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Karen Eliot, 23

my own involvement with neoism began when i was just a little girl growing up at the invisible college in akademgorodok, siberia. i spent my youth with scientists and technicians, and almost without friends of my age. a computer programmer gave me the nickname eliot canterel. i didn't know where this name came from and i already thought it would remain a mystery to me when its inventor lost his memory one year later in a medical self-experiment. he had drilled a hole into his skull, soaked it with a yodine solution after having his hair shaved off and having stunned himself locally with three injections. he made three indentations with a scalpel, pulled the loosened lobe of skin back and penetrated a surgical plug-in driller through the skull bone. the misfortune happened because he forgot to pay attention that the metal did not reach the brain mass. his girlfriend found him lying unconscious on the floor in a lake of blood, the driller still in his head.

i later learned about the so-called elliot-trepanation and, just having read the waste land by t.s. eliot whom i often confused with george eliot, the once mysterious verses 125 to 127

i remember
those are pearls that were his eyes
are you alive, or not?
is there nothing in your head?

suddenly seemed to make sense.

when reading pynchon's novel about pierce inverarity's testament, i discovered that the latin verb "inerat" forms the common quantity of "inverarity" and "eliot canterel". i read the remaining letters, e-k-o-l, as "ecole," which reminded me of my childhood. the sum of their alphabetical values - 5+11+14+12 - is twenty-three, in the total of the digits five, and hence results in the first name of my nickname, again; so "inverarity" appears as the code for "inerat ecole" and "inerat eliot", and the remaining letters v-ri-y could mean "verity" or "variety".

it was at the same time that i met the cellist david 'oz' zack at a music festival in eindhoven. in a pub, we discussed the possibility of contradictions in absolute music. after some beers, fourteen secret masters of the world". he said that he could reveal one fact, the name of the open pop star: monty cantsin.

ten years later, i was told that zack had been arrested for faking welfare checks and that he died in a mexican prison after his severe diabetes had not allowed him to recover from a leg amputation. meanwhile, i had come up with the conclusion that "monty cantsin" was alluding to maris kundzins and istvan kantor, the first and the second bearers of the name, to monte cazazza, the cover star of VILE magazine, and to martial canterel, the magician and novel hero in raymond roussel's "locus solus", paris 1914. in german, locus solus or "der stille ort" means a toilet, and i was surprised to find out that it was almost a palindrome of "eliot". confusing raymond roussel with henri rousseau, i came to jean-jacques rousseau's nouvelle heloise, and recognized in it the anagram of "he only loves u, lee", a modest variant of duchamp's "elle a chaud au cul". the fact that duchamp exhibited an upside down urinal under the pseudonym r. mutt seemed to fit "locus solus" and the inversion of my name. i worked through a duchamp-monography, read of his obsession about roussel, and stopped in a footnote about arthur cravan. cravan was once supposed to be identical with b. traven, a writer of adventure novels. arthur cravan's name was actually fabian lloyd. he was married with the poetress mina loy who is frequently confused with the actress myrna loy. there were other speculations about traven being ambrose bierce - pierce inverarity? -, jack london or j.d. salinger, or even the grandson of kaiser wilhelm. it is however sure that he contributed as hal croves on the screening of his novel "the treasure in the sierra madre". similarly, the bord computer in the science fiction movie "2001" was called "hal", to allude to ibm and its founder, the computer pioneer norman hallerith. i also recognized that my name is, apart from the initials, included in "norman hallerith". then i read that traven originated from germany where he had published anarchist literature under the name ret marut. so was the urinal autographed with r. mutt actually a work by traven or cravan? or was zack, who seemed to have moved to mexico just when traven had appeared and cravan had vanished there, traven/cravan/cantsin?

it was about that time that i learned that monty cantsin was the figurehead of a strange new phenomenon called neoism. it seems that neoists confuse the public by drinking human blood and wearing dead cats, fish and mushrooms on their heads. these so-called neoists had certainly managed to confuse me. on the hand there were parallels to my own life: martial canterel, keter elyon, and my own metaphysics, which i used to call one-ism. the similarity was just too much. on the other hand, this blood-drinking and fish-habidahery nonsense. despite myriad instances of synchronicity, i decided that i was not the fulfillment of the monty cantsin prophecy.


i hope this letter will shed some light on just who this monty cantsin is, but the question remains: what the fuck is neoism?

Karen Eliot, SMILE "The Anatomy of Neoism", Berlin 1991/ C-NILE, New York 1985