The commitment to repair is how a refusal to represent terror redoubles the logic of representation. The refusal of our ongoing afterlife can only ever replicate a worn-out grammar. The event remains, in the depths. The event-remains are deep and we stand before them, to express them, as their expression. These bits are a mystery, a new machine for the incalculable, which is next, having defied its starting place. I almost remembered this in a dream, where we were just talking, and nothing happened, then it was over, until just now, with your hands, and light on the breeze’s edge. I just can’t help feeling that this is what we’re supposed to do—to conserve what we are and what we can do by expansion whose prompt, more often than not shows up as loss (which shows up, more often than not, as a prompt). More shows up more often than nought if you can stand it.
But all this assumes a relation (rather than some absolute break) between the new thing and memory that remains to be thought. What the fuck does it mean to rebuild Haiti? Stories abound of people surviving after being trapped for days. Yes. The imposition of underdevelopment, and the impossible social life that emerges from it, is an historical condition. Rebuilding or repair, both of which are predicated on their necessary relation to the story, are re-situated by a question of depth. Re: Zong! What’s behind, but also, who or what stands in front of the poem, in order to be moved, reformatted? There is a mutual transformation that occurs by way of an intense engagement with the thing, a mutual supplementation, rather than the enactment of a fantasy of repair, or ennoblement, that is always manifest as getting through or past or behind it to its message or its essence. What if the message were displaced by the ongoing production of code, which is our social life and what our social life is meant to conserve? What if what we talked about under the rubric of silence were discussed under the rubric of space? Or, in a different register, air and water? What is it like to be in the world with some other thing? I’m trying to think about the spatial relations between the reader, the poem and history. What does it mean, first of all, to consider that this is a spatial relation? Or, better yet, to speak of the space-time of articulation (as futurity, projection)?
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...