GREEN LOVE: PETER LAMBORN WILSON’S NEW BOOK, RIVERPEOPLE

New book from the great Peter Lamborn Wilson (aka Hakim Bey), now available to order via Autonomedia

This “epic” mixed poetry and prose text about an area of upstate New York is organised around seven historical, geographical and aesthetic events that once took place along the euphoniously-named Esopus River, with which the author says he fell in “green love.” Peter Lamborn Wilson provides a literary and philosophical tour-de-force of local history, including the “cartolagic” documentations of the performances he conducted to commemorate and to “re-enchant these landscapes” so threatened by vulgar materialism and ecological devastation.

“Every map has its Night Sky because the Map is not the Territory — & yet it is….

Ordinary maps project ideological inscriptions onto the body of landscape — but a magical map would share essences with that landscape & engage in co-realization with it. Such a map could then act as a pilgrim’s guide to the Profane or— Secular Illumination — a pagan theory of Sacred Earth as cartomantic spell. Looked at this way, even ordinary maps possess an “invisible” or nocturnal dimension, or rather a set of stars & asterisms that replicate or mirror its topography & hydrography in the sleeping sky — ‘As Above, So Below’ — sciences that (as Novalis says) will then have been poeticized.”

A typically provocative interview with Peter Lamborn Wilson (aka Hakim Bey), author of the T.A.Z. Manifesto, at The Brooklyn Rail

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Click on the portrait of PLW (pencil on paper by Brooklyn Rail mainman Phong Bui) to read the whole interview.

Choice cuts….

PLW on living in Iran in the ’70s:

They asked [playwright Robert Wilson], “We have all this money for you. What do you want to do?” He said, “I want to do a play that lasts for seven days and seven nights.”

On the Arab Spring:

I thought it was absolutely wonderful, it was like a big sigh of relief… But here it is, hardly a year later and already the promise is betrayed. The Islamists and the militarists have taken over again, and you just have to do it all over; that’s pretty depressing and I wouldn’t be surprised if people lost their impetus and weren’t able to keep up the pressure. Now, having said how wonderful I thought it all was, I will point out that…

On the state of America, post-Occupy:

I was beginning to feel that there would never be another American uprising, that the energy was gone, and I have some reasons to think that might be true. I like to point out that the crime rate in America has been declining for a long time, and in my opinion it’s because Americans don’t even have enough gumption to commit crimes anymore: the creative aspect of crime has fallen into decay. As for [Occupy], [an] uprising that takes a principled stand against violence, hats off to them, I admire the idealism, but I don’t think it’s going to accomplish much. I’m sorry to say that, but that is my feeling, despite all the brilliance that’s gone into it…

On uprising:

If you can’t have a revolution at least you can have an uprising. And then there’s this intense life that gets lived for usually no more than 18 months, or sometimes for just a few nights, but at least there can be this T.A.Z. where people live intensely and joyously in each other’s presence: what I call conviviality, living together, which is not to be sneered at.

On technology:

I’ve eliminated certain technologies from my life because I have the luxury to do so. It’s not something I’m prescribing for other people. I don’t have a TV, I don’t have a computer, I don’t have a car. I don’t have a record player, I don’t have a radio in my house. I’m like the Amish. I want it out of my house, but once I’m out of my house I’m probably willing to use these things. You can’t simply cut yourself off completely.

On the triumph of the machines:

We have no viable alternative economic institution that will help us live outside the monster of predatory capital. That doesn’t exist. And it’s the Internet which has facilitated that transition, so I call it the end of the world. On my bad days I believe in it, but on my good days I still try to maintain that history has not really come to an end and that that the possibility still exists that people will wake up and achieve a critique of technology. What is so frigging hard about this? Why are people so hypnotized, why do people think it’s a law of nature that technology has taken over the world to the extent that it has? It’s not natural: It has historical roots, it has economic explanations, and these things can be worked on. They could be changed, but I don’t see any will to it. I don’t see one single Luddite institution. Nobody is working for this. If I were to defend violence I would defend machine smashing over all, which is a total heresy. Nobody smashes machines. They’re sacred.

And so on, with lots more on PLW’s fascinating current art practice. Fantastic stuff, great questions from the Brooklyn Rail team. Read the whole thing here: The Brooklyn Rail

"We made a spiritual claim to the island in the name of the Pantisocratic Order of Thelema"


Hakim Bey, Esopus maps #2, 2010, mixed media.

From a 2010 conversation with Hakim Bey (aka Peter Lamborn Wilson) by Hans Ulrich Obrist at e-flux:

“l call it vanishing art, which means that the art comes into existence in the very moment that it disappears. For example, the first piece I did involved throwing gold rings into a river—like the ancient druids used to do. Each of these works is based on a place in the region where I live, and each one is based on a historical event or person that I find inspiring, either because they were mystical or revolutionary, or for some other reason. In each case I find a way to do an artwork that vanishes, either immediately or over the course of a few days. I have plenty of plans for other ways of doing this, but so far I’ve been throwing things into water and burying things. In the future I’ll be burning a lot of things as well. I want to get into pyrotechnics.

“And then in each case, I make a map similar to the one that you have, using collage, which is meant to be a sort of magical manipulation of the toposphere, of the map world, the image of the place. I use photographs and found objects and so forth to make these, and I also keep a box of documentation for each one, with photographs, drafts, essays, poems, souvenirs, and so forth. So even though the art disappears, the map and the box remain behind as a record of the work.

“[This one] originated as a nineteenth century Hudson River navigation chart. The important place there is Esopus Island, which is where Aleister Crowley camped out in 1918. I visited it with William Breeze, who is the official representative of Aleister Crowley’s occult and literary remains. He’s the literary executor, and he’s also the head of the Ordo Templi Orientis, which is the occult lodge that Crowley left behind. So Bill Breeze and I hired a sailboat for the day and went to that island and explored it. We had a nice time, came back, had a nice dinner, and that was pretty much the start of this whole series of works. I realized that I’ve been living up here and studying the local history for ten years, and I don’t know what to do with all this material about this place where I live. I didn’t want to turn it into some stupid guidebook for tourists. I didn’t want to turn it into a stupid academic book for an academic press. So for now I’m putting all this historical and topological knowledge into these works I make in a very private way, just for friends. Maybe sometime I will have an exhibition of the maps. But I would like to wait a year or so, until I’ve really got a good, solid collection before doing something like a gallery show. So next year, God willing, I’m going to do another seven or eight of these works, and that might be enough to start thinking about doing a show. But in the meantime I sort of like the idea that it’s private and secret, driven by word of mouth and magical influences rather than publication or publicity.”

Hakim Bey's BLACK FEZ MANIFESTO, &c., reviewed by Louise Landes Levi

black-fez-manifesto-lorescover

BLACK FEZ MANIFESTO, &c.
by Hakim Bey
(Autonomedia & Garden of Delight, Brooklyn & Dublin, 2008)
Reviewed by Louise Landes Levi

“Come to Prayer – prayers are better than sleep” Dawn Azzah
“But the sleep of the Knowers is worth more than the prayers of the merely pious” Hadith

Most poets have secret arts and even ‘professions’ that are not part of the official biography. The author of the book I’m about to ‘review,’ to take an example, is (I have heard from a reliable source) an excellent billiards player. One wouldn’t want to encounter him casually at a pool table, no. For my part, those who know me well will, on occasion, show me their palm and ask for a reading. Apparently a line beneath my right index finger indicates a propensity of this sort, or so I was told in Bombay. And why not, a line is a line, a line of verse or a line stretched across the mortal palm.

Earth needs more parking lots
the way you need more patches of asphalt
grafted to your face & genitalia

(fr. SHOE DREAM)

Esoterically, the chakras open, it is said, intuition reads through the labyrinth (of lines). Is this so different than reading a text? And the billiard player—is his first thought best thought to be doubted? The archer and his arrow, the pool player and his cue. We take the cue from Hakim Bey, aka Peter Lamborn Wilson, a national treasure, hidden, of course, but thankfully through publications of this sort and the dedication of publishers Autonomedia and Garden of Delights, in view.

In the back room of an
occult bookstore
near the Pantheon a groupuscule called
ZARATHUSTRAS REVENGE concocted the
bomb plot but
the infernal device turned out to b
a dud but regret
is at least an emotion. I was there
& I am still there
a ghost to myself.

Personally I never go anywhere without a book by Hakim Bey, in tow. How many blessed moments reading through T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Pirate Utopias (then and now, on Isla Margarita not far from Santa Anna, a small village settled by Spanish version of same, holy drop outs, some hundreds of years ago), Avant Gardening, Millennium, Shower of Stars: The Initiatic Dream in Sufism and Taoism, such an esoteric and beautifully written book; and the poems, recent chapbooks, rain queer and The Atlantis Manifesto and those found, almost by chance in an anthology, to name one among many, Wildflowers No. 7 (Shivastan, 2007) or the recently published translation from the Persian Il divan-al-Ghalib (Longhouse, 2009).

Civilization in ruin is always a good idea.
Industrial decay has the same
beauty as Persepolis – the melancholy
of vast suffering ended & barely
remembered, like dental pain.

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