Thomas Fink just sent me a copy of his newest, clarity and other poems (Marsh Hawk Press, 2008). And as a preventative to having the book bent during snailmail, Tom had inserted his book between two pieces of cardboard. Thing is, Tom is a painter as well as a poet and one of the cardboard pieces must have come from his painting studio as it bore the stray debris from various brushstrokes.
But as I took out that cardboard piece and looked at the resulting abstract image, it's actually a heck of a small painting! It reminded me of much of the pattern-based imagery that came out of contemporary art in the last two decades of the 20th century. But Tom's is a work of art produced during an incidental part of a process of creating something else.
I'm reminded of a watercolor by Pat Steir I once saw -- it looked like the piece had been tacked up against a wall or left vertically hanging...and then she'd just flung watercolor from a brush at it ... so that the placement of the watercolor marks are not under the artist's control, being partly a function of gravity.
I'm also reminded of one of the painting processes of Richard Tsao who apparently hangs several canvases against a wall and then all gets sprayed simultaneously as he flungs paint about. When I first heard of Richard's process, I always thought I'd love to see the resulting "debris" on the floor (maybe he should put a canvas there, too, that doesn't receive his attention during the painting process...and then we'll see the result of what happens randomly on the floor-ed canvas).
This is creating decentered art. It's not the same thing as art created in the margins. It's art that gets produced coincidentally in terms of attention (but synchronistically in terms of aesthetic results).
That could be the projectile to my next body of work. But since I just identified it consciously as what I'm calling a projectile or underpinning or poetics for a project, then said project just collapsed. I'ma just left here fluttering in mid-air! Poetry paradoxes -- no wonder they whiten the hair ... even as they uplift the wings.