Subject: brief comments
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 19:44:13 -0600
From: Jack Zipes
To: joellyn rock

Dear Joellyn,

First of all, I was greatly impressed and taken by your junk thesis and raw
materials. In fact, I would include them as part of your final project and
keep them (typos and all) as they are. They are a wonderful example of a
work in process -- perhaps a work that may continue to be in process and
continue to transform itself. In this regard, the raw materials are germane
to your project and represent what you are pursuing, for like Vasalisa, you
are pursuing something vital to your existence. Don't mean to be dramatic
here, but that's how I am viewing your process and artistic creations.

I found your remarks on messiness interesting, especially in light of what
you said about your mother and your family. I agree that neatness is inane
if not banally evil (as Hannah Arendt might say). A neat fairy tale is a
contradiction in terms, for fairy tales were never neat and clean, and
those who make them neat and clean have no understanding of the great mess
of life. That being said, I don't know whether you are inviting messiness
or want to be messy. I think you are all about stretching boundaries,
working on the margins, exploring terrain beyond borders, and you are also
a clay molder. You are a shape shifter, and at times you bake what you
shift, and the baked object, the frozen object is like a dialectic in
stillstand -- this is a term from Walter Benjamin. For brief moments, the
theses and antitheses come to a stop, freeze in a glorious moment, almost
like an iconic epiphany, and you are startled by the force of the frozen
dialectic and gain insight into life's conditions and pleasures and driving

Advertising and consumerism pervert these images as you note. Utopian
illuminations can be perverted and distorted. We are encouraged to be all
we can be and change as long as we fit into the system. The fairy tale
symbols and motifs have been corrupted in the culture industry in veery
inventive ways. Too bad that all the creative energy that people invest in
advertising conceals the actual killing and oppression that people in
corporate America are responsible for. This is the sorry situation in the
land of the free, which may be (in some ways) one of the more liveable
societies in the world, but the best of our fairy tales continue to tell us
how far we are from realizing a humane society. Indeed, this is why you
imagine your fairy tales, are drawn to them, and will be compelled to
pursue Vasalisa. There is no happy end, but the realization that there is
no happy end will make you (us) take the immediate life more seriously,
seek deeper pleasures.

Don't like the horses. The nodes continue to be marvelous, but the horses
are too gimmicky. Stay away from the gimmicks. Write as you are doing from
the rhythms and voice you hear from within you. The other voices will join
you in response. You don't need neighing.