On Deep Breaths and Friends Forever: Im/materiality and Mis/communication in Happy Angels Revisited

By | 1 February 2019

mediators and mirrors

The angel is best known for its depiction in Abrahamic religions as a messenger of God, facilitating contact between heaven and human. Derived from Latin of Late Antiquity, ‘angel’ comes from angelus, meaning ‘messenger’. Of course, there are obvious problems with communication in the form of one-way dissemination (e.g. the Bible, advertising, propaganda), but face-to-face interactions as a means of world-making-sharing, aren’t necessarily bound up in mutually generative listener-speaker relationships, either, whatever that stipulates to be.

Everything, once enunciated, becomes interpreted. The recorded and disembodied voice (one-way) can still be dialogic and conversational (two-way) in this regard; the interpretation of phonic traces renders dialogue as hermeneutical and aesthetic rather than interactive and mutual. I address a notional you, as listener × reader × angel, incorporating you into an idealistic communication schema where a sender-receiver status is presumed and where dreams of the ‘mutual communion of souls’ can be realised (ibid: 1). Like prayers or communication with pets, (interpretive) contact over distances with no guarantee of immediate reply or ever being heard can be ‘desperate and daring acts of dignity’ (ibid: 152).

Are you the angel in this story whose heart gets pierced, or the cute little lamb? Maybe you’re not part of this world, and that’s totally fine! The main reason I asked how incoming shapes feel in your body is because I don’t think for one second that we have to buy into the same cosmologies for us to respect each other’s agency; I want to include you but in no way will I force you to opt in. X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X.

the flower can feel dank holographic colours

limits of name

‘To name (the other), to become like (the other), to form social relations (with the other): this is how we derive knowledge of the world.’ 

– Rey Chow, Not Like a Native Speaker: On Languaging as a Postcolonial Experience

Stories are bound up in the politics of representation because they offer cues for how to live and how to think about the land, our bodies, and the universe. An example is how through profit-driven, mass-dissemination, and (re)iterations of abhorrent corporeal hierarchies (e.g. thin > fat, some skins > other skins, fast > slow), narrative has power to control bodies and the routes of their spatial flows (directing the movement of class or infrastructural mobility), as well as prevent certain imaginations (e.g. ancestral, pre-/de-/colonial, non-Eurocentric futurisms) from their material unfolding. This is a deeply unproductive model if we want to support and encourage people to be the dankest and best versions of themselves.

boxed angel so bored……………………………………………. :0

Cultural forms are leaky and porous, perpetually haunted by the presence of its absence (the unsayable, the unseeable, the repressed); its meaning bound to its permanent excess of what it’s not. In an essay on the politics of how cultures are explained, Gayatri C Spivak argues that ‘in the production of every explanation, there is the itinerary of a constantly thwarted desire to make text explain (143)’, and a suspicion that ‘what is at the center often hides a repression’ (141).

Well known for her translation of philosopher Jacques Derrida’s work on deconstructive criticism as a reading practice; Spivak uses deconstruction (which exposes the instability of meaning in language) to critique what forms centre in public and private realms, in abstractions but also the physical infrastructures of civil space; what occupies centre and margin; how notions of centrality are disseminated; and the conditions in place for directing and holding attention to this (ideological) centre. I’m fine with the position that the world is uncontainable material Otherness or all dreamed up in my head;

the world makes squiggly pictures in her eye, the world could be so exciting

– because it makes little difference to breath and choice,
to (en)acting life in relation to Other/s in the material world,
even if only perceived.

My friend told me recently that she doesn’t care if we’re living in a simulation; the consensus is that it’s still life through our senses, and so I’m still bound up in the poetics of storytelling for living.

and so I’m still here, trying to (cos)play with the mortality of body-language and its movements;

big breath

of its expansion and contractions,
of its non-linear spatiality,
of its intractable urges,
of its metaphysical and bodily affects,

we can have a nice time anywhere

of (w)hol(l)y relaxation time,
of trying to make you leak,
through my skin-language-pores
and maybe, I hope,
through your skin-language-pores;

anything you feel, is enough

flesh flow

Perpetuating world through breath, prayer, ritual, memory, and intergenerational storytelling still relies on (en)flesh(ment).

the house looks lonely but it isn’t

We could miss out on a lot if we think that gently fondling the worm soil or taking a deep breath can’t offer models for materialities of multiplicity, incompatibility, difference. Maybe one day it’ll seem comedic that we can’t footnote our inside jokes or cite our stomach-aches (though it’s not assimilation that matters). I’m just confused by the (privileged) logic that if you can’t name an impulse then it doesn’t count, that creative processes even outside of culture-making are unknowable without descriptors and thus too easily rendered irrelevant. What is this treatment of Knowledge and Culture as empty canvases for the resolved? What are these attempts to contain things at the expense of other modes of un/learning? Whose vision? Who decides? By downplaying the legitimacy of notions that the somatic both precedes, and is also informed by articulation, we neglect its generative contributions to narratives for living and loving. It’s as if we think concepts and guts are mutually exclusive, or that expressing a rumbly feeling can’t lend itself to theoretical consensus. Knowledge does not just happen in the head; it happens in the tummy, organs, and clouds, too.

Perhaps you can’t fall asleep or you are on a busy commute to work, but it might be pretty cool to hear about light, warm ponds, and flying, huh? Or, to be reminded that your worth and value as a person doesn’t rely on the malleability of body-contours such as becoming less elastic and more droopy, nor does it rely on your capacity to participate in an imposed life of fetishised speed and conquest. Happy Angels Revisited can’t exactly ‘do’ what it’s intending to affect, but it is super sincere in expressing that the sea can cuddle you hard and soft and that your currency isn’t about blockage but leakage, that magic happens outside of the message machine, and that worlds are made and unmade through relationships and stories, like a shiny day in the ocean and it will be forever.

I see you in the morning……………………………………… :3 XO

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