In Uncategorized on March 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm

[Free Writing from the Sleep Room]


[verbatim] If I could cross time. Beckett writes, “straggling grey moustache and hunted look.” A good way to describe. It is 22:07. Not yet time, the registration does not start for another hour. Black nails. Clock ring. Blue pen. Glowing finger. Red. Lamp x 2, 2 x on. White blanket. White room. Eye in the sky directly in front of me & omniscient. “Watch the television, you’re on vacation.” “But to me this is work.” Structures repeat & give, with only a small space of tenure. I forget words lately. Keep wanting to write, “she winged into the room.” Volcanic ash fastens these electrodes to my head. “She winged into the volcano.” How does one write when one’s being winged into a volcano? Only urgent words. Punctuation gets thrown to the sidelines. A bird in the falafel restaurant, it brushed up against me. One of those small precious things, I felt the flutter of its wings against my ankle & N. said, “that’s for your dreams tonight.”  But Faulkner, I was thinking of Faulker repeating “attenuation” in Absolom, Absolom! again and again & at 1st you think it’s because he’s forgetting that he’s used it, but then, he points to it at one point. He says something like “‘attenuation’, a better word ,” – something like that – it’s a wonderful moment, you see that he chooses it and no other. And that’s the key: that a word itself can become a character. Also a sentence, if repeated enough. This, this, this. Character is repetition of structure. I am wrapped in special kinds of tapes & wires. I am islanded w/i this exoskeleton of measurement. A half an hour has passed. Not quite enough. What is it to wake & write. Perhaps I will try tonight. The room is on the cool side. My apartment lies alone, uninhabited, away from my restless sleeps & somnamulent wakings. What extents do we go to for material. What is this material for? All this stuff. Who. What. Nohow On is Beckett’s book here in front of me under the writing pad. Indeed. “Bonjour,” Nessie says outside to one of the patients. 4 of us here tonight, I only know of 1 other. I heard him through the wall. An American guy. Here for epilepsy I think. All those delicate wires. I found a blonde hair amongst them. Remnant of 1 who has been here before. Blonde hair, feathers, brushing against. One of the small, delicate ones. There are so many textures in this room, a corrugated plastic that looks like a snake shedding. The EMG tight around my ribcage reads


patient unit

“You can be  my first patient,” she said at the beginning of the night. Pathologized from the getgo, though I am only here to. Writing as pathology. So we have: the bird at the falafel place (brushing), word as character, my right index finger glowing red. Faulkner & ‘attenuate’, McCarthy, this amazing sentence in the opening of The Road – something about a spider. He takes from what he knows & he makes it into these delicately wrought epics. So much attention to each little thing. 10:49 & still on the page. Maybe this is how to write. Extreme situations. Embla Patient Unit. Islanded. Patiented. Pathological. Slightly chilly. My task here is to sleep. No computer. Black lines coming through this white page, penned. Biking through Kreuzberg is where I felt most free. To go straight into sleep from writing, when is the last time I’ve done that. Writing –> then straight into sleep. Glowing red finger. Experience as character. Vice versa. To write in the you & have it be spoken aloud (11 :00) would give the idea of a voice talking to the one who looks upon the writing. Beckett: “what an additional company that would be! A voice in the first person singular. Murmuring now and then, yes I remember” (13). Images are sentences. I look at myself from the inside, not the out. Sleep: is also looking from the inside & yet I must compose from the out. How do I get in? Not unless I am asleep. And yet to record sleep in words from the outside, words, which are always awake, does it even make sense. The images are an algorithm. Imagist. McCarthy’s spider. Faulkner’s ‘attenuation’, Beckett’s play with ‘you’ ‘I’ ‘he’ so that the ‘I’ dissolves. I in the sky. Filmed. There are no windows in this room of walls.



“… a (you couldn’t call it a period because as he remembered it or as he told grandfather he did, it didn’t have either a definite beginning or a definite ending. Maybe attenuation is better) – an attenuation from a kind of furious inertness and patient immobility…” (Faulkner Ab, Ab !)

“And to the far shore a creature that raised its dripping mouth from the rimstone pool and stared into the light with eyes dead white and sightless as the eggs of spiders” (McCarthy The  Road)


Sketch by Gilles Boss. Note: in the installation, the projector is meant to go behind the mattresses, not in front.

You walk into a simple black room with a curtain entrance and lie down on one of the mattresses provided. You look up. There’s a video projected onto a white ceiling and a small mirror angled down towards you. It looks like jagged brainwaves are passing across a large computer screen and you can see them pass across your body, too, in the reflection.

There is a layering of voices surrounding you inside the black room, female, somehow connected to the brainwaves. You realize it is words. In the shape of waves. The voices are repetitive, at times a whisper. Every once in a while a single word or a fragment crests from the waves, and you can read something; sometimes, amongst the voices, you can listen in, understand; the two connect.

The video seems to loop and repeat, and you get the feeling of being trapped in the middle of a very small apperture of space that is somehow unfathomable. The time at the top of the screen shows no more than minutes, very early in the morning, but its seconds seem to stretch out forever.

When you emerge from the black room, you are asked what the words said and what the voices said and you find this difficult to describe.



This is the last of three posts that comprise Sandra Huber’s SLEEP/ WRITING/ ROOMS. Part 1 is here and Part 2 here.


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