The fractured time

or the imaginary institution of the under life

To Hieronimus Bosch who painted The Conjuror so well
"wir sind wir stärker als die Stier"
- German saying

"Can we successfully separate Sunday from a sextuple number of working days ? Can we afford two ways of life, one devoted to beauty, to ideals, to the good, the true but shut away within the narrow limits of the Sabbath and the other one, of a huge scope, determined by the utilitarian and filled with ugliness and sordidness"
- Richard Neutra - Architect.

Religion institutes itself in its genesis by means of this fracture of time widely opening on loss. It is the imaginary institution of the under life Religion consists in this amazing maneuver, indissolubly mixing the vanishing trick and the breaking in, a decomposition of the World into pieces out of which the three elements of the Holy Trinity instantly pop up, armed to the teeth :

Religion is really this separation in acts. It is such a separation at any moment and it has to be so, because it is essentially that. Now what ? Nothing else after all than this quite ordinary insinuation that sows discord to sell conciliation. A contemptuous discourse, a gossip, that only draws its strength from the size of what it defames

On the right side, it looks like a theatrical gesture aiming at the reconstitution of unity, but which, by a kind of systematic disaster, would never really succeed. Or better, that would never succeed but for one moment, the instant of sacrifice, the infinite and indefinite and precise instant of rite, that breaks the unity again in a movement that shows and hides it at the same time. No malice, no modesty, no mystery, no harshness of the Real in such a systematic failure. The Real in the worst case does not care the slightest and most of the time would rather tend to offer itself. No, there is nothing else in this repeated disaster, than a bare shopkeeper necessity : if the trick really worked then unity would not be for sale next time. Spectacular gesture, and hence built of concealment since concealment is quite exactly at the core of any staging (what would staging consist of, else ?). A gesture of which just as well all the entire show is made, as - try it - without concealment there is no show left..

Rite ! Fascination, obsession and further hypnosis of the shadow of the Number, where all power has its roots, since to rule after all, is always to rely on repetition, since to obey is always to repeat. Beauty of logic, that this repetition out of which the show draws its efficiency is already there, as a signature on the birth certificate of things. And hence so is it, that, from the very beginning, one may see the fairy of disenchantment at work, weaving its veil, this particular sort of truth the strength of which only resides into being repeated frequently enough.

On the wrong side, it is barely the separation at work. In other terms, the heart of religion itself, a beating heart that religion instantly pulls out of its own chest and the shadow of which is then shown to the crowd as being something totally external to religion, "Evil", "Enemy" and "Devil", but exclusion and rejection anyway, and for good the Prince of this World per construction, to the exact extent to which religion rules the world.

So that it may be indifferently said, depending on whether you take things by the ass hole or the trick, that Evil is the excremental side of the Religious or that the Religious is the excremental side of Evil. One being included within the other and vice versa, and the excrement being not just this symbol of money that Freud guessed in such a clumsy way, but rather money itself, that is, this imaginary movement by which separation is at the same moment stated and denied. The institution of God has no other source, means, nor aim than the profanation of the world, that is to say, the transformation of the world into a trick, into a task , into a thing, in a word, into rubbish. There has never been any other sacrilege than this initial one by which the Sacred was instituted. Any further sacrilege is a repetition of it, hence in the best case, a caricature.

It is quite forgetful not to remember that both meanings of consume came to sound so close from the habit they had to attend the same Church, of which both of them finally went out as the same hard cash. The fact that the altar is the ancestor of the stall is easy to guess from their common morphologies. But this alone should have let seen that the latter is nothing else than an evolutionary improvement of the former.

But time flies, carrying Life in its embrace. Nothing either of time or life may be grasped or touched except through poetry or mystique, in other terms, immediately - without any respect to whatever sort of link or delay and always rich and deep beyond all possible hopes - or not at all. Similarly, art in the depths of its wishing well, does not know and does not want to know of either Sundays or working days. Art is made of this entangling of patience and passion, from the rage and stubbornness of the alchemist at his furnace, without past nor wait, without any respect or pity for its own ashes, without any other project than the close-by gold of an awareness at hand, that grows and blooms, oblivious of any idleness. All that - poetry, art and mystique - participates far too much of the present for not knowing itself as gift.

It is all different as regards sacrifice - or rather, to name things properly, murder - this remarkable proof of life by reducio ad absurdum, this indefinitely missed act out of which the essential each time escapes. Initial and fundamental failure, and certainty too for sure, but only this certainty to have missed and wasted everything. The sadness of a vanished life opening on the desert of a past, without present, without presence, and leaving on the empty strand one life only, one life alone – private. And the experiment additionally has this ideal and nicely pedagogic feature to be repeatable at will. Assurance, certainty, did I say, as they grow from the power of Number. Industry, hence, almost.

But then slowly pours out the shadow what must absolutely be kept secret, shame, that must be decorated and covered by all possible means, screens, smokes, perfumes and veils, so that the pitiful failure on which all this heavy pomp is based is kept hidden from knowledge. Shame, yes, always and opportunely escorted by the engaging cortege of the occult, modesty, concealment and mystery. It is all different as regards murder, by which the present suddenly forks into a before and an after and the gift is lost, murder out of which all the imaginations of the body emerge, imaginations of the corpse, the manipulable evidence of the thing. Matter, in a word, which has never been anything else than that. Murder is free of charge, it is the Real at last is caught in one's hand, and there comes Sunday, the end of hesitations, the end of risk, of danger, of incertitude. Peace at last ! Safer and more reliable than a corpse, you won't ever find...
Yes, murder, from which all assurance comes, although not the kind assurance granted by a loving community - ruined anyway by an awful suspiscion - but the assurance of the sharing. Whoever it may be, whatever finally happens to what is slaughtered and falls and is dismembered, each one of the survivors will be allowed to bring a little bit home, as a memory, as a souvenir, as a baton that passes from hand to hand in this yellow complicity of the ones who remain, knowing quite well that they had quite a narrow escape. Yes, credit already, in its most exact and efficient appearance : the creditors dismembering the bankrupt !

One must admit that the logical ultimate achievement of the Religious - that is, of the indefinite iteration of the separation that constitutes it, as well as of the indefinite iteration of the dismembering meant to ritually distribute its profane and concrete image - could not reasonably be expected to be very different from the kind of decomposition inside of which we have the questionable privilege to live. It is not just the sign or the symptom of barbary, but this very fracture of the unity of time which is the barbary of abstraction itself, under whatever "materialism" it may hide. It is - quite precisely - this intellectual drop of blood that all the water of the sea shall never suffice to wash.

And yet, however monstruous may be the ravages and history of it, there has never been anything there but images. And this proves enough this truth that they deny, that is to say that images belong to this world and what their power is, in which - in a so comical way from now on - the bourgeois realism hallucinates itself in heights that overwhelm by far the shy tops of the World Trade Center. Screens, smokes, perfumes and veils ! Wheezy and dusty pouncing patterns of this fracture through which all strength and beauty vanish. We, who are from the core of image, know much better than these repetitions . Lovers of the seamless time do not live on prerequisites. In each corner of the sinister theater, let us get our marvels grow.

Pierre Petiot - 1998 / 1999