The real story of Artaud-Mômo, tête-à-tête. It’s like closing a picture under the eyelid. Deciphering certain dispositions that are only part of a poetic field [since poetry is always opposition]. Settlement with those who imprison him for 9 years in a penitentiary // of which 3 years in solitary confinement // during his internment in Sotteville-lès-Rouen [October 1937 – March 1938] systematic attempts at intoxication [forget the 40,000 dead // an index of shy skeletons // of the French psychiatric institutions during the German occupation]. Social vampirism, arbitrarily constructed diagnoses, electro- & insulin-shocks for resisting any logic that allows one to infer any structure from individual elements [industrial hypnosis] :: the organised, criminal machinations of current surveillance societies [were there no police, there would be no crimes / strange what they don’t talk about when they think they must tell us everything] :: mutations of isolated elements & their mutual lexical relationships. Artaud’s refusal to participate in a surrealist exhibition taking place in a capitalist gallery [at André Breton’s request to write a text for the “Exposition internationale de surréalisme”]. His predecessors in spirit :: Nerval, Lautréamont, Baudelaire, Lenin (sic.) / the same Lenin whom he exhorts in a 1937 lecture in Mexico City [L’homme contre le destin] to ignore the inner world of thought, those flickering installations of the poetic charge, & to operate only on the level of external facts. I loathe & despise nothing more than this idea of the spectacle, of representation, that is, of virtuality, of the non-reality attached to everything that happens & becomes visible. Schizophrenia manifesting as a trail of thought. The axes of circulation :: pendula above the heads of these idiots. It takes a whole horde of CRSs hanging around the streets of Notre-Dames-des-Champs, around the Porte d’Orleans, to surround him at a busy intersection. Finally, in the course of the lecture, he confuses his manuscripts [the voice is taken care of in tiny particles] & after an eternity [the aphasiac whose syllables come deliriously / transmission noises from the first to the last row] he continues to prick himself in the scalp with a knife :: & this stitch is really the signal / still with the rest of the metamorphosis running through the spinal canal [Louis Guillaume, La Tour de feu 112/1971] :: the hem illuminated with fluorescent dots [a gesticulating figure?] :: the destruction of established forms & boundaries, because there is nothing here but the revolt against the perceived paralysis through a bourgeois consciousness. Chimera-whispers, what is the person who emerges from all that.
Translated by David Vichnar
(originally published: ALIENIST VIII)
* On January 13, 1947, around 600 people gathered at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier (including Artaud’s many friends & supporters) to see the artist perform in Paris after a 9-year odyssey through French psychiatric clinics.