Colloquy for George Brecht

Chez Bushwick, Brooklyn, 2009

with: Betsey Biggs, Jimbo Blachly,
Jarrod Fowler, and Lytle Shaw

Colloquy = the prefix col- (together), and the root loqui (to speak). That’s why this is dedicated to George Brecht (1926 – 2008).

What do we have here? A model or a metaphor for the (post)modern world? Five bureaus, each responsible for a different task. Five burros carrying on their backs the responsibilities of their respective burdens: sights, things, sounds, information, words. Five burrows dug into the earth, shelter from the cold hard facts. Five boroughs, municipalities of the greater metropolis. Five barrows, containers for transporting this and that from here to there.

Each bureau-burro-burrow-borough-barrow is a station. Five stations, each broadcasting its own programming, to its own market, at its own frequency. Each standing still, inscribing its message. Five stations of the postmodern media cross, upon which meaning dies for our sins of commission, omission, permission, transmission. (Nothing is permitted, everything is transmitted.)

If it’s not on the wall, in a book, on a pedestal, on a DVD, it must be in someone’s head. But whose head? None of the bureau-burros, the stationery-martyrs, holds the joystick of the others. No head upon this body then. Control is ceded, perhaps, to you, the curious. Can you hear the echo of the “open work”? Still, physics installs its own limitations on we-who-are-not-quanta: one place at a time. Five stations + one spectator = four missing pieces. Hmmm…

The die has six sides: one actuality + five potentialities. ‘All thought begets a throw of the dice’ (That’s Mallarmé). The death of the author introduces the same element of chance. The actual is multiple too. Information and time both flow. As the current settles in one pool, it does not preclude other pools, other times, other places.

We are currently always swimming
never in the same river twice.