Adventures of Marie-Jeanne the Chatte
Texts in Italics translated from Virginie Poitrasson’s Positions
Seek to question the beginning of thought in the form of combinatory and open reflective sequences.
There is another world just to the side of the agreed-upon-one.
To find it, you must shake the world
Like a pan of gold to reveal it
Like the internet it is invisible but surrounds us
In this world, it is silly to continue to call thought thought
Although if you say that
Why not say that it is silly to call anything anything
So we’ll call thought thought, even though it’s not
Without resolving or simplifying but rather uttering concrete gestures, repeated, inscribed acts, in the moment, that are situated beyond the sphere of the media, in the intimacy of creation, going against the grain
Signs are not the same
Neither in apprehension, nor in practice
Nor in the theory that attends to them
For example, the stop sign means not stop but wait
A “for sale” sign means “to share”, “to borrow” (it’s hard to translate)
The “man” and “woman” signs above the bathroom denote real, individual beings, each with their “own” noise (that’s what they call language), and each with their “own” body.
But of course bodies do not signify the way they do in the agreed-upon-one.
We’ll get to that later.
Objects signify like words, and words signify like objects
Objects shimmy casting not meaning but rather a shade of signification with no
point of shadow.
Where is the object? Can’t say really.
Words may be radically brutal and yet ferociously symbolic
like when you hold an object you don’t understand
or you hold an object no one else understands
In this world of roving alive signs, Marie-Jeanne-the-chatte goes out for a walk.
How is thought constructed? How to reconstruct its course? With a schema? A chart? A list? A drawing?
Marie-Jeanne-the-chatte can see both worlds clearly
And can step between one and the other as easy as a magic-eye picture
And so she travels the city, on paw, setting up portals
Breaking points that connect the two reals
and the other-one
In this world, maps are like bodies
Not like drawings, charts or diagrams of bodies
But like real bodies
And to travel them can be erotic or therapeutic, sometimes both, but this is a taboo (which makes bodies like it)
But do not be tempted to think bodies are maps, not everything is reversible
Unless by map you mean the feeling of the map
in your hands
Or the feeling of your finger
tracing a line
on the paper
She travels the city, in a movement synonymous with the feeling of her “own” body.
She charts her DMS coordinates, so that she can never revisit the same place (time)
And how to make an image? What forms capture the back and forth of the eyes? Between artist and work, in the work itself. And how far away? From what perspectives?
Her reading is like a bomb, like a series of bombs.
Like a booby trapped gift that explodes with confetti
Great grandmotherly hands, taking hold of the seams, and pulling towards two poles.
This is only possible of course because of the fusion reaction created out of the particles of each real
in the two reals, the opposition between fiction and reality is inverted, also the opposition between theory and practice
(Actually if you want to get technical it’s more like a quadrilateral in this schema—in other schemas it can be hexagonal, sextagonal, etc. depending on the number of terms in your arrangement. Meaning fiction is reality which is theory which is practice. Or fiction is theory which is practice which is reality. Or reality is practice which is fiction which is theory, which is reality. Or theory is practice which is fiction which is theory. But I don’t want to confuse you.)
Assuming you know something about these oppositions in the agreed-upon-one,
in the other-one,
Fiction is what presses down on bodies, and collides with them, contradicts them
Fiction has authority over the real in an argument for example
Reality is merely an amusing diversion to pass the time when you are sad, or tired, or lonely or needing interpretation.
What is close seems close because it is far
What is far seems far because it is close
Only fiction is to be believed, and grounds most scientific treatises.
Although scientific treatise, you would probably call a dance party
The reconstitution of this imagined scene can be but partial, subjective
After the city went to sleep, she climbed to the top of a wall presiding over a garden
closed to the public at that time of night.
Another night, she climbed into a construction site.
One afternoon, she nestled into a couch for sale at IKEA
A dry docked boat
Backstairs service entry
She read Un Livre Blanc, by Phiippe Vasset,
Confessions, by Saint-Augustin
L’Empire des signes, by Roland Barthes
Empire of the Senseless, by Kathy Acker
Agrippa (a book of the dead), by William Gibson
Outside-in the Teaching Machine by Gayari Spivak
A la recherche du temps perdu, by Marcel Proust
Dictee, by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha.
King Kong Théorie, by Virginie Despentes
C’est le soleil qui m’a brulé by Calixthe Beyala
Un ABC de la barberie, by Jacques-Henri Michot
Lopo-la-Camelote by Minna Canth
La Disparition by Georges Perec
Justine ou les Malheurs de la vertu by the Marquis de Sade
Féerie générale by Emmanuelle Pireyre
and lots of other books.
She calls these forays “readings in a hostile environment”.
Because when you come down to it, all we do is respond to circumstances. “There only exists a response to a response, and none ever began.” Jean-Luc Nancy
Not everything is so different from the agreed-upon-one
For example, counting.
There is counting in both worlds, although in the agreed-upon-one it is taken quite seriously, and in the other-one it’s more like a game or a song.
(In both, counting is necessary to music)
Common currency is sounds, or letters.
People exchange sounds or letters instead of coins, bills or data. But they do not swap them in exchange for something else, they just swap them for the hell of it.
Common opinion holds that the exchange of sounds and letters say it can cure loneliness or depression.
Or cause it.
But this has not been proved.
Possibly because there is no criteria to validate proof in this world.
Another thing that is counted is subjectivities. Which are created each time a book is read, or a place occupied, a moment documented etc.
But then they disappear into thin air, many of these subjectivities.
So I don’t know if you would really call that counting.
Thought could begin like this: fork desire and bring forth language
Of course not everyone in the other-one agrees upon everything (this is why you cannot call it the agreed-upon-one—since it is not agreed upon).
Some say subjectivities are radically singular, exist in one moment and place only, and then evaporate into the ether like a word you cannot remember.
Others say these subjectivities return, and are self-same although slightly altered
with each passing moment.
It is this collection of subjectivities, which Marie-Jeanne-the-chatte says make up the Act of Reading Workshop
What position(s) to have to produce, write? How does creation start? What actives it, reactivates it? How does the context play into it? One suggestion among so many others: describing a position is a bit like finding it.
Do not be mistaken into thinking then that these subjectivities are not “real”
Whatever that means
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