[finishing up on Agamben in Gravity and Grace, a playwriting class. a post from a student and some response]


Kathleen Braine

“How do we, as human beings, use the language that we created to describe or impart an experience that represents the undoing of the self, and of language itself? I am interested in reading this idea in light of Weil’s ideal of decreation, because it seems to me that the struggle in writing about the Holocaust that Agamben is trying to present, he is in fact presenting a double negative—trying to describe what has destroyed you destroys you and the event once again. What I’m wondering is, if this ultimately then can become something positive in a sense of decreation. Building a subject by breaking it apart.”


  • Trauma, even destruction can feel like productive places; feel like decreation, the way a drug can feel like love. We can put trauma into our work as a subject, to substitute for inspiration – for the work of assertion. Destruction is a stopping point, decreation is a starting point – they’re both points: they share a geometrical shape.
  • You can only make the unspeakable available by getting it wrong – by providing a place near it so that the hearer can fall through.
  • The artist lives in the in-between space, but does not lose footing in the internal/external – is not only speaking, but is also experience and speech.

“Well, my daddy, he didn’t leave me much, you know he was a very simple man, but what he did tell me was this, he did say, son, he said, he say, you know it’s possible to become so defiled in this world that your own father and mother will abandon you and if that happens, God will always believe in your ability to mend your ways.”

–       Bob Dylan, accepting Grammy award for Lifetime Achievement, 20 February 1991.

If you are between all things (mother and father), and no longer speak from or to, but are only the enunciation of yourself, you are defiled…

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