is a work ever truly complete?
Saussure proposed that words have meaning only in their differential relation to other words; meaning is the result of a system of differences without any positive terms. Taking this further, Derrida asserted that the signified itself is also the product of differential relationships between signifiers -- meaning is produced through an endless chain of signifiers. From Derrida and other linguistic philosophers/poststructuralists, the relation between experience and language is no longer seen as the relation between the original and its vessel, mirror image, or copy.
Existence, including our individual experience, is comprised of a mosaic of "texts" ("text" for a lack of a better word; see Kristeva, Bakhtin). When we produce a text, like an artwork, its composition is a collection of our experiences, filtered by the producer's subjectivity in that temporal and spatial relation, and translated into some form. Foucault would shake his finger and say, 'not so fast...you can't say producer because there is no producer, no architect; everything has always already been said.' ----well, it's this very thinking that hip theory courses want you to get muddled up in. and i did. hence, the origins of this blog site.
And so...if all the world is a text that follows through me and i flow through it, channeling data like a T1 line packet-switching device (the network exists only if i exist), why must i adhere to the notion of a period? I don't like that sort of final punctuation. Transmission is never complete. Some might say it happens in death, but all you need to do is look at a graveyard, or the Mall, to know otherwise.
When Dr. Seuss died, he had produced and left behind a massive amount of "completed works" in various media. However, there was one drawing he never did complete; despite his prolific career, he kept ONE DOOR OPEN...And that, was a drawing of cat faces. He worked on the same large canvas drawing various sized cat faces whenever he needed a break from another project, or he just felt like it. Upon his death it was determined as his only unfinished work, despite what would appear to be a filled canvas, because he had remarked one time that he could always find another place to make another cat face. That is a beautifully succinct recognition of a fact of creation --- there is always room for another cat face. No work is ever truly complete. It continues on as its own chained link. I did a performance (Mythology Machine/Chain Value) about this idea this past spring where my grad school classmates and I literally deconstructed Barthes' Mythologies, tearing out and folding its pages, in an assembly line fashion to create a chain out of the work. Originally a comment on intellectual labor and artistic creation, I was reminded of this piece as I watched MTV at the gym and saw the new (? new to me) Eminem video, Just Lose It.
"Guess Who's Back? Back Again. Shady's Back. Tell a Friend." I LOVE that he starts this song with a self-sample from an earlier recorded song. In the video, Eminem samples a host of beloved (c'mon, admit it!) Mythological pop rock/pop culture icons, each with their own interesting taboo(tabloid/ed) sexual myth(?)ologies: Michael Jackson, Pee-Wee Herman, M.C. Hammer, Madonna, Christina Aguilera...The video and song lyrics are just full of prior texts for your pleasure-seeking intertextual deconstruction experience!
--->So, I just linked to myself here, when I said "prior text." I linked to some earlier work for a linguistics course, and now I must raise the following question/statement/hypothesis:
SELF-SAMPLING vs./and SELF-LINKING = a "new" and improved art form or a new narcissistic turn in creativity?
The narcissism I am referring to is the Kristeva-on-Freud version --- The lover is a narcissist with an object, but the narcissist is someone incapable of love because his object is metaphor, not reality. "The subject exists only inasmuch as it identifies with an ideal other who is the speaking other, the other insofar as he speaks," (Kristeva). All of the figures in Eminem's video (including himself) are metaphors for a narcissistic-based relationship to sexuality for construction of the individual's identity. This whole tangent is another lens for reading how undeniably connected our constructions are to other individuals, other nodes on the network of communication, and hence, enacting existence. Ideas are just a molecule for eliciting the act of exchange. It is the act itself that confirms identity and hence existence, and all of the other details that come with it -- "reality," "time," "fact," "event," "creative production," etc. The act, the very "Verb-ness" of it, begs a lack of closure, No Periods to Terminate its Verbness into a Past Event, a Closed Noun on a Timeline -- the Punctuation of Punctuated Equilibrium.
From the self-link:
The reliance of the artist on prior texts in the development of his own artistic practice/products/performances begs the following question: If every text has always already been said, is creativity a fiction? Johnstone  instructs that "creativity has to be embedded in the familiar," and that texts which attempt to be the most boundary-bending still must comment on and derive from the more familiar in order to be effective.
Eminem uses humor and prior texts from pop culture, as well as his own works to question the social construction of sexuality and its mediation by communication technologies (print, tv, etc.).
Let me self-sample here, Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes style...("it must all be considered as if spoken by a character in a novel.")...
From the 4/04 performance, Theory Will Eat Itself: Notes on Postmodernity from A-Z:
DJs sample without marking the quotation; no brackets or punctuation define the space of the sound, making it free to travel its invisible trajectory without Authorial riot. A reference to a prior text is not made for authoritative legitimation or the (re)creation of power relations through citation. Excerpts are embedded for simply the pleasure of intertextual experience, the vibe of the listener/reader.
It’s all been dubbed before. Creativity is in the manipulation of the sampled sounds, the reworking into new rhythms, laying down of rhymes over drum and bass that dubs no bass with my head(trip) man. I write beats as I type into the keys –pound and pulsate—fingers type with a clackety-clack finger nail tap tap tap, as they scratch another written record of thoughts captured, a composition escaped from the confines of its own history, laying down memories like dropping beats. A letter is a note ripped from vinyl – your pupils move left to right as you read the rhythm, dancing with the prose like a partner in in-step with your own feet.
Again, this is content from a previous performance involving a powerpoint presentation, computer spoken text (the text re/quoted here), and consuming a chocolate cake while drinking copious amounts of water.
AND NOW I'VE REALLY LEFT MYSELF OPEN...
Thanks to Blogger's "Save as Draft" function, I'm coming back to this post, days later, evidence to the anti-period method.
OR --- "Material which has been learned at an earlier stage and 'slept on,' is much more easily recalled. Some kind of REVERBERATION around neuronal circuits must be linking new material to old material, and committing new material to the long-term memory store," (from Solitude, by Anthony Storr).
Lawrence Lessig takes the idea of ideas that has been discussed here thus far into the realm of privatization and commodification via legislation that is impacting nearly all forms of cultural production today (it ain't just the music industry), in his book The Future of Ideas. Copyright is much more a Catch-22 issue today: there is a desire for the openness of the commons , yet a economic capital form is still desired/necessitated by most producers of creative works. If an idea flows through me and into another person in conversation, for example, who can really own that idea and in turn, use it as a raw material for their own production? Are quotations necessary? Should we check to see if there was a PERIOD involved in the idea? Does that "completedness" thwart its own copyrighted "protection" from derivative works?
I am tired of this question and game right now --- I tend to take the Open Source Initiative approach in relation to this, but as competition seems to filter into all areas of production these days (it ain't just the dot-coms - it's as much the dot-orgs too), there is tremendous pressure to reach some personal decision on this -- if you don't, get your own idea body guards. YIKES!
Let's just put it this way. The element of carbon, is the element of carbon no matter what body it resides in at any given temporal and spatial moment. Molecules of water are molecules of water -- we all experience the same weather, just in different parts of its spectrum.
Bottom line (literally): Punctuation is hegemony.
Are you a believer? Watch how what you ascribe to inscribes you ---