Watching On Mute

Blake Butler, “I Don’t Want to Read Any More Books About Straight White People Having Sex,” Vice magazine 9 October 2012

Most of the time when I watch a Lars von Trier movie I find myself wishing I was watching it on mute. The image has thousands of possible ramifications, and yet the one that was chosen, for the most part, feels nothing but confining and old.

La page tellement blanche

Valéry Hugotte, “…battant comme une porte”, Scherzo 7 (spring 1999)

Alors parfois il y a la tentation de se laver de tous ces mots qui collent à la peau, s’y attachent comme un tatouage indélébile; il y a même un autre rêve, celui d’une page blanche, du livre vierge où tout resterait à écrire, enfin. A la manière du “livre blanc d’Hoffmann” évoqué dans Calvaire des chiens ou, dans Prison, de la “page tellement blanche qu’aucun mot ne lui préexisterait”. On se souviendra surtout de la phrase bouleversante d’Impatience où s’énonce furieusement la lassitude de ces mots dont notre corps est lesté: “Et c’est comme une lessive de mots pour les débarrasser de la gangue sale du monde et y marcher de nouveau la tête haute et la nuque raide”.

Fragments Just Above the Nothingness Replacing Them

Marc Medwin, Rev. of The Disintegration Loops by William Basinski, Dusted Magazine 1 October 2012

The whole process is still awash in reverb, an essential component as the gaps between sounds widen over the course of decaying time, but there is more depth in and around each timbral event. The effect is to make the source material itself seem less dated, but there is an added bonus: The ethereal and majestic qualities observed by so many are even more pronounced as the glacial sounds distort, crack and begin to disappear, often leaving fragments just above the nothingness replacing them.

More here.

Ink So Dense It’s Mute, Or the Purest Form of Literature

Erik Anderson, “The Sum of Two Cubes (And the Uses of Literature), Los Angeles Review of Books 23 September 2012

A light touch does not negate reality, nor, I might add, are all silences complicit. Anne Carson, in her moving elegy for her brother, talks about a muteness or opacity “which likes to show the truth by allowing it to be seen hiding.” And near the very end of Schizophrene, Bhanu Kapil gives us a page that has been totally blacked out. It’s an opaque square of ink and it defies you to see through it, or to place words on the page. There is some truth here, or perhaps some horror, that is inaccessible to us — something we are not allowed to see but are allowed to see hiding. The page has a famous precedent: in Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, a black page appears after the death of one of the characters. And as in Sterne’s famous book, the effect of the page is not, paradoxically, a sense of heaviness. Or at least, not a sense of heaviness alone: some weight has been lifted and this one page, of all the pages in the book, is allowed to levitate, to unhinge the book from its subject. It accomplishes this through a lightness so dark it’s opaque, through ink so dense it’s mute.

One could say it’s the most useless page in the book.

[…] Strangely enough, those black pages in Schizophrene and Tristram Shandy might be the purest form of literature there is, even though I’ll grant you it’s an impossible and undesirable ideal.