David Wojnarowicz, Rimbaud in New York, 1977–79
rimbaud hoped to arrive at "the unknown by a derangement of the senses," a "delirious state of mind out of which self-knowledge and poetic truths might emerge." wojnarowicz seems to have hoped not to arrive but to pass through as one would go through a subway, glimpsing through the windows the ghost of biological locations and the movements he made between them which led to his predicament. the persistant outlaw in the face of impending self-destruction.
"i didn't see myself as rimbaud but rather used him as a device to confront my own desires, experiences, biography, and to try and touch on those elusive "sites of attraction"; those places that suddenly and unexpectedly revive the smell and traces of former states of body and mind long ago left behind"
the figures he looked up to - genet, burroughs, and rimbaud - showed him that "one could transcend society's hatred of diversity and loathing of homosexuals" through creative strategies, while demonstrating the value of preserving records of personal experience. through the rimbaud series he could be on the streets without ending up on them, commiting himself to art instead of drugs or prostituition that might precipitate an early demise.
(wojnarowicz died of AIDS in 1992)