‘Plutoed’ is my most recent incipit (October 2016). It started as an attempt to answer a hypothetical press conference that would unfold after a safe return from a Mars mission. Pluto soon replaced Mars, hence suggesting a further leap into the future as well as providing a more melancholic setting for such ‘diary’ prose.
‘The android who loved opera’ is the diagonal spin-off of a character, Didier, invented by my friend Alex in response to our common preoccupations of the time (space travel chief amongst them, as expressed in my drawings from which she also drew inspiration). Her Didier is plagued by psychosis (generated by a faith borne expedition to a meteorite), and by dreams of ‘oppressive psychic substance.’ It is implied that he is a gambler by trade. His world is hugely bleak. He lives “on the moon colony, where the constant pumping of chemicals to keep the artificial atmosphere habitable caused the week-long daytime to have the perpetual stain of blank, white smog and the week-long night-time to absorb the artificial light of the inhabitants.” My Didier shares many a trait with Alex’s and inherited his history, though in my version, his colony morphed into a more complex, decidedly sci-fi universe where a new kind of fascism has arisen and where androids are central to the plot. My story was an excuse to investigate artificiality and to write series of scenes in a melancholic take on pseudo-noir sci-fi and lore.
‘The Market’ is a spatio-sociological study of the dynamics of London’s Exmouth Market, written, as a local, in a mock-essay form interspersed with previous notes. Seeking to understand the complex and rather unique life of the street, it also looks at self-fashioned thespianism. “Like in a Ionesco play a village is forever playing itself –” the market’s language is undoubtedly theatrical; it also borrows tropes from reality TV. A reality where one finds a higher level of self that is also slightly more synthetic, plastic, somewhere between ‘reality’ and simulacra. “Is it an urbanistico-Darwinian improvement of the species towards unicums in a city more and more defined by banality, trends and boxed groups or is it just a distilled array of types, some sort of Noah arc of clichés? How to be objective on the whole cast when so at ease with the ‘actors’ hanging at the bar after the play? And yet the play itself is them hanging at the bar after the…. In utter and constant mise en abyme and self-referentiality. There is something in the ground too, the Market a wonderful collision of Ideality and Decadentism: marché – De Certeau, marcher, the true sign of urbanity/urbanism (but on a back and forth loop as most people wandering on Exmouth do, especially ‘aliens’) – marshes. Marshes, paludes: the original fabric of the street, Joseph Grimaldi’s perilous and nauseabond stage, a stage so fantastically wrong it suited the apex of clownery. And in the constant turmoil of businesses objects and people a psycho-static energy remains”
‘GTrans’ was (re-)written in parallel to an essay on the Looping Languages of Jim Dine and Antonin Artaud, part of a recurrent investigation on the theme of the car crash. It is a sacrificial dismembering of texts I had previously written, modified beyond recognition and beyond control. The texts are feedback-looped through Google Translate (across languages as different as Latin and Icelandic for instance) in various iterations; the parts that stick out are kept (near-instant cutting decision time); the resulting groups of words and sentences are numbered and then reordered in a different series with a random number generator. There is no cheating with the series in looking for a more aesthetically pleasing one; there is no intervening on letters and wording except through graphical means, although formatting and punctuation are limited to a strict minimum. Sound was used to loop and glitch these further, adding to their indecipherability. Through such mechanical manipulations meaning and structure start dissolving; they express a fundamental problem in communication; a refusal of meaning, of over-thinking, of research even; an act of self-scorn, of opaque effacing. It gives a tentative answer to the problem of the ‘representation’ of an accident, a crash, a figured death. “The disaster is its imminence, but since the future, as we conceive of it in the order of lived time, belongs to the disaster, the disaster has always already withdrawn or dissuaded it; there is no future for the disaster, just as there is no time or space for its accomplishment.” (Maurice Blanchot)
‘The low tide of the High Rise…’ is a Butoh-fu: a choreographic notation for a dance piece. With its many variants, it is part of the ‘Rifts, Rips and Ripples’ project, though I do consider it a stand-alone poem.
‘The Friends of Mr Cairo’ was written as a continuation/retelling of Jon Anderson and the Vangelis’ eponymous track; the lyrics become an integral part of the text, which is meant as homage. With hints of parody, it is halfway between film-script and non-sensical play. Drawing upon the countless kaleidoscopic references contained in the original song as well as its post-noir mood, the text aims to create a further web of pastiche. As it was written listening to the track on loop, its rhythm, both lyrical and syncopated, seeks to follow that of the music itself.