The Disappearance of Language

Frozen Ink sliding down glass to produce understanding

For me, the dwindling of ephemeral works such as the ice pieces to a ‘zero point’ parallels the process that Maurice Blanchot was referring to. At the very point where the work disappears, is the point where its idea, its energy, its lasting image in the mind, is generated. This is the thing that will last in the mind about the work, and it endures because it because it disappears.

The Frozen Ink pieces represent a way of using frozen ink as a new writing medium. Because it is frozen, the ink moves in a new way, melting and sliding across the surface, going where natural laws dictate, unlike a pen or pencil driven by a hand. It forms new marks.

Maurice Blanchot, in ‘The Infinite Conversation’ spoke of the ‘disappearance of language’ being precisely that moment when a new language is brought into being;

“In directing us…towards what he calls the zero of writing, Roland Barthes has also perhaps indicated the moment at which literature could grasp itself. But this is because, at this point, it would no longer simply be a blank, absent, neutral writing, it would be the very experience of ‘neutrality’, which one never hears, for, when neutrality speaks, only he who imposes silence on it prepares the conditions of hearing, and yet what there is to hear is that neutral speech, that which has always been said, cannot stop saying itself, and cannot be heard…”  1


Blanchot, Maurice The Disappearance of Literature in The Blanchot Reader ed Holland, M Blackwell 1995 p150








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