review: A CITY A CLOUD / Workman, Campbell, Brandt. 2006

A City a Cloud is a big sheet of 84×63 cm and is one of the dusie/e-chap project chapbooks. It opens as a poster and you could think to be supposed to hang it on a wall and start a sort of strange journey across the texts and the images spread over this one-page book, forming a kind of chess-board.

Actually, it’s hard to think about A City a Cloud just as a text over a sheet: the typographical and bibliological solution, conceived by Erik Brandt for this short collection by Elisabeth Workman, is something more than a precious and affected layout. On the contrary, it represents a lot of things and every aspect of it is necessary to read and “use” the work. As a review, I would like to point out at least two or three of those aspects.

First of all, this wide sheet, that you unfold as a map, and that actually looks like a map, is an hypothesis about what could be a book today, when technical knowledge permits some unusual choices, and a long training on electric media have taught us many ways of non-linear reading.

Secondly, it’s the adequate counterpart to the cumulative nature of both Workman’s texts and Barbara Campbell‘s images, where lists and stratification appear as primary rhetoric strategies. Campbell’s pieces rely on collage techniques to combine different images and parts of images and produce distorted panoramas and uncomplete topographies. On the other hand, Workman’s texts, cumulating details, scenes, statements, produce some kind of multiple interrupted speech on cities, representig them as a sort of huge heap of disjointed, juxtaposed, stray things.

Maybe, and this is the third thing to point out about this fascinating chapbook, A City a Cloud is also a question of where it is possible to set a borderline between literature and art, in a time, as nowadays, in which visual communication is paradigmatic and even printed words are seen as graphic elements.

da Un altro mese, 106: IN UN TEMPO NON ANCORA / Éric Suchère

106 (juillet 2006), Dans un temps pas encore

Une berge, une grue, des hommes tirent sur des cordes, soulèvent une voiture qui se trouve dans un lac, qu’un plongeur, qui émerge lentement, fait signe de remonter la voiture blanche au pare-brise défoncé et une main qui pend de la fenêtre, est un mort, est une eau morte, est un temps mort, dans le silence, dans un arrêt du temps, dans la fin des mouvements naturels, annonce le temps pulsé ou bien artificiel, un temps amorphe lent contre ce qui s’accélère. Elle, seule, au milieu de l’avenue, des immeubles modernes, sous les grands réverbères, sous le soleil en blanc vers l’homme qui se dirige vers elle, qu’elle repousse d’une main pour aller voir l’épave, se retourne vers lui, qu’il s’avance vers elle, qu’ils marchent vers la berge, s’arrêtent pour regarder la voiture que l’on hisse, l’eau qui s’écoule lentement, d’un ruissellement filet est une reprise du temps, clepsydre accidentelle. Un jet d’eau, elle sourit, se retourne, joue avec une branche et, lui, regarde son décolleté, qu’elle avance vers lui, repart, qu’il la suit jusqu’à côté du jet, qu’elle tend la main vers, dévie le jet pour s’asperger un peu, en saisir la fraîcheur, qu’il se met de côté pour l’asperger un peu, qu’elle court pour s’échapper, n’est un ruissellement mais vitalité pulsée, signal d’un temps perdu rendu possible par une force mécanique, un pulsé rotatif contre un temps écoulé. Elle jette un objet dans une barrique pleine d’eau, une feuille de papier, un bout de bois qui flotte sur le liquide stagnant qu’elle fait tourner un peu, de sa main, qu’elle retire peu après, se recule, s’adosse, tandis qu’il lui parle, est une stase, est ici un arrêt, un temps contenu par, une clepsydre future, un temps en pas encore.

Un argine, una gru, uomini che tirano corde, sollevano una macchina che sta in un lago, che un subacqueo, che emerge lentamente, fa segno di alzare questa macchina bianca con il parabrezza sfondato e una mano che pende dal finestrino, è un morto, è un’acqua morta, è un tempo morto, nel silenzio, in una pausa del tempo, nella fine dei movimenti naturali, annuncia il tempo pulsato o artificiale, un tempo amorfo lento contro ciò che accelera. Lei, sola, in mezzo alla strada, immobili moderni, sotto i grandi riverberi, sotto il sole in bianco verso l’uomo che le va incontro, che lei respinge con una mano per andare a vedere il relitto, si gira verso di lui, che avanza verso di lei, e camminano verso l’argine, si fermano a guardare la macchina che issano, l’acqua che cola lentamente, il ruscelletto fine è una ripresa del tempo, clessidra accidentale. Una fontanella, lei sorride, si volta, gioca con un ramo, e lui le guarda la scollatura, e lei va verso di lui, riparte, che la segue fino all’acqua, e tende la mano verso, devia l’acqua per aspergersi un po’, coglierne il fresco, che lui si mette accanto per aspergerla un po’, che lei corre per fuggire, non più zampillo ma vitalità pulsata, segno di un tempo perso reso possibile da una forza meccanica, un impulso rotativo contro un tempo andato. Lei butta qualcosa in una botte piena d’acqua, un foglio di carta, un pezzo di legno che galleggia sul liquido stagnante che lei fa girare un po’, con la mano, che ritrae poco dopo, arretra, si appoggia, mentre lui le parla, è una stasi, è qui una pausa, un tempo contenuto da, una clessidra futura, un tempo in non ancora.

[ éric suchère, traduit par massimo sannelli ]

da REVEAL / Bruce Covey. 2005



Reveal 5: Days

Sunday: Bad news for clock watchers; school bans all skirts
Monday: This interview was created via a series of postcards
Tuesday: Keep telling yourself: Above all, it’s a phone
Wednesday: The Michelin man from hell, a priest of yeast, the goddess in an apron
Thursday: When tickets officially go on sale, the early-bird special will expire
Friday: We’ll be working hard to resolve the issue in time for the next week’s email
Saturday: Share your thoughts with others; adjust to user behavior

Reveal 6: Fates & Furies

Clotho: Spinning wheel covers; check out different colors
Lachesis: The village rat home
Atropos: For migrant news as it happens
Alecto: To slot a green modeling van seems odd
Megaera: Frame break out: There are 73 more days
Tisiphone: Cite, rate, or print

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