Kraus’ work I Love Dick remediates visual art. The question is what the endgame of Kraus’ remediations is. In this paper I pose that Kraus remediates visual art in an attempt to have her emotions, intelligence, and merit as a female artist validated.
One of the goals of writing is being read and transferring ideas. This ties in with Kraus’ quote of Olsen, who states that the “best poetry is a kind of schizophrenia – It is a transfer of energy between the poet and the reader” (225). The tenor of this metaphor can be extended to ‘all writing’ or even ‘all art’. By extending the metaphor Kraus’ writing can also be seen as a schizophrenic transfer of energy; schizophrenic in the sense that the reader realizes that Kraus writes partly to herself and projection (147) is a big part of Kraus’ infatuation. By remediating a visual art piece – the film with the letters hanging on Dick’s cacti that does not exist except in the mind and letters of Kraus and Lotringer – Kraus projects her emotions on the written word. This is an effective medium to have her emotions understood by other people – Dick, the reader- and to ‘transfer energy between the [writer] and the reader’.
Intellectually posited beneath two theorizing men, Lotringer and Dick, Kraus describes Kitaj’s exhibition (170-188). Perhaps due to her insufficient schooling she doesn’t take the remediation to the level of academia – indeed, she describes as feeling singular in academic settings. The written description of Kitaj’s visual art and its presentation is limited to descriptions of the visuals without a theoretic framework as well as loose associations and social commentary focused on what was en vogue in the 1950’s.
Kraus also describes the work and life of Hannah Wilke (195-202). This is a remediation in the sense that Kraus describes some of Wilke’s artworks with words. The description of Wilke’s life is a meta-memoir, which seems clever. Meta-memoir is, however, not a technique invented by Kraus. By describing the life and work of Wilke Kraus seems to try to forge a link between her own and Wilke’s lives and statuses as female artists and places herself next to what she calls a “geniusâ”. There are some large, link-breaking, and obvious differences between Kraus and Wilke however, which can’t be expanded upon in this paper. Suffice it to say that Kraus is not successful in drawing an effective implicit comparison between herself and a genius.
In conclusion, Kraus’ remediations of visual art try to make the reader understand her emotions. Kraus also has a go at theorizing through remediation. Added to this list is the attempt at validation of Kraus’ status as a female artist. These remediations might make a critical reader – like the writer of this paper – wonder whether Dick is right in sending only a xerox copy of another letter to the creator of these remediations.
Kraus, Chris. I Love Dick. Serpents Tail, 2016.