fifty-second part, called “subject matter LII,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

subject matter

The combination of repression, suppression is followed by a further suppression. But this time it is a suppression of the political in the political. The political is now what does not play.

The reversal we talked about is this: where comic levity was suppressed, today it is tragic necessity which comprises a content or substance that is suppressed. Now, we might suppose content or substance to be bodies, to be the embodiment of what bodies collectively embody. The bleeding bits, not the edges. Animals, and so on.

We might suppose content or substance to be the bios. Or, at least, to refer to it. It would then refer to the ground and foundation of forms, since it would be that from which these are made. In-formed, as it were, or ex-formed. Licked like bear whelps into cubs. Or programmed by genes in the living cells to form tissue, flesh, the flesh of plants, the flesh of animals.

And in a way it is the case that the living-being of the planet is suppressed, but it’s more accurate to call it depressed. Its resources are depressed. The content or substance which is suppressed is so by … the surface. The surface here is the whole playing field. This politics occupies without itself being in play.

What plays on the surface is exactly the play of the surface: a kind of limitless mobility of a smooth surface which does not admit of bumps—or of cracks. That craze below the ice is at another level, a lower one, a compression layer, and an archeological one, a temporal one.

Time, now, time in all the massy heft of it, the unrolling gigantism of its inflated sense of urgency, the urgency of tragic necessity is packed deep down, lower than the void over which the surface slides: we might say it is in the invisible work. That work that now feels so weighty, so urgent, so intractable. That work, for example, of lowering carbon emissions, of assaying the cessation of unceasing destruction, of … bios.

Politics has no power to undertake the invisible work. That part of it that could is the rendering of all content and substance into air—of a particular kind: the burnt. Comedy today subsumes the bios and its tragedy. All that is light and air is the burning of content and substance, making light, the burning of the air.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

If you would like to help it come to pass, and show your support for what I’m up to, please sponsor it: become a patron, here.

If you would like to receive these posts, as they are written, as letters addressed to you, please send me your email address.