Thursday, October 02, 2008

Story Live at Helix

My short story "Prometheus Rebound" is now live at Helix: A Speculative Fiction Quarterly, issue #10.

This is the first and so far only story I've written that grew out of a visual pun. Back in the 70s I took a very cool college elective course called "Exploring Art in New York," which included a visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art. There, likely at its 1977 Biennial Exhibition, I saw a display of props (as it were) from Chris Burden's "Transfixed."

From George Dvorsky's blog Sentient Developments:

"In 1974 Burden performed Transfixed in which his body was stretched along the roof of a Volkswagen Bug while a friend drove spikes through his hands nailing him to the car. The vehicle was then driven out into the street where it obstructed traffic. Aside from the strange religious connotations of this piece, the point of Transfixed might have been merely to shock and disturb."

As I recall, the Whitney exhibit included photographs and the spikes. Other mutilation episodes marked Burden's performance art.

When I set out last year to write a story using mythic elements, the image of "Transfixed" popped into my head in conjunction with the punishment meted out to Prometheus of having his liver consumed daily by an eagle. I thought: If Prometheus were present in today's world, that cycle of torture and rejuvenation would be right at home in a place like the Whitney. Says Citysearch, "The Whitney Biennial is the highest-profile contemporary art showcase in the country--and a reliable source of controversy." In 2000 a firestorm arose over its exhibit of Hans Haacke’s installation piece, "Sanitation," to the point where two members of the Whitney family threatened to disinherit the museum. More on that is in this article (.pdf file) over at the World Socialist Web Site.

But a visual pun does not a story make, which meant I had to go lookin' for trouble. That's when I started researching Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy, and the weirdness evolved from there.

Helix is no stranger to controversy, either, for that matter. Issue #10 is the e-zine's final offering.

Covenant, the first volume in the Deviations Series, is available from Aisling Press, and from AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Territory, Borders,,,, DEAstore,,,,, Powell's Books, and Target. Deviations: Appetite is now available for pre-order at Barnes and Noble. The Deviations page has additional details.

[end of entry]


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