section =
Topic =

n Overview of the Work in Progress Reading Joyce Reading Duchamp as a Series that includes all of the Pages of Finnegans Wake, though not in Chronological Order, and also an Overview of The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even

The term “Bachelor Machine” was prepared by Duchamp for the Large Glass (otherwise known as The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even), as the result of reproducing (twice) a painted and wire-worked picture of a Chocolate Grinder that mechanically, poetically, “grinds its own chocolate” (a pun on male onanism in its desire for the out-of reach 4th Dimensional Bride). The Bride above is of course female so that the machine as a whole is Hermaphrodidic, the Bride having affiliations to various machines herself, one of which is the Automobile, which, as Joyce once noted, “is a machine that must then be a kind of god”. Joyce’s pages of his Finnegans Wake and its Letter Characters HACLEP, (HCE – ALP) contain an Hermaphrodidic strain too as implied or suggested by several commentators of the Wake, and also a family incest since this small generic “family” of Shem, Shaun, and Issey Network throughout the entire book as their personas change into other personas from the past, from the present, and from the future: a full family of Man."

Just as Duchamp’s works Network, as exemplified for instance in his Boîte-en-valise (see http://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/115) so do Joyce’s other “characters” (or Sigla) who are morphed and Networked by the reader throughout the entire work. These character-like-letters (individual letters are characters in themselves) quickly become character condensations that Joyce created first as signs (or sigla) during the period he was working on his notebooks as Work in Progress for what was to become Finnegans Wake. All of the words in this last book upon which he spent so much energy Network with each other in the most “democratic work ever written” as many Joyceans would agree. As one Hypertext theorist notes on what is often called the “hive mind” or the universal “mind of man” we discover the rhizome structure:

The Network is the Rhizomatic figure par excellence. It is "post-personal", allowing for a web of connections to be drawn, not only in terms of the author's "intentions" and the reader's "reception," but rather in a much wider, more complicated set of possible interconnections that blur established, that is to say hegemonic, distinctions of class, race, sexual practice, and so on. Kevin Kelly describes the "hive mind" as a distributed system of awareness. For him, "a distributed, decentralized network is more a process than a thing." (Christian Hubert. Desiring Machines).


uch is the case with my Images and Essays, and Image-to-Image and Essay-to-Essay in my own fashion of working with the world of the Artwork-as-a-Process. Not only does the Zoomify Image on this site Reading Joyce Reading Duchamp Network between and through allusions to Technology, Science, Chemistry, Astronomy, the Book, the Internet, the Computer, the Gallery, the Photograph, Series of Trial Alphabets, the Mechanisms of DNA – RNA, Traditional and less Traditional works of art that belong to the History of Art, the Art History Book Detail, (Reproduction in itself, in other words, and hence its proliferation as a pedagogical tool–come artwork in and of itself), and so forth; But the “Series” of works too like “Shaun” and the in the making “Shem” series will likewise Network with one another in a similar way as do Joyce’s characters, and the different dimensions in which they shift and morph.


xtremely noticeable, therefore, in both Joyce and Duchamp’s largest and most complex works is the almost complete absence of the individual persona – either female or male – as such: Duchamp’s Bride is a condensation and metaphor for a “comic dummy” who wears “Breast Cylinders”, is an arbre type, an automaton whose orgasms are motorized, whose libido is a “Desire Magneto” whose “Motor” has “feeble cylinders”; she has a “reservoir of love gasoline” for balance. Her “Blossomings are Cinematic” both “vertical and horizontal”: is a “Chemistry apparatus” and “ communicates with her Bachelors or suitors through a “Juggler of gravity”. She occupies four-dimensional space, enjoys some free will and is an object of “hygiene” through her immeasurability for she is also a light-bulb and much of her workings are covered with “Mossy Metal”: she is a meteorological weather vane effectively attached to the Eiffel Tower and who communicates by wireless telegraphy and electromagnetic waves. The “alphabetic units” of her “Top Inscription” creates a telepathic curve via radio control as well as telegraphy and Hertzian waves.

“Desire Gears”, “Displacements and double Displacements” connect to Duchamp’s “Readymades”. We find “connections that are electrical”, an “electric fete”, an “electrical control for her strippings” and “short circuits”, “X-Rays”, “hieroglyphic signs”; she is a “Delay in Glass” like a photograph before it is printed: she is the machinery of a camera.

ALP is (Anna Livia Plurabelle) in a sigla Δ that indicates she is a Delta of a river, while HCE (Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker – Here Comes Everybody – Haveth Childers Everywhere – Heinz Cans Everywhere) (Etc) is, in a sigla, E, and the three children Shem, Shaun and Issy also have their own signs though The Sigla of the Wake (See http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/JoyceColl/JoyceColl-idx?type=div&did=JOYCECOLL.MCHUGHSIGLA.I0006&isize=M) is itself a topic extremely full as well as inclusive for the material of the Wake.

The feminine principle of ALP, unlike the Bride of the Glass, is water (whereas in the Bride it is air and the Bachelor’s Domain is watery) and her name Livia stems from the river Liffey but also refers to all rivers. In order to indicate a little of how Joyce created the Wake and Anna Livia Plurabelle particularly, Finn Fordham in his book Lots of Fun at Finnegans Wake discusses her Very Fist Time for the First Time like this:

The passage we will now work through is one of the yarns spun about ALP’s youth by the more authoritative washerwoman. It is part of ‘a search backwards to the source of her sexual awakening’ and an explanation of how she came to have 111 children. Written early in 1924, it grew as a response to the following appeal: ‘Tell me where the very first time!’ – that is, the first kiss or something more…

There was a holy hermit there in Luggelaw one day in July and so young & shy and [space] she looked he put his two hands in her flowing hair, that was rich red like the brown bog and he couldn’t help [sic], thirst was too hot for him, he cooled his lips time after time again at Anna Livia’s freckled cheek. Why was she freckled? How long was her hair? O go on, go on, go on! I mean about what you know. I know what you mean. I’m going on. Where did I stop? Don’t stop? Go On, go on. (203.17 – 205.15 and 47471b – 76; JJA 48: 7).

Joyce revised the whole surrounding section of four or five notebook pages, replacing some words, filling gaps he’d purposefully left, and making interlineations and marginal additions. The sexual experiences of Anna’s youth went up from one incident to three. He then copied it out till our passage looked, as a second draft, as follows (stopping short of the two newly inserted incidents):

Tell me where, the very first time! I will if you listen. You know the glen of Luggelaw? Well once there dwelt a hermit and one day in warm June so young and shy & so limber she looked he plunged both of his blessed hand up to his writs in her flowing hair that was rich red like the brown bog. And he couldn’t help it, thirst was too hot for him, he cooled his lips kiss after kiss on Anna Livia’s freckled cheek. O, wasn’t he the bold priest! And wasn’t she the naughty Livvy! (203.16 – 204.05 and 47471b – 83; JJA 48:23). (Finn Fordham Lots of Fun At Finnegans Wake. p.67)

oth Joyce and Fordam’s effects of writing here create much more than just a “small” sense of relish to what might be taken to be an anthropomorphised female text on an act of quasi paedophilia and a priest who has forgotten his holy vows of celibacy. Fordam’s view is, that in such episodes as this in Finnegans Wake, it is the reader who has to find their own Joyce: the one who is taking a moral stance detached from mere “gossip”, for instance, or a comic (and moral) Joyce who takes the motif of “the old man” and “the young girl” for several walks throughout the Wake as a leitmotiv. Further readings of both Joyce and his interpreters and theorists (as with Duchamp and interpreters and critics) become for me the major literary / visual sources upon which all of my images are drawn: therefore a reader or spectator needs to be informed concerning the Extended Bibliography that will indicate the resources used in firing my imagination as to an Artistic and Literary or mere Written interaction between Language and the World and Language and the Work of Art.

The “Eternal Female” as in Goethe and also in Wagner's Brünnhilde become, in Joyce's Molly Bloom and ALP, an unrepresentable being beyond her worded world, as does the Bride of the Glass - therefore rather like the inclusion of tesseracts, for example, in my images for the 4th Dimension, some of which bear photographs of rivers of the world in stages of being amassed and sought out as visual arrays for swathes of watery domains, and also softened pornographic images (among other devices), the aim was and also is to create universal substitutes, as it were, for the “lost essence” of the “individual Woman”, and for the “Eternal Male” too, that the Images and Texts and the Project taken as a Whole might gradually render such philosophic issues if not “tangible”, then at least felt poetically, synaesthetically.

The same occurs with HCE, Shem, Shaun and Issy to the same extent but in growingly different ways as the work unfolds in time. To reinforce this notion I offer this quotation:

Anna Livia Plurabelle is a woman, and she is also a river. Earwicker is a man, a mountain, an insect, the current Pope, the Urvater of Freudian theory, Finn MacCool, and he is also both Shem and Shaun. He is, as a matter of fact, every person, place and thing in the Wake – just as every man "is" the sum total of his own perceptions and evaluations. Earwicker is finally able to accept and affirm his world, Joyce is finally able to accept and affirm his world, because they recognize that "I, and everything therein, are one." (Robert Anton Wilson. Joyce and Tao. From The James Joyce Review, vol. 3, 1959, pp. 8-16)

As a quotation perhaps this is not particularly fine although it derives form a particular kind of ideology, and therefore reveals that our own “ideology” will likewise practice its own heat on the way we accept or chose to reject the ways in which JJ, MD and IH perform as ways of communicating their feel for a world that is strongly held by the Arts.

Background • A Collection of Potentialities in Progress on "Image" and "Language"• Shaun Series• Shem Series