Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Shopping: Spam Poetry By Cecil Touchon

Cecil Touchon's poetry in his most recent book, Happy Shopping, is delicious, in the oddest, well, "massurrealist," way. Touchon, a poet-artist, based in Dallas-Texas, extracts material from the very fabric of the massurreality : texts from spam email.

In these poems Touchon offers us a contemplative glimpse into contemporary artistic practice where the artist becomes much more a connector of things than a creator. "Every day trillions of bits of data are transmitted over the Internet," he explains. "As artists peer into this world of information overload a vast body of incoherent data is brought into view. Much like the subconscious explored by the early Surrealists."

Touchon uses this raw material to explore unlikely configurations through the use of found text, the abutment of random, unrelated words and phrases such as the classic example from Lautréamonts Chants de Maldoror: "the unexpected meeting, on a dissection table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella". This embrace of randomness is central to Touchon’s poetic output. And this will make one of the most unusual gifts in 2008 for anyone who owns a credit card, has shopped in LA, has visted the Red Light District in Amsterdam, is named Lindsay Lohan and has an e-mail account.

Touchon offers no easy answer to the issues raised by this deluge of raw data but rather seems to revel in it suggesting that even the most inane material holds the possibility of artistic expression. Order Happy Shopping NOW!


Cecil says:

"We all live in a great Massurreality. It is the world that we, as humans have self created through our use of media. When we watch TV, listen to the radio, read a book or news paper, go to a church, a school or an art museum, when we dabble on the internet or read any sign along the highway as we sit in our vehicles we are absorbing our minds in a humo-centric reality that stand apart from the natural world. In this mental construct we have an identity. It is a borrowed identity, an identity given to us by way of name, by way of race, by way of socio-economic standing, by way of our education, our religion, our occupation, our buying habits. Each of us proudly occupies a place in a variety of demographic parameters. This is our massurrealist identity, our place in the great Massurreality."

Happy Shopping - Massurrealist Spam Poetry by Cecil Touchon; ISBN: 978-0-6151-8244-5 Publisher: Ontological Museum Publications; Rights Owner: Cecil Touchon; Copyright: © 2007 Ontological Museum Publications Standard Copyright License; Language: English; Country: United States; Edition: First Edition

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Apsara: Les ABCs

I bribed my good friend Stephane Guyader (below) who runs the baba cool bookstore, Apsara, on the rue Daguerre (75014), to carry a few copies and put them in the window. Cost me a few bottles of red wine, but it's quite fun to be in the window.

Stephane said it would be quite a thing if little French kids learned English with this ABC, and when they grew up talked about kittens catching lit matches and cars in California equipped with cognitive therapists. Stephane though, loves the book and is using it to update his English. The ABC book should help. "So now I can talk like I come from Brooklyn?" he asked me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mister Rose's ABC : A Little Book For Little People New From Lalande Digital Art Press Paris

Mister Rose's ABC : A Little Book For Little People has just been published by Lalande Digital Art Press Paris. The 32 page, full color book features original gouache paintings and poetic tongue-twisters that follow the alphabet from Arnold the annoying Airplane to (tough and dumb) Luck to Nero the Nail (he lives in a wall in Mister Rose's house) to the yackety Ying-Yangs and finally, Zoe the zaftig Zebra. Saddle-stitched and impeccably printed by digital master, Robert Ruscoe at Lalande, Mister Rose's ABC is really a book for kids of all ages, a perfect cadeau de Noël or New Year's gift.

"Parents will have an enjoyable time reading this to their toddlers and trying to figure out why Ditzy the deaf-as-a-door knob dog is always digging and dancing," says Ruscoe who has two little boys. "My favorite is Nero the Nail, or maybe Romney's Rain – "Hey! Don't Complain!"

The play of words and images is typical of the artist's imagination, which is pleasantly skewed towards the impossible and the poetic. "W" is Wally Water, he writes. "Wally is originally from Wabash." Nero the nail "lives in my house," he explains. Karl, his kitten, "computes with a flute." Parents will have quite a time explaining where Wabash is and how you compute with musical instruments.

"It's the kind of kid's book," says the author's father, Irving, "that will probably drive parents crazy attempting to explain the strange words and weird and funny situations. And hey, I know! He's my son!"

Matthew Rose is an American artist and writer based in Paris, France. He exhibits his collages, text works, paintings and objects throughout the US and Europe. This is his first published children's book. To see more of his work, click Collage By Matthew Rose.

The ABC, published in English, is specially-priced for web sales at only 10 € each (plus 2 euros postage for France and Europe; 4 € postage for the US). Ordering is easy: Checks (in Euros) or PayPal accepted. Bulk orders (10 - 25) are 7,50 €; orders of 50 or more 5 € each. If you like, the author will sign and dedicate the books if you are giving them as a Christmas or New Year's gift to someone little or even someone big.

TO PURCHASE MISTER ROSE'S ABC BOOK, or heck, to find how how to produce your own books, CONTACT MISTER ROSE'S ABC. [If mail link is not working, e mail : mistahrose at yahoo dot com].

Paris Neighborhoods

Paris according to Parisians, thanks to Coquecigrue.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Keep Calm For Christmas

This Christmas, Keep cool by visiting Keep Calm. Run by a "skeleton staff of two," Lucas and Hayley, Keep Calm is the celebrated web gallery offering inexpensive silkscreened and digital prints by artists from the UK and Europe, and has been featured in a dozen magazines for their quality and quirkiness.

Keep Calm has just offered two prints by Matthew Rose and printed by Lalande Digital Art Press Paris. "Days Like These" (pictured, right) and "Immaculate Perception," are offered in a limited edition of 21, signed, numbered and dated by the artist on 100 percent cotton (Lyson) 350 gram acid free fine art paper. These works are based upon collages by the artist. Each print measures 42 cm x 30 cm. Price is £35 plus postage, exclusively from Keep Calm.

"These prints are typical of Matthew’s works, lifting elements from one source and layering it with another," says Lucas. "Largely influenced by Joseph Cornell, Jasper Johns, Ray Johnson and others, Matthew Rose gets more out of a piece of found or discolored paper with each succeeding work."

Keep Calm features works by Douglas Wilson, Alyson Fox, Jillian Ditner, Jason Synder, Jacob Arden McClure as well as Lucas and Hayley (left). Works are inexpensive but beautifully produced.

Keep Calm was established way back in February 2007 by Lucas and Hayley. Keep Calm offers high quality prints and other bits and pieces. Many products are screen printed by hand. Royal Mail permitting, prints will arrive in perfect condition. If this isn’t the case Keep Calm will replace it! Prints are wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and sent in extremely durable mailing tubes. They ship anywhere! For UK orders, prints are sent via next-day Special Delivery. For international orders prints are sent via International signed-for air mail.

Want to know anything else? Please e-mail Lucas or Hayley at Keep Calm.