with Andrew Helton
Spring 2021 | Virtual Program | 3/15/2021 – 4/24/2021
Why reelaborate today a concept of the archive? In a single configuration, equally technical and political, ethical and juridical?…No one ever renounces—and this is the unconscious itself—the appropriation of power over the document, over its detention, retention or its interpretation.
Reports that say something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.
-Donald Rumsfeld (on alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq)
A moment is a rupture. It is a point at which the machinery (whether it’s time, domestic life, politics, civil obedience, work, health, etc.) we are all a part of breaks. Something becomes an object at the moment of rupture, when it is no longer (however briefly) a part of the machine. This is why moments become so important to us. It is a kind of freedom. A moment is a chance to feel as though everything that is constantly carrying us along, seemingly against our will, has stopped. It is a chance to turn our lives into an object or image so that we can have the sense of being able to hold it, carry it, witness and examine what is really there. They are a void as well. We are never the same after an event that we would describe as “momentous.” A moment is a space in which the self can surface. There are dozens of examples within everyday life: an orgasm, someone’s touch, a scream, a certain smell, déjà vu, a life-changing decision, uncovering an object from one’s past, a death, nostalgia, pregnancy, being cut, a medical diagnosis, a knee on the back of a man’s neck, an event unfolding on the news you know the rest of the world is watching with you. These are all spaces in which we enter a void, we step out of the machinery, suddenly have time.
Moments expose us to what is real and true and essential. The better we are at being able to examine these ruptures, to hold them as objects for a little while longer and not forget what they revealed, the better we become at seeing the world as it really is. They can be distractions that divert our attention away from existentialism and suffering and make life tolerable—an “opiate of the masses”—or we can use them as a crutch to avoid improving the spaces between them. In this way, moments create wonderful things and powerful opportunities, but they can also destroy us, alter our lives entirely, and break down facades that reveal the things we have made ourselves ignorant to amid our own comfort, privilege, and passivity. The fact that “moments” are ruptures, that they wake us up, implies that some part of us is asleep in the time between them.
A few of the questions we will attempt to answer or come to terms with during this workshop are:
What to you constitutes a moment?
Is there a second-self that arises in these moments that bears witness to our own/collective experience, i.e. how do we know a moment is a “moment” or that others know it too?
Is there any way to escape the idea that “Now that there is time, you don’t have time?”
Is the image more important than the act/event itself? Is the object that is created out of a moment more important than the experience of the moment? Is the image a lie?
In what ways to moments serve as distractions and in what ways do they alert us to what we have made ourselves blind to?
Forever Overhead – David Foster Wallace
Bullet in the Brain – Tobias Wolff
The Secret Room – Alain Robbe-Grillet
After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned – Dave Eggers
The Two Kinds of Decay – Sarah Manguso
Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape – Sarah Manguso
Texture Notes – Sawako Nakayasu
Can’t and Won’t – Lydia Davis
The Cows – Lydia Davis
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely – Claudia Rankine
“Lying and History (History of the Image)” – Cathy Caruth on Hannah Arendt War and Cinema: “Military Force Is Based upon Deception” – Paul Virilio
The Killers – Kathy Acker
Topsy, Needy – John Haskell
From Old Notebooks (selections from) – Evan Lavender-Smith
‘‘Error of Locating Events in Time” – Norma Cole
The Meaning of “Bad” and “Good” – Amos Tutola;
When I Look at a Strawberry, I Think of a Tongue – Édouard Levé
* Copies of each text will be provided by the instructor
About Andrew Helton
Andrew Helton is precise.This precision is not fragile. Its strength is born of rigorous closeness. Every endeavor he initiates is created with intention and thorough engagement. He is not afraid of exertion or difficulty; in fact, he relishes the uncomfortable challenges necessary for growth. Because of this, no question is left unexplored, whether he is training for a powerlifting competition, printmaking, editing a manuscript, creating a life with his equally talented wife, or writing poetry. His poetic subtleties are the elemental stuff the Earth is made of: rooted in equal parts encyclopedic knowledge and profound compassion. His keen sensitivity, intuition, and imagination direct him time and again towards the inexpressible, that which lies beyond words. His integrity drives him, not only to personally experience all of everything but to create a new space for the rest of us to inhabit as well, as witness and witnessed, and we are better for it.
– by Ginger Teppner
Image: Angelus Novus – Paul Klee. (1920). [Painting]. Wikipedia.
Duration of Program
Applicants must also fill out a Doodle poll (the link to which they will receive upon being accepted to the program) to select the times that work best for them. Classes and practice sessions will be offered at the best consistent weekly times for a majority of participants starting from the first weeks of March depending on the results of the Doodle poll.
The Earth Of (Part Two): A Moment Is A Reckoning with Andrew Helton (12 classes)……………… $300
Optional: Private consultation with instructor on work(s) of student’s choice during final 2 weeks of workshop $25/1hr or $40/2hr
(Work will be reviewed by instructor prior to meeting and a detailed critique will be provided for student to keep)
Expectations Towards the Participant
This virtual program will be using Zoom for the classes. Reliable internet access is required for participation in the program.
Everyone participating in an Arts Letters & Numbers program is expected to treat each other with care and consideration as well as be mindful of each other’s time and space.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until the deadline. Any questions regarding the application can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a limited amount of scholarships available with partial reduction of the program fee. Scholarships are only considered for applicants for whom this is crucial for their participation in the program.
Apply now at: