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

subject matter

It appears that two principles are necessary: comedy and tragedy. Mobility and transcendence. Two types of drives: one conservative, the other expensive, or expansive. Two states of matter, or material subject: one bearing value; one exercising value; one bouncing off the other’s steady offer. Yet we have seen this not to be the case since each is at war with itself, the comedian with her tragic nature and the tragedian who removes his mask at the end of that scene where he says, This is going to hurt you more than it hurts me.

We create from the war we wage with ourselves, don’t we? It is a creative tension, and one we carry from birth, since it produced us and we are its issue. And, possibly, we will reproduce it in others, or in works. Pieces of work, in which others find resolved tension from the forces set in motion or from which they take relief.

The comedian refuses analysis because she doesn’t want to look into her desperation, to find its source is only that, as we said earlier: it is the engine of the little peace of mind she gains upon a successful performance … of pain. Without it, she’s just not that funny. Then, like Hannah Gadsby, she finds a way to bring her pain into the performance and dares the audience to laugh. And notes their discomfort, and, with that recognition, they do.

All things head to entropy, heat loss. Entropy seems to have been a lot on people’s minds recently, since physicists seem to have found its opposite principle, in the time crystal. It is a system of, for, perpetual motion, and loses none of the energy it expends. The quantum parts of the time crystal simply bounce, in a state of movement which is also static, a stasis built on the quantum law of complementarity, of there being no love lost between us.

What time then does it occupy? since it would seem that a time crystal takes up no time. Or, rather, we have to do away with the spatial metaphors, and ask, Of what time is it the creation? The simple answer would be that it is the creation of a time of entropy, of heat loss.

Then is it no more complex than a reflection? than an image? since it allows us to see another universe, one to which we are opposed. A world of possibility: imagine this perpetual motion machine being the engine of a quantum computer. Its endless thought internal to its endless love of calculation. At no point does it say, I don’t have the energy to fight anymore. I’m tired.

Isn’t entropy exactly its infinite exhaustion? coupled with limitless creativity? On display: the most wonderful waste of time. No, stasis is not as we have thought, the lowest point of depression. A state approaching death. And it’s not as if one type of drive has won, over another. Neither is it the bearer of value winning out over the exerciser, in symbolic exchange, say; nor is it the complementarity of legal principles. It is, as Agamben writes, civil war.

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