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April 18, 2015

absent a bedroom display

As indicated at the end of the premature Introduction/Application to a Poetry Reading (AKA form AP-10-20) published earlier this year, EPP wants to keep its online activity to a minimum and celebrate snail mail.  To elaborate, EPP believes that the more precarious the situation in which the individual art objects arrive at your home, be they drawings, sculptures or handwritten letters of various forms, the more worth sharing they may be.

Also as indicated in Form AP-10-20, EPP wants community, wants to ascertain and carve out its own sense of it, and hopefully bring a lot of satisfaction and/or joy to people’s lives.  The sensibilities of EPP’s primary (as in first, not best) agent, myself, Creed J. Shepard require that that sense of community must be earned by intense, radical critiques, inquiries and naive musings of what interest me and my chosen interlocutors.  Also needed is a significant degree of personal disclosures that make transparent my ideological tendencies and personal feelings (some which I’d call ignoble) that have led me to this platform.

I am taking the cue, as probably millions of writers, artists and thinkers have, from Walter Benjamin who in his monumental essay insisted that art respond to fascism’s appropriation of it for terrifying purposes by getting politicized.  However wrong he may have been in the many details, his insights are only more and more relevant in todays age of hyper-production/overproduction.  I am also taking the cue of one of Benjamin’s intellectual heirs, John Berger who asserted in Ways of Seeing the following:

A people or class which is cut off from its own past is far less free to choose and to act as a people or a class than one that has been able to situate itself in history.

Berger’s first essay in the book, takes Benjamin’s observations of how the reproduction of works of art, particularly with the advent of photography changed fundamentally the way we see things, so much that it’s harder to ignore the disgusting origin of the vast majority of the oil paintings (dominant between 1500 and 1900) that are considered masterpieces.  They are testimonies of an order of a privileged minority whose power has always derived in large part from the exploitation and victimizing of others.  Berger takes to task what he calls the esoteric approach to art criticism that is steeped in the mystifying language of specialists that inadvertently or not works to preserve that order.

One doesn’t have to be a student or believer of marxism to see that the vulgar inequality that exists in this world is in large part a result of those want to keep this order, and that the words and images that are disseminated through every medium have some say and imply certain positions in the states of affairs, and that they are consciously utilized by members of the one percent.  Sadly, too many people are passive consumers of these words and images no matter how alienating the messages in them truly are.  Sadly, too many people mistake the above written as envious resentment of the rich as if I would take much pleasure living like they do.  Sadly…apathy, well blah, blah, blah, you know all this already.  Still there’s the question [cue the suggested image of the pained expression accompanying the shiny “sincere” whispering voice-over ], “what can I do?”  What can we do?

I’d love to explore that while making a true attempt at capturing a lot of beautiful, overlooked/not-seen-at-all things that go on in this community that are worthy to behold for what they are in themselves, particularly very quotidian things that can speak on a very personal level of, by and for the artist/contributor/fan, but connect to much bigger social pool (e.g., how the very underwhelming space in our house among a plethora of ephemeral office and other materials conveys my need to create absent any economical considerations, and that it sometimes tests the relationship had with my more economically successful partner and how that dynamic is reflected in tens of thousands of relationships that implicate communities, schools, businesses, etc.).   How to do other folks justice, but not stroke any egos either.  Homemade journalistic presentations of visual and literary ephemera that will address everyday life in a context of epistolary art.

And, in the spirit of an apparent back-tracking what may have seemed a subtle aggression at established folks in the community of my local area and certainly the old institutions of which we have local versions, my idea is to display the newsletter like a work of art in the bathrooms of many establishments in this here town of mine, Lawrence, Kansas.    I am interested in making copies of the newsletter so that they can be shown in multiple bathrooms.  But each copy will be given a different display/frame to be designed and maybe accompanied with extra trinkets or micro-publications.  Each issue will contain an article in the form of a very interpersonal letter that in turn may dabble in several literary and/or visual forms.

It will be an experiment in trying to solidify the more enduring project of exchanging epistolary art and hopefully generating interest in creating performances and shows in peoples homes and other geographically neglected spaces.

I’m sorry if you cringe, shrug, feel indifferent, confused or bad in some way at any of this.  It doesn’t bother me if you or if you do. That does not mean it wouldn’t thrill me you have interest in any or all of the above.  To be clear: it would thrill me if any of you, recipients of this message want to collaborate contribute, help edit and/or subscribe to Enduring Puberty Press, the newsletter.   It is a big tent, but I refuse to pretend that it’s another big idea as if I didn’t already have enough of them, which, to reiterate this here reason, is another reason to carry this project through.

Below are the themes, not any particular order, I have already or would like to see written and drawn about.  The majority of them in some way entail concrete relationships with people.

Considering the lives of others (in a way rarely seen online)

Aesthetics and all the other little things


Book reviews

History of the 21st century

The classic expectation of art as social critique, as a tool for advancing social ideas and the art (literature especially) being used as witness

Elitism in the publishing industry, and addressing in that context criteria for determining literary criteria

The ability to be vulnerable, the extent to which a correspondence shows its correspondent’s vulnerability and (maybe the potential for challenging current conventions of privacy

The neurotic coming to terms with and re-coming to terms with the need/desire for recognition

The Sharing Economy

Permaculture/Urban Gardening/Botany

Racism and bigotry of every kind

Representation of men and women and “women with men”



Our fragile human-fostering ecosystem

City and State politics




Socially responsible consumption

Every major philosophical topic there is

Connecting political self interests to service a future movement that will help a human rights-centered social democracy defeat the dictatorship of capital

The promise of a renewable energy economy

The overproduction of books (and many other items)

what remains within the perimeters of common sense

bathroom art

born-again anything

Epistolary Art



How to make it just about the work itself

that the work itself doesn’t just become about the work itself

Geography of the local art market

Geography of local literature


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