A lot of it is just trying to figure out how to say something. How to read. Not how to offer a reading, or even an interpretation, but a performance of a text, in the face of its unintelligibility, as if one were forced/privileged to access some other world where representation and unrepresentability were beside the point (so that the response to the terrors and chances of history were not about calculation, not bound to replicate, even in a blunted and ethically responsible way, the horrors of speculation), where new materialities of imagination were already on the other side of the logic of equivalence.

Fragmentation is also about more, an initiation of the work’s interior social life, a rending of that interiority by the outside that materializes it. The logic of the supplement is instantiated with every blur, every gliss, every melismatic torque, every twist of the drone, every turn of held syllable. I want to attend to the necessary polyphony. I don’t wanna represent anything and I don’t want to repair anything but I do wanna be here more in another way. I think, in the end, Zong! works this way but even if it doesn’t work this way I want it to work this way. I want to work it this way, in coded memory, as the history of no repair, as the ongoing event of more and less than representing.

Originally Published: February 6th, 2010

Fred Moten lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches at the University of California, Riverside. He is author of Arkansas (Pressed Wafer); In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (University of Minnesota Press); I ran from it but was still in it. (Cusp Books); Hughson’s Tavern (Leon Works); B Jenkins (Duke...

  1. February 8, 2010

    The force/privilege shared space there in the face of opening up (to) that other world is very helpful to this one today, as is feeling the thought of attending to the necessary polyphony (the second time I've bumped into that word today) as an impulse behind pushing the work past its available exoskeleton. That and that I'm trying to figure out how to talk tomorrow morning about a poem that has something of that dynamic in it and some other stuff:\r

    "But this is an important aspect of the question\r
    Which I am not ready to discuss, am not at all ready to,\r
    This leaving-out business. On it hinges the very importance of what's novel\r
    Or autocratic, or dense or silly. It is as well to call attention\r
    To it by exaggeration, perhaps. But calling attention\r
    Isn't the same thing as explaining, and as I said I am not ready\r
    To line phrases with the costly stuff of explanation, and shall not,\r
    Will not do so for the moment. Except to say that the carnivorous \r
    Way of these lines is to devour their own nature, leavig\r
    Nothing but a bitter impression of absence, which as we know involves\r
    presence, but still.\r
    Nevertheless these are fundamental absences, struggling to get up and be off\r

    from The Skaters by little JA

  2. February 9, 2010
     Fred Moten

    Hey Anselm,\r

    I wish I could hear you talk about it. In lieu of his explanations, in their absence, I just want to break up what is present in order to make new things, which soon will be struggling to be off themselves. Struggling to be off. Past the available exoskeleton, as you say. And the greatest thing, for me, is how the passage you gave us sounds. That impulse/push you mention is there and definite but not like a bad paper. Shuttling, instead, between broken treatise and bent song.