“Obsessed with buffering”
How I Learned to Clench My Fists
Recessional—Or, the Time of the Hammer
I was initially slightly sceptical of the ramifications and undertones of Renzo Martens’ project in central Congo…
“This text was written at the end of 1962, after my return from Algeria. For me the text is the matrix for Tombeau pour cinq cent mille soldats.” P.G.
Externalized memory had always proceeded by contractions, summaries, reductions, selections, breaks in flow, as well as by organization, classification, boiling down. Card catalogues reduced thousands of works to a few key notions; tables of contents contracted the hundreds of pages in a given book. The sign itself was the first abbreviation of experience. An epic stitched of words was an abbreviation of the war, the long years of which were reduced to a few nights of recitation; the written text that recorded the epic was a contraction of the oral narration which pushed aside its sensory richness, melody, life in a thousand details. In accumulating, every level of abbreviation reconstituted an infinite flow, a new dilation that would be contracted in its turn. From the plurality of pages to the index and the table of contents; from the plurality of books to card catalogues.
The abbreviated elements were further arranged, situated...
I said “Would you like a rope? You know that haul you have is not secured properly.”
“No,” he said, “but I see you have string!”
“If this comes into motion—” I said, “you should use a rope.”
“Any poison ivy on that? ” he asked me, and I told him my rope had been in the barn peacefully for years.
He took a length of it to the bedside table. He had no concept for what wood could endure.
“Table must have broken when I lashed it onto the truck,” he said.
And, when he was moving the sewing machine, he let the cast iron wheels—bang, bang on the stair.
I had settled down to pack up the ﬂamingo cookie jar, the cutlery, and the cookware, but stopped brieﬂy, for how many times do you catch sudden sight of something heartfelt?
I saw our milk cows in their slow...
We recklessly count on ethics coming from somewhere other than a practice only offered by party politics or activism, from which the majority population excludes itself. The panic invocation of Christian values shows the extent of the dilemma here: please come up with something, anything, that will make people behave responsibly, no mater how obviously illusory it is! But the drift into religious or ideological morality only veils a truth that any theatre performance could tell us: there is no responsible audience. There is no responsibility without a concrete opportunity to formulate an answer whose effects have the status of acknowledged consequences. There is no responsibility-bearing demos without participation in political action.
With Bely, a continuum is continuously produced between visceral organic states, political states of society and meteorological states of the world.
“So many egoists call themselves artists,” Rimbaud wrote to Paul Demeny on May 15, 1871. Even though that is not always obvious, ‘I’, the first person, is the most unknown person, a mystery that is constantly moving towards the other two, the second and third persons, a series of unfoldings and smatterings that eventually gelled as ‘Je est un autre’. That is why ‘apocryphal’ is a literarily irrelevant concept and ‘pseudo’ a symptom, the very proof that life, writing, is made up of echoes, which means that intrusions and thefts (Borges also discusses them) will always be the daily bread of those who write.
Words from others, words taken out of place and mutilated: here are the alms of time, that squanderer’s sole kindness. And so many others, mostly others who wrote, and many other pages, all of them apocryphal, all of them echoes, reflections. All this flows together into—two centuries...