I read a good piece of writing yesterday, from Liam Gillick’s Literally No Place. Ostensibly it’s a series of related narratives from related perspectives, but certain markers indicate to me that the main space it creates is the space of the text.

The story itself is less available then the impression of a story being told – the narrator (called a “revisitor”) tells things happening rather than showing them. “Our focus is clearly on one of the two young boys”; “You have an idea of two people who are brought up apart but under the same cultural conditions”. Explicit ambiguities are developed: what begins as “a stolen dagger” broadens into “a stolen dagger, or rope, or some piping or just chapped fists”. The effect is to distance the story from the surface of the text, making room for occasional summaries of intent that sound ironic in their sweeping clarity: “Celebrated death wrapped by mediated life, punctured by juvenile exchange”.

What I like about this mode of narrative is the possibility for investing in some scenario without claiming it is exhaustive. I want to be able to write the various nodes of theory I have been putting together, and move between them without staying inside any single proposition. Today I’m working on trying to hold the writing I’m doing to some fairly blank physical object, like a table, and use that for a ground upon which theory can move and act.

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