Room to Manoeuvre

3 January 2011

I see [language] as a play between constraint and room to manoeuvre. If you think of language in the traditional way, as a correspondence between a word with its established meaning on the one hand and a matching perception on the other, then it starts coagulating. It’s just being used as a totally conventional system for pointing out things you want other people to recognise. It’s all about pointing out what everyone can agree is already there. When you think about it, though, there’s a unique feeling to every experience that comes along, and the exact details of it can never be exhausted by linguistic expression. That’s partly because no two people in the same situation will have had exactly the same experience of it – they would be able to argue and discuss the nuances endlessly. And it’s partly because there was just too much there between them to be completely articulated – especially if you think about what was only there potentially, or virtually. But there are uses of language that can bring that inadequation between language and experience to the fore in a way that can convey the ‘too much’ of the situation – its charge – in a way that actually fosters new experiences.

Navigating movements – Brian Massumi interviewed by M. Zournazi in ‘Hope: new philosophies for change’ Pluto Press.


Andy Field flags the virtual/SMS performance I made last year – An S.M.S (A Short Message Spectacle) – in his round up of performances from 2010. Meanwhile my latest virtual/imaginary performance venture – Vacuum Days – makes it to the very early fourth day of a planned 365 tomorrow.


Over the course of two painstaking years in the late 1990s, Saddam Hussein… sat regularly with a nurse and an Islamic calligrapher; the former drawing 27 litres of his blood and the latter using it as a macabre ink to transcribe a Qur’an. But since the fall of Baghdad, almost eight years ago, it has stayed largely out of sight – locked away behind three vaulted doors. It is the one part of the ousted tyrant’s legacy that Iraq has simply not known what to do with.

More here.


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