“to observe secret police activity in files each projectile a broadcast medium”
Armand’s writing is a testimony, recorded in shorter & longer texts, of “the megaphones of Prague”: based on observation of these mouthpieces-of-anything, with their past & lived present: a definition of the city by way of loudspeakers, of orders & distributors of all kinds of messages, in a combination of poetry, photography, installation, collage: also an evocation of what lies beneath the megaphone, its surroundings, but also its time, as well as our personal subjective time, the moment we pass under it, what mood is affected, & the sounds we imagine the megaphone to be making. The megaphone might be mute, but it still resonates with a spectral voice. And then there’s the systematic longitudinal record, covering 25 years, creating a specific mosaic of the city, captured by way of various approaches & syntaxes, commentaries & documentary impressions: a report on a psychogeography. Josef Straka
“heimat / house / mat / haus / bau / dormir / a dor / mouse: / sleepwindow”
A HOUSE FOR HANNE DARBOVEN was originally commissioned as a libretto by the Czech composer Ian Mikyska as a tribute to the work of the late German artist. Two incomplete versions were previously published, in Alienist & Cordite. The libretto was first programmed at the Barbican School, London (in an arrangement by Ian Mikyska for soprano), & was performed by the author & David Vichnar at Venuše ve Švehlovce theatre, Prague, as part of the 2017 Prague Microfestival.
A HOUSE FOR HANNE DARBOVENEIN HAUS FÜR (2021) / 18pp / download PDF
“The mirror is empty. Surely this is a sign? The error is too consistent & gigantic to be ignored. One moment, History is there, replete, like cinema. The next: Void. Where purpose was, now doubt, trepidation. Something must be to blame. We are not speaking of merely vulgar misunderstandings or an emotional ambivalence. Every disappearance can only be considered a murder, caused by a hidden hand. A crime of violent omission. These accusations demand an energy of response, not bands of superstitious dilettantes. The world is not a psychoneurotic disorder. Those still living have good reason not to feel safe from the revenges of the dead, even w/ a sea dividing them. Their taboos are as a mirror held up to a guilty conscience. Originally, all of the dead were Vampyrs. Yet we do not come from the past, but from the future.”
eyes lips dreams then night goes first nothing then night in the beginning before time in the confrontation of light & intractable unlight in the dawn of the word tangled in branches of TV static wake up they’ve been expecting you lying there in that solarised caress the very inverse of a woman prepared to mock her makers all aerials & elbows & hipbones & objectified spare ribs grubbying the seigniorial fingers licked till they gleam white as nativity talismans painstakingly erected out of so many test-patterned false starts white as an egg as a lamb’s eye as boiled testes she can almost taste them enough to turn a goat’s stomach what kind of thing was the beginning do the floodlights come magically on & voilà you’re lying with your legs spread in the middle of a photograph of Utopia…
The Orbital continues like this, night after night. Slant of cosmic rain slashing the blacktop. Dopplered taillights receding. Not alone then. The great migration to outer. Not the sole survivor then. Focus on that. Focus on the drift, the undertow, the invisible line reeling in. A distributed mass of alter-egos. Vanishing. And each time around the same again. The same vanishing again. The same slant. The same outer. Till none left. No others left. Only the survival to survive. Repeating. After night: night. Eons of undone time. Focus on that. The second before & the second after. Nothing between. Nothing from nothing, but the random propulsion of an idea. Focus on that. An idea of “nothing.” First one, then the other. Gravity’s re-birth. The fall. A flashing blue enveloping light.
100. Is this an end to torment? To the Great Cause? To Progress? To Civilisation? To Life As We Know It? To the gods of Chichen Itza? To the Pleasure Principle? To Knowledge? To your local Synthetic Chicken Franchise? To the Saturday Night Game? To the future of Martian exploration? To Xanadu? To race-, wage- & gender- slavery? To free optional extras? To certainty? To ideology? To evolution? To eat-all-you-can lunchtime specials? To literacy, the novel, the book, poetry? To poverty? To property? To patriarchy? To posterity? To perpetuity? To peeled pre-washed potatoes in plastic vacuum packs? Is this finally the end of the party? Of the road? Of the line? Of “us”? Of innocence? Of your favourite TV show? Of the Big Dream? Of the Revolution? Of days in the sun? Of your season pass? Of beachfront Caribbean tax havens? Of the shelf-life’s shelf-life? Of the Autumn Sale? Is it just the end of the Beginning or really the beginning of the End? Of the Free World? Of America? Of Mickey Mouse? Of boredom? Of our sentimental academic “sense of ending”? The categorical End to end all “ends”? The end, at last, of The End? Continue reading →
“À ces mots, il s’est tu. Assez de mots! Il c’est tué.”
Set in and around the Jardin des Plantes, Paris, Europe, the World, the Universe, Armand’s short novel is a whodunit with multiple twists. The setting of the tale against a backdrop of fossils and marvels of taxidermy gives Armand’s story a macroscopic dimension. As if the evolution of an entire species could be compressed into several hours of a Sunday morning. As if a tale of a murdered schoolteacher and a vengeful mob could tell of speciation and extinction throughout the evolutionary history of life on Earth. And it can. Armand’s deftly written fragmentary narrative is a point-counter-point of silent unheard voices, whose apocalyptic finale eschews euphony in favour of a cacophonous refusal of resolution. “NO END” – loose ends being preferable to final solutions…
“This book perfectly captures the unique personalities of the many artists, musicians, writers, performers and just plain kooks who made the 80s zeitgeist rock!” – Ann Magnuson
Curated by Robert Carrithers & Louis Armand CITY PRIMEVAL is a constellation of personal documentaries of place & time by key contemporary writers, poets, musicians, designers, filmmakers, photographers, artists, editors, performers from within the New York, Berlin & Prague underground scenes from the late 1970s to the present; from New York Post-Punk & No Wave, to the fall of the Berlin Wall & Reunification, to the Velvet Revolution & the Prague Renaissance. Continue reading →