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What, Me Conceptual?

Poetry Center, University of Arizona, Tucson
May 29-31, 2008
full conference videos

Recantorium: a bachelor machine after Duchamp after Kafka
May 29, 2008

Watch on
[mp4 of Tracie Morris and Bernstein -- uncut with intro -- file copy, UAz (Morris video at her page)]

A brief primer on bachelor machines (with special reference to "Recantorium") 

The Answer (a video made in collaboration with Lars Plenge) (2003)
The Yellow Pages ads (1998)
         "The Critic" (0:32): MP4
          "Draperies" (0:31) MP3
Legend, "bachelor" collaboration  with Bruce Andrews, Ron Silliman, Ray DiPalma, & Steve McCaffery; see, for example, Bernstein/Andrews, consisting entirely of appropriated texts and arrayed as a Benjaminian constellation.
The Nude Formalism (1989)
¶ "People should love and approve of me," sec. 13 from "A Person Is Not an Entity Symbolic" (from The Sophist) (recording 1977) (1:06): MP3
¶"Emotions of  Normal People" (from Dark City) (22:07): MP3
¶"Work In Progress" (for Eliot Spitzer)
Oshamnu (from "A Person Is Not an Entity Symbolic but the  Divine Incarnate" in The Sophist) (a source for "Recantorium").

"Bachelor machine" [machines célibataires] comes from Duchamp's "Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even" (the lower part of the "Large Glass," e.g., "Chocolate Grinder"). Michel Carrouges (in his book Machines célibataires [Paris: Arcanes, 1954, 2nd ed. 1976] extended the term to incorporate the disciplinary apparatus of Kafka's The Penal Colony & also to Roussel's Impressions of Africa, and some of Poe's machines as well, and, crucially, to the work of Alfred Jarry. This formulation has been adapted by Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus and also by Michel de Certeau in Ars de Faire.. As a term for poetic constructions, "bachelor machine" suggests nonproductive, nonprocreative, onanistic processes, vicious (or self-enclosing/collapsing) circles, an apparatus that is unable to get outside itself. There is a connection, in my use, to délire (delirium, with special reference to Jean-Jacques LeCercle) — that which goes astray, deviates from the rational, errs, raves. Though perhaps it would be better to call these works of mine anti-bachelor-machines.

1. Recantorium 2. "A Theory's Evolution" (The Theory of Flawed Design) (1:18): MP3, text (from Philadelphia Inquirer)
3. anagrammatica from Shadowtime (anagrams of "Walter Benjamin") (0:43)): MP3
4. introduction to "Dea%r Fr~ien%d" (1:21): MP3
5. "Dea%r Fr~ien%d" (3:33): MP3, text (from Conjunctions)
6. Some remarks on poetry and framing (2:24): MP3
7. On Blind Witness (1:47): MP3
8. "Four score ..." and "Nonny" (from "Today's Not Opposite Day" in With Strings): (1:39): MP3
9. "Gertrude & Ludwig's Bogus Adventure" (from My Way) —  in honor of Marjorie Perloff (1:46): MP3
10. On "Most Frequent Words" suite (0:42): MP3
11. "Kiss Me Tommy" (3:37): MP3
12. "No Hiding Place" (2:18): MP3
13. "All the Whiskey in Heaven" (1:21): MP3

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These recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the author. © 2008 Charles Bernstein. Used with permission of Charles Bernstein. Distributed by PennSound.