[+!] Kane X. Faucher, Matina Stamatakis, John Moore Williams, Distributed by Calliope Nerve. Reviewed by Lynn Alexander.
In the interest of unnecessary disclosure- but perhaps by way of confessional preface- I had to read this more than once. Even when I took up the pen to get going with my thoughts, I found myself stalling, crossing things out. When they said experimental, they weren’t kidding. WHY was it so hard to articulate my impressions of this book? It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the experience, I did-even more so in subsequent returns to it. You might say it grew on me, the way odd things do.
The challenge though in “reviewing” comes from the very nature of the work, the experimental nature, and the fact that very often what is described as experimental is actually quite predictable. Ah- but not so here. The collaborators, I think, want you to step away from your comfort zone and abandon a few dozen notions when you sit with this.
So- how DOES one attempt to write about a work in some kind of objective way (no such thing) when much of the experience wouldn’t even be considered “conscious”? You want to engage, actively and intellectually, but there is something about the strangeness of [+!] that pushes that away. So Baron vonVodKane proposes at the onset that the initial collaborators earnestly apply to the service and whims of “swill”, they will extrapolate from coagulated text, gluts of collected correspondence, they will accumulate as gleeful pack rats- all, ALL fodder for the “chappybuch” collabo.
[+!] is like three players and a pile of lettered tiles.Making and breaking.
To what end, we want to know? Will we know, can it deliver that, does it have to?You have to invest that time, see it through to the end, and arrive at your answer. Or not.
Will they arrange the tiles and make words, arrange the words, and somehow answer that FOR YOU? They won’t, they will cover the table with linguistic acrobatics and masturbatory couplings (paradoxical, yes) then … it seems one of them must jump up from the table driven by some derrida dada madness shouting something along the lines of a deconstructionist epithet and chatter- the tiles are tossed to the floor.
The reader is left to intuit, the codex. Built. Broken.
Reading this at times made me feel like I was trying to divine something stable from the tea leaves, the swirling “come togetherness” of this collabo. Faucher, Stamatakis, and Williams set out to build an iron archive.(“We could verily be accused of being pretentious, impenetrable, making art for art’s sake. But this is our cacoethes scribendi, our graphomaniacal urge.”)
I toyed with the idea honestly of addressing the question of intentional or incidental obfuscation. The super bonus scrabble words, the spontaneous forays into polylingualism, smatterings of theory… I can see in the introduction that there is a certain defensiveness about that. Art for art’s sake, but does it also border on complexity for complexity’s sake? If the answer is that this is part of the gig- you came to hear the band so shut up and dance- why go to such lengths to explain, or defend? Why not just let the work stand, why concern themselves with pre-empting criticism? If it is the so-called job of a know-nothing reviewer like me to explore deeply and come up from the bottom of the pool with some sand in my hand, this is the part that made the water murky for me: do your thing, don’t defend. Let it stand, let it contribute on the merit of what it is, or not. Let your work be clothed, draped in some mystery.
I can’t believe I am making a suggestion here, the know-nothing reviewer- but let the reader work for it. Yes.
And earn their trust.
Toiling, messing around with letters, tossing tiles into the spin cycle, grabbing them out, letting them dry- what exactly is on display here?(poetic code decay)
It is at once capricious, and strange. Faucher describes the “echolocation” in their odd terrain at the beginning, how the co-conspirators find rhythm in one another.Throughout, they do settle into some fine grooves.
I think it is important to point out from a “lit” standpoint that the work does not build then splash down upon itself in a linear fashion. This deconstruction is not of the kind that concerns itself with retracing steps backwards, accurately, but rather, they are very concerned with this assemblage …with CONSCIOUS OBLITERATION.
“If we are to consider a method at all in the construction of a lysicoloical project, it should perhaps fall under certain prerequisites such as having some minor (but not expert) limberness in the ability to be trans-linguistic, polyglot, and even polychromatic in the arrangement (dispositio) of fragments- a sort of recombinant series of monstrous neologisms.”
Those tiles being flung to the floor, the tearing down of the reader’s habits, the attack- THAT is what I came away with as my experience with it.
“The letter “A” can be isolated from the remainder of the alphabet, but it still ostensibly refers to it…”
[+!] Download here in digital or acquire a hard copy.
“[+!] is a post-code-poetry experiment, making de-composition into re-composition… art in it’s truest sense… a bizarre, compelling, visually stunning, important work. Lysicology may not be a part of your lexicon now but it will be…” –Lucindo Anthony (Author A Disease of Poetry)