Friday, December 5, 2008

Nowhere Man

“Slowly as the talk goes on, slowly, we have the feeling we are getting nowhere. That is a pleasure which will continue. If we are irritated it is not a pleasure. Nothing is not a pleasure if one is irritated. But suddenly, it is a pleasure, and then more and more, it is not irritating. And then more and more, and slowly. Originally, we were nowhere, and now again, we are having the pleasure, of being slowly nowhere. If anybody is sleepy, let him go to sleep” – John Cage

History of the Dial-a-Poem era ala the New York Times,

"It's 1969; the phone is the medium and the poem is the message. Dial-A-Poem is brand-new. You pick up your phone, dial (212) 628-0400 and hear one of a dozen recorded poems by William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Joe Brainard, Anne Waldman, John Cage or who knows who. The next day there's a fresh dozen. Some are dirty. Some are radical. A lot are about guns. Some really aren't poems at all but songs or rants or sermons.

Millions called. "The busiest time was 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so one figured that all those people sitting at desks in New York office buildings spend a lot of time on the telephone," wrote John Giorno, the founder of Dial-A-Poem. "The second busiest time was 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. ... then the California calls and those tripping on acid or couldn't sleep, 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.""

I sit at my desk now, researching the receding glaciers, our deteriorating planet. My politically correct office calls our cubicles, pods. My calender is ticking down the days to something. My coworker told me today that the only way to really kill cockroaches is get rid of all your alcohol. I tell him, that's just not going to happen. Humanity is meant to have cockroaches. I have seven pictures of people from an African culture to my left. They all wear red. Bean, everyone's telling me to eat beans and fiber. Today it's healthy. Fish is not. Mercury. The poison, the planet, our loss.

I can see the allure of calling. Listening to sages. Listening to new ideas, to people who are not boring. Not clad in three piece suits, pin stripes and constrictive ties. Goodbye formalities, hello spontaneity!

What would you want to hear on the other end of the line? Who would pick up on your phone call to no-one? One of us is always on the other end of the receiver.




Leah, wife of Jacob said...

Art is meant to induce a reaction whether positive, negative, or indifferent (although I don't believe real indifference exists, and if it does, it is still a performative reaction). The cubicle or 'pod' is meant as a means of focusing the employee so they are not reactive to anything but their work.

I think in place of phones as a means to be affected, the internet is now the phones.

So... welcome to Ducks (the Blog), the new dial-up. So welcome to the Internet, the new gateway to (not only shit, but also) affect.

nicholas reed said...

This reads like a chapter from a Douglas Coupland novel.

This is a compliment.