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y Essays Reading Joyce Reading Duchamp were initially thought as possible connective - tissues between language and the images I was making even though their titles as such might not, at first, seem to support this claim. The History of Art and its Theories was the topic, in fact, that I had placed on a back-burner as the real target and landing-site for my readings on Joyce and Duchamp, as well as my consistent readings of Joyce’s published works including the Notebooks at Buffalo that were for me incredibly consistent with Duchamp’s Green Box Notes that Duchamp had created to accompany the Large Glass (although Duchamp actually maintained that the Green Box Notes were intended by him to be read before the reader had the opportunity to see the Large Glass itself [See The Green Box Notes. http://www.marcelduchamp.net/who_is_md02.php]

My Essays are often un-rigorous and unwieldy as “scholarly” documents, but like the images to which they are intended to be attached, they display a work-in-progress-motility, capable of grounding something of the results of my readings, and they have also usefully helped me to understand numerous difficult concepts and minutiae that liberally swirl around Joyce and Duchamp’s approaches to sense and nonsense in the works of art to which they put their names, or - in Duchamp’s case - someone else’s name: Rrose Selavy: a ruminative alter-ego.

Like Joyce and Duchamp’s own Notes, then, my essays are useful for me since what they do is to enlarge and broaden the base materials of my selected imagery through a mirror-stage of reflection and the pooling of newly-learned materials that have led me to more ideas for my practice and for theory and for imagery and back, once more, to language. There should be a sense of transparency for the visitor to this site due largely to the effects of the way many of my essays have been left as they were in the act of their creation where notes and quotations have been left at there end - to drift as in the wake of a ship moving through a sea of reading.

Certainly such a “wake” was intended by Joyce to infer one aspect of the work of Finnegans Wake, and Duchamp’s Notes as opposed to being read first before engaging with the Glass has not occurred in actuality, and his Notes instead rather appear as appendices to the tangible object, a copy of which sits in the Tate Gallery in London and the original in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Richard Hamilton was in touch with Duchamp concerning his Notes and the possibility of him creating a copy of the Glass so that his work has been of marginal interest.


he essay I wrote On Donald Theall came about partly as a request from Hypermedia Joyce, and certainly Theall’s work on Joyce’s penchant for the technology of his day in James Joyce's Techno-Poetics and also his Beyond the word: Reconstructing sense in the Joyce era of technology, culture and communication had an immediate scholarly interest for me as an aid to beginning work on Reading Joyce Reading Duchamp. My Notes for Visual Studies is an essay that strolls from Louis Armand to Donald Theall and practices a “content” on Joyce and Duchamp through Heidegger, Derrida, poetry, music and Mallarmé to prepare a way, as I now understand it, to begin discussing or at least thinking through Henri Bergson via Deleuze and Guattari.

My essay Absorption in Finnegans Wake takes Bergson’s concepts concerning time and the creative act a little further along a road, as it were, to places less travelled by myself at the time of its writing: in several ways my essays reveal how exposed the writer is to dropping his pants in public – an attitude to writing that Marshall McLuhan may have seen as being rather like his own The Mechanical Bride (1951).

Other essays proceed in similar fashion by absorbing the texts I have around me and considering ways in which the site itself -as it will be a becoming -exerts a sense perhaps of the 4th Dimension that has intrigued me as it too intrigued Duchamp and Joyce. Some essays are also extensions to papers given at Universities in Europe and the USA at Joyce and Humanities and Arts Conferences. As Maurice Blanchot suggests:

A writer is not an idealistic dreamer, he does not contemplate himself in the intimacy of his beautiful soul, he does not submerse himself in the inner certainty of his talents. He puts his talents to work; that is, he needs the work he produces in order to be conscious of his talents and of himself. The writer only finds himself, only realizes himself, through this work; before his work exists, not only does he not know who he is, but he is nothing. He only exists as a function of the work… (The Gaze of Orpheus. p. 24)

Here Blanchot inadvertently adds another text to the concept of Language as a Virus from Outer Space in as much as language passes through people in which it finds its “nodes” as a germ, or a microbe; as Tristan Tzara once wrote: "DADA is a virgin microbe that insinuates itself with the insistence of air into all the spaces that reason hasn't been able to fill with words or conventions”. Tzara was another artist like Duchamp and Joyce whose texts became the something their contents vouched for as total form, as “a process with no subject”, artists who shared a certain common mood of apocalyptic desperation, disillusion, and readiness for change and risk in the early decades of the 20th Century. Tzara like other moderns privileged Symbolism as an anti-historical umbrella under which his writing mode could be developed.


have had the privilege of passing my images and essays as they were made past two people I deem to have been important in the formation of my work through the Internet: Phil and Mark Coates. These are my Shem and my Shaun of Reading Joyce Reading Duchamp on the www. What they understand is the problem of art and writing as a form developing by the means of the Internet and as a Website, and their encouragement through direct help has been of an inestimable value to me in getting my work in progress even to this stage.

As Mark has shown me several times the effect of writing for an Internet Site is wholly different to writing for or through any other publishing medium, and to this extent the previous site dedicated to this work was an exceptional learning experience that led me to the conclusion that my work in its content and its form was indeed in great part the outcome of beginning to “think” in the mode of a technologist -in a chronically untutored and therefore naïve and even clinging sense of asking for support.

John Cage the American composer and friend of Duchamp and an engineer of some of the most fascinating texts on Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, in a moment of unconscious Symbolist wit, once advised people, possibly artists, not to try to improve the world since this would only make matters worse – with which I wholeheartedly agree hence, as a matter of course, my interest not only in Joyce and Duchamp (though they symbolize the cutting edge of this site and my work that will be lifted onto it): but also figures like Marcel Proust, Samuel Beckett, Michel Leiris, Søren Kierkegaard, George Bataille (and the home of Tel Quel), Maurice Blanchot, Philippe Sollers, Paul Valéry, Martin Heidegger, Louis-Rene Des Forêts, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Louis Armand, Sam Slote, Darren Tofts, Jean-Michel Rabaté, and many other thinkers on Joyce and his vast project of writing the world (as opposed, lets say, to “righting the world”.

The writings of Friedrich Nietzsche have always been a source of encouragement to me first as a painter and then as a lecturer and an individual who is trying his damnedest to bring to his art the sensation of having merely done the best he can to engage with the problem of Art and Language, Poetry, Music and Philosophy inside, as it were, and also outside of History. There being several ways in which to translate the above sentiment it remains open to visitors to read my Images and Texts slowly: reading slowly is a skill of truly huge importance in allowing the work to work as a community of Letters and also as a Coagulation of Images.

BackgroundBackground resources On Donald TheallNotes for Visual Studies on JJ and MDAbsorption in Finnegans Wake and the GlassMultiplicityEssay for the James Joyce Conference 2009The James Joyce Symposium, Prague 2010