24 April 2015

F.M.R.L., a title, a frame

F.M.R.L. Footnotes, Mirages, Refrains and Leftovers of Writing Sound* is published today.

The title is ‘F.M.R.L.': not ‘Ephemeral’. I chose this title because of its ambiguity and because it calls to be sounded. I chose it to draw the attention toward language as material; to stay away from any literal understanding of sound as ephemeral, as if unworthy of attention; and to prompt other departures from and into words and letters. To claim invention, intermissions and diversions—responding to a recurring invite that often comes to me from sounds—for example, any time somebody hesitates to pronounce the title of my previous book (or my surname, even). Smiling at the thought of people stumbling upon these letters. How to make all this part of a connective tissue of listening into writing? Language beyond me. That’s why Scratches by Michel Leiris is so present in this book, as he is so receptive to the sounds within phonemes and letters and peels off a whole new layer of meaning by thinking beyond meaning as external referent, but meaning made and remade through resounding deviations and displacements, through listening and through a world of sounds ‘filled with strangeness’. A book that might not appear** as a book about sound, but is very much a sounding book. A way to build a language and most of all, a way of working through arrangements. To become frame.

* While writing the title, I accidentally spelled ‘Writing Wound’. How to ignore this?
** ‘appear’.

16 April 2015

inner hidden workings of psyche

Out of sheer curiosity I went to look for my Italian edition of Hillman’s book, and I was glad to meet my older self being drawn to the same section in the book, back in 2006, the actual first time I read it before my following two encounters in English last year and this week:

Scan 2 Scan 1

16 April 2015

to deliteralize sensation (James Hillman)

Second time round reading The Dream and the Underworld, underlining again parts I’d forgotten I’d underlined, yet are even more relevant for how I work today.

Scan

 

30 March 2015

Esprit d’F.M.R.L.

The following words appear at some point in my new book F.M.R.L. They hold the book’s drive, they have prompted most of my new texts over the last few months and they are the closest I can get to saying how I’ve been trying to write.

*

Let these words: curl, wither. Let them be heard in their thinning. Let me syphon them boney, let me drain them until a skeletal presence is left, no tomes, no weight, only necessary filament-words to creep up and haunt the secret thickness of thoughts.
I no longer write much and sometimes I no longer write. Because I could not be clear I got here. For the well-determined minds I descended and drowned in the waters of wordy. For the well-determined thoughts I drowned in the narrow well of linear. Determined by their thoughts I drowned and descended. The well-determined mind, the consequential. The, well, determined wordy mind that overwhelms. Well determined wordy linear writing, when my words began to find their withering ways I would stare at the knots on the page and think of you. What great conviction, what clarity. I was repelled into silence. And what did I do when aphasic temptation came?
What I did: I received it, as it silently moved subterraneous and eroded these words.

 

22 March 2015

feathered armours

plumage, feathers . . . murmuration, convocation

unnamed

 

 

unnamed-1

20 March 2015

leftovers

leftovers

18 February 2015

Records Ruin the Landscape / review

I have reviewed David Grubbs’ book Records Ruin the Landscape for Music & Literature. Writing a review after devoting the last few years to my new book has been a rewarding process and one that has generated further writing already. It reminded me of how neither of my English books, En abîme and F.M.R.L.**, would have existed without my years in Italy working as a journalist: listening to records, reading books, reviewing them. There is a rigour that comes from writing reviews–an activity in close proximity with reading and listening–that thickens thought and demands attention.

(Then there’s a refusal of / removal from writing reviews, that occurs necessarily in waves — but this is the topic of another blog post)

** I need to write something about titles…

 

12 February 2015

A Capriccio for D A N C E H A L L

The new issue of D A N C E H A L L, the journal published by Psykick Dancehall Recordings, is out.

I wrote a Capriccio – remembering the sounds in Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, as they evoke an idea of Rome filtered in my text through E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Princess Brambilla.

More notes on listening, writing, reference and presence, that eventually didn’t find their way into my book but that belong to the same constellation.

Here are the first and the last pages of the text:

DH3

DH4

 

 

DH1

 

30 January 2015

Earlid: Sing, Singe / una pallida mummia

I was invited by Joan Schuman to contribute to her new project Earlid by responding to two words:

sing, singe

One word ‘resonant with joy or melancholy, the other sinister, ashy’.

I added an R. 

It became a text to be partly spoken, peeled off the page, but never quite so, a text from memory and a text that is read and spoken inside your head – hence the rhythm which is never entirely flowing.

The Italian poet Amelia Rosselli, who wrote in between three languages and wasn’t afraid of letting their structures coexist when she wrote in Italian, and who studied music, observed that sometimes written words hold sound, but this sound is in fact absence, and it only echoes in the reading mind and it can never be only sound.

Hence her long paratactical sentences with no stresses or resolving turns, with strings of echoes, that claim to be read aloud but leave you breathless:

Colma di ansie tributarie rinascevo a miglior vita. Colma
di perdono e di riguardi, stancata dalle bestie liberatosi
dai buchi della mia coscienza stufa degli inganni e delle
reciproche battaglie-desolata del vuoto e piena di vita
esausta come una pietra su della quale troppo si cammina
rinascevo a peggior vita; testa tonda e guanti di feltro.

Contavo perle e stringevo fra le braccia una pallida mummia.

 

21 January 2015

F.M.R.L., 24 April 2015

FMRL

My new book, F.M.R.L. Footnotes, Mirages, Refrains and Leftovers of Writing Sound, will be published on 24 April. 
More details and updates to follow on this blog. 

Listening into writing, reading into writing take shape in F.M.R.L. through a collection of short texts, fragments and deranged essays, with attention to pacing and linguistic derives. An archive of books, notebooks, events and records prompts the texts in these pages, responding to encounters with Michel Leiris’s autobiographical fictions; concerts and events at Café Oto and the Swedenborg House in London; visits to museums such as the Pitt Rivers in Oxford and exhibitions such as Ice Age Art at the British Museum, among the others. 
The attention dwells on the peripheral—accidents of hearing, recalled stories, detours of thought—rather than any assumed core, up to the point when the very core of the book becomes what is normally deemed peripheral. Taking its title from Louis Aragon, F.M.R.L. (Ephemeral: Frenzy, Madness, Reverie, Love) is ‘a recording of a three-year long improvisation in writing’: it reclaims the complexity and intermittent incoherence in listening and reading, and it works with their residual aspects addressing reference, canons, issues of authenticity and fabulation, degrees of opacity and transparency, across languages and cultures. F.M.R.L. makes claims for confusion and unexpected minutiae rather than supporting any grand, encompassing narrative of listening. It is not concerned with making sense univocally, but with exploring possibilities for meaning and for writing sound.
 F.M.R.L. is a book constructed across sonic patterns, assonance, repetitions, comprising texts that intermittently drift from sense to sound and to nonsense and back. A flip from the immateriality of sound to the sounds of letters and words as material, a call from reading to voicing.

 
‘Daniela Cascella is the most literary listener I know. In the frenzy of ephemera collected here, she catches echoes between films and philosophy, sculpture and drama, music and novels. Grounded in French surrealism, Italian narrative, and American poetry, F.M.R.L. auscultates books by some of the most magical writers from the past century: Clarice Lispector, Gert Jonke, and — above all — Michel Leiris. In the process, Cascella investigates the very logic of sound: its recursiveness; its decay; its interference patterns and resonant sympathies. Attending to the blur of voices into noise at the borders of understanding, Cascella gives back the songs of sound’s extended techniques, transmuting noise back into poetry at the borders of these pages. F.M.R.L. is a Passagen-werk of the inner ear’.
Craig Dworkin, author of No Medium (MIT Press, 2013)

In F.M.R.L., each reader enters a different labyrinth. Frictions, murmurings, resonances, laconisms. Retune your listening. Fractures, metamorphoses, residues, lingerings. Reconcile yourself with the ephemeral nature of sound. Fabulations, marginalia, recollections, labyrinths. Revel in invention based on error. Daniela Cascella’s F.M.R.L. is, to turn one of her citations into an emblem of her project: “a site of confusion and heightened perception, a site of deep time.” Against the cognitive traps of syllogistic discourse she offers a celebration of the sundry accidents and errors of listening, each one an inspiration to write. She asks: “And what shall I do with my heritage of listening?” I answer: “Continue to share it with us!”
Allen S. Weiss, author of Varieties of Audio Mimesis (Errant Bodies, 2008) and Zen Landscapes (Reaktion Books, 2013).

This is writing in its most present sense. Writing that, true to its tense, enacts a continual process of thinking and perceiving. Writing that, spinning its words from sound, gathers up referents in a loose weave. Expansive in scope, and intimate in scale, this is writing where reading dwells in the reverie of detail—and deserves our full attention. 
Kristen Kreider, author of Poetics and Place (IB Tauris, 2013)

 

 

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