"I Now Pronounce Myself Dead/PeR manent RevolutioNN" is my "zaum" art project of many years now come to completion (12 August 2014). The works, and the film, “PeR manent RevolutioNN,” which consists of 33 1/3 still images, and is mixed in with the works, “I Now Pronounce Myself Dead,” are part and parcel of a larger visual art practice—video, performance, photos, mixed media, drawing, collage, oils—I’ve been searching for over the millennium. I knew they were out there, I just needed to reel them in.
To quote Wikipedia, “Zaum are the linguistic experiments in sound symbolism and language creation of Russia-empire Futurist poets such as Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksei Kruchenykh.
Coined by Kruchenykh in 1913, the word zaum has been translated as "transreason", "transration" or "beyonsense" According to scholar Gerald Janecek, zaum can be defined as experimental poetic language characterized by indeterminacy in meaning.
Kruchenykh, in “Declaration of the Word as Such (1913),” declares zaum “a language which does not have any definite meaning, a transrational language” that “allows for fuller expression” whereas, he maintains, the common language of everyday speech “binds.”
Examples of zaum include Kruchenykh’s poem “dyr bul schyl,” Kruchenykh’s libretto for the Futurist opera “Victory over the Sun”, and Khlebnikov’s so-called “language of the birds”, “language of the gods”, and “language of the stars”. The poetic output is perhaps comparable to that of the contemporary Dadaism but the linguistic theory or metaphysics behind zaum was entirely devoid of the gentle self-irony of that movement and in all seriousness intended to recover the sound symbolism of a lost aboriginal tongue.”
For my own part, in my own art practice I wanted to mirror the process of zaum so that I could experience for myself first hand on a subjective level what it was they experienced in the creation of their art, I wanted to mingle and mix my humanity with theirs, and in the process of applying my own ideas and application of zaum in the field of visual art objects, I wanted to create objects as nonsensical, primitive, and radical as they did in their poetry. I also wanted to be part of something larger, something that I believed in, whether or not anyone else believed in it to, something that was not of this society as the way it is presently constituted, something of the Earth, where abundance reigns. Another one of my goals from the outset, was, I wanted to recover, really uncover, my own distinct voice, but I felt that I needed to take a path outside of typical art production, that is acquiring technical skills and going from there on a career path. I wanted to try another path outside of the norm. I also knew no other way. I in effect relied on zaum to lead and guide me in determining what my voice-to-be was to sound like, and, hence, what my art was to become. I attempted with the creation of these images to recover my own “lost aboriginal tongue,” which I found buried deep within my own unconscious mind and which I used to “speak these images.” For they are the product of my own lost speech as much as they are the influence of modernist practitioners—Kandinsky, Picasso, Mondrian, Ludwig, Louis Armstrong, “W. R.: Mysteries of the Orgone Energy.” Warh, et al.
In the process of making these pieces I wanted to let go and Sing/Shout Out without restraints, to go to the limit of what it means to be a human being without being burdened by society and past repressions and past traumas. I wanted to go beyond myself as I was at the time, back when I initiated this project (2? December 1668).
IN THE BEGINNING I JUST WANTED TO SING, AND NOW I WANT TO SING OUT AS LOUD AS I CAN, IN THE BASEST, MOST GUTTURAL MANNER POSSIBLE. WHATEVER “SOUNDS” COME OUT I CONSIDER A VICTORY (OVER THE SUN.)
Not only did I want to Sing the “Language of the Stars,” I journeyed into k. Malevich’s Suprematist painting, “Black Square,” (hence the Sci-Fi elements in the work), and swam deep inside and around his painting, and made my way from the hysteria of the West to the tranquility of the East. As I write this, I feel my pranayama gushing out of the top of my head and enveloping me in a radiant nimbus.
I use pre-history symbols like the swastika and the star of David, I use these symbols because I found them within myself. I SPOKE THEM OUT, as I found them inside of me and as they rose up from lower depths.
And in the process of UN/REcovering my own voice, it was also a way of honoring and paying tribute to Khlebnikov and Kruchenykh, and I wanted to honor those Russian and Soviet artists like Vladimir Mayakovsky, Dziga Vertov, and Vsevolod Meyerhold who I consider to be heroes for using zaum to uncover their own voices in the fields of poetry, drama, theater direction, film, but also for supporting the ideals both in theory and in practice of the RussiAN REVOLUTION FROM the outset, which to them they equated with the complete emancipation of mankind from material want and greed; and for never once wavering from their ideals even when they knew, under Stalin, they faced the 3AM knock on the door and the KGB agent-assassin asking them to, “Step out into the hallway.”
“With every breath, we inhale a bit of the dust of our universe, our planet’s past and future…”
I approached the project with the purest of hearts. I wanted to give voice, and breath, to the speck of dust within me, and to the speck of dust in the universe that I am. That’s all