Natural Occurrences in Acts of Undoing

By Colombina Zamponi


















I. Natural Occurrences in Acts of Undoing             

II. The Grammarian, The Butcher

III. Studio poems, JPG poems

IV. Termination
















I. Natural Occurrences in Acts of Undoing

    In the X of 20xx
a young woman began to feel
back pain                    

The woman ignored her symptoms until
late Xember, when she realized she was expecting a child.

What followed was a series of
attempts to erase

Looking upon the garden of wreckage
The woman forged memory in
slabs of concrete, the color grey, broken shells, lemons and plastic.
The humidity of a thick air of the Tropics

Fragments, the clinic, faces and tired eyes

        Found rest in silence.









  The creations of an artist The creations of a      
                woman with sculptoral intent
The creation of a woman The creation of a text        The creation of a child The creation of cells
  The writing The writing of DNA Building
       Building Blocks, Code, Program









compose a poem today


        Feeding Construction Nutrition
  Write a poem Compose these words
   Build a sculpture compose a Form
       Mold create procreate write a text

Artist as Creator
Female as Creator
            a cluster of cells
            a cluster of words
            a cluster of objects

The creation of names
Refusing to give name, or acts of un-naming.
giving it up and un-doing     
or the deconstruction of text

A decision to undo. The uncreative act.
In her eyes, the shredded text and the static television, they were the fragmented body she sacrificed

The choice to pass history along, or to erase it.
Giving up on history, giving up on language
The choice to eliminate. Unwrite. Unmake. The uncreative text.

The need to stop building
            The waste of production

Over. Excess.
by over-population
            demanding sustainablity.

As an artist, she began to question her mode of production
the worth of production? what were all these words worth.
the value of material objects? the value and effects of man-made constructions?
the cycle and and consequences of her own productive activity.

To produce. A work. Of Art.
To produce. A work. Of Literature.
Food for the animals.

"Well, if you take a roll of film and instead of making pictures on it, you process it by pickling it in vinegar and putting it in a jar and presenting it for people to look at that way, projected through the lens of the fluid around it, this is so distorted and such a monstrous disfigurement of the normal way in which you are 'supposed to use' film, that it is a kind of pathology; it’s a sickness in the sense of a virus being inserted in the system. I think wellness and change are measured by comparison to potential for extremes of illness or death. I was trying to kill film. I wanted to let it lay over and die." (Tony Conrad qtd. in Sanders)                



suite of narrative:

Seasons passed. The Summer drew her along, journeys




                upon returning home, there was nothing left
an animal,
had eaten
it all.
                The Mouse:

or rather, the mice.
                  She opened the door to my studio, the studium, the place of study
                    when and where
                She found-
                        an opening,  a resistant door,  a musty attic. The kind of door of warped wood,  hard for itself to open.




In the months that followed
        Hesitant to build.
               to collect resources to build.
                       to impose upon the world, a construction.






II. The Grammarian, The Butcher

“The grammatical manipulation of language is so familiar to ourselves, who have learnt it from the Greeks as an essential part of those transmitted and developing customs which make up our civilization, that we take it for granted and forget to inquire into its motives”  (Collingwood 257)

It is when we forget to question the constructed realities around us that we lose our critical capacity and run the risk of becoming sedentary things
like the static constructions around us.

Now    when    maybe
Shall we not awaken?
And question our constructs

What are these buildings
What are these words
            and what are they worth?




The buildings,
the building
                                     and bricks

[constructed] She attempted to reconstruct the construct
              With the intention of creating an atmosphere in which:
                much like the urban landscape
brick constructs, linguistic and not
climbed up and fell.
Bricks\ Televisions\ and Printed Piles
MoUNted and UNmounted
Rise and Fall Fallen Rose
Rose and Fall
this, all in sequential [format] according to the hierarchies
     of form and sequence
Reading Patterns.

Left to Right
Top and Bottom

            Rows of,
            Towers of,
Piles of,
Building Blocks of
they could be read


                      A                                      TU
                                  B                                             QV
                  C    I               R       WY
                                 D    H GLMN      S    X       Z
                                  E    FK                         NOP

You Know
your ABC’s

“Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.”
(Carl Sandburg qtd. in Lapham’s Quarterly 134)

What is their place in all of this and what can they teach us.

Accidents in life and language
accepting them, learning from them
and giving them voice instead of reprimanding them.

“a grammarian is not a kind of scientist studying the actual structure of language, he is a kind of butcher, converting it from organic tissue into malleable and edible joints.” (Collingwood 257)

After losing it and all
months of mourning, She decided to speak only in the language of accidents.


III. JPG Poems

jpg6A8755.JPG-    corrupt

JPGGA8720.JPG-    snow screen
static cut-ups
- file corrupt  

JPGA8712.JPG-    water-logged book sog
            stagnate water
            book juice.
            the smell of it

JPGA8709.JPG-    bucket, nice light.
            a good image-
            bucket full of water books.
            grace in warp.

JPGA8707.JPG-     close up of water-logged
            book sog.
            Don Quixote- but,
Not sorry
            steamy on the cover.
            An open-book, beautiful in decay.

JPGA8705.JPG-     a congregation of 4 nice
            , buckets of book sog.
            a red one.
            a round plastic one (so toxic that it’s got a violet sheen to it)
an aluminum pot Full of moldy books.
a rectangular clear plastic container (sin/sans/senza violet sheen)

JPGA8700.JPG-     aluminum pot of books             
            plastic rotunda o’books

JPGA8699.JPG-     still, two buckets of books
            complemented by:     
                        tv monitor glow,
                        so luminous
                        and, a mysterious
                        flying objectAn unidentifiable submerged object.
                        of cut-up books, lying with their back to the floor.

JPGA8697.JPG-     corner shot, panoramic-
but only from a corner’s point of view.
1,2,3,4,5,6 televisions
Clockwise, bottom to top.

bottom row:
smallgray tv; large black tv- mother of them all (with static);
large black JVC tv; small, very small black tv (fixated on: Select Language)
                  v(...) s(...) b(...) t(...): it says:

 Channel Up: Press English ⬆
 Channel Down: Pulse Espanol ⬇

            top row:
            one small clack tv; one large-medium gray tv

            the bottom black tv is the only one that glows blue, all others play
video & sound, although the mother in the center shows static.

the buckets of watered books are illuminated by the televisions.

JPGA8690.JPG-     closeup of the television
            left to right/ bottom row:
            there are 4 of them.

            the small gray to the far left:
            plays a video of a reading of cut-up pages,
            the lights switch on & off, the reader reads rhythmically
according to the         conditions of         legibility
produced by                     the light.

            mother tv, second to far left:
            shredded text, shredded screen
            shredded flesh, body

            all and any sense     of composure
            all validity & solidity of image
            are cut to pieces.
            amounting to nothing,
            this image decomposes the future self.
            it collapses onto itself,
producing nothing but shreds.

large black JVC tv, third to far left:
In this television runs the night.
a video of a night garden
imagining the perspective of a non-humanoid species
(i.e. alien,,, cat,,, topical tree rat?,,, an ant,, a flower with eyes?)
An Earth Song.
4 elements/themes are central in this video narrative:
darkness/artificial light
*a column

Earth Song [a recording from radio emissions produced by the Earth’s radiation belt. The sounds are an electromagnetic phenomenon caused by plasma waves within Earth’s radiation belt, they are made of radio waves that oscillate at acoustic frequencies, between 0 and 10 kHz.]
            large black JVC (cont.)
cars- riding along the parameters of the garden. The cars are viewed beyond the ttthicketry of shrubs & trees which create a barrier between the garden and the car-infested road. They pass,
their lights flicker.  
The headlights produce trails of light through leaves. A Wake:
Silver, blue, red and orange

darkness/artificial light- streetlights, headlights trailing. the dark garden. spotlight illumination emitting from the camera enabling visibility.
Vehicle of visibility.
Without lights, cars cannot see. They can’t really- you know- move along.
Night watcher.
move along.

mold- a thorough investigation of the planet life lead to the discovery of an expansive variety of fungal activity.
White mold blankets, suffocating healthy green plants
feeding off of their surface, until the largest of the leaves- palms the size of limbs, fell to the ground in utter collapse.
Mold and Growth, Expansion.
Natural Occurrences of acts of Undoing.

white mold spreading-
who invades and onto what? forming a tough hide, a thickly knitted hard tissue
the armor of a suffocating organism. “Language is part of our organism and no less complicated than it.” (Ludwig Wittgenstein qtd in Lapham’s Quarterly 165)
beautiful in its crystallization- the precision of its method of attack and strategies of expansion.

column- The white column stands
                   An image of Nature Versus History
                   A vertical structure of unquestionable symmetry.
                   It stands, reinforced by its source- thriving on fertile ground
                   Nourished by decay
                   and the fallen, molden leaves providing it all.

            top row (left to right)
            one small black tv: the performance of a reading through the distortion of a
cylindrical beer glass. the text bends through the glass which acts as a magnifying device.
The reading voice bends with it.

second to far left
one medium-large gray tv.
a medieval structure, dripping in sweat.
Yes, melting.
the face of a gargoyle covered in water.

            a. natural occurrence of undoing.
            the nest of a mouse, recycling paper for the construction of its nest.
            the disorder left behind and the recomposition in a small ball of paper.

JPGA8665.JPG-    taking a step back
            a view of this constructed space,
            that, at the end of the day-
            is nothing but an installation of objects and moving image
            (with limited capacity to communicate)
            front of the picture:
            a. pile. of. shredded pages.
            left-right (second row down):
            a building site, concrete towers of varying height,
somewhat twisted in their stature, carrying books which have been altered.

a row of cut books, lying flat on their back: revealing a strata of printed words.

bucket of books. soaking in stagnating water.

a sum total of 6 televisions
producing a variety of images and a polyphony of sound.             




the disorder left behind and the recomposition


"If we are imprisoned by language, then escape from that prison house requires language poets, a kind of cultural restriction enzyme to cut the code. Cyborg heteroglossia is one form of radical cultural politics." (Donna Haraway, Cyborg Manifesto)


“Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.” (Martin Heidegger qtd in Lapham’s Quarterly 213)





Part Four

Natural Occurrences in Acts of Undoing

We fear nothing more.

the hours spent
trying to repair
the effects of time, passing and the derailment of our bodies

Our self preservation renders us blind to our connection to each-other, to the earth, to animals, to our responsibility to the environment.

Perhaps, by letting go
of notions of self-preservation
we can open our eyes
to the ethical responsibility we have
to the earth on which we thrive.

To end, with words not my own,
a quote,  Roy Scranton, from the NYtimes article “Learning how to die in the anthropocene”

“If by setting one’s heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead (...) he gains freedom in the Way.” (Tsunetomo)

We believe we can live forever, and our actions reflect this: The human psyche naturally rebels against the idea of its end. Likewise, civilizations have throughout history marched blindly toward disaster, because humans are wired to believe that tomorrow will be much like today — it is unnatural for us to think that this way of life, this present moment, this order of things is not stable and permanent. Across the world today, our actions testify to our belief that we can go on like this forever, burning oil, poisoning the seas, killing off other species, pumping carbon into the air, ignoring the ominous silence of our coal mine canaries in favor of the unending robotic tweets of our new digital imaginarium. Yet the reality of global climate change is going to keep intruding on our fantasies of perpetual growth, permanent innovation and endless energy, just as the reality of mortality shocks our casual faith in permanence.

(...) The biggest problem we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is already dead. The sooner we confront this problem, and the sooner we realize there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves, the sooner we can get down to the hard work of adapting, with mortal humility, to our new reality.
The choice is a clear one. We can continue acting as if tomorrow will be just like yesterday, growing less and less prepared for each new disaster as it comes, and more and more desperately invested in a life we can’t sustain.

















Works Cited

Lapham, Lewis Lapham's Quarterly: Means of Communication. New York, NY: American
Agora Foundation, 2012. Print.

Sanders, Jay. “Artists in Conversation: Tony Conrad.” BOMB Magazine, Summer 2005. Web.

Scranton, Roy. "Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene." Opinionator Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene Comments. New York Times, 10 Nov. 2013. Web.

Wardrip-Fruin, Noah, and Nick Montfort. "A Cyborg Manifesto Donna Haraway, 1985." The
New Media Reader. N.p.: MIT, 2000. 516-39. Print.