Gareth James


There's a Krazy Kat strip in which Krazy sits, weeping inconsolably, face buried in a kerchief, at the foot of a wall. Behind Krazy's back, night slips into day and back again. (To get the full effect, we'd need three photos here—two daytime, one nighttime, me sitting there all the while unawares.) In the fourth frame, Offissa Pupp trundles through, hands clasped behind his back, tail proudly erect, whistling, now having clearly cast off some gem that pulls Krazy's face out of the kerchief, eyes wide in astonishment. What happened? For Scorched Earth, the drawing magazine I'm making with Sam Lewitt and Cheyney Thompson, we had it go like this. Krazy: "For Brecht, abstraction constituted something like the reality of determined social structures...through which the social necessarily had to pass...." Offissa Pupp: "When drawing, do you feel yourself pass through a structure? [Whistles]"

So let's just say it's this that I'm interested in: how we register, and how we can raise to representation, what occurs when we pass over a structure when we can't see the damn thing. Horror movies usually disappoint: like when the conventions of plot device bulge in an unseemly fashion when some fool yet again opens the door to the basement. But what's really horrific is when it's behind the eyes or in some movement in our stomach, felt as a ripple or a warp, a shudder or stutter in the body because it exceeds our capacity for representation and therefore the distancing function of the eyes, and because we come to it too late—it's already inside: the real of structure passing through us. Animals do it with their tails, of course—wagging, submissively pulled into the butt, or erect and pointing. Funny bastards.