Popping not propping; quite possibly on propane ....

Along with the poet Novalis, who died much too young, I am of the opinion that the sciences belong to the poetized and that they should be handled musically, because musical relations appear to be the 'fundamental relations of Nature'. But, I do not share with Novalis the despairing search for the absolute in all things. I try to substitute this search with a method of fortuitous finds …
(Siegfried Zielinski)

Discovery and possibilities. The possibilities in discovery. The very discovery as a possibility in itself. Not one that looks for something, but stumbles upon, perhaps blindly—stumbling around in the dark—but in that blind moment, quite possibly also seeing.

Groping, reaching about, with a smile on one's face.

A scientist who might bring a wry, dry, smile to Nietzsche.
This is a scientist who tests everything, including the test itself; to whom every answer is a position, a positing, a momentary pause at best; to whom every answer always already carries in it a question.

But just because this scientist tests everything does not mean that (s)he closes off, excludes. On the contrary. (S)he tests everything to test possibilities, to test the possibility of relations, relationalities, to attend to the echoes between things, persons, ideas.

A scientist that listens out for thoughts calling out to each other.
Where (s)he has to be attentive, attune herself, open her registers to possibilities that have yet to be heard.
Who ever knew that you could hand ground pigments to make paint? Until it was done; until the possibility was tested—until the test opened the possibility.
Who ever said that it would be easy?



Opening possibility by listening to the possibility of music.

And whenever we hear of poetry, Plato's warning of its danger is never far away. After all, at its highest levels, poetry echoes the whispers of the daemon, potentially rendering all our defences— reason, rationality—against the onslaught of pathos useless; perhaps leading one away from being a good person. But who ever said that embarking on a journey, uncovering, unveiling, was safe. One might well find out that one does not like what one finds. Just like Pandora. Even gifted ones aren't immune from the inherent dangers in gifts.

And when we speak of gifts, the echo of data is never far away.

For, we must tune our registers to the note of datum (thing given) that resounds in data. Specifically, a giving where the parties involved are of an unequal standing: hence, there is no expected, or even possible, reciprocation of this gift. This is opposed to munus (ritualised gift), where exchange is the order of the day. Since a datum is unexchangeable, this suggests that it can also be objectless: thus, the gift is in the giving. And it is this aspect of the gift that Marcel Mauss, Georges Bataille, and Jacques Derrida, focus on when they explicate their notions of a pure gift. And if the giving is the gift, one can argue that the manner in which it is received is equally important. For, even if the giving is more important than what is given, it is only a gift when recognised: its very status depends on the response. This suggests that what truly matters is time itself: what is sacrificed is the time taken to both give, and receive.

The time taken to see. To look. To let oneself be open to the work. To respond to the call of the work.

The time taken to recognise the possibility of the work as gift.

By coming together.
Keeping in mind Lucretius' conception of communication where atoms from both, all, parties touch in the skin in-between. A communion; where communication is the emergent property of this collision. Unknown till it happens; perhaps always already unknowable even after it happens—if anything even happens.



Which opens up another question:
Why write on a collective—a coming together—that foregrounds the difficulty, the impossibility, of knowing? A cooperative that openly admits that it knows not, cannot know of, what it does?

Because they are my friends;
accepting all accusations of biasness. There is no reason, no grund, for friendship. One is or one isn't.
I choose to be. This is my position.

Not that it comes without risk.
For, as Jacques Derrida warns us, "to have a friend, to look at him, to follow him with your eyes, to admire him in friendship, is to know in a more intense way, already injured, always insistent, and more and more unforgettable, that one of the two of you will inevitably see the other die."

To write. To scribble. Scribere. To tear.
Which can also bring one to tears.


After the one who was born of a cut was cut down, Mark Antony pleaded with the crowd to "lend me your ears." One could easily claim that this was a performative moment, a politician playing the polis, positioning himself in line for the throne, manoeuvring ahead of the well-loved Brutus, enacting a cut of his own as it were.

But it was also a call to slow down, pause. A plea for time. That even though "Brutus is an honourable man", and "I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke", "you all did love him once, not without cause: / what cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?" A plea not to cut themselves off from Caesar. A plea to cease for Caesar.

"My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar / And I must pause till it come back to me."

I'd like to think that in another translation, he would have said: perhaps I can't tell blue skies from paint. Nor the green fields, from a cold still rail. But how I wish, how I wish you were here.


To tear. To open. To cry out.

Never forgetting Nietzsche's reminder that to write (schreiben) is to scream (schreien).
Nietzsche: the quietest of men.
The one who cried when he saw a horse whipped.

Sometimes, unbeknownst to us, events write themselves into us. And as they writhe around in us, quite possibly wound us, they find their way through us onto a script—inscribed in us, we are their scribes.

"The painting is only the witness who saw what happened." (Yves Klein)

Like the Cheshire Cat; whose smile remains even after all else is gone.



Jeremy Fernando
15 March, 2012




< Back