Nicole Raziya Fong



In Rimbaud’s text, love is the sign, indicated as such, that one is changing reasons, and that is why the poet addresses that reason. One changes reasons—in other words, one changes discourses.

— Jacques Lacan, Seminar XX (trans. Bruce Fink)

We now become capable of making reference to the large painting in the room.

Colorless shadows are constitutive of objectivity. All shadow is an image of correspondence communicated by way of inarticulate hue. To perceive the distinction of hue within shadow will necessarily reveal a world constitutive of doubt— such are the cohesions which have begun to appear.

Distinct from surface, removed in essence from that which preceded it— as with difference acting upon a stage, theory presents us an interior. The replicability of its structure may be called into quotation. The exceeding intelligence of the stars (always being created, always coming into themselves, formlessly emerging and dying out in a thesis of improbable change—)…

Here, a border occludes occasion’s preceding point. If light in refraction encounters itself at this point of illumination, does the inevitability of its image likewise precede it?

Goethe opened my eyes to the chromatism of darkness.

Truth is a kind of error without which a certain species could not live.

— Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (trans. Walter Kaufmann)

Goethe’s transcendent singer who turned down a king’s offer of golden chain in order to continue singing freely.

That sense perception cannot be reduced to the materialization of matter as relates to the physical— more specifically, that any assumption of understanding is an affront to the complete comprehension of the reality which presents itself to us.

For the connection of cause with its sense perception is a fallacy (as asserted by Nietzsche). And yet, Schopenhauer’s insistence that sensory perception is a passable route directed towards reason, in which seeing provides us means to know the intimate nature of that which we perceive, i.e. through a physiological process by which an image inverted becomes an image then placed “right side up”—which is to say despite whatever blockages may come between the faculty of reason and our intuitive perceiving, our condition, namely that condition which makes us thinking beings, is tied irrevocably to the reality which acts upon us, and our ability to conceive of this reality by way of sense perception. This clearing (or gap) being a plausible route around the seeming impenetrability of all that can be perceived, wherein we become capable of having an intimate view, through reason, of this previously indecipherable outside.

Thus, Schopenhauer’s desire to deduce an acting theory from Goethe’s Theory of Colors, which he claims to be a “merely” physiological account of colour. Perhaps motivated by this singular need for the externality of sense experience to yield interior, Goethe’s Theory of Colors presented only a surface (though fractal, crystalline in its beauty); an interior whose patterning would give inevitable cause and duration to images so fleeting as a sulphuric candle, as darkness superimposed upon colour (or vice versa). Goethe was satisfied to notate the numerous iterations of that which occurred. The possible stimuli at hand were infinitely variable— such experimentation was essentially an artist’s rendering on a large scale. Such a project would have necessarily seemed incomplete to Schopenhauer, who could not bear to linger upon surfaces.

Schopenhauer on Goethe:

“Goethe’s theory of color does not contain a theory proper, although such a theory is prepared by it, and an endeavor for a theory is so clearly expressed in the whole work that we can say that, like a seventh chord forcibly calls for the harmonic which it dissolves, equally so demands the total impression of the work a theory.”

Goethe, (a quote I arrived at) through Nietzsche:

“The ultimate achievement would be to understand that all fact is already theory.”

Let us begin again.

— Jacques Derrida, Dissemination (trans. Barbara Johnson)

I awoke. The sun’s effortless disgrace appeared to me in the stead of some kind of calamitous beauty. The tree I had so often attempted to iterate as a potential whose fissures were continually being filled and emptied of exceeding mystery, had again been filled with light. I awoke from a dream, my language having shifted.

The bare appearance of the trees seemed both a beautiful and irresolute assumption of some unknowable effortlessness. Though at moments, cold, the sun both shared my vision and repelled it. Beneath the darkness of some stone courtyard and background of indecision, we refused to iterate an assumption which had been passed to us to hold.

Not that I had become unhappy, but that my former happiness had become meaningless. Having regained some semblance of happiness, the sensation was recognizable despite its distance from the context which had previously sustained it. And yet, a hidden memory of something continued to plague me. Beneath the sun, all image fails to conceal the ambiguous nature of its demeanor. Despite the all-encompassing erasure of what lay beyond the visible, a moment faltered and failed to perform with the same assurance as before, thus causing certain inconsistencies within the image to again become apparent.

The image considered most preferable to the subject at hand can either be resolved (cast in the direct light of the apparent), or splintered irrevocably. Discourses change. I imagined some form of certainty might one day exist, but knew nothing of the sacrifice.

Nicole Raziya Fong lives in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal, Canada. She is the author of OЯACULE (Talonbooks, 2021) and PEЯFACT (Talonbooks, 2019). Her visual and written work has appeared variously in chapbook form, in publications including Social Text, the Capilano Review, Cordite and the Volta, and has been translated into Swedish and French.
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