we gotta get out of this place/ november 1997
I’d only just begun writing e.things [short for ‘a thousand essential things’] when asked to contribute to this show. I didn’t know what they were yet but the curator was persistent, had a good line-up and offered a 10 metre-long wall to collaborate, loosely, with Richard Wentworth [selections from his photographic series; Making Do and Getting Better]. Instead of blowing up my text -e.thing, below- predictably large, I ran it the length of the wall using 2 cm tall letters and then started again back again at the beginning, doubling the line. A small act of resistance to notions of ‘accessibility’ in art and writing; my already dense text rendered more demanding of concentration...
The essential thing, the essential thing, the e. thing. The essential thing about the e. thing is to do it and not to know it. But then we know that, we know it. Already. We know that ecstatic dance of doing without knowing. But then the language of the e. thing is one that not everyone understands. The essential language, the thing language, the e. thing language is a rare one, a special coda, a nearly private golden tongue. And it must and it is. Be. But that leaves the necessity to tell of the e. thing, to tell it in a shared language. In some way, in some words, in some lines, in some effort. With some effort. Effort. The effortless thing described with effort; a horrid little deflator. The thing, the e. thing is not something with an essence as such. Not as such. Not. But if you can say what it is you don’t need to and so no one does. No one does. And now I am. Now I am going to try to say what no one does. Say. I’ll say the thing about the e. thing that no one does say. And that's not ironic, not ironic. Not being ironic about the e. thing, because to be ironic about the e. thing is just too predictable. The e. thing, the e. thing. The essential thing. There's nothing else worth trying to talk about, except that it, the saying, the saying it is probably impossible. Impossible. Impossible because it inherently can’t be said. Can’t be said, anyway. But even the attempt is ridiculous, because. It would take too long and always be unsatisfactory anyway. And so why am I still going to try to do it? To do it? Anyway. The Buddha knows I can’t, the Buddha knows. The Buddha knows. But he doesn't know everything, and -maybe ironically, he doesn’t know the e. thing. Now that is ironic. That’s ironic. Ironic. But he does. He does. Because. He says many things. Many things. Of course. But one -and this is the e. thing for the Buddha, is that thing. That thing. About if you do want to see it, the perfect way, he means. The perfect way is what he means, but it could be the e. thing, because. The e. thing because. It could be. But if you want to see it, the perfect way, then have what he calls no fixed thoughts either for it or against it. Stumble on the perfect way, don’t ever try to fix the perfect way, don’t try to articulate the perfect way. Leave the e. thing alone or give up any chance of understanding it. Or knowing it. Or ever seeing it. The e. thing. The perfect way. It’s the same thing and there’s no irony here. No irony here. None, because. But if you look you will not find. If I tell you. If I could tell you. If there were words for it. If it could be heard then you're already lost. If you need to hear. Need to hear? If you need to hear then you can’t understand. The e. thing exceeds that need to hear. Need to hear. If you need to hear then I must not tell you. If you need me to tell you you can’t hear it. Telling you will not make you hear. Listen and you won’t hear. Listen. You will not hear. The essential thing about the essential thing. The essential thing about the essential thing is that it can’t be taught. Taught. It can’t be taught, it can’t be heard, it can’t be told, it can’t be described, conveyed, elucidated upon, purchased, read to, or dictated. It can’t be declaimed, shouted, declared, it can’t be introduced into your bill of rights, your right of way. Your Bill of Rights? Oh you’ve missed it. Already. Missed missed missed it. You take your right of way and leave me the e. thing. Leave me the e. thing. The e. thing. Leave me to it. Then. The e. thing then is not to look, not to ask, not to search actually. Not to search. Actually. Even though it is a product of striving, a product of striving. A striving. It is. A striving. Only. Always. The essential thing is an invisible striving. Perpetual. Perpetual striving for the e. thing, is the essential thing. The e.thing. The essential thing is a perpetual invisible open ended striving.