Text by Francesco Lauretta
At least I should deal with the acknowledgements. I’m not sure it’s necessary to publish my inner ravings. I’ve tried tearing up something of my letters but the results seemed poor, and I am quite ashamed to blow off such nude words, nervous, like losers. I even tried to write a Letter from another world but I failed. A friend advised me to write something with raw nerves, to shout, to growl some striking, memorable phrases, to explain my painting, my distance, but I was reading, luckily or unluckily, these words: “Yet, although I see that the best way to win acceptance from this learned gathering would be for me to join myself, like a tributary stream running into a great river, to the great Western discourse of man versus beast, of reason versus unreason, something in me resists, foreseeing in that step the concession of the entire battle” ¹. I thought it might be interesting to publish an excerpt from this novel, The Lives of Animals by J. M. Coetzee, from ”How does one use the crates to reach the bananas?” ¹ (page 28) to “The evidence points in the opposite direction: that we can do anything and get away with it; that there is no punishment” ¹ (page 35). What does this excerpt from a novel have to do with my metaphysics? Maybe nothing, but in the middle there was a question that made me snort: “What is it like to be a bat?” ², “What is it like for X to be X?” ². The world formlessly crosses us with its mysteries. A stray dog that I met ghostly in the night and didn’t seem to see me – am I the ghost? – moving two steps closer; really, here you can magnificently ignore, magnificently notice the absence of art, just look at the trash bags loitering in every entrance windblown when all around is asleep or just starting to yawn its waking. A life transported, steps of no importance, stuff of the end, as I was saying, letter from another world, I repeat. I immediately sensed this “fundamentally alien lifeform” in Piazza Regina Margherita in Ispica, shortly before Roberto read me the The metaphysics of time. In fact I had trouble talking, I stuttered, communication had become impossible. Now I don’t want to recommend the reading – reading?- of this novel to anyone, it’s none of my business, but I can’t help giving thanks for what has been granted me along the way, so I’m attaching the sources, out in the open.
I thank Garcia Lorca for The Goring and the Death and especialy for the line “death laid eggs in the wound / at five in the evening”. David Means for having made me plot with the “fearsome” Assorted Fire Events. A M. Homes with Things You Should Know, Homecoming by Natasha Radojcic-Kane, and Luigi Pintor in I luoghi del delitto. Senaldi Marco for his Enjoy! Il godimento estetico. I cannot forget Bel-Ami by the giant Guy de Maupassant and Ash Wednesday by Ethan Hawke. I thank the friends who inhabit Les yper sound at Via Rossigni 14/E in Turin, and I advise everyone – this recommendation stands – to go visit. Ivana and Antonio. Once again Luca for having encouraged me to get Greendale by old Neil. Daniel Johnston for having sung me Funeral Girl. The vodka of Venedikt Erofeev. I also thank the crazy kids of Ispica and the Tunisians of Portopalo. A sculptor of days past, Salvo Monica. A painter of days present, named Sergio. And more, so much more, which I will leave to the imagination.
(¹) J. M. Coetzee, The lives of animals, Princeton University Press, 2001.
(²) T. Nagel, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat” in Mortal Question, CambridgeUniversity Press, 1979.