Is A Woven Thing: Sarah Charlesworth’s “Text”, 1994

To be idiomatic in a vacuum

is a shining thing

– Frank O’Hara


What am I actually doing as I move my fingers over these computer keys from which, over the years, the letters have been worn away? And where, exactly, am I doing it? Is all of this transpiring in my head? In my fingers? On the screen of my little laptop? In your eyes as you read these words? Or in my eyes as I read what I have written? And what of this so-called subject? Does it somehow inhere in the detritus scattered across my desk: in the pages of slides, the yellow legal pad lined with notes in black ink, the Xerox offprints bloody with Magic Marker, the old ARTS magazine open to an essay on the artist? And how do all these disparate occasions conspire toward an outcome. Or is there any outcome at all, beyond the accretion of an additional level of encoding? Charlesworth’s Text is a black and white photograph (as text is black and white).

– Dave Hickey ‘Sarah Charlesworth: The Pleasures of Knowing’


Doing nothing but writing slowly black on white

very slowly – attentively, very black on very white

I stretched out alongside beings and things

Pen in hand, my writing table

(a blank page) on my knees

I have written, it has been published, I have lived

I have written, they have lived, I have lived

Francis Ponge ‘O This is Why I Have Lived’


Is there perhaps even a tell tale sign in the transposition of the text? At 418 Lucretius terminates (L1) and (L2), the arguments for microscopic body and hidden vacuum, and effects his transition to the step which I am suggesting would in his Epicurean source have preceded it, namely that the ‘all’ consists of (ordinary phenomenal) bodies and space. The words marking the transition are sed nunc ut repetam coeptum pertexere dictis…’But now to return to weaving in words the task on which I embarked…’

– David Sedley Lucretius and the Transformation of Greek Wisdom


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