John Mercuri Dooley
Notes on SOL Pieces
These pieces were composed from curatorial notes and aleatoric responses to a retrospective of Sol Lewitt’s work at the Whitney Museum on February 17, 2001.
The initial intention was to create a semigrammatical abstraction of the notes from the exhibition that would include an unembodied narrative that also somehow was written from the point of view of the reader/observer, describing unnamed objects and lines drawn on flat planes, and movement through and around these objects and with the lines on the flat planes. This was to represent an experience of Sol Lewitt’s work; to represent an example of our relation to objects, to one dimension and three dimensions, to space and to self; and to present a language object. I did this by choosing words from the notes to form word groups, and from these groups forming larger word units. The original first word unit:
“full on bottom missing corner same next layer next miss see on each next
same next missing more but larger next same”
Next, I replaced each instance of the letters in the name “SOL LEWITT” with the letter that came after it in that name. That is, each instance of the letter S was replaced with the letter O, and vice versa; each instance of the letter L was replaced with the letter E, and vice versa; and the same for the letters W and I. The Ts were left as they were.
A procedure also was used to develop the shape of the stanzas. The first stanza was made up of three strings of nonwords, corresponding to the number of letters in the name SOL. The second stanza included six strings of nonwords, the number of letters in the name LEWITT. The remaining stanzas were formed using this 3-line, 6-line alternating pattern. The indentation, too, were determined by procedure: The first line was indented 19 spaces from the left margin (S is the 19th letter in the alphabet), the second line was indented 15 spaces (O is the 15th letter in the alphabet), the third line was indented 12 spaces (L is the 12th letter in the alphabet.
To make SOL1, I read through SOLunnumbered and performed a homophonic translation of the non-words in that piece. I added periods at the end of every line, and changed the first letter of each line to an uppercase letter, to create yet another experience in/with language, one that more closely resembled rationality and so upset the normal reading pattern in a more subtle way.
fuee mwoowng nlxt mwoo
mwoowng oaml. ouddln arl thl lach..
lach oll blowdl owmpel
dwotractwsno gray owze. aftlr thl oll thwo
out hlad awr wt oquarl snl osewd nst.
thl up iay sf. bsul and msvwng frsm ts by sf
randsm bsx iw h tss are esskwng cut sff are
ihwtl wnowdl sr. hangwng hangwng
otwck blhwnd blhwnd. tss a hwgh at thl up wn
oaywng wt and svlr as
pwlclo. pllp frsm thln fwrot oll but cant
ao ouch thln. nlxt dwvwdl wwth wn
bsttsm aee absvl lach. dwvwdl a lnsrmsuo but ts
wt omwel blcauol thl oll ts
fwnl gradlo / oll fwnl gradlo ts. up
dwfforont gswng frsm ewnlo drain but ns
tss glt most iay panle barl ewnlo ewght
tss glt havl dwfflrlnt ewking and msrl prlvwsuo
csesr ewvley up ihwtl beul agawn beack dsin
os peacl beul sf ewvley beank
ceosld spln sn msrl elt beul. ns ewnl drago
dwvwdl part dwrlctwsno wn
crsoo lquae msvwng dwvwdld csesr lach dwrlct
aee osupo psol parto and
crsoo dwrlctwsn sf osupo psol. ansthlr
nst gs uowng can csvlr frll thwck. celar
drain frsm thln ns cant thl nst ts. csvlrwng
thl vary cesol sn thsuoand
quwtl sr oay frsm brlath ts
oquwggey nst ohsio drain. nst lntwrley nst ao
csvlrwng lntwrl. ns nsi csrnlr and ihat
caeeld msrl csunt cant os ihat
randsm. glt csvlrwng grsund bescko
wn gray dwfflrlnt sr lach sthlr ao gs owdl
ts nlvlr oaml drai sr oplak sf ao
fwrot. sut vlry spln oaml msvlo and owdlo
osewd sthlr thsugh osmlwhat.ihwtl hango
unlnd sut os fwnaeey
mattlr. and otwll. csesr ylaro nsi elo otrawght
and msvwng eatlr.
knsiwng msvl thl dwfflrlncl sf and rlot aftlr
knsio nst that os. pwcturlo ollwng up msre oewght
sf angel sthlrs a iwrl hawr hsel a ewnl, eampo,
owmpel nlrvsuo cescko, leabsratl
ollwng phsnlo csed hlatlro. fesatwng psol otsnl blowdl
nst fweeld osundo
cseelctisn and sthlro owdl hangwng cesolt
clweing fessr wn iwnd geaoo iwth
gratlo osml. faweld sr ohaplo frsm . csesro waoh sf
vary csvlro dllp ohaeesi
vwli cubl lach sf oaml aeos owmpel hlrl.
thwck oll olparatwng mixld otack
and nst mattlr oesi. csvlrld iwth iaoh pwlclo
by. thl hlrl cant aee much
mwddel grayo sf and varwsuo
jaggld esskwng nsi owmpel thwng thwo snl gsnl
vlry ohwmmlrwng. dwrlctwsno
dwvwdl ohwny up lach fsrth ohwftwng
dwvwdlo ihwtl csesro brlath a
dwfflrlnt lylo have dwfflrlnt iaklo.