Peter Rose: Witness

The Pressures of the Text


(The Pressures of the Text (1983) integrates direct address, invented languages, ideographic subtitles, sign language, and simultaneous translation to investigate the feel and form of sense, the shifting boundaries between meaning and meaninglessness. A parody of art/critspeak, educational instruction, gothic narrative, and pornography, it has been performed as a live work at major media centers and new music festivals in the US and Europe.)

Before we begin, I'd like to take a few minutes to talk with you about some of the issues we've all been thinking about. I think it's important that I do this in a very coherent way, so I'm going to try to be as logical, as concrete, as specific as possible, in order to avoid what some people, Barthes for example, have called "generalities."

I want to talk about the whole idea of language, and, in particular, its relation to a kind of body tongue- a basic methodological problemmatic that is too often, I think, too freely divorced from any formal consideration, but which is quite thoroughly enmeshed in the tissue of a kind of subjectivity that lends itself to a discussion that is both historically inflected and rhetorically bound.

Let's consider what I'd like to call the residues of artifice. By this, I mean a trace, a claim, an inscription, a difference that would be homologous or equivalent to what you might call the ultimate destination of dialectic, if it weren't for the fact that its own inner laws appear to be generated by the lexical indices of a kind of ontological pre-existent, and, of course, by the inevitable paradigms of post-modernist capitalism.

(Now if we deconstruct this, reduce it to a pre-textural mode of utterance, we find that its formally paradigmatic level of suture proclaims a kind of ideology that sustains both a phenomenological reading and which is itself polemically encoded.)

So the specular anticipation of the positioned spectator in their stunned nomesis is therefore engaged by the syntactic rubric of a semiological analysis that betrays its own Lacanian roots- a turgid, reified metaphoresis that reawakens an ideomimetic reverberation that is oblate, insubspatiate, fertile, and engagée, notwithstanding critical heuristics whose hypostasized intrusions into a species-specific spatio-temporal domain is enjoined by ironic distanciation.

So the epitaxial fricatives located in the ruptured rhetorical spasms of a conjoined systematic imperative are not therefore the locus vivendi of a parasyntactic concourse, nor are they even sly reminders of bourgeois ideology.

They are substrategized dislocations of trans-ischemic discourse, and while hermeunetic gestures posited by an essentially tautological regrounding of cathectic instantiation may be hopelessly declassé, it is unarguably enjambed in protemic lepsis and inextricably emblemmatic of class struggle.

Without a propadeutic gesture lexically inflamed, we are doomed to a feeble resuscitation of pathetic fallacy, an unideological dicta mori, save sundry arcane pledged redemptions, a proto ingot, ergo non says a fetid planar gobo, but wallow bins a shanty tiver dollup, ko poons a prisba, mairkly skansa, ideo kolo peerkly, maydya farkvah, presta bundo, hoit di charkatusch ke....

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