perversion, worms in the brain and the refrain of place: an exchange of letters, pt. 4

The children are versing one another. Understandable when you consider the competitions are advertised in the form A_______ versus C________. It is a much more convenient and reasonable locution than A_______ is competing with B_______ and has the obvious virtue of being active rather than passive, as if, in the latter case, the competition were to happen to the teams, as if the organisers of the competition were pitting one against the other for their own highly suspect reasons. The children are empowering themselves in versing one another and availing themselves of the creative resources of the language. This is after all how language evolves, according to consensus and convenience.

– Antoni Tapiès’s U No Es Ningú, 1979

No it isn’t. It doesn’t even evolve according to common usage and good sense. And the less word formation has to do with sense, reason or meaning, the better a new word’s chances. Not to posit linguistic evolution as some sort of correlative to biological evolution, no. Language has its occupiers, its forests and its forestries, its deserted highways, its planes crossed by roving bands of word-hoarders, its gleaners, and its fascists, and it is, like our islands, routinely hacked to pieces. Nor is this to say that language preexists what we do to it, the way we verse it. And the organisers who can be held accountable for the fact that we do indeed verse it, turning it against each other ourselves and itself, would like to remain anonymous. In the new word nonsense takes its turn, a turn, verso, in two directions, per- and in-, if not an immediate catastrophe or slow-mo recesssion, which may amount to movements exchanged between twins: ecologic and economic.

What I am wondering is whether we can say of a turn that it perverts in the same way that we can say of an action that it performs. The turn of the encounter when the new entered is then a perversion which informs. This puts me in mind of Reza Negarestani’s cyclones. [link] It is a torsion, or wheels within a wheel. Negarestani calls it a “recurrence or dynamism of Ouroboroses,” the motion they impart to the Wheel of Pestilence. Which may writhe in an endless motile nest of reptilian flexus, pungently so, but still gets the wheel to turn. In other words, its occultish imagery mimics the sensible encounter.

In nature, however, everything is allowed, even the demonic, against those who would say, especially the demonic. Five human behaviours have been predicated on the human Ouroboros, the sub-limibic, socalled reptilian brain, they are: isopraxic, preservative, re-enacting, tropistic and deceptive. Which goes to show one needn’t travel far to regain the familiar territory of the theatrical. This is its problem. It is primitive. Not originary. And a return to it signals we’d better pay more attention to where we are going, to the where. Because a territorial performance is also a division in time. An inverted space results from the performance in time, dividing the space and recombining with or confusing one element in it: the stage. What occurs here can only occur here, as isopraxic, preservative, re-enacting, tropistic and deceptive, all five, at the same time.

– Antoni Tapiès’s U No Es Ningú, 1979

In order for time to pass while these oppositions are versing (or in conversation, dramatic or otherwise), I mean the reptilian opposition, of one end to the other, of each Ouroboros, it must already have past. The turning wheel is time’s defense. And as Negarestani shows, it is not cyclic, or is no longer cyclic.

As Deleuze shows, it is not cyclic for theatrical reasons. These reasons, in Difference and Repitition go to a radical critique of representation, the theatre being the art of representation par excellence. One way in which we can say that the theatre expresses the form of time is in the split which divides stage from public. (As if the public were held in some extraordinary stasis for the duration of the show.)

– Antoni Tapiès’s U No Es Ningú, 1979

The structure of Square White World as being justified by the “dark round sun” of theatre is I have said basically compromised for having suffered a turn. The turn has a theatrical structure in the way that time divides it from itself or forces a movement that while in action, while on, is already over: it has done its work, which is now in pieces.

The shift in emphasis I mentioned earlier (final paragraph here), occasioned by an exchange of letters and words (with ecologic and economic ramifications), would be from a structure that originated in what was to be given outside it and one which included in its most confused, most irreducible (inverted) element, what has been given in sensation: the turn itself. Rather than turning on itself, or even pretending to an inclusion of the excluded part, or possessing it in immanence, the site would have a particle of reconcatenation, an overall turning movement, and opposed squiggles inside it: cyclonic, motile, and following the formula I=n.

To confront the formula for a moment, bound to recur:

1) where the ‘I’ is the dissolved self and fractured ego; the ‘not-I’ or I is the thinker of Ideas, or Blanchotian, Deleuzian cogito, acephalic and aleatory;

and 2) the n is the variable point, or empty thought, Evantum tantum, of circulation genetically uniting all throws of the Nietzschean, Mallarméan dice into one throw on which all is staked (if not shared); and the = sign gives this unity;

then, or here, 3) I=n.

– Antoni Tapiès’s U No Es Ningú, 1979

Why I said it was a position with which any artist will be familiar, while it sounded condescending, was to point out how readily it is to be found in an artist’s work, like Antoni Tapiès’s U No Es Ningú from 1979, which, apart from a photo or two, illustrates this post.