I do want to do something.

The Third Mind (me reading)
October 4, 2010, 6:43 am
Filed under: Learn me how to read, New York Notes

I have read and recorded some of the exhibited pages of the Third Mind manuscript at Brion Gysin’s show at the New Museum. I usually indicate the page of the book before the reading.

intro burroughs

A series of correspondences
October 3, 2010, 8:39 pm
Filed under: New York Notes

A series of correspondences, resonances and associations that I wouldn’t ascribe to chance, occurred in NY this summer.  I wouldn’t attribute the following connections to chance but to the over systematization of desire at work in the ultimate stage of the capitalistic machine. A stage where its very motor, desire, is on the verge of extinction as each hearth of fire, or sparkle of interrogation is tamed by an immediate response in the real. One could also reverse this hypothesis and read the relation between these different events as an act of desire, where the mind creates a series of associations and connect things that would otherwise have no link.

Some time back in Beirut, I read a passage in one of Kathy Acker’s interviews where she declared that she taught herself to write (a notion that I find very appealing) with William Burroughs’s book ” The Third Mind” (which I was convinced to find in NY). After visiting a number of independent bookshops, a curious librarian informs me that the book is out of print. I wonder why.

SEPT 8 -PhDs

I meet with Barrack to upload “How to make (nice) things happen” on ArteEast’s website. While discussing the reasons of my visit, I mention that I am also looking at some PhD programs and that I am considering the one at Tish. Barrack tells me that he was himself a former student in performance studies (MA) and that he will put me in touch with some friends, but that I might not receive an immediate answer because they are all thoroughly affected by the recent death of one of the students.


R. Ganahl-Austrian artist living in NY, whose work I really like and who is notorious for riding his bike at all times- gives me an appointment at David Zwirner gallery for the opening of Al Taylor’s show. Soon after, we need to get to another opening in Soho and, to reach our destination more quickly, he takes me on a bike ride with him. Seeing NY from his handlebar made the city feel very much alive… (on this encounter I have written something).


Zeynep and I were vehemently defending our views on what it meant to occupy a position. I argued that I didn’t want to apply for a curator’s residency but for a writer’s residency. She argued that her choice would not be determined by these categorizations  but by the nature of the project itself. Although I agreed with her, I also had the desire to identify with something and fully embrace it, taking responsibility for what it meant to be a writer. It would also alleviate the burden of not knowing always, where I stand. I also added that if I did a writer’s residency, I would meet other people with the same inclinations, which was closer to what I wanted, that basically I wanted to find a family with names and books and that references where characters I lived with. Hence, pertaining to a family with a tradition, that could and should be subverted certainly, but in order to do so, had first to be acknowledged.


I have an appointment at NYU with Noel Rodriguez to know more about the PhD in performance studies at Tish. I arrive 30 min before our scheduled appointment. While I was waiting in the lounge, I noticed a picture of a young man and a vase with white flowers placed next to it. I ignore it.
While Noel is describing the program’s excellence and the type of learning environment I will be studying in if I was ever accepted, he refers to the department as a family. He adds that the picture in the lounge is a former international Greek student that had very recently died in a bicycle accident. Students and faculty were very afflicted by the loss, but, he also added that there was also something beautiful in realizing that the department acted like a family.
By the end of our meeting-that had somewhere left me speechless and undecided as whether I wanted to be an academic- I asked Noel if he himself had pursued a PhD here. He answered that you know, he had a family and that… you know.

(I linger on these events it is because they somehow exemplify my dilemma between life and academia. If the Greek student had died in academia it meant that life was also there. A life and a family however different from other lives like Noel’s life and his family.  The differences between these two lives might seem self evident but that is worth considering.)


I  visit the New Museum to see the Bidoun Library. On the second floor is a show by Brion Gysin, where I see exposed the “Third Mind” a manuscript he has developed with Burroughs using the Cut- Up methods. The book was never integrally published because the printing would have resulted too expensive. A shorter version of the book was published in France in the 70s. It is now out of print.

burroughs third mind present tense

I noticed at different times, the time in the metro, 3: 45 pm, and later. I remember that today is her birthday.