Notes for the Archive Project: Day Six
Two edges are created: an obedient, conformist, plagiarizing edge (the language is to be copied in its canonical state, as it has been established by schooling, good usage, literature, culture), and another edge, mobile blank (ready to assume any contours, which is never anything but the site of its effect: the place where the death of language is glimpsed. These two edges, the compromise they bring about, are necessary. Neither culture nor its destruction is erotic; it is the seam between them, the fault, the flaw, which becomes so.
--Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text
This in-between space, where can it be found? I think there a small window of possibility in places, in cities, existing in his in-between. Berlin, for example, and Warsaw--we are already, of course, welling full throttle capitalism here (Warsaw, especially), and yet these spaces (what Barthes might cake obedient, conformist) contrast the dead or, really what I should call most alive, spaces in the city. In the case of Warsaw, what I am referring to are the old buildings not yet torn down for another Zara or Burger King--and the neighborhoods outside the places the tourists see. "Dead," because they are old, from another world, existing as remnant, residue, perhaps even filth and yet these are the spaces where possibility still exists. Not conformist--not yet a shopping mall or tourist spot selling replicas of replicas, in the Old City (which is actually New, a new old city since the old city and nearly all of the city was decimated in the war) so here even the Old City is a replica, a simulacra.
In Warsaw these two edges do still exist--the old (post war but pre Capitalism) and the new. And it is in this in-between space that possibility exists.
This space between is necessary--and can be found, of course, in many places. In Warsaw, in Berlin, but also in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where the two worlds are in collision and walking down the streets of Manhattan, for instance, one can see the two worlds juxtaposed against one another and within this moment--this in between--before the city has been completely redesigned to emulate a high-end suburban shopping mall, small quiet spaces, residue and remnant, dregs and shadow can still be found. And it is within these spaces, these small quiet places, that possibility exists. possibility for the creation of a new language, of new yet unmade work--and, as Barthes writes, these spaces, the seam, when we see it, recognize it, is "the place where the death of language is glimpsed. These two edges, the compromise they bring about, are necessary. "Neither culture nor its destruction is erotic; it is the seam between them, the fault, the flaw, which becomes so."