Charles A. Perrone
Memorandada (two for the price of one)
To: Textshop Experiments
From: Charles A. Perrone, UFL & GNV
Re: “ÉTUDES” in Issue #1: Textshop (T)issues
It is my distinct pleasure to present to you, for the inaugural (t)issue, a multi-modal project that supplements, with considerable historical back-sell, the appearance of Electracy. Please find herewith my own note-taking (distributed over four decades) regarding one of my “written readings,” which, it is my sincere hope, may allow “various possibilities of understanding.” The item that I submit indeed began as “notes on napkins, scraps of paper, jottings, scribbles, and other impulsive schemes” [“ --- ” per your CFP] concerning which the terms electracy and heuretics obtain. Once ideated, my verbi-voco-visual lyric-al experiment “études” was electrified via transference to second-generation (Macintosh SE) Mac Word/Paint files, first physically produced on a dot-matrix printer, and later re-produced on a … Laser Printer! (which at the time was somewhat of a deal). The studious sequence was displayed publicly in two different countries, and a few years later it would appear in print in a third. Then it would migrate to a digital-virtual space on the <www> as a cluster of webpages (on the same server that houses an Ulmer page…). Thus, it is my sense that the “études” represent and embody the transition from print culture (manual, typewriter, computer+printer) to electronic culture (full-fledged) internet, home of the present journal if memory serves (and I think it does).
Allow me to elaborate. In Spring 1989, I co-curated with a certain graduate student by the name of Craig Saper an exhibition called “Brazilian Concrete & Visual Poetry from The Ruth & Marvin Sackner Archive” at the Grinter Galleries of the University of Florida, Gainesville. Figures 1 and 2 are the front and back flaps of the smart catalogue that Saper designed (which also listed the contents of the video I prepared to run continuously during the brick-and-mortar show of texts, objects, and all).
Charles A. Perrone is Professor of Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Culture and Literatures in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Florida. He is the author of Brazil, Lyric, and the Americas (University Press of Florida, 2010) and Seven Faces: Brazilian Poetry Since Modernism (Duke University Press, 1996) and co-editor of Brazilian Popular Music and Globalization (Routledge, 2001).
A note I retain indicates that our modest efforts were cited in Art in America (May 2002). Two speakers were brought in conjunction with this show: Claus Clüver of Indiana University, who had published numerous close-readings on concrete art, and Roland Greene, who must have already been in the process of conceptualizing his own expo and issue of Harvard Library Bulletin: Material Poetry of the Renaissance and Renaissance of Material Poetry (1992, see segments on the incomparable ubuweb).
These two gentlemen-scholars were also invited to witness up close a companion (non-academic = community) exhibition organized by the aforementioned Mr. Saper: Languages & Images: Concrete and Visual Poetry. Center of Modern Art, downtown Gainesville, Florida. Spring 1989. A photo of the conspiratorial cohort was taken before dark.
I myself contributed to the Center show with three pithy poster boards: “LOTTO” (“a lot of lotto= ot” i.e. naught) and “Prize the Grand”, two multi-chromatic collages made with losing Lottery tickets of different stripes, plus a seven-part something named “ÉTUDES,” of which Clüver knowingly said: “I like the title!”. The rationale for having seven items in the mix was the proéminence of 7, the number seven, which is so mythical that it has its own websites! (Seven this and that and so many other things). Oh the ravages of time! what might that poster board look like today? Well, something thusly (Figures 4 and 5):
Thought the two components that most completely fit orthographically were “desuetude” and “inquietude, ” the best –tude in this case/curse of chronos must surely be “decrepitude.” But enough of GNV for now. Subsequently, copies of the Table of Contents and Seven Études would make their way to the California desert and then Mexico City: Art Gallery San Diego State University Imperial Valley (Fall 1989) and III International Biennial of Visual/ Experimental/ Alternative Poetry in Mexico (1990), UNAM (Figure 6, conmigo).
And a decade later, in a last gasp, Dimensão: revista internacional de poesia [Brazil] (2000), would publish small print versions of the same before going physically defunct in the wake of the wave of the winternet. It must have been that occurrence that prompted me to post the “études” to the open college webspace. The same space that houses a commissioned statement of mine about lyric [http://users.clas.ufl.edu/perrone/dirtygoat.htm] that had appeared in dirty goat 3 (1989) as “re: 177 words to address: "what are you trying to do [in your poems]?", in which “the poet is a designer of language” (quoting/translating foundational concrete poet Décio Pignatari of Brazil) is the key affirmation. The first poem that follows this statement I ventured is “Media Literacy”, germane in the present context.
Ah, but the genesis of the “études” themselves? Of course echoes of Chopin, Liszt are inevitable, but the studies for guitar by the sui generis Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos reverberated louder for me. The conceptual inspiration?: the seminal one long line (150+ letters sans pause ) concrete poem of invenção (invention) that was “cidade,” uber-urbanoid text formed of the agglutinaged roots of nouns in English-French-Portuguese ending in (letter c + the suffix -ity, -ité, -idade). FYI, I discussed it as multi-media in “Performing São Paulo: Vanguard Representations of a Brazilian Cosmopolis.” Latin American Music Review 23.1. 2002). If you Google <cidade augusto de campos youtube> you will find over a dozen audio-visual versions of the performed poem with voice-music-sound effects-text-context transcending language barriers. In 1994 Tigertail Productions of Miami brought the poet-performer and musician-arranger son to Miami, and I was able to organize a sister event in Gainesville: Augusto de Campos, "Concrete Poetry: A Non-Reading" and performance with Cid Campos at the Harn Museum of Art, attended by a local voice of note: Mr. Dr. G. Ulmer. Oh. The visual technology of the event was pre-internet: slides. With one exception: a video montage at the end. And that one vid was of “cidade,” the cosmopolitan base of the show. Figure 7 captures the meeting of the special guest and the author of Teletheory.
What the broadcaster says is professional like-
able probable even verbably likely given polls
pronostications calcullations and second-
opiniated confirmations of viewing areas
labelhoods frontal expediencies and sin-
dependent rank and role ratings.
Moving and still temptations of phone-
in or disaspectful cacaphony
cronipherous satellite links
preposturized cable and calk.
Balk! Caucus contre wiretrapped in-
accuracies in eptitudes in-tapped
and rave prensile agilities.
Ultimate wards of the spate
stave offly statements of loqualacious
regionable actuality and nation all impact
words of the art fee acts full agendae and artifacts
laurels of the great tomes of factual medium glisten.