11 Oct 2006


'These are pure optical or sound situations in which the character does not know how to respond, abandoned spaces in which he ceases to experience and act so that he enters into flight, goes on a trip, vaguely indifferent to what happens to him, undecided as to what must be done.

I do not use pseudonyms, for there is already too much about a name which is fictional. Let’s begin with the premise that there can be no accurate signification, that to be named is to be injured. It takes a lot of movement to discover the limits of one’s own inability to speak. I am travelling by bus inside the partialities and mysteries of my name, through unfamiliar landscapes which suggest its boundlessness. The bus’s comfort is not a totality, a circle, I can’t rock myself fully convinced of my safety into its lulling momentum of dim lullabies, and sit poised on the edge of my seat inside this lack of physical trust, as i do inside the emptiness framed in each window’s great sky and noiseless insularity, and inside the feeling that, if I stayed like this: ears plugged with headphones, eyes with sunglasses, I could go for days without speaking to anyone. It is an ambiguous kind of peace, this muteness, this lack of engagement, this lack of pressure to articulate a position, to perform a self, to name the moment and divide it from its promise.

But he has gained an ability to see what he has lost in action or reaction; he SEES so that the viewer's problem becomes 'what is there to see in the image?' (and not 'what are we going to see in the next image?')

Description is a form of passive response, different from the decisions made when taking a photograph. The scenery out the windows is constantly changing: tough tufted landscapes hunkering low to the ground to shelter their slow moving, khaki coloured birds, the soft darkness of fern forests providing a backdrop for sudden shafts of light, single Nikau palms scattered uncannily, as if dropped from a great height, monumental along the roadside and smaller, doll-like, far out in surrounding paddocks. There are glimmers of musical refrains, film scenes that rise to this surface. I push them back down as I head toward a dimmer, flatter image. I have written, in order to remember : less than two per cent of the vegetation of the caterbury plains is as it was, before settlement… a jagged line of thought, curved in the softness of my notebook like a hook. I am attempting to learn how to see again, in these landscapes, to gaze inside their crust of images from the expanded place that I myself am, to know how to inhabit these places as though inside a series of moving rooms, to feel the promise of events, the effects of which are yet to be determined. An arbitrariness which when immersed is so total it includes all question of opposites. Let us continue the notion of ourselves into the idea of a spatial reading, a geography. This seeing is circular in the sense of an unwinding, and I rest momentarily inside its loop.

The situation no longer extends into action through the intermediary of affections. It is cut off from its extensions, it is now important only for itself, having absorbed all its affective intensities, all its active extensions.

This is no longer a sensory-motor situation, but a purely optical and sound situation, where the seer [*voyant*] has replaced the agent [*actant*]: a 'description'.' [1]

All I have momentarily shucked off, the clutched, poised claw of observation constantly re-grips, positions me in, brings me back to. The images are hybrids of anticipation and dread, memory and premonition, Ponsonby Road’s crowds erasing themselves into Lichfield Street’s emptiness, version after version, streets: the wet sheen of rain and the sharp, almost brutally metallic asphelt scent that seems to contain a thousand nights of abandonment. Then the arch of the English Trees above in a sky punctuated by the back-lit golden brown swirling arcs of crisp, papery falling leaves seen through the spokes of my bicycle wheel as it rests on the bank beside me like a companion animal.

As if I could ever leave these designations, these etchings pressed, these half-formed comforts. I speed through, giving away and finding again the focal point which I want and don’t want, which I find to be always moving with me. You cannot hide from your white cat, William Burroughs says, because your white cat hides with you…

[1] Deleuze, Cinema 2, p. 272

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