Field Report #5: Texture Notes
The texture inside the mouth, inside the nose, the texture of an earlobe, of strangers, air, cookies, performance. The texture of the sound of the wrong band warming up.
"Remove the artifice" (05.27.03), but really it's artifice top to bottom, side to side, toe to earlobe. The artifice of texture, sure, and a steady preoccupation with density, weight, thickness. The strain is lovely: heavy touch, light touch. Sense choreography in the streets of Blogopolis (in this case, in and around Tokyo).
It's been recently suggested that what a blog needs in order to avoid anemia or obsolescence is a "mandate." The word is a bit heavy, asks a lot (official command or instruction by an authority) and invites some easy puns, but I wonder about the possibility of a kinder, gentler mandate, a sort of mandate-light issued not as "command" or "instruction" but as appeal or query, as invitation, as open line of action or communication, as commitment or recourse to a given set of concerns, themes, preoccupations, textures, as a "breath of fresh air that arrives too late" (05.27.03) but still delivers the message in time:
Thickness, bare slightness, of contact. Physicality of intelligence, and an active negative space in the space. A pass, contact preceding contact. The weight, of and on each surface, the look on someone's body when awake. When speaking. [05.24.03]A mandate, maybe.
The advantage (and one of the joys) of reporting on Sawako Nakayasu's blog now is that it is relatively new, so not all the evidence is in. Where the texture notes have come from, therefore, may not be as interesting as where they are going next. Still, since May 2003, the notes have been sometimes funny, eerie, scary, disturbing, exciting, and even nauseating:
Start with the stuff on the ground I mean start with the nasty, then get very very good, the process of getting very very good. See, notice, witness that pile of puke over there in that corner and pick up a spoonful of it and shovel it in. Swallow. A few minutes and it shall return, now a pile of pleasure, some of us call it dinner. [06.17.03]But note, like all good textures the proof, if not in the pudding (yuk), is in the combinatory accrual of surfaces and substances, the long play over days and weeks, the subtle switches (often on the train) from light to heavy, pull to push, pleasure to pain, thinness to thickness.
Objectivist in the sense that "shapes suggest themselves" (Zuk), Texture Notes also makes room for a new poetry of reportage and field documentation in the tradition of the Situationists and gonzo journalism. The blog I think in general is more report than personal diary or journal, inherently public and newsworthy even where most committed to the solitary and/or autobiographical project. Maybe what's most compelling about this one is the play on documentarist exposure and the framing of scenes at once personal (in some cases literally self-probing) and social. The private/public divide is unnecessary here except to point out the way "clarity" in this kind of writing/posting/reporting works in several directions simultaneously. Yes, blogs like love letters are windows into the souls of bloggers, but they are also samizdat perjuries, plagiarisms, postcards, and pressworks, instant pubs for the daily news archive, textures in the underpublicized sense of representation of the structure and detail of objects.
The goal is clarity but of a special kind:
Things are clear enough,In other words: No ideas but in blogs.
and thick enough,
If clarity is it, all that it's hyped to be,
And to be in the thick of it, this. [07.23.03]
For many the blog is a self-publishing forum. The very concept of "self-publishing," though, is outmoded, worn out, food for the worms, so perhaps we can address the way blogs and digitial distribution technologies more broadly change relationships between writers and readers (producers and consumers) without recourse to what is basically a print metaphor and one whose emphasis, even in the print world, is way off. On the other hand, what are blogs if not self publications, or, more kindly/gently, self publics, shared processions at the door, open parties (if not texts), love-ins, orgies, flea markets, raves, poetry readings, emergency rooms. The point is they're neither "self" nor "public" but something in between, sassy entities that drive and ride shotgun at the same time, seam sutures and binary busters, mixed mediators.
So I go into Texture Notes with this kind of rhapsodic unwillingness to pin it down or uncover its "mandate" but still willing to name it for what it is: the arrangement of threads etc. Or, for clarity's sake (all that it's hyped to be), the going public of an existential condition "in which a life is caught in time" (B. Kimmelman). All blogs, I dare say, should be so caught.