‘A practice of listening, seeing, writing, reading for and from a place’
I invite you to walk in the space, for a minute.
Enough time for you to scan the space,
to register its size in relation to yours.
The shape of the room,
flows of air,
I invite you to eventually find a position in the space.
A location in that space,
from which you will attend to it,
before lying down.
And closing your eyes.
(once everyone is lying down)
I invite you to listen to the sentences,
the questions I will pronounce
and respond to it for yourself
in your mind.
Please, do not respond out loud.
I invite you to remember the space you just scanned.
Project yourself in it.
Recall the path you took while walking in it.
The faces, you have met in it.
See yourself at a distance, in this space,
in this house
on the top of that hill
And see the location you chose to attend to it.
Realize how your body enter in contact with the floor.
Focus yourself on the contact points
of your body with the floor.
The spaces, between your body and the floor
the folds of your clothes
and the way they change when you breathe.
When you breathe.
From small breaths to deeper breaths. (X2)
And how all this air breathing, all this air
flowing down your throat, down to your lungs.
And this — makes you feel slightly dizzy.
from small breaths to deeper breaths
makes your head spinning, maybe.
And you wonder
how is it that I’m breathing, regularly
without thinking about it.
Take some time to realize it.
And while you realize it,
you breathe, regardless.
And you always did.
Maybe you remember other moments in the past
when you were so conscious about breathing.
Do you also remember moments where you were not ?
From small breaths to deeper breaths.
A kind of breathing
that really makes your head spinning.
Just like all the things that you do in a repeated way.
Just like when you pick a word
and repeat it mentally, until its not the word anymore.
Until its only sound — spinning around in your head, spinning.
« Everything is the same except composition
and as the composition is different,
and always going to be different,
everything is not the same »1
It is a sentence, that I remember having read for someone.
Do you remember it ?
Do you remember ever having read for someone ?
As I did it myself for someone.
And I don’t mean reading for someone, like that,
like I am reading for you now.
I mean reading for someone without that someone knowing that you do.
And you, reading secretly, regardless.
Did you ?
Did you ever read for someone,
to make the space between you thinner and thinner ?
To feel that space between you two,
is reduced to that of a page ?
Reading words that someone else once read,
reading words to urge someone else to read,
the two of you reading words to hear that
the two of you read the same differently.
Did you ever read for someone with someone else’s voice, reading in your head ?
As it could be this person in your head,
reading for you ?
Did you ever read for someone to get this someone better ?
To own them ?
To become them ?
And it’s a bit like
visiting a place where someone else lived
with the hope that you may have stepped
where this person once stepped,
touched the handle of a door
this person may have touched for all their life.
Touching the pen with someone has written
for all their life.
Touching the clothes that someone once wore.
Breathing the same air as this person once did.
there is a connection, a link through time.
An invisible link through time where both of you met,
That is for sure
both of you touched each other,
knew each other, a little.
Did you ever do that ?
Do you think this could happen in such a place ?
Who do you think stepped and perhaps
lied down on the floor like you do ?
Who do you think breathe the same air as you do ?
Now, it’s the night.
Your eyes are closed,
and you imagine it’s the night.
Imagine I asked you to start this exercise
and you fell asleep, waking up now at night.
Imagine this place at night, and keep your eyes closed.
Dark, silent, empty.
But the same air, same sound, same smells.
Picture this place as if it was the night.
« And in the night, everything has disappeared.
But when everything has disappeared in the night,
“everything that has disappeared”, appears
And this is the other night
Night is the apparition of everything that has disappeared. »2
Visualize this space
and remember yourself, mapping the room again.
Find for yourself — things, details, sounds, lights, even.
Find what for you, what the night made now visible in this room.
It’s a bit like opening a book, by night, pitched dark night
It could contain any text
any language, prose or verses
in a small object.
But you’re not reading.
Well, not reading from your eyes
Try to read that space as you would read that book.
Hard cover, soft cover
thick or thin pages.
You read that book through your fingers,
through what you can guess while touching
It was believed in the middle ages
that eyes could see by way of sending beams of light
touching reality at a distance.
On what your eyes fall upon in this room, at night ?
Blue painted windows
Tiles on the floor
Shapes of faces
Feel your eyes caressing these shapes
considering these materials.
Feel your eyes
sending beams of light
through the night.
Feel the distance
between the surface of your eye
and what you caress at a distance.
Is it far ?
Is it pleasant for you, to feel your eye
scratching on the surface ?
Or is it an unpleasant sensation ?
Can you imagine the opposite ?
Matter coming to your eye,
caressing the surface of your eye ball ?
What would you prefer ?
Do you think that by way of doing this
You get to know the room a bit better ?
To own it a bit better ?
To become it ?
Do you think there could be intimacy, trust,
between you and the room ?
A privileged channel
for you to communicate, to attend to it ?
Could you find a link through time,
with you and the room,
like we talked about before ?
A surface, a face, an object, a place
in the room
where someone else’s look
might have fell upon in the past
and there would be a connection between you two.
Where both of your looks
touch each other
Looking at each other, without seeing each other.
Did this ever happen to you ?
Maybe it did.
Maybe someone looked at you through time.
Maybe you could access some kind of past
by looking where someone else looked before.
What kind of past ?
Earlier today ?
Last month ?
How often do you think this happens ?
Perhaps no one ever looked there.
No one caressed that place with their eyes before
and you would be the first.
Sending a look from the past
a look sent to the future
a look that could not be given back
and if it could, you wouldn’t know.
But you take the risk.
You touch this precise place.
You touch with your eyes, you look.
You touch this precise place
and doing that, you read.
What happened there, or what is going to happen.
Or, you inform the future of what happened
when you looked.
And the difference is so thin,
It’s like seeing a ruin.
You don’t know if it means past of a place
or the future of a place.
Do you have a place in mind that you own it that way ?
Do you have a place in mind that you can read that way ?
Do you have such a place that you feel intimate with ?
It could be a hall, a room,
the inside of a car,
the corner of a bedroom.
Once you have such place in mind
try to review this place, visualize it in your mind.
What do you read from it ?
Its architecture ?
Its memories ?
Feelings you had in that place ?
People and faces you have seen in it ?
Are these images, or words ?
If you visualize images, are they still or moving ?
If you visualize words, do they stand alone or form sentences ?
In what language are these words ?
Is it present, or past ?
Is it daylight, or night ?
Does thinking about this place,
that you visualize in your mind, relaxing to you ?
Does thinking about this place allow you to visualize yourself in it ?
Can you imagine yourself being in that place, now ?
Can you imagine yourself lying on the floor of that place, now ?
You are lying on the floor of that place
and you are by yourself.
You visualize all the details of that place
and you see yourself lying in the middle of that place.
Maybe you are sleeping or just lying down.
It’s a nice afternoon.
You are breathing with a clear mind.
And you open your eyes.
1 Gertrude Stein: Writings and Lectures 1909-1945. ed. Patricia Meyerowitz, Baltimore: Penguin, 1967.
2 Maurice Blanchot : The Space of Literature. Lincoln; London: University of Nebraska Press, 2010.