On or about last January 30, Lee Ka-sing, photographer, poet, producer of the Artpost, co-owner and co-director of Index G—the gallery from which the sparkling Artpost proceeds—more or less ruined my life (inadvertently, I’m certain) by giving me a huge, glossy heavy quaintly out-of-date computer manual titled Using Microsoft FrontPage 2000.
The book is thick as a brick and 1200 pages long. Aware of and sympathetic about my penchant for filling up notebooks with small drawings, writings, paintings and collages of sundry stuffs, Ka-sing no doubt figured this heavy, shiny paperbound book—filled with an endless, arcane and inexplicable (not to mention outmoded) printed text—would be fun for me to despoil into yet another notebook-depository for my overheated writerly whims and graphic fancies.
And so it has proved, for the most part, to be, except that I find it even more compelling than I did my usual art-supply-store-notebooks—probably because it is amusing to inundate the stiff computer text with my own sprawling spontaneities.
If I say that Ka–sing ruined my life with the gift of this book, what I mean is that now I can’t leave it alone. It sits, leaden, puckered, howling for attention, an increasingly impossible to open or close booklike artifact, which, as I hurl myself from page to page, is swelling up like a puff-adder and, as page after page falls beneath my ravening will-to-graphic-expression, is lost to my Faustian hunger for the endless interruption of its once logical progress towards the (presumed) computer light at the end of the tunnel-like course of instruction (18th century English poet William Blake once wrote that “the tigers of wrath were wiser than the houses of instruction,” and I drink to that every day).
Eventually it will be impossible to close and will then lie supine upon some table or shelf, groaning with what warning signs on trucks sometimes proclaim as a “long wide load,” the book’s shape now more like some extravagant semi-circular shell or fungus, a sort of typographic accordion, 180 degrees of spiny graphic exhaustion, all passion spent. My book will be a bound fossil.
Some day (I’m only up to p.333), Lee Ka–sing will look upon it with wonder and tenderness, all the while asking himself what on earth he had begun on January 30, 2013, what demons had he so innocently released, thereby turning the proscribed, conventionalized downward drive of an icon of the agreeably outmoded into a gloriously inoperable handbook to the runaway romanticism of an aging and hectic artist and writer who thinks of this big bog of a book as a raft upon which to negotiate the storm-tossed seas that lap lap lap every day at the corners of his selfhood.