Monday, February 1, 2010

File under Uncategorizable

I've had a few days now to digest Andrew Stark's Escaping Into Life and I still can't get a handle on it. Is it an academic study? A memoir? A poll? A critique of art history? A retelling of Moby Dick? An ode to Sydney? Or is it, to use Stark's phrase, "A psycho study of the contemporary street photographer"? It seems to be all of those things and yet no label really fits.

In the end I think it falls under uncategorizable, which is of course a category. I'd put The Velvet Monkey Wrench, Semiotext(e), and the recent Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac in the same grouping. They are all safely beyond any pigeonholing.

Sample page from Escaping Into Life by Andrew Stark

For the most part I enjoy books like these. They exude such originality, free spirit, and just plain weirdness that I have to admire the authors for breaking convention. Escaping Into Life has all of those traits in spades, not to mention it is ostensibly about street photography. I feel like I should love this book.

The problem is that, beyond the indisputable fact that it's wholly original, I just can't figure the thing out. It's like a Pollack painting. Looks great but don't ask me to make any sense of it. But give me time. I'm going to make a few more stabs.

If you want your own shot email Andrew Stark. The book currently exists as a 198 page PDF which Stark is shopping to publishers. Maybe it will make it to print form someday. In the meantime, if you can explain it please let me know.


bastinptc said...

Just a guess from the snippet: Stephen Bloomish.

Joe said...

Have you ever watched a Matthew Barney film?