A Distant Laughter: The Poetics of Dislocation
‘It is necessary that, with great urgency, we all speak well and listen well. We, you and I, must remember everything. We must especially remember those things we never knew.’
The subject of this essay began twenty-five years ago with a somewhat naïve curiosity about the centrality of the operations of language in the art practices of certain artists emerging from a traumatic history of colonialism. To be sure, by the late 1970s, the play between image and word in artworks had become common practice following its reintroduction by Pop art and Conceptualism. But for the culturally dislocated subject there seemed to be rather more at stake politically than gaming with language for its own sake, or as a strategy for challenging assumptions governing the institutions of art as such. The issue seemed to be one of agency: for the individual or collective to construct subjectivity it must acquire the language and power to act within the sociopolitical and historical relations that constitute its life-world; or, to put it another way, to act politically one must assume some form of (subjective) position, however contingent. However, the histories of colonialism demonstrate that cultural dispossession sets in motion a catastrophic mutilation of communal identities and social structures. Where ancestral belonging to place, language, culture and history is violently interrupted the self is deprived of a ground from which to narrate itself in the world and imagine new possibilities of existence. Thus, to dispossess a people is in extremis to reduce them to what Giorgio Agamben calls ‘bare life’ or the ‘inhuman’, to alienate them from both the past and the future.
For peoples now forced to speak in a foreign language that represented them as less than human within the Manichean hierarchies of colonialism, the reclamation of collective and individual agency entailed negotiating both a passage out of the impasse of traumatic separation and loss and a new sense of cultural identity from the discontinuities wrought by the imposition of an alien culture. The struggle of the self to extricate itself from the dehumanising effects of dominance meant coming to know the language of the coloniser better than he knew it himself in order to master and articulate the boundaries between seemingly incommensurable cultural codes and meanings. Thus, what is brought into play in the art of the dislocated subject is poetic invention as a critique of the abstract, instrumental languages of power that frame our everyday lives and coerce our thoughts and actions into accepting its representations of reality, and as a means of offering new perspectives on existence. In this poetics, language is destabilised and re-embodied as a tactic of disarticulating received meanings and fixed identities, producing a space of undecidability in which everything has to be negotiated anew. Of particular interest here is the role played in overcoming traumatic loss by a certain kind of laughter that draws its force, like poetics, from the essential heterogeneity and instability of language. This paper will outline some of the issues of trauma and art by reference to the exemplary writing and art practice of Jimmie Durham – sculptor, performer, poet and political activist – whose ‘practical wisdom’ offers insights into the relation between trauma and humour.
The paper goes on to propose an analogy between Durham’s work and the concept of délire, described by Jean-Jacques Lecercle as a ‘form of discourse, which questions our most common conceptions of language (whether expressed by linguists or philosophers), where the old philosophical question of the emergence of sense out of nonsense receives a new formulation, where the material side of language, its origin in the human body and desire, are no longer eclipsed by its abstract aspect (as an instrument of communication or expression). Language, nonsense, desire: délire accounts for the relation between these three terms.’2 Lecercle cites the writings of Louis Wolfson, an American of East European Jewish descent who, because the English language gave him such physical pain, resorted to translating it into a bricolage of other languages.3 As Lecercle demonstrates, for the sufferer, the writing of délire is a reflexive and creative act to accommodate the contradiction between being possessed by language and the attempt to master it: a symptom of the ‘dereliction of the linguistic order’ and a liberation.4 If the source of Wolfson’s pain was his mother tongue and the familial trauma that this implies, in the colonial scenario the source of pain and injustice is the dispossession of the mother tongue and possession by a foreign language, from which the self has the task of constituting new subjectivity and agency. As Houston A. Baker, speaking from an African American position, insists, ‘the birth of such a self is never simply a coming into being, but always also a release from BEING POSSESSED’; that is, a divestiture of the self’s inscription as other in the language of dominance, which he describes as ‘tunnelling out of the black holes of possession and “tight places” of old clothes, into, perhaps, a new universe.’5 Délire is one possible way of ‘tunnelling out of the black holes of possession’. Insofar as it privileges the body as the source of language, it enters the realm of humour – the pun, lapsus and incongruous associations through which the body ‘speaks’ its instinctual drives.
Délire etymologically derives from the Latin delirare, meaning ‘to deviate from the ploughed furrow’, implying also a fall out of linear time, and hence a confusion of cause and effect. Whilst this is characteristic of pathological delirium, in Claire Colebrook’s critique of irony, it is also a quality of humour: ‘Humour falls or collapses: “down” from meaning and intentions to the singularities of life that have no order, no high and low, no before and after… Humour is not the reversal of cause and effect but the abandonment of the “before and after” relations – the very line of time – that allows us to think in terms of cause and intentions, of grounds and consequents.’6 Trauma also shares this fall out of time. As Cathy Caruth notes, ‘The shock of the mind’s relation to the threat of death is not the direct expression of the threat, but precisely the missing of this experience, the fact that, not being experienced in time, it has not yet been fully known.’7 If what is put in crisis in both trauma and humour is referentiality, then we can perhaps begin to build a picture of the relation between them.
The Witness and the Problem of Representation
Durham’s insistence that ‘we all speak well and listen well’ and ‘especially remember those things we never knew’ raises the issue of witnessing, and situates us in the vexed debates on historical trauma and its narration: the issue of what is transmissible and representable of a catastrophe that demands, but at the same time defies the testimony of a witness. Most debates on witnessing have centred on the experience of the Shoah, and amongst influential commentators, from Adorno to Lyotard and Claude Lanzmann, there is a tendency to impose a prohibition on representation and reference on the grounds that there is something in the Shoah that is unassimilable, ‘immemorial’ and irreducible to representation, unavailable except as a void of meaning; the only ethical response is silence. To witness is also to ‘mediate’, and one can appreciate the objection to certain forms of mediation common to documentaries or cinematic dramatisations that appropriate the singularity of suffering to the generalities of a set of dominant representational codes transferable across the landscape of atrocities. These risk empowering the already powerful through a voyeuristic and vicarious identification thereby betraying both the past and the victim.8 The problem would seem to be one of affective transmission: how could one approach the interior of another’s suffering when this is precisely where language fails us? Whilst the objection to mediation would be consistent with Durham’s oft-repeated observation that narratives of ‘Indian sorrows’ are no more than ‘entertainment’ for white America,9 silence is inconsistent both with his insistence on witnessing and with the emphasis throughout his work on the necessity of establishing and narrating the ongoing socio-political realities of Native America’s traumatic histories against a distorting romanticism, or even, as LaCapra suggests with respect to the Shoah, a ‘sacralisation’ of suffering.10
The dominance of the Shoah in discussions of traumatic history have indeed overshadowed other human catastrophes, in part because to compare the Shoah with other historical atrocities risks accusations of a ‘revisionist’ denial of its uniqueness. However, if all genocides are to be dissolved into the silence of the Shoah, then that unjustly denies those other victims the dignity of remembrance. Some form of account is necessary to prevent not only suffering falling into oblivion, but also to make sense of the way the past haunts the present, to overcome the melancholic repetition of victimry, and to confront the issues of revenge, forgiveness and reconciliation.11 Whilst the Shoah indeed possesses its own uniqueness, all genocides, both before and since, are equally singular. Thus, to offer a few prior examples: the distribution during the 1700s of smallpox-infected blankets by the English to American Indians who had no immunity to the disease may be regarded as one of the first acts of biological warfare in modern history; the forced march in 1838 of the Cherokees from their homelands, known as the Trail of Tears, and the ‘relocation’ of the survivors to foreign territory a thousand miles to the west, as an early example of ‘ethnic cleansing’; the slaughter in 1915 of more than one million Armenians by the Turkish Ottoman government as one of modernity’s first expressions of state-sanctioned violence against its own ‘citizenry’; and the German extermination policies against the Herero at the turn of the twentieth century in what is now Namibia as the crucible for techniques the Nazi regime would subsequently apply in Europe. We need to be reminded that these traumatic histories continue to frame the cultural memory and identity of contemporary survivors. Alas, it is a truism that neither the genocide and immiseration of indigenous peoples under colonial rule, nor the racial terror inflicted on African survivors of the Middle Passage fully aroused Europe’s consciousness of its own barbarism; the defining event was the Shoah, one suspects because it took place uniquely not ‘over there’, but in the very heart of Hegel’s pinnacle of western civilisation, thereby putting into crisis its entire metaphysical edifice. As Paul Gilroy argues, the rationalism of modernity’s Enlightenment project cannot be critiqued without acknowledging its complicity with racial terror.12
For Giorgio Agamben what made the Shoah unique was not so much the industrial efficiency by which corpses were produced,13 but that it produced in its victims a ‘limit situation’ in which the human crossed the threshold into the inhuman, exemplified by those prisoners described as ‘walking corpses’, whose extreme state of trauma left them incapable of experiencing or witnessing anything whatsoever, even their own death. Since there exists no voice in the disappearance of voice, and the outsider is by definition excluded from the experience as such, one could only witness the absence of witness. Nonetheless, for Agamben, witnessing the absence of witness is necessary because the act of testifying is the visible trace that links the inhuman, the living being of sensate experience that knows but cannot speak, to the pathos of the speaking subject as one who speaks but cannot know.14 Speaking and narration create the subject as a departure from this unknowable origin to which there is no return except through the silence of desubjectification. Cultural dispossession also produces a ‘limit situation’, from which the task of the survivor becomes not picturing catastrophe, but witnessing this ‘zone of indistinction’ between speechlessness and speaking. In this sense, the witness to trauma is less an invitation to us to witness in turn – or vicariously relive – the singularity of their trauma, but to witness our own, since surely this is a point of mutual human recognition? An experience that can only be grasped by listening and responding to what is felt but unknown between one traumatic history and another. It is towards this thought that Durham’s writing and artwork direct us for they do not refuse communication or transmission – on the contrary, there is throughout his work a paradoxical excess or proliferation of meaning – but they ask, what form can transmission take to produce genuine understanding?
Durham’s Not Lothar Baumgarten’s Cherokee, 1990, is a modest but enigmatic work on paper. It shows no more than the fragments of two juxtaposed scripts photocopied onto fine art paper and masquerading as archival documents: one is a few mutilated lines of Cherokee (torn from a copy of a letter written in the 1880s), the other is the artist’s handwritten transcription of a text referring to Cherokees published in the Finnish language. Both texts are at the outer limit of linguistic familiarity and decipherability, and one might imagine at first that their opacity signals an obstinate insistence on the untranslatability of difference. Moreover, as photocopies, the texts displace artistic ‘authenticity’ to a facsimile, a surface effect.
Not Lothar Baumgarten’s Cherokee was a riposte to German artist Lothar Baumgarten’s The Tongue of the Cherokee, 1985–88, which seemed suspiciously to reflect a neo-liberalist assumption of the right to ‘speak for’ the ‘other’ – another, subtle form of dispossession. Irrespective of Baumgarten’s probable good intentions, it was difficult to see this work as anything other than an aestheticisation of the native sign. The work was installed in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, where each letter of the Cherokee syllabary, elegantly engraved in glass, was isolated and trapped in the structural grid of the ceiling. Thus frozen like prehistoric flies in amber and divorced from their potential as writing (i.e., their organisation into a thought), the letters (like indigenous peoples within the fantasmatic imagination of white America) were removed to a non-historical past and an inaccessible, quasi-transcendental space.15 By contrast, Durham’s work acknowledges the material life of language, albeit partially mutilated, at the same time as the ‘archival’ partial text is staged as witness to an indecipherable ‘past’.
Looking again at Not Lothar Baumgarten’s Cherokee, what separates but also unites the two scripts is the diagonal tear of the paper; in an unsettling, sensual way, I am drawn irresistibly to the tear, not as an image but as an imagined gesture. It is a gesture that rearticulates the performative and the cognitive dimensions of language; in their untranslatability we are confronted with a resistance to reference, and redirected to the body. In this way, the work performs the uncertain relation between self and other as it is mediated through language. What thereby appears to be ‘communicated’ is the pain of a communicability approached only through the incommunicability of a dismembered body partially remembered: the only certain relation to be established amongst us is the aporia of non-relation. ‘Human beings’, as Bataille commented, ‘are never united with each other except through tears and wounds.’16
Not Lothar Baumgarten’s Cherokee opens onto the problem of representational languages. Representation tends to assume the transparent communicability of words and images, the assumption of a natural coincidence between the sign and its referent, which is to conceal its nature as an imaginary construction. It expropriates the thing represented, artfully producing the illusion that we possess it and control its meaning. It is a means of assimilating otherness to the comforting order of the selfsame. It is precisely in thereby forestalling the rupture in meaning threatened by the unassimilable that representation colludes in safeguarding our sense of coherent selfhood. But the act of representing always involves the violence of decontextualisation and estrangement. By contrast to the referential visions of mass media, poetics lies beyond reference, explanation and information: it suspends reference and induces a momentary sense of incoherence – or desubjectification – and thus presents an enigma. Enigma draws us into the work, as Alain Badiou says of the poem, ‘not in order to know what it means, but rather to think what happens in it. Because the poem is an operation, it is also an event’.17 In this way the viewer is disarmed of its certitude and compelled to engage with difference – its own as well as that of others.
Trails of Tears: Narratives of Departure
In a study paper for the Native American Support Committee in 1974, Durham presented a critical outline of what he saw to be the problems and strengths for Native Americans still subject to the ‘most oppressive colonisation the world has ever seen’. He goes on: ‘Remember that oppression is more than skin deep; it is not exterior to a person’s inner life. It gives us confusion, self-loathing, and a natural urge to escape, which in some people takes the form of a ‘mental’ escape – into mysticism, alcoholism, suicide, reactionism.’18 That is, he succinctly outlines symptoms of what has since been diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Durham’s paper was a call for unity and responsible action in the ongoing struggle for land and the retention of cultural values as a means to overcome the demoralising mix of romanticism, paternalism and racism that marked the United States’ relations to Native America. Although the paper is couched in the ‘liberation struggle’ language of its time, its subtle rethinking of the issues at stake differs markedly from the tendency of anticolonial criticism to define struggle in the accusatory terms of oppositional binaries – victim and victimiser, and so forth. Written under the umbrella of the American Indian Movement (AIM),19 and more than eighty years after total ‘removal’ to reservations, the paper on one level attests to the length of time it takes for an oppressed people to work through trauma and develop a critical perspective sufficient to overcome the inertia of cultural catastrophe. In Freudian terms, it concerns forging a passage out of the impasse of melancholia – marked by ambivalence of the survivor to the ‘lost object’ leading to self-reproach, self-abasement and withdrawal from the world – and into the reparative work of mourning.
Durham’s writing confirms that trauma, defined as a severe wound inflicted on the body or on the psyche, is not only a matter of experiencing a singular catastrophic event, but also haunts successive generations either through the repetition of personal or social dysfunction that trauma may precipitate among surviving family members, or through a sustained war of attrition by the dominant power structure against the surviving cultural remnants of subordinated people. As Durham writes in ‘8-Wounds’, one of a series of scriptovisual works entitled The 1986 Pinkerton’s Agency Manual, 1989: ‘A Wound is a break in the skin. WOUNDS ARE SUBJECT TO INFECTION and BLEEDING.’ Infected wounds do not heal; wounds that heal nonetheless leave a trace, a scar.
In the colonial scenarios of African slavery and the conquest of indigenous peoples, dislocation meant not only geographic displacement, but also cultural dispossession through the prohibition of customs, beliefs and language in an enforced but partial ‘assimilation’ into the alien worldview of the coloniser: a double departure from the narratives of ancestral belonging. Significantly, Durham dwells at length on the issue of language – the distortions in translation between two incommensurable worldviews and the disastrous consequences of cultural dispossession, prefiguring what Agamben later identifies as the ‘limit situation’ of the inhuman. As Durham states, ‘A biologically human animal is not fully human without, for example, language which is a cultural/political phenomenon. To speak of an alienated society is to speak of a people robbed of their culture, always so that some political system can exploit them. That is what makes culture so important to liberation, and that is why it can never be considered a separate piece of human activity.’20 That is, colonial geographical displacement is also linguistic dislocation, aptly named ‘dislocution’ by Fritz Senn in speaking of James Joyce’s writings.21
In some respects, Durham’s artistic trajectory parallels that of Joyce: both emerge from histories of cultural displacement, rejecting the mutilated geographic homeland to shift restlessly from one European city to another: a constant repetition of departure where the only ‘home’ inhabited is a foreign language. The language that each artist uses therefore invites comparison. Joyce exiled himself from Ireland because he could find no place as a speaking subject under the conditions imposed by English colonial rule. Joyce sets the tone of betrayal, anguish, and contradiction inherent in this experience in A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, where Stephen, during his exchange with the English dean of studies, thinks, ‘The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine. How different are the words home, Christ, ale, master, on his lips and on mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit. His language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired speech. I have not made or accepted its words. My voice holds them at bay. My soul frets in the shadow of his language.’22 Joyce eventually ‘consoles’ this fretting soul by a violation of language in what Seamus Deane calls a ‘Babelian act of war’. Finnegans Wake – his ‘history of repression’, a ‘titanic exercise in remembering everything at the level of the unconscious because at the conscious level so much has been repressed that amnesia is the abiding condition’ – is a mischievous subversion of written English drawn through a heteroglossia of classical and modern European languages, Irish speech patterns and the scriptovisual labyrinths of the Book of Kells.23 The traumatic transfigured into ludic humour. A doubled glance: inwards towards self-reparation and outwards to confuse the enemy using its own tools of repression – language. Despite his errantry in Europe, Joyce never ceased to write through the experience and reflections of a lost homeland: ‘For myself I always write about Dublin because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities in the world. In the particular is contained the universal.’24 For Joyce, belonging was indeed be-longing, a departure from which there was no hope of return, except through an ambivalent remembering, and in which writing was not to be the foundation of a new subjective ground for the writer, but a re-founding of language itself through the inchoate sounds of speech – a listening and a speaking.
Of interest here is the way both Joyce and Durham re-embody language: a concern with corporeal transmission, a shifting between the cognitive and the performative aspects of language that in turn demands a rearticulation of meaning from a subject who listens – a reclamation of the ontology of self and language insofar as one hears before one speaks. Hence, if language is foregrounded in Durham’s and Joyce’s work, it is because, in the imperfect translation between colonial English and native syntactical conventions and meanings, a disjunction arises which itself highlights the differential between instrumental and poetic uses of language: the normative forms of language are inadequate vehicles to transmit experience, requiring the search for a different way of speaking that could open up a different, responsive listening.
Joyce lightens the burden of repressive language in the homelessness of ‘two thinks at a time’,25 a mental gymnastic that is also resonant in Durham’s work. Durham, now multiply dislocated from his Cherokee origins, once said, ‘One of the most terrible aspects of our situation today is none of us feel that we are authentic. We do not feel that we are real Indians. But each of us carries this ”dark secret” in his heart, and we never speak about it… For the most part we just feel guilty, and try to measure up to the white man’s definition of ourselves’.26 The sentiment is reflected in Caliban Codex, 1992, a series of anti-aesthetic, faux-naif pencil drawings, diary (‘dairy’) entries and notes in which Caliban, Shakespeare’s tricky ‘savage’ in The Tempest, whilst seeming to seek the approbation of his new mentor simultaneously complains that, since Prospero turned up, he can no longer see what his own nose looks like; that is, his selfhood has been arrogated to Prospero’s totalising worldview. The series finally devolves on a mask–like face composed of mud, two different animal glass eyes and a button for a nose: a conjugation of land, the animal and the ‘foreign body’. Caliban’s famous line, ‘You taught me your language and my profit on’t is, I know how to curse’, expresses a colonial resentment that for Durham is to be played out through a poetic and parasitical language game, in which narratives of the colonial past are brought abruptly into alignment with those of the present.
The ‘white man’s Indian’ was not, however, a position that Durham was content to inhabit. His Self-Portrait, 1985, is a life-sized canvas cut out of his body outline like a figure for target practice or a flayed skin, bearing a face modelled on part of a skull and an overly large fluorescent penis. (The obvious connotations are to Indian ‘savagery’; but since whites introduced flaying, scalping and rape, this attribution is one of the United State’s mythic inversions about itself that Durham has attacked with a coruscating wit.) The figure is inscribed with a doubled language – English text and faux-Indian signs – and a doubled, first and third person address – ‘Hello, I’m Jimmie Durham… Mr Durham has stated that…’ In other words, in Self-Portrait Durham writes ‘himself’ through the reading of another, cultural text about ‘himself’ in an ambivalent, dialogical play between the subject of the enunciation and the subject of the utterance. If one invokes other instances of body tattooing – for example, the Spanish practice of tattooing Amerindian slaves with successive owners’ names, the machinic tattooing of the body of Kafka’s prisoner in The Penal Colony, or the Nazi concentration camp number tattoos – then Durham’s inscriptions are also a metaphoric ‘death sentence’. Self-Portrait is not a self-representation, but a pantomimic parody, a performance of assumptions of ‘authentic’ Indianness, a surface that reflects back only the viewer’s fantasmatic projections of native identity. Indeed, it undermines any claim to fixed or authentic identity. Or, to put it another way, the displacement signalled by the effigy is a means by which the artist frees himself, or departs from an imposed identity and a body trapped in alien forms of economic exchange.
Durham was embarked on a journey committed to challenging those forms of totalising knowledge that distort the true nature of human dwelling, which is not to be found in the domain of fixed identities. When asked recently about his voluntary and ‘nomadic’ exile, Durham replied, ‘It’s my ambition in life to become a homeless orphan. I don’t want to be at home’, when ‘home’ means, among other things, ‘secure knowledge’, ‘mastery’, ‘lack of doubt’.27 If, on the one hand, Durham questions those inauthentic criteria that fuel the American Dream and its rhetoric of racial supremacy, on the other, he asks for a more authentic language of being and agency. On a political level this parallels Frantz Fanon’s commentary in Wretched of the Earth, where he plainly states that to dwell nostalgically in a pre-colonial past of atrophied fragments was a recipe for political and cultural inertia, not the ground for action. Expressions of ‘lament’ or ‘recrimination’ may be temporarily cathartic, but were reactive responses to loss, primarily addressed to hegemonic power and too easily assimilated by it since it recognised that, alone, they presented no threat of insurrection and were ineffective in shifting the relations of power. It was the role of the intellectual to mobilise his or her imagination to conjugate cultural memory with the realities of the present towards a new national consciousness, ‘giving it form and contours and flinging open before it new and boundless horizons’.28 Such memories, as Ricoeur maintains, are a telling otherwise: ‘There are different ways of dealing with humiliating memories: either we repeat them in Freud’s sense or, as Todorov suggests, we may try to extract the ‘exemplarity’ of the event rather than the factuality (for exemplarity is directed towards the future: it is a lesson to be told to following generations… and towards justice.)’29 That is, traumatic departure is also propulsion into the future.
In narratives of departure from catastrophe, as Caruth notes, ‘trauma is not simply an effect of destruction but also, fundamentally, an enigma of survival,’30 and as such is ultimately the enigma of history itself which, given the past’s relative inaccessibility, cannot be defined by simple models of experience and reference. In her close re-reading of Freud, particularly Moses and Monotheism, Caruth makes some important observations, for which I shall offer a rather crude precise. Freud analyses the Hebrews’ exodus from Egypt and arrival in the lands of Canaan as also an arrival of the history of the Jews as a monotheistic nation, made available through the experience of a trauma (the forgetting – and return – of the deeds of Moses, through his murder and its subsequent psychic repression). The reason for the Hebrews’ return is not to preserve freedom but the monotheistic god; it is not so much a return to a past freedom but a departure into a ‘newly established future that is no longer continuous with the past but is united with it through a profound discontinuity… Freud resituates the very possibility of history in the nature of a traumatic departure.’31
Crucial to Freud’s discussion of life-threatening trauma is his concept of latency: the enigma lies not the forgetting of the event but that the survivor is not fully conscious of it as it occurs; the return of the traumatic experience is not the signal of the direct experience, but an attempt to master what was never fully grasped in the first place. It is precisely the survivor who suffers through the trauma of the missing other: as is recurrently mentioned in witness testimonies, the survivor is fraught with guilt, shame and bewilderment at having somehow survived unharmed an event whose enormity is beyond the self’s power of conscious incorporation – a temporal aporia in which the threat of death was missed through lack of consciousness of the experience, and which has to be constantly replayed through the symptoms of PTSD as an ‘endless testimony to the impossibility of living… which may lead to destruction’.32 Thus, for the survivor the crisis of surviving death is also the crisis of surviving life. Insofar as the traumatic experience is inaccessible to the surviving victim’s consciousness, trauma resembles the inaccessibility of the past. As Caruth succinctly puts it, ‘The historical power of the trauma is not just that the experience is repeated after its forgetting, but that it is only in and through its inherent forgetting that it is first experienced at all… A history can be grasped only in the very inaccessibility of its occurrence.’ Furthermore, history, like trauma, is never simply one’s own: ‘history is precisely the way we are implicated in each other’s traumas.’33 Hence, the voice of the wound is always that of an other: ‘the address of the voice here [is] not the story of the individual in relation to the events of his own past, but the story of the way in which one’s own trauma is tied up with the trauma of another, the way in which trauma may lead, therefore, to the encounter with another, through the very possibility and surprise of listening to another’s wound.’34
Unlike the Hebrews’ exodus, in colonial dispossession we confront the involuntary departure of peoples from their homelands, into un-freedom and the severe mutilation of their belief and social systems. Nonetheless, what unites these disparate scenarios is that it is the ‘unconsciousness of leaving that bears the impact of history:’35 in the colonial scenario, the ‘fall’ that marks the effects of trauma consists of the numbing, dehumanising effects of separation and loss from all that constituted individual and collective subjectivity, a suffering so acute that only succeeding generations may become capable of bearing witness to it, of beginning the task of remembrance, and of reconfiguring selfhood historically in conjunction with a foreign language: a departure into a ‘newly established future’ that now irrevocably included alien others.
The Turn to Humour
‘Laughter – that is something very sacred, especially for us Indians. For people who are as poor as us, who have lost everything, who had to endure so much death and sadness, laughter is a precious gift.’
John (Fire) Lame Deer36
As LaCapra says, ‘for memory to be effective it must reach large numbers of people’; it must therefore find accessible form.37 With the rare exception of what LaCapra calls the ‘carnivalesque’ or ‘gallows humour’ of Art Spiegelman’s Maus, the comic book on the traumatic consequences of the concentration camp, humour finds few expressions in Holocaust commentaries. Humour is, however, intrinsic to Native American hermeneutics, cultural survival and the recapture of collective agency. The Lakota lawyer and writer Vine Deloria, writing at the time of the founding of AIM, notes: “Humour has come to occupy such a prominent place in national Indian affairs that any kind of movement is impossible without it… The more desperate the problem, the more humour is directed to describe it… Often people are awakened and brought to militancy through funny remarks.’38 From the mid-twentieth century humour appears in Native American literature and art in the guise of trickster; remobilised from oral tradition, trickster is the boundary violator, cultural transformer, traditional survivor and figure of hermeneutics par excellence.39 As Anishinaabe writer Gerald Vizenor says, ‘The trickster is liberation and survivance, and the historic ‘indian’ is the other measure of tragic victimry… [T]rickster is a comic trope in a universal language game. The trickster narrative is a wild, imagic venture in communal discourse, an uncertain tease and humor that denies aestheticism, literal translation, and representation.’40
To indicate some of the force of trickster humour it is worth digressing into an abbreviation of a twentieth century Brule Sioux version of a traditional trickster tale that, through sardonic wit, voices anxiety over the destruction of their life-world by the instrumental technologies of Western culture. The trickster Iktome relates to his trickster comrade Coyote that he woke up in a sweat after a bad dream. He dreamt he spied a beautiful chief’s daughter in the distance, and, overcome by lust, his penis elongated and snaked across the road to impregnate her. Whereupon Coyote interrupts and says: ‘This sounds like a good dream to me!’ Iktome continues to describe how, in the process of accomplishing this act, a white man’s horse-drawn wagon, with its heavy ironclad wheels, suddenly appeared on the road, driving at full-tilt… At which Coyote concedes, yes, this was indeed a nightmare.41 It is not gratuitous that this anxiety is related as a nightmare since it is one of the symptoms by which the traumatic event returns to haunt the sufferer. But this is precisely what is understood by the storyteller; the trauma is re-told as a tragicomic tale, which becomes the conduit for dispelling its negative effects, for sustaining hope, and for ensuring that trickster (cultural memory) always lives to tell another tale.
Nonetheless, the problem with invoking trickster is its co-option by anthropology, which limits the language by which we can express its broader cultural value. However, we can draw on another perspective. In his introduction to his correspondence with Thomas Mann, the mythographer Karl Kerényi suggests that Nietzsche’s dualistic division of human culture into the rational Apollonian and the non-rational Dionysian should be supplemented by a third aspect, the Hermetic: ‘a specific quality in the nature, achievements, and life patterns of mankind, as well as the corresponding traits of roguery to be found on the surface of man’s world.’ The Hermetic – one should note – is written with a capital H, and as Kerényi emphasises is ‘to be understood in terms of mythological antiquity and not in the Gnostic or alchemical sense, much less as a movement in modern poetry.’42
Of the at times paradoxical attributes of the Hermetic discussed by Kerényi we should note the following correspondences to trickster: artful prankster, deceiver and opportunistic thief; journeyer and transgressor of boundaries; the hinge, or keeper of the gate and crossroads; interpreter and inventor of language, associated with excessive bodily appetites, chance, memory and forgetting.43 The Hermetic spirit inhabits its world even as it creatively manipulates it and encompasses both the vitality of procreation and the enigmatic obscurity of death.
The Hermetic association with creative transformation aligns it with art. Art is not autonomous from the socio-political circumstances from which it arises but neither is it reducible to them, which is why it does not illustrate a historical catastrophic event, but produces the enigmatic, ‘catastrophic’ event of art itself. In the face of trauma, art must engage a double manoeuvre: to transform traumatic material into a form of critical reflection that may advance the reparative work of mourning, and to find a language to connect with its interlocutors at the level of affect. If art has a transformative value it is because it possesses a different materiality and temporality from mediated representations; it has the capacity to tease us out of instrumentalised time and space precisely into a decelerated space-time of reflection.
It is this deceleration that engages us in Durham’s laconic revelations of the absurd in the erudite and vice versa, or what we suggest is a humorous délire, where the syncope of laughter – the catch of breath, the momentary loss of self-consciousness – is the triumph of body over abstraction and the disarming of instrumental time. To trace this pathway we need to return again to Durham’s play with the scriptovisual. In ‘The Search for Virginity’, the artist presents a critique of the way the common usages of English reduce the world to binary, hierarchical opposites: they have no truth beyond the relations of power that determine them.44 His work consistently draws upon the dictionary itself as an archival resource of the transhistorical and transnational etymology of words to make uncommon polyphonic connections and slippages of meaning. For a recent artist residency in the north of England he produced both a book and a stone sculpture. The book – through which Durham teases out some of the more paradoxical elements of local history – includes a section on English words that also incorporates handwritten pages; one lists a series of words in the same phonemic family accompanied by simple illustrations; the second provides another list but with the instruction that the reader makes their own drawings. As in so many of the artist’s works, the viewer or reader is actively addressed, invited to ‘join up the dots’, as it were.
The sculpture is a continuation of Durham’s current dialogue between stones (possessing the fond status of words as infinitely malleable) and European architecture (occupying the hierarchical and repressive role of instrumental language). In this installation, responding to its surface features, he animated a large boulder with painted eyes and a mouth, and placed it in a red-painted rowing boat named ‘Float Sam’. This was then lowered into the River Wear, to disappear with a wink at high tide, and to reappear with a smile at low tide. In his commentary on this piece, Durham recounts how one observer likened the boulder to Mr Potato Head. However, with a comic inverse logic, the artist retorted that it was quite the reverse: potatoes in the ground mimicked stones to avoid the attention of predators. What Durham turns around here are European assumptions of intentionality, cause and effect and the relationship between the animate and the inanimate.
Continuing the tease between words and objects, one of Durham’s sculptures for the 2003 Venice Biennale consisted of two gold-painted pieces of wood: one a short, square-sectioned length of planed wood accompanied by the caption ‘A piece of wood sculpted by a machine painted by a human’; the other a gnawed twig with the caption ‘A piece of wood sculpted by a dog and painted by a human’. There is something comical about this, but what exactly is it? It is perhaps that we are suddenly shown a dynamic relational universe that induces our hierarchical one to fall apart. Durham interacts with objects, materials and words in the manner of an event of remembrance: finding, painting, gilding, inscribing, associating. In Deleuze’s terms these are ‘effects in the causal sense, but also sonorous, optical, or linguistic “effects”… ‘incorporeal effects on bodies’ that play on the surface – or at the border between depth and height,45 such that – as we see in Durham’s work – the concealed or overlooked becomes manifest. What is revealed in the délire of Durham’s sculpture is a paradoxical temporality embedded in the event itself: an undecidability between to cut/ to be cut, to gnaw/ to be gnawed, or, to wound/ to be wounded, that discloses the interchangeability of active and passive, cause and effect, past and future. ‘In paradox everything happens at the boundary between things and propositions… Paradox appears as a dismissal of depth, a display of events at the surface, and a deployment of language along this limit. Humour is the art of the surface, which is opposed to the old irony, the art of depths and heights.’ And, quoting Valéry, ‘What is most deep is the skin.’46
If Durham’s utterances and propositions seem ‘delirious’ it is not because they are inherently so, but because the way we linguistically structure the world makes them seem so. Our European languages possess tenses that divide up time as linear progression; history becomes a remote horizon, a creation of the present by a subject who assumes an omniscient and ‘objective’ point of view capable of incorporating and distributing all cultures in a single plane of time. Native American perceptions of time, however, do not ‘fit’ this anthropocentric schema; they are cosmogonic, referring to a ‘mythic’ time of creation that understands the corporeal interconnectedness of all things, animate and inanimate, and that must be continually renewed and remembered through thoughts, speech and artistic endeavour. The present, the new, is always folded into the cosmic pattern; the past, including ‘historical’ remembrance, is spoken in the present tense. This is cultural memory, the ‘never known’ that Durham insists must be remembered, and that suffered the impact of colonial repression. From this point of view, history, as governed by abstract political and economic forces, could only lead to a catastrophic disfigurement of cosmic order. However, it is in this other temporal sense that we come to appreciate the defiant, cyclical disappearance and reappearance of Durham’s River Wear boulder, or the Venice sculpture in which the material ‘remembers’ the wounds of its past encounters.
Humour, then, is a weapon by which Durham disarms the conventions of linguistic reference. A cursory glance of the artist’s oeuvre over the years suggests that it covers the entire gamut of Hermetic tropes associated with the comic: irony, satire, parody, sardonic wit, absurdity, apparent incongruous juxtapositions, non-sequiturs and puns with words, objects and images, an irreverent silliness. However, its background in Native American hermeneutics also cautions us to distinguish the intentions and effects of different comic tropes. On the face of it the very position of the dislocated/dislocuted subject, caught between the need to master the other’s language and being possessed by it, or between two incommensurable cultural positions, would seem to be ironic. Those aspects of Durham’s work that confront the ignorance and prejudices of Europeans might reflect this view. The installation ‘On Loan from the Museum of the American Indian’, 1985, included two small works, Types of Arrows and Current Trends in Indian Land Ownership. Types of Arrows consists of three hand-made arrows mounted on a canvas and descriptively labelled ‘tiny’, ‘wavy’, ‘short and fat’, whose absurdity, one would think, is self-evident, but, alarmingly, like the entire installation was taken by some viewers to be ‘authentic’. Current Trends in Indian Land Ownership is a small work on paper, as if torn from a textbook, presenting a series of maps of the North American continent dated 1492, 1820, 1840, 1860, 1978. Whilst the earliest map is totally blocked out in red, by 1978 the red has shrunk to a few tiny patches in a mass of white. The title is couched in the neutral language of sociology, belying both the human cost of this massive dispossession and that the language of ‘ownership’ itself imposes a western concept incommensurate with indigenous relations to land.
However, an absurdist and occasionally self-deprecating tone also runs through the artist’s work, alongside a refutation of the western logic of time, not unlike that of the Brule Sioux trickster story. According to Colebrook, irony, like history, is temporal. Ironic detachment presupposes a transcendental, self-determining subject existing before language (and beyond the body and its affects) and hence capable of taking a distance from a point outside language and context, above and beyond the world. ‘It is through speaking that we have the sense of a subject who preceded speech and an original world that was there to be signified. We could only escape irony, and the point of view of the subject, if we could rethink this logic of time (and narrative)’.47 The ironic position is, then, a fallacious one if we take the view that the subject is always constituted from an unknowable origin. Durham’s position, however, is never that of an ‘objective’ observer outside context; despite dislocation, like Joyce, he remains a survivor and witness to an experienced past that never ceases to return from the future.
Amongst the most succinct summaries of humorous tropes is Lecercle’s gloss on Deleuze’s distinction between satire, humour and irony, equivalent to the spatial model of depth, surface and height. In this reading, satire expresses the ‘depth of the primary order, it deals with insults and obscenities, regresses to oral aggressive sex, excrement and food: it is the art of regression, and Swift.’ Irony is the art of heights: ‘its game of equivocation and metaphor is controlled by an all-mastering subject; it is a form of domination where the subject is placed in the elevated position of a God.’ Humour, however, ‘forces the subject to creep along the ground, on the surface: not going down to the satirical incoherence of depth, where objects are dismembered, but clinging to the discrete absurdity of surfaces, where sense rules over the serious games of paradoxes, and negation no longer denies but confuses: the place where Alice can no longer say whether meaning what one says and saying what one means are two different acts… The classic philosophical concept of irony is overthrown with Platonism and its heights: it gives way to humour, the uncertain art of surfaces.’48
We may recall Kerényi’s description of the Hermetic as a particular quality to be found ‘at the surface of man’s world’, which is consistent with trickster as a liminal figure, occupying the shifting boundaries between the satirical obscene body and the hermeneutic play of language where bodies, things and words can enter into new relations with one another. It is also consistent with Durham’s methodologies: scavenging and collecting the littoral and the discard – mud, sticks and twigs, PVC piping for waste disposal and other things that are to be found on the ground, or just beneath the surface; manipulating texts and objects in a process of remembrance; and above all, disseminating confusion. Irony perhaps becomes a less appropriate trope because it depends on the hierarchical binary of high/low and hence is antagonistic to Durham’s suspicion of all hierarchies. It would also be inconsistent with Durham’s intentions for his work to open a space of doubt and confusion in which the viewer/listener is not belittled or intimidated but encouraged to think. As Walter Benjamin remarks, ‘It may be noted, by the way, that there is no better start for thinking than laughter. And, in particular, convulsion of the diaphragm usually provides better opportunities for thought than convulsions of the soul.’49
Durham’s is a very particular kind of humour, born perhaps of a rather melancholy view of humanity, but one that does not negate life. It differs from irony and Freud’s economy of the joke, because it is not concerned with aggression or mastery over the other but with the transformation of collective existence. As such it is more in keeping with a reparative departure from the effects of trauma. In his later essay on humour Freud expands upon what he had earlier described as ‘the humour that smiles through tears’,50 which approaches the tonality of the comic under conditions of cultural dispossession. From the outset Freud associates this humour with trauma: ‘There is no doubt that the essence of humour (for the humorist) is that one spares oneself the affects to which the situation would naturally give rise and dismisses the possibility of such expressions of emotion with a jest.’51 In seeking to understand the dynamics of this deflection of suffering away from the path of repression, Freud returns to the topography of the ego and the super-ego that he elaborated in Mourning and Melancholia in which the ego becomes the object of denigration by the disciplinary super-ego. In the scene of the joke (and, we might add, irony) the humorist functions as this paternal agency, adopting the attitude of a superior adult by which the other is reduced to the position of a child, its ego deflated.52 However, where the person adopts a humorous attitude towards himself in order to ward off suffering, the humorist treats himself as a child from an adult perspective. Freud proposes that this may be due to the release and transformation of psychic energies that might otherwise be directed to a melancholic self-abasement, such that the super-ego itself takes on a ‘comforting’ role and releases the ego into a degree of pleasure that, although serving an illusion, nonetheless is both ‘liberating and elevating’.53 This humour ‘is not resigned; it is rebellious. It signifies not only the triumph of the ego but also of the pleasure principle, which is here able to assert itself against the unkindness of the real circumstances.’54
In his gloss on Freud’s essay, Simon Critchley notes that this form of humour ‘is a profoundly cognitive relation to oneself and the world… (that) recalls us to the modesty and limitedness of the human condition, a limitedness that calls not for tragic-heroic affirmation but comic acknowledgement, not Promethean authenticity but a laughable inauthenticity.’55
The ‘rebellious’ humour of Durham’s poetics of dislocation is profoundly ethical and political. It is a guide for surviving trauma and transforming life through recognition of the subject’s fragile relation to language, between non-sense and sense, impasse and passage, speechlessness and speech. It challenges the languages of dominance through the paradoxes of délire: against the structure of rational language, délire ‘is neither information nor communicative in a strict sense; it rejects the separation between language and the extralinguistic, between words and bodies; it is heterogeneous and cannot be accounted for through general rules […]; and it is the embodiment of the struggle of minor languages within and against dominant ones. But since these postulates are fallacious, délire is also the truth of language, its basic form.’56 Humour works to reveal the limits of life through the limits of what is representable. And it is through the experience of limits in our encounter with others that we also encounter the trauma of our own finitude, which reminds us that we have not yet lost the possibility of forging a new ground of human solidarity.
Durham Jimmie, 1988, ‘A Certain Lack of Coherence’, Jimmie Durham: Matoaka Ale Attakulakula Guledisgo Nhini (Matoaka and the Little Carpenter in London), Matt’s Gallery, London.
Lecercle Jean-Jacques, 1985, Philosophy through the Looking Glass, Open Court, La Salle, Ill., p 6.
Ibid pp 27, 39.
Ibid p 7.
Baker Houston A., 1986, ‘Caliban’s Triple Play’, in “Race”, Writing, and Difference, (ed) Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Chicago University Press, Chicago and London, p 393.
Colebrook Claire, 2004, Irony, Routledge, London and New York, p 136.
Caruth Cathy, 1996, Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London, p 62.
Perhaps one recent media exception is the images of the collapsing World Trade Center, especially the shocking sight of people falling from the burning towers, transmitted ‘raw’ prior to any authoritative ‘explanation’.
See Jimmie Durham, 1993, ‘Savage Attacks on White Women, As Usual’ in A Certain Lack of Coherence: Writings on Art and Cultural Politics, Kala Press, London, p 124; and ‘Cowboys and…’, ibid, p 184.
LaCapra Dominick, 1998, History and Memory after Auschwitz, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, p 100.
For further critique of these points see Richard Kearney, 2002, On Stories, Routledge, London and New York, pp 47-69; and Kearney, 2003, Strangers, Gods and Monsters, Routledge, London and New York, pp 179-190.
Gilroy Paul, 1993, The Black Atlantic, Verso, London and New York, pp 46-58.
Given that technologies are relative to their time, then the distribution of smallpox-infected blankets was equally deadly in its technological, rational intent and effect.
Agamben Giorgio, 2002, Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen, Zone Books, New York, pp 87-135.
This reading was unfortunately enhanced by a temporary floor installation by the artist Alan McCollum, which consisted of casts of dinosaur bones.
Bataille Georges, 1992, quoted in Denis Hollier, Against Architecture: The Writings of Georges Bataille, trans, Betsy Wing, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, pp 67-68.
Badiou Alain, 2005, Handbook of Inaesthetics, trans. Alberto Toscano, Stanford University Press, Stanford, p 29.
Durham Jimmie, (1974), ‘American Indian Culture: Traditionalism and Spiritualism in a Revolutionary Struggle’, in Durham, A Certain Lack of Coherence, op cit, p 11.
Formed in 1969, AIM marked the first proactive collective movement towards reconfiguring indigenous subjectivity and agency.
Durham Jimmie, (1974), ‘American Indian Culture: Traditionalism and Spiritualism in a Revolutionary Struggle’, op cit, p 12.
Senn Fritz, 1984, Joyce’s Dislocutions: Essays on Reading as Translation, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London, p 202.
Joyce James, (1916), A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, Penguin Popular Classics, London, 1996, p 215.
Deane Seamus, 1992, ‘Introduction’ to James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, (1939), Penguin, London, pp vii-xlix.
Ibid, p xix.
Joyce James, Finnegans Wake, ibid, p 583.
Durham Jimmie, 1983, Columbus Day: Poems, Stories and Drawings about American Indian Life and Death in the 1970s, West End Press, Minneapolis.
Durham Jimmie, 2004, Jimmie Durham, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Edizione Charta, Milan, pp 123-125.
Fanon Frantz, 1985, The Wretched of the Earth, (1961), trans. Constance Farrington, Penguin, Harmondsworth, p 193.
Ricoeur Paul, 1999, ‘Memory and Forgetting’, in Questioning Ethics: Contemporary Debates in Philosophy, (eds] Richard Kearney and Mark Dooley, Routledge, London and New York, p 9.
Caruth Cathy, 1996, op cit, p 58.
Ibid, pp 14-17.
Ibid, p 62.
Ibid, pp 17- 24.
Ibid, p 8.
Ibid, p 22.
Lame Deer John (Fire) and Richard Erdoes, 1972, Lame Deer Seeker of Visions, Washington Square Press, New York, p 226.
LaCapra Dominick, 1998, op cit, p 139.
Deloria Jr. Vine, 1969, ‘Indian Humour’, in Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto, Macmillan, New York, pp 146-167.
This is true not only of the Native America, but also Africa and the African diaspora which also have a trickster tradition; to cite a few examples: the writers Amos Tutuola, Patrick Chamoiseau, Wilson Harris, the artist David Hammons, and from a more recent generation, Yinka Shonibare.
Vizenor Gerald, 2000, ‘Trickster Hermeneutics: Curiosa and Punctuated Equilibrium’, in Re-Verberations: Tactics of Resistance, Forms of Agency in Trans/cultural Practices, (ed) Jean Fisher, Jan van Eyck Akademie Editions, Maastrict, p 145.
Erdoes Richard and Alfonso Ortiz, 1984, American Indian Myths and Legends, Pantheon Books, New York, pp 381-82.
Kerényi Karl, 1975, Mythology and Humanism, The Correspondence of Thomas Mann and Karl Kerényi, trans. Alexander Gelley, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, p 9. The term Hermetic, of course, derives from Hermes, the subject of a lecture Kerényi delivered in 1942 in Switzerland after having fled Nazi-occupied Hungary, later to be published as Hermes, Guide of Souls.
Kerényi Karl, 1996, Hermes, Guide of Souls, (1944), trans. Murray Stein, Spring Publications, Woodstock, pp 140-145.
Durham Jimmie, 1991 ‘The Search for Virginity’, (1988), in The Myth of Primitivism, (ed) Susan Hiller, Routledge, London and New York; republished in A Certain Lack of Coherence, op cit, pp 154-157.
Deleuze Gilles, 1990, The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester with Charles Stivale, Columbia University Press, New York, pp 5-7.
Ibid, pp 8-10.
Claire Colebrook, op cit, p 133.
Lecercle Jean-Jacques, 1985, Philosophy Through the Looking Glass, Open Court, La Salle, Ill., p 112.
Benjamin Walter, 1986, ‘The Author as Producer’, in Reflections, trans. Edmund Jephcott, Schocken Books, New York, p 236.
Freud Sigmund, 1976, Freud 6. Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious’, (1905), trans. James Strachey, Penguin, Harmondsworth, p 298.
Freud Sigmund, ‘Humour’, 1988, (1927) in Freud 14. Art and Literature, trans. James Strachey, Penguin, Harmondsworth, pp 427-433.
We may note here that, from Andrew Jackson on, the policy of the United States towards American Indians hardened into a punitive paternalism, which treated them as wards of the state. In psychoanalytic terms, the native ego is crushed by a harsh super-ego, which, as Durham’s 1974 essay suggests, then becomes internalised by the people. Hence one task of the survivors of cultural dispossession would be somehow to diminish the negative affects of this super-ego imposed by the language of repression.
Freud, 1988, p 432.
Ibid, p 429.
Critchley Simon, 2002, On Humour, Routledge, London and New York, pp 98-105. This may well express the ‘inauthenticity’ of the subject understood in western terms as a unified, or ‘Promethean’ entity; but in Durham’s case it is not inauthentic in terms of a subject constituted in and as the multiplicity of the collective which must ‘project’ an ‘authentic’ position from which to act politically.
Lecercle Jean-Jacques, op cit, p 189.
© Jean Fisher, November 2006
Essay published in Intercultural Aesthetics: A Worldview Perspective, (eds) Antoon Van den Braembussche, Heinz Kimmerle and Nicole Note, Eistein Meets Magritte Series vol 9, Belgium: Springer, 2009, pp 157-176.