“notes from the meat sack [sensorimotor sequence for ban]” by Bhanu Kapil

bhanu-kapil (1)

Jai Arun Ravine helps Bhanu Kapil offstage after at Vital Forms, Berkeley  Photo: Juliana Spahr

In September calmaplombprombombbalm.com released its first offering of the season: Bhanu Kapil’s “notes from the meat sack [sensorimotor sequence for ban].”

Direct link to the audio (section m13 on the site).

Kapil and Melissa Buzzeo recorded the piece in David Buuck’s kitchen this past spring.  Kapil read from her novel Ban (Nightboat, forthcoming 2014) while Buzzeo performed the knives. The audio was presented at Vital Forms: Healing and the Arts of Crisis in Berkeley and has accompanied other performances. In Berkeley, as this track played over loudspeakers, Kapil bent/twisted/twitched/lay in the red “meat sack” pictured above, pointing to, among other readings, the recumbent position of the novel’s protagonist as well as the work of Ana Mendieta. This publication presents the audio as a complete work in itself and documents one instance of the para-writing that permeates the composition of Ban.

In a Facebook post on September 28, Kapil elaborated:

Ban is real — real enough to reach an end point and then. Be the thing you track — to the dissemination — of its last cells or bits. Flow. Ban is flow. I did not destroy Ban: other forces did that. I think of my work as reconstituting her: terminal but gorgeous flare. What does it mean to be with someone as they are dying? I didn’t think of this before but that was all I used to think about at one time. The practicality of the manuscript is that it has been accepted, but that — I have reduced it to three sentences. And am writing forward again from those. I wanted to repeat and repeat the Ban texts, remixed — at conferences, in magazines, in meat sacks — until — as per today at &NOW — I felt that the repetition had done its work. Of tapping the soil. And releasing an earth memory. And its unguents. Of striking a blow. To something. That was so inert. So never allowed to live. Ban as a figure, as a figure that might appear in a localized culture — 1970s Britain in the time of the riots — pre-riots — is already written over or gone. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that I wanted to destroy the void. I wanted to hallucinate the void.

And in another post a minute later:

I wanted to be the thing that is also. Gone.

Look for more audio, video, and other media this fall from calmaplombprombombbalm.com.


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