Thursday, February 25, 2010

First Semester Research Proposal: Ariana Reines

I propose to write on Ariana Reines’ appropriations, weaponisation and redeployment of a hybrid of confessional and language-writing techniques against the semiotic and epistemological constructions of what Mark Fisher calls “Capitalist Realism”; largely dealing with inter-related questions of gender, selfhood, the body and power.

Several things should be noted here. Firstly the political deployment of confessionalism (indeed the politicality of confessionalism itself, a la Plath) is nothing new, and also maintains a strong presence in pop music (and this is often complicated by either anti-realism or anti-naturalism: cf the Smiths, SWANS etc). Like poetry (until recently – though it could be argued that this is discursively still the case) , however, this is largely male-dominated. In this context a discussion of the function of SWANS’ misogyny as means of abjection of the male body, anti-masculinism, and capitalist critique would be pertinent, and the exploitative nature of this. Lydia Lunch would also be a useful touchstone. Secondly the similar treatment of langpo, and subversion of Perloff’s ‘indeterminacy’ and the project’s selfconcious ‘high art’ aspirations (or the academic estalishment’s territorialisation of langpo though interpretation and high art designation). On this point I would like to cite Johannes Göransson on kitch, aestheticism, and the hipster. Also worth mentioning here is the concept of the hybrid (through Göransson review of the recent American Hybrid anthology) and the differnect conceptions of this, and their relation to the political content of the work. I propose a difference between the Grotesque (and politically effective) hybrid and the Hybridization that occurs when the subversive is co-opted by the capitalist machine and rendered impotent (cf New Wave, what has (largely) happened recently with hip hop, ‘alternative rock’ etc).

I would also write on the context and state of the avant-garde impulse/project in this context, and its relationship to both popular and high culture, especially in light of the growing currency of the term ‘post-avant’, and what this means, both in terms of Reines’ work, and the wider poetic community.

The kind of socio-political project Reines pursues is shared by many younger contemporary poets, a large number of whom are active participants in the online poetics community and blogosphere (including Göransson, Lara Glenum and James Pate at Exoskeleton; Nada Gordon, Kate Durbin, Anne Boyer, Kate Zambreno, Danielle Pafunda, Sina Queyras etc), and there is a large network of cultural studies bloggers doing interesting work in aesthetics that is also applicable (Fisher being one, also Dominick Fox (whose Cold World I wish to use as a theoretical text for this essay), and Ben Woodward).

Further writing would be done of the relationship between Reine’s work and the aesthetico-political framwork thus explored and the body (largely feminine). This would involve the intersection of the body and the text, and the violence within, the relationship between violence, sex and childbirth; and the interaction between these, the creative process, and collage. I would also like to look at Reines in Performance, and the way this is linked to the presentation of her books.

Finally I would like to draw conclusions about semiotic warfare.