Issue #∞: Forever
An Introductory Timeline of
Editorial Interactions and Excuses
By Walter Forsberg & John Klacsmann
“Thank you Jesus for the eternal present” – George Landow, 1973
Welcome, devoted reader, to FOREVER: the first day of the rest of your life. Being everything that you had ever hoped for that could persist indefinitely in characteristic INCITE hard copy, this sixth issue – a pastiche of TIMELESS experimental films, videos, comics, jokes, ideas, photos, readings, grumbles, and internets – has taken appropriately long to conceptually germinate and physically self-incarnate. We humbly pray to the eternal celestial forces that it will be deemed worth the wait.
Skirting any prosaic introductory dog’s breakfast of cornball segues between disparately cool, but not-explicitly linked content, your faithful editors offer here no purgatory-of-understanding between the Table of Contents and said Contents themselves. Instead, we wish to disclose long-winded excuses and exclusions in the form of a thoroughly-researched timeline that details how this issue’s conception played out:
February 15, 2014: ‘Forever’ is floated as a potential thematic for the sixth issue of INCITE by Walter and John, over digestifs at the East Village bar Burp Castle. Original napkin-based ideas are eventually transcribed as:
+ Locked LP Grooves (this has been written about elsewhere, but still a ripe subject);
+ Film Looper installations;
+ Marclay’s THE CLOCK;
+ Idea of ‘carousel’ in slide projections (see: Don Draper's 'carousel' pitch to Kodak in season one of Mad Men);
+ General idea of circularity in media formats (recorded sound discs; spinning disks for audio and computer memory; audio and video tape; film reels; the iPod menu interface);
+ Media works of infinite duration (Land artists like Robert Smithson, Ana Mendieta; or, Douglas Gordon's 24-hour PSYCHO);
+ Algorithms (the never-ending Union Square clock in NYC; self-generating artworks like Brian Eno's iPhone app) and The Singularity;
+ The Long Now Foundation;
+ Post-Apocalyptic Cinema (Neil Young and Devo's HUMAN HIGHWAY; the Afterlife; a zillion sci-fi options; Marker's LA JETEE)
+ Terry Riley's IN C;
+ La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela's DREAMHOUSE;
+ Theoretical Mathematics (Pi & Infiniti) and the Cinema;
+ Clint Enns' statement that "Duration is Dead";
+ Stan Brakhage's story about The Ten Commandments;
+ Temporality and Failure and Loss and Grieving;
+ Migration of media/humans/universal forces of energy from one format to another;
+ Failed experiments in making art/media last forever (flammability of nitrate film; decomposition of acetate film; hard drive failures and computer crashes; DOTS)
February 19, 2014: Walter pitches the issue’s list of ideas to Chairman Kashmere: “Anthology's John Klacsmann and I shared a beer this week and did some brainstorming. This is pretty much a verbatim list of rough and random ideas, so please – no judgments! It’s a pretty broad thematic, and we both acknowledged the room for more algorithmic/computer/internetty content ideas. Full disclosure that it’s a very media preservation-y topic.” Kashmere responds: “Oooooh Forever/“FOREVER” is a sweet thematic…”
June 2, 2014: Brett officially accepts FOREVER as the theme for the sixth issue of INCITE; Walter moves to Washington, DC, making everything take longer.
July 24, 2014: Google Doc titled “Incite #∞ Potential Content” is created IN THE CLOUD.
August 5, 2014: Incorrectly titled “Summer 2013 Newsletter” announces: “INCITE Journal of Experimental Media seeks submissions of media art writing, criticism, interviews, artist pages, Twitter sagas, jokes, and creative contributions for its sixth issue along the thematic: FOREVER.”
August 6, 2014: Potential contributor writes: “My apologies – I forgot to bring yr phone number when I went home last night and I still don’t have a cell phone or internet access at home...I have to go to the Tim Hortons down the street ! I will try to phone you thurs night or on the weekend with something.”
August 7, 2014: A much-discussed, but never realized, videotape ‘zine component of the issue is proposed.
August 12, 2014: INCITE contributing editor Peter Nowogrodski pitches article on the music video for Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever,” offering to “locate country music in the tradition of Greek tragedy.” Submission is never received. (Tragically.)
August 18, 2014: Contributor recommends “removing all the vowels” from another contributor’s submission.
September 2014: While touring the expanded cinema performance, TECHNICOLOR N.G., John experiences a third recurrence of flu-like malady soon nicknamed, ‘Forever Cold.’
September 7, 2014: Prospective contributor simply writes in an email: “Give me a word count and a deadline :D .” Submission still forthcoming at time of printing.
September 9, 2014: Another prospective contributor writes: “I have some sad news: Grad School is dominating my life, so I don’t think I’ll be able to submit anything after all – HOWEVER, I will hopefully have a cut of a new movie by the end of the year and I’d love to get your opinion on."
September 15, 2014: Potential contributor writes: “I am slightly skittish about making commitments to things that are not My CIA Book.”
October 2, 2014: Walter writes to John: “I WANT KENNY ZORAN CURWOOD.”
November 4, 2014: John writes to possible contributor: “Feel free to submit something if you’d like. A think-piece on BATMAN FOREVER could be interesting or something else..."
November 5, 2014: “INCITE #∞ Call For Entries” posted on experimental film’s infamous listserv, Frameworks.
November 24, 2014: Responding to Walter’s email (subject line: “URGENT”), John writes: “It would be good to have a real INCITE sit down at some point and put everything on the table. Maybe Saturday December 6th. It’s been a little hard for me to keep up with email recently.”
November 29, 2014: Contributor writes: “Just wanted to give you a status update. I’m working on the article, but I don't think I’ll be done by December 1, especially because I just requested a bunch of additional source documents.”
December 1, 2014: The issue’s final deadline for submissions.
December 3, 2014: Auto-response from potential contributor: “I’m currently traveling away from NYC. I will be checking emails periodically, but apologize if I don’t return your message before next week.”
December 18, 2014: John writes: “This is a lot for me to respond to via email right now. Would be happy to have a ‘conference call’ this weekend or whenever. I think it would help me a lot to talk through things rather than respond individually via email.”
December 31, 2014: Contributor responds to submission status update request: “I could show you some draft pages (mostly hand written.)”
January 1, 2015: John and Walter celebrate 2015 by having the first INCITE phone meeting of the year.
January 2, 2015: Walter reports to Brett: “We sketched out a lot of content that seems ‘for sure’ set to appear in the issue (more on that, later)”
January 6, 2015: Prospective contributor writes: “Right now I am trying to get three of the courses I will teach this term started and I have a grant deadline for the 20th of January and then again on Feb. 2. I wouldn’t be able to get anything ready until the end of first week of February. I don't want to keep you waiting but it really is too bad that I found out about the subject of this forthcoming issue of INCITE so late because it is really relevant to my two film projects.”
January 15, 2015: Contributor reports: “Apologies for being so out of touch. I got sucked deep into the holiday vortex.”
January 16, 2015: INCITE #5: BLOCKBUSTER is released.
January 22, 2015: Tenured academic submits past publication, suggesting publication of an excerpt, while commenting: “There’s a bunch of weird dated stuff in there. The discussion has this bizarre idea of etching microscopic copies of works into platinum, and then burying it in a desert terrain next to a nuclear dump, so someone will always be able to find it.”
February 2, 2015: Contributor drops out of issue saying, “Good luck on this highly-anticipated issue.”
February 16, 2015: Contributor, two-and-a-half months past deadline, writes: “When would you need to have everything for the next issue of INCITE?”
March 1, 2015: John visits DC for INCITE ‘working brunch’ to wrap-up the issue.
March 12, 2015: In a telephone conference call, Brett declares: “I won’t have time for this until June.”
April 2, 2015: Walter visits NYC for INCITE ‘working tapas’ at Spain Bar to finalize a couple of remaining details for the issue.
April 5, 2015: John writes Walter: “Sorry man....it’s been a busy weekend. I’m available to talk now but I’m guessing we should try and schedule something for after work sometime this week....let me know what works.”
April 7, 2015: It is decided and agreed that INCITE #∞ will be published in an 8” x 8” square format.
April 8, 2015: A paid ad is pitched to a prospective advertiser. Response: “That’s a definite maybe. What’s y’all’s circulation?”
April 27, 2015: Walter writes: “I've been SO BAD at staying on top of all the INCITE stuff. Apologies. I’ve been OK at staying on top of some of the INCITE stuff, but honestly the lack of internet at my house (combined with the constant government surveillance of my work computer) has made me fall behind further that I like to be, in terms of pro-activity. Apologies!!”
May 21, 2015: Brett writes to John and Walter: “End of May is fast approaching, so thought I should check in to see where things are at re: FOREVER.”
May 26, 2015: John writes to Walter: “Could we choose a weekend in June to work on INCITE? Since I traveled down to DC last time, is it possible for you to come to NYC?”
May 31, 2015: Walter complains: “I’m completely baffled by Dropbox’s prohibition of me looking into your shared folder, simply because my own Dropbox has no space remaining. I also don’t know how to see what is taking up all of my own Dropbox’s space. Is it possible that we proceed using the Google empire?”
June 13-14, 2015: Walter visits NYC for INCITE editorial meeting just to sew-up a few of the loose ends regarding the issue. The meeting is EXPANDED and subsequently relocated to Fort Tilden beach as a ‘working retreat.’
June 15, 2015: John writes Walter: “When can we get together topic of discussion: INCITE? Maybe even just a dinner meeting? I think Saturday and Sunday were wonderful, but we should do some discussing about what comes next and do some serious planning work.”
June 18, 2015: John and Walter attend BRAZENHEAD, a secret bookstore speakeasy/salon on the Upper East Side. INCITE is not discussed.
July 18, 2015: Afternoon coffee + pot InDesign session. Walter writes to contributor: “Where’s that shit at, bro?” Contributor responds: “Sent it to you on June 30th.”
July 23, 2015: Walter experiences his first work-related panic-dream, wherein Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl” is selected as the Smithsonian-NMAAHC’s new welcome lobby anthem and played on loop all hours of the day.
August 8, 2015: Email from INCITE staff: “I’m totally tied up until the end of next week (i’m in “finals” and cranking out a big presentation).”
August 9, 2015: John visits DC for INCITE ‘working luncheon’ wherein an interview for the issue is planned, conducted and transcribed in one afternoon. Many cups of coffee are imbibed.
September 21, 2015: Brett writes to John and Walter: “Not to pile more onto already full plates, but… Don't believe I’ve seen an introduction for the issue yet... Are you guys planning to write one?”
September 22, 2015: Death of baseball catcher and sage Yogi Berra, who claimed: “The future isn’t what it used to be.”
October 19, 2015: Brett writes to John and Walter: “You guys love making things complicated...”
October 26, 2015: Brett writes to John and Walter: “Happy Monday. Just wondering where we’re at with the remaining items for #Forever. The interior content, specifically.”
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Walter Forsberg is a Saskatchewan-born filmmaker and Media Archivist at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
John Klacsmann is Archivist at Anthology Film Archives in New York City where he preserves artist cinema. He currently runs a tiny tape label, ZAP Cassettes, and volunteers as a 16mm projectionist at Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn, New York. He is the co-editor of the recently published volumes of The Collections of Harry Smith, Catalogue Raisonné (J&L Books/Anthology Film Archives).