The voice heads straightaway toward

(Oh, Voice)

Its Non-tolerated, Ardent Closing Off language. In doing so, it need not be stopped because it lingers already. Surely, it has to reside somewhere. It stays in the gorge where it meets language, and together they march yet again through the throat into the world. Language is not aware of this, since language is only interested in what it has to say. The voice says. The voice says itself. It does not recite anything, and it does not narrate itself. In this endeavor, the inanimate, a fetish?, an apparatus, light, which should illuminate the voice, and something that should contain speech, is inserted through the nose into the larynx, so that we - through this revealing act, because the light illuminates what emerges during speaking (except we wouldn't need a light to simply hear) - can look inside. We can look inside, and something is coming out. We see where it is coming from. The woman's organs do not represent her, they can't, however this speech-act can do so by revealing its source, the voice.

From the woman, we see: nothing, we look into her, but we see the nothing, we look at the nothing that has to represent itself because no one else does. This nothing that is the woman - who is said to be incapable of representation, she is hidden in many cultures which actually is superfluous because from the beginning of time she has been nothing, so why still conceal a nothing? - is made accessible through this passageway in her body, not a pathway where we stand around or take a leisurely stroll, through a passageway into this hole where we still can't see anything because the woman by means of this drafty passage, through which only her voice reverberates, is not transformed into a something.

We can spread her opening to better see the nothing in the hole, however there won't be anything if we don't first project something into it. The woman can be everything, but ultimately only she delivers herself into her own self, whenever she speaks, whenever she speaks to the outside, whenever she signs herself into the memo-book that is not designed for a particular person, already assigned from the start, then reduced and finally retired. The last one carries himself out, when he leaves this room which is the nothing. Therefore: No one leaves the room! That is why the last one did not remain there for long. Just as this voice, which does not come from nothing, yet wherever it originates we only see to some extent, we sense much more than we can view. No, on the contrary, at Valie Export's we not only see the voice, we essentially come upon it at its source. The throat is illuminated, the image is projected from the laryngoscope onto the screen, which does not protect anyone.

We must, in an act of fetishization, that is the incorporation of inanimate into animate matter, use the other entrance of the woman, or nonetheless the one, the front entrance? (That she has in common with the man, which does not mean that both may use the same entrance, yet the voice that obviously asserts itself in that it's simply making noise, on the other hand that's not a matter of course, the speaking of woman is not heard, it isn't heard in public since it's uncomfortable, it sounds shrill, we aren't used to it, she would need an apparatus, the woman, to dampen her voice a bit, which creates an obstacle for speaking, an obviation of speaking that is forbidden to her, namely this voice is unwelcome. What is more: It destroys wishes. An inverted castration since for this speaking, nothing is cut off and then sewn shut, rather something is attached which constitutes even more of an obstacle. Therefore, it echoes even louder from all corners and niches of the household because there, the man has to listen to it, otherwise it'll be hell on earth for him, he has even more reason to fear the woman at home the more he forbids her to speak in public), no matter where one enters or which hole is being used, through which something could crawl: We have to mark the entrance, otherwise we can't find and frequent it. Above the entrance, the sign must read: Exit.

What an effort that speaking makes, and above all, in this video that has been made for viewing from the outside! In Valie Export's video the innermost turns inside out. It can't do that alone, that has to be forced. The voice must come out of the larynx that is put on display. This is done with an apparatus. What an effort then to eject the voice! This effort is required mainly for things and creatures that shouldn't be released. Wild animals? The voice is the wild animal that should not reach the outside world, but here the effort is essential for the eruption. For the exploding voice-vulcano. This voice is not mute. This voice is supposed to be restrained by an apparatus so that it can be studied, so that we can observe the vocal chords doing their job, but suddenly it forces its way toward the exit into an opening that refuses to open up. The outside is here, please, voice, come! Well, it can always come but only through this tiny apparatus, which exposes the vocal labia surrounded by swirling saliva and fluids that are the only means of representation for woman. Something liquid that we rarely get to see (the more curious we are! Immediately, we want to look into it. Please - go ahead!), via the laryngoscope, the voice obtains its consciousness und can arrive at relevant propositions while the voice itself: says.

The larynx is the coming-out, actually the letting-come-out, yes, that is for what it is here, it let's out what should have been locked up, the voice, in a language that someone, that anyone must understand, yes, must!, otherwise it's not a language, and then the voice would be useless, therefore come on out, language! From the constant closing off: out and about! The protection must be left behind, but then it, the voice, runs in front of the marksman's rifle. One has to be driven from one's shelter, when one is voice, even if one needs an apparatus to do so, which, just like the beaters bang on the bush, separates the voice from its home, the throat, and chases it out. It must be forced to do something, the voice, which it enjoys doing anyhow. That is the biggest effort: To do something that is allowed, yet in its essence, it is separated from the world. That is it that now cleaves its path before it disappears completely.

Valie Export, I turn over the pictures of my voice in my head


Rendered into English by Margarete Lamb-Faffelberger


The voice heads straightaway toward © 2009 Elfriede Jelinek


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