Midnight Party: Colette Saint Yves

Today, because of technology, there is an unprecedented amount of language; so much, it seems to me, that the writer’s job is not to create more language, but rather to engage in the management of this mass of existing language….The simple act of moving information from one place to another today constitutes a significant cultural act in and of itself. I think it’s fair to say that most of us spend hours each day shifting content into different containers. Some of us call this writing. – Kenneth Goldsmith

Collage is an apt medium through which to encounter Colette Saint Yves. I do not remember how I met her. The pieces come together to form something more dazzling.

I have never met Colette Saint Yves. She does not look like this:

As far as I know; I never met her, but I know her work. It makes me feel like this:

I know her work so well even though I have never seen it before, her collages of photographs and film stills that independently I have seen before, in dreams, but never dancing. The images she amalgamates have never seen each other before, but they recognize each other. The effect could be spooky or unsettling but the art of Colette Saint Yves is ecstatic, eliciting complicit winks. Colette Saint Yves is a photographer but she has made a symphony of another medium: she is the Tallulah Bankhead of microblogging.

Colette Saint Yves has a presence on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, 8Track and the Cargo Collective. Her subjects include glowers, suppressed laughter, tense shoulders, looming specters. Microblogging makes organization almost impossible – it is a means of feeding impulse. Microblogging is ritualistic. The images that recur recur because they continue to resonate. The images amass and whirl. Their sequence alights nerve endings jerkily aligned the way stars are charted in the sky. To burn along that line is magic.

Within the context of the feral gazes of gleaming starlets, many allusions to Satan, and the begrudging subtitle belying many calm moments with suicidal lamentation, this still from the Great Ziegfeld and its occult trappings, its ecstatic ritual, its midnight-black, conspire that a girl needs to work some magic in order to simmer above the spiral.

Desire is always a matter of making.

A girl who got what she wanted would not need magic.

There is no China-white-heroin-pure a means of getting at that languid cat-stretch of hot creative fervor like the precisely right glint in a girl’s eye. That is what I believe. The way that might extinguish in the mind of the person seated next to me in the theatre insures that another round of what is right will go off on a segue into church bells or a descent down a California mountain.

Colette Saint Yves just so happens to be a whole magazine of ecstasy unloaded in me, making a spiral staircase of my circulatory system down which her figures play.

I first wrote poetry when I thought I was writing spells. I wrote commands imbued with my ambivalence about power and control and my rogue desires. In Carole Maso’s essay Notes of a Lyric Artist Working in Prose: a Lifelong Conversation with Myself Entered Midway she describes “The desire of the novel to be a poem. The desire of the girl to be a horse. The desire of the poem to be an essay. The essay’s desire, its reach towards fiction. And the obvious erotics of this.” Carole Maso describes this, and Colette Saint Yves shows me: the desire of the lover of art to manipulate the image to do her bidding, the desire of a photo of Jimmy Stewart to be a girl’s love of Jimmy Stewart.

Is desire, always a matter of making, too nebulous? Am I the victim of a spell?

She’s lying when she says ‘I love you’
I know it but what am I to do
Though she makes me cry, I don’t care,
For I love her
Al Bowlly, “My Woman”


The akashic record is like an immense photographic film, registering all the desires and earth experiences of our planet. Those who perceive it will see pictured thereon: The life experiences of every human being since time began, the reactions to experience of the entire animal kingdom, the aggregation of the thought-forms of a karmic nature (based on desire) of every human unit throughout time. Herein lies the great deception of the records. Only a trained occultist can distinguish between actual experience and those astral pictures created by imagination and keen desire. – Alice A. Bailey

This is a love shot for you, CSY.

Kari Larsen is an assistant editor of Anobium. Her chapbook, Say you’re a fiction, is forthcoming in the summer of 2012 from Dancing Girl Press. Updates on other publications can be found at cold-rubies.blogspot.com.

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