fragmented attempts and explorations of the phrase; an exercise after Georges Bataille’s Critical Dictionary
First flaneurysm. First, flaneurysm. Flaneurysm (portmanteau: flaneur, aneurysm) is a condition that arises or swells as a result of too many intellectual exercises. Sometimes with illuminating conclusions but most of the time, unresolved. Intellectual exercises that result in never ending works-in-progress. Also, a hole the author dug for herself in a moment of unbridled jest. Every city begins with a hole, that is the sole consolation.
Anyone living anywhere in the planet has the potential to become a flaneur and have an aneurysm. The phrase, ‘first flaneurysm’ or ‘First, Flaneurysm’ and other permutations, may signify both affliction and protection, or prevention. A lie is that the portmanteau is an ally. In the portmanteau is an ally to attack a lie.
“Mrs. Walter had her first flaneurysm, I heard it was bad and she needed a bypass.”
“She should have gotten that First Flaneurysm plan Dr. Scholem recommended to her ages ago.”
“Oh, you know her, she’s kind of… ah, how do I say this?… She doesn’t believe in the flu vaccine or insurance policies.”
“She’s an anti-vaxxer?”
“No, just an anti-flu-vaxxer.”
“How antediluvian of her.”
Anatomical and Physiognomic Relations
A definition that inspires a chuckle: “an aneurysm occurs when an artery’s wall weakens and causes an abnormally large bulge.” Then, not-so funny anymore: “This bulge can rupture and cause internal bleeding.” An aneurysm is characterized by the weakening of walls and an accumulation. On constant walks around the less-loved parts of this new city, it must be the accumulation of despair that makes the plaster, concrete, and bricks swell and break. At night, a tide of misery pours out on the filthy pavement in the form of red light and a song, laughter. Here now, we can talk about cities and yearning and the limits of the human body against the relentlessness of nature and time.
Stylistic and Conceptual Exercises on the Phrase
Problem: How does it feel to carry the burden of an undelivered joke?
First, the need to be supported by analogies of random yet vaguely related elements:
Wall = restraint; repression; the body in a state of perpetual uncertainty longing for resolve
Water = release; emergence; levity; hallucinations but also, awakenings
Wind = a culmination that witnesses itself; the being without body
Second, meandering thought that attempts to appear as logical thinking:
We approach the phrase through or with humor; humor as understood to be a kind of language.
Humor can be sometimes cruel and cruelty causes suffering and despair
Violence, which is cruel, is designed to limit language to its negative capabilities but
because humor can be cruel, it must be that violence also perpetuates humor
resulting in a cultural or social clot.
Suffering and despair can be overcome also by humor,
but humor has the ability to defer to strength and hope and compassion,
humor is poison and restorative,
Would this mean a transformation into a humorless world?
Humor is a human invention. What could humor be in a world void of humanity?
It can also be said that an undelivered joke is a phantom aneurysm. The unexpected brush of cold air and a blinding spark in the dead night that carries us into the morning light.
Like the unfinished nature of the project of the city, of the urbane, urbanity, urban spaces, a thinker’s corpus remains always in progress.
See walls and water as they are. Features in the topography of life. They both keep people away; people use them to isolate themselves. A wall of trees, bushes, quaint fences, vine covered brick walls. A concrete wall topped with barbed wire and bits of broken glass for the misanthrope or the fascist or the misanthropic fascist. Water has a quality that lends it well to the ecstatic perils of love and adventure. Impenetrable, international waters, consume our sorrows and longings. In archipelagoes, there are as many chances to a new life as there are islands. The same can be said of cities and continents. In spite of borders and some walls. It is easier. If only.
Think about the forms of begging, some more sophisticated or complex than others. If there are indeed places to move away from, we’d think there are places to run into. Thinker-beggars, buskers, lost lovers roaming the subways, streets, the world for a morsel of what, again? The pleasure of a quiet autumn night, trading one kind of madness for another; rubbing chocolate against the roof of one’s mouth with one’s tongue.
Between walls and water, which is the better aid for dissolution? Where is the lie? Where does the allegiance of land and its borders lie?
Guide questions in taking the photographs: If I was the wind, upon which would I devote my attention? What form would attention take with the wind?
After the aneurysm of the anthropocene, the earth will stand quiet. Not dead. Only the wandering and wondering will remain. Only the screaming wind gently passing over deserts and canyons linger, accumulating, dragging with it everything that ever was and never is.
The wind, the last and first flaneur.
Zeny May D. Recidoro was born and raised in the Philippines. She is an Asian Cultural Council fellow and currently taking up an MFA in Art Writing at the School of Visual Arts.