2nd installment – how the hell did we get here…
So the surrealists and surrealist pornography. And what the hell does any of that have to do with plants?
The totally subjectively remembered long story. Some 11ish years or so ago, Amy Huggans from the Giraffe and my babies’ mama, started working on something she was calling the Girls Show to Rule the World. Around this time I think she was pretty much fed up with the boys in RH and CG and wanted to do something that didn’t involve the boys getting drunk and listening to bad comedy records every rehearsal. And she was specifically interested in the book, Irene’s Cunt, by Louis Aragon.
Here’s a picture of a young Aragon. Probably around the time he first met Laure/Colette Peignot. The bow-tie with leather jacket is pretty sweet.
Anyway, Amy started working on an Aragon idea, and we did a few rehearsals and then for whatever reason lost to time and the imperfect memory of quasi-alcoholics, the idea petered out. We all moved onto something else like spending all our time watching Vienna Actionist videos in the case of CG or making kick-ass westerns in the case of RH. (If you don’t know who CG or RH are, then this will all be a mystery which is as it should be anyway). It was one false start among many.
But I always had in the back of my head the idea to pick up the project sort of where Amy had left it, or at least the Aragon part of it. And when I had the dream that sort of started my mind working on Botanica, I was incidentally also re-reading Irene’s Cunt. So the two ideas; a world of plants and the surrealists were just sort of floating on the same river in my mind from the beginning.
And then there’s the confluence of Laure in the middle of this whole thing. If you’re reading Aragon then you sort of have to read Bataille too just to get your French surrealist kink rounded out with a little less self-loathing. And when I started poking into Bataille’s “Blue of Noon” then I just sort of started stumbling over how Laure shows up in both Bataille’s and Aragon’s biographies (as well as Man Ray, Maurice Blanchot… you get the idea) and then eventually found my way to material suggesting that both of these books were inspired by this same woman, Laure.
She died at 35 from basic wholesale recklessness. When her mother tried to arrange for a priest at her funeral, Bataille refused to allow it by threatening to shoot him on the altar.
Next post, I think I’ll try to give you a better picture of who Laure was, what she thought and wrote, and how that relates to the story we’ve tried to make for Liz in Botanica.