Friday, August 31, 2012

Test clip for 'Palmistry, a Psalm'- an underlayer


direct link: Test clip for 'Palmistry, a Psalm'- an underlayer (another unlisted videopoem of 46sec)

This is a 46 second snippet of 5 minute clip of the writing of the whole prose/poem on parchment paper to see if it would fit on the final painting, and I think I will make the clip the underlayer of the video, what is returned to again and again as an underlying metaphor amidst many more layers, a greater visual complexity. My intention is to include images of the hand: an x-ray, a painted hand, a real hand, a hand wrapped in a black brace. And the painting in its stages and the final with the writing. Also, some other public domain footage. The final 'video painting poem' could take a few months to finish.

Here's a blog post with the prose/poem, a recording, and images.

The sounds of the pen? Moi. The beautiful bird song, however, is from Alban Lepsy's album, Relaxation Nature vol.1.

___

 brendaclews.com

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Airport Lounge

             

My friend, Stephen, had a short stopover in Toronto yesterday, and I met him at the airport. He had two small bottles of wine from the flight, so we drank those at Starbucks. He showed me many quite incredible photos of his trip to Spain, abstract images, the kind an artist takes. He's currently working with glass, and was looking forward to turning his kiln on when he returned home and putting some glass in to make magic overnight (he's preparing for a group show in September). I returned the Picasso catalogue (we had seen the show at AGO together on the stopover on his way to Europe earlier in August), which, alas, I did not get to in the last few weeks to write about, and the Surrealist one, which he texted me from the Departure Lounge about - apparently that was a gift for me, ah, well, at least I went through it over a few enjoyable hours. We last saw each other 7 years ago. Who knows when next. It's a lovely friendship of mutual admiration of each other's art.
___

 brendaclews.com

Monday, August 27, 2012

A small sketch of my mother



Today she was restful. Probably 2" x 3" in a little old Moleskine I keep in my purse. I've been afraid to sketch my mother, who had a stroke last March. She's very thin, about 70lbs, and so I'm not sure how much my sketch resembles her. It perhaps has the quality of this difficult time, for her, for us, though.

Certainly emotionally difficult to draw, and yet, as frail as she is, there is a beauty, her skin so thin it is waxen, translucent, the capillaries, the bones evident, an inner light emanating.

___

 brendaclews.com

an écriture,... a dream writing


an écriture,... a dream writing (an unlisted videopoem)

Écriture. Handwriting, yes. But this is Dream Writing. You can't quite read it, but you know it is important.

A test clip for a video poem I am working on called, 'Palmistry, a Psalm.' This was taken with a Canon GL2 that I bought in 2003, and I greatly magnified one corner of the clip. My naughty, no playful, kitten was put in the bathroom for the videoing and, wouldn't you know it, her dear bleet is quite plaintively clear. If I use any of the footage from today in the actual videopoem, not sure how I will handle that. Lol.

But it's all part of the dream............


(also, titles made using the YouTube 'Enhancements' option)
___

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Photos taken from video on Palmistry, a Psalm


Today I did video a writing of Palmistry, a Psalm onto tracing paper on the painting. This was a 'dry run,' and the prose/poem will fit. It took hours to set up the space, moving couches, and a marble coffee table (on felt, but still), stapling canvas over my couch to the wall, two cameras on tripods, long time adjusting them over and over, lighting, and so on, including putting that playful kitten in the bathroom, she mewed but was ok, and, well, I'll see how some of the clips might work in a videopoem. Here is a digitally-played-with photo from the shoot.




In the videoing today, yes, I did begin to rip the poem, it was irresistible. It was, though, written on test paper. This is not a digitally-played-with photo. Lol.

 ___

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Resisting a multi-media rendition of Palmistry, a Psalm

After I began this painting, a prose poem became 'an inner pressure,' and so I spent a few days writing one, and even made a little recording, and while I would have finished the painting last week by writing the poem onto the canvas, the 'inner pressure' now is to make a video poem. I don't want to! I argue with my muse: It's too much work; no-one watches them. Who needs a video? But though I have tracing paper taped to the painting for a 'dry run' on the writing - want to make sure I space it properly so it all fits on - and have sat to work, that da*n muse won't let me! So now I need to create a video space with canvas or something around it and video the act of writing, pen on parchment for the spacing, pen on canvas for the final, up close. Do you think I can manage this little task? I'm so in resistance.

Doing a piece in three media, painting, writing, and video is way too much work for one woman and yet, resist as I might, the muse is stronger and is resisting my resistance and will win out. Due to a busy week, likely won't video until next week. Oy! Is it like this for you?

The layered x-ray (real, of my wrist) and the painted hand (I was looking at my actual hand when I painted it) that you see in the first image was done digitally and would be fun to work with in a video, fading in and out of one or the other. I could do some found footage of Nazis, also. Coatlique, Ophelia, yes, if I find public domain images. Oh, and those great drawings of the hand for palmistry, palm readings. That would be fun. And so on. Lots of ideas, no will to do it. Lol.








Below is the prose/poem for if you hadn't already read it and wanted to take a look.
_

A Palmistry, a Psalm

The hand is a poem. A fragmenting poem in my hand. Fingers blow in the wind like bulrushes. That gnarled branch overhanging the water, a twisted wrist. I wear a carpal bone like a pendulum, the rattle of Coatlique.

Our hands, neuronal cells pulsing nerves probing the world, soft, sensitive. In the signs in the lines on our palms a seer's language. Our journey mapped in grooves of curvature of skin over muscle and bone. Born here; die there. One, or two, or five central relationships. You will /or will not have children. This will be a difficult time; easier there. My, you are a sensualist.

They cut off the hands of thieves. Only I never stole. When was my hand severed? As a child? In the nightmare it is staked in the window, a sign for the henchmen of dictators, thieves of the freedom of souls. Herod's soldiers grabbing the first born; Nazi boots kicking down the doors of the Jews. Marked houses. Signs of those sacrificed on the altars of cruelties of power.

In my hand, you will find I've lived a clean life. Does this echo the ethical universe? Ethos is what enables order, harmony, beauty. This swollen and sore hand is emblazoned with 'the mark.'

I touch you, lying on the soft grasses of the riverbank, glide delicate fingers over your features, reading you, your body of braille. And massage you, warm oiled dance of fingertips and palm whorls penetrating knots, torments, memories. Even as my wrist flicks, and breaks.

My hand drifting downstream, decked in an Ophelia of lace and rings. Hold it; hold me.






 brendaclews.com

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A few notes on Nicole Brossard's 'Notebook of Roses and Civilization'

[I was asked to compare my writing to one of my influences - and so I have chosen to speak a little of Nicole Brossard, and a book of her poetry that I read today.]

She has managed to obliterate strains of rationality in her poetry that mine perhaps still has. Her writing flies off the edges of experience; mine clings to a coherence set in motion by the imagery. She yokes together disparate images, line after line, freed from grids of rational grammars to create a poetry of resonance, echoes, synechdotal sightings, whisps of thought turning to steam during the heat wave of the text.

Her earlier work influenced me enormously, sliding easily, as she did, between a minimalist nearly surreal poetry of wet tongues on words that touch, and touch, to a prose woven on waves turning into poetry. On my shelf, Turn of a Pang (1976), A Book (1976), Daydream Mechanics (1980), These Our Mothers (1983), French Kiss (1986), Lovhers (1986), Sous La Langue, Under Tongue, (1987), Surfaces of Sense (1989), Picture Theory (1991), Museum of Bone and Water (2003) [in which she cordially wrote: 'Pour Brenda, /Avec mes salutations amicales /au coeur de la poesie /Nicole Brossard /Toronto /10 avril 2003'], to which today I have added, Notebook of Roses and Civilization (2007) and Fences in Breathing (2009).

Having just read Notebook of Roses and Civilization, I don't find the same connection points, moments of pins of light crossing from two different maps of a parchment of words, maps of mist, and yet I feel kindred, inspired, awakened to a world freed from its rational, linear, narratorial tethers in Nicole Brossard's expansive lexicon. The acrobatics, sudden shifts of image, signalling of moments in sparse truncated syntax, fleeting referents, in a vast field of signs, of Deleuzian-like multiplicities. What connects is the consciousness of the poet who does not describe a stable world, who describes her inner world for us, her readers. Who pulls us in to her vortex of meanings collapsing meanings until even the bones of structure are charred:

i arrive at this page burning.
others use the word light
to shake up reality. Let's see
if standing up you grab tomorrow naked
out of order (p55)


As Gertrude Stein writes of Picasso in her book, Picasso:

...this problem remained, how to express not the things seen in association but things really seen, not things interpreted but things really known at the time of knowing them. (Beacon, 1959: 36)

Brossard has long loosed the world of association and writes, not stream-of-consciousness, but from a rarified poetic. Images freed of their contexts held together by the undercurrent of emotions of the poet:

the poem can't lose its momentum
make you suddenly turn around
as if the sea
were about to surge up at your back
in pages of foam and foment
(47)

___




[I don't think these words scrawled in pencil in my writing Moleskine today after reading a book of poetry constitute a review of a book of the French Canadian poet, Nicole Brossard, but they perhaps incline that way.]

 brendaclews.com

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Canadian classic, the Four Horsemen



Canadian classic, the Four Horsemen, sound poets.
bp Nichol
Raphael Barreto-Rivera
Steve McCaffery
Paul Dutton
From the a clip from Ron Mann's documentary, Poetry in Motion (1981). It was posted 5 years ago on Google video. It's also on YouTube, but in a lower resolution. I chatted with bp at a party I helped to organize for my ex way back in the mid-1980s. bp liked my quiche lorraine, if I recall. He was sprightly, outwardly sort of 'hippy-ish' perhaps, but mentally as agile as any high wire rope walker. Later on, in the 90s, Paul used to come by our house, and talk with my ex. Though I wasn't writing or painting in those days, I had a library of a few thousand books and could hold my own in conversation. I knew lots of bookish things, I guess, which Paul seemed to appreciate. Anyway, this is a bit of trip down memory lane tonight. bp died in September 1988. He'd gone into hospital for an operation to remove a cyst on his spine, a routine operation, and died on the operating table. Completely unexpected in such an operation, and tragic. Tonight I found concrete poems that he'd composed on one of the first Macs, way back in the 80s. What he would have produced had he lived. Though that is a mute statement, isn't it. Glad we have what we do of what he did create.

 brendaclews.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The bones, the x-rays, the bones...

Very likely a bit demented. But because I had to get copies for specialists I am seeing, I now have two CDs of x-rays of my wrist (from two different labs, I might add - this lady has been footing it about the city). An Intern said that while there was indication of FLAC wrist in the May 28, 2011 x-ray (osteoarthritis due to multiple injuries), he saw no fracture. The August 1, 2012 x-ray apparently shows the fracture. Damned if I can see it though. Sort of, maybe.  But I definitely see that there is no cartilage left between the scaphoid bone (in the wrist) and the radius (one of the forearm bones). So that's the OUCH. What's worse is I'm thinking of using these x-rays in a videopoem of the Palmistry, a Psalm painting and poem, which is really demented. Lol.

And, anyway, I need a place to store these for future reference, and Bloggers' search engine is way better than Picassa's. Keeping them in Draft in this blog doesn't really work since I'd be likely to delete the post without realizing it at some point.

So, herewith I place photos of my bones in the public domain (uh, ok, in the unlisted album domain). Lol. :)



Then, uh, I, uh, added a detail of the painting, and then, uh, combined them. See, a Conceptual Art piece!



___

 brendaclews.com

Monday, August 13, 2012

Yoga to Cleanse Your Body

Yogi Bhajan said of this set when he taught it:
This set is especially recommended for women as a regular practice. It wards off menstrual problems, breast cancer, and excess emotionality. It is good for men too.

Exercise 1 gives the mind calmness and strength to judge each situation. Exercise 2 cuts down excess waistlines, improves digestion and builds your overall power of recuperation. Exercise 3 strengthens the aura, your power to communicate clearly, and removes the deposits in the shoulder area. Exercises 4-5 are for the lower back and sciatic nerves. They prevent headaches and adjust the thigh area. Exercise 6 is for the magnetic field, heart, and shoulders. Exercises 7 and 8 can correct any imbalance between the diaphragm and the sex organ. They are valuable exercises for rebalancing the navel point.
Each day I seem to be doing Spinal Flex (yoga for your back), and then once a week a more rigorous yoga set. This morning I did Exercises for Body Cleansing and Disease Prevention. It took awhile and was quite invigorating. I recall it as one of my teacher, Sat Dharam's, favourites (at least, she often taught it). Because of the difficulty in my wrist, camel pose was a challenge, as was the final exercise, and I was not able to do them as I once could, but it was still good. This yoga set works with Apana, the eliminating energy. Do it to cleanse your body.






I finished with this crazy little meditation, Meditation for Absolutely Powerful Energy. It is such fun to do! I recall, in the 90s, sometimes sitting in my car (I still had one back then), waiting for school to be finished to pick up my two children, exhausted, as often mothers, and especially single mothers are, and doing this meditation with the windows closed, trying to boost my energy.

Sure it helps, especially if you can laugh at yourself too!





because I should include this when I post yoga sets 

Note: Scans of these yoga kriyas and meditations have been uploaded to an unlisted album in Picasa and cannot be found by public search engines, but only if you have the link (which is available from this blog). I have begun this album so that I can easily access yoga sets and meditations I am working on. Also, all of the yoga sets in this album were given to me when I attended yoga classes and to everyone attending those sessions (or from freely downloadable on-line sources)  - they are not scanned from books, which hold copyright. 

If you find these sets and meditations intriguing and try them and like them, I urge you to find a Kundalini Yoga class in your area to properly learn how to do them, as well as how to tune in, the Bhandas, or body locks, the different types of breath work, and so very much more. 



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Ink Ocean



Posting Ink Ocean again, hosted at my own site, because while it exists on Jamendo, the player there does not seem to be working. Le sigh.



Still one of my favourite drawings. India ink on archival paper. I think it's 11" x 14".

The poem arose from the words that arose in the drawing.

It became an almost 10 minute poem on the Gulf oil spill, the ocean, love, the tides in us. 

At the time, I was doing a lot of experimenting with recording different readings of a poem and then layering them so it sounds like an echo but isn't. In this one I was trying for a 'main voice' - the public one; and a 'whispered voice' - the private one. When we make art, we make it with our private, fragile, sensitive whisperings, our delicate words, our delicate brushstrokes, but always mindful that it will also exist in the social world, so public, strong, spoken with clarity and confidence.

+P E Sharpe had some very interesting things to say about being a 'literary thinker' as the source of her art in some respect - which reminded me of this piece. So sharing....

She wrote this in a very interesting discussion (https://plus.google.com/u/0/107066609145001672622/posts/JF3EvA3g9EK) that ensued from her Hangout Interview with +Brainard Carey , which you should watch - http://youtu.be/MruMiL3a8FA.


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Thursday, August 09, 2012

Dr. D. Richard Clews, my Dad

Tonight, for no reason, and not something I have ever done before, he died well before the Internet age, I Googled my Dad. He died in 1984. I discovered some his books are still referenced in an obscure library or so -  http://www.worldcat.org/identities/lccn-n87-809900 - not that we knew - he was well-published but never boasted except to say to me once, after your 30th article, who's counting, and who cares? When he mentioned an article he had written for Time Magazine, we went a little crazy, 'Where is it?' 'Why didn't you tell us?', and he simply shrugged, saying he'd written articles for Time before.

It could have been that he simply kept his professional life separate from his family life.

Tonight, on the eve of my mother's passing (whenever it is, a week, a month, a year), I also found an old obituary on his death. It wasn't until after he died reading all the obituaries sent to us from friends and colleagues of his that we realized he was considered a world authority in his field. We knew little of this side of him.

I am unable to paste in the obituary due to the lettering and spacing of the original, so I took a screen capture. I'm posting it in my blog, so that I can find it again.


Obituary in The Association of Exploration Geochemists, Newsletter #48, June 1984




Still damn proud of him.

testing a super easy way of embedding an MP3 player in Blogger with html5



A Palmistry, a Psalm: see previous post.
Background music by Aymeric, from their album on Jamendo, 'Sometimes,' cut 03.

just testing a super easy way of embedding a player in Blogger with html5, thanks
Amanda Kennedy!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

A Palmistry of Signs

What do you think? I plan to write it into my painting. Once there, the words can't be changed.


A Palmistry, a Psalm

The hand is a poem. A fragmenting poem in my hand. Fingers blow in the wind like bulrushes. That gnarled branch overhanging the water, a twisted wrist. I wear a carpal bone like a pendulum, the rattle of Coatlique.

Our hands, neuronal cells pulsing nerves probing the world, soft, sensitive. In the signs in the lines on our palms a seer's language. Our journey mapped in grooves of curvature of skin over muscle and bone. Born here; die there. One, or two, or five central relationships. You will /or will not have children. This will be a difficult time; easier there. My, you are a sensualist.

They cut off the hands of thieves. Only I never stole. When was my hand severed? As a child? In the nightmare it is staked in the window, a sign for the henchmen of dictators, thieves of the freedom of souls. Herod's soldiers grabbing the first born; Nazi boots kicking down the doors of the Jews. Marked houses. Signs of those sacrificed on the altars of cruelties of power.

In my hand, you will find I've lived a clean life. Does this echo the ethical universe? Ethos is what enables order, harmony, beauty. This swollen and sore hand is emblazoned with 'the mark.'

I touch you, lying on the soft grasses of the riverbank, glide delicate fingers over your features, reading you, your body of braille. And massage you, warm oiled dance of fingertips and palm whorls penetrating knots, torments, memories. Even as my wrist flicks, and breaks.

My hand drifting downstream, decked in an Ophelia of lace and rings. Hold it; hold me.

__

I made a recording of the prose/poem, if you like to listen while you read.



(Background music by Aymeric, from their album on Jamendo, 'Sometimes,' cut 03.)




___

Some notes on writing process.

(Is this a defense of my style, or a rough explanation of my aesthetic?)

While I like to offer depth and complexity, for the record, I don't do 'stream of consciousness' - I've been working on this for a while, the images, the feelings, the meanings - even if it only took 20 or 30 minutes to write. Nothing comes out of a vacuum, and the semiotic undercurrent in our subconscious minds has not got the metaphoric order of a poem (or prose poem). I like to radiate out to divergent images, spark their neuronal connections, get the whole mind thinking, sometimes puzzled, sometimes recognizing. My poetry hopefully gives the reader a bit of a ride into an imaginative world, a ride that also offers exercise of those faculties of imagination, and the extraordinary ability we have to find meaning in divergent things. And be inspiring, of course. Emotionally, we are a very complex and nuanced species, and our emotional reactions and apperceptions cohere our lives. I like to tell it as it is, in all its paradoxes, ambiguities, irresolvable inconsistencies, its terrors and beauties - this is life, how we live.



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