canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999

The Non-Sonorous Sonority of a.e.m.’s Solid as Echo
--Or, the new diagram of the dynamic sublime

by Kane X. Faucher

I am (as of/a) late reader of a.e.m. which is to say that the work and the re-view operate on two planar models imbued with their own specific trajectories that intertwine and intercalate their functions. The first is on the order of the work (itself coextensive rather than prior or latter to the review) and considers a logograph, a death, an imprint of a mobile body—this body an assemblage of thought, thought itself immobile without the forces that shriek within it, that cascade throughout the flat figuration of the body. The body as work and oikesis, a living tomb with an absent king. As coextensive (docum)entity, the review (and ostensibly, the reviewer as a body and an assemblage of thought containing different singularity) is equally late, deceased, a late-comer to another work as if landing vacation plans in the very plexus of a strange nation whereupon bombs have lacerated any trace of structural, Hippodamian arranged organs. One comes to the text with reservations for hotels that now kneel and bow into the street with all manner of their inner intricate gore spilt out over streets that cease to have intended purpose.

The somewhat fortuitous encounter between this reviewer and the work of a.e.m. in its particularity, in this vignette to be reviewed, occurred too late; that is, in an untimely fashion—as only the great books reveal themselves.

With apologies to Kant, a.e.m.’s Solid as Echo traffics in the dynamical sublime, which is to say that it is a chaos(mos) that grounds and destabilizes its own ground in an infinite act of re- and de-constructing its borders, frontiers, limits and foundations. It is a pure intensity and a nubility of language. This is the facile over(re)view of say, the inaugural piece, “The Only Legal Substitute for Prayer”, for the ‘violence’ it so depicts as we follow the dual logography of Tony M. and MURDERMAN is not its representation or its review by investigators who are only concerned with gaining access to the empirical and formal conditions of the crime scene experience. No, we would be led astray (are we not already?) to take these criminal investigation reports or the many felines mentioned by Tony M.’s logograph as the true terrain of a violence. It would be to become distracted by mere effects rather than to engage its affects. As Gilles Deleuze says of Francis Bacon, it is to paint the scream more than the horror, to render visible the conditions of representations, and a.e.m. succeeds in doing just that: the representational fragments of the violence are merely the shielding flesh cascading off the bones of sensation, a “flattened sleeper” of language and text while bones of force keep it upright or reassign movement from one zone to another. Were we to focus on the mere signified order of violence (beheaded cats, hung doubles, potentially murderous rural folk…) we would take the mask for the face and effects for causes.

It is not that the criminal reports write or register upon the body of Tony M and his Borgesian double, but rather that Tony M inscribes his double in an inverted kingdom where he writes the report of the criminal investigators’ crime, effectively (re)doubling writing on/against the sterile and cold cerebral enumeration of the report’s written parts. For the investigators who follow a very standard ethos, all crime is invariably sin and excess, and a clean toilet or a multitude of cats is evidence enough to them to declare that—at the very least—excess had taken place. But it is a report on the reporter’s invasion of space, the defiling of a personal canon of empirical singularity on the part of the reporter who can only stutter that which is enmeshed so brutely and unimaginatively in tactile or optical codes. Particular relics, paraphernalia, varia, and other detailed addenda serve (in the absence of the subject) to define this subject by what it/he is not. But this enumeration is an aggregate of mere “thises” attempting to ground the unity of the subject under investigation as the Concept or Idea of him. The movement of Tony M and his double (re)inscription (hanging/writing) renders this investigative attempt at grounding equilibrium or unified harmonious concept a bankrupt and impotent task. There is no double movement which is one, but there is (in the case of Tony M) a double movement of one that is two (or more). It is this multiplicity, this pluralism, that the investigators cannot efface. Moreover, if Tony M could be brought into an equilibrium state (form and content are One), it would have already happened, especially if the time of the text is infinite in its duration. “I like a good microscope for watching things lifelessly” (15): which is to say, the enumeration can only be said to have taken place by way of falling back into actualization, into the lifeless representation of mere details categorically defined, all made “visible” by an implement of ocular prosthesis. Tony M and MURDERMAN are both dealt under the microscope, amplified and dilated…or contracted as if in death or business. But, they are both (as one?) viral machines, and so their own logic of bifurcation and multiplication of open disjunctions cannot submit itself to the investigator’s notebook in any way that true difference is mapped unto the pure nullity of Forms.

And at the elbow of a.e.m.’s sonority—sentences and propositions, forces themselves hidden beneath this logo-flesh—is itself a beautiful spectre of silence, resolutely hollow (as echo) sans determination, but univocal and full in its difference. His text is now what is not said as if mere negation of identity will assist in some pejorative task to assign voice to voiceless inner-reflection, but rather a.e.m’s texts speaks the unsaid of what is said in a truly new sense. As solid as echo, this echo, the silence and delay and deferment of the full as empty, speaks itself unsaid…a fissure of language, an abyss of pure fragmentation and oblivion. And, much akin to a cocaine high, it is the singularity of an event as an unfolding series of non-events. He writes this unspoken non-event with diagrammatic flourish, into the dynamic sublime, especially to this reviewer who has come so late to a latent text.

Kane X. Faucher is a dystopic polemical poststructuralist and novelist. He reads Celine’s later works aloud to Dickensian street urchins and downwardly mobile corporocrats. He drinks cheap wine and yells at his neighbours.






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