j/j hastain to Travis Macdonald

Dear Travis,

Is every prophet born a prophet? Can a prophet have wanted or desired themselves into the position of being one? In other words is prophet-identity inherited or earned?  Could a robot or a procedure be a prophet? If we found that a procedure were a prophet, would we think less of the prophesy it proclaimed?

I wanted to write to you in hopes of a collaborative consideration. How are we to regard the differences (and what are the qualities of the differences?) between prophet as identity and the prophesy itself? Your book N7ostradamus is a procedure-prophet spouting its own strange prophesies (“late and soon the awaited remake comes”). It is interesting to understand the space of N7ostradamus as prime unearthing and being unearthed. In this book’s form of tilling and revealing, hierarchies of preference and tradition are being removed, and to remove hierarchy for the sake of something else pouring forth is always a radical act.

There are many works out there (including all of your other works) that have the quality of a “great cypher”—that are “fang within plane” so to speak, but your N7ostradamos in particular pushes us deeper into procedural lyricism. There is so much gorgeous and unforeseen language here (“garnet of the wound near the new clairvoyant”)!

Inquiries are a way for us to imagine (as “clairvoyant [s] of the sundry”) how we might come to a new language, new social systems and new realms. We want “the wound [to] become[…] smaller.” We want alternates to current social-cultural standards and strictures. In your book we are told: “no longer will you be enslaved”—we are urged toward emancipations  while “levies [are] intercepted on their wean.” What an amazing thought!—the levies (which standardize the removal of excess) stretching forth into forthcoming froth (which is excess). All things “wean” being reversed or revitalized toward “the leakage that will.”

–“will be chased from there by other birthrights”–will be chased from “there” by their. By our. Travis! N7ostradamus “will be heard to speak”—we are hearing its speaking as a prophesy becoming “the fatal everlasting organ.” In the flexures of this organ I feel contemporary. I feel both alive and dead simultaneously. I feel enshrined and covered with shawls.

Your book asks us “what placement for the chimeras”? N7ostradamus emphasizes how it holds the shocking, unearthed and unearthing prime “what placement for the chimeras.”


j/j hastain: When I was younger, jerky was the first thing I learned to dry in our shitty fruit dryer. This mattered because I needed the meat. I sat within the thick branches of the grapefruit tree, (hidden and obscured from onlookers by its large, dangling fruit), but in there, I was licking stolen salt (I stole a salt shaker from the kitchen, my mom was so angry and kept bantering us kids to reveal who took it) and eating the dried meat.