So Much Depends on the Hinge: Heller Levinson Interview, Part 1

 Heller Levinson’s just-released from stone this running contains little stone, but much running. Readers will observe a poetry that runs, marathons, leaps, surges, and pirouettes across the page. The poems seem to squiggle and transform before one’s very eyes.

It’s the latest manifestation of Levinson’s Hinge project, a fascinating approach to the arts:

Jared: You previously described Hinge as an organic, constantly evolving project, so could you update us on the new developments that Hinge poetics has taken?

Heller:  Thanks for the question, Jared, . . . it’s good to be back.  Well, first off, we have the new book — from stone this running— from Black Widow Press.  I term this book a second-stage Hinge Enactment because it not only multiplies the initial modules that broke ground in Smelling Mary, — (for example, there now exist over 150 “withs,” and that’s only from my pen) but it introduces some thrilling new behaviorisms.  I won’t go into detail — that is what the book is for.  I will say, however, that in fstr, New Hinge Outcroppings are making their appearance for the first time.

Substantial new developments I can point to are my Hingings with the Artists [any Artist I Intercourse with qualifies as a Hinge Artist]:  Linda Lynch, Michael Dominick, Felino Soriano, Joe Giglio, Sedric Choukroun, & Elmar Lemes.

Linda and I made our debut on alligatorzine.be with a piece called “with lines.”  That Intercourse has bloomed into 35 pages of material that will be included in my next book, Wrack Lariat, a book devoted to Hinging with the visual arts.

In addition, Linda, Felino, & myself have performed the first Hinge Trio Event, with — Hinge Trio Performs Pathos (about 27 pages, currently looking for a publisher).  Here we have three artists impregnating the Particle[1] “pathos,” two (Felino & Heller) using the Lingual, & Linda utilizing the Visual.  Linda is decisively Not Decorating the “performance” with design, . . . she Is Drawing Pathos.

At Joe Giglio’s studio, I initialized The Interbreeding Amplitudinous Lyric Splash.  This Activity consists of the Hingist splicing existing lyrics with original applications.  The song I Hinged to was  “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” as sung by Fred McDowell.  You can see me performing this on YouTube.

[An aside:  I often think what distinguishes 21st century romances is their YouTubing one another.]

My Intercourse with Michael Dominick is recent.  He & I simply ignited.  I applaud his Curiosity, his Authenticity, his Lust to know about Hinge and how it behaves, his enthusiasm to Enlarge together, his Respectfulness (I’d better stop “applauding” or my hands are going to get raw) . . . .

I will be reading from a portion of “painting in the mold of fire,” (a Hinge Treatment in progress dedicated to Michael) to introduce his Gallery Event at the Red Tin Shack in Red Hook, Brooklyn on October 1st, my birthday.  I find it propitious that our first Live Intercourse together will be on my natal day, … it’ll mean a Double Birthday!

Michael & I are in discussion on a variety of ideas, some of which will be inclusive of the Hinge Artists mentioned above.

Joe Giglio, along with Sedric Choukroun, Elmar Lemes, & Frederic Legrand at the Brasserie Julien [2] developed “part beatitude/part beast.” For the first time, in “pb/pb,” I incorporate “the body” into the performance.  I was shy about doing this.  I was fearful it would be construed as some vain, narcissistic boob flapping his ass around.  I shared my concerns with Joe who said, “Why wouldn’t it work?  . . . Do it.”  So it was, I wanted the body to Be There, along with the African Olatunji drums, the physical pulse, the throb of rhythm adjoining the text, muscling the performance. We never rehearsed.  First time was the only time.These are what first come to mind; of course there have been other “alightments,” but I think these are some of the majors.

Jared:  I notice you use the word “Intercourse” instead of the more common “Collaboration” — is there a reason for that?

Heller:  Yes.  Hinge strives to protect & foster Integrity & Hygiene.  It is of High Importance that every word calibrate to this Salutiferous Ether.  One could view this as Word Conditioning.  It must be Fit, posess a certain Fit-Ness.

“Collaboration” is a reject.  It fails to qualify.  It is Un-fit.  “Collaboration” has a tony ring to it when it is expressed.  It suggests you are currying Societal Endorsement.  It sounds Self-Important.  It reminds me of when I lived in L.A. and every other person I met said , “I’m in a band,”  as if that magically assigned some Seal of Approval.

“Intercourse,” on the other hand, qualifies because it is FUN!  There is Activity:  Inter = “between,” “in the midst of,” “mutually,” & Course, = “forward or onward progression,” “to run, race, or move swiftly,” (like “running” in the title of this book), etc.  It is fecund, it breathes, it travels, it is, . . . well, I’ll just say it — Fucky.

Jared: Many artistic developments  have come with their own theoretical articulations–for example, it’d be hard to see how Modernism would have evolved  without its million gadzillion manifestos–but Hinge is especially complex,

complete with explanatory notes, appendices, & a vocabulary that borrows from scientific discourse. Since most artists are notoriously inarticulate about their process, what spurred you on to describe Hinge in such a precise way?

Heller:  Curious question, Jared, because it has a curious answer.  The short answer to the question is that I never wanted to discuss Hinge.  I have an aversion to the “discursive,” preferring the realm of what Artaud refers to as the “Affective Imponderable.”

When I moved to NYC (with only 6 or 7 “withs” applicated) & dined with  Mary Newell, I would regale her with tales from the Hinge Laboratory, — the curious behavior of the “word”  (particle) when it gristled with the “with” (the pivot/combustion/launch).  Then Outcropped the “road to ______ road” module & I marveled at how the same particle/subject would be complemented & extended (in mutation, transformed/re-disposed) when chambered in a Modular Alternative.

Salutations to Mary Newell for tolerating such single-minded, manic explosions after enduring a full day of teaching & a two-hour commute. Mary Newell began identifying & discussing the behavior I was submitting.  She is the person who gave us the name “Hinge.”

I felt Safe simply being immersed in the Magmatic Enormity of the material.  I feared if I talked about the creating, I would lose it, as Rilke feared that he would lose his writing ability if he underwent psychoanalysis.  I shrank from identification/discussion/analysis.  I preferred bathing in the Magic.

The first time I was called upon to “say about” was when meeting Mary Newell & Andre Spears to discuss their Dialoguing Hinge, per the suggestion of Michael Annis. After Andre & Mary had discoursed for a while, Andre turned to me & said, — “And of course you have some thoughts.”  Well, of course, I didn’t.  Nada.

I informed Michael Annis of the meeting and he was pleased Andre & Mary were on board & informed me — when I told him of Andre’s remark, & my inbred resistance, he’d have none of it.  Michael said I have to Talk About Hinge because no one else is qualified to do so.  And he didn’t want a guide.  He demanded the inner guts.  So, with trepidation, I began the Hinge Theory Diagnostic (page 71, Smelling Mary, Howling Dog Press, 2008).  While creating the “Diagnostic,” I realized I had been condemned.  Clearly, I could not pass this off on anyone else.  I could no longer just participate in what thrilled me, I was now Obligated to expose/deliver/offer/submit the very Magic that so Enthralled me.  I’ll include a fragment of an email to Michael that platters forward the original flavor:[3]

[right on … I’m becoming a Hinge Scientist as well as an artist, … something I never envisioned, you got me doing all this “talk,” … I actually enjoy the creating the best, but, we have something so vital here that it’s beyond what I “enjoy,” I feel an obligation to share it and continue to shape/explore it … as you’ll see in my last e-mail to Anthony, the point to Olson (John) was to try and help him see the vastness involved, and that it’s not at all splashed haphazardly together, it’s very precisely “geared,” like planetary orbit … Mary Newell put it this way:  “Hinge is material of connectivity and introduces an intentional and generative biasing.  Like a pool table with all the balls commotioning and someone lifting the pool table slightly so all that activity is directed.  (With the additional image that new balls are being added all the time as the pool table itself enlarges).”]

 That should partially answer your question, Jared, about what “spurred me to describe Hinge.”  I wasn’t “spurred” so much as Compelled.  The “Choice” was not for me to make if I was to go forth Honorably.

This leads to an interesting point, and why expressing my accounts of Hinge Theory are Mandatory, in my opinion.  Not better, mind you, than other accounts,  just Necessary, for I don’t go outside of the Framework, the ConteXtual Behaviorism of Hinge to describe Hinge.  I attempt to shy away from any Referential Matter.  It is fine, good, & appropriate, — even Necessary — that it is being done, and will continue to be done, by others.  To quote myself:

“One must resist the temptation to enclose (circumscribe) the newly emerging with the already existing.  Such tendencies will sacrifice ‘novelty’ to the safety nets of the familiar.”

Another element in your question interests me: — your labeling HT an “artistic development.”  I find that restrictive/reductive.  We would not term the creation of our Universe as an “artistic development,” although we can appreciate viewing it that way, —  as an additionality, as prospering Perspectival Furtherances.

HT is Emphatically Not another artistic development like “Surrealism” or “Post-Modernism,” … it is Vaster.  It is Inclusive of artistic movements, as it is inclusive of musical/athletic/lovemaking/home decorating/cooking & dog- training parallels.  But it remains its own Integrally Unique Creation.  The Integrally Whole must be segregated from Fragmentary Movements.  An Ocean is not a bottle of Evian.

I would like to consider your comment — “. . . have come with their own theoretical articulations.”  I don’t see myself articulating theory.  I  Messenger Marvels.  I unwrap them for you, I fondle them, I gush, & I  rhapsodize, & when called upon, — I Remark.

Further, We don’t “borrow from Scientific Discourse.”  Striving for greater & greater precision, we Utilize from Anywhere/Everywhere.  When a scientific term is most accurate, we use that; if an athletic or dance expression is, —such as “pivot” — we use that, . . . Hinge is Non-Boxable.  “CrissCrossery” used to cogitate upon ://:, probably derives from my image of Pick-Up Sticks.

Curiously, science uses precision to arrive at provability/demonstrability/measurability/accountability/predictability & Explicability. HT employs precision to arrive at the Mysterious/the Infinities/the Magical/the Im-measurable/the Boundless … the IN-explicable.

ExplicitNess to Un-Describe.  Merely to Offer, to Present, — a Cosmic Gift, Eureka after Eureka AWaiting you.

As a Manifesto:  Follow the path of Hinge — you have nothing to lose but your Misery!


[1] See first interview in Jivin’ Ladybug.  These terms are also explained in both Smelling Mary and from stone this running.

[2] Venues constitute Hinge Components — a special salutation to Frederic Legrand & the Jivin’ Ladybug for featuring the performance on their site.

[3] A special note of Regard for Michael Annis (HDP) who has been instrumental in partnering this Hinge forward.

Advertisements