And the thing about the animal is that it can be domesticated, becoming animal = becoming farmed. The commodity fetish of biomechanical reproductive force as sexuality. As the theme of the night is often present in the texts of poets like Ronsard and Musset. Like “I borrow the flute rhythm peace herds / And all day sitting in the shade of your tetrachord / I knit you a song, and you did not hear me.” “So you stripped the pink flamingo grace and sinuous elegance of the civilizing enterprise.” “... We played drowned, do you remember?” “A precise mechanics and without respite, until the end of time.” Nah sithi, thuzzer booergy-mister mouchin un botherin awl oer place — unnits booergy-mister uh kommunism. Allt gaffers errawl Ewerup’s gorrawl churchified t’ booitit aht: thuzimmint’ vatty unt king unawl, unner jerry, unner frog unt’ froggy bothermekkers, unt jerry plain cloouz bobbiz. And everyone was also defending some abstract territory. Of course, “The history of the philosophy of the tragic is itself not free from the tragic. It resembles the flight of Icarus. The closer thought comes to the general concept, the less that the substantial, the source of thought’s uplift, adheres to it. Reaching the height of insight into the structure of the tragic, thought collapses, powerless. At the point where a philosophy, as a philosophy of the tragic, becomes more than the knowledge of the dialectic around which its fundamental concepts assemble, at the point where such a philosophy no longer determines its own tragic outcome, it is no longer philosophy.” This is what we knew long ago, when we were animists, and seem to want to know again — our world is chock-a-block with selves. Animation shudders through the universe. It is the principle of life and life is a quality held not just by those who can name it. Nature is animate: animals chatter, leaves give out signals, petals recoil, crystals reproduce. Even inorganic matter is animate, if not alive, though it was surely, once upon a time, the kick-start ingredient of life. Animated beings are everywhere. They are manifest in the iridescent sheen of silicate minerals, in the polycarbonate plastic of a CD, in the super-glossy reflection of a chrome drum set. They are there in the jerky dots and lines of live-streamed TV programmes, or in the movement of organic light-emitting diodes on a touch screen. It has all been about animation all along, animation in the expanded field. Felix is a cat with a peculiarly animate tail, which detaches and leads a life of its own — including in some of Mark Leckey’s artworks, such as the 16mm film Flix and the silkscreen print Tailchair. It also has a capacity for language, as it curls into exclamation marks and question marks. When Felix the Cat provided the first TV test image, he arrived on screens dotted across New York, measuring five centimetres high and composed of fat grey lines. Miniaturised, flattened, dis- and reassembled, Felix greets us from the other side. I sent him photos of trains barreling through town, snapped with my phone while I waited at the crossing on my way to campus: “today’s train,” “today’s train,” the texts read. Meaning: it’s damn lonely here. “Do not go into this soft May farmscape, Felix, the lilacs bowing with their lavender burden, and expect to feel no pain.” E.g., we get the following passage as part of a unit on adjectives: It was a dark and stormy night, and poor, old, tired Fedonia Krump slowly made her lonely way up the steep, icy hill. The whistling wind seemed to blow through her frail body. Her thin, dirty hair peeked from beneath the tattered kerchief she always wore, and her leathery, wrinkled, claw-like hands clutched her thin, torn, buttonless coat around her. Her shuffling steps quickened as she reached the cozy, warm Chinese restaurant, and a radiant smile brightened her face as she felt the weak tea hit her empty stomach. Fedonia’s story takes a seriously grim turn, as the next time we see her, she awakes in no small measure of trouble: “When Fedonia Krump regained consciousness she found herself stuck in a snowbank.” In a subsequent unit on appropriate pronouns, we learn that Fedonia and some unnamed first person keep an odd hobby: Fedonia and (myself I) raise mushrooms in the basement. Elsewhere, we get a clue as to who this other person might be: After he ate the funny mushroom, Alphonse turned green, lavender, and orange. You had to be there (unless it sucked). Here I am, knees a-twitching, on the phone with my landlord. During the conversation I am working very hard to try to remember the dream I had last night. Something that gave me a crick way down inside of my shoulder that just gets worse the harder I try to remember. So I just sit here with my ear pressed into an extra-terrestrial, listening to “Kabbalnacht: First Tritone Lecture”: The Tritones are arranged in four measures and constitute the Twelve Black Holes of Wisdom, which hath for their root and crown the Ineffable (K). Above (k) is O. Above O is ( ). The twelve Tritones form the Illumasonic Tree of Sorrow. Or none of this is true, but we remain sad. A Chevy blazer playing Eminem passes the Apple store on 14th St. Did you see that email? That Apple store in Chelsea services the hundreds of small galleries running Mac minis looped into LCD screens. It’s a Clinton boom era throwback economy. Andrew tells me Britney’s breakdown in 2007 had a big emotional impact on him. He had the same feeling the first time seeing Gilberte as a child, in front of a hedge of pink hawthorne, beside the steep little lane that led up to the Méséglise way. How do you “make it new” if it happens to be a carcass, literally? Only then does he use formaldehyde. There’s no field of sense that can be quilted. (I don’t really know what that’s supposed to mean.) We are here, that is, to protect each other. Have we finally found a groove, you and I? Swim butter sway, split level reptile, heebie-jeebie rucksack. I like to smell stones.
[Note: Sources: Enda DeBurca, FB comment, 2 Jan 014; JBR; Leopold Sedar Senghor, quoted in Adama Ndao, “Study Nocturnes (1961) Leopold Sedar Senghor” (tr. Google), at Lire un livre plaisir, 25 Apr 08; Steve McCaffery, “THE KOMMUNIST MANIFESTO or WOT WE WUKKERZ WANT Bi Charley Marx un Fred Engels” (“Redacted un traduced intuht’ dialect uht’ west riding er yorkshuh bi Steve McCaffery, eh son of that shire. Transcribed in Calgary 25 Nov. – 3 Dec. 1977 un dedicated entirely to Messoors Robert Filliou & George Brecht uv ooz original idea this is a reullizayshun.”); JBR; Alice Notley, quoted in “Stephanie Anderson With Alice Notley”, at The Conversant, Jan 014; JBR; Peter Szondi, quoted in Jacob Bard-Rosenberg, FB post, 2 Jan 014; Esther Leslie, “Mark Leckey’s Anima Mundi”, at Afterall 33; Laura Donnelly, and Patricia Hampl, quoted in Donnelly’s “Spillville by Patricia Hampl and Steven Sorman”, at Octopus 16; JBR; Diego Báez, and Sally Foster Wallace, quoted in Báez’s “Practically Painless English, by Sally Foster Wallace”, at Octopus 16; Del Ray Cross, “mmlviii”, at Anachronizms, 2 Jan 014; JBR; Christian Peet, “Kabbalnacht”, at Everyday Genius, 2 Jan 014; Ben Fama, “Sunset”, at Boston Review, 4 Oct 013; Robyn Schiff, and Mary Hickman, “Still Life with Rayfish”, quoted in “Poet’s Sampler”, at Boston Review, 11 Jan 013; Anne Tardos, “Lacan Says: Nine 64”, “So Quiet: Nine 65”, “Don’t Blame Me: Nine 67”, at Talisman 42; Mary Ruefle, “Literal”, at Boston Review, 1 Apr 013]