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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

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Gig #142: Of late 47: Youth Code, Ubik MCDXCII, WaqWaq Kingdom, Aki Onda & Paul Clipson, Rainbow Crimes, Heat Signature, Deathprod, Pod Blotz, Guerilla Toss, Galen Tipton, Bad Jesus Experience, Frataxin, Blanck Mass, Costes, Cattle Decapitation

 

Youth Code
Ubik MCDXCII
WaqWaq Kingdom
Aki Onda & Paul Clipson
Rainbow Crimes
Heat Signature
Deathprod
Pod Blotz
Guerilla Toss
Galen Tipton
Bad Jesus Experience
Frataxin
Blanck Mass
Costes
Cattle Decapitation

 

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Youth Code + HEALTH Innocence (live)
‘The HEALTH collaboration was a welcome change for Youth Code, who issued the following statement: “When another band hits you up it’s usually for a remix — but to be able to get in a studio and fire off ideas with someone else is a pretty magical opportunity. When HEALTH reached out to us we were amped to put our heads together and see what could happen. Two groups of noisy L.A. weirdos could only make for a maniacal track. It came together super quickly since we have a lot of the same influences and ideas but the way we execute is very different. I think it gave the track a lot of dynamics and were exceptional proud to bring this into the world.”‘ — Revolver

 

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Ubik MCDXCII Blackout Blinds
‘Ubik MCDXCII is a mysterious London-based Avant Hip-Hop/musical artist and analog photographer. His second full-form project, Blackout Blinds was recently released on French tape label, Solium Records. This is a boisterous record. The ever-present clamor making life in London claustrophobic lifestyles, the Orwellian high-tech modernity clashing with an ancient past, the parenting of an Autistic child in an autistic society; these are all important themes in this album, illuminating the schizophrenic duality of present-day urban life.’ — The Witzard

 

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WaqWaq Kingdom Circle Of Life
‘WaqWaq Kingdom is a Japanese tribal bass duo, consisting of Kiki Hitomi and Shigeru Ishihara. Both are originally from Japan. Despite their eclectic blend of sounds and oddly specific lyrical tangents, the quirkiness comes off as natural. The duo puts fun first on Essaka Hoisa, toying with unconventional concepts in a way that’s never overtly academic. Like its namesake, the record’s meaning lies in its abstract expressions of joy or rage or conviction, so sincere you’d mistake it for silliness.’ — Jude Noel

 

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Aki Onda & Paul Clipson MAKE VISIBLE THE GHOST
‘In 2009, Clipson and Onda met at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for the first time and shared a ride to the International Film Festival Rotterdam, where they presented audio-visual works in the same bill. Since then, the two artists – known for their highly personal approach with Super 8, 16mm, cassette Walkman and radio – maintained a close friendship over the next nine years. Their works deal with memory, time, space, and those reflections, and they had a lot to share. Onda and Clipson completed their collaboration work Make Visible The Ghosts—a combination of vinyl LP of Onda’s music and large-size collage artwork by Clipson—a few months before Clipson’s departure from life. The work is composed of the materials they used for their performance in New York in 2012 and developed over the three years from 2015 to 2017.’ — Boomkat

 

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Rainbow Crimes Into Sunburst Sand We Disappear
‘The trio is made up of scene veterans Katy Otto (Callowhill), Alex Smith (Solarized), and Leah Basarab, who played their first show under the moniker just last summer. Recorded and produced by Bruce Howze Jr. and released on Otto’s own Exotic Fever Records, the new album incorporates experimental sounds that range from fraught to ethereal. It’s nine tracks alternate between lyrical and instrumental, their fuzzy and crashing melodies setting a mood that’s both dreamy and urgent.’ — Dischord

 

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Heat Signature Dawning A Hollowed Gaze
‘Heat Signature’s two man onslaught comprised of Brad Griggs (Action/Discipline, Penis Geyser) and Luke Tandy (Skeleton Dust Records, Being) deliver seven tracks of previously unreleased, all new material for 2019. The duo spend their time assiduously building patterns of deafeningly satisfying, chest thudding harsh noise with profiles in feedback and hints of parametrically filtered junk scrapings.’ — Oxen Records

 

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Deathprod Black Transit Of Jupiter’s Third Satellite
‘More than 15 years ago, Norwegian sound artist and Supersilent co-founder Helge Sten seemed to bury his Deathprod alias. For a decade, Sten barbed intricate drones with spikes of static, then stuffed it all into four essential discs in a 2004 box set that suggested a coffin. He went largely silent. Motivated by the recent rise of nationalists and strongmen worldwide, though, Sten has resurrected Deathprod for what he calls an “anti-fascist ritual” with Occulting Disk. The album is, as Will Oldham writes in the liner notes, a 10-track attempt to “address … hatred and reduce it by its opposite.”’ — Grayson Haver Currin

 

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Pod Blotz Life Like An Electric Surge
‘DD: Who is Pod Blotz for? Suzy Poling: People who like experimental music, experiential performance, full sonic frequencies, hypnotic lights and sound, stories about ghost and aliens, etc… DD: How does your artistic practice inform your sound project Pod Blotz? Suzy Poling: They are pretty much one in the same for me. I do performance art, build installations to play inside of, silkscreen clothing and make video. All of my artwork ends up in a Pod Blotz video and my audio ends up installations so it all works out.’ — Dazed Digital

 

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Guerilla Toss What Would the Odd Do?
‘Through the years the band – comprised of vocalist Kassie Carlson, drummer/producer Peter Negroponte, guitarist Arian Shafiee, keyboardist Sam Lisabeth, and bassist Stephen Cooper – has crafted a unique brand of electro-psychedelic dance punk. You have to go in with the understanding that you’ll probably be thrown around quite a bit, jerked in new, unexpected directions. At only five songs, Guerilla Toss packs more sounds and styles into twenty minutes than some bands do over entire discographies. The opener, title track “What Would the Odd Do?,” has Carlson’s vocals soaring over sprawling instrumentals, underscored by a simple and steady drumbeat; it sounds almost like a sun rising over a cyberpunk desert.’ — Michael Seidenfeld

 

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Galen Tipton tender
‘galen tipton’s fake meat pokes fun at our post-industrial alienation by accelerating reconfiguration via the absolute deconstruction of the soundscape, which is framed as a sonic polymer of samples that one can instrumentalize, rearrange, discard, etc. cut down to their component parts & decontextualized, these sonic motifs melt into a sort of primordial molecular soup whose ingredients are distinct & yet totally alloyed, unnatural & yet somehow familiar — organic & synthetic; real & fake.’ — Baldr Eldursson

 

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Bad Jesus Experience Olet meidän / Kaikki on hyvin / Lisäänny Torniossa
‘Bad Jesus Experience from Tampere, Finland who play Spaztic angry hardcore punk from with great female vocals and crazy personal way of guitar riffing.’ — The Stranger

 

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Frataxin live @ Buddyfest
‘I think Frataxin should be held in the highest regards — it’s not just some tryhard dork yelling about turn of the century individuals with deformities (or Boyd Rice talking about how he wants to kill those with disabilities), it’s a genuine and poignant look at the pain and alienation which able-bodied/neurotypical people not only can’t, but also don’t even try to grasp. This is truly powerful shit, overflowing with seething hatred and spite, and only the most casual listeners can sit through it and remain unmoved.’ — Fucked by Noise

 

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Blanck Mass Death Drop
Animated Violence Mild’s greatest success goes beyond how it manifests the intangibles of humanity’s self-automated undoing, or how it casts a melting pot of influences into singular shapes. Since Power debuted his Blanck Mass moniker in 2011, each record has been held in contrast to Fuck Buttons, his longtime duo with Andrew Hung, and rightly so. The wide scope and stratospheric heights of that group’s best work leave an indelible impression, and Power’s solo work has by turns subverted or indulged the same tendencies. For this album’s first track he seems to do both. “Death Drop” is dragon-sized and full of fire, hurtling towards the sun with a raw fury unmatched by Power’s other music. It’s the last in a spectacular series of definitive salvos. If previous Blanck Mass albums were each a step out from the shadow of Fuck Buttons, Animated Violence Mild shows that he’s outgrown the comparison altogether.’ — Patric Fallon

 

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Costes Kebab dans le cul
‘Jean-Louis Costes is a French noise musician, performance artist and film actor. Costes has been described as the French version of GG Allin, though unlike Allin’s rudimentary brand of hardcore punk, Costes’ music is largely synth-driven, relying heavily on looped beats, overmodulated vocals, and random outbursts of screaming and glitch fills. Costes is considered as one of the first punk-DIY French artists, self-releasing dozens of tapes and CDs from the early 1980s to nowadays. His discography is surprisingly rich and outlandish, melding experimental, spoken word, electronics, sometimes hip-hop or metal, often parodying the French variety-song culture. It consists of more than seventy albums, some recorded in English, German or Japanese.’ — collaged

 

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Cattle Decapitation Vulturous
‘No matter which way you look at it, only one thing in this life is certain: we’re all going to die. One day, each of our clocks will stop ticking, and there’s not a thing we can do about it. With full knowledge of this, we all take different approaches to life. Some choose to see the glass half-full, other half-empty. And some just pour the glass out and throw it on the cement, shattering it into a million pieces. Where am I going with this analogy, you ask? On the latest opus from Cattle Decapitation, there is no longer any doubt as to where they stand when it comes to the fate of humanity, and yet in the same way, there is also no longer any doubt that they are one of the greatest extreme bands of this generation.’ — Metal Injection

 

 

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p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. I just put together a future Owen Land post after Nik made me remember that I strangely hadn’t yet. Good stuff, yeah. I’ll have to reread your chapter on him the next time I get to LA where the book is. Land and Le Grice = apple and orange. Ah, a new thing by you! Everyone, parcel off a little of your weekend to read a new article by Mr. Ehrenstein entitled ‘Five Gay Actors in Mid-Century Hollywood’ which resides here. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hey, Ben. Not all of his books are that huge by any means, although I’m not sure off the top of my head which are in English and which are not. I’d read his fiction before his poetry. Cool, getting the old inspiration fired up! ** Steve Erickson, Are they going to kill the site and its history? That would be psycho. Really hope the sound work goes really well today. I just yesterday read about Netflix taking the new Assayas. Things are changing fast. ** Okay. This weekend you get my new gig constructed of some stuff I’ve been into hearing lately. This one’s a bit noisier and more raucous than usual maybe. You tell me. I believe it’s worth your time and headphones and speakers. See you on Monday.

Spotlight on … Jacques Roubaud The Loop (1993)

 

‘Jacques Roubaud is a playful, puzzling, erudite, at times obscure, yet at other times thoroughly moving “composer” (as he puts it) of poetry and prose. An algebraist by trade (he long professed mathematics at the University of Paris X-Nanterre and now directs research at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales), Roubaud has surpassed all other French writers (with the possible exceptions of his mentor, Raymond Queneau, and his late sidekick, the ingenious Georges Perec) in entwining these two disparate manifestations of human mind: on the one hand writing, which try as it might can hardly avoid dealing with experienced feelings, memory, perceived reality; and on the other hand mathematics, which involves not only numbers and calculations (Roubaud likens himself to a “counter”), but also vertiginous logical constructs. Like the East and West of Kipling, can the twain ever really meet?

‘In Roubaud they do, impressively and instructively. From his first book, Mathematics (1967), of which the mathematical symbol for “belonging” entitles a volume of multiform “sonnets” arranged according to the moves in a masters match of the Japanese game of go, Roubaud emerged as an original voice. Not surprisingly, the author of subsequent collections such as Mono no aware (1970), Trente et un au cube (1973) and Autobiographie, chapitre dix (1977) is not only a resourceful connoisseur of the history of poetic forms, but also a member of Oulipo, the French “Workshop of Potential Literature,” a group of writers and mathematicians which was founded in 1960 by Queneau and François Le Lionnais and still remains active today. As Roubaud explains in his provocative collection of theoretical dialogues about poetry and fiction, Poesie, etcetera: menage (1995), never has a literary movement lasted so long in the history of French writing.

‘Oulipians use self-imposed formal “constraints” when writing, the most renowned example being Perec’s “e”-less novel La Disparition (1969; translated as A Void). Sometimes Oulipian constraints are geometric, algebraic or numerological; the plot of Perec’s opus magnum, La Vie mode d’emploi (1978; translated as Life A User’s Manual), is engendered by means of calculations based on a “10×10 magic square.” Other constraints may be “thematic,” such as Jacques Jouet’s recent exploit of penning a poem per day about a turnip, an experiment that lasted four years; or “chronological,” such as Roubaud’s writing of a certain recurrent type of passage in his innovatively autobiographical La Grande Incendie de Londres (1989; translated as The Great Fire of London) only in the wee hours of the morning, accompanied—in a striking image of inner desolation—by a lukewarm bowl of instant coffee. Some Oulipians give a spin to an entire literary genre. Roubaud’s witty “Hortense series” (La Belle Hortense, 1985, translated as Our Beautiful Heroine; L’Enlèvement d’Hortense, 1987, translated as Hortense Is Abducted; L’Exil d’Hortense, 1990, translated as Hortense in Exile), for example, concocts a wacky pastiche of the English detective novel—if “pastiche” is a word indeed wild enough to embrace the perpetually disarming “distancing effects” sustained by the author in this trilogy. The reader is made so aware that he is holding a “detective novel” that the “enigma” becomes less a “plot” than a series of evolving narrative structures. The genuine contents are at several removes from the “suspenseful action.” …

‘The harrowing force of Some Thing Black, of parts of The Great Fire of London and its sequel La Boucle (1993; the title refers to a “loop,” as in the language of computer sciences), indeed derives from remittent failures to get beyond the brute facts of death, to surpass the painful recurrences of memory, to attain consolation, to enter into some sort of communion with his beloved. Nor can any tangible hope long be placed in some other “possible world,” a topic explored in the poetry collection La Pluralite des mondes de Lewis (1991; translated as The Plurality of Worlds of Lewis), a philosophically far-reaching sequel to Some Thing Black. “Each time I think of you,” he laments in The Plurality of Worlds of Lewis, “you cease to be.” The paradox is typically haunting. Roubaud is left alone with “all you never anymore are,” a phrase which, in both the original and Rosmarie Waldrop’s version, gives out a melodious Beckett-like sigh.

‘It is in this confrontation between emotion and constraining form, between a pre-planned literary-mathematical structure and the painful vicissitudes of personal history, that Roubaud’s writings raise so many essential questions. Most of the books written since his wife’s death revolve around phenomena of memory, and in this respect he forges a different model of remembering than that underlying the unavoidable landmark for French (and other) writers in this domain: Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. In contrast to Proust’s notion of memory as expanding from some small, insignificant detail (like a madeleine cookie, of which the author of The Great Fire of London must surely be thinking when he in turn brilliantly describes a fresh croissant), Roubaud conceives recollecting as a sort of “forest” in which branches and twigs of clustered trees overlap and intertwine.’ — John Taylor, Context

 

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Gallery


Georges Perec & Jacques Roubaud


Alix Cléo & Jacques Roubaud


Jacques Roubaud & Jacques Derrida


Pierre Dumayet & Jacques Roubaud


Members of Oulipo, 1975: Italo Calvino, Harry Mathews, Francois de Lionnais, Raymond Queneau, Jean Queval, Claude Berge, Jacques Roubaud, Paul Fournel, Michele Metail, Luc Etienne, Georges Perec, Marcel Benabou, Jacques Duchateau, Jean Lescure

 

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Further

Jacques Roubaud’s Wikipedia page
Some Jacques Roubaud resources
Jacques Roubaud page @ the Oulipo Resource
Jacques Roubaud @ goodreads
‘E’ by Jacques Roubaud
Excerpt from JR’s ‘Exchanges on Light’
M. Kitchell on JR’s ‘Mathematics’ @ HTMLGIANT
Ryan Ruby on JR’s ‘Mathematics’ @ Bookforum
Molly Gaudry on JR’s ‘Some Thing Black’ @ Big Other
Video: Lecture de Poète, filmed by François Sarhan, Paris, 2012
Audio: ‘Dialogue inédit entre Jacques Roubaud et Raymond Queneau’
‘Jacques Roubaud, un poète parisien amoureux de la ligne de bus 29’
‘Qui a peur de Jacques Roubaud?’
JR’s ‘The Great Fire of London’ @ The Complete Review
Book: ‘Jacques Roubaud and the Invention of Memory’
Buy ‘The Loop’ @ Dalkey Archive Press

 

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Extras


INTERVIEW PAR STEPHANE DUGOWSON le 20 mars 2014


Jacques Roubaud: ‘THE STEAMLINER’


Jacques Roubaud reads his poetry (in French)


Les dinosaures de Jacques Roubaud


2019.9.13 Jacques Roubaud, atelier Michael Woolworth, Paris

 

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Interview
from Bomb Magazine

 

What does the title of The Loop mean in terms of the structure of the book, its bifurcations and branches?

Jacques Roubaud: I write every night. I never correct, I never go back—I just go on and on. Everything I speak about is, in a way, linked to the old abandoned project. I want to say something about it, but I digress as soon as I start saying something, because I remember something else that I then begin to explain, and so on. So the structure is a bit meandering. I begin The Loop with a very old childhood image of snow in Carcassonne, where snow is very rare. I’m in my room and it’s very cold outside. At night there’s frost on the windowpane—I write and make pictures on it. So that’s the image: there’s an outer and an inner space, memory and the present. That’s the first image of the book, which at the end, returns to it.

I also thought of this book as extending the invitation in The Great Fire of London that the reader trust that events are true as they unfold in your writing.

JR: And if they’re not true (I make mistakes), at least the events are told truthfully, as I remember them.

There you talk about renku, an endless sequence of haikus—a perpetual form.

JR: The difference between The Loop and the haiku and the renku forms in the The Great Fire of London is that there the writing goes on and on, but it never goes back. In The Loop, my memory changes all the time, but from time to time it also goes back. But when I return to a memory, I do not come back to the same point—the memory has changed.

But the act of writing makes it true, no? You almost establish the past as a continuous present.

JR: Yes, it’s a kind of continuous present, but what’s important is that I speak about things I remember, essentially. However, as I go along, my memory gets worse. Now it’s getting worse very quickly—I don’t know how I’m going to go on. When I started, in 1985, I had forgotten many things, but I had a really good memory of the chronological framework. And for the last three or four years, I’ve been losing that. I phone old friends of mine and ask, for instance, “When were we working in Dijon?” And my friend will answer, “I have completely forgotten and I don’t care to remember at all!” But to know the dates is important because I’m moving chronologically and I have to be sure I’m not remembering things ten years off.

And what have you discovered about memory as you’ve written through it?

JR: When I was trying to write my big project, I read a lot about memory. I studied the school of scientists doing “ecological memory” and also . . . of course, I’ve forgotten the name . . . Ulric Neisser. These people were not interested in neuroscience or in introspection. Instead, they asked a lot of practical questions like, “What is your first memory?” They reflect on the answer and sometimes discover that it’s impossible to have such an early first memory. One scientist, Marjorie Linton, made an experiment that inspired me. She tried to transcribe all the different memories she had, which came to about 8,000. After that, she said, “When I tried to add another one, I found that it would be one I had already written down and remembered a bit differently. That’s when I stopped.”

What did you discover about your own memory?

JR: I tried to recover some very important memories of my childhood. When I found an isolated and condensed memory in my mind, I wrote it down—I discovered very quickly that as soon as I did that, I lost it. I didn’t lose it exactly, but when I tried to find it again, what I found was what I had written. You see, it’s exactly like when you are on the beach and you take a very pretty pebble that’s been in the water and it’s brilliant and then it dries up and there’s a film of salt over it and it’s not beautiful anymore—it’s finished. The gleam of it, the light of it, is gone! As for memories, it’s exactly the same. By working like this I destroy my memory.

So were there any memories you didn’t write down because you were afraid that—

JR: I wanted to destroy my memory, because of some sadness in it. I’m very different from Mr. Marcel Proust, because he wants to recover the past, but the past cannot be recovered.

 

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Book

Jacques Roubaud The Loop
Dalkey Archive Press

‘Seventeen years after the publication of the first volume of Jacques Roubaud’s epic and moving The Great Fire of London, Dalkey Archive Press is proud to publish the first English translation of The Loop, the second novel in Roubaud’s Proustian series, which has in its capacity to astonish been compared to the compositions of Messiaen and the buildings of Antonio Gaudi. Devastated after the death of his young wife, Alix, the author conceives of a project that will allow him not only to continue writing, but continue living—writing a book that leads him to confront his terrible loss as well as examine the lonely world in which he now seems, more and more, to exist: that of Memory. The Loop finds Roubaud returning to his earliest recollections, as well as considering the nature of memory itself, and the process—both merciful and terrible—of forgetting. Neither memoir nor novel, by turns playful and despairing, The Loop is a masterpiece of contemporary prose.’ — Dalkey Archive

 

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Excerpt

During the night, the mist on the window had turned to ice. I see that it was still night, six-thirty, seven o’clock; wintertime, then, and dark outside; no details, only darkness; the windowpane covered with the patterns of the frozen mist; on the lowest pane, on the lefthand side of the window, at eye level, in the light; this light from an electric bulb, yellow against the intense darkness outside, opaque and wintry, clouded by the mist; not a uniform mist, as when it rains, rather an almost transparent frost, forming patterns; a web of translucent patterns, with a certain thickness, the slight thickness of frost, but with variations, and because of these miniscule variations in thickness, the frost formed patterns on the glass, like a vegetal network, an entire system of nerves, a surface vegetation, a cluster of flat ferns; or a flower.

I scratched a fingernail against this snow, this fake snow: neither white nor powdery; nor melting snow, but a kind of fading snow, the dirty snow of springtime lingering on the sidewalks under the boxwood trees; or rather crushed snow, worn down, dusty and colorless, ephemeral; with my fingernail I traced a path on the glass, and the crystallized mist accumulated against my finger, turning to water from the warmth of my finger, quickly disappearing in tiny rivulets and evaporating into a damp coldness on my numb finger; or else I held my palm flat on the glass, and under its pressure the clump of frost became a sheet of glassy ice, so that suddenly the night showed through, almost watchful in its proximity; the whole vegetation of frozen traces, with its imaginary petals, stamens, and corollas, was erased; now it was smooth, like glass on glass: the map of the hand, the sensitive network of its lines, left no imprint. [–> I § 51]

Still using my fingernail, very carefully, I was able to slide these blades of ice over the surface of the glass, toward the bottom, placing them next to one another in polygonal figures, fractured rectangles; the upper half of the windowpane then seemed to be bare for a moment, immediately adjacent to the night, contiguous with this still impenetrable mass, blue and somber; but only for a moment, for it was soon covered in mist: a fine mist, impartial and isolating, this same mist that floated through the air in a cloud, born from respiration; at every moment this breath-turned-mist held the nocturnal exterior at bay; if I rubbed it with my elbow, with my pyjama sleeve, it reappeared immediately. From this thicket of images one could deduce that it was also cold inside the room, perhaps a little less cold than outside, so that the mist would stick to the window, but cold enough for the air to condense these frozen vocables (I see them), as though they had fallen from a silent voice.

But this would mean indulging in a superfluous exercise of deduction, since at the very moment of saying it, before saying it, I know it; my memory knows it, and it does not lie. I do not mean that a memory is, or is not, sincere, but only that, like a dog, it cannot lie (no doubt a lie is only an act of saying, an act of speech, turned outward). It really does appear this way, in this image; and every image is undeniable. Memory, my memory, knows that it was so: It was nighttime, and it was winter; it was cold; cold outside, cold inside the room; I scratched with my fingernail, I let accumulate against my nail the granite of foggy crystals from the mist, I lay my hand against the pane, I pressed it with my face, with my breath. And yet, every line in the story of this memory contains a great many implicit conclusions. And it is here that error, if there is any error, lies in wait for me at every turn. For in memory, in my memory (I am speaking only for myself), there is only seeing. Even touch is “colorless,” anesthetized. I have no other adjectives to identify this apprehension of material things by thought alone, without form or sensuous qualities, as they arise in their grey and pasty conceptual clay (as certain early theories from Antiquity pictured it). In the process of remembering, I do not feel that my finger is cold, nor do I feel the mild and already fading sharpness of the scraped and frozen dust. I know–because it is commonly and universally known that frost exists and that this mode of the physical existence of water is cold–I know, therefore, that the night was cold, and everything that follows from this. And I recall this knowledge based on experience, as one says. But the image that I reconstitute at this moment is numb to this knowledge, it is indifferent.

Writing on glass is like writing on water: regardless of what one tries to inscribe on these surfaces, such writing is also a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of everything. A mythifying fiction has sometimes tried to convert this into its opposite, by inventing a message engraved on eternal glaciers and in the deep polar snow, uniformly protected by its whiteness, a kind of immense graffiti–indeed, preferrably of colossal proportions–and preferrably in an incomprehensible and therefore immortal language, presenting a truth at once indispensible and indecipherable. From the moment one masters the gestures of writing, and probably for some people up until the hand ceases its movement, there is a desire, mixed with anguish, to write words and signs that can be immediately erased: in sand by a wave, in dust by footsteps, under the eraser with a pencil, or from water, rain, time, or tears smudging the ink.

It was winter, most likely a wartime winter: 1938-1939, at the earliest, 1944-1945 at the latest. I could not have been in this room before that, or after. It was toward the end of night, since the mist had frozen. A very cold night, which was a rare phenomenon. It doesn’t freeze much in the Aude region. I try to think of a very cold winter: 1940? 1942? There was at least one very cold winter during that war. It long remained in everyone’s memory, including my own, and was all the more memorable because people did not heat their houses, at least we didn’t. Our bedroom was not heated. If this image is correct, and pure, if it is not distorted or mixed with others, through resemblance, confusion, or mere repetition, if it is indeed the lower pane of the window that I see, then it must be the earliest, the first possible winter. But as soon as one breathes on any image, any memory, it is covered with mist, and reveals itself to be thoroughly imbued with imprecision. Around it is the past which, like the dark night of that winter, is impenetrable.

To the left of the window, I see my bed: this is another image, another moment, or the same? I don’t know. I feel the cube of the room around me, the bed square in the corner against two walls, lengthwise in relation to me, behind my head; a little farther, the door opens, is open (this “around” belongs to vision which, like light, is sometimes able to “turn corners”). Of certain bedrooms, certain beds, I can evoke only a single image that always remains the same, and everything that is not in this image remains hermetically sealed to me. But of this old room I have a multiple but unified vision, assembled like a collage, through the superimposition and then the fusion of numerous separate visions that have since become indiscernible, beginning from a particular point, the one from which “this” is seen, a central point, at the top of the bed, almost in the corner. There is a “top” and a “bottom” of the bed, as if while lying in it one imagined oneself as vertical, the “point” of vision being at the top of the “page.” It is there that, in a letter, one puts the address of the sender. No colors, no, there are no colors. To see gathered together in this way all the other images from this same place, the fingernail on the frost-covered window, the nighttime windowpanes, what the daylight will make visible through the window, all this assumes multiple eyes, innumerable hands. Whoever remembers is at once an Argos, a creature with a hundred eyes, and an octopus, a creature with a hundred arms.

In the cold, my bed was divided into different regions, warm and cold; the intense cold bordered sharply on the warmth; it pinched my ears, my nose. Here, then, is something truly “inevitable,” the very banality of temperature. In the evening one conquers as many territories of the cold as possible, waging battles analogous to a Russian campaign, which provided a strategic model for this game of conquest, renewed night after night (I’m not speaking of the historic one, the disastrous Napoleonic campaign, but of the one that unfolded at the time, and contemporaneously, in the immense bed of the Ukraine, which was unveiled for us every evening on the radio from London, with the “allied” victories confirmed, after a delay, when the radio from occupied Paris announced the new “elastic retreats” of the Germans). The Siberian regions of the three edges, bounded by the vertical sides of the mattress and the covers that were tucked in well underneath it, always remained impervious to comfort; in the morning, the diffuse warmth of the sleeping body had reduced the pockets of resistance, that Stalingrad with its armies of ice.

In that room there were two other beds that I see; on the other side of the window, my sister Denise’s; at the far end (still looking from the same point) my brother Pierre’s, to the left of the door; seen from the door, on the contrary, this layout, which was of parental origin (I mean it was decided by our parents), organized the space of the bedroom according to the age of its occupants (that is, if one grasps this space in the movement of sight, as I am in the habit of doing, and as if the flat surface of the world, and not only that of the bed, had become vertical, it too like a page: from left to right, and from top to bottom). It seems to me that the spartan light did indeed come from a naked bulb on the ceiling; just about all the rest has disappeared.

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** Mint ice, Oh, hello. That restaurant looks pretty enticing. I’ll check it out. ** David Ehrenstein, Well, at long last, awesome, really great news! Huge congratulations to you and to them! I love Melba Toast. Does Melba Toast still exist? ** Bill, Hi. Exactly. Yury always immediately updates, and more than once he has then spent days trying to de-update. I’m not a huge Kentridge fan, but I’ll seek documentation and give it a shot. Thanks! Le Grice isn’t dry, David’s just being David-y. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Yeah, well, there you go as evidence of the ridiculous negligence  of experimental cinema when even the UK’s reigning maestro of the genre is obscured. Cool, I hope they spring for screening his stuff. ** Nik, Howdy, Nik! Nah, pure coincidence that I seem to be into zoetropes at the moment, I mean in the sense that, no, no relationship to our film. Just one of those fascination jags that happen. I’m using the vacation from TV script work to try to finish my new GIF novel and getting seriously into seeking out possible funding situations for our new film mostly. Awesome that Fence is proving to be as fruitful as one imagines it would be. Oh, UAlbany dropped them? Strange but that sounds like a plus. Yeah, that sounds great. Very different, more open/experimenting seeming zine than Conjunctions is, so I can imagine. Owen Land, yes? Have I done a post on him? Maybe, I can’t remember. I’ll look. I will if I haven’t. Strange and amusing and kind of great in a weird way films. Nice combo, him and Frampton. I’m happy to hear you trekked out to see that. Bon day, bud. ** Steve Erickson, That is a real shame about Studio Daily. I look at it frequently, and it has helped with my post making. Damn. So sorry to hear that for your sake too. Ugh. ** Okay. Today DC’s spotlights one of the great books by the great writer Jacques Roubaud, whom I hope at least some of you have read in your journeys. If not, here’s an intro and an excellent place in his work to start. See you tomorrow.

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