Psychomagically Beyond Appropriation

Psychomagically Beyond Appropriation

Over at the Montevidayo blog, Lucas de Lima calls our attention to the example of Gilvan Samico, an artist whose work links up with certain heretical dimensions of contemporary poetry and poetics. 

Does the imagination have limits?  Are we actually in the time of “uncreative writing”?  In the age of information overload, is appropriation–the resampling of other texts–the last reservoir of our creativity?  Is there really nothing new under the sun to be said or done?

When I look at the engravings of Gilvan Samico, the Brazilian artist who died yesterday at the age of 85, the answer to all these questions turns out to be a resounding no.

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2 comments so far

  1. Paul Adkin on

    There has been nothing new under the sun since before Solomon said it three thousand years ago. Art has always been a taking from what is here and what has always been here and folding it up and twisting it around and a bringing new creation out of the huge well of accumulated memory and knowledge that is human culture. Buit even the newest ideas and things are never “entirely” original.

  2. Bryan Sentes on

    Thanks for engaging, Paul.–Funny, when I posted the link, I thought to addend a thought somewhat along the lines of your own, since de Lima’s brief notice articulates itself in an ambiguous manner. On the one hand, he *does* claim Samico’s work *is* evidence there is “something new under the sun,” that Samico’s work possesses a “claim to novelty.” On the other hand, de Luca describes Samico somewhat along the lines of Levi-Strauss’ famous bricoleur, who “revitalize[s] cosmic ingredients” “inbu[ing] all-too-familiar figures…with an irreducibility.”–De Luca’s argument, I take it, is directed first to that particular current in contemporary American poetry, Conceptualism, that takes up Barthes’ notion of the intertext and “the always already written” with a vengeance, valorizing half-ironically “uncreative writing.” De Luca also cogently remarks the “cynical secularism at the core of [this] experimental poetics in the US.” Here, I was moved to side with de Luca, thinking of the Hermetic and Romantic dimensions of the work of Robert Duncan and the latter day visionary gnostic poetries of Peter O’Leary and arguably Mike Heller, as well as certain hermeneutic considerations that go back at least to Jean.–There is, of course, a curious dialectic at work here (and at the foundation of Structuralist thought in general) for if every sentence, text, or artwork is only the recombination of already-existing elements (which, in a sense, they must be) from whence do these initial elements arise? I’d argue that the theses concerning originality that get caught in the aporiae of this dialectic get so caught up because of their initial concept of originality!


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