2wallymail - June 15, 1996

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Here's an email Kurt composed to Cliff (Walter) Barney in 1996, in response to an email Cliff sent Kurt in May (delivered in printed form to Kurt in June). The original email noted (and the package contained) the cover of TIME magazine, featuring an article - "Can Machines Think?" Both Kurt and Cliff had steeped themselves in the cybernetic theories of Heinz von Foerster, and the writings of Warren McCulloch. Kurt's reply is typically wide-ranging, well-informed and entertaining, and reveals his frustrations with the emerging use of email and "spellcheck." Accordingly, he notes inaccuracies and inconsistencies in spelling in several sources of information. "Jene LaRue used to say that while spelling rules--the rightness of orthography--were conventional, it was most important (deepest, oldest, most prior) to spell correctly the names of the gods and presumably, in hierarchical order, those of the demi-gods, heroes, daimons, distinguished colleagues, scientists, artists, authors because they are the notational forms that enjoin (or sustain) being invoked, so one had best get it right, or at least as right as possible." He also carefully examines the magazine cover, noting the number of cogs on the gear wheels. 

Pages from the Notebooks of von Meier

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Kurt's blue-lined notebook was never far from hand. Tucked into a manila folder, it sat by his spot on the couch ready for his pen whenever a thought or event stimulated Kurt's mind or heart (which happened frequently and easily). There are many dozens of these notebooks stretching over a 40-year period.

Here are two pages from 1990; not all of it is immediately understandable, given Kurt's personal "shorthand." But overall, these pages are revealing. 

Unity and Alienation in Art & Letters

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In this short essay, a book report if you will, Kurt writes about casting the I Ching and two books on his work table at that time, Kenneth Rexroth's More Classics Revisited and Wendy Steiner's The Scandal of Pleasure: Art in an Age of Fundamentalism. He gathers his comments together under the umbrella of "unity and alienation," a recurrent theme in his writing and teaching, and a set of feelings that spurred his personal interest in esoteric practice. 

Some Noise about Hidden Noise

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The mystery of Duchamp's With Hidden Noise rattled around inside Kurt's head for decades, as this biographical account reveals. That this was so also reveals something about Kurt von Meier--that finding the source of the "hidden noise" within himself became something of an obsession. It's displacement into an object of sculpture cannot disguise the intent of his meticulous record-keeping and documentation of his own life, a strand of yarn stretching back over many decades.