Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Next Big Thing: Divya Victor





What is the working title of the book?

Things To Do With Your Mouth is the title. Les Figues is the publisher.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Wailing and weeping make for a great spectacle, obviously. Oprah, Ricki, Maury, Montel, Jerry and the Vatican have all made great profits from them— especially women and children, please. We are these glassy lachrymatoria—our tear ducts are banks that weep out gold. Remember when the mourners at Kim Jong Il’s funerals were imprisoned for not crying sincerely enough? Tears for gold, asshole. Except, there was no gold. Tricked. Weepers should unionize. 

Therefore, I've been thinking some about the increasingly obsolete practice of moirology—the practice of hiring professional mourners. If you were a rich person, you’d pay someone some money to come and wail and beat their chests at your favorite corpse—your dead father, your dead uncle, your landlord etc. There are women who are hired to cry, wail, and lament for dead strangers— the rudaali of India, the crying women of the Philippines, the carpideira of Brazil. But how they cry for strangers, how they take their tears from some unknown place and give them to some unknown person, how they repeat their performance everyday— and they do this for pay— is nice to think about. Moirologists are paid for their memorialization. The performance of mourning is purely professional—a product of practice. How might poetry resemble this work?

I enjoy thinking about affective labor that is entirely for purchase, for sale. It gives me immense pleasure to know that crocodile tears can be swapped for some kind of purchase in identity politics, post-colonial mourning, whatever gets you the job. Can the subaltern cry wolf and get away with it?
In other words, how much sincerity do you expect to get for an $18 SPD book?

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea for this book came from where all ideas come from-- other people's ideas. Tzara says that all thought begins in the mouth. Or, more accurately, in other people's mouths. 

I get all my ideas from the research I do for my own scholarship. From these ideas I excise of all the affects, histories, and narratives of my own everyday life and put them in a drawer for when my union will pay for psychoanalysis. The rest I make into poems as fast as possible. 

That said, the specific notion from which this book emerged is historical. During the late Middle Ages, German-Jewish women who were accused of witchcraft and of eating children were hunted and executed by vigilantes who were afraid that their flesh would be devoured by women with excessive powers of speech and discourse. Before executing these women, the murdering fearful (“faithful”) would allow the accused woman to atone for her chatty, witchy, baby-eating ways if she told them a way to stop her dead comrades from eating flesh from their graves. The fear was that these women continued to have the use of their mouths even after they died. So, one accused woman suggested that they fill the corpse’s mouth with gravel as it laid in its grave. Another woman suggested that they drive a stake through the coffin, right through the corpse’s open maw, until it pierced the skull and went through, pinning the woman to the earth. 

The fear of speaking women obviously has a very long history, but the resourcefulness that we’ve shown in silencing these women has not always been as metaphorical as it is now. Fleshy solutions were it. So, for poetry today to approach its feminist purpose, it must address the vocalizing and silenced mouth— it must reorganize the work of this opening. I therefore wanted to make a book that did this to the most minimal degree. The work of this book of poetry is to repeat, recant, and endlessly say again what has already been said. Because it can.  Because it doesn’t mind being a corpse with a mouth full of gravel.

What genre does your book fall under?

Labiomancy and Self Help? Possibly poetry.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

The movie rendition of this book will probably be a scene by scene recreation of The Exorcist by Michael Haneke. All the drama of the social contract, none of the terrible pea soup vomit. No, I'm kidding. It will only be pea soup vomit. Sort of floating in its own abject electromagnetic field.  Therefore, I will probably cast Juliette Lewis to expel it and consume it over and over again.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

The mouth of discourse and the mouth of silence are of one breath, one flesh.

How long did it take you to write the fir st draft of the manuscript?

As long as it takes to hire a professional mourner these days, but longer than it takes for them to be done crying at some stranger's funeral and get paid. So, about a year.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It contains specific instructions for committing infanticide as well as tips on how to make gags for your lover.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Les Figues Press will release and curate the book's life.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:

Jeremiah Rush Bowen
Holly Melgard
Shiv Kotecha
Julia Bloch
Joey Yearous Algozin

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Some Assembly Required: A Distributed Book Launch


Some Assembly Required: A Distributed Book Launch

On Saturday October 27th, you’ll have the opportunity to hear readings by six different conceptual women writers at three different alternative art venues in Chinatown Los Angeles. Audience members are invited to choose the order in which they experience this “distributed” book launch. Co-sponsored by the CalArts MFA Writing Program and Les Figues Press, Some Assembly Required celebrates our recently published anthology I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing By Women, which features work by 64 writers from 10 countries.


A different kind of reading, from a different kind of book of a different kind of writing. Some assembly required — but that’s the fun of it, and there is a map!

When: 8-11 pm on Saturday, October 27, 2012

Where: Institute for FiguringAutomata and Human Resources (Chinatown LA)

Who: Teresa Carmody, Jen Hofer, Vanessa Place, Frances Richard, Giovanni Singleton, Christine Wertheim

How: Move from venue to venue in the order you choose to hear all six writers, reading as themselves and others

Why: Because conceptual writing by women asks you to experience time and space in multiple ways, and this reading does too. Accompanied by refreshments.

SCHEDULE

Automata Arts | 504 Chung King Court

Frances Richard
Vanessa Place

Reading times (choose one):
8:05 – 8:20 p.m.
9:05 – 9:20 p.m.

Institute for Figuring | 990 N. Hill St. #180

Christine Wertheim
Giovanni Singleton

Reading times (choose one):
8:25 – 8:40 p.m.
9:25 – 9:40 p.m.

Human Resources | 410 Cottage Home St

Jen Hofer
Teresa Carmody

Reading times (choose one):
8:45 – 9:00 p.m.
9:45 – 10:00 p.m.

Reception
Human Resources
10-11 p.m.



Monday, August 13, 2012

the postcards that never were

according to american theater director Anne Bogart "making a decision is an act of violence."

in other words, the act of making an artistic choice, from incorporating a different medium in your latest exhibit at the MET to deciding whether or not to justify that cover letter, inevitably involves killing another creative option

but what if we saved those remnants, those scraps, those previously unrecognized vernacular corpses?

welcome to the postcards that never were, a brief glimpse at the process behind crafting a Les Figues Postcard

(presented in a quirky, conceptual and utterly Les Figues format)

These collages were created from postcard prototypes for the following titles from the TrenchArt Surplus series: The Memoirs of JonBenet by Kathy Acker, Lividity, 2500 Random Things About Me Too, and Words of Love. Enjoy!


                                        

                                                      

                                       

       



Friday, August 3, 2012

Small Changes: the Whole Story


An exquisite corpse via Facebook, curated in honor of our Small Changes donation campaign. Thanks to all the contributors! Every little bit helps.


Me was born on the 4th of July, We too, like twin firecrackers, and since the beginning Me had been plagued with a premonition: that the world would end on July 31st.

Out came the lightning bugs. Luciferin. Luciferase.

The Beginning: “Hurry!” shouted Me to We. “Save Pat’s rat from being eaten by OAT, our fat cat, or Pat’s temper will flare up—he’s not quite sane.” "Me," said We with a sigh, "who cares if Pat gets mad. His rat is annoying." "You're so cruel. No creature deserves to die like that.... Plus OAT is already so fat," Me replied as she trotted towards the door, cat lasso in hand. "Well," said We, "maybe we should ask Chris Christopher Hershey-Van Horn what to do." "Good idea," said Me. But I can't find him.

“meowww. meow meow. meeow.”I concur, indeed. Finally, we're speaking the same language. I've waited so long.” OAT and Meester Pance, new pals, decided to work together to catch the rat, OAT because she liked to eat, and Meester Pance because he fucking hated Pat.

The cop, Patrick Shank, Pat for short, had a fetish for things that never stopped growing--the universe (perhaps), hair, the splinter teeth of rodents.

Fast / East

The Rat used over 900,000 names. She brutally beat a servant girl with a hammer in woods that lay outside Danville. She killed a five-year-old girl by strangling and stabbing her 36 times with scissors. Me? I don't know what Me was doing when We said that Me had sliced The Rat's fin from its hide. Me? Me? Me? Me? I just felt like laughing. Internal to that laughter was a simple progression: The Rat tortured animals--domesticated dogs, house cats--and attacked people, sometimes in broad daylight. Her crimes were halted during the Great California War. Soon, she drowned two young friends while swimming. She moved in with one of the victims' families. Her injury, unnoticed. The victim's family was named Reverof. The mother bathed The Rat and skipped the wound, and others. Each scale hid the scent of The Rat's atrocities. A torn ligament; a plucked tooth; a lacerated friendship. The Mother Reverof would sing to The Rat the song she knew from her youth, "We like you baby, when you turn your back on us, forever, forever, forever." The Rat became more lucid. The song outlined in detail a labyrinth of possibilities, all of which seem to revolve around The Rat's cunt. During that time, The Rat's only human contact was with Reverof, who sometimes bought her fast food, and sometimes told her amusing stories. Seven months into her captivity, Reverof introduced The Rat to her wife, Nancy, who brought The Rat a stuffed animal and chocolate milk. There was a cop The Rat longed to kill. and doughnuts. The sweet smell of putrefaction. The Rat reminisced over her far gone youth mirrored in a pool beneath her. "Will you turn your back on us, Mother Reverof?" The words twisted through her corrupt passageways. The Rat's memory: a winter sucking up slurry from behind a saw, drowning in the lake when he thought he saw movement down there, pissing on her brother's knees. When The Rat came to Reverof and Nancy were there. Chris Christopher Hershey-Van Horn's memory: "OAT, come here...Me, where's OAT?" Me twirled the cat lasso, slapping the ground. "He's met up with Meester Pance." Something was burning. We held Luciferace and Lucifer in one hand. Luciferace was burnt to a crisp. "The Rat," said We.

What do you think Me will do, with only 6 days left to live? Pray for her prey underneath a bridge. The days that remain between Me, We and that drowning Rat's saturated memories of undulating lyrics and saccharine junk food/"Nowhere to go beyond the 31st?"/but plenty to do. Me's furry fingers tore a page from her calendar as she whispered, "all dressed up and nowhere to go."

The hours/our water flowing slowly filling the tub too fully the tub/the month when me and we climb in the time is up the brink is reached/blown/nowhere to go beyond the 31st. But first me in need of a sip drinks water through tips of fingers unable to hold the words floating between us digesting only vowels one by one, hands clasped around phrases and phalli that linger in lukewarm tub water and cracked porcelain.

True, by this time it was not a blank space anymore.

Neither OR nor UP the beetle in my bed, the choli, ¡te amo, te amo! OR felt the wave and it was gnats, los bobos que murieron en su nariz. It was always true. The wor(l)d became a fight for a last. Breath. I avoided a vast, artificial hole somebody had been digging on the slope, the purpose of which I found it impossible to divine.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

25 Things from 2500 Random Things About Me Too

Tomorrow is the online release of Matias Viegener's 2500 Random Things About Me Too! It's Matias' first book, and also the first book written on Facebook. Remember that meme "25 random things about me"? Matias wrote 100 of them—they are brilliant, poignant and you should check them out. 




Here's one of them so you can see for yourself:


xlvi

1            My pillow is gone!

2            Why is utopianism so uncool with so many
              people I know?

3            You know that if men menstruated, the world
              would be run by a lunar calendar.

4            My favorite mistake in English that my mother
              made was when arriving in someone's house, she 
              would occasionally exclaim how "homely" it was!

5            Sometimes when salesmen knocked on the door,
              my friend Marc Weisman's mother would say,
              "Please go away, I am not interesting."

6            I just looked in the mirror and I look like me
              again.

7            Today I have more than 25 things, so I will save
              some.

8            Four years ago, we could not have come to Santa
              Marta and Ciénaga because they were being torn 
              apart by paramilitaries and guerrillas.

9            Chris Kraus once told me that Sylvère Lotringer
              and I were the only two men she knew who did 
              not see Kathy Acker as monstrous.

10          I remember visiting the Greek island of Delos,
              filled with marble phalluses. Many of them had 
              been chopped off at the stem, so to speak.

11          I envy Austin, his capacity to fall asleep anywhere
              at any time. This would make my life much easier.

12          What about men who cup their balls and call
              them the family jewels?

13          Or men who name their penises?

14          More rain. I will probably always see weather as a
              New Yorker; I spent my "formative years" where 
              weather was something you struggled against.

15          Few things are as embarrassing as your own 
              mother.

16          I had sex in a bathroom at UCLA during the
              Rodney King riots. It was with an architecture
              student. We even talked about it: having sex
              while the city burned.

17         For a long time, I believed in ancient astronauts.

18         I've heard stories about strangers having sex in 
             bomb shelters during the War.

19         I remember when people got dressed up to travel.
             When I was a kid we had special traveling outfits.

20         Pompeii is filled with phallic statues.

21         When I was a kid, my mother's aunt would come 
             visit us every year from Germany. The first few 
             times she wore a wool jacket and skirt, stuffed
             inside like a sausage.

22         In a hot climate, if you're not peeing, you're not 
             drinking enough.

23         My mother's aunt was kind of dowdy, and she
             never looked as good as when she traveled.

24         By the end of the 80s things had changed, and
             she arrived in rumpled sweat suits.

25         What about when they paint fig leaves over classic
             nude paintings?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Small Changes Movement on Facebook


      Les Figues is hosting The Small Changes Movement on Facebook. It is an interactive, collective writing experience where YOU, the reader, can add to the story. All are invited to add to the text, whether it be a sentence, a paragraph or just a few words. It's amazing how much the slightest change can alter a narrative. And as unique as all our readers are, the story takes some interesting turns.
      The Small Change Movement is running in conjunction with our Small Change donation drive. Feel free to add your donation to the movement on the Les Figues website. You can find the Facebook page here to join in on the movement.
Here is what we have so far:

Me was born on the 4th of July, We too, like twin firecrackers, and since the beginning Me had been plagued with a premonition: that the world would end on July 31st. Out came the lightning bugs. Luciferin. Luciferase. "Good idea," said Me. But I can't find him. "Well," said We, "maybe we should ask Chris Christopher Hershey-Van Horn what to do." ‎"You're so cruel. No creature deserves to die like that.... Plus OAT is already so fat," Me replied as she trotted towards the door, cat lasso in hand. ‎"Me," said We with a sigh, "who cares if Pat gets mad. His rat is annoying." The Beginning: “Hurry!” shouted Me to We. “Save Pat’s rat from being eaten by OAT, our fat cat, or Pat’s temper will flare up—he’s not quite sane.” OAT and Meester Pance, new pals, decided to work together to catch the rat, OAT because she liked to eat, and Meester Pance because he fucking hated Pat. I concur, indeed. Finally, we're speaking the same language. I've waited so long. meowww. meow meow. meeow.
The Rat used over 900,000 names. She brutally beat a servant girl with a hammer in woods that lay outside Danville. She killed a five-year-old girl by strangling and stabbing her 36 times with scissors. Me? I don't know what Me was doing when We said that Me had sliced The Rat's fin from its hide. Me? Me? Me? Me? I just felt like laughing. Internal to that laughter was a simple progression: The Rat tortured animals--domesticated dogs, house cats--and attacked people, sometimes in broad daylight. Her crimes were halted during the Great California War. Soon, she drowned two young friends while swimming. She moved in with one of the victims' families. Her injury, unnoticed. The victim's family was named Reverof. The mother bathed The Rat and skipped the wound, and others. Each scale hid the scent of The Rat's atrocities. A torn ligament; a plucked tooth; a lacerated friendship. The Mother Reverof would sing to The Rat the song she knew from her youth, "We like you baby, when you turn your back on us, forever, forever, forever." The Rat became more lucid. The song outlined in detail a labyrinth of possibilities, all of which seem to revolve around The Rat's cunt. During that time, The Rat's only human contact was with Reverof, who sometimes bought her fast food, and sometimes told her amusing stories. Seven months into her captivity, Reverof introduced The Rat to her wife, Nancy, who brought The Rat a stuffed animal and chocolate milk. There was a cop The Rat longed to kill. and doughnuts. The sweet smell of putrefaction. The Rat reminisced over her far gone youth mirrored in a pool beneath her. "Will you turn your back on us, Mother Reverof?" The words twisted through her corrupt passageways.
         Fast / East.
         The cop, Patrick Shank, Pat for short, had a fetish for things that never stopped growing--the universe (perhaps), hair, the splinter teeth of rodents.

Whew! 
Small Changes can make a huge difference. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fig a Friend Today!


July is HOT!


The sun is blazing and the next TrenchArt series is on its way. This year's conversation is 'Surplus,' and in that vein, we are publishing not five but six titles in the series. And now, we're offering an excessively good membership deal—a gift-giving drive to share the love. Become a member at the $100 Supporter level or higher, and receive a gift membership mailed to the recipient of your choice. You can personalize the gift or send it anonymously, whichever you prefer. Plus free swag! That means all six books in the series, invitations to special Les Figues events, and an assortment of stickers and postcards. Times two. Think about how much extra goodness will exist in the world when you give a buddy a gift membership.


The TrenchArt Surplus series includes:
  • TrenchArt: Surplus (aesthetics)
  • Lividity by Kim Rosenfield
  • 2500 Random Things About Me Too by Matias Viegener
  • Words of Love by Mark Rutkoski
  • The Memoirs of JonBenet by Kathy Kathy by Michael du Plessis
  • For Want and Sound by Melissa Buzzeo
Plus visual art by Klaus Killisch.


Summer is hot and so is sharing: Fig a friend today!