. For me, his visual approach simply gets absorbed by the current system of knowledge. Shiny photos of pain do not question pain.3
I’m not so sure I agree entirely with this statement. Jaar’s images present stark dichotomies with fairly easy-to-interpret implications as a result. For want of a better word, there’s no ‘trick’ here, which could use absorption to point towards the substitutions of reality Vicuña has discussed.
Can formal and aesthetic contexts too be treated as ‘found’ material in the same way as textual material? In addition to stripping context (Goldmsith’s ‘nude media’ approach) or creating overtly opposition formal situations, a tweaked kind of détournement comes to mind as another alternative, in which the passive consumption through the aesthetics of new-media-based texts might actually be advantageous when placed in tension with its content. A method of drawing one into the pointing. Straightforward reactive statements, decontextualised / recontextualised news bytes are all very good, but how might certain levels of subtlety, inviting a culturally specified form of reading, be more effective precisely through a level of formal and implied textual transparency, a (largely false) return to a tradition, as a site for reinterpreting a text in a digital context where collage-based approaches to reading are common, and where one might point to the transparency from within transparency? I wonder how this might too constitute a poethic approach.