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Project Statement

by B. Nelson

Say this eye, thinly covered, ice-sharp by adaptation, forgot to die or to remember every earth. The eyelash a net, cast like a spell at the edge of a sleep. "Are thee not truer when still?" Say this eye did not raw-bruise the room nor invent creation, but merely left things undone. Without blinking, the yellow sun could have stayed closed giving grace time to develop a good backstroke. That tattoo of burnt words we expected surprised us by not showing up. Say this eye, a cataract one, a nameless hole, just never was. Just like that. Say without stuttering, no you can't. The tongue folds back on itself wet with storm to forget. "Like the letter chasing across the page, pursuing the thought that it has never seen face to face…in a frenzy from line to line…who can never be sure…if it has managed to pass on a little sense…because the letter only wanted to be written down to enjoy its own embodiment…But when the letter takes hold of the thought tenderly, it is impossible to be sure that it is indeed The Thought, the true one, because after such a long odyssey everything has changed; it is not the same letter and besides it doesn't know what to make of itself any more; it's forgetting itself. It has never been anything but a passion, the trembling of the paper strained by the thought's efforts to be newly embodied, to put a new face on things." *Helene Cixious, **Angst*


Beverly Nelson

title note: The title is an embellishment of the title on the original work, Nets, by Jen Bervin. [S. Strang]


Beverly Nelson

type: initiating


birth: 1953-05-07

note: []

Publication Information

publisher: self published

production: 2005-11-00 - 2006-08-00
publication: 2005-00-00

publication history: []

Aesthetic Profile


visual poetry (AAT)

themes: []

content form:
altered book (local)

publication tradition:
visual poetry (local)
artists' book (local)

inspiration: Nelson cites Gilles Deleuze's "The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque" as an inspiration, offering the following key passages: It is the upper floor that has no windows. It is a dark room or chamber decorated only with a stretched canvas...diversified folds...a living dermis. Placed on the opaque canvas, these folds, cords, or springs represent an innate form of knowledge, but when solicited by matter they move into action. Matter triggers "vibrations or oscillations" at the lower extremity of the cords, through the intermediary of "some little openings" that exist on the lower level. Leibniz constructs a great Baroque montage that moves between the lower floor, pierced with windows, and the upper floor, blind and closed, but on the other hand resonating as if it were a musical salon translating the visible movements below into sounds up above. The text...will always affirm: a correspondence, even a communication between the two levels, between the two labyrinths, between the pleats of matter and the folds in the soul. a fold between the two folds? And the same image, that of veins in marble...pleats of matter that surround living beings held in mass, such that the marble tile resembles a rippling that teems with fish. Sometimes the veins are innate ideas in the soul, twisted figures or powerful statues caught in the block of marble. Matter is marbled, of two different styles. ...the Baroque is marked by a certain number of traits: horizontal widening of the lower floor, flattening of the pediment, low and curved stairs that push into space; matter handled in masses or aggregates, with the rounding of angles and avoidance of perpendiculars; the circular acanthus replacing the jagged acanthus, use of limestone to produce spongy, cavernous shapes, or to constitute a vortical form always put in motion by renewed turbulence, which ends only in the manner of a horse's mane or the foam of the wave; matter tends to spill over in space, to be reconciled with fluidity at the same time fluids themselves are divided into masses. [S. Strang/B. Nelson]

related works: []

other influences: In addition to Deleuze, Nelson references Deleuze and Guattari's seminal "A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia" as a significant influence on Alternets. Following are passages extracted from Chapter 10: "Becoming-Intense, Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Imperceptible" that Nelson notes as influential on her book: A multiplicity of pores, or blackheads, of little scars or stitches. Breasts, babies, and rods. A multiplicity of bees, soccer players, or Tuareg. A multiplicity of wolves or jackals...the body without organs...Wolf-Man's dream...an envelope, ring, and the reversible sock...Whenever someone makes love, really makes love, that person constitutes a body without organs, alone and with the other person or peole. A body without organs is not an empty body...but a body upon which, that which, serves as organs (wolves, wolf eyes, wolf jaws?) ...The desert is populous. "I love to invent people, tribes, racial origins...I return from my tribes. As of today, I am the adoptive son of fifteen tribes, no more, no less, I had been born into it." People say, After all, schizophrenics have a mother and a father, don't they? Sorry, no, none as such. They only have a desert with tribes...a full body clinging with multiplicities. On the Wolf-Man's nose, the elements, determined as pores in the skin, little scars in the pores, little ruts in the scar tissue, ceaselessly dance, grow, diminish. ...variable distances...[that] cannot increase or diminish without their elements changing in nature. ...but Wolf-man thinks: "You trying to tell me my ass isn't a wolf?" I feel myself becoming a wolf, one wolf among others, on the edge of the pack...Help me not fail...intensities, speeds, temperatures, nondecomposable variable distances. A swarming a wolfing. Who could ever believe that the anal machine bears no relation to the wolf machine...the anus expresses an intensity...the approach to zero of a distance that cannot be decomposed without its elements changing in nature. A field of anuses, just like a pack of wolves. Does not the child, on the periphery, hold onto the wolves by his anus? The jaw descends to the anus. Hold onto those wolves by your jaw and your anus...eye and wolf, anus and wolf, as a function...other speeds...between thresholds. Lines of flight or of deterritorialization, becoming-wolf, becoming-inhuman, deterritorialized intensities...become wolf...become hole...deterritorialize oneself following tangled lines A wolf is a hole...It is not enough to say that intense and moving particles pass through holes; a hole is just as much a particle as what passes through it. Physicists say that holes are not the absence of particles but particles traveling faster than the speed of light. Flying anuses, speeding vaginas, there is no castration. The pack, a changing constellation, dances and expeditions, he will again and again find himself at its edge. He may be int he center, and then, immediately at the edge again; at the edge and then back in the center. the pack forms a ring around a fire, each will have neighbors to the right and left, but no one behind him; his back is neked and exposed to the wilderness. We recognize this as the schizo position, at the periphery, holding on by a hand or a foot... What does it mean to love somebody? It is always to seize that person in a mass, extract him or her from a group, however small, in which he or she participates, whether it be through the family only or through something else; then to find that person's own packs, the multiplicities he or she encloses within himself or herself which may be of an entirely different nature. To join them to mine, to make them penetrate mine, and for me to penetrate the other person's. Heavenly nuptials...every love is an exercise in depersonalization on a body without organs yet to be formed..A pack of freckles on a face, a pack of boys speaking through the voice of a woman, a clutch of girls in Charlus's voice, a horde of wolves in somebody's throat, a multiplicity of anuses int he anus, mouth, or eye one is intent upon. We each go through so many bodies in each other. [S. Strang/B. Nelson]

community: school Nelson created Alternets while working on her MFA in creative writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. [S. Strang]

note: []

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