Act, realize, manifest (2014)



doing things with/out words

              with/out words

                  out words


This text

You are probably reading this text trying to understand what I am trying to communicate, assuming that the words articulate thoughts that can clarify, raise questions, provoke debates, and even – in an ideal situation – gives rise to dialogues or conversations. In this case you will be reading the text in silence, paying attention to the literal meaning just as much as to the intentions. You will be an active reader, because all readers are active, even those who limit themselves to putting images or feelings to the situations and actions described by a hack writer. More so those readers who attempt to see, question, respond, participate.

You could read this text in silence and in relative immobility, but you could also read this text out loud, could shout, exclaim, or sing it, making gestures that accompany each sentence, interjecting sounds or your own words. This would be a theatrical reading (if someone was watching you) or a performative one (if you are not very concerned whether someone is watching you or not at this moment). But it would only be an active reading if your ways of enunciating, gesticulating, moving, or relating to the others meaningfully (not necessarily with intention) clarified, questioned, responded, or intervened in the text and in the thoughts that the words articulate. In order for your performance to succeed, you should have read the text beforehand, or at least have an idea of what the text says. The text will then be transformed into the quoted word. It will be precisely the repetition that will make possible that these propositive (but written) sentences are transformed into performative utterances.

I could try to write per formatively: […]

Download the complete text in pdf

Text published in the book-catalogue Per/Form. How to do things with[out] words, curated by Chantal Pontbriand, CA2M-Sternberg Press, 2014,89-118