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Stay perfectly still.
Let the animals keep watch, and let them watch one another. In movements of tail and ear and flinches of pelt let them steadily project between them the quality of risk in the air. Let them instruct by example, twitch provoking twitch, flight provoking flight.
Move slowly and maintain a loose hold of its limbs, and you can pose the body of a sleeping animal so it appears to be awake. With minutely thin supports you can prop its eyelids open and stare it into the forest blind. Stay down, let it dream. Let the dream direct the movement of its eyes.
Let the animals around believe the life of its sleeping eyes and incorporate its gaze into their watch. Let them project the twitches of sleep out onto the forest floor and flee the dislocated threats they seem to show. Let this go on.
Once, and by chance, let their pattern of flight perfectly correspond with the spectacle behind the sleeping eyes which, in a jolt of recognition, conceal even from the sleeper the instant of its waking. Let the animals continue to dart
as it follows them follow its stare.
Peter Schwenger in Words and the Murder of the Thing :
“In the satirical hodgepodge that is book three of Gulliver’s Travels, the prize exhibit is undoubtedly the Academy of Lagado. Among its improbable schemes is one designed to avoid the “Diminution of Our Lungs by Corrosion”; as well, this scheme would achieve communicative precision and provide an infallible esperanto. It consists simply in abolishing all words and replacing them with their referents:
‘Since Words are only Names for Things, it would be more convenient for all Men to carry about them, such Things as were necessary to express the particular Business they are to discourse on [...] which hath only this Inconvenience attending to it; that if a Man’s Business be very great, and of various Kinds, he must be obliged in Proportion to carry a greater Bundle of Things upon his Back, unless he can afford one or two strong Servants to attend him.’ Read the rest of this entry »
On Saturday I presented a new work at the Stanley Picker gallery during the Writing Exhibitions symposium. Here’s an outline of my work, which I called Genuine Smiles:
A sheet of paper is attached to one wall of the gallery, and attached just below it is a long piece of string with a sharpened pencil fixed to the other end. Visitors are invited to hold a pencil and do whatever they need to do to muster a genuine smile. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently I painted some things red.
It began because I wanted there to be more colour around, and so I said I want to paint things. I’d meant I wanted to paint pictures of things, so I could put them on the walls and brighten the room up a bit, but then I noticed the very good ambiguity of the words. You can paint an apple and end up with a picture of an apple, or you can paint an apple and end up with an apple covered in paint.
Either way what you end up with is out of real-world circulation. An apple in a picture is separate from the world because it’s a representation of an apple; an apple painted red is separated from the world because it doesn’t work as a real-world apple any more. Read the rest of this entry »
My mother was reading some of the posts I wrote last month and drew this. I think it’s exactly right. You can’t lift yourself up off the floor by your bootstraps; you can’t be inside and outside your practice at the same time; you can’t be asleep and awake at once. I might like to spend some time in the summer trying to hold myself up by my bootstraps, and see which muscles it makes hurt.
This is part of the accretions text I’m working on. Today I’m trying to equate it to the relationship between question and answer, and the relationship between the manufacturing process of a utensil and the process of using it once it’s complete.
That the completeness of sleep would dislodge the sleeper from the sad substance of its body, leaving the body lucidly present in the waking world to be posed without consent to brutal ends. It is that with minute delicacy the body of the sleeping animal might be posed to appear awake. That even its sleeping eyelids might be propped open on invisibly thin supports to stare blindly at the world, in complete oblivion appearing to reciprocate. That while no sound is made without and no jolt within, it might continue to people its sleeping world with dreams that tumble and sprawl, and with its silent eyeballs superimpose their moves among the watchers. It is that the watchers might follow the patterns of breath and blood beneath its fur to trust its dislocated imagination and commune approximately with its dreams on the forest floor.