(untitled performance), a lexicon of false starts and failed advances


Published in Errant Bodies Press, 2001. A revised version appears in the Sonic Somatic book.



Fig. 1 Adrian Piper, “Catalysis IV” in Out of Order, Out of Sight Volume I, 43. Used by permission.


Fig. 2 unidentified woman in Marina Abramovic, Cleaning the House, unpaginated. Caption reads: “Medium, producing ectoplasm during spiritual séance, England, turn of the century.” Used by permission.


Fig. 3 Hanna Wilke, “Intra-Venus Series No. 2 December 27, 1991” in Intra Venus, 20. Copyright 2000 Donald Goddard. Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.


Fig. 4 Tatsuo Miyajima, “untitled” in Big Time, 15. In a Tokyo intersection, 1981, “the artist performed a loud scream.” Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine.

Oral Arrhythmia — ectoplasmic bites and kisses — Inarticulations — Anagrammatology — Stutters and Squints — The Collective Arid Stutter — dampness, much — bracketed performances — Insurgent Ventriloquy — utter, mutter, splutter, stutter — beath correspondances — index finger in cut throat — Portage around enemies — Running and Screaming with Interruption — The Release Into Motion Seated

Head in hands. Nothing else.
Face invisible. Dim spot.
Speech hesitant.
Mike for audibility.
(Samuel Beckett) 1

frozen speech Mouth agape, but gap cannot be seen because mouth is full, filled to overflowing, stuffed with towel, attempt to dry mouth out, to muffle speech, to suffocate breath, to starve out. This Piper, at the particular instant of Catalysis IV, is mute and muted (Fig. 1). She is dehydrated, on a bus, catalyzing, precipitating, like a chemistry experiment whose query rewinds and fast forwards Rosa Parks all over us. Again, regain. She reverses George Brecht’s “Three Aqueous Events:” ice, water, steam.2 She’s steam, water, ice. Dry ice. Mad ice. She towels dry her liquid state, or at least keeps it contained. She’s either cornered ice or steam for spirit, neither of them leak. The ice might be dry but its surface remains resolutely slippery. What is the surface here? This is the surface here, your eyes surface at this text, as if emerging out from underwater, this text is the melting point, the drowning line, where air is suffocated by water, and water evaporates into what later pours. You are reading via the aqueous humor, fluid filled chamber of your eye. In this reading, you are an event navigating all three states. Like Artaud, Piper’s “a wave which hesitates between gas and water.”3 She’s hesitant water. She’s water. And she’s torrential. We drown dry.

Stutter, between fluidities, stuck in an arid zone.

ectoplasm a turn of the century picture of a medium producing ectoplasm resembles strinkingly the Piper of Catalysis IV (Fig. 2). Ectoplasm, definition 1: the outer layer of the cytoplasm of a cell; definition 2: the vaporous, luminous substance believed by spiritualists to emanate from a medium in a trance, or from an object undergoing telekinesis. Piper as vapor, as outer layer, as median between.

Stutter, the somatic interruption.

french kiss French kiss, an entwine of two mouths, Roland Barthes tongues Raoul Vaneigem: “It is derisory to want to contest our society without ever thinking of the limits of the language by which we pretend to contest: it is desiring to destroy the wolf by comfortably inhabiting its mouth,” 4. Raoul’s aroused response, “People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraint, have a corpse in their mouths.”5 Jacques Lacan in his “Impromptu at Vincennes,” December 3, 1969 joins the (ch)oral tryst: “A society is not something that can be defined just like that. What I am attempting to articulate, because analysis gives me the evidence, is what dominates it — to wit: the practice of language.”6 One is thus confronted by the all too familiar quandary, how to mount a resistance to the normative strictures of language by way of language? How does one ensure substantial societal change if the same language is our only means to articulate it?

Another J.L., this one with Austin as surname, in his essay “Pretending” offers, by way of his inimitable flair for humorous illustrative examples, yet another instance of language’s implications on the somatic. On a festive occasion you are ordered, for a forfeit, to pretend to be a hyena: going down on all fours, you make a few essays at hideous laughter and finally bite my calf, taking, with a touch of realism possibly exceedingly your hopes, a fair-sized piece right out of it. Beyond question you have gone too far. Try to plead that you were only pretending, and I shall advert forcibly to the state of my calf—not much pretence about that, is there? There are limits, old sport.7

When language becomes carnivorous (or lascivious as in Piper’s Phillip Zohn Catalysis: “what does it mean when a dog tries to fuck your knee”)8 one can no longer posit words as containable utterances, the portion of them which remains unassimilable is the wedge that concerns us here. This excess, this noise offers the potential to envision—or rather, to audition— a mode of action which resists the dried out, hollow rendering of both language and society. A constant reminder of the corporeality of language, of its materiality is the running theme of this text. It is a persistence which would add ‘[we speak][but the language isn’t ours]’ to the following list by Group Material:[we get up in the morning][but the morning isn’t ours][we get ready for work][but the work isn’t ours][we got to the workplace][but the workplace isn’t ours][we work all day][but the day isn’t ours][we produce a lot of wealth][but the wealth isn’t ours][we get paid some money][but the money isn’t ours][we go back home][but the home isn’t ours][we would like to be social][but society isn’t ours].9

brackets2 this time in Rainer: (Artist as Exemplary Sufferer) (Artist as Self-Absorbed Individualist) (Artist as Changer of the Subject) (Artist as Medium) (Artist as Ventriloquist) (Artist as Failed Primitive) (Artist as Failed Intellectual) Artist as Transcendental Ego (Artist as Misfit).10

brackets3 How shall one read the sole bracketless artist in Rainer? Has the Transcendental Ego with shed brackets undone its mediation and alienation? In her moments as a discotheque dancer for hire, Piper is bracketed by a cage wherein she dances herself away: “I see nothing, and in a sense hear nothing because I have become music.”11 Dancing in a glass cage in front of a mirror, echoing 1971’s Food for the Spirit where Piper “would have to […] go to my mirror and peer at myself to make sure I was still there.”12 What precedes her musical dissolve? A dissolve where, like Anna O., her senses are under contracture, a sembling shut down, but really an opening, a merging —Celan’s “dementedly open pore,”13 corporeal, corporeal. Again, what conditions make her musical dissolve possible? “Danny, the manager, has nicely requested that I stop looking as though I was meditating on the tripartite division of the soul while dancing.”14 The nice enemy demands presence—ie. that the object’s space-time remain in the here and now. There is something about Piper’s dissolve that is a resolve, a dancing that instills (with a stress on the arresting power of the ‘still’) a certain power to objecthood. In the words of Marx, “one may recall that China and the tables began to dance when the rest of the world appeared to be standing still —pour encourager les autres.”15 Furthermore, the editorial note (*) to this dancing footnote by Marx remarks that, this encouragement occurs in a post-(failed) revolutionary moment in which a revolt in China coincides with a rise of spiritualism—read: the return performance of the ectoplasm—in Germany.

China cipher Geographical stutter. The History of China according to Pascal, “I believe only the histories whose witnesses get their throats cut.”16 Ref. in Althusser’s discussion of the Rajk affair in the Letter to Jean Lacroix: “(these witnesses are, if not cutting their own throats, at least putting themselves in the dock).”17 Pascal further in that Pensée refers to a dynamic between obscurity and clarity. Throat, dark voice behind the mouth, hidden and imbedded in the act of witnessing—for the witness must testify, in French both are inextricable —témoin, témoignage. Repeatability of truth is the promise of the witness (Derrida on Blanchot in Demeure).18 Cut throats cut the possibility of repetition, at least of a repetition without difference. Truth is cut as it occurs. It remains, a kind of cancer. It remains, Hannah Wilke’s tumefied neck and her astounding smile (Fig.3). It remains, but is never the same. Cut Throat Sun trajectory: Apollinaire in Alcools (soleil cou coupé), Césaire in 1947, Jean-Luc Nancy’s “Born in the mistake of the Occident thinking it had found the Orient” leading to “All this doesn’t mean very much. It can only open on the undefined, multiple, radiating, reticulated, and broken track of mestizaje, of metissage, of the cutting, of the uncountable cuttings.”19 China is the end destination, the destination of the end, once you go past, you’re on your way back, it’s both the point of return and of no return. That is the spectral China imposed on its geography. But The Sun rises in the East only if you are in the West. Or, In the East, the Sun rises further East. In other words, as Glissant states, “The Occident is not in the West. It is not a location, but a project.”20

Still dancing Dancing still, embodied music, to become music, to insert yourself between the notes, to play the notes as you hear them. Physiologically, our hearing is doubled, our ears hear and so does our body. This second hearing, via bone induction, is “the foundation of the first, an inarticulate moan.”21 An inarticulate bass track perhaps, but replete with differentiation, where its intelligibility is embodied. It is the indicator on the space-time matrix, that space between words, letters, notes. Space where staccato fucks with legato. The becoming-music of the dancer is, like Mackey’s “ythmic,” a shortcut, a skip to the ectoplasmic.22 By ectoplasmic I am referring to the foreigness which is active from the inside, like Cixous in “my German mother in the mouth, in the larynx, rhythms me.”23 Like Proust via Deleuze, “the beautiful books are written in a sort of foreign language.”24 Like Deleuze and Guattari on Ghérasim Luca “Stammer language, be a foreigner in one’s own tongue.”25 These intimate strangers must be read as the agents that might be able to reanimate the corpse which is lodged in the mouth, outfang the wolf, and take a bigger bite of the ankle. Literature, once fully armed, would have the power to, as Barthes formulates, “escape the tyranny of meaning.”26 But only insofar as it is able to undertake an activity that sidesteps signification. Barthes’ desire to escape meaning is tied to his premise that “discourse is not communication, as is oft repeated, it is subjection.”27 Literature, subject in the court of language, performs like a court jester; it is able to “cheat with language, and cheat language.”28 Literature operates by distraction (the dazzle of the foreigner), by weaving magical spells, by injecting play into the Law. Play, as marker of resistance and opposition to the Law.

Stutter, oral arrythmia.

Unabiding non-citizen This positioning of literature—which often gets further specified as the poetic, and from the poetic we are sometimes brought to music—is a stutter imbedded in the circularity of the bind; for nomos means both song and law.29 In other words, the phonograph is tracking a record with innumerable closed grooves. The confluence of skip and stuck, let’s just say, you’re moving ahead to the same place. Staccato’s still messing with legato; the piping of Kafka’s Josephine. You have to get up each time to pick up the tonearm and skip to the next stuck, you are moving to a particular beath, a beat-breath, an arrythmic. A spasmodic dance à la Monk, dancing the keys under his feet, shaking the air into punctuating expletives. John Edgar Wideman dancing Monk: “You place your foot as you always do, do, do, one in front of the other, then risk as you always do, do, do your weight on it so the other foot can cath up. Instead of dance music you hear a silent wind in your ears, blood pounding your temples, you’re inside a house swept up in a tornado and it’s about to pop, you’re about to come tumbling down.”30 Risk, do, don’t, crash, get crushed. Crushed by the imperative, any imperative—that smell of cruelty Nietzsche picks up from Kant’s categorical.31

resist resisting clarity, “the most obscure place is always the one under the lamp,”32 resisting questionning, arrest. In my case, resisting the guilt associated with my inability to expose the subject to light, my pictures are always a blur. A blur, more than ever. And more than ever, I come to these moments after the opening salvos, deep in the middle of the text, with perverse relish. Moment to face, not pre nor post, but at the heart of it all, just as the heart is skipping a beat. Clarity is anathema to the stutter, its arteries are sclerotic. The whole body contracting, squinting like Anna O. and Nietzsche’s man of ressentiment whose “soul squints; his spirit loves hiding places, secret paths and back doors, everything covert entices him as his world, his security, his refreshment; he understands how to keep silent, how not to forget, how to wait, how to be provisionally self-deprecating and humble. A race of men of ressentiment is bound to become eventually cleverer than any noble race.”33 Ressentiment, moment where the voice is voiceless, arid, where communication breaks to communicate its incommunicability. A reminder of presence, Butler’s “I bracket this ‘I’ in quotation marks, but I am still here.”34 In these pages the stutter might be under a philosophical, theoretical turn; yet I see this turn as an amplification, as turning up the volume, as a crank it up. Here, in its woofer to tweeter full sweep assault, it is sent out to inseminate and destabilize the reinforced concrete vaults of… … … …

What Alexandrov, Eisenstein’s co-director, states about how speech can be manipulated also applies to this text, “it may be clipped, stretched, broken into stutters, made to lisp, joined with all sorts of sound combinations either in discriminate mélange or in alternating, repeating motifs.”35 The stutter under this turn acts as the incisor for a number of similar terms which have metaphoric force precisely because they remain ensconced in the somatic. Thus to stutters add squints, hiccups, blinks, lisps, twitches, squeaks, spasms, shakes, hems & haws, moans & groans, grunts, yelps, screams, murmurs, mumbles, laughs, cracks, garbles… any and all disrupters and disturbers, willed or non-willed. In the same spirit as Deleuze and Guatarri’s usage of schizophrenia, the stutter, in this expanded version, does not shed its (non)voicing as an impediment, but here is tactically presented as a necessary force. Nancy writes of a partage [sharing] of voices,36 I am intervening in this trajectory by concentrating, squinting one might say, on the moments when the fluid partage comes to a barrier or barrage—somatic interruptions at the level of geography—and portage becomes necessary. With portage, the lifting and shouldering of all that weight constitute the proper measures of the responsibility the voyage assumes and undertakes.

Sharing here is seen not only as a conduit to community but as an constitutive origin where partage is meant as cleavage, as separateness. This the condition of possibility, at this level of the Dasein, of speaking. In other words, it’s the “philosophy of separation”37 which produces the autrui, an other which we can recognize even in its full unrecognizability. Here recognition is in the fullest sense of both movements—this is no mere acquaintance. This is the foreigner from within which rhythms you, that recurring inarticulate moan in and of this text.

Stutter, Blanchot: “the stutter is not an individual defect, but the retention of language to a level of non-speaking, [and from it] emerges something which astounds, frightens, deranges and repulses all speakers, all listeners from their comfortable state.”38

Direct action As Blanchot points out in his heightened hearing of the stutter, in his accent on the affect and effect of defect, the stutter is an ensemble, it is a polyphony of the dry register, it is Mackey’s “collective stutter.”39 This plural brings to presence the foreigner active at the very heart of language, from the monophonic to the polyphonic. Deducable from the collective and the foreign is porosity. For if one conceives the body as porous, it becomes impossible to think of an individual without a collective, impossible to keep your distance, impossible to delimit the outside from the inside. Porosity is a zone of transition, a permeable zone which impedes the successful implementation of a hermetic seal. Leakage, from the insidious drip to the gushing torrent, undermines any xenophobic impulse (range of manifestations: from the antiseptic household to the Wall of China).

Inarticulacy is this leakage. Saussure refers to thought as that “swirling cloud,” that unstructured and undetermined space which requires that “mysterious process by which ‘thought-sound’ evolves divisions, and a language takes shape with its linguistic untis in between those two amorphous masses [that of thought and sound].”40 Seems any structuring project makes moves to set aside (outside) any amorphous material. Flooding, that anagrammatic undertow,41 poses such a threat that these attempts to contain it become examples one can read for leakage. I will differ this reading for now (emblematic of my own leakage perhaps), save to say that some authors (eg. Mackey: “in its own possibly more exacting way the inarticulacy spoke”42) have made explicit forays into this cloud in order to impede its reduction and dismissal. Mackey, echoing himself, provides a similar formulation in his review of Brathwaite’s Sun Poem: “Brathwaite helps impeded speech find its voice, somewhat the way Monk make hesitation eloquent or the way a scatsinger makes inarticulacy speak.”43 The three movements Mackey outlines, however laudable, still seem to head in the direction of graspability, of meaning. I would argue for the necessity to resist that move to clarity by turning (away) that sentence for a second, thus becoming: “Brathwaite helps voice finds its impediment, Monk’s eloquence is made hesitant, and the scatsinger speaks its inarticulacy.” This shift is important to mark, to insist upon, it impedes the dissipation of the nebulous, it serves as reminder than the polysemic must be heard amplified by the polyphonic.

Stutter, the pervasiveness, persistence and proliferation of the performative.

(a) The Collective Stutter
(b) dampness, much
(c) Tracheoesophageal Voice Restoration after Total Laryngectomy
(d) It is for illiterates that I write.
(e) Trop de tropismes

a– Mackey, interrupting me everywhere at every turn, every page conversing with him (if I may be so presumptuous).

b– Celan’s “Todtnauberg,” last stanza, post visit to Heidegger.44 That dry fluidity that permeates both Celan and Piper, two extreme sensibilities muted and terse with openings at once agape and sealed.

c– Four instructional videos sent out for free by In Health Technologies¨ (1-800-477-5969) that demonstrate the Blom–Singer¨ Voice Restoration Systems. They are infinitely more difficult to watch than Pasolini’s Salo. Their matter-of-factness, purposefulness, the lighting particular to industrial-type films, and more centrally the presence of the stoma (the mouth not yet stomach), that gaping hole at the base of the neck jar the senses of the viewer. The stoma’s movements of suction and of breath, like a whale’s exhale, give the throat an image and sound which is a constant interruption of its usual path towards the mouth. It is secondary mouth, an unkissable mouth. Akin to when Freud terms the kiss the pleasure accompanying contact “between the mucous membranes of the lips of the two people concerned,”45 this second mouth is pure mucous mechanism, pure physiological manifestation, pure post-operative, post-traumatic contingency. A constant reminder of itself as displacement. The orifice at the base of the patient’s neck, breathed, contracted the skin around itself. It was alive. Like a third eye, but more like the other mouth, the one that now could talk via various prosthetic devices, valves, humidity filters, … complete kits available for the user. The puncture in the trachea talks; these are restored voices, the unfrozen Rabelaisian voices.

d– Artaud’s provocation46 functions within a context where there is disdain for the stutter, where articulation is what is demanded and expected. As Aristotle said, “a letter is an indivisible sound […] For even brutes utter indivisible sounds.”47 The stutter, however, can be heard as a surfeit of articulation, a disarticulation which divides infinitely, which divides the indivisibility of letters. In his correspondence with Jacques Rivière, Artaud argues for inarticulacy (a resolutely anti-Aristotelian position). The espousal of an illiteracy, an unreadability, is really one for an augmented notion of literature. An embodied literature, where one of the steps might resemble Sarraute’s: “When I write, I listen. […] Everything I say, I hear, I always hear the words, I always hear them from the inside, I hear the rhythm, I hear the words, that’s also the way I read, I always read by listening to the text.”48

e– Nathalie Sarraute, born Natacha Tcherniak, author of Tropismes. During the German occupation she had to adopt a false identity and pass as the governess to her own children. Nathalie Sauvage was her shibboleth; the savage.

Hideout How to account for these recurring moves of subterfuge, these fugues, these foggy notions? In short: the enemy, because we have enemies. Piper is intimate with her enemies. The Piper of the open letter to Kuspit, Piper of the “be sure to attend very carefully to what I have to say to you. For if you do not, I will make a sincere effort to kill you,” of the “Adrian Who-The-Hell-Does-She-Think-She-Is Piper” signature, of Mythic Being: “You instinctively perceive me as the enemy.” Piper does not outline the type of enemy one declares war and then signs peace treaties with. No quarter in Piper. More of an entanglement, one where the product is not a superseding of one over the other. No defeat, more of an uneasy merge of asymmetrical parts, a paradigmatic war. Piper’s disdain with the “upper-middle-class het WASP male, the pampered only son of doting parents,” is fueled by her desire for the same privileges. “The Western conception of rationality is just fine, thank you very much,”49 never mind her three hats. The hats are always wearing the same head.50

Deleuze’s engagement with his enemies might help to further complicate and blur the camps. He says of his book on Kant: “I like it, I wrote it as a book on an enemy.”51 More extensively, he describes the method by which he approaches his enemy: […] But what really helped me to come off at that time was, I believe, to view the history of philosophy as a screwing process (enculage) or, what amounts to the same thing, an immaculate conception. I would imagine myself approaching an author from behind, and making him a child, which would indeed be his and would, nonetheless, be monstrous. That the child would be his was very important because the author had to say, in effect, everything I made him say. But that the child should be monstrous was also a requisite because it was necessary to go through all kinds of decentering, slidings, splittings, secret discharges, which have given me much pleasure.52

Deleuze practiced this kind of insurgent ventriloquy until he discovered Nietzsche. With Nietzsche, fresh air swept through the carcass, but this gust of wind was not one of clarity, ressentiment became the active agent. The above text was written as a response to an enemy, it was a letter addressed to Michel Cressole (titled in English “I have nothing to admit”), Cressole is Deleuze’s Kuspit (though, not comparable in terms of respective status). Deleuze’s virulence is a reaction to being placed in an inflexible position: “You’re cornered, you’re cornered, admit it.”53 This is a moment of digging a trench in order to dig oneself out of the one imposed by the adversary. Perhaps it’s the digging of a grave. The curious Deleuze/Piper symbiosis further deepens as one examines how Deleuze’s tactics changed with the Nietzschean slant: Nietzsche whom I read late was the one who pulled me out of all this. […] He’s the one who screws you behind your back. He gives you a perverse taste that neither Marx nor Freud have ever given you: the desire for everyone to say simple things in his own name; to speak through affects, intensities, experiences, experiments. To say something in one’s own name is very strange, for it is not at all when we consider ourselves as selves, persons, or subjects that we speak in our own name. On the contrary, an individual acquires true a proper name as a result of the most severe operations of depersonalization, when he opens himself to multiplicities which pervades him and to intensities which run right through his whole being.54

Porosity and objecthood converge here and produce an image of Piper which is perhaps less Kantian than she would like.55

Runners The rhetorical properties of the syntactic squint is very useful to consider here for it gives us an image of how one deals with the enemy at the level of grammar: “A squinting construction is one in which a syntagm seems to look in both directions at once […] The Grands Rhétoriqueurs used the syntactic squint at the hemistitch to form ambiguous lines which, by incorporating equivoque, could be read in two ways. They could thus attack their victims while seeming to praise them.”56 Thus, the face to face encounter with one’s enemy acquires all manners of about-faces and defacements. The stutter works alongside the squint in order to expose, concretize, and maintain the constant shifts and slides of the encounter.

When enemies are innumerable, the stutter has to function as a sideways move, yet from within a frontal assault. Sideways, to be angled according to the attack plan. Or escape plan. The latter, amongst slaves in the antebellum period, was a common plan of attack. Some statistics indicate a high incidence of stuttering amongst slaves. Even though the statistics have been questioned, our purpose here is to examine the stutter’s functioning in this relationship of enemies. The stutter, along with the “down look,” were seen as indices of fear and trembling, of slow wit and bashful submission. Yet even those who exhibited such behavior and were not openly rebellious, were known to run away.57 This evidence exemplifies the stutter as subterfuge. Utensil in a palette of mischievousness and deception, while remaining entirely beyond control. Perhaps there is, in the very moment of ultimate objecthood, a wielding possible of heretofore unfathomable weapons. A setting where, paradoxically, disrupters become smooth, become untied knots, become fluid and fluent. Become a kind of Artaudian war machine: “I have never ceased to think that more and more I could silence enemy and foreign thinking and swallow it in my interior fire […] Why are beings which are not in me moving inside of me?”58

A run which changes the setting to one unspecified, but remains in the tenor of enemies and runaways is Marchetti’s Running. The diarrhetic run to end all runs: running running and running and screaming running and screaming without running and screaming without interruption running and screaming without interruption, running and screaming without interruption, without running and screaming without interruption, without rushing running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without responding running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call without always responding yes running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding yes, running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding yes, without running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding yes, without maintaining running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without responding always yes, without always maintaining running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding yes, without always maintaining the running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding yes, without always maintaining the same running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding yes, without always maintaining the same speed running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding yes, without always maintaining the same speed, running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding yes, without always maintaining the same speed, running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding yes, without always maintaining the same speed, this running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding yes, without always maintaining the same speed, this is running and screaming without interruption, without rushing to any call, without always responding yes, without always maintaining the same speed...59

A run which, without the without, would become an activated interruption, a hurdled run and would read: ‘Running and screaming with interruption, rushing to every call, always responding yes.’ But the running here is posited as pure movement, with possible variants in speed perhaps but pure continuity, no stoppage. These are the smooth and lanky strides of a marathoner, albeit a manic one. We must also remember to listen to the runner, for the running here is double, it is the running of a set of legs and the running of a mouth. The scream of the runner is a Doppler scream, shrilly piercing the landscape. Again, the setting here is unspecified, nowhere and everywhere. Another runner we could recruit in order to make it a race and trace a course, would perhaps be Tatsuo Miyajima (Fig. 4). For him, the run is more metaphoric than actual, but the incision into the sound space is concrete and insistent. These are all stutter performances.

slowdown Should one get dizzy from the frantic pace of this opaque, heterogenous, metonymic, catachrestic taxonomy of the stutter. Slowdown. So I… So I… So I walk… So I walk….60 Wind down. … So I walk a little too fast, and I drive a little too fast… Wind down, but with gusts. A run which is sung slow but speaks fast, reminisces excess … and I’m reckless it’s true but what else can you do at the end of a love affair… And the music stops, and Lady Day, audibly unhinged, slurs her instructions, her own rescue: I don’t know it. Now please try to make as much noise as you can and as loud as you can. I don’t know the tune. But she’s lived the tune. The nomos has consumed her. She’s oozing. Oozing an arid stutter.

Stutter, the reversal of the forward thrust of fluency. But like the gunshot, it is not reversible, it is an indelible trace, it marks a somatic time. An inundation of utter, of mutter, of splutter, of stutter. I confess to a certain aspiring for the stutter, for blindness, deformity, pain. Insofar as they are already here. Not acceptance but, … well yes, but one which requires a disengagement with the notion that to give in also means to give up. They are not equatable, the first (as with invagination) is porosity at work, is proximity of and with the enemy. The correspondance… false steps, faux pas, fall over …So I walk…. step over.

The sacred remains:
The assault of the real,
the dissection of fact,
the mystery of unmeaning,
the dwindling of self,
the release into motion.61

1 Samuel Beckett in The Complete Short Prose 1929-1989, xvi. 1961

2 Fluxus performance score cited in numerous places, recently in Douglas Kahn, Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts, 285.

3 Antonin Artaud in Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 89.

4 Roland Barthes, L’empire des signes, 13. Ces faits et bien d’autres persuadent combien il est dérisoire de vouloir contester notre société sans jamais penser les limites mêmes de la langue par laquelle (rapport instrumental) nous prétendons la contester: c’est vouloir détruire le loup en se logeant confortablement dans sa gueule.

5 Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life, 15.

6 Jacques Lacan, “Impromptu at Vincennes” in October 40 Television, 126.

7 J.L. Austin, “Pretending” in Philosophical Papers, 256.

8 Adrian Piper, “Phillip Zohn Catalysis” in Out of Order, Out of Sight Volume I, 58.

9 Group Material, Democracy: a project, 21. From announcement for “Alienation” (1980).

10 Yvonne Rainer, “Looking Myself in the Mouth” in October 17, passim.

11 Adrian Piper, “Preparatory Notes for The Mythic Being” in Out of Order, Out of Sight Volume I, 97. One of the clubs she danced at was called the Entre Nous [Between Us].

12 Piper, 55.

13 Paul Celan, Poems of Paul Celan, 247.

SEWN UNDER THE SKIN of my hands:
your name that hands comforted.

When I knead the
lump of air, our nourishment,
it is soured by
the letter effulgence from
the dementedly open

14 Piper, 97.

15 Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy Vol.1, 164fn.27 and *.

16 Pascal, Oeuvres Complètes (Pensées 593/822), 605.

17 Louis Althusser, The Specter of Hegel: Early Writings, 202.

18 Jacques Derrida, Demeure Maurice Blanchot, passim.

19 Guillaume Apollinaire, “Zone” in Oeuvres Poétiques, 44. Aimé Césaire, Cadastre [incl. Soleil cou coupé and Corps perdu]. Jean-Luc Nancy, “Cut Throat Sun” in An Other Tongue: Nation and Ethnicity in the Linguistic Borderlands, 113 and 115. I am aware of Norma Alarc—n’s critique of Nancy in “Conjugating Subjects: The Heteroglossia of Essence & Resistance” from the same volume (125-138). Briefly, Alarc—n critiques Nancy for “appropriating and recodifying the notion of mestizaje to his own specificy (130).” I will not delve in depth with both essays here, but only offer a starting point for a more thorough discussion. Nancy is engaged in a difficult (if not, impossible) project: “The community: as it were no longer the closure that excludes, but the multiple, cut network from which the exclusion only is excluded? (122).” By difficult, I mean both arduous and problematic, and as such, perhaps the critique is already made operative within Nancy’s own text. Alarc—n’s critique is ultimately more worrisome, for it would seem to argue for mestizaje as a term definable and therefore possessable and requiring policing —a reduction to a specific specificity where the elements admissible to the mix are pre-determined, producing a static mestizaje, if one at all.

20 Edouard Glissant, Le discours antillais, 14fn.1. L’Occident n’est pas à l’ouest. Ce n’est pas un lieu, c’est un projet.

21 Benson Bobrick, Knotted Tongues: Stuttering in History and the Quest for a Cure, 178. Nathaniel Mackey, Whatsaid Serif, 102.

23 Hélène Cixous, Entre l’écriture, 31. Ma mère allemande à la bouche, au larynx, me rythme.

24 Marcel Proust in Gilles Deleuze, “He Stuttered” in Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy, 25. More recently published in Deleuze, Essays Critical and Clinical.

25 Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, Capitalism and Schizophrenia, vol.2, 134. They cite the following from Luca:

do domi not passi do not dominate
do not dominate your passive passions not
do devouring not not dominate
your rats your rations your rats rations not not…

26 Roland Barthes, “Le grain de la voix” in L’obvie et l’obtus: Essais critiques III, 241. échapper à la tyrannie de la signification.

27 Barthes in Antoine Compagnon, “Lequel est le vrai?” in Magazine littéraire, 26. Le langage est une législation, la langue en est le code. Nous ne voyons pas le pouvoir qui est dans la langue, parce que nous oublions que toute langue est une classement, et que tout classement est oppressif. […] Parler et à plus forte raison discourir, ce n’est pas communiquer, comme on le repète trop souvent, c’est assujettir.

28 Barthes in Compagnon, 28. la littérature […], qui triche avec la langue, qui triche la langue.

29 Plato, The Republic, 183fn.12 [531e]. It is the translator’s footnote which points out this common etymology.

30 John Edgar Wideman, “The Silence of Thelonious Monk” in Callaloo 22.3, 1999, 554.

31 Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, 65.

32 Chinese proverb cited by Barthes, Le grain de la voix Entretiens 1962-1980, 247. This is a book of interviews and not the famous essay of the same name.

33 Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, 38. The man of ressentiment is interestingly presaged by the subterranean man which Nietzsche introduces in the preface to Daybreak, the “one who tunnels and mines and undermines” (p.1).

34 Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”, 123.

35 Grigori Alexandrov (via American film critic Harry Potamkin) in Douglas Kahn, Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts, 153.

36 Jean-Luc Nancy, Le partage des voix, passim.

37 Blanchot, L’entretien infini, 75.

38 Blanchot, “Le << discours philosophique >>”, 3. This was written in the context of an issue of l’ARC on Merleau-Ponty who had recently passed away; Blanchot is referring to Merleau-Ponty’s as pedagogue, “the speaking profession.” (fût-ce dans le balbutiement qui n’est pas une défaillance individuelle, mais la retenue du langage à un niveau non-parlant), émerge quelque chose qui étonne, effraie, dérange et repousse tout parlant et tous écoutants de leur situation confortable.

39 Mackey, Bedouin Hornbook, 29.

40 Saussure, Course in General Linguistics, 110-111 [sections 155 and 156]. Interestingly, Rosenstiehl and Petitot also refer to clouds, this time it’s a cloud mosquitoes, in order to speak of acentered chaotic systems (cited by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus, 16-18, in their discussion of arborescent versus rhizomatic systems). Pierre Rosenstiehl and Jean Petitot, “Automate asocial et système acentrés” in Communications, no. 22 (1974), 50.

41 Anaphonic would perhaps be the better term here, for according to Saussure (via Starobinski), anaphoric is the imperfect form, whereas the anagram would be the perfect form. Thus even there Saussure seems to be delimiting the anagram by ascribing it as the successful form. Jean Starobinski, Les mots sous les mots: Les anagrammes de Ferdinand de Saussure, 27.

42 Mackey, Bedouin Hornbook, 182.

43 Mackey, untitled review of Sun Poem by Edward Kamau Brathwaite in Sulfur, Vol.IV #2, 1984, 205.

44 Celan, 301.

45 Sigmund Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, 1988, 16.

46 Antonin Artaud in Jacques Derrida, L’écriture et la différence, 282. C’est pour des analphabètes que j’écris.

47 Aristotle, Poetics, 95 [XX 2-3].

48 Nathalie Sarraute, Lecture, audio CD.

49 Adrian Piper, interview in African-American Philosophers, 61.

50 Piper speaks of her three principal activities: art, philosophy and yoga, as wearing three hats. From “On Wearing Three Hats,” a 1996 symposium essay, http://www.adrianpiper.com/piper6.index.html.

51 Gilles Deleuze, “I have nothing to admit” in Semiotext(e) vol.3 no.2: Schizoculture, 1978, 112.

52 Deleuze, 112-3.

53 Deleuze, 111. Here he is quoting Cressole, strongly echoing Piper’s installation Cornered.

54 Deleuze, 113.

55 Or, as Fred Moten points out in a reading of a draft of this text, “… an image of Kant perhaps less Kantian than she would like.”

56 Bernard Dupriez, A Dictionary of Literary Devices, 428-9.

57 Michael P. Johnson, “Runaway Slaves and the Slave Communities in South Carolina, 1799 to 1830” in William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd. Ser., Vol. 38, No. 3, July 1981), 425-6 and fn.18. Also Gerald W. Mullin, Flight and Rebellion: Slave Resistance in Eighteenth-Century Virginia, 98-103 and 186n.45; and John W. Blassingame, The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum Period, 203-6.

58 Antonin Artaud, Oeuvres Complètes vol. XXII: Cahiers du Retour à Paris 26 mai-juillet 1946, 105. Je n’ai jamais cessé de penser que je pouvais de plus en plus faire taire la pensée ennemie et étrangère et l’avaler dans mon feu intérieur […] Pourquoi des êtres qui ne sont pas en moi bougent-ils en moi?

59 Walter Marchetti, “Running” in Walter Marchetti, 103.Walter Marchetti, Italian composer, member of art avant-gardist Spanish dissident group Zaj, founded by Juan Hidalgo and Marchetti in 1964. It ran parallel tracks with Fluxus.

60 Billie Holiday, “The End of a Love Affair: The Audio Story” in Lady in Satin, CD. In italics throughout.

61 Adrian Piper, “XI Remains” in Decide Who You Are, unpaginated.

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