You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
“Song of Myself,” Walt Whitman (1891–2)
Convergent in any contemporary notion of aesthetics are both artists’ attempts to locate themselves in an action and readers’ relationships to that act of location. In the interactions between works of art and critical expressions there emerges the tradition of poetics, and/or theory. Poetics is as much a placing of art as it is a theory of how a poem is constructed, what it responds to or refuses, and what purposes it might or might not serve. It is also at this convergence that people congregate, and form, however fleetingly, an aesthetic community.
There are many accounts of contemporary art which announce its end, be it material, historical, conceptual, or ideological. But isn’t it possible that what is at an end is our capacity to relate to, acknowledge, or participate in the various roles art can perform in a culture? What can we make of our successions of and failures to find the other?
Jack Spicer once said that he wouldn’t submit any of his poems to Poetry magazine because he didn’t believe in the kind of society imagined in its works. We invited contributions to the second manifestation of Floor that act out locations and locate actions in creative and critical ways. We hope you find them generative of future acts and locations.
Lyn Hejinian & Christopher Patrick Miller