I was thinking of Luce Irigaray’s this sex which is not one but actually I am thinking of when our lips speak together:
How can I speak to you?
She writes, You remain in flux, never congealing or solidifying. What will make that current flow into words? It is multiple, devoid of causes, meanings, simple qualities … These movements cannot be described as the passage from a beginning to an end … this body without fixed boundaries. This unceasing mobility. This life—which will perhaps be called our restlessness, whims, pretences, or lies.
Those pronouns defining relationships of one thing to another thing, all of which conjoined. Virginia Woolf comments: ‘I’ is only a convenient term for somebody who has no real being. Lies will flow from my lips …
Really, I am thinking of Chris Kraus writing in the first person but I detoured as I couldn’t remember when the penny dropped. The detour took me past Hito Steyerl and her essay a thing like you and me and back towards Woolf and her comprehension of an inviolate, private self which could be obliquely articulated in relation to others and is its own objecthood. It exists as a sentient thing that Steyerl notes: in which senses merge with matter. However, I came back again to the moment when who is speaking turned.
The speaking subject is a one way street as Steyerl writes: the subject is always already subjected. … the feminist movement … worked toward claiming autonomy and full subjecthood. But as the struggle to become a subject became mired in its own contradictions, a different possibility emerged. How about siding with the object for a change? … why not be a thing? An object without a subject?
Why not be a thing? An object, matter to be remade and fluid (as Irigaray), not just two things but many things, overlapping. The ‘I’ which is not one. The being which is not one. The image thing being not a representation but a thing to participate in. Which makes me return to Kraus: … there’s no fixed point of self but it exists & by writing you can somehow chart that movement.
I am detouring again, moving. Only things move, like planets or images, flung out in endless array. As a writer Kraus drifts through tenses and personas, her anchor in the real is real enough to a reader who also wants not to be subjected. Woolf paced Oxbridge and London pondering lectures she was to give on women and fiction which became a room of one’s own. She writes: … and the greatest release of all came, which is freedom to think of things in themselves. To think of things in themselves.