Grey Area, Michelle Tennison, Torn Paper Collage (According to the Rules of Chance), following a surrealist technique developed by Hans Arp
General Criteria to be Measured:
Who best resembles a child’s drawing of a bird
Most melodious snicker or most closely approximating the sound of rain
Length of tongue
“The Witness Stand” — Draw a star nursery from memory
“The Stand Off” — Whomever any dog likes best
Madness is rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.
— Friedrich Nietzche
What’s the difference between in and out?
A wall with delusions of grandeur
Question Mark Harris, Answer Michelle Tennison (2016)
Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself.
— Jane Wagner
Bally Jerry pranged his kite right in the how’s-your-father; hairy blighter, dicky-birded, feathered back on his sammy, took a waspy, flipped over on his Betty Harpers and caught his can in the Bertie.
Eric Idle, 1974
Theologian II, Sabine Miller, Oriental lily petals and pulp with citrus juice and graphite pencil on watercolor paper. Tinted and brightened. 2016
Opening of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot,
as sung by wildflowers:
Let us go then, you and I,
When the lily is spread out against the sky
Like a ghost orchid etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless asters in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with fresh bluebells:
Poppies that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the cosmos come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
Source: Collected Poems 1909-1962 (1963), adaptation by Michelle Tennison
Rhetoric does not get you anywhere, because Hitler and Mussolini are just as good at rhetoric. But if you can bring these people down with comedy, they stand no chance.
Humor is the fourth dimension of this world, without it futile and unlivable . . .
A secret conquered at the cost of long suffering, humor is the answer to superior minds to this world in which they feel themselves alien. More than a natural secretion, as it has too often been regarded, humor manifests, on the contrary, the heroic attitude of those who are unwilling to compromise.
— Maurice Nadeau, The History of Surrealism
Perhaps humor breaks the quantum bonds created by story . . . and laughter is the energy that is set free.
the sea of voices
a laughing gull
— Michelle Tennison
— Surrealist Proverb, Paul Eluard and Benjamin Peret
Will all my questions ever be answered?
Mere pebbles in the beginning, a landslide by its end
Q&A Session with Paul Cunniff, Sharon Cunniff, Mary Ellen Binkele, and Michelle Tennison
The overwhelming majority of the universe is: who knows?
— Richard Panek, The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality
What is critical mass?
The space between stars
Question Michelle Tennison, Answer Paul Miller (2014)
What is the soul?
A water bug skims over the surface
perfectly balanced between
here and there
Question and Answer Session with Mary Ellen Binkele and Michelle Tennison (1999)