TUCHÉ : Know How / Savoir y faire

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« Le sujet est heureux(…) tout heur lui est bon
pour ce qui le maintient, soit pour qu'il se répète
— Télévision, Autres écrits, 526




Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff

The New York Times style editors noted a resurgence of ambient music : “Your Most-Played Song of 2020 is … White Noise  ?” (1) Has the disturbance in the sense of temporality, the real of time, affected our pandemic aural sensibilities ? Enough with narrative music. Mid-20th century experiments with repetition and noise locate the origins of ambient. These two concepts emerged together to confront classical harmony. Background becomes foreground, signal becomes noise.

Arnold Schoenberg who taught John Cage (2) said, “Even variation is a form of repetition.” Cage pushed the use of repetition further, “I try over and over to begin all over again.” Brian Eno inverted Schoenberg by stating, “Repetition is a form of change.” They challenged the binary of repetition and change. In a 1974 interview, Cage spoke of “the demilitarization of language.” (3) In his book, Silence, he quotes from his audience : “Relax, there are no symbols here to confuse you. Enjoy Yourself !” (4) The crisis of representation in art was set on the battleground of the symbolic. Cage demonstrated an effort, that is now ubiquitous, to disrupt the power of master signifiers through noise and contingency.

Where are we left after the ‘cagey fantasy’, “no symbols here” ? His answer was clear : Enjoy Yourself ! Lacan captured the same phrase, calling it the superego. There is jouissance of a body enjoying itself. It is a distinct modality of repetition, a series of ones that fail to establish a chord progression, founding a practice of discord.


[1] Beery Z., “Your Most-Played Song of 2020 is … White Noise ?”, The New York Times, December 24, 2020.
[2] John Cage was a post-war avant-garde American composer, author, and theorist. His legacy continues to influence experimental, electronic, and ambient music today. Cage’s most cited work is 4’33’’ from 1952, which framed silence as a field of contingent noise.
[3] Cage J., “On ‘Empty Words’ and the Demilitarization of Language,” Radio interview, August 8, 1974.
[4] Cage J., “In This Day,” Silence: Lectures and Writings, 50th Anniversary Edition, Middletown, Wesleyan University Press, 2012), 94-95.

Photo credit : Liz Sullivan.


Aucune idée

Bruno de Halleux



C’est le titre d’une pièce de théâtre mise en scène par Christoph Marthaler, un dramaturge de Lausanne. Elle est programmée à Bruxelles au Kunst Festival Des Arts, c’est une chance.

Après la longue ovation du public, je me suis demandé ce qui m’avait tant séduit dans ce spectacle étrange, inventif, musical, chanté et hors sens.

La scène est réduite à un entre-sol aux multiples portes. Deux acteurs ne cessent d’y entrer et d’en sortir sans qu’on ne sache où est le dehors ou le dedans. Les problèmes sont ordinaires, une panne d’un radiateur, une avalanche de courrier publicitaire, une coupure d’électricité, un voisin qui se plaint du bruit fait par les deux protagonistes et beaucoup d’autres choses.

Ce qui est moins ordinaire, c’est le traitement de ces moments quotidiens. Le traitement de la langue, à force de répétition, de déplacements, de torsions, d’inversions, de déformations et d’altérations, se transforme littéralement en une lalangue dont le plaisir surgit dans la sonorité même de la phrase, dans la matière même du mot.


Fixation and Repetition – with Littoral

Hamutal Shapira



Micha Ullman is a highly regarded Israeli artist. His sculptures are exhibited around the world, best known for his “Empty Library” (Bebelplatz, Berlin, 1995). (1) Many of his artworks are subterranean involving digging. They are dug in such a way that you can sometimes pass by the sculpture, leaving it unnoticed.

Ullman, being asked about this repetition says: “I’ve been attracted to digging for decades.. It is about the void, that doesn’t let go of me. This emptiness of the hole, the more you deepen it, the more space you get, the more sky. This fascinates me!… and all this, happens on the wall of the hole, the boundary, the ‘in between’. This is a border-line condition”. He continues: “My first diggings were as a child joining my father. He ran away from Berlin in 1933 and arriving in Palestine, wanted to become an agriculturist, “to work the land”.

He dug pits in order to turn kurkar (2)  into more fertile soil, so things will grow”. (3)


(1)”Empty Library” – a sculpture where Ullman dug a large subterranean room which is lined with empty white bookshelves, approximating the volume of the 20,000 books burned on that site on May 10, 1933.
(2) Kurkar is a rock unique to the coastal region of the Levant and can be found along the shores of the Mediterranean, from Turkey to Sinai.
(3) “Making existence from void”, (2022), Conversation with Micha Ullman, by Hamutal Shapira, giepnls.com



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