‘in raptures the world will writhe before you’

There is no need for you to leave the house. Stay at your table and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t even wait, be completely quiet and alone. The world will offer itself to you to be unmasked; it can’t do otherwise; in raptures it will writhe before you. [Franz Kafka, The Blue Octavo Notebooks, ed. Max Brod, transl. Ernest Kaiser & Eithne Wilkins, Cambridge: Exact Change, 1991, p.98.]

I’ve always loved this aphorism from Kafka ever since I first saw it in a catalogue for artist Domenico de Clario’s multi-part epic installation work ‘Machine for Contacting the dead’ (1990). Waiting and witness and rapture are absolutely key to Domenico’s work and were the basis of the various collaborations we had in the ’90s which involved long durations (all night, 7 days) with improvising musicians from ELISION and audiences moving through car and house demolition yards in country Northern NSW, a disused foundry on the outskirts of Perth, a dusty church tower in the suburbs of Melbourne and other unexpected performance spaces.

Kafka’s words came to mind again today as I watched two versions of a postcard piece ‘Love Letter’ that I originally made for Speak Percussion in 2011. Or rather, this is a work that is made by others – there is no piece by me as such, merely an invitation to a performer to enter into a creative circuit of energy with a beloved. You can see videos of quite different versions that were composed and performed by percussionists Eugene Ughetti (Australia) and Juanjo Guillem (Spain) and a brief description of the project here.

Some of the best music of ‘mine’ might be that made by others.

Domenico de Clario, Cathedral (2009), NGV Australia

Domenico de Clario, Cathedral (2009), NGV Australia

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