Having left out the exact words i had meant to express to her, i sent the e-mail a second time: “oh, before i meant to say: ‘and despite *my fear and nervousness*…’ ” Fear and nervousness to be left out at all costs, if we are to talk about serendipity. Except that it’s a silly word. Except that we couldn’t find the right word in Korean. Because 緣份 is more than serendipity, if we are talking about circles of time, letting things be, how we got here in the first place. I will try to forget about my fear and nervousness, to find comfort in someone else’s words, like D. says—“理論很舒服”。
It’s the resonance that she means here, and that is to say a—let’s call it ‘pleasant’—reverberation between the two.
(it’s funny how that’s never really so acceptable in art economies)
Y.Y. and I.S. made an exhibition with the exact same name as our project a few months ago. I didn’t know, I really didn’t know! Clumsily avoided saying too much afterwards except the utterly boring, “I really liked your show”, and basically also delayed to read the accompanying publication, for fear of inadvertently finding too much resonance. But then one thinks they should be doing more research, the spores have already been released and——let’s take small comfort in numbers again——I.S. does write about three plus one becoming understandings of the word ‘catalogue’, so one and one and one and one…new appendages would be the point of these communiqué—let’s grow into our new eachother bodies.
(a question to you though, why does agency become automatically associated in singularities?)
And then at the cusp of their heat wave, the one that makes a girl conditioned to heat and sweat giggle, other Girls Like Us picked up the same networks of drifting mycellium, and they deconstructed the magazine in another magasin, taking off and piling up, cushions and colours and all forms of care…
We keep talking about things that spread and circulate. People, goods, ideas, memes, mycelia. All that fussing about, when actually the question of survival, of making a home (outdated concept?) is a very concentrated, tiny little thing. Like focusing upon words across lines, line to line, and all the networks in the world following through to that little nub at the end of a serif font. And of course it’s no end, Borges, the sentences continue, and your train of thought goes somewhere else. I’ve misunderstood you.
Today we had a very nice discussion centring around your book with our collaborators from Read-in and Kunci, and together we came up with a few questions to ask you:
- Can you elaborate more about the concept of collaborative survival, and how could it be more specifically a methodology or strategy employed generally?
- In acknowledgement of forms of alienation and the breaking down of sociality in common life——in acknowledgement of the fact that “the world will not be saved”——how do you see the remaking of the human spirit?
- Is there a non-human perspective that you hope to bring by introducing the mode of mycorrhiza into our thinking? Would it be possible for us to imagine this non-human or even a “post-anthropocene” perspective that could be brought to our contemporary, institutionalised lives in the urban sphere? You mention that one needs to acquire patience to mix with the multi-species other, but how can we learn to even notice them in the city?
- What role would the matsutake take when translated into the metaphor of artists’ positions within regeneration/revitalisation projects? Do you see a role for artists in this matrix of noticing, middlemen, translation, commodification and regeneration? What could some of our aims as artist/anthropologists/thinkers be; what types of spores should we seek to spawn?
- How do you think translation figures in relation to scalability and the potentials of mistranslation; what might that look like? Following translation as work across difference—encouraging creative listening, a political listening—is a way finding mutual understanding of each other’s world-making processes. When speaking from specific localities, translating these into a dominant language that is not mutually shared, is that also a process of scalability?
- What role does imagination or the speculative play in your work and how can it be deployed potentially as an effective counternarrative? What are some of the tactics that you employ as a writer to weave narratives that resist the possibility of appropriation and reduction?
- Does the concept of a latent commons require a form self-awareness among those in such relation, and can the thought of working more actively towards the commons negate the scale of the latent or even fugitive or undercommons (as per Harney and Moten)? How much latency (or opacity?) is required in order to maintain non-destructiveness and avoid expoitation? Is there something to sustain with the hidden or dormant? If one characteristic is that a latent commons is undeveloped, what does it mean to make it visible (in a way, developing it into our imagination)?
M. has mentioned several times about needing to find out again the name of the Japanese scholar who talked about our Asian spinelessness. In Eastern ontology of print there was no spine. The book was a scroll. Does the spine allude to a ‘Western rigidity’ and an obsession with structure and order? “We have no spine but that will be something that we’ll talk about.”
(but to have the courage to talk about it, i’ll have to forget my fear and nervousness)
To mention in speech what somebody else has said is perhaps a way of ‘owning it’. Or what are the footnotes of speech? Can the simultaneity of attributions be translated in real-time, like ASMR tingles and little cartoon devils on shoulders? And what if you are the one who is really terrible at telling stories, at making the punchline of the joke work? No, I think I’m funnier in Chinese.
But what I really wanted to tell you about is something that has half-slipped my memory for at least ten years now, though the other half of it keeps coming up every now and again, like those waves of text while walking.
I read you here and I read you there, here and there, like a spore trapped in my memory because I will always remember the fuzz of something in the vicinity of you on the page. At the same time I know exactly where you are, left or right, a third of the way down…everything else in darkness as we rode a night bus through a foreign country.
— from the COVER; Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, Display Distribute 『CATALOGUE』No. 3, co-edited with Kunci and Read-in
This one was somewhere about three-quarters of the way down, on some days it’s on the left side of the page, on others it’s the right. He talks about the linguistic typology of words that become true by virtue of their utterance—what are they called? In conjunction with this writing, I tried—as I do every once in a while when I want to ‘own it’, to track it down again. Weird keyword searches, scanning the possible PDFs. Tonight I realised that I must have lost the hard copy of that beloved book, the one that I think it’s in. But then I found only one sentence from the entire PDF version highlighted: “For human beings who have lost every sense of naturalness, each single gesture becomes a destiny.”
I won’t tell you who this comes from so that you’ll feel the same haziness as I do,
(remember my place on the page)
as if I was telling it to you in casual conversation while we are waiting together for something. Let’s own it. But anyway, it’s not the term ‘speech acts’. Though I saw that exhibition as well. If we should talk about our being-in-language, utterances to representation, yes, then my fear and nervousness comes back, a whole life gone by…destiny. and it circles back to 緣份. it must be circular, it must be circular, I say to myself. Not so grandiose as a speech act, but as small and tiny a little thing, like, “sigh…“