Rites of passage and perception.
No one goes around throwing parties for unwelcome ghosts, but here’s a toast. I confess a special fondness for these swaggering apparitions who sashay their uncanny specters in and out of formerly familiar rooms, as if they existed––or played at this uncanny form of existence–– for no other reason than to complicate certain over-easy senses of belonging; of exclusion; of the ins and outs of everyday occurrences, where Munch’s screamer runs from Kafka’s ghost wearing a feather boa and dropping glitter dust all over the floor. When the seams of a mind start stretching, it is sometimes rare that the forms in any given mirror are familiar, are human, are known entities––even before the mirror shards itself into these scattered slices of being, reflecting.
All he wanted was a change in the human condition. They can laugh at me, he said to the mirror. When it came to the question of what a human might be, he didn’t claim to know. Over time, he grew distant from those who did, and these were many.
All he could say, when it came to describing his predicament was, it’s possible. He sought reconciliation––between matter and mind, body and soul, fact and idea. But people loved their borders, and he kept being detained at the boundaries of his body.
Then he turned on words, preferring only sound detached from the old symbolisms, and he let these run through him, imagining that their resonance, after all, might affect some inside-out change.
Really? Someone asked.
It’s possible, he seemed to respond, and he did not say a word.
In honor of the birthday of French artist, poet, dramatist, and writer Antonin Artaud, I spent some time this morning in Naomi Greene’s 1967 article in Yale French Studies, “Antonin Artaud: Metaphysical Revolutionary.”