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Trevor Blake: Quotes that Inspire OVO 2012

If the slogan “Everyone is an artist” is to transcend the cliché, then artists had best exemplify more than alienated rage-driven hallucinatory infantilism or we’re in big trouble. – Walter Alter, Little Wally’s Reader.

Unto the pure, all things are pure. But unto them that are defiled is nothing pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled. – Anonymous, Titus.

If by following a surrealist method you write wretched stupidities, they remain wretched stupidities. And inexcusable. – Louis Aragon, Treatise on Style.

The instant the criterion of authenticity ceases to be applicable to artistic production, the total function of art is reversed. Instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on another practice – politics [...] All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war. Fascism [...] expects war to supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been changed by technology. [Humanity's] self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the situation of politics which Fascism is rendering aesthetic. – Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

I must create a system or by another’s be ensnared. My purpose is not to reason or compare, but to create. – William Blake, Jerusalem.

Again mistaking our powers with our necessities, we have filled our world with artificial fame. – Daniel Boorstin, The Image.

You can set up a life-style in your poems but sooner or later you will be found out to be play-acting: (one only lingers so long within an area and then it thins, washes away) and yes, I still love my booze but I can pass the whores, the bars, the drunk tanks without feeling that I have sold my god damned soul down the bloody dung-filled river. The critics would be delighted to again find me in some skid-row alley face bashed-in (again) the flies circling the emptiness of me and my bottle (again). These always need some Van Gogh some Mozart to feed upon some Villon some Dostoevsky against a firing wall. These critics consider the ultimate misfortune of another as a viable art-form. As for the end-result of art-forms I say that these did not choose their pain, that no reasonable person would especially to be incommunicated from the lecturns of the universities or to be flaccidly indented into the pale and dull pages of Immortality or any such lynching of the castrated gibbon of our insipid agony. – Charles Bukowski, A Visitor Complains of my Disenfranchise.

[By 1984] We felt no compulsion to go on gigging. We were no longer convinced that by simply providing what had broadly become entertainment we were having any real effect. We’d made our point and if after seven years people hadn’t taken it, it surely wasn’t because we hadn’t tried hard enough. ‘There is no authority but yourself,’ we said that, but we’d lost ourselves and become CRASS [...] We know enough of the sickness of the world, we should be careful not to add to it through our own physical and mental exhaustion and ill health [...] We have all failed and we have all succeeded. This is no tail between the leg ending, but a proud, albeit painful and confused, beginning. Love, peace and freedom, what was CRASS, but now knows better. – CRASS, In Their Own Words.

Theoretically, the logic of the natural world is perfect: Nature keeps what benefits survival – what works – and abandons what does not. Apparently, then, evil “works.” If evil is a part of natural law and structure, then we must be ready to understand its benefits and its positive aspects. – William Carl Eichman, Gnosis Magazine.

Creating is not a somewhat frivolous game. The creator has committed himself to the fearful adventure of taking upon himself, to the very end, the perils risked by his creatures. [...] Every creator must thus shoulder – the expression seems feeble – must make his own, to the point of knowing it to be his substance, circulating in his arteries, the evil given by him, which his heroes choose freely. We wish to regard this as one of the many uses of the generous myth of Creation and Redemption. Though the creator grants his characters free will, self-determination, he hopes, deep down in his heart, that they will choose Good. Every lover does likewise, hoping to be loved for his own sake. – Jean Genet, The Thief’s Journal.

It’s a superstition among many artists that their blackest habits are the actual key to their talents [...] In the Fifties, when society was so linear, right-brain-rationalist and conformist, there may have been some justification for artists becoming vehicles of pure fierce emotion hurtling themselves toward fiery ends with the help of drugs and alcohol – the James Dean/Jackson Pollock self-destruction myth. But to try to live that myth now just plays you right into the hands of status quo society, which can instantly submerge into oblivion any kind of deviant statement. Today’s complexly co-opting society demands a much more persistent and sustained attack from determined, disciplined artistic disrupters. – Andrea Juno, Re/Search #11.

The intention of The Egoist is not propaganda but exposition. The impulse which leads us to the latter is our own amusement and edification. Of any desire to “save the souls” of our audience (which the former would impute to us) we hold ourselves guiltless. To be sure, we seek an audience for our expositions, but so would the teller of a good joke; exposition, like a joke, to be fully enjoyed, requires its audience. We have as little or as much intention to teach and to preach as the teller of a good joke. – Dora Marsden, The Egoist Volume 2 Number 2.

In Nordhausen [1944], not knowing if we would survive this adventure, nearer to the death sentence than to liberation, we talked about Fritz Lang and Malraux, of the Impressionists and Great Masters of the past. Who will ever understand the human being? – Jean Michael, Dora.

The new basic principle is that in order to learn to avoid making mistakes we must learn from our mistakes. To cover up mistakes is, therefore, the greatest intellectual sin. – Karl Popper, In Search of a Better World.

Innocence must always give way to maturity eventually. Anyway, happiness comes from manipulating your weaknesses into your strengths, not from chasing desires. – The Residents, Santa Dog ’78.

Industrial Culture – it is a little late, you know. – John Savage, Re/Search #6/7.

There’s [...] a danger that bands use people as images. You get the impression that they’re saying, “Well we don’t have any ideas, but we’re interested in Manson, Crowley, Jim Jones, Hitler, whoever it is, so even though we’re not very good, because we’re interested in this, we must be fucking weird.” But it’s escaping the fact there’s no content there and it’s just gratuitous image posturing.
- David Tibet, Tape Delay.

Whatever ground revolutionaries think they have won gets taken over by their opponents, their achievements built in to the established structure and their leaders captured… Democracy, socialism, communism, anarchism, women’s liberation, and the movements to bring the fresh ideas of newly liberated colonies to the rescue of the Old and New Worlds, have all been revealed as functional parts of existing society. Only [purists] attempt to reject this role. – George Walford, Ideological Commentary #37.

Can a group of some twelve people [Neue Slowenishe Kunst] constitute an art movement? Well, the Renaissance was really only centered in one city, so why not? – Robert Ward, Fifth Path #4.

Because fear is the true sixth sense, it is not surprising that we have found a way to make of terror a basis for delight. – Leonard Wolf, Wolf’s Complete Book of Terror.

[Regarding Harry Crosby: His] attitude suggests a calculated posture: the poet, too rare for this world, escapes first into imaginary realms, and finally into the undiscovered country itself from which no traveler returns. [...] A sterile childhood and the ruins of Western culture are held accountable for the poet’s dread and anger. He smokes hashish to forget his misery, and dwells upon his misery to loot it for material appropriate to serious verse. [...] Harry’s early work adds to a world of evidence that disease, weariness, pain and solitude are the safe subjects for a novice man of letters. – Geoffrey Wolff, Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby.