Posts tagged ‘fabulation’

14 March 2013

fragments / an experiment in echoing

on hearing and seeing Sharon Gal:

[there] The resulting sound was a muddy epos, all groans and fractures, guttural at its outset, it would then end up being channelled into a broken rhythm, monosyllabic, bone-tone bone-tonal. I saw a woman’s face Fellinian, I heard a face feline. An uneven matrix of high-pitched interjections urged the drama, with wailings, murky assortments of celtic vowels and gargarized cachinnations. Trying to supply for the disappearance of linguistic substance.        [inside] Out of suspended intervals beyond any clause, a handful of notes came out of the silences, nearly abstracted out of space, sustained and profound, like the knowledge of grief: immanent to earth. And out of the depths of a lost country, my hidden sighs were released, hidden sighs once erased. Then she grinned. Sh.

another voice, the morning after, elsewhere:

With you I have searched for the immense and perfect disharmony, but these bass sounds resound even if you don’t excite them, even if you don’t rearrange the avalanches, the screams, the tiny creases in that safe shawl of comfort. It is you who move mountains inside, not faith.         Between you and I a translucent glimmer flows, it moulds every past experience and shapes it into a mobile unspoken phrasing. Dispel if you wish, the mountains of a dispelled life. Dispel if you wish, but every other yesterday I could never quite encounter you, and now I dare not dispel myself. Dispel if you wish, this feeble life embroiled, dispel my embroiling. Let ardour become conversation, let spring sweep away withdrawal, let summer burn fierce and incautious, be with my keyboarded hands, key-locked hands, hands locked. Outside let the hurricane sweep. Leave the safe shawl of comfort against this morning’s iced sun, leave it, loosen, and let me hear the encounter in a flurry of excited strings.

12 February 2013

4. Henri Michaux

I first met the words of Henri Michaux in 1996 and keep returning to them when I need to deviate from any attempt at coherence (I want to write gaps and discontinuities as I inhabit sounds and books). For my writing, his words mean the limits that I can push.  And with great evocations / creations of sounds. I’m currently attempting a translation of a fragment from ‘Ordeals, Exorcisms’ entitled Creakings – dreadful, absurd, exhilarating – which I’m going to use in my next book. But for now, I’ve just come across this:


First Canto

I heard words in the darkness. They had the gravity of perilous situations involving important personages in the dead of the night.

They were saying – these words – in the obscure shadow.
They were saying confusedly. They were all saying “Woe! Woe!” and did not cease, crying always “Woe! Woe!”


Then a voice burst out which was not recognizable and the flowers of life began to stink, and the sun was no more than a memory, an old mat put behind a door that you won’t go through again, and men, almost losing their faith, were silent, were silent with a silence which takes your breath away, the kind that comes in summertime, at evening in the country, when after the last birds, and then the last insects, of the day have gone in, and before those of the night have come, a tomblike silence suddenly falls.

6 February 2013

1. Kiss Me Deadly

The opening sequence in Kiss Me Deadly (1955).
The sighs, the song, the voice, the titles and the road.
The reference to Wilkie Collins’ The Woman In White.
By that master of deception and inversions, Robert Aldrich:

10 November 2012

It seemed I’d stepped…

It seemed I’d stepped from the rainy morning walk into a room of frozen thought. The room was full of people between their twenties and their seventies and yet it seemed most of them had agreed to set their understanding on an average age of middle. Middle thinking, I mean. The safety of the shared, mental age of middle. Wrapped in self-aggrandising frameworks, the curators sheltered their thoughts behind the flat screens of presenting (as in: ‘I’m not making any statements here, I have nothing to question, I’m just presenting these slides to you’). Artists tiringly repeated conformed formulas to forcefully comb their pedigreed works into more flatness. ‘I am … a sound artist’, sound thundering in the vast chambers of ego. Theorists theorised. In the frenzy of tidying up ideas, they forgot to listen. ‘Sound art’ had a German accent, stuck in the vexing rhyming refrains of problematisation extrapolation presentation documentation. Images of silenced monuments of sound kept parading in the slideshow, more remindful of tombstones than of any presumed ‘activation of the public space’. Activating what and whose space remained unclear. Been there, mourned. Still tombstones of what is safe and comforts, words kept being emitted but added up to nothing. [in a whisper]: Today it is Thursday, tomorrow we die. Today you’re dressed up with sound art and a lie. The wind rattling the window panes and the rain hammering down the night before echoed in my mind and in my body that could not sleep. How I wished someone had brought those sounds into that room and into their words. I want to tell you what I could not write. Can a voice connect fragmented records. You have strong voices, for another route. You have strong voices uprooted.

And nobody in that group of middles would acknowledge confusion – unless in a quote legitimised by someone else. Then they could lock it in a safe and wear it occasionally as an embellishment. And nobody among those middles would pay attention to the sounds and voices of elsewhere, pointing elsewhere. Alright love, you’re sweet. Let’s move on to the serious stuff now. To the practical bits, that is. Ooo the good practical ones. Prone to the mantra of wherethereispublicfundingtherewillbesoundart. With speakers. Lots of them, so we can then take nice pictures of these emblems and produce a catalogue.

In the room, most artists speak the same language. My problem is not with their works: it’s in how they speak of them, the words they use, the trite and worn-out expressions that say no more. They show slides, play snippets of sounds almost apologetically. They say: ‘You should have been there to really understand the installation’. Their language becomes transparent. It’s the opposite of sound. Sound fleets, ever unfathomable: while language becomes too familiar, to the point when certain expressions are taken for granted. ‘You should have been there to really understand the installation’. Why then are you, and we, here in this room, discussing your work, if you say we should have been there? Is this space then a deterioration? A denial of the fact that we’re here? Are we sorry to be here? Or is it a nod to the fact that few people have been there and by consequence they are the sole retainers of that experience, and can control it? I want to be there when I can but I also want to be here, and this here is not derived, weak, or less significant. To celebrate the permanence of The Archive of ‘having been there’ means control: to imply that only a small number of chosen few can access that there is dangerously tied to power. Meanwhile the living records of sounds move around, with mess and contradictions: in the people who were there and heard them, and in those who weren’t but still can experience them, and re-make them in their thoughts. Remember Edison via Villiers? ‘It is helpless to represent the voice of conscience. Can I record the voice of the blood?’ I can hear those impossible sounds, in his (their) words: not having been there. Sonic palimpsests are written and muted and they infiltrate perceptions and dissolve in them, they move.

Two days later, early one morning I left, heading back to my inward time, feeling the cold rush of wind on my face and the clear nordic air sweeping my thoughts. For a long time the previous evening I’d thought about the middle thinking I’d witnessed and its vain belief that documents can inscribe the middle thinkers in history. I wanted to listen to another thinking, to the silenced. As I stepped on the bus to the airport, I could hear the turmoil of more voices. It was time to go and write them. Like Kathy Acker said or maybe it was Chris Kraus, as a writer I don’t make things up: I perceive and record. And, let me add, I voice.

28 September 2012

En Abîme is published today

En Abîme: Listening, Reading, Writing. An Archival Fiction is published today by Zero Books:

En Abîme explores listening and reading as creative and critical activities driven by memory and return, reshaped into the present.
The narrator revisits, at different points in time, a number of places in Rome – the Protestant Cemetery sung by Pier Paolo Pasolini in
The Ashes of Gramsci, via Appia, the Catacombs – and attaches onto them a series of connections to her archive of poetry, music, literature. The words of Herman Melville in Rome, Pasolini’s verses and films, a number of songs and poems build up a mise en abîme; knots of visions and densities of prose are juxtaposed with sparse moments of stillness, as the book zooms in and out of the archival fiction of a city, morphs into criticism and abstraction, and back into a literary landscape.
En Abîme
appears as a trace of the experience that made it, in a contingent present singular.

‘…poetic, incisive, grounded in politics and history yet continually pushing at the edges of what we now consider to be sound. She interrogates notions of music and the shifting experience that is silence with a freshness and coherence that is inspiring’.
David Toop, author of Ocean of Sound, Haunted Weather and Sinister Resonance

‘…compulsive and fast, rushing with you through textual territories that seem spoken, direct and contemporary while being nostalgic – invoking a past that creates the present tense’. Salomé Voegelin, author of Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art

You can read an extensive interview about the book on Earroom:

Review copies are available from:

28 September 2012

En Abîme: sales details and forthcoming events

You can buy En Abîme from most online bookshops and selected bookshops. The ebook version for Kindle is also available via Amazon.

If you would like to buy the book directly from me, you can do so at forthcoming readings and events,

or through the TouchShop:

or the ICR webshop:
1. Go to
2. Enter the main catalogue
3. Click on Product Overview
4. Select D-F

For further details and updates, subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter @enabime

This month I will be reading from En Abîme at the following venues and events:

READING: The Invisible Picture Palace @Wapping Glasshouse, London, 4 October.

BROADCAST: 128kbps objects curated by for A week-long internet radio broadcast exploring the idea of objects in transformation across a variety of artistic practices, mediums and sites. 22- 28 October 2012.

READING: The Light and Shadow Salon, The Horse Hospital, London, 25 October.

30 August 2012

another clue for a beginning / capriccio

28 August 2012

my next beginning (first attempt)


where, why, how



11 July 2012

in a title

One of the very hidden inspirations for my book title, En abîme, came from a couple of sentences I found in L’Afrique Fantôme by Michel Leiris – a book that’s been haunting me since the nineties, when I saw it mentioned in James Clifford’s The Predicament of Culture as a book where Leiris ‘begins to keep field notes on himself, or more precisely on an uncertain existence’. I return to Leiris’ book in spite of my poor knowledge of French, that only allows me to glimpse these pages and not always entirely grasp them. They speak to me in fragments across an opaque screen of understanding, lit up by sudden flashes of clarity. Sybilline, you might say. And so it is no coincidence that a photo of the Sybil’s cave in Cumae, near Naples, appears on my book cover.
For further understanding I have to (I like to) trust Clifford. In particular his remarks on Leiris’ writing resonate with what I tried to achieve in my book: ‘…a systematically clumsy and complicated staging of the text for which the various elaborate explanations, supplementary notes, hidden prefaces, and prières d’inserer are props’.

On 10, 11 and 12 November 1931 Leiris visits the village of Yougo: ‘La Rome lunaire’, lunar Rome, he calls it. He writes:
‘Un paysage… de fin du monde. De pierre en pierre, de lieu sacré en lieu sacré, de cave en cave.’
‘Ici, tout n’est qu’abîme, plein ciel, ou souterrain.’

There is Pierre in En abîme, and sacred places, and subterranean caves.

31 May 2012

Informing Aural Memories / A Diptych, pt. 2

2. The Next Day
An aural experience past, tangled with the forming and the informing of a memory: what is retained of it in writing? What does writing do to the aural memory?
Today I read a sentence by Paul Klee from 1928: ‘There are some problems to be posed, such as: the construction of the secret’ … [read more]

[part 1]

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