Dear Followers, Friends, fellow Workers:

I have just begun a new blog/zine called
Chirot Zero Zine A Heap of Rubble--
Anarkeyology of hand eye ear notations
the blog is more exusively concerned than this one with presenting essays, reviews (inc. "bad reviews") , Visual Poetry, Sound Poetry, Event Scores, Manifestos, Manifotofestos, rantin' & raving, rock'roll, music all sorts--by myself and others--if you are interested in being a contributor, please feel free to contact me at
as with this blog, the arts are investigated as a part of rather than apart from the historical, economic, political actualities of yesterday, today, & tomorrow
as with al my blogs--
contributions in any language are welcome

Free Leonard Peltier

Free Leonard Peltier
The government under pretext of security and progress, liberated us from our land, resources, culture, dignity and future. They violated every treaty they ever made with us. I use the word “liberated” loosely and sarcastically, in the same vein that I view the use of the words “collateral damage” when they kill innocent men, women and children. They describe people defending their homelands as terrorists, savages and hostiles . . . My words reach out to the non-Indian: Look now before it is too late—see what is being done to others in your name and see what destruction you sanction when you say nothing. --Leonard Peltier, Annual Message January 2004 (Leonard Peltier is now serving 31st year as an internationally recognized Political Prisoner of the United States Government)

Injustice Continues: Leonard Peltier Again Denied Parole

# Injustice continues: Leonard Peltier denied parole‎ - By Mahtowin A wave of outrage swept the progressive community worldwide at the news that Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier was denied parole on Aug. ... Workers World - 2 related articles » US denies parole to American Indian activist Leonard Peltier‎ - AFP - 312 related articles » # Free Leonard Peltier 2009 PRISON WRITINGS...My Life Is My Sun Dance Leonard Peltier © 1999. # Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance - by Leonard Peltier, Harvey Arden - 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 272 pages Edited by Harvey Arden, with an Introduction by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, and a Preface by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark. In 1977, Leonard Peltier... - # Leonard Peltier, American Indian Activist, Denied Parole And Won't ... Aug 21, 2009 ... BISMARCK, ND — American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, imprisoned since 1977 for the deaths of two FBI agents, has been denied parole ... - Cached - Similar - #

Gaza--War Crime: Collective Punishment of 1.5 Million Persons--Recognized as "The World's Largest Concentration Camp"

Number of Iraquis Killed Since USA 2003 Invasion began

Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator

US & International Personnel losses in Iraq &Afghanistan; Costs of the 2 Wars to US

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America's War On Iraq: 4,667

Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 1,453


Cost of War in Iraq


Cost of War in Afghanistan

The cost in your community

flickr: DEATH FROM THIS WINDOW/DOORS OF GUANTANAMO--Essays, Links, Video-- US use of Torture

VISUAL POETRY/MAIL ART CALL Cracking World’s Walls & Codes Concrete & Virtual

Cracking World’s Walls & Codes Concrete & Virtual

No Sieges, Tortures, Starvation & Surveillance
Deadline/Fecha Limite: SinsLimite/ongoing
Size: No limit/Sin Limite
No Limit on Number of Works sent
No Limit on Number of Times New Works Are Sent
Documentation: on my blog
David Baptiste Chirot
740 N 29 #108
Milwaukee, WI 53208

Miss Universe Visits Guantanamo: 'A Loooot Of Fun!'

Miss Universe Visits Guantanamo: 'A Loooot Of Fun!'

The current 'Miss Universe' Dayana Mendoza (formerly Miss Venezuela) and 'Miss America' Crystal Stewart visited US troops stationed in Guantanamo Bay on March 20th, the New York Times reports. Here's Mendoza's account of the visit from her pageant blog last Friday. She says the trip "was a loooot of fun!"

This week, Guantánamo!!! It was an incredible experience...All the guys from the Army were amazing with us. We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting. We took a ride with the Marines around the land to see the division of Gitmo and Cuba while they were informed us with a little bit of history.

The water in Guantánamo Bay is soooo beautiful! It was unbelievable, we were able to enjoy it for at least an hour. We went to the glass beach, and realized the name of it comes from the little pieces of broken glass from hundred of years ago. It is pretty to see all the colors shining with the sun. That day we met a beautiful lady named Rebeca who does wonders with the glasses from the beach. She creates jewelry with it and of course I bought a necklace from her that will remind me of Guantánamo Bay :)

I didn't want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Found "Concrete" Street Visual/Sound Notations


for Derek White

Happy memories walking down sidewalks, streets with Bob Cobbing, sounding the cracks as notations, scores of poems--here for Derek White--"ein klein Nacht Musik"--Milwaukee alley visually singing, chanting, intoning, muttering, lyric , staccato, hip, hop--extending into distances--"my voice goes after/what my eyes can't reach" (whitman)--along this alley--on every side--sites/sights/cites of further visual poems, rubBEings--on dumpsters' lids and sides, telephone poles, pipes, parked cars' emblems and license plates, objects found in refuse . . .
universes of streets' visual/sound notations found hidden in plain site/sight/cite--

"What is not in the open street is false derived, that is to say literature."--Henry Miller, "The 14th Ward" BLACK SPRING

Thursday, July 06, 2006


"I WOULD SHOW HIM AS LOOKING" Saturday 8 July 2006

Yesterday i was writing of Robert Smithson's--and my own--ideas of an "art of looking" freed from the prison of the art object and the blinders of a forbidding-by-definition seeking eye which sees only what it is looking for. I wrote of these in conjunction with the ideas expressed in Petra Backonja's
essay "The Lives They Wish", that "poems have their extra-literary existence and may manifest as hearing loss or a birthday party . . . (as) a naked terrible poem that thought it wanted to be a war and so now it is . . . (or) remain invisible to us, or camouflaged, or common and plain . . . Poems disappear, become influential like those men who go to the corner store to buy cigarettes and are never heard from again."
An "art of looking" and the extra-literary lives of poems --in one the artist's seeing is freed from producing a socially recognized object, in the other, the poem frees itself from being a socially recognizable object. I think many moments of the uncanny recognition of the found are the encounter of these two--the seeing without the need to produce an object and the object without the need to be seen.
The event of the encounter is a visual poem.
Here on the edge of the river, the motifs are very plentiful, the same subject seen from a different angle gives a subject for study of the highest interest and so varied that I think I could be occupied for months without changing my place, simply bending a little more to right or left.
--Paul Cezanne, To his son Paul. Aix, 8 September, 1906

. . Now, being old, nearly 70 years, the sensations of colour, which give the light, are for me the reason for the abstractions which prevent me from either covering my canvas or continuing the delimitation of the objects where their points of contact are fine and delicate; from which it results that my image or picture is incomplete.
Paul Cezanne, to Emile Beranrd, Aix, 23 October 1905

My awareness of an art of looking went through a profound series of changes when I became addicted to amphetimines for a six year period. Looking takes on an ominivorous, predatory character, constantly prowling and scanning, devouring sites, sights, cites--obsessed with minute details . . . a restlessness which never "completes a picture". It is as though one is continually looking at the ruins of sight before final construction has been arrived at. Sharp details accumulate in heaps of glinting rubble. Lava flows and avalanches of images careen down the slopes of the eyes. Continual tremors of faultlines creaking towards abysses of plumetting sight. Buildings melt into phosphorous pools in evening and run into gutters to be lost among detritus. The art of looking is often engulfed, near drowning, grasping desperately for something to hold onto. Often the only way to stay above the water is to keep focused on the sites/sights/cites imediately before one. The present becomes a continual space in which one moves around as in a room, the eyes boring into space as into a substance, excavating, carving, sculpting . . . via caverns and tunnels drifting into visions, hallucinations . . . through labyrinthine windings, landscapes, swift moving cities, all at immense speeds which will suddenly slow to a dangerously depleted drag through a desert . . . the art of looking becomes a balancing act . . . becomes more highly developed while going further out of control . . . it is posssed of a great energy and drive and at the same time thoroughly exhausted . . . endlessly looking and strangely without memories more than blurs punctuated by sharp isolated details . . . a continual accumulation to fill the vast wastes of wakeful time . . .

I'll write more of this at another time--i bring it up as a form of manic training in an "art of looking" run amok yet from which i learned a great deal. In an article on amphetmine addicts, the interviewer asks an addict how he would portray an addict in a painting, and the reply is: "I would show him as looking . . . But for what, it is hard to say." One of the two choices for a New Hampshire license plate is "Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Freedom"--(the other is "Live Free or Die")--this paranoic injunction becomes a way of life not just for the addict--but also for those whose jobs are linked with taking speed--truckdrivers and military sentinels and soldiers on long missions for example. A demand for continual vigilance produces this vigilant/ paranoic "art of looking" which watches for signs of danger and death. The stationary sentinel on watch and the speeding truck driver hurtling through space--are joined in an "art of looking" which telescopes time in its rushing to the moment of possible death. One watches for the "surprise attack", the other for the "accident". The "art of looking" of the artist for Smithson takes place in time, and is threatened with a form of death by society's valuing art objects and not the time of the artist and the "art of looking". The "art of looking" sees this rushing in the art object. Smithson writes:

Every object, if it art, is charged with the rush of time even though it is static, but all this depends on the viewer. Not everybody sees the art in the same way, only an artist knows the ecstasy or dread, and this viewing takes place in time.
An "art of looking" in the time of the artist---outside the social art of looking which sees a static art object, stuck in time---and the "poem's own skies"--in which a poem chooses an extra-literary time of its own--open eyes in space and ways of seeing and thinking in and about time. The possibilites for encounters among confluences of differing eras/areas of time open. The simplest elements may be used to work with these processes. For example, in her poetry Petra Backonja makes use of 16th Century syntax in developing her own along with vocabularies taken from the physical sciences to open the range of points of reference in a poem's directions and to introduce new sonic possibilities. The work opens its own senses of time, creates new spaces in different times. Smithson used contemporary machines to move earth in plans to reclaim "fringe" and industrially used up areas. Earthworks in a sense following the tradition of the American Indian Mound Builders, spiralling through time and creating new forms. Making rubBEings, i use one of the oldest methods of copier art--rubBeing raised or incised letterings, markings, forms with a lumber crayon onto paper and creating with them new arrangements found by an "art of looking." These are things found hidden in plain sight. This is puting things at their simplest and doesn't begin t do justice to the artist--is to indicate only that one may begin with very basic elements the process which begins with an "art of looking" and also a developing sense of the time of the artist. Otherwise the danger is a form of death in the forbidding-by-definition and the prison of the art object--that is, when the "art of looking" and the time are not one's own, not being lived as one's own, but via the terms set down by others. In an "art of looking" and a "poem's own skies" is a profound desire for freedom and the call to find it, its possibility.
"I would show him as looking . . . But for what it is hard to say"--i will write of more becuase it is a very brutal state, in which the "art of looking" becomes very developed in many ways--and begins to come to a verge, a point--then begins to dissolve in midair---but having lived through it, is very interesting to think back on all one saw and learned about seeing from it--
At the various Fourth of July fireworks listening to all the "bombs burst in the air" "the rockets red glare"--thinking of the sonic booms of jets over Palestinain villages and towns in Gaza--which are a cause sleeplessness--to go along with cutoff of water, eletricity, food in middle of summer--sleep deprivation is a torture technique and is reported to be havng drastic effects among children especially--the sound alone terrifies them--prolonged periods of sleeplessness lead to the distortions of visison and thinking methedrine addicts experience--psychoses can even develop--paranoias of extreme degree--pure terror--thinking about this next morning walking among the remnants of fire works fired off in a park--found box of these tank firecrackers--and then on ny times front page same day the foto of the tanks--conjunction in parks here of imagery and sounds on small scales with events on other side of the world--here for entertainment and celebration--there for death--
And wondering if in an "art of looking" and a "poem's own skies"--these and the time of the artist are not very much involved in their desire for freedom with also a more intense sense of death, the death which can come in so many ways in which oneself, a poem, an art object, may be made static in time, become fixed, labeled . . .
Smithson expresses his own form of the Rimbaldian artist's desire for the Unknown: " 'the present' . . . must explore the pre- and post- historic mind; it must go into the places where the remote futures meet remote pasts".
Hidden in plain sight they are to be found all around one--"Look under your feet!" as Chuang Tzu says.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


IN AN "ART OF LOOKING" & "A POEM'S OWN SKIES" Saturday 1 July 2006-Sunday 2 July 2006

A line by Robert Smithson has haunted me for years:
"A great artist can make art simply by casting a glance." Often when this line recurs to me out walking around I start having fun with it, laughing and playing God--zap! my glance hath created an immortal masterpiece!--yeah--of about three seconds' duration! As much fun as the line's been , it's also provoked a good deal of thinking about an "art of of looking" as Smithson calls it for me.
For a very long time i have been interested in looking as
a continual process of work rather than an end product as a work.
This grew out of wondering about situations of the impossibility of making a work, in which all that one can do
is continual work on the "art of looking" itself. It began when a child
sitting in a car in the January freeze in Vermont at the foot of
the Union Village Dam. Looking up i saw the rose colored
light of the late afternoon sun's rays direct on the brick
building atop the Dam. The building was backgrounded by
a fragile blue sky and white snow covered steep hills dense
with dark green-black firs. The rose glowing building
began to pour forth a form of musical sound and convey
in the visual forms of the windows, bricks, pipes, and shafts
a non-verbal language I understood, yet had no words
for. This experience lasted some minutes, until the light
began to fade. Afterwards, i felt an infinite sadness--i
wondered if all my life i would be seeing things i could never
describe or make an image of to show others. On the
other hand, it awoke my awareness and from then on i was
always living alert with the sense of these moments, sights,
sites, cites being everywhere, anywhere possible to be found.
The strange sense of impossibility on the one hand of
conveying what was seen & heard and on the other the continual
possibility of its being seen and heard--through time
and a myriad situations have kept me working with an "art of looking" and listening
as a process and making all its own.
The question of the impossibility of making anything
to convey the seeing, looking--i think of this very much in
regards to people through time and in the present, this very
second, for all sorts of reasons, who are artists of seeing, yet
forbidden to make anything--a doubling of impossibilities.
I've been in places where i wasn't allowed to do any art work.
All it did actually was help me learn all the more how to see
and hear everything and anything continually more vividly.
I had already known what is what like to make things, though.
What if one never had? By physical disability, one's gender,
social class, ethnic, relgious, racial background--never
allowed to do anything creative though perhaps a Picasso
a Sappho, Basho or Kahlo--all through history--and right now--
the multitudes of lives
with an "art of looking" without a making are staggering.
The paradox for myself in thinking continually of an
"art of looking" is that it comes with a sense of impossibility
which is also what creates its possiblities. That is, say you are forbidden to express,
or it is impossible to convey, what it is you see. All you have is an "art of seeing"--
then why not work on developing that continually in every situation?
In that sense, there opens a great deal of freedom that paradoxically one might not
know if one is always thinking of a fixed end product for what is seen.
For having a fixed end is itself a form of forbidding-by-defining. The art
object can be a prison in which the "art of looking" gets locked up
before it's had the chance to experience freedom. By this I mean the ways in
which thinking in terms of the object first begins to prevent seeing. Objects
create models and methods of seeing and art objects give an "Art looking" that
enables one to perceive what appear to be similar things in the world--
recognizable categories and familar aspects, aesthetic moments and illustrations.
One sees what one searchs for--"seek and ye shall find". A satisfying and confirming
process. Yet akin to walking about with blinders on.
This sort of "Art looking" views the world in terms of art objects--and so, I think,
limits the "art of looking". When you begin to think of your looking as the work,
it opens time and with it space. The study of the view immediately before one
is immense. The eye can move in and out, investigate the smallest details,
speed up and slow down--if there are objects or people in movement in the
view--studying their arrangements,shiftings, harmonies and dissonances-
the colors involved--rhythms of these--Bob Cobbing and i used to spend
a lot of happy walks simply sounding side walk cracks and discussing the changes
in the shadows of the same trees through the day on the same sidewalks
walked every day for a week. The most minimal situation can be explored
and studied. In the hospital first time i broke my back, on a fifth
floor, all we could see the top of one tree. It was September, fortunately, so the
leaves slowly changed--each day there was some subtle shift to observe. In
another place, often all there was to watch was dust motes in the light coming through
blinds--their eddies and patterns and minglings with cigarette smoke.
The amount of action and shiftings of colors, particles, speeds this involves
is fascinating extended through time.
When I first began collages,
wherever i walked i began cutting up and rearranging the world seen around me.
This became so automatic after awhile i didn't realize its possible conesequences.
Then one day i saw a huge truck in my compostion--cut it out entirely, pasted in
an empty street in its place--only to hear a friend shrieking my name--and
snapped out of my collagevisions long enough to see the truck almost on top
of me and dive for the curve as it grazed my flying leg.
"I do not seek, I find" Picasso said. With an "art of looking" one is continually finding as
there are no sought for objects and examples standing in the way. This can lead to some strange experiences. Very often one encounters a moment, a site, a sudden sight--a visual poem, unexpected, hidden in plain sight, never before seen. An uncanniness--is the found site/sight/cite found by an "art of looking"--or is it an already made work of art in itself, created perhaps by one of those previous artists of looking? By working with the art of looking, has one found what another's art of looking created by finding it previously? Perhaps in some way, that person's "art of looking" had seen so intesnely this site/sight/cite that an energy residue remains, and one with an acute seeing is able to "pick up on it". I wonder who this anonymous artist may have been? (Or is it any number of things--the work of chance, nature, god, an experience of the uncanny, of deja vu . . . or "just my imagination/runnin' away with me" as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles sing it.)
In an other way with "the art of looking" at times one feels that what is found is looking back at one--a mutual recongition, an encounter . . . other times one feels one is moving in a landscape of scattered presences of "arts of looking"--what becomes ever more complex may be whether they come from oneself, from an other which one senses has imbued the sight/sight/cite with an energy of being seen by an "art of looking" or simply that the site/sight/cite itself has its own "art of looking" which is looking at one as one is looking at it.
With an "art of looking" one is learning to live in time in a much different way--to be moving in and around time as inside space. This movement becomes ever deeper--in time, in space--freeing one slowly and steadily through continaul work with the process from layer after layer of restraints. The process is really to exist ever more fully with an "art of looking" in time, continually. This form of freedom i became more conscious of from being in confined spaces for lengths of time-yet one also finds it in the confinements of definitions, categories, examples, and essays at controlling the histories of forms of seeing and making. To develop an "art of looking" in time is a way of continually "opening one's eyes", "keeping your eyes open". The independence of the "art of looking" brings one an independence which is needed to be really alive in any circumstances. Chuang Tzu said "Look under your feet!"--another way of saying "think on your feet". The "art of looking" vastly extends visual poetry found in the world, not restricted to the page, nor to the use of letters. It makes it a way of life.
Smithson writes:

A great artist can make art by simply casting a glance. A set of glances could be as solid as anything or place, but the society continues to cheat the artist out of his "art of looking," by only valuing "art objects." The existence of the artist in time is worth as much much as the finished product
(The Writings of Robert Smithson NYU Press 1979 in " Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects" p. 91).

Of course one of the things I have thought about is artists of looking who never made a finished product. Yet in some way has their "art of looking" nonetheless left residues and affects through time? "Any critic who devalues the time of the artist is the enemy of art and the artist," writes Smithson. In that sense the "art of looking" is an overlooked area of great use for visual poetry. It is after all VISUAL poetry!

Petra Backonja in her provocative --and joyous--essay entitled "They Lives They Wish" has a very original art of looking at how poems are found in the world.

"Poets wish for their poems a certain life. But what of a poem's own skies?

. . . Not necessarily being mere marks on paper, poems have their extra-literary existence and may manifest as hearing loss or a birthday party. There was once a naked terrible poem that thought it wanted to be a war and so now it is.

. . . Poems, on the other hand, lead lives which, because we are not the sentient ophthalmoscopes we think we are, remain invisible to us, or camouflaged, or else common and plain like when the Polish Pope would speak Polish and "even" a dog named Rico knows 200 words.

Poems disappear, become influential like those men who go to the corner store to buy cigarettes and are never heard from again."

I like this very much because the conventional idea of a poem having a life of its own is that it is read and made different uses of through time than its author intended. These are still literary lives of a poem. Here, the poem really does have a life of its own--it escapes, disappears, camouflages itself, metamorphosizes, wants to be a war "and so now it is." It hides in plain sight--"invisible to us" "or else common and plain". It takes an "art of looking" as Petra Backonja has developed it to find these poems.
Reading this essay again and again has greatly expanded my awareness in an "art of looking" in the the way i have been working. It has given more energy and strength to my senses that we are continaully moving among visual and other poetries, with lives of their own.
The poems Petra Backonja writes of living their lives in the world may be like those i find, in which i wonder if they exist as poems made by having already been seen by an art of looking, or are looking at me as i look at them. Then there are the poems one meets and works with together in making an other poem.
The "art of looking" and "a poem's own skies" i think have many confluences and open many possibilities for further looking and thinking.
Oddly a vision i have in mind often of an artist of looking is a man rowing in a galley, continually studying the blues of the skies and the seas.
"An art of looking" and "a poem's own skies" are ways in which visual poems and poems are not objects narrowly defined and confined but living entities. To see and live with these is a process in time, a way of living continually being found.