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Nothing ever leaves this room, except through the body

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The workstation

                                                                                                               //Moonder???s tape//

In that vein many hours were spent in the workstation, sitting behind my desk, with the recorder, the boxes and cassettes displayed in front of me. I believe there was something soothing in listening to the conversations of a long time ago, as if one could dwell in parallel spaces far away. Sometimes I would clearly remember having had the conversation, the place where it had taken place, and perhaps even some of the things said, but even when my memory failed in bringing back the details I still enjoyed lingering on the words with a vague sense of familiarity as one can feel comfortable with a stranger because of some feature, a trait in the face, or a reminiscent smell. But that evening the session ended abruptly. The evening was only half done, when the minidisc started to falter and the speech broke off into irregular intervals of silences minced by flares of syllables. The digital seconds on the minidisc froze. I watched the numbers come to a halt, and then lurch forward to halt again. For a while I listened to the cut-up, but notwithstanding all my efforts I could not make sense of the line of thought and I felt a growing nausea come over me, not unlike the physical sensation of being carsick. As a kid I often felt queasy during journeys and I would either go to sleep for most of the ride or fix my eyes on a point in front of the window on the road, but here I found my gaze was obstinately drawn to the display screen where the seconds stood still for too long, with a sense that the world was also arrested. The nausea grew further inside my stomach. I got up to make some tea, and as I put a kettle of water on the stove, I heard in the background the recorder spitting bits of phrases. ???there???s a feeling of bis..nes.......ts...I said nothing abou...but...being jesch..ture...??? The clouds of steam blew in my face when the water came to a boil. I reached out to fetch the box of tea on the shelf, and as I looked inside the box I realized that tea had been on the list of things to purchase on my next visit to the centre of town, but my activities had kept me indoors too long. I peered in the empty container in disbelief before putting it back on the shelf. ???...notice some peop..le....tend to keep their eyes closed within..thems..lves...if you look far away you include all that space...??? The kettle on the stove started whistling and with it the words coming from my workstation in the room evaporated in the shrieking glissando: ???a...a....cert...uh......feeli...and time on a...a...hill somewhere, and uh...mainly just...I was burrowing and...uh...and I had...a...a...of earth.???

That evening is the point where everything turned. It???s hard to explain, but in retrospect the whistling was like a soundtrack that matched my growing alarm about the dispersion all around me. Like a siren that woke me up and made me wonder what accident lay hidden in the fragments. Perhaps my way of listening to the tapes, CDs and minidiscs had been wrong? I had always been content to immerse in the conversation, but here the technological failure impeded the swift space travel into the verbal realm. It dawned on me that words are not the accommodating vehicles that we think they are; they can bounce back to us, and pile up into an impenetrable wall, behind which the past recovers its opacity. Suddenly my whole enterprise seemed ridiculous. What if I had been listening in the wrong vein? It would be far better to treat the recordings as holding oracular messages, necessarily broken off and incomplete. I would have to start all over again; hallucinate the past and depart from the places of distortion. That night I went to bed early, and I had a dream.

Als antwoord op mijn brief stelde Myriam me voor een bezoek te brengen aan haar archief, een verzameling gesprekken die zij als critica, historica, dramaturge en curator voerde met choreografen, performers, kunstenaars ... Zij organiseert in haar appartement hoog boven Brussel luistersessies voor schrijvers, muzikanten, dansers, archivarissen, studenten ... die belangstelling hebben voor haar materiaal en/of werkwijze. Deze bijdrage bestaat uit een beeldgedicht van Myriam op basis van een interview met Steve Paxton, een door mij geselecteerd en ingeleid stukje uit een gesprek van Myriam met de Amerikaanse danser Daniel Lepkoff en een fragment uit een verhaal van Myriam. (EV)

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