cosey fanni tutti on georges bataille (1984)

coseyA TEST IN TRUST

“For a brief moment my belief in myself is yours to take and assimilate as you will. My innermost thoughts and private ideals are laid before you in trust.”

I still believe we are sensitive. To hide behind defensive faces for so long has buried our souls. The need to communicate feelings and express experience is, for some, becoming more difficult. Suppressing the natural instincts leads to eventual emotional breakdown. Our only true way to communicate is through our emotions. I only give you what I believe, what I know and what I live. We can all offer something to one another.

I have always thought of Georges Bataille’s work as being very private, yet he shared it with us all, somehow retaining that private feeling that only you had read this piece. Not sensationalist when it could so easily have been. He has always left me with a feeling of warmth and reassurance that life is as complicated as I began to believe but still worth living to the full, experiencing more and more as you grow older, not less and less. A fine writer to me, he communicates guiltless fantasy.

— Cosey Fanni Tutti for Georges Bataille Festival, Violent Silence,1984.

kathy acker – from “my mother: demonology” (1994)

But the desire you have for me cuts off my breath – These blind eyes see you, and no one else – My blind eyes see how desire is contorting your mouth – They see your mad eyes-
To see.  I must see your face, which is enough for me, and now I don’t need anything else.
None of this is realizable.
As soon as I knew this, I agreed that we had to meet in person.
But at the moment we met, all was over.  At that moment, I no longer felt anything.  I became calm.  (I who’ve been searching so hard for calmness.)
I can’t be calm, simple, for more than a moment when I’m with you. Because of want. Because your eyes are holes.  In want, everything is always being risked; being is being overturned and ends up on the other side.
It’s me who’s let me play with fire: whatever is ‘I’ are the remnants.  I’ve never considered any results before those results happened.

At this moment if I could only roll myself under your feet, I would, and the whole world would see what I am…,
Etc.
Etc.
Do you see how easy it is for me to ask to be regarded as low and dirty?  To ask to be spat upon?  This isn’t… The sluttishness… But the language of a woman who thinks: it’s a role.  I’ve always thought for myself.  I’m a woman who’s alone, outside the accepted.  Outside the Law, which is language.  This is the only role that allows me to be intelligent as I am and to avoid persecution.

But now I’m not thinking for myself, because my life is disintegrating right under me. My inability to bear that lie is what’s giving me strength.  Even when I believed in meaning, when I felt defined by opposition between desire and the search for self-knowledge and self-reclamation was tearing me apart, even back then I knew that I was only lying, that I was lying superbly, disgustingly, triumphally.

Life doesn’t exist inside language: too bad for me.

__
Excerpted from Kathy Acker’s My Mother: Demonology, A Novel (pp 252-3). (1994)

acker - my mother: demonology

Based loosely on the relationship between Colette Peignot and Georges Bataille, My Mother: Demonology is the powerful story of a woman’s struggle with the contradictory impulses for love and solitude. At the dawn of her adult life, Laure becomes involved in a passionate and all-consuming love affair with her companion, B. But this ultimately leaves her dissatisfied, as she acknowledges her need to establish an identity independent of her relationship with him.

Yearning to better understand herself, Laure embarks on a journey of self-discovery, an odyssey that takes her into the territory of her past, into memories and fantasies of childhood, into wildness and witchcraft, into a world where the power of dreams can transcend the legacies of the past and confront the dilemmas of the present.

With a poet’s attention to the power of language and a keen sense of the dislocation that can occur when the narrative encompasses violence and pornography, as well as the traumas of childhood memory, Kathy Acker here takes another major step toward establishing her vision of a new literary aesthetic.

“Memories do not obey the law of linear time,” reads one of the many aphorisms in this novel, and it seems a key point of departure for Acker’s unconventional exploration of memory and its manifestations in dreams. Here, a woman tries to come to terms with her vulnerability and with the excess mental baggage conferred by time. But that simple narrative is just one of the many important levels in the work, which also contains vast psychological wallpaper. Visceral, unflinching, wildly experimental with shifting contexts and settings, this is written in the “punk” style for which Acker (In Memoriam to Identity , LJ 7/90) is well known. Forget categories, though. Her formidably talented hand gives the cacophonous materials compelling poetic rhythm and balance.

bataille on the insubordination of material facts

Human life, distinct from juridical existence, existing as it does on a globe isolated in celestial space, from night to day and from one country to another—human life cannot in any way be limited to the closed systems assigned to it by reasonable conceptions. The immense travail of recklessness, discharge, and upheaval that constitutes life could be expressed by stating that life starts with the deficit of these systems; at least what it allows in the way of order and reserve has meaning only from the moment when the ordered and reserved forces liberate and lose themselves for ends that cannot be subordinated to any thing one can account for. It is only by such insubordination—even if it is impoverished—that the human race ceases to be isolated in the unconditional splendour of material things.

― Georges Bataille, from The Notion of Expenditure

she wolf

“If your heart is pounding, think upon a child’s most obscene moments.

With a child, different moments are separated–

ingenuousness
joyful games
dirtiness.

An adult links these moments together: in dirtiness he attains an ingenuous joy.

Dirtiness without a childish shame, games without a child’s joy, ingenuousness without the thoughtless reflex by which it is characterized in children–all of these are but comedies staged by adulthood’s reductive seriousness. Health, on the other hand, maintains childhood’s burning flame. The worst impotence coincides with the domination of seriousness.

Naked breasts and the obscenity of your sex have the power to bring about that which as a little girl, able to do nothing, you could only dream.

—III.—

Battered by frozen despair, by the majestic horrors of life! At exasperation’s end. Today I find myself at the edge of the abyss. At the limit of disaster and an intolerable happiness. At the very peak of a vertiginous height I sing a HALLELUIAH: the purest, most dolorous you could hear.

Calamity’s solitude is a halo, a veil of tears with which you will be able to cover your dog’s nakedness.

Listen to me. I speak softly in your ear. But don’t misunderstand my soft tone. Go out into the anguished night, naked, go to the place where the path turns.

Press your fingers into your moist folds. It will be sweet to smell upon you the viscous, bitter scent of pleasure: the damp, stale odor of flesh made happy. Voluptuousness contracts the lips burning to open out onto anguish. The wind upon the small of your back makes you feel more than naked as you quake and quiver with the cartilaginous snap of your spine–that snapping which makes the whites of your eyes roll up to fill the voids between your eyelids.

In a lonely forest far from your abandoned clothing will you hunch down carefully like a she-wolf.

Lightning with its fierce stench and pounding rain are the companions of anguish and obscenity.

Get up, and flee: childish, abandoned, howling in frightened laughter.”

-From Halleluiah! The Catechism of dianus by Georges Bataille