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Texts for Site-Specific Sound Installation
D É C A L A G E
The Parisian Laundry
3550 St.Antoine W.
April 7-30th, 2005.
Décalage (Shift) Exhibition Proposal Febuarary 2005
[an installation with site specific proposal appended]
In this minimal installation, all we see are several vines of thick black speaker wire creeping along the floor. At the end of each wire is a small black flower bud—a mini speaker elongated to intimate the shape of the mouth. Several wires are braided together to form each vine. As we wander through the gallery space whispers float up from the floor. Most of the time, all the vines will be whispering, and at other times all will be silent, and still at other times certain spatial patterns delineate themselves due to the particular physical arrangement of the vines and the custom software playing/routing the voices. The general space is filled with the white noise of several conflicting whispers, and only if the visitor dares to kneel down and place their ear next to a tiny speaker can they hear the different messages seeping out of the black organic vines threatening to snare them.
The main affect of this piece is in the mix of the visual element and the general white noise most people will hear when the ear is at standing height. I am interested in the meaning within white noise, theoretically defined as a random sampling of signals from all frequencies over a period of time. To harness the various spectrum of sounds in the human voice articulating language, the whispers are in English, French, German, Italian, and Hebrew (this is also to respect the texts original language). Of course only a few people will actually attempt to distinguish one voice from another, and for those who do, they will hear voices expressing various passages ranging form ancient texts to online encyclopedia entries. However, even though the frequencies will be perceived as ‘random,’ the content of the whispers themselves will weave together towards a projected meaning between the constellation of microsounds.
The piece loops to create an unending blanket of whispers whirling upon the floor.
At the Parisian Laundry, there is a basement area where the space creates the perfect reverberation. Furthermore, because this space is separated from the rest of the gallery I get the optimum isolated environment for subtle sounds. The approach into the space creates a sense of anticipation as one hears the whispers before entering. The wires and minispeakers intertwine with the plumbing and electric mains. The low light, empty space, and natural acoustics make this the ideal site for hearing whispers emanating from the shadows.
: : Texts:
“Of course for the time being we must be satisfied with little. At first it can only be a matter of somehow finding a method by which we can represent this mocking attitude towards the word, through words. In this dissonance between the means and their use it will perhaps become possible to feel a whisper of that final music or that silence that underlies All.” (172).
Beckett, Samuel. Disjecta. NY: Riverrun Press, 1983.
« En vérité, il ne suffit pas de dire Vive le multiple, bein que ce cri soit difficle à pousser. Aucune habileté typographique, lexicale ou même syntaxique ne suffira à le faire entendre. Le multiple, il faute le faire, non pas en ajoutant toujours une dimensions supérieure, mais au contraire le plus simplement, à force de sobriété, au niveau des dimensions dont on dispose, toujours n-1 (c’est seulment ainsi que l’un fait partie du multiple, en étant toujours soustrait). Soustraire l’unique de la multiplicité à constituer ; écrire à n-1. Un tel systeme pourrait être nomme rhizome. »
Deleuze, Gilles. & Felix Guattari. Mille Plateaux: Capitalisme & Schizophrénie. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1980.
[« In truth, it is not enough to say, « Long live the multiple, » difficult as it is to realise that cry. No typographical, lexical, or even syntactical cleverness is enough to make it heard. The multiple must be made, not by always adding a higher dimension, but rather in the simplest ways, by dint of sobriety, with the number of dimensions one already has available—always n – 1 (the only way the one belongs to the multiple: always subtracted). Subtract the unique from the multiplicity to be constituted; write at n – 1 dimensions. A system of this kind could be called a rhizome. »]
Deleuze, Gilles. & Felix Guattari. Mille Plateaux: Capitalism & Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: U. of Minnesota P., 1987.
<<At times I can go back to St Ives more completely than I can this morning. I can reach a state where I seem to be watching things happen as if I were there. That is, I suppose, that my memory supplies what I had forgotten, so that it seems as if it were happening independently, though I am really making it happen. In certain favourable moods, memories—what one has forgotten—come to the top. Now if this is so, is it not possible—I often wonder—that things we have felt with great intensity have an existence independent of our minds; are in fact still in existence? And if so, will it not be possible, in time, that some device will be invented by which we can tap them? I see it—the past—as an avenue lying behind; a long ribbon of scenes, emotions…. Instead of remembering here a scene and there a sound, I shall fit a plug into the wall; and listen into the past. I shall turn up August 1890. I feel that strong emotion must leave its trace; and it is only a question of discovering how we can get ourselves again attached to it, so that we shall be able to live our lives through from the start….I am hardly aware of myself, but only of the sensation. I am only the container of the feeling of ecstasy.
…in the garden of St Ives. I was looking at the flower bed by the front door; “That is the whole”, I said. I was looking at a plant with a spread of leaves; and it seemed suddenly plain that the flower itself was part of the earth; that a ring enclosed what was the flower; and that was the real flower; part earth; part flower.
…it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we—I mean human beings—are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself. And I see this when I have a shock.>>
Woolf, Virginia. “A Sketch of the Past.” Moments of Being. NY: Harvest Books, 1985.
<<The Grain of the Voice…
Am I hearing voices within the voice? But isn’t the truth of voice to be hallucinated? Isn’t the entire space of the voice an infinite one?
The ‘grain’ is the body in the voice as it sings, the hand as it writes, the limb as it performs. If I perceive the ‘grain’ in a piece of music and accord this ‘grain’ a theoretical value (the emergence of the test in the work), I inevitably set up a new scheme of evaluation which will certainly be individual—I am determined to listen to my relation with the body of the man or woman singing or playing and that relation is erotic—but in no way ‘subjective’ (it is not the psychological ‘subject’ in me who is listening; the climactic pleasure hoped for is not going to reinforce –to express—that subject but, on the contrary, to lose it).
<<What suddenly manages to touch me (ravish me) in the other is the voice…>>
Barthes, Roland. Image Music Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. NY: Hill and Wang,1977.
<<the craziest mosaic of technique imaginable…
<<Quotations in my work are like robbers by the roadside who make an armed attack and relieve an idler of his convictions.
<<he who listens hard does not see.
From the beginning the problem of truth had presented itself to him as a “revelation…which must be heard, that is, which lies in the metaphysically acoustical sphere.”
<<In all language and linguistic creations there remains in addition to what can be conveyed something that cannot be communicated; depending on the context in which it appears, it is something that symbolizes or something symbolized. It is the former only in the finite products of language, the latter in the evolving of the languages themselves. And that which seeks to represent, to produce itself in the evolving of languages, is that very nucleus of pure language. Though concealed and fragmentary, it is an active force in life as the symbolized thing itself, whereas it inhabits linguistic creations only in symbolized form.
<<the author tried to derive such a meaning from them in ever-changing contexts and experimental groupings.>>
<<a sort of theological whispered intelligence dealing with matters discredited and obsolete>>.
Benjamin, Walter. Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt. Trans. Harry Zohn. NY: Harcourt, 1968.
<<O Lord, they sought Thee in distress; They could only sound forth a whisper.>> Is. 26:16
<<From the earth you shall speak, your voice shall also be like that of a spirit from the ground, and your speech shall whisper from the dust.>> Is. 29:4.
<<Le città sottili 3.
Se Armilla sia cosí perché incompiuta o perché demolitia, se ci sia dietro un incantesimo o solo un capriccio, io lo ignoro. Fatto sta chenon ha muri, ne soffiti, ne pavimenti: non ha nulla che la faccia sembrare una città, eccetto le tubature dell’ acqua, che salgono verticali dove dovrebbero esserci le case e si diramano dove dovrebbero esseri i piani: una foresta di tubi che finiscono in rubinetti, docce, sifoni, troppopieni. Contro il cielo biancheggia qualche lavabo o vasca da bagno o altra maiolica, come fruttie tardivi rimasti appesi ai rami. Si direbbe che gli idraulici abbiano compiuto il loro lavoro e se ne siano andati prima dell’arrivo dei muratori; oppure che i loro impianti, indistruttibili, abbiano resistito a una catastrofe, terremoto o corrosione di termiti.
Abbandonata prima o dopo esser stata abitata, Armilla non può dirsi deserta. A qualsiasi ora, alzando gli occhi tra le tubature, non è raro scorgere una o molte giovani donne, snell, non alte di statura, che si crogiolano nelle vasche da bagno, che si inarcano sotto le docce sospese sul vuoto, che fanno abluzioni, o che s’asciugano, o che si profumano, o che si pettinano i lunghi capelli allo specchio. Nel sole brillano i fili d’acqua sventagliati dalle docce, i getti dei rubinetti, gli zampilli, gli schizzi, la schiuma delle spugne.
La spiegazione cui sono arrivato è questa: dei corsi d’acqua incanalati nelle tubature d’Armilla sono rimaste padrone ninfe e naiadi. Abituate a risalire le vene sotterrancee, è stato loro facile inoltrarsi hel nouvo reno acquatico, sgorgare da fonti moltiplicate, trovare nouvi specchi, nouvi giochi, nouvi modi di godere dell’acqua. Può darsi che la loro invasione abbia scacciato gli oumini, o può darsi che Armilla sia stata constuita dali oumini come un dono votivo per ingraziarsi le ninfe offese per la manomissione delle acque. Communque, adesso sembrano contente, queste donnine: al mattino si sentono cantare.>>
[Whether Armilla is like this because it is unfinished or because it has been demolished, whether the cause is some enchantment or only a whim, I do not know. The fact remains that it has no walls, no ceilings, no floors: it has nothing that makes it a city, except the water pipes that rise vertically where the houses should be and spread out horizontally where the floors should be: a forest of pipes that end in taps, showers, spouts, overflows. Against the sky a lavabo’s white stands out, or a bathtub, or some other porcelain, like late fruit still hanging from the boughs. You would think the plumbers had finished their job and gone away before the bricklayers arrived; or else their hydraulic systems, indestructible, had survived a catastrophe, an earthquake, or the corrosion of termites.
Abandoned before or after it was inhabited, Armilla cannot be called deserted. At any hour, raising your eyes among the pipes, you are likely to glimpse a young woman, or many young women, slender, not tall of stature, luxuriating in bathtubs or arching their backs under the showers suspended in the void, washing or drying or perfuming themselves, or combing their long hair at a mirror. In the sun, the threads of water fanning from the showers glisten, the jets of the taps, the spurts, the splashes, the sponges’ suds.
I have come to this explanation: the streams of water channeled in the pipes of Armilla have remained in the possession of nymphs and naiads. Accustomed to traveling along underground veins, they found it easy to enter into the new aquatic realm, to burst from multiple fountains, to find new mirrors, new games, new ways of enjoying water. Their invasion may have been built by humans as a votive offering to win the favor of the nymphs, offended at the misuse of the waters. In any case, now they seem content, these maidens: in the morning you hear them singing.]
Calvino, Italo. Le città invisibili. Torino: Giulio Einaudi, 1972.
Calvino, Italo. Invisible Cities. Trans. William Weaver. London: Vintage, 1974.
<<Le détournement est le contraire de la citation, de l'autorité théorique toujours falsifiée du seul fait qu'elle est devenue citation ; fragment arraché à son contexte, à son mouvement, et finalement à son époque comme référence globale et à l'option précise qu'elle était à l'intérieur de cette référence, exactement reconnue ou erronée. Le détournement est le langage fluide de l'anti-idéologie. Il apparaît dans la communication qui sait qu'elle ne peut prétendre détenir aucune garantie en elle-même et définitivement. Il est, au point le plus haut, le langage qu'aucune référence ancienne et supra-critique ne peut confirmer. C'est au contraire sa propre cohérence, en lui-même et avec les faits praticables, qui peut confirmer l'ancien noyau de vérité qu'il ramène. Le détournement n'a fondé sa cause sur rien d'extérieur à sa propre vérité comme critique présente.>>
[Détournment is the antithesis of quotation, of a theoretical authority invariably tainted if only because it has become quotable, because it is now a fragment torn away from its context, from its own movement, and ultimately from the overall frame of reference of its peroid and from the precise option that it constituted within that framework. Détournment, by contrast, is the fluid language of anti-ideology. It occurs within a type of communication aware of its inability to enshrine any inherent and definitive certainty. This language is inacessible in the highest degree to confirmation by any earlier or supra-critical reference point. On the contrary, its internal coherence and its adequacy in respect of the practically possible are what valibdate the ancient kernel of truth that it restores. Détournment founds its cause on nothing but its own truth as critique at work in the present.]
Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. Trans. Donald Nicholson- Smith. NY : Zone, 1994.
« Mais il suffit d’écouter la poésie…pour que s’y fasse entendre une polyphonie et que tout discours s’avère s’aligner sur les plusieurs portées d’une partition.
« que le désir soit articulé, c’est justement par là qu’il n’est pas articulable.
« Les symbols enveloppent en effet la vie de l’homme d’un réseau si total qu’ils conjoignent avant qu’il vienne au monde ceux qui vont l’engendrer <<par l’os et par la chair>>, qu’ils apportent à sa naissance avec les dons des asters, sinon avec les dons des fees, le dessin de sa destinée, qu’ils donnent les mots qui le feront fidèle ou renégat, la loi des actes qui le suivront jusque-là meme où il n’est pas encore et au-delà de sa mort meme, et que par eux sa fin trouve son sens dans le jugement dernier où le verbe absout son être ou le condamme, -- sauf à atteindre à la realization subjective de l’être-pour-la-mort.
« Non moins qu’à me porter à l’autre pôle, métaphorique, de la quête significante et me vouer à devenir ce que je suis, à venir à l’être, -- je ne puis douter qu’à m’y perdre meme, j’y suis.
C’est-à-dire que c’est peu de ces mots don’t j’ai interloquer un instant mes auditeurs: je pense où je ne suis pas, donc je suis où je ne pense pas. Mots qui à toute oreille suspendue rendent sensible dans quelle ambiguïté de furet fuit sous nos prises l’anneau du sens sur la ficelle verbale.
Ce qu’il faut dire, c’est : je ne suis pas, là où je suis le jouet de ma pensée: je pense à ce je suis, là où je ne pense pas penser.
« Car le reel n’attend pas, et nommément pas le sujet, puisqu’il n’attend rien de la parole. Mais il est là, identique à son existence, bruit où l’on peut tout entendre, et prêt à submerger de ses éclats ce que le <<principe de réalite>> y construit sous le nom de monde extérieur.>>
[<<But one has only to listen to poetry…for a polyphony to be heard, for it to become clear that all discourse is aligned along the several staves of a score..
<<It is precisely because desire is articulated that it is not articulable
<<Symbols in fact envelop the life of man in a network so total that they join together, before he comes into the world, those who are going to engender him ‘by flesh and blood’; so total that they bring to his birth along with the gifts of the stars; if not with the gifts of the fairies, the shape of his destiny; so total that they give works that will make him faithful or renegade, the law of the acts that will follow him right to the very place where he is not yet and even beyond his death; and so total that through them his end finds its meaning in the last judgment, where the Word absolves his being or condemns it—unless he attain the subjective bringing to realization of being-for-death.
<<And it is no less true if I take myself to the other, metaphoric pole the signifying quest, and if I dedicate myself to being what I am, to coming into being, I cannot doubt that even if I lose myself in the process, I am in that process.
That is to say, what is needed is more than these works with which, for a brief moment I disconcerted my audience: I think where I am not, therefore I am where I do not think. Words that ender sensible to an ear properly attuned with what elusive ambiguity the ring of meaning flees from our grasp along the verbal thread.
What one ought to say is: I am not wherever I am the plaything of my thoughts; I think of what I am where I do not think to think.]
Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Vol. I & II. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1999.
Lacan, Jaques. Ecrits: a selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. NY: W&W Norton, 1977.
White noise is a signal (or process) with a flat frequency spectrum. In other words, the signal has equal power in any band, at any centre frequency, having a given bandwidth.
An infinite-bandwidth white noise signal is purely a theoretical construct. By having power at all frequencies, the total power of such a signal would be infinite. In practice a signal can be "white" with a flat spectrum over a defined frequency band.
A signal that is "white" in the frequency domain must have certain important statistical properties in time. For example, it must have zero autocorrelation with itself over time, except at zero timeshift. Conversely, if the autocorrelation of a signal has those properties (zero except at zero timeshift), the signal is white.
The term white noise is also commonly applied to a noise signal in the spatial domain which has zero autocorrelation with itself over the relevant space dimensions. The signal is then "white" in the spatial frequency domain (this is equally true for signals in the angular frequency domain, e.g. the distribution of a signal across all angles in the night sky).
Being uncorrelated in time does not however restrict the values a signal can take. Any distribution of values is possible (although it must have zero DC component). For example, a binary signal which can only take on the values 1 or 0 will be white if the sequence of zeros and ones is statistically uncorrelated.
<<The Great Wall and the Tower of Babel>>:
First, then, it must be said that in those days things were achieved scarcely inferior to the construction of the Tower of Babel, although as regards divine approval, at least according to human reckoning, strongly at variance with that work. I say this because during the early days of building a scholar wrote a book in which he drew the comparison in the most exhaustive way. In it he tried to prove that the Tower of Babel failed to reach its goal, not because of the reasons universally advanced, or at least that among those recognized reasons the most important of all was not to be found. His proofs were drawn not merely from written documents and reports; he also claimed to have made enquires on the spot, and to have discovered that the tower failed and was bound to fail because of the weakness of the foundation. In this respect at any rate our age was vastly superior to that ancient one. Almost every educated man of our time was a mason by profession and infallible in the matter of laying foundations. That, however, was not what our scholar was concerned to prove; for he maintained that the Great Wall alone would provide for the first time in the history of mankind a secure foundation for a new Tower of Babel. First the wall, therefore, and then the tower. His book was in everybody’s hands at that time, but I admit that even today I cannot quite make out how he conceived this tower. How could the wall, which did not form even a circle, but only a sort of quarter- or half-circle, provide the foundation for a tower? That could obviously be meant only in a spiritual sense. But in that case why build the actual wall, which after all was something concrete, the result of the lifelong labor of multitudes of people? And why were there in the book plans, somewhat nebulous plans, it must be admitted, of the tower, and proposals worked out in detail for mobilizing the people’s energies for the stupendous new work?
There were many wild ideas in people’s heads at the time—this scholar’s book is only one example—perhaps simply because so many were trying to join forces as far as they could for the achievement of a single aim. Human nature, essentially changeable, unstable as the dust, can endure no restraint; if it binds itself it soon begins to tear madly at its bonds, until it rends everything asunder, the wall, the bonds and its very self.>>
<<For we are like tree trunks in the snow. In appearance they lie sleekly and a little push should be enough to set them rolling. No, it can’t be done, for they are firmly wedded to the ground. But see, even that is only appearance.>>
Kafka, Franz. The Complete Stories. Trans. Muirs. Ed. Nahum N. Glatzer. NY: Schocken, 1971.
« Comme j’arrivais à l’extrémité du faubourg, sous les éclairs du gaz, je sentis un bras qui se coulait doucement sous le mien, et j’entendis une voix qui me disait à l’oreille: …
« Les Chinois voient l’heure dans l’oeil des chats. Un jour un missionnaire, se promenant dans la banlieue de Nankin, s’aperçut qu’il avait oublié sa montre, et demanda à un petit garçon quelle heure il était. Le gamin du céleste Empire hésita d’abord ; puis, se ravisant, il répondit: « Je vais vous le dire.» Peu d’instants après, il reparut, tenant dans ses bras un fort gros chat, et le regardant, comme on dit, dans le blanc des yeux, il affi rma sans hésiter: « Il n’est pas encore tout à fait midi. » Ce qui était vrai. Pour moi, si je me penche vers la belle Féline, la si bien nommée, qui est à la fois l’honneur de son sexe, l’orgueil de mon coeur et le parfum de mon esprit, que ce soit la nuit, que ce soit le jour, dans la pleine lumière ou dans l’ombre opaque, au fond de ses yeux adorables je vois toujours l’heure distinctement, toujours la même, une heure vaste, solennelle, grande comme l’espace, sans divisions de minutes ni de secondes, – une heure immobile qui n’est pas marquée sur les horloges, et cependant légère comme un soupir, rapide comme un coup d’oeil. Et si quelque importun venait me déranger pendant que mon regard repose sur ce délicieux cadran, si quelque Génie malhonnête et intolérant, quelque Démon du contretemps venait me dire: « Que regardes-tu là avec tant de soin ? Que cherches-tu dans les yeux de cet être ? Y vois-tu l’heure, mortel prodigue et fainéant ? » je répondrais sans hésiter: « Oui, je vois l’heure ; il est l’Eternité ! » (XLVII, XVI)
[As I was nearing the end of the suburb, walking along under the gas lamps, I felt an arm being slipped into mine, and I heard a voice in my ear, saying: …
The Chinese can tell the time in the eyes of a cat.
One day a missionary, walking in the suburbs of Nanking, noticed that he had forgotten his watch and asked a little boy the time.
The urchin of the Celestial Empire hesitated at first, then on second thought, replied: “I’ll tell you,” and disappeared. An instant later he returned with an enormous cat in his arms. He looked it in the eye, as people say, and without a moment’s hesitation declared: “It is not quite noon,” Which was true.
As for me, when I lean forward to gaze at lovely Féline—so appropriately named—who is at once the honor of her sex, the pride of my heart and the perfume of my mind, whether it be by night or by day, in dazzling light or in deepest shade, always at the back of her adorable eyes I can distinctly see the time, always the same—vast, solemn, wide as space, without minutes and without seconds—a motionless hour not marked on any clock, and yet as airy as a breath, as quick as a glance.
As if some tiresome intruder should come to disturb me while my eyes rest on this delicious dial, if some unmannerly and intolerant Genie, some Demon out of time, should come asking me: “What are you looking at so attentively? What are you looking for in that creature’s eyes? Can you tell the time of day in them, idle and prodigal mortal?” I should reply without hesitating: “Yes, I can tell the time; it is Eternity!”]
Baudelaire, Charles. Paris Spleen. Trans. Louise Varèse. NY: New Directions, 1970. (French originally 1869).
« -Eh bein, je m’interdirai, ce sera la règle, de cous avouer toutes les histories que je me raconterai longtemps encore à leur sujet. A chacun les siennes, je vous laisse les vôtres, c’est votre droit de regard. Ces histories ne sont pas en nombre infini, bien sûr, mai restent quasiment innombrables. Et la disposition des “image” en rend surtout le récit interminable. Peut-être meme une relation be peut-elle commencer, d’ou le règle que je me suis fixée: pas d’histoire.
--Mais, du coup , le dèsir d’histoire s’exaspère en toi. Tu sens que la trop grande liberté narrative se voit, en un certain point, limitée. Elle reçoit un ordre, et l’ordre le plus calculé: “tu ne peux pas, donc tu ne dios pas te raconter n’importe quoi à l’infini en suivant ton regard. Le dispositif n’est pas à ton entière disposition.”
--Il ya des rècits impossibles, illisibles ou interdits, par exemple celui que je ne vous dirai pas, et don’t je ne vous dirai pas s’il se laisse porter par l’ « image » ou s’il correspond à ce qu’elle annonce, l’inènarrable ou l’irreprésentable même. Bref, tout cela n’est pas racontable. L’ordre est discret, réservé, difficile à déchiffrer mais d’autant plus intraitable : tu dois et tu ne dois pas te raconter ceci ou cela. La discrétion de l’ordre, autant que son autorité, tient aussi à une certaine discontinuitè dans la série des scènes : série discète et et ordonnée, donc, des temps morts ou des blancs. Au premier regard, une rigoureuse irréversibilité des séquences commande à qui regarde, décrit, déchiffre, elle sous-entend du moins, car jamais rien n’est dit : tu es autorisé à te racounter ces histoires-ci, mais tu ne peux accèder aux cases de cette histoir-là. Tu es libre mais il y a des règles, il y a loi qui assigne le droit de regard, tu dois observer ces règles qui à leur tour te surveillent. Tiens-toi dans ces limites, ce cadre, ces cadres de cadres, la chaine de ces enchainements. Je te merts en demeure…>>
[--Very well, this will be the rule, I’ll refrain from confessing to you all the stories I’ll still keep telling myself about them for some time yet. Each to their own stories, I shall leave you to yours, you have a right to look. Of course these stories are not infinite in number, but they remain practically innumerable. And above all, the arrangement of the ‘images’ makes the narrative interminable. Perhaps the relating cannot even begin, hence the rule I have established for myself : no story.
--But suddenly your desire for stories becomes all the more intense. You feel that at a certain point a limit is ascribed to a narrative freedom that was too liberal in the first place. So you give it an order, of the most calculated kind : « You cannot, therefore you must not go on endlessly telling yourself whatever you like at the behest of your gaze. The apparatus is not completely at your disposal. »
--There are impossible, illegible, or forbidden narratives : for example, the one I won’t tell you, and i won’t even tell you whether it is motivated by the « image » or whether it corresponds to what that image declares, the untellable or unrepresentable itself. In short, all of that cannot be told. The order is discreet, reserved, difficult to decipher but all the more intractable : you must yet you must not recount this or that about it. The discontinuity of the order, as much as its authority, also derives from a type of discontinuity in the succession of scenes : a discrete and ordered series of empty moments and spaces. At first glance, a rigorous irreversibility of the sequences positions whoever looks, describes, deciphers. Or at least, it alludes to such a positioning, for nothing is ever said. You have the authority to tell yourself these stories but you cannot gain access to the squares of that other one. You are free but there are rules, there is a law that assigns the right of inspection, you must observe these rules that in turn keep you under surveillance. Remain within these limits, this frame, the framework of these frames, the chain of this chain of events. I am serving you notice…]
Derrida, Jacques. Rights of Inspection-Droit de Regards. Photographs by Marie-Francoise Plissart. Trans. David Wills. NY: Monacelli Press, 1998. (French originally 1985).
« Puisqu'elle prétend aller aussi loin, descendre aussi profondément,
une enquête phénoménologique sur la poésie doit dépasser, par obligation de méthodes, les résonances sentimentales avec lesquelles, plus ou moins richement - que cette richesse soit en nous ou dans le poème - nous recevons l'oeuvre d'art. C'est ici que doit être sensibilisé le doublet
phénoménologique des résonances et du retentissement. Les résonances
se dispersent sur les différents plans de notre vie dans le monde, le
retentissement nous appelle à un approfondissement de notre propre
existence. Dans la résonance, nous entendons le poème, dans le
retentissement nous le parlons, il est nôtre. Le retentissement opère
un virement d'être. Il semble que l'être du poète soit notre être. La multiplicité des résonances sort alors de l'unité d'être du retentissement.
Plus simplement dit, nous touchons là une impression bien connu de tout
lecteur passionné de poèmes: le poème nous prend tout entier. Cette
saisie de l'être par la poésie a une marque phénoménologique qui ne se trompe pas. L'exubérance et la profondeur d'un poème sont toujours des phénomènes du doublet résonance-retentissement. Il semble que par son exubérance, le poème réanime en nous des profondeurs. Pour rendre compte de l'action psychologique d'un poème, il faudra donc suivre deux axes d'analyse phénoménologique, vers les exubérances de l'esprit et vers la profondeur de l'âme. »
[Since a phenomenological inquiry on poetry aspires to go so far and so deep, because of methodological obligations, it must go beyond the sentimental resonances with which we receive (more or less richly—whether this richness be within ourselves or within the poem) a work of art. This is where the phenomenological doublet of resonances and repercussions must be sensitized. The resonances are dispersed on the different planes of our life in the world, while the repercussions invite us to give a greater depth to our own existence. In the resonance we hear the poem, in the reverberations we speak it, it is our own. The reverberations bring about a change of being. It is as though the poet’s being were our being. The multiplicity of resonances then issues from the reverberations unity of being. Or, to put it more simply, this is an impression that all impassioned poetry-lovers know well: the poem possess us entirely. This grip that poetry acquires on our very being bears a phenomenological mark that is unmistakable. The exuberance and depth of a poem are always phenomena of the resonance-reverberation doublet. It is as though the poem, through its exuberance, awakened new depths in us. In order to ascertain the psychological action of a poem, we should therefore have to follow the two perspectives of phenomenological analysis, towards the outpourings of the mind and towards the profundities of the soul.]
Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Trans. Maria Jolas. Boston: Beacon P., 1964 (French 1958).
Sh'ma Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad.
Barukh Shem k'vod malkhuto l'olam va-ed
V-ahavta et Adonai Elohecha b-chol l'vavcha u-v-chol naf'sh'cha u-v-chol m'odecha.
V-hayu ha-d'varim ha-ayleh asher anochi m'tzav'cha ha-yom al l'vavecha.
V-shinantam l-vanecha, v-dibarta bam
b-shivt'cha b-vaytecha, u-v-lecht'cha ba-derech, u-v-shachb'cha u-v-kumecha.
U-k'shartam l'ot al yadecha, v-hayu l-totafot bayn aynecha.
U-chtavtam al m'zuzot baytecha u-vi-sharecha.
V-haya im shamoa tish'mu el mitzvotai
asher anochi m'tzaveh etchem ha-yom, l-ahavah et Adonai Elohaychem,
u-l-avdo b-chol l'vavchem u-v-chol nafsh'chem.
V-natati m'tar artzchem b-ito, yoreh u-malkosh;
v-asafta d'ganecha, v-tirosh'cha v-yitzharecha.
V-natati aysev b-sad'cha li-b'hem'techa; v-achalta v-savata.
Hishamru lachem, pen yifteh l'vavchem,
v-sartem va-avadtem elohim achayrim, v-hishtachavitem lahem.
V-charah af Adonai bachem, v-atzar et ha-shamayim v-lo yihyeh matar,
v-ha-adama lo titayn et y'vulah;
va-avadtem m'hayrah mayal ha-aretz ha-tovah asher Adonai notayn lachem.
V-sam'tem et d'varai ayleh al l'vavchem v-al naf'sh'chem;
u-kshartem otam l-ot al yedchem, v-hayu ltotafot bayn aynaychem.
V-limadtem otam et b'naychem l-daber bam
b-shivt'cha b-vaytecha, u-v-lecht'cha baderech, u-v-shachb'cha u-v-kumecha.
U-ch'tavtam al m'zuzot baytecha u-vi-sharecha.
L'ma'an yirbu y'maychem vi-y'may v'naychem al ha-adamah asher nishba Adonai
la-avotaychem latayt lahem ki-y'may ha-shamayim al ha-aretz.
Vayomer Adonai el Mosheh laymor.
Daber el b'nay Yisrael v-amarta alayhem,
v-asu lahem tzitzit al can'fay vi-g'dayhem l-dorotam,
v-natnu al tzitzit ha-canaf p'til t'chaylet.
V-hayah lachem l-tzitzit, u-r'iytem oto u-z'chartem et kol mitzvot Adonai,
va-asiytem otam v-lo taturu acharay l-vavchem
v-acharay aynaychem, asher atem zonim acharaychem.
L'ma-an tiz'k'ru v-asitem et kol mitzvotai, vi-h'yiytem k'doshim laylohaychem.
Ani Adonai Elohaychem, asher hotzaytiy etchem mayeretz Mitzrayim,
li-h'yot lahem laylohim. Ani Adonai Elohaychem.
Hear, Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One.
Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.
And you shall love the Lord your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart.
And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them
when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.
And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.
And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
And it shall come to pass if you surely listen to the commandments
that I command you today, to love the L-rd your G-d,
and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul,
That I will give rain to your land, the early and the late rains,
that you may gather in your grain, your wine and your oil.
And I will give grass in your fields for your cattle and you will eat and you will be satisfied.
Beware, lest your heart be deceived,
and you turn and serve other gods, and worship them.
And anger of the Lord will blaze against you, and he will close the heavens and there will not be rain,
and the earth will not give you its fullness,
and you will perish quickly from the good land that the L-rd gives you.
So you shall put these, my words, on your heart and on your soul;
and you shall bind them for signs on your hands, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.
And you shall teach them to your children, and you shall speak of them
when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.
And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
In order to prolong your days and the days of your children on the land that the L-rd promised
your fathers that he would give them, as long as the days that the heavens are over the earth.
And the L-rd spoke to Moses, saying...
Speak to the children of Israel and say to them,
they should make themselves tzitzit (fringes) on the corners of their clothing throughout their generations,
and give the tzitzit of each corner a thread of blue.
And they shall be tzitzit for you, and when you look at them you will remember all of the L-rd's commandments
and do them and not follow after your heart
and after your eyes, which lead you astray.
In order to remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your G-d.
I am the L-rd, your G-d, who lead you from the land of Egypt
to be a god to you. I am the L-rd, your G-d.]
<<When in the winter nights snowstorms
tear at the cabin and one morning the
landscape is hushed in its blanket of
Thinking’s saying would be stilled in
its being only by becoming unable
to say that which must remain
Such inability would bring thinking
face to face with its matter.
What is spoken is never, and in no
language, what is said.
That a thinking is, ever and suddenly—
whose amazement could fathom it?
Heidegger, Martin. Poetry, Language, Thought. Trans. Albert Hofstadter. NY: Harper Collins, 1971.
Last three pages of Ulysses [text withheld].
<<Before it is there, no one awaits it; when it is there, no one recognizes it: for it is not there—the disaster. It has already diverted the word “be,” realizing itself to such a degree that it has not begun. A rose blossoming into a bud.
When all is obscured, there reigns the clarity without light which certain utterances foretell.
Light breaks forth: the burst of light, the dispersion that resonates or vibrates dazzlingly—and in clarity clamors but does not clarify. The breaking forth of light, the shattering reverberation of a language to which no hearing can be given.
Silence is perhaps a word, a paradoxical word, the silence of the word silence, yet surely we feel that it is linked to the cry, the voiceless cry, which breaks with all utterances, which is addressed to no one and which no one receives, the cry that lapses and decries. Like writing (and in the same way that the quick of life has always already exceeded life), the cry tends to exceed all language, even if it lends itself to recuperation as language effect. It is both sudden and patient; it has the suddenness of the interminable torment which is always over already. The patience of the cry: it does not simply come to a halt, reduced to nonsense, yet it does remain outside of sense—a meaning infinitely suspended, decried, decipherable-indecipherable.
When all is said, what remains to be said is the disaster. Ruin of words, demise writing, faintness faintly murmuring: what remains without remains (the fragmentary).>>
Blanchot, Maurice. Writing of the Disaster. Lincoln: University of Nebraska P., 1995.
§7. Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schwiegen.
§7. What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.