Everything up in the air. A certainty of uncertainty. The only thing to do is to do. Not to be, only to do. To not be. Born to not. Nêtre, neverything. In Autoportrait Edouard Levé said that in his writing he often uses the word ‘beaucoup’ (too much) but that he then crosses it off.1 To do and not do lists. Undo is undone. The doing of not being. Maybe this surfeit scheme describes the ‘I’ that does, that writes. A one always in excess of oneself, a one too-much. A profusion which quickly becomes aware of the need to temper. Let the ‘i’ down the lowercase path. Sprinkle a bit of negation to everything. Necessarily present, but better out of the way, sidelined, stricken. In the Appendix Project Kate Zambreno pinpoints the reverberation of this ouroboros contortion, ‘always this tension between a desire for invisibility and worrying over our own ghostliness.’2 Radars do not capture the flight of ghosts. Not even barely registering, blipless, beyond or below range.
There is a lot of room to get lost in in the paratactic. Get lost, both senses. Stop segues, sequiturs. The reader does the tracing and the filling, lets loose on the page. Subordination no more, Proustless. A horizon of clauses. A series, a list, and not just that, often mere propositions, they are only just hanging on to semblance. A clause barrage as onslaught but also as barrier. War languages our daily lives. Weak Knees. Text with all assertive verbs removed and replaced with other verbs less sure of themselves. The text hinges heavily on word play, on what lies right in front of you. Groaner tactics. Start with the premises, home basis. The threads are both loose and oh so obtrusive. Akin to everyday to and fros, synaptic frenzies. How we move about in the world. Synoptic lives we lead, but rarely precise, always messy. Some slow, others abbreviated. Either way, we never get it all done, we hope that tomorrow we can continue. Running parallel to Roman Opalka’s tracks.3 The aim here is to wind whirl with skip in order to get at a neverything. A move not dissimilar to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. ‘The ordinary is a thing that has to be imagined and inhabited. It’s also a sensory connection. A jump.’4 Kathleen Stewart tracks the jumpcut. Reption. Repetition without repetition. Difernc. Difference disarticulated.
Bouchetrou. Stuff the blank mouth. Mouth dossier. Shutmouths. Particulates. Portraits of knees and heels, elbows and toes. Tell all soma spots. Pressure points where our stories bend. Besides The Point. The things at either side of the one you are searching for. Pitter. Pit one armpit against the other. Nailer. Ask people coming over to bring a nail. Hope for a good mix of finger, toe, metal. File them away.
Four Thirty-Three. Make the default duration of silence longer. 4 hours and 33 minutes, 4 weeks and 33 days, 4 months and 33 weeks, 4 years and 33 months, 4 decades and 33 years, 4 centuries and 33 years, 4 millennia and 33 centuries, 4 eons and 33 epochs. Three Rooms Rhumba. One room screeches ‘YES’, another blasts ‘NO’, the one inbetween whispers ‘MAYBE’. Stereophonies. Be literal about ‘Chewing the Fat’ and ‘Shooting the Breeze’ at the same time. Be literal about ‘To Go Through The Roof’ and ‘To Make My Blood Boil’ at the same time.
Mileage. Exhibition where everything must be moved one inch in the same direction per hour. Onto. Artworks can only be seen or heard if public is there to hold it up, plug it in, turn it on. Neither Either. Art by people not yet making art alongside art by people no longer making art. Beafter. Before and After. Afterfore.
I Can’t Stand It (Square Foot Living). Rent just enough space for you to stand in. The higher the rent the shorter the stay. Inserts (Square Foot Show). Occupy a square foot in every major art institution in the world (sanctioned or unsanctioned) (demarcated or unmarked) (temporary or permanent). Start a Biennale titled Once In A Lifetime.
Standing Under Mis. Moments of misunderstanding that might befall you. Tait Toit. Hand over mouth and over head. The Quiet in the Land. Scream inside luxury rental cars. Film from the outside. Foe friend. ‘You and I’ by Rick James and Martin Buber. Dance to the book and stare at the song. Dot Dash Kafka. The Metamorphosis in Morse Code. Twister. Sound work with only low frequencies played back only on tweeters. Woof Woofer. Sound of dogs in sub-woofers. Soundcheck. Cheque made out to Sound for 0 db. Laugh all the way to the bank.
Eraser. Q. What do you have to say? A. What I have to say is the sum of all that has been said so far and all that will be said after I finish what I am saying now. Titler. Write an untitled text on the importance of titles. Mouthscapes. Every book is a failure to open the mouth. Every mouth is a failure to open the book. You can have it both ways. Rerase. Q. What has impacted you the most thus far? A. Everything that has been said up until now and everything that will be said after I finish.
Christof Migone lives in Toronto and teaches at Western University in London, Ontario. A book compiling his writings on sound art, Sonic Somatic: Performances of the Unsound Body was published in 2012 by Errant Bodies Press. He is currently curating You And I Are Water Earth Fire Air Of Life And Death, a 12-year long project. He runs Squint Press, a small press with a sonic bent.
1 Edouard Levé, Autoportrait, trans. Lorin Stein (London: Dalkey Archive Press, 2012 , 55). The word ‘beaucoup’ is left untranslated. Parts of this text have an affinity with another Levé book, Works, which consists entirely of a list of ideas that were ‘conceived but not brought into being’ (trans. Jan Steyn, London: Dalkey Archive Press, 2014 ). The ideas are numbered, and they total 533; e.g. #513: ‘A website shows the architectural plans of an embassy for extraterrestials.’
2 Kate Zambreno, Appendix Project (South Pasadena: Semiotext(e), 2019, 53).
3 Roman Opalka would never finish a painting without having a new one of his life-long number series started. Each painting being a detail of the overarching serial titled 1 – ∞, ‘I want to avoid the risk of having my death finish the oeuvre […] on a completed Detail which would mean the failure of having the finished defined by the unfinished.’ Roman Opalka, Opalka 1965 /1 – ∞ (Paris: La Hune/Flammarion, 1992, 42). Translation mine.
4 Kathleen Stewart, Ordinary Affects (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007, 127).