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backFor We Are Made of Lines

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We are not only referring to lines of writing. Lines of writing conjugate with other lines, life lines, lines of luck or misfortune, lines productive of the variation of the line of writing itself, lines that are between the lines of writing. | Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari – 2004



As a poetic exploration of the collaborative practice of Kelly + Jones (2014-2020), this article critiques processes employed by the artists to excavate writing and site with attention to aspects of sound. The sites of investigation include a disused quarry in Cambridge, UK. [1] The use of the chalk quarry creates a unique ambience [2] considered theoretically in relation to phenomenological, dialogical, and post- feminist perspectives in tandem with a partnered site of an old staircase with integral chalkboard in a former inner-city Victorian school. [3] The site-specific nature of the investigation requires that environmental ambience is noted and processed through the body as a material quality instrumental in rendering form. The material ambience of site is also embroiled with diverse modes of expression through and off the body that is inescapably conditioned by the translation of social relations. Also to consider is an inter-relational translation from environment to tissue where cultural memory embeds in the yet-to-emerge gestures of the anticipated. The gouging and scarring of the landscape where chalk has been blasted, hacked and removed, and the striking of surfaces inherent in chalk on board in regimes of education and enculturation chime with the violent and strident nature of writing a subject into being, even more evident in acts of resistance. The sifting of dust particles into the lungs of workers and educators are a reaction inducing irritant causing bodies to spasm in coughs and soft tissue to mobilise and swell. The artists value this material and cultural aspect as a site of troublesome proliferation on the side of the feminine.

The collaborative writing offers a glimpse into the artists’ questioning of the material world of the human body and the spent bodies of marine-life which create chalk deposits, in order to explore the dialogic relationship of the body and its ambient hauntological qualities. [4] Though the project holds personal resonance and subjectivities for the artists tethered to site intimacy, in this instance they opt to share their research through the voice of third person as a creation of a third site. They resist third person as a replication and appropriation of the hierarchical voice-as-trope. Firstly, by putting aside the intimacy of the first person the artists intend to draw attention to the there-yet-not-there qualities of the hauntological scene and to perhaps open a space where the reader can insert their own subjectivity as they wander through a newly encountered and perhaps dense terrain. A reader may find their own ways to enter the unoccupied space of first person and disrupt the flow of words and events, altering the course of the article within their individual encounter. [5] Secondly and importantly, the third person voice is a third site for the artists where they are not a singular ‘I’ or a collective ‘we’ but a blended otherness that returns its own strangeness to them as an unfathomable entity they evoke whilst writing – conjuring visions and creating magic. …[ https://unlikely.net.au/issue-06/made-of-lines ]