Erin Costello is a poet, artist, and a few other things. Her work has recently appeared in Drunken Boat, Trickhouse, and the e-poetry festival in Buffalo. She is the co-founder of SpringGun Press with Mark Rockswold and is currently living in Denver, Colorado. When she is not working as an online marketer for car audio retailers, her research interests include remix, 20th and 21st century poetics, and electronic literature. She was a contributor to the course content for remixthebook.com and is the designer of this website.
September 17, 2011
Ourselves, the movement of the brows. A seizure. You might be one of us who distorts the body in sweat, causes love without statement. You might be one of us.
Together this is ours, behind the abandoned square. We call it want. We call it you. That person talented at even if and solve this. We say a system will grow to remain. We call to you. Leave the sword by the dollar, teach us cities abandoned of themselves. We seize, we get angry.
What has been stolen is anyone. To preserve decisions. To see the property of blame. You strike every city from existence, you live collectively. You seized the call structure, the unemployed machinations, that life property, the state of mind as arena, and so on. You trickle down the buildings, those cities of us. Use it altogether. We are merely two sides, not every.
You remain as still as abandoned land, remain us. One part power, one part situation. Get it then. Seize that active being, be that will.
We see the trumps as the whole system. People act, people realize how pits reform if together is right. To retake need, is to call again.
In a Washington Post article, Alaina Love writes of Occupy Wall Street, “[the protest] itself is a form of chaos in the process of coalescing into a new order.” If this is true, perhaps the movement’s name should be changed to “remixthegovernment.” After all, isn’t remix essentially creating a new order from the chaos? Or maybe it’s creating a new chaos from the order.
For this project, the chaos and source material (is everywhere) is the September 17th call to action on the occuptywallstreet.org website. The new order, my remix, is literally a new order to the language of this call. The number one complaint of the Occupy ______ protests is the non-specific language associated with the cause. Working under my belief that remix is a tool that can use the method of obscuration in order to actually provide clarity, I remixed the vague and abstract call to action for Occupy Wall Street in order to better understand it. This clarity isn’t of the rhetorical kind, but of the poetic variety. My reason for this is twofold: I am a poet, and as Andrew Joron says, “Where language fails, poetry begins.” And I don’t want the language of this admirable cause to fail.
This new version of the call was originally intended to be written as a love letter, to you. I’m not sure that it ended up that way. Every word that appears in the letter was taken from the original source material (is everywhere), although no word was allowed to be repeated unless it was also repeated in the original.
A remix like this is essentially a demolition and a reconstruction, a breaking apart and putting back together. During the demolition I began to find the linguistic foundation and building blocks of the call. Immediately I could see where the structure of the call was suffering. The call is built with the word “freedom”, which is almost looping; and yet I was unable to use it once in my version. It’s just too abstract. The foundation however, was in the first person plural: the word “we” appears 27 times in the original call. “We” is always a strong place to start a mass protest, right? Not surprisingly then, the most used word in the English language, “I” , was completely absent. I was completely absent. The call is written A Rose for Emily-style (minus the necrophilia).