Nemebiax: a universe as empty as the words it lacks.
The invention of names. The task of repopulating the world with new entities simply by speaking them into being. Before they appear, in inanimate suspension, in the dream of nothingness, they wait to be called into existence. They arise or wake like someone answering their name.
And they say nothing more. They are not yet beings, characters, places, objects, or states. For overcoming nothingness is a minor act, it does not give life, does not send creatures out to walk upon the earth.
If words give shape to a world without form, if ‘arm’, ‘east’, ‘column’, ‘flax’, ‘goodbye’, ‘goat’, ‘simplicity’, and ‘cold’ are no more than extreme symbols of an amorphous continuum, footprints unaware of the passages they tread... What would happen if Achilles and the tortoise chose not to run a race against each other, but raced towards one other, relinquishing a letter with every step?:
After all, isn’t every work just a procession of veils? The superimposition of intermediate, provisional, unwanted states of which the work – as a final system, a cleansing regime – rids itself, eliminating them methodically.
Are the nemebiax’s inventions thus an incredible Salon des refusés, a hall for those rejected from existence?
An Ars Combinatoria of diverse modes of unbeing?
A chimeric inventory of things that have not come into being, that will not be, but could have been, that can’t be, that don’t want to be... Do inexistent things not exist in different ways? To what genre does a work like this, which tries to discern the different ways in which things that do not exist failed to achieve existence, belong?
In a world without characters, in intermediate kingdoms, nemebiax has failed before it has begun: to clothe this deity expelled from wholeness, armed against emptiness only with a verb, is to confront oneself with one’s own failure (and ridicule) as a condition of possibility. From its very conception it is faced with absurdity.
And this is how the model of the paradox is precariously sustained, barely able to stand, on a base so small that we are forced to hop from one foot to another.
How to peel away the flesh of language with the blade of its very words?
Mentioning one failure brings up another: that of withstanding totality.
The person whose ambition or recklessness turns them into caricature, the person who cannot set limits, who loses themselves in their own palimpsest, who cannot formalize because time is already the form.
One possibility is left: to force this inevitable failure into hyperbole and convert it into its opposite, like someone changing their sign in a single judo move.
Like a colour chart that turns white when spun quickly, a disc containing all of language’s sounds that emits silence when it is played, or maybe just a single sound. Or a single symbol for all names: a seed letter.
(Translated from the Spanish by Kit Maude)
bon bon il est un pays
où l’oubli où pèse l’oubli
doucement sur les mondes innommés
là la tête on la tait la tête est muette
et on sait non on ne sait rien
le chant des bouches mortes meurt
sur la grève il a fait le voyage
il n’y a rien à pleurer
ma solitude je la connais allez je la connais mal
j’ai le temps c’est ce que je me dis j’ai le temps
mais quel temps os affamé le temps du chien
du ciel pâlissant sans cesse mon grain de ciel
du rayon qui grimpe ocellé tremblant
des microns des années ténèbres
vous voulez que j’aille d’A à B je ne peux pas
je ne peux pas sortir je suis dans un pays sans traces
oui oui c’est une belle chose que vous avez là une bien
qu’est-ce que c’est ne me posez plus de questions
spirale poussière d’instants qu’est-ce que c’est le même
le calme l’amour la haine le calme le calme
Samuel Beckett, “Six Poèmes 1947-1949” in Collected Poems, op. cit., p. 55.
Nearly every man who loses a limb carries about with him a constant or inconstant phantom of the missing
member, a sensory ghost of that much of himself, and sometimes a most inconvenient presence, faintly felt at
times, but ready to be called up to his perception by a blow, a touch, or a change of wind.
S.Weir Mitchell, Injuries of Nerves
Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded,
I do not know whether a man or a woman
- But who is that on the other side of you?