Monday, October 28, 2019

This instant-now

A few weeks ago the poster in the metro caught my eye. I had to go see it. Momenta 2019, Biennale de l'image, presented works around the theme. The Life of Things. "The exhibited works testify to the different ways in which objects are experienced and what they tell us about how we think and live. Objects sometimes bear the fragments of the living, and, in other contexts, they have their own life."

Elisabeth Belliveau, Still Life with Fallen Fruit (after A Breath of Life, Clarice Lispector), still, 2017-19, video, 4 min 15 s.
The image that so engrossed me was a still from a video, Still Life with Fallen Fruit, by Elisabeth Belliveau, after A Breath of Life by Clarice Lispector, as it turns out. I took it as a sign. Time to read more Lispector...

I opted to order Agua Viva, I don't know why, and when I opened it and began to read, I slammed it shut, holy shit, it's so eerily perfect for my now. Am I ready for the now?
Let me tell you: I'm trying to seize the fourth dimension of this instant-now so fleeting that it's already gone because it's already become a new instant-now that's also already gone. Every thing has an instant in which it is. I want to grab hold of the is of the thing. These instants passing through the air I breathe: in fireworks they explode silently in space. I want to possess the atoms of time. And to capture the present, forbidden by its very nature: the present slips away and the instant too, I am this very second forever in the now. Only the act of love — the limpid star — like abstraction of feeling — captures the unknown moment, the instant hard as crystal and vibrating in the air and life is this untellable instant, larger than the event itself: during love the impersonal jewel of the moment shines in the air, the strange glory of the body, matter made feeling in the trembling of the instants — and the feeling is both immaterial and so objective that it seems to happen outside your body, sparkling on high, joy, joy is time's material and the essence of the instant. And in the instant is the is of the instant. I want to seize my is.
— from Agua Viva, by Clarice Lispector.

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