Wednesday, January 23, 2008


The country is the corner of earth that one is attached to, by which one is held;as a son or daughter of the earth–which we all are–one can only be from one corner or another; one cannot be from the entire earth

–Jean-Luc Nancy, "Uncanny Representation," in The Ground of the Image, p. 53

The ship is the heterotopia par excellence. In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.

–Michel Foucault, Of Other Spaces

Je veux, pour composer chastement mes ├ęglogues,
Coucher aupr├Ęs du ciel, comme les astrologues

–Charles Baudelaire, Paysage

Eclogue is a word in English but ecologue is not yet a word, though I am sure you will know what the latter means. Could it be something bucolic?!? Well, it's difficult to avoid romanticizing the traveller (I'm mindful of qualms about travels), the exile, the wanderer, the pirate. Piracy! But no pirate roves today. Today I'll take the wanderer as my figure, the ribbon of enunciation of the ecologue. The ecologue is the discourse of the son or daughter of Earth who, if not from the entire planet, is not entirely from this or that corner of Earth. The Volkswagen, the Ford, the Dreamliner, the Backpack: All heterotopias. We live in an age of superfluent heterotopias, which proabably says something about the market value of ordinary places, Earth's ordinary corners. I'm wary of nostalgia so I'll tread carefully here.

Paysage resembles passage. I speak an ancient language, a fact which Nancy brings home to me. I can't quite say where my home really is. I've felt estranged from places I once called homes. To say that one inhabits language is misleading unless one can speak of the heterotopology of the itinerary or of the pure roam. (The pure roam follows no paths, though it might come across a path now and then, might ramble along a path the way a path rambles along a stream, for instance. It's akin to the perigrination.) In addition to being ancient, language also has a transmigural quality. (Transmigural or transmigurational aren't quite words, but I'm pretty sure you'll be able to suss out a meaning and maybe see why I said neither transmogrifying nor transmigratory). Language displays a superfluity/superfluency of the mutation, the perversion, the corruption, the away. Why does away get such a bad rap? Does language have anxieties about losing its places? Is it uncomfortable with its heterotopology, its passage through the mouths of the wanderers?

So we return to the ecologue's ribbon of enunciation. Today we will leave the potatoes to their moist revery and uncurl up against the dome and the words we speak will be voluptuous. What corner of Earth is voluptuous? (The away corner–is it only in language that the corner and the away can intersect? What are the corners of the mouth?)

Labels: , , , ,

posted by Fido the Yak at 9:53 AM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe this essay by isabelle stengers might be of some interest.

I used to have a copy and rediscovered it:

also alliez's bk on d/g 'the signature of the earth' might resonate with the ecologue...

January 24, 2008 11:34 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Thanks, Paul. That was interesting.

January 25, 2008 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction: it's 'the signature of the world'.

I've just discovered the author Zadie Smith. She's brilliant. I can't believe she finished 'White Teeth' at univ in her early twenties...

January 25, 2008 12:41 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

What excites you about Zadie Smith?

January 28, 2008 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy her great wit and v. perceptive take on London in the 80's.

Also a cast of enjoyable characters from Jamaican Jehovas witnesses to London Indians and Muslims and the white middle class. + a great take on state high school in nw London.

She also does a good line in patois/dialect.

It was made into a tv series by uk ch. 4.

Probably to 'english' for the US reader but she has been living and working there...
will now look at her 'autograph man'. A weird novel involving jewish mysticism....

January 28, 2008 8:21 PM  

Post a Comment

Fido the Yak front page