Stories well woven together… conjuring & yearning to break free from the prison(s) of its story-telling… there is a definite sense of the harried ellipsis about ‘As Flies to Whatless Boys,’ and, though I’m still in the process of digestion, I’m definitely intrigued by the rugged & broken trails that this (archipelagal?) ellipsis suggests.
The characters, the narrative, and the “book” itself are circuitous but do not form a circuit– I am left staring up at ledges of meaning from which I’ve descended but can no longer access; loves are cut off as they are formed… translation is a winking joke that can sting and confuse as easily as it can amuse or endear.
In these senses, I love what is going on & I feel like the book is a “world” that worlds (it is alive and–to dredge up D&G, perhaps unwillingly–aggressively rhizomatic).
So perhaps the partial dissatisfaction I get from the experience of the “book”–my desire for more, for deeper depths, to have a text even more thoroughly infused and diffused and suffused with & within its world–is really the mark of a great work (the kind that always leaves me wanting to discover more about the characters–both fictional and “literal,” if there’s any difference–and their world, which is also my world, and so on). And perhaps part of it comes also from my greater and greater frustration at the plodding pace of literature within technology and the lack of high quality engagements at (even) this level.
I mean, I want more videos, I want more music, interactivity, text. It’s hard to see that as a “failure”… and (if it is one) it is harder to see it as belonging to Antoni any more than to the rest of us producers.
So that much for the Digital. Whereas for the Caribbean, I can’t think of a more successful way to (nearly) end our conversation surrounding its progress, access, & excess. Somehow–well, not somehow: through skillful weaving of “words,” assiduous research etc etc etc–this text/world manages to both invite and discourage the “visitor,” “pioneer,” or “tourist” to both the geographical Caribbean and the mental/sociopolitical spaces that name evokes. It is steeped in specific histories and general traditions, deeply personal and private, but also inalienable.
I can’t decide how I feel about all those naked girls, & the one in the video — but the fact that I’m drawn around, not down into guilt or up into transcendence or wherever else into objection or abjection or whatever… The fact that none of the valences cancel but rather enhance the others inspires me.
It is indeed a dangerous terrain Antoni maps, definitely a “Caribbean” one, beautiful, exotic, exoticized, and violent also, but it is not inaccessible or uninhabitable.
And if my greatest complaint is that I can’t live there longer–or more deeply– I’m not sure Antoni hasn’t hit his mark. One of them, at least.