Blog 8 - The Senses Still...

And so I re-turn to a primary source of Andre Lepecki’s, to anthropologist and writer C Nadia Seremetakis 1994 tome The Senses Still through which she offers up a way of weaving the more personal, auto-biographical (auto-ethnographic) alongside the more obviously academic. Her writing demonstrates that only through knowing both is the unique connection in-between the two felt and made. I see a way that different kinds of writings, experiences can be woven through. Her very detailed (she describes in minute detail) and very sensory personal memories of everyday (but extra-ordinary/notable) experiences of e.g. tasting are employed as examples/exemplars, at once playful and poignant as she explores the relationship between language and meaning and the senses – and how that can all change within geographical regional boundaries where the meaning of shared words does not necessarily translate from one country to another, even one region to another (or I might say one context to another). I have had to order the book through the British Library.

I treat this book with reverence, it feels so old. I wonder whether it will be as revealing as I want it to be. What secrets will it (be)hold? I have a very tactile relationship to it – I smooth over, dust off the hessian bound cover. It’s fraying at the edges (bleeding/pouring out). A regal purple. With the authors name and title on the spine almost invisible – worn away. Printed in 1994 – not that long ago. Taken out 22 times since 1997. It’s tattered and virtually nameless, title-less. It reminds me of past times, it makes me feel nostalgic. A child choosing a book off her grandmother’s shelf. I open it up the paper is worn too, thicker then the other books pages I have on my desk. Someone has marked it with a pencil – that irritates me – a great deal – I do not need to be drawn to the passages they found most interesting or useful (indicated by ticks and square brackets in the contents sections and under-linings, stars and repeats of words-not even comments repeats!

I turn to the introduction: named the prologue (the theatricality of that word pleases me) written by C. Nadia Seremetakis – I’m skirting around the edges somehow, not daring to begin, I wonder why the C? I remember my last tutorial and the reminder to critique the writers that I have so enjoyed (exonerated), I remind myself that Andre Lepecki and Susan Melrose are not dance-makers, this sits uneasily, it feels too superior, I am replacing one hierarchical system with another.

 I read on, Seremetakis’ book is full of felt sensations.