Saturday, 4 February 2006

Alastair Bickley 2006

For my sa4qe contribution I chose some passages from Fremder, making it clear that, contrary to appearances, they are both in fact the product of Russell Hoban.


Being is not a steady state but an occulting one: we are all of us a succession of stillnesses blurring into motion on the wheel of action, and it is in those spaces of black between the pictures that we find the heart of the mystery in which we are never allowed to rest. The flickering of a film interrupts the intolerable continuity of apparent world; subliminally it gives us those in-between spaces of black that we crave. The eye is hungry for this; eagerly it collaborates with the unwinding strip that shows it 24 stillnesses per second, making real by an act of retinal retention, the here-and-gone, the continual disappearing in which the lovers kiss, the shots are fired, the horses gallop, but below the threshold of conscious thought the eye sees and the mind savours the flickering of the black.
Gosta Kraken, 'Perception Perceived - an unfinished memoir' (Jonathan Cape, 1987)

...to this I supplemented:


When I ask people if they experience being as a smoothly continuous state or a flickering one they always say it's smoothly continuous for them. For me it's always been flickering. Not that I've actually seen the black between the pictures in my eyes but I've sensed it in my brain and for that reason I don't make any assumptions about reality. Can it be that the chair that I sit on is only rythmically and repetitively but not continuously there? Why don't I fall to the floor between therenesses? How do I manage to flicker synchronously with the chair?'
Helen Gorn, diary, 17 August 2016



I printed off 10 copies at work and next day headed for central London. I left one on the bus when I got off at the Aldwych. Then at the National Gallery, I folded a couple of them into copies of the free gallery plan available at the new entrance and then reinserted them into the pile. Then I left one by the screens in the little coffee bar a bit further in.

After this I went to the little room where Hoogstraten's peepshow with it's little dog Hendrick (featuring in Amaryllis Night and Day and more lengthily in Mr Rinyo-Clacton's Offer) stands and left beside it ...Difficult to be surreptitious about any of this as the place was packed but it is remarkable how people generally only see what they expect to see, and no-one seemed to notice, despite the garishness of the paper.

The I thought I might go to Westminster Reference Library next door for a couple of long-haul insertions into a tome or two, but I found it was closed for refurbishment. To salve my frustration I went to the Salisbury public house in St Martin's Lane for a pint and left one there. Finally I inserted one cigarette-like between the fingers of the sculpture of the resting ballerina in Broad Court near the Opera House.

It was fun.

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