“Breakthrough on the metaphor/materialism front. Stay tuned. The signifier yearns for its other, the long-buried signified. The Song of Songs…”
Signifier and signified, “soul” and what “soul” worships, that which is sacrificed (the lamb, the deer, the ram, the boy, the girl, the body) and that to which it is sacrificed (the prima causa, but of course if it needs sacrifice to function then isn’t the sacrifice itself the prima causa? about which more in a later post) call out to each other with images of flora and fauna; in the Song of Songs, language using non-language to cry out for reunion with whatever it is about processes of meaning-making that is not language, that exceeds and also lies below it.
As an introduction to alternative modes of meaning-making through the lens of refraction, the notion is most directly embodied, perhaps, in the work of Francesca Capone, who explores the materiality of textual language by literally warping and distorting it (she even has a piece entitled Refraction). Such treatment converts text into a new mode of visual information that one experiences bodily and viscerally, most exemplified in her series Oblique Archive.
Another beloved early literary eccentric now firmly established in the roll call of fou, though he was not included in Queneau and Blavier’s research, is Natalis Flaugergues (1823-1893). Natalis's father worked as an itinerant merchant, and he himself, after a period in a seminary, pursued a military career until a severe head wound in the Battle of Meleganano (Italy) brought it to an abrupt end. After this he seems to have devoted himself mainly to writing and research, though unlike some other well-known fou, Natalis was not wealthy.
[AUTHOR'S NOTE. Asked by the TNL (Theatre National du Luxembourg) to be author-in-residence for the 2015-2016 season, I proposed as my second and final play, a 3-act drama concerning the death of poet Ingeborg Bachmann. She died — mythically speaking — through fire, falling asleep with a lit cigarette; though what actually caused the 3-week coma from which she wasn’t able to come out, was her addiction to pills.