by Jonathan Boddam-Whetham
Inscription // Exscription
We are moving from the singularity of The Machine Legends at Spill Festival 2014 where Adam Electric dealt with fetishism and mythology, creating a singular performance [singularity] that placed the human body within a space of both absence and presence. A second skin that only touched me through breath; a death-rattle that brought about a presence of the body. His performance became a gravity well, drawing us in with a rhythmic gasping for life. Both freedom and the delineation of the body became problematised through a constraint that also formed and gave life. A singular projection of ego where space surrenders to vacuumed presence.
Moving toward this newest iteration, Tomb resonates with much of the festival workings, where memory and eulogy seem to be inscribed upon those other works. A broken circumference of a plurality of plasticity; a remaking of the self à la Malabou and neuro-plasticity. But this is not just a re-forming – like neuronal pathways – or singular transformation. My breath is our breath, I breathe for you. If breath is life, this is a shared life, but more; it is a shared shaping of bodies in the same [second] skin. If kabbalists inscribe the name of God upon the Golem’s forehead to give it life, then perhaps this is what Nancy calls an exscription.
This is an impossible term, referring to that which is outside the text. But ‘this “outside” is not that of the referent that signification would reflect’, it is not something outside of meaning to which the text refers. But is what Nancy calls the ‘infinite withdrawal of meaning’. He talks of an ‘“empty freedom” by which existence comes into presence – absence’, but this emptiness is not a lack as such, rather a dynamic movement of being. Which is no-thing as such, not meaningful, but also not senseless. Being is always with and I am never alone even being alone. It is a primordial condition of my being that existence is shared.
Exscription travels through the text, contaminating it with a freedom, with a sharing that is the possibility of death which affirms existence, affirms others in the world. So in this working, the meaning – the with – dances across plastic skin forming and erasing presence and absence in a breathless momentum. In my own possibility of death, I desperately breathe – life – I create a space, an absent and present one, touching others. A monumental tomb where I do not inscribe a eulogy, but exscribe the co-possibility of Being, which is both singular and plural.
Adam Electric moves his working on, not just on a grander scale, but in a reflective way that represents [as such] our existence with others in the world. We do not die alone he seems to write, or perhaps tattoos, on his plastic skin. We are always with others, who we touch, even when we are alone, because meaning always touches, always circulates between us, is able to be because we are with.