Manifest written by Stan Brakhage
Let me warn once more and then be silent, dark time coming.
(The so-called "dark ages" simply thus/that folk forgot how to dye and thereby came clothed dulled shades gray shags of animal black etcetera even kings lacking purple — longlivetheking! — till the secret thought was won again and juice of rock wrung and again the fabric of daily life was as flowers.)
Let me then warn that those who would/could restrict our perimeters have drawn lines; and they are these:
: that all which is personally perceptable be suspect
(as is immeasurable Color accorded 'secondary citizenship' within the hierarchy Science)
: that that which is person-privately shareable, trala!, be circumscribed -sized -shaped and weighted by/as commune all, Tradit!
(as it is with Sex past tense now taught future participle)
: that The Personae, that greek form whereby inner-dividual
might surface in The Pub. true semblence-of-self, be thought as false as "mask" meaning "screen" to hide or lie behind
(as The Truth comes to be made to mean the agreed-upon-fact)
: that a person, I, be finally unthinkable
(as Art is).
I take it that The Arts afford the last ungoverned public surfacing of Person and constitute thus the greatest threat to those who feel they could/should enslave sensibility,
just as I know Sex to be that first/last move person-to-person beyond governmentality —
truths always, yes!, personally colored beyond measurability . . .
those who rule hate these truths:
this my warning:
: that we not be lulled, as was Garcia Lorca whose last words to
his cell-mate were, "Don't worry — they don't shoot poets."
: that we not be fooled by governmental Sup. for Artists
(it's U.S.ence simply this/that:
(l) having made patronage tax deductable, all act of Personal Gen. was subvert to greed.
having made tax deduct, more and more than difficult Xcept as inst. to inst. shuffles money — see so-called Tax Reform Bill ’69 — Person was jettisoned in the transact altogether ... artists effectively herded into UNIverse Cities or 'left'(UNsupported)out,
it managed that ONLY bureaucratic Wash. could pick up the rest/'right' cards upon the tabled Arts
these sacred first/last acts of inner-dependence would be played as if 'twere hobby or per-choice escapist occupation — useful to keep the increasingly leisured discontents from making bombs . . . (the funds most natch going thus to education, workshops, art fairs, sports-sort competitions and the like).
Anybody for free-verse circumspect finger-only painting homey-movie build-it-yrself archycraft sing-along play actY
Artists !, like they say: let's have at it! — all pretence (pre the
tendency) we can teach 'em how-to-do-it half-aesthetically ... The Muses be made Amuse(govern)ment! "It's a living", say the walking dead. "If you can't beat 'em? ..." Fuck 'em.
Most hopeful sign: the real young (trapped as I too much am in
these schools for actual Youth! those few of them who really call my attention (most usually first by the shyness of ’em) do very deliberately shunt publight and all complicity as could be tabbed "a movement" (thus demeaned); and after a good look to and at me, and my contemporaries in The Arts, they sympathetically declare they'll keep it/art absolutely private and/or share theirs only as one would love among one’s friends.
Thus I'm coming to believe that as it is in the hopechests and closets of Russ.&China so it will be here for similarity's sake — world's social norm this 20th Cent.
Stan Brakhage August 16, 1974