Fragments of Space


[Read out loud to guests at Listening Event IV 18th of April 2024, as part of Testing Ground: Spatial Listening at Art Hub Copenhagen.]


The subject is not the void exactly, but rather what there is round about it. To start with, there wasn’t very much: nothingness, the impalpable, the virtually immaterial; extension, the external, what is external to us, what we move about in the midst of, our ambient milieu, the space around us. 


Space. not so much those infinite spaces, whose mutism is so prolonged that it ends by triggering off something akin to fear, nor the already almost domesticated interplanetary, intersideral, or intergalactic spaces, but spaces that are much closer to hand, in principle anyway: towns, for example, or the countryside, or the corridors of the Paris Metro, or a public park. 

We live in space, in these spaces, these towns this countryside, these corridors, these parks. That seems obvious to us. Perhaps indeed it should be obvious. But it isn’t obvious, not just a matter of course. It’s real, obviously, and as a consequence most likely rational. We can touch. We can even allow ourselves to dream. 


To put down roots, to rediscover or fashion your roots, to carve the place that will be yours out of a space. To belong completely.


Space as inventory. Space as invention.


We use our eyes for seeing. Our field of vision reveals a limited space, something vaguely circular, which ends very quickly to left and right, and doesn’t extend very far up or down. If we squint, we can manage to see the end of our nose; if we raise our eyes, we can see there’s an up, if we lower them, we can see there’s a down. If we turn our head in one direction, then in another, we don’t even manage to see completely everything there is around is; we have to twist our bodies round to see properly what was behind. 


Our gaze travels through space and gives us the illusion of relief and distance. That is how we construct space, with an up and a down, a left and a right, an in front and a behind, a near and a far. 


This is how space begins, with words only, signs traced on the blank page. 

But you don’t even need to close your eyes for the space evoked by these words, a dictionary space only, a paper space, to become alive, to be populated, to be filled. 


I would like there to exist places that are stable, unmoving, intangible, untouched and almost untouchable, unchanging, deep-rooted; places that might be points of reference, of departure, of origin:


There isn’t one space, a beautiful space, a beautiful space round about, a beautiful space all round us, there’s a whole lot of small bits of space.


to try meticulously yo retain something, to cause something to survive; to wrest a few precise scraps from the void as it grows, to leave somewhere a furrow, a trace, a mark or a few signs. 


An idealized scene. Space as reassurance. 


Space melts like sand running through one’s fingers. Time bears it away and leaves me only shapeless shreds. 


Such places don’t exist, and it’s because they don’t exist that space becomes a question, ceases to be self-evident, ceases to be incorporated, ceases to be appropriated. Space is a doubt. I have constantly to mark it, to designate it. It’s never mine, never given to me, I have to conquer it. 


In short, spaces have multiplied, been broken up and have diversified. There are spaces today of every kind and every size, for every use and every function. To live is to pass from one space to another, while doing your very best not to bump yourself. 

What’s certain, in any case, is that a time too remote no doubt for any of us to have retained anything like a precise memory of it, there was none of all this. 


Space is a doubt.