The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

November 15, 2006

SAC and Pillars and Dance

1. Pillars and Dance

CountryDance was videotaped on a bluff overlooking Lac Leman in the Roman 
city of Nyon, outside of Geneve. Maud Liardon performs a folk or country 
dance which, I believe, is Swedish in origin; Foofwa d'Imobilite performs 
a separated but inseparable work, separated by the framing device of a 
pillar. (The scene is a remnant of a ruin, agora or forum transported to 
its present location above the void.) If Maud's dance resonates with the 
names of towns encountered on our journey, Foofwa's speeds and slows, 
measured against them. It is the regulatory apparatus of Roman architec- 
ture and military organization against the peasantry, with its excessive 
retemporalization of the real. Jakarta and shadow puppetry come to mind as 
d'Imobilite's presentation appears flattened in its silhouette; the pirou- 
etting of Liardon transforms the female body into volume - a volumetric 
whose forensics reveal the architecture of fecundity. Her turns create a 
tensor calculus destined to overturn the fabric of Roman linearity.

Beyond this evident symbolics, there are issues of nationalism, Swiss 
nationalism and its symbolic - Switzerland, with its 100,000 year-old 
past, ranging from deep prehistory through the wild tribal groups 
surrounding Hannibal's pilgrimage through the Alps. One has the Alphorn, 
citharas of all sorts, yodels and cheese, skies and private banking; one 
has costuming and multiple languages and dialects, Swatch and army knife, 
Rolex and fondue. The symbols proliferate to the extent that the imaginary 
of the Alps occupies a territory almost as large as the United States; in 
reality, Switzerland is roughly the size of West Virginia. Given this, any 
sign of "authenticity" may be seized by the visitor as Switzerland's 
Beyond, in the heart of the country and its culture. The fractal Alps 
twist and turn all the way down; dancing might present the preposterous 
notion of a "Swiss soul" (or any other nation's "soul") as the flesh 
supports Foofwa's "authentic" (the quotes proliferate) Gruyere costume.

Nevertheless the emblematic espoused by d'Imobilite's dance is a furious 
series of signs, almost toppling against the steadied rhythm of Maud's 
performance. Consider this: an alphabet of dance transformed through the 
graphemic directly into inscription, which is sublimated into the usual 
form and figuration of text. To the extent that dance leaves one speech-
less, dance speaks; isn't this true of any cultural form? And if it is so, 
if it is true, than cultural form subsumes speech, creates a differend out 
of which speech emerges only in its problematic. Here, speech is simultan- 
eously performative and non-performative - and what is the performative of 
speech in the first place? Nothing whatsoever without cultural context, 
mores, etiquette, and power down the road. This isn't the performative of 
a computer program in which for example "date" produces "October 4" - it's 
not process but flattening, re/presentation. Dance gives the lie, in other 
words, to the performative of language, just as violence gives the lie to 
dance. It is both degree and epistemological shift; ontology is just 
around the corner.

This conundrum, this relative annihilation of language, fascinates dance, 
fastens dance. Language is ultimately residue; inscription is hardened 
language, the beginnings of power, the suturing of the body politic. It 
takes dance, and dance signifying class, to unite language through its 
bypassing. Revolution is in the step, and violence is not far behind. One 
way or another, the earth stumbles beneath the feet of the dancers; one 
way or another, everything and nothing survives.

2. SAC

Space and Grid. Grid breaks it is True. Space breaks but just try it! (Go 
ahead, break azure takes it in stride, she doesn't break And that so early 
and lone among the furious travesties of a wound body of wound or 
introjection suppurates and projection wound Bonjour, salaam, shalom, 
hello! I will kill take the man from the woman and kill projection kill 
sex kill virus my hard drive's mess (yes, it's easy to mess emiss The 
thickness of the world = death sighted. For me, the death the videos - in 
fact there are pleasures, sadnesses, fear of death d. to hell with death 
numbered. Regardez-moi: not 650000 dead died at 9/11. Ten thousand birds 
died philosophy. Of course that isn't true; one stay out against the stay 
out EMPIRE stay out she's cracker-jack tensor, her eigenvalues stay out.

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