By Emmanuel Hocquard
In the early stages of my writing all the poems were about my mother and my relation to her. I decided I had to get out of this obsession. This is when I started to make collages. I would take a novel, take one or two words from every page, and try to make a structure. When I looked at them later, the poems were still about my mother. This made me realize that you do not have to worry about content: your preoccupations will get into the poem no matter what you do. Tristan Tzara has a famous recipe for making a Dada poem by cutting words out of a newspaper and tossing them in a hat. He ends with: “The poem will resemble you.” Rosmarie Waldrop
Make a map, not a tracing…. What distinguishes the map from the tracing is that it is entirely oriented toward an experimentation in contact with the real. The map does not reproduce… it constructs…. The map is open and connectable in all of its dimensions; it is detachable, reversible, susceptible to constant modification. It can be torn, reversed, adapted to any kind of mounting, reworked by an individual, group, or social formation. It can be drawn on a wall, conceived of as a work of art, constructed as a political action or as a meditation. Gilles Deleuze
it’s necessary to understand that what Deleuze calls a tracing is, in ordinary language, is referred to as a map: a representation, usually reduced and flat, of space or a fragment of space. Such a representation follows the normalized and numbered criterions of reduction (scale), of situation (longitude, latitude) and of orientation (cardinal points).
we could call tracings the maps which are found in atlases, geography books: topographical charts, geological maps, road atlas, railroad maps, town plans, marine maps, surveyor maps, cadastres, etc.
On the utility of tracings.
Tracings “always comes back the same.” They are the same for everyone, reproducible to infinity. They are static, durable, permanent. Their usefulness is not contestable as soon as we have to answer simple questions such as: Where are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going?
on city and neighborhood maps posted at the exit of the subway or at street intersections, marked by a red circle, the words
The tricks that language plays are unpredictable.
Think, parenthetically, of the (logical) violence of order-words. Imagine this other situation: you are lost in a forest and suddenly you stumble upon a sign that simply reads: You are here. Understand the difference. In the first case, the utterance is inexact (you are not in the city plan but in the street.) However, because you know how to interpret the code, you are able to find your path. In the second case, the utterance is exact, but it doesn’t help you out of the woods.
Aicha, wife of Médé, the elderly soldier of Rif, caretaker-gardener-basketmaker of 33 rue Shakespeare, cleans her house. My mother had embroidered a cushion with the exact reproduction (tracing) of an Etruscan horse. Aicha, after beating the cushions, never put it back properly -- in other words, with the horse’s feet at the bottom. She never saw the horse on the cushion. One learns to read a cushion just as one learns to read a tracing. If we keep the word map for what doesn’t present the objective and fixed characteristics of the tracing, we could say that a map is singular, affective, changing, discontinuing, provisionary, projective, untimely, inaugural.
Rome, a long time ago.
This other space (of récit) which would be not a space of representation but of present(ific)ation, not a space of demonstration but of monstration -- I will call this inaugural space (templum). It’s the first image of the temple. To the Romans, this inauguration designated the rectangular observation field that the auger drew in the sky with the bent edge of his stick, to translate the flight of birds.
Although for the tracing maker the sky, like the earth for the ordinary cartographer, is a preamble, objective, and permanent given, for the auger it is so insignificant that he creates another sky, limited, provisionary, immediately profitable and soon repudiative.
The space created in this way is the location of a particular passage and not of a general and durable organization. The rapport between the auger and the birds is simply a rapport of observation. The bird passage either occurs or doesn’t occur. If the birds pass by the field of vision, their meeting with the eyes of the auger gives the sense that the sky is cut out. We could say that the auger, like the wasp and the orchid, makes rhizome with the birds.
A map is a récit.
We can now look at this inaugural space analogically, like a map-space or a narrative-space out of the conventional circuit of the tracing-space of classical narration which advances continuously between a beginning and an end.
Tangier, at the beginning of the 1950s. The Montalban tables.
I often evoke the approximative method, applied to roman frescos by my old friend Montalban. During the 50s (of the last century) he was the official archeologist of the international zone of Tangier. When the workers of the archeological site he was in charge of, at the base of the caves of Hercules, uncovered the remains of Roman frescos. Montalban had them place one next to the other on long sawhorse tables that were set up on the beach, facing the Atlantic ocean. Looking at these fragments like disorderly puzzle pieces, his intention was to reach an improbable reconstruction of the original decor. Since he couldn’t achieve this (too many missing or deteriorated pieces) he gave up. And the colored fragments from these ancient frescos were thrown on the embankment. (See The Thracian Spies Lay Sleeping Beside the Ships, in Album d’images de la Villa Harris)
A game of patience.
The puzzle obeys the tracing-model: the linking of the pieces that comprise it are determined in advance. It’s not a matter of constructing but reconstructing. As if we had to recompose a sentence apart from the mix of words, or a narration using preexisting sentences presented in disorder.
We now call narration a logical organization in which the links necessarily obey pre-established and known rules. So we can say that grammar, which fixes the order in a sentence, is narrative.
Five plane trees in the heart
is a narration, conforming to the grammatical order of words in the sentence.
On the other hand,
we will call récit a logical organization in which the links do not necessarily obey previously fixed rules.
in the heart planetrees five
is an a grammatical récit, that translates a phenomenological perception.
Cause or reason.
Note the difference. Cause is probable when two terms are put in presence, one to another; the effect of one on the other is 1) one way; 2) previsible and inevitable. When you make a lantern, the oil floats upon the water. The relation between cause and effect is expressed by words such as because, since, therefore, consequently, etc. The oil is lighter than water, therefore it stays on the surface. Oil stays on the surface because it is lighter than water. With sand, it’s different: sand falls to the bottom since it is heavier than water. That’s the way it is. There is no other choice. A cause is insignificant. There is no reason to a cause.
The lecture that Arthur Silent should have given was postponed for the reason that there was bad weather in the straight.
Reason is another thing. If we say, “For the reason of bad weather, the ferry that ought to have brought A. Silent from Algeciras to Tanger did not leave today.” This doesn’t mean “because of bad weather.” Despite the bad weather, the ferry could have risked the crossing, but someone decided otherwise. Someone decided that it would be more prudent or reasonable to wait.
The Spaniard had a good reason to sell his irascible wife to the Chinese man of the Grand Sokho. In return, the Chinese man had reason to give her back to the Spaniard.
This could be translated, a bit abruptly, by the following: “The cause, which is exterior to the terms of relation, is in the third person, although reason, which is internal to relation, is in the first person. To have reason doesn’t mean that one who thinks differently is wrong. To have reason means: I have a good reason for acting this way.”
Note, in passing, that in the preceding utterance, good is not the opposite of bad. I have good reason simply say: this is my conviction, my choice, my desire, my need, my urgency, etc.
Also note that a cause is neither good nor bad, except when a lawyer is defending a good cause, or lying for a good cause.
Not far from there, in the Middle Ages.
All maps are not, or have not always been, tracings. So the portolanos -- maps used for maritime trade by cabotage between the 13th and 16th centuries -- are maps which mark only ports, on the African coast, for example. They are characterized by the extreme precision of the drawing of the coast with a total indifference to the interior of the land, which was left blank. The representation of the coastline is bristled with the names of all the coves, bays, estuaries, costal towns and villages. This fringe of writing makes us irresistibly think of a list. And in fact, it is a list.
“Describe the space: name it, trace it, like the creators of the portolanos who saturated the coasts with names of ports, names of capes, names of inlets, as if the land’s end was no longer separated by the sea but by a continuous ribbon of text.” (Georges Perec, Espèces d’espaces.)
I made a list before I went shopping, but the supermarket was closed for inventory.
Note the difference between the notions of list and inventory. When you take inventory, you tally and count, exhaustively, the totality of the objects found in a place. An inventory is a tracing.
It’s completely different with a list. When you draw up a list – a shopping list for example – you enumerate a certain number of items or objects that you need at a given moment. The intention “behind” an inventory and “behind” a list is not the same. So the intonation of an inventory is not the same as that of a list.
Suppose that two people, who don’t know each other, are assigned to take the same inventory. Apart from error or forgetfulness on the part of one or the other, the final inventory will be exactly the same. But if you ask these two people to draw up their day’s shopping list, there is little chance that the two lists will coincide. It is the same difference between an inventory and a list as between a tracing and a map. A list is a map.
Let’s dig deeper. If you find, in a caddie® at the entrance of a supermarket, a shopping list abandoned by a previous customer, you cannot use it for the good reason that your needs or cravings and your urgencies are not the same as hers. Your intentions and your projects are different. A list is full of affects. It’s the same with a map which, contrary to a tracing, is itself equally affective and projective (like the verse of Olson).
Where we once again find my friend Doudouche for the division of Tangier.
By the time I stopped playing soccer at age 12, with my friend Doudouche and another scoundrel, fed as we were by antique culture and history, we had, in the greatest possible secrecy, formed a triumvirate. Thanks to Doudouche’s father, who oversaw important functions for government authorities in Tangier, we were able to acquire a map (tracing) of the international zone, on which appeared the official layout of the border with what was then called the Spanish Morocco (Northern Morocco, which was then under Spanish control.) The Tangier zone was roughly in the shape of a semi-circle in which the center, at the North, was the city.
From the suburbs ran two routes which divided the zone into three parts: the road to Tétouan at the East and the roads to Rabat in the West. One of the first acts of our triumvirate was to divide the territory of the zone between us. After having deliberated, we decided to leave the city itself outside of the division and split the rest amongst ourselves: to Doudouce, the central part (I), the widest and the wildest, that laid between the road to Tétouan and the road to Rabat; to me, the part that extended from the road to Tétouan to the Tangier bay with the Villa Harris and the Malabata cape at the Eastern end of the strait, on the Mediterranean (II); to the third triumvir, the most pleasant part, which included the part between the road to Rabat and the Atlantic coast to the West, Spartel cape and the Gibralter strait to the north (III).
Between us we signed a treaty in due form in order to prevent ulterior litigation. We designed the flags. Then, for the next few years, we surveyed at length and on foot our lands, together or separately, on Sundays or during vacations, and we took a lot of pleasure doing this. The game was over when we became more interested in girls at school than in virtual geopolitics.
A blank spot. However puerile it may seem, this game was not completely devoid of interest. It was first the invention, life size, of a blank spot, one territory invented within another, or apart from another. Invisible territory, certainly, in the eyes of others, but so real to our eyes. It was above all an experiment of performative cartography. Deluze writes that “The map has to do with performance, whereas the tracing always involves an alleged ‘competence.’”
Not far from here, in Portugal. Then in Tarbes.
Another remarkable case is that of the approximative restoration of the allegorical azuleijos panel representing Astronomy on the terrace of the Frontera Palace, in Lisbon. The earthquake of 1755 had caused a number of tiles from the bottom of the panel to fall off, and some were broken. A mason (whose name was perhaps Aïcha) repasted them in a hurry, placing them down randomly, without caring about the coherence of the original décor. Since that wild and discontinuous reparation, the feet of Astronomy are in a chaos of lines and colors. Juliette Valery reconstituted “identically” this portion of the panel for the exhibition, Céramique approximative, at l’Ancien Carmel in Tarbes, 2001.
Much earlier but farther away, in Turkey.
We find another example of the same kind in the small Rustem Pacha mosque, in Istanbul, next to the Egyptian Bazaar. On the long wall of the peristyle, the geometrical layout of the arabesques and the traceries of blue and red ceramics from Izmir are locally disordered: embroidered lines, discolored tints.
“’Don't ever forget this little catastrophe of painted ceramic, Adam,’ Sokrat went on. ‘This is the snag in the net, the rent through which anyone who knows how to remain vigilant can escape from the blue quietude and the drowsiness of the spirit, the way a fish slips out of the net in which it has let itself be caught and was swimming round and round.’ (Aerea in the Forests of Manhattan, trans. Lydia Davis.)
A very personal affair.
What have, grammatically, in common, inventory, narration, tracing? What have, a contrario, in common, reason, list, récit, and map? One might say, it’s a matter of person.
Let’s say that cause, inventory, narration, and tracing are on the side of the third person: what is the cause of this phenomena? A novel is a narration.
On the other hand, let’s say that reason, list, récit and map refer to the first person: this is the reason why I made my decision. Where did I put my shopping list? Tomorrow morning at breakfast, I will recite my dreams. Silva is the map of some of my books.
As when one is searching for his way.
But a map is not the opposite of a tracing. If I may say that a tracing is an objective representation of a given space, I can’t define a map as subjective. Subjective and objective are opposed to each other on the same logical plan. Although the map depends upon another logic.
I may say that a tracing is objective. Before me, there is a map of the neighborhood. I want to go to a certain address. Thanks to the plan, I will know how to get there. Someone else consults the same map to get to another address. Thanks to the same plan, he’ll find his way, which is different from mine. This is what Deleuze calls the “competence” of the tracing.
The map depends upon another logic.
A map is never already there, finished, in front of me, at my disposal. I could almost say that I am inside my map, in the sense that I construct it (just as I draw up my shopping list), little by little, by following my needs and my cravings. A map is projective (whoever creates it allows it to evolve depending on his project; especially when the project progresses simultaneously with the map, or when the map and the project are one.) It’s in this sense that Deleuze talks of the map as a performance.
A wedding in the rain.
The tracing is constatif, the map is a performative aim. This is the difference between “it’s raining” and “I now declare you man and wife.” The constitutive utterance “It’s raining” is limited to the observation of the actual weather. To say “It’s raining” has never caused a shower.
The utterance: “I now declare you man and wife” is performative in that the speech and the action coincide. The declaration makes the act. To formulate the utterance is to effectuate the action, which could not be accomplished in any other way. We could also speak of utterance-acts. It is the same for: “I accept your nomination for President of the United States,” “I hereby declare you stationmaster,” “I call for the mobilization of troops,” “I condemn you to 18 months in prison, with parole, etc.”
Because of the powers that have been bestowed upon me …
Note two things. Firstly, that a performative utterance is generally in the first person. Then, that to be peformative, the utterance must be pronounced by someone who has the authority to do it, such as the minister, the mayor, the priest, the CEO, the president, the judges, etc. What is expressed is exactly by the formula: “By the power that has been bestowed upon me, I hereby nominate you president of the United States.” Let’s examine the two notions that have been presented so far: on the one hand the speech-act, and on the other hand the necessary authority upon which it is founded.
Is an author someone who writes or someone who writes.
In language, performative utterances, sricto sensu, are quite rare. But it is possible to envision that which might be called a performative aim. That is to say, to attribute a performative value to utterances which in principle don’t have any. If, for example, I begin a novel with the sentence “It was raining that morning,” the utterance is wrongly constitutive. As the author of the narration, I trigger in my writing a shower which will play a role (important or not) in the rest of the story I am telling. It’s my authorial authority. Note that the notions of author, actor, and authority find their origin in the same Latin root. Under the performative aim, the three notions tend to merge until they become one. By author, I designate less the one who writes and who signs his name (Victor Hugo is the author of “La Fin de Satan”) than the one who writes. In a situation of writing, we can say that the writing makes the act, therefore the author is at the same time an actor.
Adding to this, that the word poetry originates from the Greek verb “poïein” which means to make. This can also help us to understand what I am calling the performative aim.
What about the between?
How do we go from one character (letter) to another? From one word to another word? From one sentence or verse to another sentence or verse? From one line to another. From one fresco fragment to another fresco fragment? From one enameled ceramic tile to another ceramic tile? From yaourt to clémentines to salade? From one frame to another? From one memory to another memory? From Peter to Paul? Etc. By the void which separates & connects them. In a written text, we say the blank. When we talk, the silence.
“By vacuity I mean intangible and empty space. If it did not exist, things could not move at all […] We see with our own eyes at sea and on land and high up in the sky that all sorts of things in all sorts of ways are in the move. If there were no empty space, these things would be denied the power of restless movement – or rather, they could not possibly have come into existence” (Lucretius)
But we’ve got our brave Captain to thank
(So the crew would protest)
“that he’s brought us the best —
A perfect and absolute blank!”
(Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark)
Connecting & Separating
this is the (double) paradigm of the straight which separates Africa from Europe at the same time that it allows communication between the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic ocean. To go from one continent to another and from a sea to an ocean, you pass through the same strait. Between is the place of passage.
What happens (passes) between two people? How to pass from I to you and he or she?
The personal subject pronouns I, you, he or she, that refer to distinct individuals generally carrying a name that identifies them as such, have multiple relations, depending on the situation: relations of opposition or attraction, of distance or proximity, etc. I define myself as distinct from you or to him. “He is he and I am I” (Laurent Fabius).
These very pronouns (I, you, he/she) also delimitate spaces and inside these spaces mark localizations. I am here. He or she is there. You is closer to I than he. You is never very far from I, facing me, within earshot. Although he might be far, back turned or in profile, absent or even dead.
Concerning I, we are forced to follow a double regimen. The first, personal and restrained, denotes an identifiable individual subject, acting, talking, writing … : “I am writing you a check.” I am reminding you that…” “I am mailing this letter to you ...”
The other regimen, open, impersonal, doesn’t denote a subject but, precisely, the absence of a subject. “I breathe.” “I love you.” Here the “territory” is a non-territory. It is the between of all territories. The open of the subject, the void, the blank, the silence between things, words and speech.
The two regimens are not opposed. It’s obviously the same I, restrained in one case, open in another, subject in one case, non-subject in another.
The rule of the game.
With the exception of Juliette Valéry and myself (who spent my first 16 years there) none of the cartographic players had ever been to Tangiers. They only knew of it through the stories we told to them, the images we showed to them, the books and films we brought to them.
For this project, each student was asked to draw up his or her own map of Tangier, pulling from the same material put at everyone’s disposal: postcards, slides, documents, and various texts. These sources were given to them in bulk, without worrying about chronology or history. They concerned different moments of the 20th century, from 1910 to the present.
The imposed form was that of a graphic novel or comic strips: constructed with four pages per author, in the same workspace, a récit-map which 1) provided images and texts; 2) the affects of each. For the rest, everyone had carte blanche.
P.S. In light of the results, I, knowing Tangier, attest that all of these maps are true and error-free.
Translated by Kristin Prevallet, Juliette Valéry, and Emmanuel Hocquard, New York, April 2006.
View the Project Map Games in Tangier