- How have you ‘read’ me?
Mary: I read it as though it were an ‘abstract’ play… I read it like Sarah Kane!
Thoughts: Stereotyping is something I have never been too concerned with. I’ve always been different – unique, ecclectic – at school I would have been one of those ‘nomadic’ types, whom floats from friendship group to friendship group, momentarily slotting in like I’d forever belonged or had never been absent; before jumping ship to (p)resume an affinity with another, completely disparate, body of people.
But reading me? Suddenly the light is shone upon me…I’m under the microscope in a way I have never been before, not simply ‘read’ to be enjoyed, nor to indulge someone’s need for a ‘good story’.
Here, I am pursued. I am distilled using agents I am unfamiliar with and, according to the makeup of this project, I am a feast for more than one. To get to ‘the bottom of’ me perhaps people resort to what they know – practical associations that will lead to as pragmatic an interpretation as is humanly possible.
We use the tools at our disposal when the ante is upped in order not to be caught lacking; blind sided by ‘misunderstanding’ or under-cut by our own efforts.
She reads me like Sarah Kane: and how does that influence her reading? Was it a reflexive choice on her part, or do I insist on such a program? Am I now, in fact, a part of some niche – a catalogue of writing laden with presumptions; prerequisit formatting; genre, style, tempo, mood, vocabulary, content, theme, ‘craft’?
Or are these niches another version of a reflexive categorisation, simply on a grander scale – the ‘human desire’ for order, genesis, empiricism and rationality?
2. When you come to think of design, what are you looking for in a text?
Mary: A feeling of the direction of the piece…what was/is going on…what it might be ‘about’. What strikes me? What’s strong, recurring: links.
Thoughts: I’m reluctant to assume this approach would have been any different had I been of a more ‘traditional’ makeup…
In fact, I immediately consider each of these questions not in how they might open ME up… but how I might in fact open them up.
- A feeling of the direction of the piece… following the thread of a three-act drama, i.e. an Ibsen text, I assume this to be a temporal activity: the unfolding of narrative functions over a unilaterally contained space/time continuum, where one follows the thread of action to an inevitable and, more importantly, pre-determined conclusion. The ‘direction’ of such a piece is contained within a the ‘concept’ of the narrative – within a realm of ‘reality’ considered acceptable to the unfolding story, and akin to the ‘world’ crafted as such by the author – it would be fair to say, for example, that the culmination of Hedda Gabler will not involve aliens or talking mice. Though I imagine it to be an absurd suggestion…-i’ll say it anyway-…there are probably a limited number of ways said story could’ve been concluded, given narrative/character arc, and the prevailing ouerve of Ibsen. And for me? Well, let us say, without specificity, that there are many crossroads, leading to many more crossroads, eventually, though not exlusively, leading to a multitude of destinations.
- what was/is going on… needless to say, quite a lot. But, of course, there are usually many things ‘going on’ in a story. Jim Cartwright’s Road springs to mind. And even then, ‘things going on’ doesn’t necessarily have to mean there are many disparate events occurring simultaneously, or even that there is no specified ‘central theme’ carried by a dominant plotline. To return to Hedda Gabler… there is a hell of a lot going on in that play, the details of which I’m sure I needn’t go into; its critical position and occupation/flumoxing of many a theatre student over the years being testament enough. What I will draw your attention to, however, is how the multitude of ‘happenings’ in me becomes relevant when we consider my designer’s next point…
- ...what it might be about: here the rules are very different. Precisely because I have offered none of the sort. Not that all ‘traditional’ stories demand their reader’s follow directives exclusively indicating how something should be interpreted…but that their tendency to geometric narrative; cause and effect; unilateral narrative space/time: has an internal logic that already goes some way to guiding interpretation or, in the very least, influencing it. Many authors, of course, are protective over their ‘abouts’, and desire the unequivocal interpretation. I, on the other hand, celebrate the vagaries of the ‘abouts’ and, just like the attention to ‘direction’, prefer spaghetti junctions and schitzophrenic tom toms. There may be a lot happening in the self-contained unilateral narrative – a list could possibly be drawn up that would match even my own ecclecticism for events – but it is my disregard for geometric ‘rules’, in favour of narrative parcours (Serres) that again provides the distinction between how the above question interrogates one text, and yet is interrogated by another – my other.
- what strikes me? What’s strong, recurring: links… This is less of a question, and more of a reflection on why the above is relevant. On every count… the above ‘points’ occupy no other space than the subjectivity of the interpretant, with perhaps ‘reccuring‘ being the only exception (though recurrence may often manifest in metaphor, allusion, and/or subecjtive-association, and thus needn’t be literal repitition). Comprised of fragments, composed haphazardly and without regard for narrative trajectory, cause and effect or geometric structure; what strikes…is strong… recurrs (as above) and links are constitutive of the very model of which, and by which, I am me:
‘It is not just the production of an ‘alternative model’ for texts that is important…nor that the model in question derives from the physics actually developed in the text in question. The specifics model is itself of particular interest. It posits the text as flow and turbulence, of course. But it also produces the text as a turbulent dispersal of little births or emergences…The model in question is hence one of endless repetition of difference, a constant process of ‘bifurcation’ (Serres 1977b, p. 172). Sense itself emerges out of that bifurcation, which also means that sense always appears in the local, ‘here, there, yesterday, tomorrow’ (ibid. p. 181)…the linguistic atoms of the text both resemble and differ from themselves as they appear and disappear in different contexts (Serres 1977b p. 175). The text is both flow and eddy or backwash, pulling its elements forwards in a single direction but also redistributing them backwards into new compounds, vortices, turbulences.‘ (page 16) (Gibson, A. (1996) Towards a postmodern theory of narrative, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh)
Do I enforce a particular style of reading?
…thus dissolves. I am both the model of my own ‘narrative space’ and the means by which narrative parcours sets forth one of multiple latent stories.
3. What have you got planned for me?
Mary’s final thoughts….
I want to create an environment, not simply one element…but of many overpowering/strong elements.
I’m saying it’s about the moon…but it’s clearly NOT! – it’s about more than that – but the Moon is a prominent and overpowering theme, that I can use to inform the other themes I want to find.
I want people to feel the frustration of the text in the space. The moon frustrated me, and I want the space to show that frustration:
- Everything “is” the Moon
- None of it, is the Moon
- So what is it [about]?
What is it, indeed, about?