15 November 2021
Posted by Antosh Wojcik
We’re taking inspiration from a group member’s feedback requests to structure our rewritings / edits this week. They’ve introduced themes of ‘existential spiral’ and ‘losing memory’ which really appeals to the collaborative editorial mind. After all, if we walk the streets of an Unreal City, we may hear things, existing texts, and misremember them. In the wilderness of its textual architecture, there is bound to be some existential spiralling of those inhabiting – perhaps the buildings themselves will lean into their own spirals and spill their symbolic make up onto the streets below.
On Existential Spirals as Editing Structure
We crowdsource some existential behaviours – the habits that we undertake when arriving at a moment of the existential threshold. We boil these behaviours down into the following editorial intents:
1) To consume.
2) To hyperfocus.
3) To hope.
4) To be disturbed.
5) To be still.
6) To contemplate.
7) To forget.
The group then attempt to edit previous material or existing events in the Unreal City using these intentions.
On Losing Memory in Text
I’ve been thinking a lot about the rememberings in Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. A train carriage passing through a library. The ocean sweeping into a house. The lights of scenes borrowed from other scenes. These collaged mishaps destabilising the fabric of the protagonists’ reality and viewers in turn.
Misremembering an event, a story, a joke in writing is a chance to restructure what existed. Edits and rewrites are the means delve into the text’s possibility – why not gain confidence with someone else’s work to refine one’s confidence and writerly principle with restructuring?
The writing of remembrance in writing prose, poetry and script comes from the instinctual responses to maintain the authenticity of memory. But memory is a transient, fleeting thing. The brain is having its own hullabaloo, reordering, rewriting, forgetting, suppressing. Why resist – why strive for authenticity? Sure, we live in inauthentic times. We’re in the throes of fabricated reality – needs, wants, all inauthentically constructed in the mind. Why not play with inauthentic memory, then?
This is not a rally against material that maintains the authenticity of memory – surely inauthentic times call for authentic materials! – but The Unreal City is an opportunity for this kind of inauthentic, misremembering exploration.
We have four existing texts now occupying the streets of The Unreal City, pieces / extracts from Stephen Wright, duendita, Eileen Myles & Leon Craig. The collective are tasked with misremembering these pieces, implementing lenses and tools from previous sessions. Fragments of the results are to be entered into the Unreal City to stoke further misremembering from the collective.
Fugue-fog sweeping the streets of The Unreal City, altering the passing conversations of pedestrians into new instances of text.