A machine, the Kakwurst Rewolfer, relieves itself in a yellowish tone with irregular purple spots: “Hoewel grote incidenten lijken uitgebleven, zijn hulpverleners ook deze jaarwisseling doelwit geworden van geweld.” Appropriation of excrements.
“The fragment is the most efficient and performative mode to convey and construct intimacy. Tantalizingly, it evokes the notion of the whole, without ever having to account for it.”
What fragment constructs intimacy? Intimacy correlates with familiarity among other phenomena. Must a fragment be a familiar one and is it as such reminescent of an earlier one? What fragment disrupts intimacy?
In 1979 Michel Foucault wrote a review of Jean Daniel’s Ere des ruptures, entitled For an Ethic of Discomfort:
“The Left: not a coalition of parties on the political chessboard but an adherence that many felt without being able and without wanting to give it a very clear definition. A kind of “essential” Left, a blend of things held self-evident or obligatory: “A home rather than a concept.” A Left whose exsitence Jean Daniel had contributed to more than anyone else.”
A home rather than a concept. For most people home is a familiar place where one feels safe. One leaves home to enter the less safe street and takes with him intimacy like dew on a cold body coming from the mist. A livingroom is, like a bedroom, a home, as much as it can be an essential part of a home. Jean Daniel’s home was crumbling, spilling its debris on the pavement.
“Jean Daniel has not attempted to reconstruct those moments, which happen in life, when what one was most sure of is suddenly revealed to be a mistake.”
Foucault turned the pages and concluded:
“Impossible not to think of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s teaching and of what was for him the essential philosophical task: never to consent to be completely comfortable with one’s own presuppositions. Never to let them fall peacefully asleep, but also never to believe that a new fact will suffice to overturn them; never to imagine that one can change them like arbitrary axioms, remembering that in order to give them the neccesary mobility one must have a distant view, but also look at what is nearby and all around oneself. To be very mindfull that everything one perceives is evident only against a familiar and little-known horizon, that every certainty is sure only through the support of a ground that is always unexplored.”
One falls ‘peacefully asleep’ in the bedroom, after having left the living room. The ‘familiar and little-known horizon’ and the ‘ground that is always unexplored’ in the last sentence refer to ‘the notion of the whole’. So the notion of the whole is constructed by one fragment or more. Constructively discussing a theory, without grasping it completely, creates an intimacy for more than one person in a comparable way as laughter does when watching a commonly debilitative television show with some strangers. In constructing a collective home strangers disappear.
“During the month of May 1968 I wasn’t in France,” says Michel Foucault in an interview conducted by D. Trambadori in 1978. Most part of 1968 Foucault resided in Tunesia. The intertwining of political theory and practice by Tunesian students left a lasting impression on him. For these young Tunesians participation in political struggle quite often had far-reaching consequences; imprisonment for many years was no exception. In the following fragment of mentioned interview Foucault reflects on the students balance of theory and practice within their political life.
“The Marxist education of the Tunesian students was not very deep, and it didn’t tend to gain any more depth. The real debate between them, on the choices of tactics and strategy, on what they should choose, was conducted in terms of different interpretations of Marxism. But what it was really about was something completely different. Political ideology or a political perception of the world was no doubt indispensable for launching the struggle; but, on the other hand, the theory’s exactness and its scientific character were completely secondary questions that functioned more as an enticement than as a principle of proper and correct behavior.”
A theory, as a set of possible related fragments not fully grasped, can create a collective home. One carries it with him when entering the street. Theory needs intimacy to gain potential for practice. The next fragment is taken from a transcript of a 1972 conversation between Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault. Gilles Deleuze:
“Precisely. A theory is exactly like a box of tools. It has nothing to do with the signifier. It must be useful. It must function. And not for itself. If no one uses it, beginning with the theoretician himself (who then ceases to be a theoretician), then the theory is worthless or the moment is inappropriate. We don't revise a theory, but construct new ones; we have no choice but to make others. It is strange that it was Proust, an author thought to be a pure intellectual, who said it so clearly: treat my book as a pair of glasses directed to the outside; if they don't suit you, find another pair; I leave it to you to find your own instrument, which is necessarily an investment for combat. A theory does not totalise; it is an instrument for multiplication and it also multiplies itself.”
A theory as a set of fragments or a box of incessant morphing tools that must function as an instrument. A set of fragments as a machine that connects and collects bodies by creating intimacy: a contra-machine. Pip – pip – pip: the soothing, sometimes maddening sound of water dripping in a kitchen sink. The kitchen table for reanimating intimacy by ruminating the same fragments as a refrain.
A machine, the Kakwurst Rewolfer, continuously relieves itself: “De schipper die vanmiddag in Hasselt tegen een brug opbotste, zegt dat dit gebeurde omdat zijn hydraulisch bedienbare stuurhut niet naar beneden wilde. Hij probeerde nog af te remmen, maar het was al te laat. De schipper en twee andere opvarenden bleven ongedeerd. De politie heeft de schipper een blaastest laten doen, waaruit bleek dat hij niet had gedronken” and makes over the living room as well as the kitchen table to a bedroom for recovery to preserve the state of always fresh inactivity, even when active.