franck andré jamme Available Works

“21+7 Slates” Franck André Jamme, Les Bordes 2020.

TABLETS LIKE THESE USED TO FOUND ON SMALL GOLD LEAVES IN ANCIENT ROMAN GRAVES. THESE LEAVES WERE TYPICALLY FOLDED INSIDE THE CLOSED HANDS OR MOUTHS OF THE DEAD. THEY COULD BE READ AS MAXIMS, WISHES, RECOMMENDATIONS, OR FAVORITE SENTENCES PROBABLY MEANT TO SEAL THE CROSSING OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE, THAT TOTALLY UNKNOWN COUNTRY WHOSE EXISTENCE ITSELF IS SO UNCERTAIN – THE COUNTRY OF “THE MOST NUMEROUS”, AS THE ROMANS CALLED IT.

IN THE FOLLOWING PAGES, THERE IS NO MESSAGE FOR OR TOWARDS THE BEYOND; INSTEAD, JUST A PET HOBBY THAT MATERIALIZED WITHOUT WARNING THEN DEVELOPED, LIKE A FIRE, UNTIL IT BECAME A BOOK. A GAME PLAYED WITH THOUGHTS THAT ARE NEITHER FUNNY NOR PLAYFUL; A “GAME” IN THAT IT WAS AMUSING TO WATCH AS THESE THOUGHTS DREW STELES, AND AMUSING AGAIN TO SPEND TIME, DAYS LATER, TRYING TO DECIPHER THEM. TO DISTRACT MYSELF FOR ONCE WITH LETTERS AND WORDS, AND TO ABANDON, FOR A TIME, THE CUSTOMARY, LINEAR WAY OF READING, TO OBSCURE IT IN ORDER TO SUDDENLY RENDER ATTENTION NECESSARY; NOT ONLY ATTENTION, BUT EVEN A KIND OF EFFORT.

NO FASCINATION HERE EITHER FOR ANY FORMAL PERFECTION. IN THE TRADITION I DRAW FROM, ANY TABLET MAY BE CONSIDERED “PERFECT” AS SOON AS IT HAS MANY SIGNS IN ITS LAST LINE AS IN EACH PREVIOUS LINE. MY TABLETS, AS YOU’LL SEE, ARE RARELY SO LUCKY; THEY USUALLY JUST END WHEN THEY CAN, WHERE THEY FALL: AN ARRANGEMENT – OF SIGNS, OF LINES- THAT HAS NEVER SUBSUMED THEIR MEANING.

BUT THE FACT IS THAT THIS EXERCISE DIDN’T REALLY GO ON FOR LONG; ONLY, SHALL WE SAY, FOR A SHORT YEAR. IT DISSOLVED IN A BIT MORE TIME THAN IT TOOK TO ESTABLISH ITSELF, ALTHOUGH IT WAS THE END OF OUR RELATIONSHIP, IT HAD CERTAINLY ENJOYED US. NOW ALL WE CAN DO IS SALUTE IT; WE OWE IT, AFTER ALL, A SORT OF RESPITE, AND JUST LET IT GO.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS ONLY HANDFUL OF THESE EXERCISES. INTERNAL, VOLUNTARILY EXPOUNDED, FROM THE FIRST TO LAST LINE, IN THE INFINITIVE, IN THE PURSUIT -PERHAPS- OF LOSING TWO LETTERS EACH TIME, I MEAN: IN THE INFINITE.

Franck André Jamme “New Exercices” Wave Books Seattle, December 1, 2008.