What it’s not about

Meanwhile, there is running commentary like a Greek chorus which is the visual track. The connections between the textual and visual are elusive, allusive, suggestive, associations of uncertain… well. I fancy myself to be working, if I can be said to be working, in a long tradition — six hundred years — of Japanese renga or linked verse constructed along similar principles which is the ancestor of the haikai tradition of which Basho is … well. As you know, a poem of Basho’s will be surrounded by a swamp of commentary which will either convince you that you know nothing, or everything, or that everyone else knows nothing, of nobody knows anything, or everybody does. We have Anglo Modernist poets and novelists like that. Don’t go there. Especially if you are being pursued by the footsteps of a gigantic hound.

So my idea is this. What it’s about is what it’s not about, and the interpenetration of text and visual which I am making such a fuss about serves, among other purposes, to suggest to the reader (viewer) that the question of what it’s about is maybe a little off the mark. You are faced with this existential thing — Samuel Johnson’s famous refutation by stamping on the ground — but when you ask what’s it’s for, what’s it’s all about, well that’s an existential choice which only you can make, isn’t it? If this makes you nauseous, go take a couple of Prousts and call me in the morning.

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