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A SHORT STORY CALLED ...

The LARGE
            DOMESTIC
                       OBJECT

Adrian
BRIDGET



I find myself, almost by accident, facing a large object.

And when I find myself facing a large object, one of a nature described as domestic, I start thinking, at once, of lines and patterns that could fasten my body to this object: an imaginary cartography for which my body, when it moves or doesn’t move, is suddenly responsible.

            °

For those who can be easily overwhelmed by the sudden appearance of imaginary lines and patterns, these many potential scores for movement, and who, overwhelmed by the number of options, find themselves unable to make a choice, to elect which of these lines should be pursued into reality, the immediate reaction is one of escape. To leave the room. But how could one untangle oneself from such lines and patterns once they have, almost by accident, revealed themselves to the faculty of imagination?

The most beautiful thought that can seize someone in this predicament, someone who suffers the humiliation inflicted by the likes of sculptures, is the thought of a body displayed, unconscious, next to a replica of the large domestic object that pertains to this hypothesis, such as an iron bed. We could also speak of

an old enamel bathtub,
a leather armchair,
or a wooden bookshelf.

(Or even those tables, seemingly makeshift or perhaps found in abandoned places, on which Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere lays her headless wax torsos with names such as Piëta or Romeu, tables which, whether they be big or small, a body seems to have never belonged to, should never be on top of, but where, when there is a body, all the table is a stage.)

The soft, probably naked body that is, within the faculty of imagination, draped in the vicinity or over the chosen object is conceived as having escaped, by becoming as unresponsive as the object, from its fictional binding to it.

            °

But that is not what I want to talk about.

            °

The situation from which I want to start is, I repeat, me finding myself, almost by accident, facing a large domestic object. (And when I imagine myself, I imagine myself standing, despite it seldom being the case.)

            °

A domestic object can only be found in a domestic environment, like a kitchen glove can only be found inside a kitchen since, outside a kitchen, it is called just glove.

The domestic environment I think of is an apartment. I have only ever lived in apartments my whole life and am happiest in a room for myself. But I don’t want to get into reasons: I want to get into the possibility of movement.

            °

‘Don’t you find that things fail to materialize? Nothing materializes! Everything withers in the bud.’ DHL, WIL

            °

The constraints of the proposed situation would be more generous to a painter, who—due to the nature of their activity and the direct impact of gesture on the final outcome—depends much more on the body and is also much more rewarded by it.

For the writer, on the other hand, it doesn’t matter how hard or how soft a word is typed. It doesn’t matter if the writer does it fast or slow, or if they write by hand. The word ends up clean on the page, identical to all other appearances of the same word in the history of language, without bearing any trace of the movement of the hands or other body parts, without retaining any indication of having been written other than its reappearance, its phantom. A word is selected from a pool of other words that, at the end of the day, are just as impersonal. Unlike the surface of the canvas, which yields to the touch of the painter and in accordance with its intensity, the word makes no concession to the writer.

            °

Contrary to the situation it describes, the choice of the words ‘almost by accident’, when this situation was proposed, was not accidental. They were chosen because I want—and I appreciate the irony—for there to be, at the start of it, as little desire as possible.

An accident seems to be without desire.

When I find myself facing the large domestic object, I am also at first—despite the accident being arresting (I didn’t, after all, expect to find myself standing in front of it, not like this)—not bound to it by desire. The machinery at work behind everyday operations, its bones, notations, convulsions, murmurs come to a halt. Sounds deflate, like in the unplugging of a vacuum cleaner from the power socket. I observe the involuntary creation of a gravitational field: as if the large domestic object were the still, powerful centre of an unknown system and I were the lesser, moveable, peripheral occurrence.

Accident, however, soon gives way to its aftermath.

The short time span of the accident is followed by the much slower, much more wanting time of trauma. Poses to be assumed in front of the large domestic object are inadequate. It is, perhaps, from this very INADEQUACY, from, perhaps, my DESIRE TO NO LONGER BE INADEQUATE, that I first start conceiving imaginary, tentative proposals for a relationship to the object.

            °

Choreography, for me, takes place in that switching from accident to desire.

            °

The problem with this text is that it starts from a hypothesis that is formed of parts that are themselves only assumed: the (hypothetical) I and the (hypothetical) large domestic object.

One figure would have the average dimensions that are expected of the hypothetical I and a second would have the average dimensions that are expected of a hypothetical large domestic object. As if they were mere stand-ins for the real actors and props of the scene while the film camera is set in advance.

There are no real actors and no real objects waiting backstage. The hypothesis, as uninteresting as it is, is all there is.

            °

Another hypothesis, which won’t be further pursued:

My body faces away from the clock but I know that it is somewhere in the room, behind me; I hear it ticking. I can’t turn around to see what this clock, the specific clock that is in the room with me, looks like. The different varieties of clock that I imagine could be behind me, on the other hand, I see with precision. Unlike the actual clock behind me, material and finite, the possible clocks I imagine could be the source of the ticking noise are infinite in number. Which means that, instead of being in this room with a single, real clock, I share it with every clock I can think of. Time-space in this room has too much time and too little space. It is impossible for me to move, even if I could move, amidst all the clocks that, once imagined, even if just once, stay in the room with me.

            °

The large domestic object is closed-off. The large domestic object is white, yellow, more like beige. The large domestic object is dirty, possibly. The large domestic object is a nightmare of sorts, a presence imagined, that is, and then re-imagined until, so constantly reheated, it becomes shrivelled and rubber-like. The large domestic object is safe. The large domestic object is without a script, meaning that it is unlike large domestic objects with clear functions stated in their names. The large domestic object is safe. The large domestic object is a great place to write a journal in. The large domestic object is nonsensical, in the sense that whoever lives in the large domestic object does not have any content to write in their journal, despite the large domestic object being a great place to write a journal in. The large domestic object is empty. The large domestic object is covered in books from floor to ceiling. The large domestic object is covered in imaginary books written by authors who are just as imaginary. The large domestic object is covered in real books, too. The large domestic object is, sometimes, without windows. The large domestic object is tall, tall ceilings. The large domestic object is unnoticeable. No one sees it again after seeing it for the first time, for knowing that it stays in the same place where it’s left. No one looks at the chairs one sits on everyday, at the tables at which one eats, at the books one has already read. The large domestic object is lit by two different types of lighting: cold, white light in the afternoon, and warm, yellow light in the evening. The large domestic object is dark in the morning. The large domestic object is safe. The large domestic object is a joke. The large domestic object is a storage facility for as many skeletons as there were in the morgue in Thérèse Raquin. At night they all come out to dance like in that old Mickey Mouse videogame. The large domestic object is devoid of rodents for most of the time. The large domestic object is a tropical forest. The large domestic object is an auditorium. The large domestic object is a persistent cough. The large domestic object is said to have been broken, once. The large domestic object is said to be the place where Goethe wrote Zur Farbenlehre, although this has not been, so far, confirmed. The large domestic object is the story’s villain. The large domestic object is language. The large domestic object is still the same as it the one seen in depictions based on oral accounts of the Last Supper. The large domestic object is affected by the migration of birds. The large domestic object is not enough. The large domestic object is a substitute for other people and performs their role better than them. There is no need for people in a city inhabited by large domestic objects. The large domestic object is against metaphysics.

            °

An empirical standpoint is a point that exists nowhere. I am always already implicated in the choreography of my relation to emotional points, not observable, which do exist in space.

            °

The relationship between the large domestic object and myself lends itself to description, perhaps, only by means of sound poems. Like the one by Ernst Jandl called ‘auf dem land’ that goes ‘rininininininininDER / brüllüllüllüllüllüllüllüllEN / …’ then goes on to describe the sounds of other animals.

In front of the large domestic object, I am an animal.

            °

A relation is always choreographic.

              °

Objecthood is a provocation towards the choreographic.

              °

By ‘choreographic’, I mean a chess player thinking of their next move, the calculation involved in positioning a hand for a handshake, the measuring necessary to hang a picture on the wall, the sequence one always follows when showering, moments in a phone call when nothing is said, everything that goes with setting an alarm clock, the preparation of breakfast, the assembling of furniture, an inclination towards crying in the same tempo as the actor crying in the movie, Schwarzkogler’s Aktionen.

              °

In the aftermath of the accident, even the smallest of all actions is carrying out the wanting of a gesture, executing the gesture that follows the wanting of gesture. Such gesture, which is the natural development of its having been wanted, by whoever is to perform this gesture, does not seem possible, choreographically speaking. It is not possible for this gesture, for which the scene has been set in this apartment, in face of the large domestic object, to be executed without what folds out of gesture, its so-called real world consequences.

What comes out of my gesture is not gesture but another wanting, another wanting of gesture, without any gesture coming to pass between them, as it would be the case in an ideal world; the apartment is not an ideal world.

            °

What led me towards film at first and then writing was the fact that if I was working, for instance, on a sculpture or a canvas, I would find myself unable to come to terms with the being-there of the thing in front of me, an object that could only be in one place at a time and only had, so to say, one life. If something were to happen to this object, the work would die with it. That thought, for me, was an unbearable thought. The work was everything I had; the object was too susceptible to systemic abuse, to buying and selling, to possession, to insufficiency to be everything to me.

            °

In the same way that the passage of time provokes, in the aftermath of the accident, both the creation of desire and desire’s creation of the choreographic space between the large domestic object and myself, time will also be the one to eventually erase the pathways, the lines and patterns imagined, to dry out the rivers. In the history of oscillations that make up the relationship between oneself and a large domestic object, there is bound to be a moment in which desire, without wanting to, expires, erases all axes of wanting inside this apartment.

            °

Another day, I will find again the object. I can find it again, another day, because I haven’t made the object undergo the description of the particular, which would allocate it to a particular space and time. The large domestic object becomes a score to be performed by any one object.

            °

And when I find myself facing a large domestic object, I start thinking, at once, of making a replica of my body in wax that would stand in for me, as a way to, without being noticed, leave this apartment behind.





Adrian BRIDGET is a writer and translator. His published works include the short prose collection Texts That Shouldn’t Be Read Out Loud, and the novel, Treatment. He lives and works in London, UK.

BRIDGET’s work also appears in Hotel #7;

        see here








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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.



     

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