Monday, September 22, 2008

alert from the edge of the blogosphere: money is a kind of cut-up

I've been using "Google Alerts" for some months. Simple to use: just enter a word or term and each morning you will receive an email message listing and linking all the web entries (including blogs) that were created in the previous 24 hours that used your word or term. My last name is rare, of course (the other Filreises--few of them--are all in my small extended family), so one term about which I have Google alerting me is "Filreis." It will pick up my own bloggy doings, and occasionally references to me elsewhere (in this sense, Google Alerts is an automated clipping service--since these references fall under the old general term "reviews").

Another term I have Google Alerts set to search is "Wallace Stevens." This is imperfect, since I pick of new uses of "Wallace" as well as a few, each day, about "Wallace Stevens." One can set Google Alerts to search only the blogosphere; I have it set to search the whole wide web including the blogosphere, blogs being, of course, merely easily updated web pages that follow a preprogrammed design protocol.

This is how I come in contact with the outer edges of the blogosphere, and occasionally I'm charmed, excited, stirred, surprised, miffed, etc. Mostly I find the air up there at the edge fairly thin. This morning, for instance, I awoke to find someone named "anf" whose blog is called "smallfriends" and whose profile says "forever hoping to look large." I don't see or sense anything small about anf so I'll assume the self-narrowness is a Dickinsonian modesty, which thus might be ironic. Perhaps she's powerful. A link to her web site tells me she's "ashlee nicolle ferlito," a San Fran-based artist, trained at Yale and in France and Cyprus. She's been blogging since January 2007--which is right about the time blogs exploded.

So, Wallace Stevens. What does Stevens mean to this young artist? She's lately been "obsessed with money" and been "fascinat[ed] with the concept of value." So she read or re-read Stevens' lecture (in The Necessary Angel) called "Imagination as Value." The value of money is "a pretty amazing mass hallucination," anf decides. She's losing (she says "loosing") the "ability" to have faith in the value of currency. Somehow symmetry become an alternative to psychic monetary deflation. Putting her blog entries (thoughts) into artistic practice seems to be anf's daily mode, and so here's what follows: photos of some dollar-bill cut-ups. If you look at anf's paintings you realize this is a digression from her usual work. For the moment her art is to make paper part of her world of smallfriends - "paper that just happens to be money." So here, above right, is what Wallace Stevens in the blogosphere has become this morning. I am intrigued by the morphing. Why not?