commissioned by Arter to be published in On Celestial Bodies (2020)
The term minor-K is derived from Wilfred Bion’s minus-K (anti-knowledge), defined as the subject’s tendency to attack functions of its ego that have to do with (self-) awareness. Bion claims that the role of the primary caregiver/analyst is to ‘contain’ the fragmented ego of the infant/patient in order to then help reconstitute it by ‘making’ sense of their raw sense impressions (beta-elements) and projections.
In minor-K I write on Henri Chopin’s audiopoems which are in part, if not entirely, constituted by what Bion would classify as beta-elements: words repeated over and over, screams, coughs, cries, grunts; performances alternating between the voluntary-involuntary, meaningful- senseless, conscious-unaware. Instead of categorising his poems as anti-knowledge, I interpret them as minor: potentially intentional and strategic as much as they are raw and scattered.
Masochism takes its name from a man who dreamt of cruel conversations after having fallen asleep to Hegel. Neither Sade nor Sacher-Masoch were casually reduced to a Narrative. Their literatures were full of “symptoms” waiting to be distilled into syndromes by some psychoanalyst who was equally into: a. reading erotica, and b. the word “perversion”. In spite of this, secondary texts dealing with the lives and works of these writers account for their ideologies, if not making them an essential point of reference. These men have politics. Sure, they may be “perverts” too, but that might just as well be a strategy. The linear thinking doesn’t apply here, to people whose lives are interpreted by what they say, and not the other way around. It’s safe for me to assume that I am not part of this group. That I haven’t been granted the right to act strategically and not have that be read into as biographical material.
There is an insistence on identification, because it makes analysis easier. Assimilating; absorbing and incorporating by association. Much has been said about minor narratives, the struggle of anyone and anything minor to interpret and represent themselves. Minority (as in “the state of being minor”), makes it so that even when one is granted the right to speak, what they say stays in that minor space, among other minorities, minor things and inertia. The strategies of the minor are suspicious; every one of their actions attests to the distance between them and “common sense”. The amplification of the minor state is a disruption by itself, daring; the voluntary reduction of it is considered suicidal. Both appear as militancy, be it outward or inward.