TEXT ↠ ´ Jacques Roubaud
Devastated by the death of his young wife Alix the author conceives a project that will allow him not only to continue writing but to continue living writing a book that leads him to co ”All these particularities of the text present obstacles to reading and they cause the eye to stumble I know They do not however affect the comprehension rarely is a word deformed And I leave them here most especially because they are signs persistent signs that I do not want to omit of the circumstances of compositionAnd of the fact that every vision of the past is a vision of the blind”The second volume of Roubaud’s Great Fire of London series begins with the elucidation of an image a “memory image” that allows the author to establish a precedent for his theory of memory and also to anticipate the entire structure and content of The Loop a window pane frosted over the veins of frost composing tiny vegetal patterns an “inverse flower” and a child’s fingernail scraping lines in the frost on the pane eliminating the “inverse flower” in the process of “writing” pictures using written symbols to create and destroy simultaneously The frosted window is placed in a bedroom in a house in Carcassonne and when the image is extended when one attempts to reach through the memory image of the inverse flower into the outside world one finds somewhat surprisingly black absolute dark We are told there is a frozen garden beyond this blackened window but the child and the adult Roubaud recalling the image and therefore the Reader are confronted at first only with this picture of nothingness a fingernail scraping symbols into icy flowers on a canvas of oblivion What makes the image an even complete rendering of the processes of remembrance and especially of remembering when it takes the form of the written word follows it is revealed to be a false dark the windows are painted black Behind the false dark of the window pane at which a finger scrapes the world of memory is a frozen garden which lies hidden until the rememberer begins his pursuit In the pursuit a world develops almost like an exposed polaroid we find the windows are painted black to block the internal lights as a passive resistance to air raids We Roubaud the child the Reader finally find ourselves situated in the rarity of a snowy garden in the south of France in the early days of the Occupation during World War IIAs children we play games with space and time manipulating our physical beings in space and time or manipulating the properties of space and time to the warp of our imaginations We eliminate ourselves and become an inhuman aspect of the landscape hide seek; we command armies or grow to gigantic dimensions to lord over an entire navy of toy boats afloat in a fountain or a pond lifting the boats and terrified crews at our will like gods orchestrating complex marine battles in miniature; or we become miniatures ourselves we shrink ourselves to follow mice into holes or fish down rocky currents or float along with seeds and leaves on a breeze; we become princes or princesses in mythical lands we are both rulers and creators of these lands; we destroy the limits of space on bicycles; we climb trees and scan the conuerable horizons; we find hidden places in closets thickets under tables secret rooms that are then the secret lairs of our secret selves our kingdoms of secret where we fortify ourselves against the unknowable world; we invent languages understood by a chosen few and these languages necessarily are lost; we possess magical objects that allow us to sleep to travel to traverse dimensional restrictions that protect us and accompany us like guardian angelsAs we grow older it is space and time that end up playing games with us We are no longer the masters unless we keep often only inside ourselves a number of these magical objectsIt is winter a fountain is frozen over in the Luxembourg Gardens the sky is gray and close like the lid of a coffinLast night or a few nights ago it doesn’t matter I saw part of a program on television called Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman It was titled “Can We Resurrect the Dead?” A uick search finds that some other titles in the series are “Can We Eliminate Evil?” “Will Eternity End?” “What Makes Us Who We Are?” “What Is Nothing?” “Does Time Exist?” Anyway in this particular episode a professor had developed a small camera worn around the neck like a necklace hung about the level of the heart that he and a number of grad students wore daily and which snapped around 3000 diurnal images An algorithm determined somehow significance among these captured moments and whittled them down to about 30 per day which were then stored in a giant hard drive “giant” in capability of memory that is with the intention of archiving 3000 moments reduced to 30 “significant moments” occurring in each day of the participants entire lives The purpose of this experiment it was revealed was to obtain the possibility of eternal life with each day chronicled in images and with the mass of these images trimmed down to those determined “significant” one could reconstruct essentially so it was proposed a human being’s personality their likes their habits the way they spent their time who they knew what they saw where they chose to unfold their days The program went further and proposed that after death a robotic body made to resemble in every way the body of the deceased could be constructed given a voice modeled on the voice of the dead and uploaded with all of these “significant” moments the robot then being instilled so it was proposed with the personality of one who had died Thus eternal lifeThey didn’t confront the issue of perception of a body moving and feeling in space and time and how disembodied images are not what makes a human being or if they confronted this it was while I was checking in on the NatsMets game nor did they confront the fact that this robotic entity could no longer develop new preferences learn new associations meet new people with new ideas that propose new future pathways They were essentially creating a memory machine a statue imbued with static dataI wondered what Roubaud sitting down each morning and evening in the either gathering or waning light and assembling his memories would make of this episode of Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman Roubaud himself has a term for these external artifacts of our lives these gathered images and documents that make up our “external memory” He calls them “pictions” A piction does not contain memory it only fundamentally alters it defaces it by externalizing it commands its autonomy over memory asserts its authority over what is remembered which is in fact a wholly organic thing and potentially supplants it An external memory effector is a fiction its colors and shapes are essentially rooted to the format the process the material properties of the piece it speaks of what it documents only at a great distance in vague terms It is a referent a companion object a refraction nothing It is certainly not “personality”The structure of The Loop is interestingly similar to how the arrow of time is lived internally in our minds There is the straight line of the story but at each insertion the arrow of time flies sideways up and down forward and then suddenly back and then with each bifurcation which are by definition longer “moments” disparate points within the line of the story are connected through memory associations and one can either move ahead again at the linear chronological stopping place of the story or find themselves starting over a section previously read but with a new perspective with new associations The book brilliantly mimics a living working mindA fig tree grows up against the walls of a house its roots have invaded the house its roots push up through the tiles of the kitchen cracking them displacing them Its weight against the house is felt most severely in strong storms when Mediterranean gusts abuse it It creaks and bows against the walls threatening them with collapse They don’t collapse but they threaten to The Loop among all the other things that it is a treatise on memory a theory of literature poetry criticism a language game Oulipian textual mischief is primarily a World War II memoir a memoir of the Occupation of France a memoir of childhood Roubaud’s techniues for recalling these years are similar to the processes of a phenomenologist like Gaston Bachelard The Loop at times very closely resembles and echoes Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space searching out the storehouses of the past by analyzing in great detail the physical places where the memories were formed and deposited the “loci of memory” The years covered are basically the years of the war with some digressions farther back explorations into the fore lives of Roubaud’s ancestors and some leaps forward to his present life at the time of composition of this book But the great majority of The Loop is about the experiences of a child in the strange mirror world of the Occupation and the deprivations alterations to daily life vague murmurings of far off battles obscure threats of air raids and marching armies arrests masses of people on the move abandoned and ruined landscapes His parents and his grandparents were active members of the Resistance hiding not only Jews from deportation but housing Resistance fighters who fled to the relative safety of the south Carcassonne and environs As the book goes on the Reader finds out just how involved his father actually was and he becomes something of a heroic figure but his grandparents no less living in Occupied Lyon providing shelter and sustenance to those resisting the Nazis But all of this seen through a child’s eyes possesses very little of the gravity of those fully involved in the situations and aware of their conseuences This is a child’s ambiguous view of the era We follow him to his secret and sacred childhood places gardens parks roads mountains fields suares the places where he first reached out and perceived the world The last years of Roubaud’s childhood and his entry into the weird territory we label “adolescence” coincided with the Liberation he was born in 1932 and so was entering into the lycee in Paris where his family was obliged to move when the war ended Thus the celebratory months after the Liberation were slightly tainted by the pains and confusion that result from the natural restrictions on our youthful freedom and upsets to our known order that inevitably come with our exit from the Garden from ParadiseWatching clouds as they move across a mountain and out along the horizon at a steady pace never the same cloud twice never a repeated form as the sky changes behind them as the color spectrum shifts with the draining or filling of light as the screen on which they are laid slightly shifts one is apt to think of the moments of one’s life as they unfolded on altering backdropsIt is an ancient belief that one of the jobs of our guardian angels is to wipe our memories clean This is done firstly when we are born and our guardian angel gives us a smack across the face eliminating all traces of our former lives This is considered an act of generosity if we recalled everything we had experienced in our previous lives we would never commit to taking that first breath we would never choose to live again This first wiping clear of our memories is far from the last though It is also the job of our guardian angel to travel along side us throughout our new lives guiding us intervening at crucial situations but also uietly pressing their lips to our ears now and again blowing softly their divine breath eliminating all those memories that without the grace of forgetting would render us incapable of carrying onSnow falls on a garden Clouds move across the sky always in motion What is it about these crystalline forms these forms of accumulated crystals snow and clouds that are so much like our memories? Why does the snow almost silently falling mounting layer by layer and the silent clouds never presented to us in the same arrangements always in a state of change provoke in us so much thought cause us to reminisce?
Jacques Roubaud ´ La boucle EPUB
La boucleNfront his terrible loss as well as examine the lonely world in which he now seems increasingly to exist that of Memory The Loop finds Roubaud returning to his earliest recollections as The second in Roubaud’s exhaustive and exhausting series “the great fire of London” lower case and uotes the author’s is almost twice as long as Branch One Destruction and focuses on the task of painstaking childhood recall Roubaud spends his time here extracting his earliest memories most which are of the sepia photo kind and so to be treated with scepticism and as usual indulges in small font Insertions and long winded Bifurcations some of which are fascinating and some of which are tedious Tedium is an inevitable component of this series his constraint is to write and not edit what has been written each day however following Roubaud on his complex and super intellectual digressions is a worthwhile enterprise and his likeable humorous and anal narrative voice is almost always endearing