there is a final issue to consider, writes Daniel Stern: Experiences with Inanimate Things: the mother manipulates the toy, Stern says, so it swoops in and out, and [[emph +]] speaks (my emphasis) and tickles, taking on the rhythms and feelings of force, that is, the vitality and affects of persons, becoming, for a moment, a [[emph +]] person- [[emph +]]thing, and eliciting, Stern writes, in the infant, feelings generally only elicited by [[emph +]]living [[emph +]]people, so that even when the mother has [[emph +]]gone, the afterglow of personification, as Stern calls it, clings to this [[emph +]] thing -
it's getting really dark now -
a [[emph +]]word can also become a personified thing.
you see where this is going -
When a mother teaches a child the names of things, when she wishes to [[emph +]]mark a [[emph +]]new word in contrast to an [[emph +]]old word, she does so by marking it with increased and exaggerated pitch contours, Stern says, imbuing this word with the vitality and emotion associated with human beings, human magic, he says, making it a [[emph +]]person - [[emph +]] thing for the moment -
in [[emph +]] this way, let's say, we are prepared for [[emph +]]everything we are to experience at the hands of [[emph +]]tongues -
think of a repository of texts waiting to be brought to life by a human voice, or eye, the so called mind's ear, just as, under the dry dead leaves of summer, the great intersecting root systems of the fungi are all the time waiting for the rains of autumn to put out their extraordinary fruiting bodies -
and yet, what does this famous opposition: Speech vs Silence, which plagues us, tell us about how we really hear and sound.?
Life vs Death! but think of all the different *ways* of dying - Chris Braider used to say.
think, In the same way, how many ways are there of sounding: ourselves and our surroundings, the sounds of ourselves as we are moving about and move things about, and are moved about in these surroundings and particularly when we are quiet, still - when the sense of going on being, with Winnicott, is almost palpable, seeming to cling to this aural fabric -
now to talk of Language, what we hear even when we hear a human voice is something at once far stranger - more varied and more ambiguous - than we have been led to expect -
language as a formal system is far away here, we are much closer to sound: the sounds of animals, especially birds, and to unintelligibility -
for how much of what we say and hear is barely intelligible to others, private to ourselves and our familiars, mainly superfluous in content, little outcroppings from the soundscape by which, first and foremost, we feel for contact - to nudge some person or some thing in to presence, hm? -
birds or elephants, moving through the trees -
the more speech is drawn out, the more we long for it to stop: let the voice trail away, s/he thinks, break off: leaving a kind of hollow, an impression, or cavity, in the skin of time
if you can imagine two membranes that are in contact but that contain a virtual space between them
for it is *there* we sense most strongly the presence of the other: unspeaking - inhabiting the world all the more intensely - we hear things we would not have heard, of course we hear far more on such a recording than we ever did or could, caught up as we were in other things
we return to life, it could be said, in sound, with the supernatural freshness and intensity of certain dutch miniatures, in which insects and the reflection in a small drop of water can be seen with astonishing clarity -
this astronaut was talking about seeing the earth for the first time from the window of a spaceship - you're up [[emph +]] here and of course, everybody [[emph +]]else and in fact [[emph +]]all [[emph +]] life, is down [[emph +]] there - he described the intensest experience of distance, and attachment -
quickly, at the last moment, patch together a jaguar to take on the climate protest - looks like shit! (thought it looked quite good) - every one's going to poo poo what you're doing, remember, what difference will it make! well, it's having some effect! late at night, our representatives start shouting at each other in the chamber - the scottish idealist threatens to punch somebody out - our initial elation is quickly mired in something bordering on despair: think of a yeast starting to die in alcohol - in fact - meanwhile, in the United States of America, the acts routinely committed in our names increasingly defy representation: for exuberantly dredging through the stinking entrails of the body politic, thank you Z people, Democracy Now, Kristina Ess in Gaza city;
thank you, Paul McCarthy!
now [i e on on 2 - 12 - 2005], we learn that Ingvil Aarbakke of N55, who is shown rolling the cylindrical polyethylene living / travelling tank: Snail Shell System, through the streets of Leeds, a real artist, who actually alters the world around us without our knowing it, has died of cancer at the age of 35, leaving her parents, her siblings, her husband and her one year old son, Frode, which means Happy -
what an obscenity! who thrives! in this environment! a bunch of scientists who ate ddt on their cereal every morning?
Such is the task: it invites us once more to associate poetic labors and the effort we must put into dying, but it clarifies neither one nor the other. The impression of a singular activity, scarcely graspable, essentially different from what is ordinarily called acting and doing, alone persists. The image of the fruit's slow maturation, the invisible growth of that other fruit, the child, suggest the idea of unhurried efforts, where relations with time are profoundly changed,..
Blanchot on Rilke, in the book Simon gave me at christmas, is it two years? ago?
when we started going camping at Montagut it was quiet - except for the sound of night birds and insects. when they began to widen the old road from the coast into the mountains, the cement factory in the valley started operating around the clock - the sound of crushers punctuated by the sound of dumping trucks came effectively to drown out the sound of the bell at montagut, followed by the bell at tortella - which conceivably will be heard again, occasionally, only in memory, ringing out in the valley at night, with surprising clarity - in the same way that the milky way is now largely invisible - before the absense of these phenomena is itself forgotten -
prior to her death, approached without regard for convention, Ingvil had already contributed to the Space Soon project, scheduled for the Camden Roundhouse next September. based on the Micro Dwelling, it is called Space on Earth Station - a title that embodied much of Ingvil's vision: the fascination with space, with the dynamics of the mobile and the static, and, above all, her sense that there may be very little that is "natural" about the way we live on this planet
that as an opening