croxhapox

croxhapox
meaning of the word croxhapox "Croxhapox" (what does that word mean?)" (Larry Krone; February 1st? 1999ø/

#1 Conceived by Hans van Heirseele, the word first emerges in a letter to >Guido de Bruyn. There is no final answer to the question "what does it mean". What comes closest to a perfect answer is that it doesn't mean anything. Croxhapox is a found word, a neologism. Its most striking feature is the assonance in ox ox. As a neologism one could as well categorise it as an onomatopoeia, like helter skelter or higgledpiggledy, "1 the formation of words whose sounds imitate the sound or action they represent, 2 a word formed in this way." (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, p 961).

This is the most anecdotic and probably also the most transparent explanation, but the question remains as to what sound it imitates. The most promising angle of approach in that case is: let?s consider the word croxhapox in the context where it first appeared, viz., the letter of Hans van Heirseele to Guido De Bruyn (Autumn 1989), a letter that marks a bizarre and chaotic climax in the epistolary oeuvre of both friends, so intensive and chaotic that Guido mentions in his reply " a Sch”nberg with a hangover". What Hans tries to expose in the letter is, ok, fine with me, we can't really communicate, so, here you go, here is the full load. Brace yourselves for what that means. In 75th Century Ghent, a certain mister "Platjens" ['Levelly' or 'meanly', but 'plat' has a very specific connotation of also being slithery, without backbone etc. note of the translator. Platjes, without "n" also means pubic lice.] enters a second-hand bookshop and finds an intriguing booklet: an annotated edition of the letters (From Here to There and back Again) [note: the reader should not be surprised at the resemblance of this title to some lines in Tolkien's Silmarillion], the letters are, evidently, those of the duo van Heirseele - De Bruyn. Over the roofs of Ghent rises at that time high and dry a big hollow perspex sphere. There is no traffic in the inner city: all streets and highways appear high up in the steel-blue sky. Soon it becomes clear that Levelly is the hero of a story which a certain Croxhapox, >android - we are now 20 thousand years after the big ass-crash - found at the viewscreen of his archfriend, the android Utitut. Both androids are in an airship [sic], somewhere far away in some galaxy or other, they are the only and last remaining artefacts from humanity's heritage.

The letter doesn't contain any other information, it is a nec plus ultra [sic]. Utitut is the smart robot, as reflected in the sound of its name: a pedantic know-it-all; Croxhapox is the stupid robot, or rather the contrary robot, literally, it had stopped functioning smoothly as an android quite some time ago. The smart robot is a metaphor for the conforming artist (dixit Eco, see "Cultuur van de wansmaak", a book Van Heirseele was reading at the time), the stupid robot is the alter ego of the rebellious artist, emphasised in his name by the repetition ox ox. As far as content is concerned this is the most water holding explanation of what the bizarre word croxhapox could signify. (For a fragment of the letter itself, see #10 > Anrys, stefaan).

#2 Someone brings up the following linguistic relationships: crox beckons crux (essence), hapox seems to be close to hapax or hapax legomenon (the unique): "word or concept that appears only once in a language or with an author." [Hapax is not included in Chambers, so we give a translation of our own, note by the translator. It is implied that both the author and the language are dead before a word can be considered a hapax.]

#3 The prize for most tasteful and also easiest explanation of the origin of the word croxhapox is admittedly gastronomic. See >Metro (supplement of The Morgen, 27 January 1999, LVDS): " I used to eat nothing but croque-monsieurs ("Toasted ham-and-cheese sandwiches", Van Dale) . I derived Croxhapox from all those croques." LVDS (author of this press bulletin) avails himself of some liberties, one of which is the unilateral emphasis on what is at most a suggestion. Whether the wordplay crox is derived directly from croxhapox is all but clear, it is simply one of many possible explanations, at least for those who ask themselves what it means and where it comes from.

#4 Pox. Get the pox, or [Duch]: 'krijg het schurft'. The third syllable doesn't really point at petty bourgeois conservative traditions. Cambridge says: "the pox dated infml SYPHILIS. See also CHICKENPOX, COWPOX, SMALLPOX, CROXPOX." Though often overlooked (quite a number of crox habituals pronounce croxhapox as croxafox), it is precisely the third syllable (pox) which injects the word with extra thrust. palindrome.

#5 At first spelled as crochapox. The author replaces the weak sounding ch [in Dutch it sounds like the ch in German 'Ich'] by an x. xoxoxox and oprapas, trisyllabics from the same family of words as croxhapox.

#6 Anecdote. At the end of the 80's Frank Van den Eeckhout drove a Volvo with license plate CPX200.

#7 "Croxhapox, a new start". Dirk Pltau, De Gentenaar, 27 January 1995. Dirk Pltau's criticism is a surprisingly complete summary of the early years of Croxhapox vzw. "GENT - They started some five years ago in a squatters' building at Beverhoutplein, close to the St-Jacobskerk. Very humble. We visited two exhibitions than, one an installation of Sjoerd Paridaen and the other a series of small pictures by Daniel Libens, both teachers at the School ('Academy') of Fine Arts in Ghent. We also reviewed them, and as we remember, not even negatively. After the building was taken down, the society organised a number of less 'sedentary' projects: "En Passant" in (shop) windows, and an initiative involving copy art. They reside now in a small but hospitable dwelling in the basement of a house in the Aannemersstraat in Ghent.
Croxhapox used to be the duo Hans van Heirseele and Frank van den Eeckhout. They organised the street projects after the squatting experience of Croxhapox together. They made sure one could see copy art of German, English and American artists in the streets of Ghent and that one could view art from the sidewalk, in Ghent shop windows. The latter initiative, called "En Passant" was not a big success. "I admit it was a bit of a dud," says Hans van Heirseele.
In 1990, Croxhapox invited a number of artists to create alternative traffic posts. Some internationally renowned artist had accepted the challenge: Visch, Perejaume and Wakolbinger joined, but the project was ditched at the last moment because Jan Hoet opposed it. He deemed it to megalomaniac.
The very last initiative of the duo van Heirseele/Van den Eeckhout was "KNUTS" [anagram of Dutch 'Kunst' = 'art']. Its concept was to spread displays with logogrammes in the city. Van den Eeckhout preferred contributions by well-known authors such as Hugo Claus or Jan Decorte, while van Heirseele would not concede to that distinction. Different perspectives clashed and the duo decided to go their own way. But where to go?
Hans van Heirseele: "After a while, I wanted to start anew, with small exhibitions and little fuss. I had met my girlfriend?s Kristel De Buck by then and she had some spare space at home and she liked the idea too."
"We want to work outside of the commercial scene. This is our third show this year. Before, we had Dirk Peers, and we started with my brother >Herr Seele. At >Beverhoutplein (close to Sint-Jacobs, note by DP), we had fourteen shows in one year. I want to have that flash-effect here as well. The exhibitions have to be short. I's a pity that we are now situated away from the city centre. At Beverhoutplein we were in the centre and we got a lot of passing-by visitors." carels.

#8 Title of a short story by Guido De Bruyn (published in 'The Brakke Hond' nr 29, 1990). Guido De Bruyn uses the name of the then recently founded society as a title for a short story ridiculing the contemporary art scene. As director of the BRT chronicle 'Kunst-Zaken' [A weekly program about art at the Belgian (Flemish) public Radio and Television BRT] he was of course in on the practices of the local art scene. The story doesn't really figure as an homage. Rather, the reader is lead - wrongly - to believe that precisely Croxhapox is an example of the usual myth-creating reflexes of the contemporary art scene (intellectualising concepts creating nothing but embellished air, etcetera).

#9 Croxhapox is a lovely town. >meanwhile [inmiddels]

#10 Fragment of a letter in which the word croxhapox first appears (correspondence Hans van Heirseele/Guido De Bruyn; August 8th-September 8th 1989, see also #1) Title: THE MAN WHO KNEW BETTER AND LET HIS HAIR GROW. (paragraph 1 introduces a certain mister Levelly or Meanly. Paragraph 2:) Upr Utitut smiled when he closed the book and took a cadmium sweet. Tasty, he thought, those bleu ones have a nice aftersound.
Croxhapox, he said, I don't want to bother you with a rigid, or let's say with a far too intellectual and abstruse approach to the phenomenon but, look, we have a problem. There is no more art. Art is done. Nothing is left. And neither is there time to do something about it. Because, to make art. What's up with art? do you know? all day I have been thinking: what do I want with art. I've got 37 trillion objects of art here in front of me. And, what kind of art? Ask me: what is art? What is art in our time or what is art in any, their times? See? And if so, I mean, if we are talking art, if it is meaningful, today, in our time, do you see. Consider this, read this: the answer, time will show. What a ridiculous generalisation, man! Time! Time has given answers to EVERYTHING, hasn't it. And of top of that, that definite possessive pronoun "our". As if I were only in their time and no other time, as if they only deal with their time, see, and not with another time. Look, What they don't understand: abstraction is thinking itself. Time! Time, time, time. Even a single second is a dropping of the abstraction. And what for that ass, what's his name again. Hey, got another blue? Sure, dude, listen, you better get into oils if you get my drift. No, no, I'm into cadmium. The blue, please. Quite right, hmmm. Isn't that a spot of rusty brown, there, no, yes, precisely under that button on your left. A patch of rust, yes, surely, a rusty patch. Right. What said I. Behold, what is it I meant: a shadow of ignorance veils the approach of the guys from the Pomoproleticum. THE ARTIST, screamed Croxhapox, tearing its contra tenor with a shrill vibrato, the artist resembles the ko ho ko honey kong king who suddenly lost it all, cock lost, stirrup lost, and then, even as lost is lost, refused to step down! Lost all! Stirrup lost! Cock lost! And doesn't step down! Doesn't! Because he thinks, this, he thinks, this nihil is my last invincible stronghold. This nothing, never, not, they won't take it from me! Never! Not!
Mean is no verb, barks Upr Utitut. And you have been snouting my tapes again.
Ney-ever!! Ney-ey-ey-ever!! Ney-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ever!! sang Croxhapox. Sung, tried to sing. 
Something's wrong with your tape, forgive me old boy, 'cause I always have to remind you of everything, I think, really, you ought to start doing something about it. Moreover, look, I'll tell you, invincible it is, certainly, the far lost stronghold, because it is nothing, but ultimately lost, unreachable, no, quite on the contrary. I'll show you something, he said. He bent over to the dashboard. I'll fastforward... See yes, the left screen, see, at the top...
Croxhapox did an entirely unintended pirouette and stalled at the breastplate instruments of Upr Utitut. Any culture dissolves in its own air, he read. Utitut threw in some sparkling, the whole breastplate dashboard was covered in flickering red lights, some of them resembling a nipple, the forbidden teat, the Teat of all teats, the Axiomatic ArchTeat.
Pressing that button was undoubtable. It was. A mistake? Oh god god, thought Croxhapox, what a nice tasty nipple, Archteat, sublime primal knob, nob, knows, noose, noise, one small mistake, he imagined, one small and teeny weenie twinkle of a mistake, humpty dumpty, only one: what would happen if one touched the nipple? Upr Utitut stared before him, expressionless, silenced, crestfallen, down in the bottomless pit of self-enveloping riddles. Seek peek teek, murmured Croxhapox. With the top of his finger, he stroked the shining nipple. The godly vermillion of the teat."
So it continues for a few more pages, until the reader of the letter arrives at the ultimate corner of a penultimate page: "Croxhapox dropped the page at the floor of the spaceship. For some time he stood, godstruck, staring in front of him. He felt empty, in an unfathomable way empty, devoid, inexhaustibly empty. Urp didn't flinch. He stood in exactly the same position, golem like, the triumphant cataclysm of a statue. But what disturbed Croxhapox... He hadn't dropped the page. No. He hadn't. No, no, it had slipped between his fingers, with no way for him to save it. On top of that, the rightside eyelid closed.
A vague tremble, a shiver, the faint sizzling of an echo, oh, oh, old boy, forgive me, being greased, a shadow, the shadow of innocence. To speak in our stead? Oh, yes, quite so. But who remains silent in our place? Silence is our own doing."

#11 ,whataboutcroxhapox', mailart project (2006-2007).
Reaction of British artist Alan Brignull: 'CROXHAPOX - what a strange word! Is it Cyrillic? No - it starts like 'cross' and ends with 'pox'. In the middle it looks like 'hoxha' maybe it is Albanian!' Best wishes Alan Brignull/