I’m proud to announce that my a a novel is forthcoming from Paris’ Jean Boîte Editions, Spring 2017.
Published in the autumn of 1968, Andy Warhol’s a a novel consists solely of the transcribed conversations of factory denizen “Ondine” (Robert Olivo). Ondine’s amphetamine-addled conversations were captured on audio tape as he haunted the factory, hailed cabs to late-night parties and traded gossip with Warhol and his coterie. The tapes were quickly transcribed by a quartet of stenography students (including The Velvet Underground’s Moe Tucker); rife with typographic errors, censored sections—and a chorus of voices—the 451 pages of transcriptions became, unedited, “a new kind of pop artefact.”
Warhol’s a a novel favours faithful transcription over plot, chance over predicted composition, and a consideration of a novel’s precepts over its actual content.
Building upon my previous novels flatland: a romance of many dimensions (2005) and Local Colour (2008), I have just completed my a a novel, an erasure-based translative response to Warhol’s controversial masterpiece. On each page of Warhol’s original, I erase all of the text leaving only the punctuation marks and onomatopoeic words. Theodor Adorno, in his essay “Punctuation Marks” argues that punctuation marks are the “traffic signals” of literature and that there is “no element in which language resembles music more than in the punctuation marks.”
The resultant text is a novelistic ballet mécanique; an orchestration of the traffic signals and street noise of the 1960’s New York City, an eruption of traffic and tires, overheard music and construction noise. A a novel mines writing for an inter-disciplinary musicality which reflect the urban environment, which foregrounds a complex of non-narrative sounds embedded within our conversations.
Since December 2015, I have posted daily progress on a a novel on twitter at @erasingwarhol … the entire novel is now online as a series of JPG files.