Friday, February 10, 2006

Knowing Not Knowing (Alone With the Alone)*

to Eliza Newman-Saul

The ‘interlocuted Same’ is a voice of ‘inner discourse’ (consider Lacan on Judge Schreber) of which we all perhaps partake, a voice interlocuting, circulating or circuiting in Generality. …Or the voice of God talking to Itself (Toufic); the ‘middle’ or ‘neutral’ voice of literary ontology (Blanchot).

Re: your “caring” or “uncaring” in an event of exchange or “communication” between “people”… I’m not sure that what I wish to address through our project is communication per se – whether something is “boring” or “of interest,” “private” / “solipsistic” or “inclusive” / invitational / dialogic. I want to attain the moments everyone should / does care about because it concerns no one in particular – a deepest interior shared in exteriority, a non-numerical thirdness of all entities / “parties”.

It is a genuine withdrawal beyond “performance” -- not experienced because experienced by no one -- that is a call to listen or to silence rendering interest / boredom out-of-the-question (expression or silence as “pure” interest: interest that stays interest?).

So perhaps it shouldn’t matter whether our video has a soundtrack or not: soundtrack should be silent, should evoke a silence, and that silence should be expressive / interesting in this sense and not merely non-invasive (avoiding interference with image-track). It is this silence that is not contingent on “actual” sounds.

Yet all this seems something different from my original proposition and your response. The thing I want to return to is “knowing,” compensations for “knowing” and “not knowing” (should we not also have to compensate for knowing if we should have to for not?).

As a precedent for our collaboration, what comes most readily to mind are David Antin’s transitional works between ‘meditation’ and ‘talk’ in which he and his wife proceed by a series of tape recorded ‘exercises’ by which they defer a unity of narrative intention and conclusive interpretation through conversation (and all that conversation entails in terms of interruption, distraction and circular modes of attending).

Only we may start less determinately and without so much “ironic flair”. To experiment with the consequences of beginning somewhere (anywhere?) in a series of texts, and to relate these texts interpretively to produce knowledge (however elliptical or circular) about them. In compensation for not knowing them we may perhaps come to know something else. A know how of ourselves, of poetics, of thinking itself opening beyond both the drudgery of textual authorities and the interiorities of private fancies and fantasies not nearly interior enough (not so interior that they produce an exteriority in which the different becomes equatable, if not Univocal). An ethics of commons.

*composed Jan '06 to Eliza Newman-Saul towards a series of collaboratve video performances w/ the artist. "Knowing Not Knowing" is a follow up to the post on this blog, "Compensations for not Knowing".

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