::of reaction, symmetry, affinity::
One of my former teachers always talked about finding your poetic family. Finding your tribe, I think he phrased it, but I prefer to use other words. This advice usually came up in the context of talking about reading, questions of our literary forebears and what one 'should' read or respond to. And this advice was meant to be an invitation to make your own discernments, to read far & wide & find your own community, echoes and models.
I've been thinking about the bodies of research that look at how our brains respond when we're reading, and how different forms of written material interact with our brains in myriad ways. In this vein, I suspect members of our poetic/literary families ignite distinct & discrete patterns in our neural pathways. The family resemblance.
I am very grateful for Ann Lauterbach's continued artistic & intellectual engagement with choice & poeisis/art-making. Not just because I stumbled into acquaintance with this particular part of her work at a time when I was questioning my own decision-making, my own shifting aesthetic interests and output. But also, I suspect, because of a more fundamental, dispositional symmetry. How Casper can been seen by the whole family.
My mother & I were talking (as we often do), and I was telling her about a discussion I had at work, when I was making fun of myself for getting so bothered by a silly article relating 19th Century novelists to the various houses of J.K. Rowling's Hogwarts. Specifically, I was irritated about the sorting of the Brontë sisters. And one of my co-workers said something about how 'everyone' thinks they'd be in Gryffindor, and that also causes us to want to put everything we find affinity with or like into that same category. And, not surprisingly, my mother had the same reactions I did, both to the placement of the Brontës and the idea that 'everyone' would be sorted into Gryffindor.
Regardless of the sorting discrepancy, my coworker's point, I think, is relevant to what I've been discussing above. The Sorting Hat, the fMRI or EEG. How we define what makes us light up.
"It's an aesthetic, grown out of the idea, very simply, that there will be black people and people of color in the future. I mean, that's the very simple way to put it ... Afrofuturism is a way of writing ourselves into the world and into the future and being committed to a future that's also free of racism, and sexism, and capitalism and these things that have enslaved minority peoples."
In The Given & The Chosen, Lauterbach writes:
"I wanted to know if the sequence of choice, decision, and judgment in one's quotidian life might have some bearing on that same sequence, choice, decision, judgment, in making art...One sensed in [John] Cage an active receptivity that reconfigured desire into a form of waiting or listening; that reset choice into operations of chance...this seemed to me an emblem of personal contentment that might extend into the world as an ethical proposal"
In searching for title & subtitles for this piece, I went to look up Newton's Laws of Motion—not remembering which, exactly, talked about equal & opposite reactions—and as I typed in the search term, my right hand was shifted one key to the left. So following the pattern for m-o-t-i-o-n rendered 'nituib'. What interested me most was running the search for nituib before and then again after searching for Newton's laws. The inheritance of search history; the genealogy of an algorithm; weight of experience on/through preference. Frames of reference.
How we find/define what makes us light.