On Slow-motion

“while taking shape sentences form a curtain of fog,
but, sometimes, this curtain is transparent.”
(Georges Bataille En marge d’Acéphale)

The place   Between the temples there is a dark night, apparently quiet and still, that nothing seems to be able to disturb and yet the serene equanimity filling it is, in fact, only an illusion of surface since one only has to peer into this night to feel it move and, with a bit of luck and some attention, see words form.

For they materialise there, they arrange themselves to form a body of language and become completely visible while defining themselves, but by what still obscure sleight of hand, upon the uniform whiteness of the page.

This internal development amazes me and even more so when I realize, after having gone beyond simple appearances, that the words or sentences which appear on the page actually only undo themselves. So do you understand that the whiteness which opens beneath the pen is, in reference to the materialisation, only the external within of this internal process which the birth of words is?

But by performing a kind of slow-motion sight—of which I must admit that I don’t really understand the mechanics, but which however does, if I can put it this way, obey me—I can observe the materialisation while it occurs.

It’s true that I could also involve myself with the materialisation of an image, but the word which forms has this advantage: it can be heard before it becomes visible, hence it takes shape a bit slower. Thus I have relatively more time to observe which allows me to scrutinise its formation and, by a similar process, my formation as well, but we’ll get to that later.

More fascinating still is the two-way activity which precedes this slow-motion and which makes this observation possible while remaining aware of all “external” movements. How is it that the gaze can embrace, at the same time and place, both exterior and interior without my experiencing the slightest difficulty? Is it because there is a point where this double gaze coincides with the continual thinking which, by the way, is outside of language like an empty gaze, or rather is it that this double reading — through some process which still escapes me—might succeed in making coincide in an intermediary space a reading both within and outside of me to form another sight?

You must realize that it is necessary to open up and swim against the current of oneself until being able to weigh anchor at the juncture where the actual matter of the gaze forms and hence coincides with seeing.

The process   A rupture of this night always precedes the materialisation which allows it to be heard before becoming visible. I see, if I dare say so, the darkness audibly split apart. You could say that with a fair amount of pressure the black matter gives way and at the point of rupture releases a gust of air which seems to carry far within me a murmur made of indivisible words or of a single word which resembles all the words which comprise a language. It is like speech but coming from too far away to be heard and which fades away in a muttering.

The astonishing thing though is that it appears that this materialisation is only able to arise from this dying murmur which also ends there, though only temporarily since it recreates itself a bit further beyond itself in this opaque reflection which words are.

Thus described, this unfolding might appear quite long. Actually, it isn’t, for the time between the moment when it is still only audible and when it begins to become visible is quite short and it is only due to listening that one can thus learn to discern the gap and dissect the subtle connection of what ordinarily appears simultaneous.

The rupture which gives quite a depth to the dark matter is meticulous and clear like a forming star, it animates the space within while releasing small masses of particles each of which glows feebly but clearly before melting back into the original matter.

So begins the materialization, in projecting itself outside without ever piercing anything other than its own night before piercing the white night of the page to be thought anew and then abandon its external support in order to reintegrate with its internal support.

But what about the bridge between them… ?

All in all, the materialization is the path by which the visible becomes visible to itself.

Nevertheless, the movement of the appearance and reabsorption of particles is really very beautiful to watch. It radiates silence. You could say that while observing it a miniature storm forms between the temples, a storm which only breaks in order to reform a bit further within itself, silently. Such is the luminous matter of the oral in the skull’s night, shifting matter flashing sporadically. The particles endlessly emerge and re-enter, endlessly overflow and sink in order to emerge once again a bit further on before being re-absorbed in order to open upon a fresh going in and out and … and the longer I watch this cloud of electric matter the more my sight seems to grind it until it only sees … its own transparency and then I am no longer able to apply this double gaze which allows me to simultaneously see both the thing and what produces it.

Throughout I realize that by looking in this way I can affect a division which allows me to pass from the materialization of the word to my own materialization except that it is only perceptible to me when it is over or, in the best case, ending.

It is as if the habitually negative awareness of this process within me can only arise from the ending materialization of the sentence or of the word and so the visible can only become visible to itself from dying murmur to dying murmur, as if the only legible visible was in fact nothing but an interval…

But what about reading? And am I not the legible sign, of a materialization that no reading can achieve, for the Other just like the Other is for me?


October 10 1979

Claude Margat
Sur Ralenti,  Ubacs