Thursday, November 7, 2019

Excerpt from Ærotomania by Adeena Karasick

we are “in harmony with our [prospective] annihilation”[i]

& asks you please put on your masque before debording[ii]

And as we rub shoulders
with abundance

between what is seen an unseen; heard between scenes, screens, schemes, screams
cockpits, lifts, radios, earbuds

as both a site of public and private space, the airplane celebrates itself
as an ever-shifting site of escape and refuge

reminding us how escape
is always entry into new dimensions –

This is particularly underscored in the fact that the gematria for the Hebrew word for airplane, “matos” also relates to the word for captive (ASIR)
and to flee (ARAH)

So not only at the nexus
of escape and refuge but
of concealment and exposure

  all servile, surveilled
a     salient      valence
of secrets swerves veils

the airplane functions
as a FOULCAULDIAN Panopticon

with a concerted distribution
of bodies, lights, gazes

a privileged place

where one is “able to judge at a glance
without anything being concealed from [it]
how the entire establishment is functioning”

i. For according to Batailles, “extreme seductiveness is at the boundary of horror”. See both
Visions of Excess and Story of the Eye.

ii. In French, déborder means excess, exuberance, profusion, overflow; pleine à déborder: full to overflowing

Celebrating the 106th year anniversary of the first commercial flight, Ærotomania
investigates how the airplane as an erotic theater, a social text of secret motives, is structured like a language. Like the cubism of Picasso and Braque or Gertrude Stein’s “studies in description”, through “a system to pointing” calls attention to the process of recognizing an object and to the role of language in that process. Between leisure, labor, utility and entertainment, Ærotomania exposes how the airplane, like language is neo-formally acculturating and reshaping telos, housing the flow of power and capital within it.

Adeena Karasick is a New York based Canadian poet, performer, cultural theorist and media artist and the author of ten books of poetry and poetics. Her Kabbalistically inflected, urban, Jewish feminist mashups have been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard), “proto-ecstatic jet-propulsive word torsion” (George Quasha), noted for their “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein) "a twined virtuosity of mind and ear which leaves the reader deliciously lost in Karasick's signature ‘syllabic labyrinth’” (Craig Dworkin); “one long dithyramb of desire, a seven-veiled dance of seduction that celebrates the tangles, convolutions, and ecstacies of unbridled sexuality… demonstrating how desire flows through language, an unstoppable flood of allusion (both literary and pop-cultural), word-play, and extravagant and outrageous sound-work.” (Mark Scroggins). Most recently is Checking In (Talonbooks, 2018) and Salomé: Woman of Valor (University of Padova Press, Italy, 2017), the libretto for her Spoken Word opera co-created with Grammy award winning composer, Sir Frank London. She teaches Literature and Critical Theory for the Humanities and Media Studies Dept. at Pratt Institute, is Poetry Editor for Explorations in Media Ecology, 2018 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award recipient and winner of the 2016 Voce Donna Italia award for her contributions to feminist thinking and 2018 winner of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. The “Adeena Karasick Archive” is established at Special Collections, Simon Fraser University. 

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