verysmallkitchen

VSK PROJECT: The Middle Notebookes [extract] by Nathanaël

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2011 at 1:09 am

[ … ]

 

*

If by liberation you intend the emancipation from reason, sure. If it’s the thing that wracks groans and torment from the body, if at the moment of sleeping and waking it is the thing that  transforms me into a howling cemetery, a blood-soaked battlefield. I have become the war and the malady, the face of the death of a person. I have envisioned these technologies. (…) You see, if it isn’t a liberation, it is nonetheless a thing detached against the thing that lays it bare. I am the residue of a self, the absence of relation: thing and thing.

*

Your name is discarded at the side of the road. After the months of deliberations. Thrown among the gravel and algae of the pavement. This abandoned name is barely a death. It will happen to you one day in the mouth of another. That side-road name that holds the shape of your already-body. Your body in disbelief at not having that name.

*

With him, my I-him, in body, I have no further language. He grants me this reprieve.

*

My mind stops at the Bar Kokhba revolt and the collective suicide of the Guadeloupean marrons in 1802, alongside the Mulâtresse Solitude. More than ever, I understand that gesture. At the end of a battle, where nothing is ever won, the evidence of the only possible act is to set fire to oneself. The enemy is nowhere visible, and the city, as it so often is in my thinking, is empty, abandoned. What remains of it, I have ingested, in structure, in discourse, in enmity. The thing against which we fight becomes us. To obliterate it, it must surely be necessary to obliterate it in – and with – oneself. I cannot know what meaning to grant this in a present of abandon, of resentment, confusion and sorrow, of perverse euphoria. There are the cats who ask to be fed, and a love that surely doesn’t intend for me, but toward which I go.

*

The absence of a witness is the beginning of a murder. It became clear to me at the crematorium when the howl, immediately swallowed by the roar of the furnaces, was wrenched from me.

*

Eyes open or closed, it’s the same screen, the same blood, the same smell.

*

Desire’s accusations are irrefutable. I come to you with judgement and morbidity. Against a theatre of moveable parts, Genet insists “the architecture of the theatre … must be fixed, immobilized, so that it can be recognized as responsible : it will be judged on its form”. This, then, is my injunction, that I bring with me, my “irreversible” theatre. Judge me.

*

The conditional is bereaved: tense, unappeased. It carries potentiality’s breach, boring into the undetermined with disbelief. The if then of me, constructed such that uncertainty, embedded in the causal palate of language’s misdeed, is militantly rejected by a structuring of sated need. It locks into place, but this does nothing for a body that falls from a sky. The contaminant is alive, it is vital, distressed; it disregards our posturings. “Nothing is true”, contends Édouard Glissant, “everything is alive”. It is this untrue-alive, which is the end of I (je) – its everlast. The insistence of Cahun’s intransigeant interrogation, speaking, alive: what want and to what end this accusation of endings? Each thing in ending, at the very start. It is sometimes called: onset. And we are its disease.

*

The bed expulses me. My head seized by a liquid burn.

*

We are in time. That, too, is unthinkable.

*

You arrive shortly after. Days, weeks. You say: N. You rid my names of their gravity, their fatality. N., this residue of me, this scrap. You open your mouth with mine, you gorge my cries, you pull my body under the weight of you, I bite into the soil of your shoulder, you cry the continent and the passing hour. You say nothing, you sleep and give me your rest, the livid days of tomorrows. You read to me out loud. You are my passeur, laid over my disappearance.

*

Who will wash the body of my death. Who will kiss my bloody mouth. Who will swallow my cries, my pain. Who will consume my passing. Who will speak me.

*

I am bereft, and unjust. Now I can speak to you of this, now that I’ve written you I don’t know what it will be with the telephone next time or the time after that, but it is ok now that I have told you and please be secretive with this, guard it like a wingless bird with no eyes, who never saw a thing and is afraid of loud noises. Make it precious that way and irrepressibly endangered, such that you have no desire to whisper it, not even to yourself.

*

Fistfully. Mouthfully. The place you take into you is an injury and my prints are all over you. This is your city. Your tawdry. As though speaking of seeing could correct calamity. Our limbs are not limber. And geography cringes at the encroachement of further geography. Find the text that granted permission, the book that wanted burning, the mouth that needed closing, the hand held before an expressionless face. Brazen and stumbling. (2006)

*

Death is long, terribly long, notwithstanding the unbearable remainder.

*

…and into your sleep, I swear it, into your death, I will follow you. (Bernard-Marie Koltès)

*

If it is true that “desire is dead, killed by an image”, it may be that this accusatively emphatic image bespeaks the murderous vigil; to watch, unbidden. To bring the body, unworn, to testify against itself, to responsibilise its enmity, build up the wall of its own figuration, severely, make what is seen visible against history’s rent screen – a black box of miserly misery. Speak into speaking, unlistened. // I go to where it happens. The door is a door that closes. A gate that scrapes shut against a forensic, vaulted compound. These are its barbed technologies, its unmitigated heat, a fire that doesn’t burn, a blood that doesn’t bleed: the smell of it. If desire is dead it is dead at the point of seeing, accused, beseeching. It dies undead, it sees unspoken, it works its asphyxiation into the endangered throat, stripped of its vital civility, mouth open on no sound, untold. The wither image may have killed desire, ineradicably. Death’s death as it were, remaindered at its skinned edge, its posthumous (re)iteration, end upon devastated end.

*

Through the window, the city demonstrates its refusal.

*

A. tells me that I am at the bottom of the pit. But it isn’t at all that. A pit wouldn’t be so bad. A bottom, an utterly agreeable thing. Even unbearably agreeable. But a bottom would be something. I wasn’t able to tell her no, there is neither a bottom, nor a pit, nor a darkness, nor anything of the nihilistic dreams of the living. It’s rather of the order of a blank. I think so. Vigilation is something like that. The attention granted to a thing to the point of the obliteration of looking and of the thing. That is where the voice is lost, touch evaporates, it burns for not being able to burn.

*

Saarbrücken: am in another language, as in a body of water that submerges me without touching me.

*

One must agree to be finished: to be here and nowhere else, to do this and no other thing, now and not never nor ever … to have this life alone. (André Gorz)

*

An overly-aggrieved body, a face that carries several deaths already, including mine, and the murder of the mother, the brother. Who will ever want this mouth?

*

Crossing the square, I feel an utter disgust toward all these humans, I tell myself that it’s everywhere the same people, that it’s no surprise we perpetuate the same violences, just look at us. It isn’t that we don’t love enough, I think perhaps it is that we don’t hate one another enough. The human being is a botched animal.

*

You dance because you are conscious of death. (Pippo Delbono)

*

I continue to scatter myself to the wind, I’m in shreds in these places that seem to come to pieces as I move through them, as though my presence alone conferred their disintegration.

*

Wien: An unthinkable world.

*

November (end). Today I would like to speak to you. I know that you would have something to say to me, to me and to all of this, and that you would take me somewhere on foot, that you would have a thing or two to show me. I can’t imagine going back, but remaining is just as improbable. As for me, I would like one day to kiss your mouth and wonder whether mine is even capable of such a thing. Love from a loveless city. N.

*

My words tonight before a Viennese public in an old hospital reconstituted as a Universität made my mouth into a crypt and purged the last vital energies from the room. Ending unspeaking unbreathing and the room unsound. It is a disconcerting shame that accompanies a death, for the person remaining, the vitally-residual, with her culpable vitality, a fistful of aschenglorie, a scattered self. And a face which must only signify this from now on.

*

Kafka: My love for you doesn’t love itself. (Gorz)

*

The body is seized, inert, beating, palpitating, an anguish in time. Is it me.

*

Deutschland: I go toward everything as though I were late, our late desires, yes. It isn’t a place I would have chosen for myself. But we don’t choose our self.

*

The narrative of the end of a certain time is told in a new time which retains that end – an end by which it presents itself as beginning. (Lyotard)

*

Between two places, in a despotic airport (Frankfurt), I write my hope for an inevitable outre mesure. Might it be, in the end, a matter of “that unforgottenness of forgetting that isn’t memory”? (Malraux).

*

Unmoorings.

*

From part to parting, to be summoned is to be attentive to the surf that founds and founders being, I mean the eventuality of one’s existere, of one’s situation.

*

Vienna is not a city.

*

RY King’s photographic dissolve marks the paper immutable. Immutable in that it is always imbricated in a mechanism of deterioration. In this improper sense, the image is not separable from its degradation. Its substances are both paper and light. Thus they are neither, as they run into each other. The bird, in this instance, which is scarcely discernible, is in a field of apparent surfaces. It comprises the surface by which it becomes visible, an irregularity on a structure of hay bales in a field of depleted colour. The photograph misdirects its intention. It intends for me to fall in. In to America.

*

It comes with a number, assigned to a calcined human body which is incommunicable:                . When it says “…I need catastrophes, coups de théâtre”, it abandons sense. The lake is up to my knees in November.

*

The time of the photograph is (always) after. This imprecision accommodates the numerous successions, the end upon seismic end. In a time without time, un(re)countable: still. In this, it is a perfect crime, “the annihilation annihilated, the end … deprived of itself.”

*

Are you the sum of your cities? What are your cities? Es-tu la somme de tes villes? Quelles sont tes villes? “Wounded mouths that gape onto the void”? (Lyotard)

*

I crossed over, I touched, I howled, I gave, I envisioned, I was afraid and I went toward everything that seemed to go against me. I said yes in spite of myself, while saying never again – not Germany, not Austria, not America, not anywhere ever, especially not me – and it’s this conjunction surely that makes that I exist in the rapacious non-existence of the delirious (mis)deed.

*

Pain and pain again. But it isn’t mine, in that it doesn’t belong.

*

This trip to Germany and Austria was by turns very exacting, and always very emotional; I learned a lot, about myself, about history, about the very violence of my hopes. Vienna especially plied me, with its architecture of pomp and excess, in that city I hardly slept. Presents and pasts combined and I was suffocating… I was suffocating and this didn’t prevent me from feeling just as intensely the warmth with which I was everywhere welcomed. I emerge from it shaken, my head shattered, my body plunged into that (for me) beginning conversation and I am moved by the openings – gentle and violent – that sought me out. There is no turning away from it. I go to that which exceeds comprehension, the furore of history, the aleatory encounters, the receptiveness of a present within voice’s reach.

*

Time goes on, how curious, one doesn’t imagine that it could at such an hour.

*

“for we say here: the time before the fire and time after it.” (in Senocak)

*

To bring a life into the world is to bring that world to its death.

*

…a stable, several rooms, bicycle rides in the countryside, a terrible parking lot, people coming and going, a threat, unnamed, an eventual art show, and the rapid deterioration of my body in the face of everyone. Lying down or standing, the liquefaction of my joints, my bones floating in my remains, gaping holes at my knees, waxen skin, saying to R. who is watching television with several others, kill me, have mercy, why won’t you kill me. A boy beneath a blanket, but nothing was fixed, it must have been the residual death imprinted in the body, my installation in that savagery, its imprint of undesirability, tear me from this sleep.

*

As for this end, attached to a death, I am the one now who is changed by it, and who rejects certain narratives which make me into something I don’t want to be.

*

I make the connection between these texts and the sprig of creosote in the mail, your wanderments and a detailed attention granted to the unsuspected details of a fragile narrative of seasons and their material. The documentation of this – burst and furling. A magistral museum, the one that isn’t edified. I admire your eye and that which is emptied from it, the residue of a gaze is a form of (formless) archive.

*

We could think of the sense of touch as the unconscious of vision. (Pallasmaa)

*

It’s 3:30pm, time for me to sleep. I’ve already had one nap, twice gone round the neighbourhood, made and unmade the bed, adored the cats, prepared inedible foods, drunk the remaining tea, written several letters, taken some notes and checked the mail that doesn’t come. It’s impossible to make these tasks into a day, the day being obstinately out of reach, the door being unrecognisable, one walks into it, face first, still there is some relief in the sensation.

*

The next text is a kind of suppuration. It must be the equivalent of rubbing gravel and glass into a wound, but I must do this violence to myself now. Press my whole face into the ambient abjection, hatred, rage. Perhaps remove a blistered skin, rendering myself raw and possibly more humane.

*

[ … ]

 

 

 

More about Nathanaël’s work is here.  Nathanaël  writes: “The extract I’m sending you is from The Middle Notebookes, —  the consolidation in English of three Carnets written in French from 2007-2010, and published by Le Quartanier in 2009 (Carnet de désaccords) and 2011 (Carnet de délibérations) with the last one (Carnet de Somme) due in spring 2012. This information is superfluous to this publication, but it gives you a Very Small Sense of the context for the work.”

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