As I was reading a transcribed in class conversation with Jean-Luc Nancy from European graduate school I came across what I think must have been one of the most simple and beautiful ways to describe a body that I have ever encountered.
“-For me the body is first a hole, a tube if you want, and around the tube is a skin. The first character of this topology is that it is a resounding thing. The air can go through the tube and you have the skin over it and you produce music. The body is at first a certain sound, and that sound is the voice. “
I don’t know why this struck me to be anything in particular, when you are reading it you might think nothing special of it. Yet I can’t get the image of the tube rapped in a skin out of my head. And I’ve been looking at an empty toilet role standing on my kitchen table all weekend taking it up to my ear and trying to listen to its sound.
It might be because I’ve lately been confronted with the fact that I need to be better at visualizing my ideas and experimenting in order to evolve my work. I always saw myself as a visual person but at this moment I am very keen on words.
In this particular conversation Nancy was talking about love and how love is to give what one does not have; it is to give the nothingness. It makes perfect sense to me that we give something that we don’t know what is and that we are not sure we have, cause in fact we can’t explain why we love someone but yet we offer them our love without being sure of what it is that we are offering. Love is lying somewhere outside the corpus. We can’t cut it open and locate the love and dissect it and explain what exactly it is that we give and why we choose to give it to certain people; and yet we need the corpus to embody the love.
I feel that somehow love is also outside of language because I will never be able to describe the nothingness I am giving. I can say “I love you” but what does that really mean? I can say that to my mother or a friend or my lover but it will have different meaning, and as Roland Barthes states it even means something different every time I should say it to my lover. It is just words that are no way covering what it is I want to utter, not that I am even sure about that either.
I find this to be very interesting exactly because I can’t express it in words. Here again I have this question of visualization. I wonder if it is possible to visualize the nothingness through the body and its actions, even though I am not aware of what the nothing is.
When I feel pain I take my hand and hold it to the place of my body where the pain is located. That is an easy visualization of that there is something wrong. But exactly because love lies outside the body and is dependent on something outside the self it makes it hard to visualize without putting it into words, which are also not a sufficient medium.
So I guess my struggle right now concerning this matter is that I am looking for a way to visualize love without making references to red hearts and the cheesy commercial idea of what love is. To make something that people can recognize and hopefully see some truth in, that is no easy task.