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des
Posted on Saturday, January 31, 2004 - 12:50 am:   

A topic hopefully suitable for a Nemonymous thread perhaps... because I believe the only real way for artists to remove boundaries or borders is to be nameless (at least for a while) because a name, in itself, can carry baggage such as a specific genre perception and prejudices and hidebound needs for that artist or writer to work (or write) within that name's 'semantic field'.

But is everyone aware of this important movement of Interstitiality:
http://www.artistswithoutborders.org/

Interstitiality (if someone can pin down its origin, meaning and purpose for me) could be something that really appeals to my feeling for creating art *between* genres. That is writing within or across the gaps between genres.

As for myself, I try to write between the gaps themselves! ;-)
des









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des
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 02:42 am:   

But is everyone aware of this important movement of Interstitiality:
http://www.artistswithoutborders.org/

**********
Well, I assume everyone is aware. Or they're not interested in it or it's too political to talk about or... 4' 33" is between the gaps?
des
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Jetse
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 03:00 am:   

Des, 4' 33' is a gap
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des
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 03:28 am:   

Jetse, there is a fascinating article on 4' 33" here:
http://www.azstarnet.com/~solo/4min33se.htm
among many others I could identify.
A very full gap?
des
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AliceB
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 02:19 pm:   

"I believe the only real way for artists to remove boundaries or borders is to be nameless (at least for a while) because a name, in itself, can carry baggage such as a specific genre perception and prejudices and hidebound needs for that artist or writer to work (or write)within that name's 'semantic field'."

Okay. I'll bite.

I agree that being nameless removes one border: the boundaries created by people's expectations in that name. It allows the artist whose name is associated with a specific genre to go and do something completely different. Writers often resort to pseudonyms to accomplish this as well. And I suppose this border is an important one: it limits what artists and writers feel they can produce because of the perceived audience's expectations.

But that doesn't remove all borders. An author known to write mystery novels could decide, anonymously or under a pseudonym, to write a mystery not the least bit romantic. The author has been freed, but what has been created is genre-bound.

A virtually unknown author (with no particular following other than his/her doting parents) will not ring any bells for an editor looking at the work produced. Whether s/he writes under his/her own name, anonymously, or under a pseudonym won't matter: it'll be the work produced that will influence the editor.

So let's assume this author writes something that pushes at a genre, or blends several in ways that editors don't quite know how to categorize. (We're going to assume for the moment that the piece is well written to boot.) The author is pushing at borders. Editors can react in many ways: I love this, I hate this, I don't know what this is. Not a few will say: "This doesn't fit any genre as I understand it." There is the first cut.

Our anonymous author, however, has heard of the IAF, truly believes in the ethos "artists without borders" and keeps pushing. The number of rejections from editors who say "sorry, this isn't within our genre," grows. Finally, thank goodness, s/he finds an editor who isn't genre-bound and is wowed by the work. Will the piece get published? Maybe. It'll depend heavily on the power of the editor within the publishing house.

Generally, the larger the house, the less power an editor has, and the more the marketing people take over. And marketing people... now they are genre-bound. Their take will be: "this is an unknown artist with no particular following. This piece straddles several genres, undercutting the number of people who will be interested in reading the book. Even with a miniscule advance, we're bound to lose money on this one, so no way." And so the anonymity of the author has actually closed his/her opportunity.

Having a name attached to a piece does many things. Besides ego stroking it creates a brand. And sometimes having the brand there allows an artist to leap into something new, because the marketing people will shrug and say: "we might not make as much money on this piece as on others, but people know him/her and will buy some anyway." In children's literature, it's what Louis Sachar did when he wrote HOLES. He built a following based on what we in children's lit. call contemporary fiction ("mainstream" in adult lit.), and on over-the-top funny fantasy stories based in schools. I truly wonder if he had written HOLES without his prior output, whether he would have sold it -- or how difficult it would have been.

So all this is a long winded way of saying that I don't think that anonymity alone can break down borders.

All the best,
Alice
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Neil A
Posted on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 02:42 am:   

Des, with regards to branding, Alice has a very good point: part of Nemonymous' power, and the (I would imagine for many) hope of publication by the submittors is the strength of is the brand that has been established, by the fiction, but also by the culture of anonymity that has been given birth to and the production of the thing itself - the typography and design enhance the whole nemonymous angle. You've probably got one of the strongest brands existing in the small press. And it's a brand that your contributors buy into. I think the artistic integrity is obvious though, it just so happens that the quirky marketing is a by-product of this.


I also have some Interstitiality/Nemonymity-based news of my own that I'll hopefully be able to reveal in a few weeks or so. Until then, you'll just have to keep on a-wondering.

(Still burrowing through Weirdmonger by the way.)
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des
Posted on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 05:46 am:   

Thanks to both, and thanks, Neil, for observations on Nemo's branding etc.
(but, Neil, 'burrowing' doesn't sound a very enjoyable activity re Weirdmonger book!)

I think I've tried to tie Nemonymity and Interstitiality together on this thread, because they're both about gaps and the use of gaps.
They seem natural bed-fellows, although I'm not saying, of course, that Nemonymity is as important as Interstitiality. But I think the latter would be impoverished without some due engagement with the concept of anonymity and (my concept that makes anonymity Nemonymity) late-labelling.

Hypothesis: all fiction publications became anonymous and consider submissions anonymously, as Nemonymous does. I think one needs to extrapolate that hypothesis, even if, at the end of the day, despite late-labelling, it is impractical and non-commercial. True, Nemonymous has become known for a certain style of short fiction, and, thus, because of the sole editor's taste, creates (accidentally) the pre-conception problem of what is in it: Nemonymous then perhaps becoming a genre in itself rather than a gap between genres. Still thinking...

Meanwhile, I take Alice's point that an author's brand name *could* be a positive aspect of completely changing his or her own genre base. The already established brand may encourage the publisher to go with the change. But this ignores public perceptions. Again still thinking...

As an aside, Nemonymous (i.e. Nemonymity and late-labelling etc) is clear in its genesis. In 2001, it published the world's first ever anonymous anthology of multi-authored stories collected as such. Before this, the concept and the word itself did not exist. I'm also interested in the genesis of the term Interstitiality in the meaning as used by the IAF.
This is the earliest reference I can find:

"He deserves a gong for his services to sci-fi alone, as editor and enthusiast, but here in the UK we distrust such interstitial anarchy: such unashamed bricolage and undisguised brio."

It is a review of Moorcock in July 2001 here:
http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/sciencefiction/0,6121,517793,00.html

Any advance on July 2001?
Des
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des
Posted on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 06:53 am:   

Another thought. If an author *knows* his or her story is to be initially published anonymously there may be a subconscious frame of mind, during the process of writing the story, possibly producing a new *uncharacteristic* work that would never have been written otherwise. Your own name does have a powerful 'semantic field' in its own right, radiating back at you and into your work, I feel. (Which perhaps brings us back to Proust's discrete 'selves' and Pessoa's heteronyms?).
des
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des
Posted on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 08:18 am:   

Last thought for now - as an example, what process do you think Ruth Rendell goes through when she writes as RR or Barbara Vine? And would she approach it any differently if she wrote in a third way - i.e. completely anonymously?
How differently would the public read this fiction from the two names and the 'unname'?

(I, for one, love the books of Barabara Vine but dislike those of Ruth Rendell - and would love to read something by her when and if anonymous.)

des
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des
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 08:39 am:   

One thing I like about Interstitiality is not only its concentration on the gaps between genres, but also its hopeful blending of what it calls Low and High Art. Not sure I agree with those terms, because I don't think any art is Low or High (it's all Art), but I think I know what it means.

For instance, I take much pleasure in the Dickensian 'Coronation Street' (UK soap opera which I've watched regularly from 1960) as I do in Proust. There have been some highly entertaining and provoking visions in the latest 'I'm a Celebrity - Get Me out of Here' (current UK 'reality' programme, like Big Brother) and I watch it sometimes with ceefax subtitles whilst listening to, say, Mahler.

Everyone finds art where they actually find it, and one should not be hidebound into believing that Art is ear-marked as Art.

Back to the gaps of Interstitiality and the gaps of Nemonymity...
des
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des
Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 06:48 am:   

Interstitiality and Nemonymity seem to be a modern form of alchemy. Turning gaps into substance.
des
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H.P.
Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 04:50 pm:   

So what's the philosopher's stone?
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des
Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 12:07 am:   

The Philosopher Stone is a metaphor for the greater possibilities of the self. (And in the case of Interstitiality, the meaning of the gap).

It is, perhaps, equivalent to John Fowles' 'nemo' here:

"The nemo is an evolutionary force, as necessary as the ego. The ego is certainty, what I am; the nemo is potentiality, what I am not. But instead of utilizing the nemo as we would utilize any other force, we allow ourselves to be terrified by it, as primitive man was terrified by lightning. We run screaming from this mysterious shape in the middle of our town, even though the real terror is not in itself, but in our terror at it."
-- John Fowles 1964 (from 'The Necessity of Nemo' in 'The Aristos')



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des
Posted on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 02:14 am:   

I'd like to pinch the following post from the 'Music & Interstitiality' Board as I think it's also relevant here. Post is by Jetse.

"Let me see if I understand your intention here, Des: Artist from genre A aims for genre B in the mistaken belief of creating pure B, but through his/her deep roots in A fails utterly, thereby creating something both non-AB and AB?
Interstitiality as a by-product of a failed attempt? A kind of lucky shot?"
*****

In the example of the choir girl striving to be a rock chick, she needed to subsume her whole personality and hinterland with something quite other. She failed. She fell through the crack between choir girl and rock chick. Which in a funny way was a success vis a vis Interstitiality.




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des
Posted on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 03:37 am:   

Another thought...
Over the years I've shared many story collaborations with quite a large variety of writers (unknown and well-known, and with some a *lot* of collabs).
The way I like doing them, you never know where it's going next, having no forward plan. This seems to be a hybrid of complete freedom and the unpredictable constraints of another person being involved. An interstitial optimum? Best published anonymously, I'd guess, but none have - so far. And, if an optimum, why do we ever write stories on our own?
des
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des
Posted on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 04:37 am:   

Further thoughts:
collaborating with oneself in the past: by rewriting an old story.

collaborating with oneself in the present: a self imbued with alcohol (or do I dare mention - drugs) ? Not that I would do this, of course!

All hybrids related to Nemonymity and Interstitiality, I suggest.
des
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Neil A
Posted on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 09:11 am:   

A fortysomething Terry Pratchett collaborated with his seventeen(?) year old self on The Carpet People. I've not read the book myself.
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des
Posted on Friday, February 20, 2004 - 01:03 pm:   

Why has the IAF personnel apparently abandoned its Boards on Night Shade, after the initial flurry?
Have they gone novanonymous?
des
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JV
Posted on Friday, February 20, 2004 - 01:06 pm:   

They wanted a more homogenous setting.
Jeff
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Aliceb
Posted on Saturday, February 21, 2004 - 09:03 am:   

I wonder whether it was the personnel who were active on the board, or others interested in what IAF might have to offer. Although I remain interested in the concept (and practice?) of interstitiality, I was a bit put off by the heavy handed management of the board which didn't seem to allow posters to "own" the board--I certainly would never feel comfortable creating a new thread there, and the old threads were become unwieldly.

Just thoughts.

Alice
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AliceB
Posted on Saturday, February 21, 2004 - 09:05 am:   

Or is it "unwieldy"?
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des
Posted on Saturday, February 21, 2004 - 09:25 am:   

You must forgive me, Alice, but I originally assumed you were one of them!
I agree with your feelings about their boards. I felt somewhet alienated when in their territory.
Anyway I decided once to assert some resistance:
http://www.nightshadebooks.com/discus/messages/1466/1457.html?1073824446

And await their reply still.
des
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AliceB
Posted on Saturday, February 21, 2004 - 05:27 pm:   

I originally assumed you were one of them!

LOL! You make it sound creepy.

Alice
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des
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 01:07 am:   

Not intended, Alice, but glad it gave you a LOL!
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des
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2004 - 08:18 am:   

Anonymity with late-labelling (as evidenced in practice by 'Nemonymous') in fiction or poetry, for me, is

(i) the author wanting some objective view of his work to be made without his name getting in the way -- and an editor equally not wanting it to get in the way when he considers the submission for publication

(ii) an experiment in story or poem anthology presentation as a new reading gestalt experience which helps to create an 'Interstitiality'

(iii) the leading to a brainstorming approach to reviews and critical appreciation

(iv) the acknowledging that anything outside the work is irrelevant to the work or, if relevant in some way, unknowable for certain how and why it is relevant and thus spurious and misleading to an appreciation of the work

(v) the bringing of fiction *nearer* to the artist-naming approach of other arts such as fine arts, architecture, music etc.

(vi) the enabling of writers-without-borders to ease into intra-genres and new markets

***
Re (v), has it ever dawned on folk that the author's name is not only on the spine, the title page etc, but also, quite often, at the top of every alternate page of the whole book!

des
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des
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 10:25 am:   

My greatest love in fiction is the 'Horror/Dark Fantasy' core. For me, this core should be expanded by the genre-crossing and genre-betweening that Interstitiality has come to represent. Like a magnet, making other literary forms conducive to the 'Horror' spirit. Indeed, I believe, most good fiction is imbued with this spirit, anyway. This is really what, in hindsight, I am trying to do in Nemonymous, if you ignore its anonymity etc. aspects for a moment.
Those who publish genre-specific outlets perhaps allow the hard-fought beach-heads of 'Horror/Dark Fantasy' to crumble into the sea, thus allowing particles of fiction gathered for the 'Horror/Dark Fantasy' core to escape from that core by crystallising that core *as* a core rather than a magnet.
I'm still thinking this through, but I hope my 'crude' expression of it above may be refined later.
Meanwhile, thoughts?
des

http://www.nemonymous.com
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Jamie
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 12:12 pm:   

I know what you mean, Des, and I'd like to think that IQ is accomplishing something of what you're talking about -- except even more broadminded, as I don't even require a story to be dark (although looking at #1's ToC, it doesn't hurt. *g*)

I tend to find the magazines that pigeonhole themselves more interest me less.
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AliceB
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 05:25 pm:   

Des, I think you'll love this link:
The Interstitial Library
I'm particularly fond of the glossary.

Best,
Alice
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des
Posted on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 07:43 am:   

Thanks, Alice. Enjoying above. Does seem apt - what with the blank story in Nemo#2 and the Vanishing Emanuel Escobada story in the same issue - not to mention Antony Mann's Mighty Fine Days (again in the same issue) - and the blank cover of issue 4 &c...

Indeed Nemo is officially called Interstitial as shown on my website. Are there any other mags etc that actually call themselves Interstitial. Or is nemo the only one?
des

http://www.nemonymous.com
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AliceB
Posted on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 05:14 pm:   

You're welcome. Sorry, I don't know about whether other magazines call themselves interstitial. However, once a magazine, existing or not, has entered the Interstitial Library, hasn't it become interstitial and defining itself as such at that point is redundant? Although perhaps one of the catalog categories could be "Interstitial magazines that do not call themselves such, but should."

:-)
Alice
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des
Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 10:56 am:   

What is it that makes the interstices interstices?
des
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des
Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 10:56 am:   

What is it that makes interstices interstices?
des
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 11:24 am:   

Cat gut.

JeffV
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des
Posted on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 08:32 am:   

More like cheese-paring wire, I'd say

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