23 September 2013
New Work from Nicole Trigg
Nicole Trigg read this interesting prose piece "about" Tilda Swinton during last week's SPT event, and she's generously shared a portion for your reading pleasure. Here's Nicole:
I envisioned sheets of writing paper, each marked with the solid contour drawing of a unique, abstract form—around which writing flowed, but never crossed.
The nature of the concept—impedimentum, hindrance; from impedire to impede; to shackle the feet—dictates that the writing is compromised by the impediment, never the other way around. Even when Paper wins at Rock, Paper, Scissors, by covering Rock, it bends to fit it and by no means hides it. Rock’s three dimensions trump Paper’s two, so its defeat is just a token; it remains exactly the same before and after Paper lays down on it.
The invincibility of Rock, then, is not only the model for people’s fists, but also for the fetal position, i.e., Tilda’s favorite way to sleep.
In the simulations in 1995 and 2013, “The Maybe” by Tilda Swinton and collaborators was adapted to building code at the Serpentine Gallery, London, and the Museum of Modern Art respectively, that restricted physical touching, by placing the artist inside an elevated vitrine. Probably, Tilda was glad for the buffer because the free-for-alls in the forest had sapped her. It takes gallons to make a capful of syrup, and we’d drained every drop of her bittersweet water.
Now she could begin to replenish her sugars, out of reach, but still on display.
Then again, all writing is up against the dominion of things, and can’t compare. Since words are inadequate to describe more than a surface, they spill over and fall between the cracks of people, stones, houses. Shimmering across my skin like the silk sheath I only wear at home, while I read Jacques Rancière. Gradually—because he makes arguments by knitting detritus in a circular form with his beak, so I think to myself, exhausted, I’d rather be picking apart an actual bird’s nest right now, or fraying cords, or brushing my hair—, gradually I synthesize ideas:
1) When language is officiated and terms fixed, their referents become barriers, blockades, authoritative checks, thus defining the normative superstructure, or “distribution of the sensible.” This orientation is linked with the speech category, and inextricable from hierarchical power structures. On the other hand, 2) writing potentially undoes those structures. In The Politics of Aesthetics, Rancière writes:
"By stealing away to wander aimlessly without knowing who to speak to or who not to speak to, writing destroys every legitimate foundation for the circulation of words, for the relationship between the effects of language and the positions of bodies in shared space."
That is, when language is un-officiated (released from dominant meaning), a new, playful relationship with entities comes about, by which we question and reconfigure what we know.
So writing around things goes without saying as the ‘nature’ of language, and can be characterized by free movement and creativity when we acknowledge it as such, as superficial. When, that is, we acknowledge that language isn’t truth, or even true to what it describes—except when in flux.
When you complain, saying words are just a bunch of wooden pegs and joinery that we move into new combinations, lay ‘em down, stand ‘em up, to the side, make an arch etc., I have just finished admiring the complexity of your monologue.