Sunday, April 01, 2007
A Knock Made For the Eyes
a response to Rob Halpern’s “T H E B I R D S K N O W, S O”
The birds make their blood a portal
For stealthier air suddenly appears
Struck that is where a hurt was not
--And is a difference
So sited made and lost as suddenly
In sight we would count every name
In history like prayer-beads not yet
--Having been for themselves
Event contemporary with our weapons
Twice dying elsewhere what the birds
Know so we can’t also undergo them
--“whatever it is we’re not living it…”
--We can’t know so one shows instead…
Thus, the manifestation of being is so all-inclusive that, as we observed a short while back, it embraces both Light and Darkness simultaneously: the phenomenon of being manifests both apparition and occultation, visibility and invisibility. It is the total signature, the signature *without absence*. As for the phenomenon of the sacred Book, which is as it were a signature begotten on a signature (the phenomenon of the Book begotten on that of being), it consists of the manifestation of what is exoteric, but at the same time it is the occultation of what is esoteric, an esoteric which, as such, remains hidden. We are no longer dealing with an all-inclusive manifestation without absence, as in the case of the primary manifestation of being; we are dealing with a manifestation which includes an absence, because beneath the revealed appearance (the exoteric) lies the sense which remains concealed (the esoteric), and because you start off by *being absent* from this esoteric, just as it remains absent from you. In other words, the phenomenon of being reveals to us both apparition and occultation; it renders them *present* to us. The phenomenon of the Book reveals occultation to us as an *absence*, a veiling. How, then, is one to go beyond this *absence*, to cross the threshold of the esoteric?
~ from Henry Corbin’s “The Realism and Symbolism of Colours”
Color is therefore put
To the eye like a silenter
Wand assigning names to places
We are not
Signatures *on* real things
An oil liner if only
In eternity or of a sudden
Here in what appears for no one
Those coupling around
A fog their bodies make
Eyes in the least assuming things
Objects this is a grammar for clear
The eyes are decided
Color arrives so separate
A perceptive Shabbat
What provisional termini
Are for “us” where at once
Eyes were too removed.
An actual “radical closure”
For once the Sandinistas
Were another testing
Ground for terror our best
Export other “byproducts”
Of a culture.
Anyway = “viral” and “sudden”
Anytime labor masks virtual realities for real…
Enclosures surety | Give me the back
No name no face | In this particular
Wind inequals cite | What petals fall
From sense unsensing | Sense falls from
Petals beyond | What world reversed
In these similar distances is mutual?
What voices power giving body (directive)?
What interior noontide (inwardly falling)?
“a certain motor / helplessness” …as in Chaplin or Keaton or Tati. We are more or less predictable machines (big or small)made infinitely for Grace in the world….
But whereas the inconsequential accidents and mechanical incongruencies of a Tati are comic, however menacing at times (Monsieur Hulot’s car as it nearly runs down pedestrians—a typical Modernist “image of danger” (Benjamin)), this “certain motor helplessness” may pose the moral dilemma of what Paul Virilio terms the “imminence of the accident” (*Pure War*; interview with Sylvere Lotringer) and the need for a widespread dromology (the study of speed and its effects)…
In lieu of the motor helplessness of our “picnoleptic” culture (see Virilio’s *Aesthetics of Disappearance*) in relation to automation and prosthesis, the human is at once liberated from the “natural” limits of its “pre-modern”/”animal” life (and so radically potentialized); and yet at utmost risk insofar as technological reliance makes catastrophe imminent in the form of technological interruption or “melt down” (read: *grande mal*) beyond human containment.
Yet, I take you Rob, as wanting to put “motor helplessness” towards a radical interiority of mental images—the virtuality of an imagination by which the unprecedented may be disclosed, or arise as eventful. And I also want this, as Deleuze may also have wanted or merely observed it in his philosophy:
If this experience of thought essentially (but not exclusively) concerns modern cinema, it is first as a result of the change which affects the image: the image has ceased to be sensory-motor. If Artaud is a forerunner, from a specifically cinematographic perspective, it is because he points to ‘real psychic situations between which trapped thought looks for a subtle way out’, *purely visual situations* whose drama would flow from a knock made for the eyes, drawn out, if we may put it this way, in the very substance of the gaze’. Now this sensory-motor break finds its condition at a higher level and itself comes back to a break in the link between man and world. The sensory-motor break makes man a seer who finds himself struck by something intolerable in the world, and confronted by something unthinkable in thought. Between the two, thought undergoes a strange fossilization, which is as it were its powerlessness to function, to be, its dispossession of itself and the world. For it is not in the name of a better or truer world that thought captures the intolerable in this world, but, on the contrary, it is because this world is intolerable that it can no longer think a world or think itself…
~ from Gilles Deluze’s *Cinema 2*
So a cinema of “mental images” is one of the most radical explorations Deleuze comes to in *Cinema 2*, where to produce such images is truly to invent a cinema for thinking itself—that is, thinking as it is made and arrives through the qualities of sound-images as they interact with mind and sense, reconstituting them… Deleuze calls this place the *Noosphere*.
I am thus led to indicate how, in a way completely different from this usage, the sadism which is not completely different from that which existed before Sade appears positively, on the one hand, as an irruption of excremental forces (the excessive violation of modesty, positive algolagnia, the violent excretion of the sexual object coinciding with a powerful or tortured ejaculation, the libidinal interest in cadavers, vomiting, defecation . . . ) –and on the other as a corresponding limitation, a narrow enslavement of everything that is opposed to this irruption. It is only in these concrete conditions that sad social necessity, human dignity, fatherland and family, as well as poetic sentiments, appear without a mask and without any play of light and shadow; it is finally impossible to see in those things anything other than subordinate forces: so many slaves working like cowards to prepare the beautiful blustering eruptions that alone are capable of answering the needs that torment the bowels of most men.
~ Georges Bataille, from “The Use Value of D.A.F. De Sade”
There must be a written form, then, for this waste – opposed the various irresponsibilities of others who shall remain nameless; can we come up with our own “mud extraction plans” (Smithson) for image and text: to deploy words elsewhere for creative reuse/tactical shift? This, an unfulfilled promise of LANGUAGE. An achieved and effective re-use of language material as cultural biproduct/waste…
“can we even say
the word ‘grace’?”
We should *act* in Grace.
Grace need not be said—say in its place “unforced” or “blank”; or that there remains a radical lightness during privileged intervals of relation…
“…that they / would not return…”
But we must bring
Them to this resurrection
At any number of moments
Not merely one, any
One being for All…
A disjunctive synthesis for the resurrection of all our moments, every number and name recalled.