Artist Louis-Philippe Scoufaras was born in Montreal to parents of Greek ancestry. His work articulates a relationship between sound composition and formal representation, with a focus on time and its possible transformation in monumental terms. Temps perdu, 2013, presented at xavierlaboulbenne in Berlin and Villa Sarrasin in Geneva, compresses into 120 minutes the recorded reading of Marcel Proust’s complete In Search of Lost Time. The Trilogy of Terror (2014-16) reinterprets events drawn from mythology as a vector of modernity and explores our origins through the primordial energy of myth. Scoufaras was a resident of the Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2014-15. His exhibitions have been reviewed in Artforum, Code, and Artreview. His most recent exhibitions include Myth, Music and Electricity at the Herkulesaal, Munich (2017).
Travis Jeppesen is the author of several novels, including The Suiciders, Victims, and Wolf at the Door. In addition to his art criticism, he is known as the creator of object-oriented writing, a metaphysical form of writing-as-embodiment that attempts to channel the inner lives of objects. His first major object-oriented writing project, 16 Sculptures, was published in book form by Publication Studio, was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial in New York as an audio installation, and was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Wilkinson Gallery in London. A frequent contributor to Artforum, Art in America, and Afterall, among other publications, Jeppesen was the recipient of an Arts Writers grant from Creative Capital / The Warhol Foundation in 2013. His calligraphic work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions internationally. Jeppesen’s latest book, See You Again in Pyongyang, is forthcoming from Hachette. Bad Writing, a collection of his art criticism, will be published in 2018 by Sternberg Press.
A triptychal invocation of ‘Trilogy of Terror’
The Trilogy of Terror is composed of three chronophageous films reinterpreting events drawn from ancient mythology. Presented through single-shot digital video recordings, the three choreographed sequences, which were filmed in sensitive geopolitical locations, feature the actor Arthur Gillet in physically demanding performances as a Greek god archetype. The digitally-decelerated recordings of musical compositions originally written between 1911 and 1916 are part of a dramaturgy that unites the three performances into a symphony in three movements.
The gods all over the place, crazy. Mortals, animals, other gods—it didn’t matter. They would take them for their own. Eat them, fuck them. Pansexuality wiping itself across the cosmos. A thin indentation in the sand, a mountain, the sea. Bending the sailed surety into a sprightly morass of orifice exposure, the body becoming a portal into that world we think they inhabit—one we can only gleam some perfumed whiff of in this mirrored scape.
Let everything that was once great about this world and has since disappeared become a god. And what would we name it. This new god. A god to stand in for the state of godlessness. Need we find our hopes buried in this sand right here. A place where people continue to deny this fading world to themselves. (It’s called spirituality.) For we are talking—eliciting, amongst other things, sensuality. Which is itself a fade: a chance of not-dying. To see our fuck splayed out across all these screens, landscape-like: a fuckography. Fuckography of selves spilled across Time, especially in Its catastrophic nowness. Getting a little sick to feel the way in which we will be recognized upon our passing. The ointment of that shadow, and all it feeds.
You wake up in the shadow of morning upon a mountaintop screaming cock buried deep inside you. That cock is doing a lot of thrusting. Real slow. Slowed, perhaps, to accommodate the perceived gravity of the sacredness. Sodom a place the world went to fuck and die. Enduring a sort of spell cast upon it called Antiquity, Sodom is a mountain that has endured through it all, growing bigger and bigger over time, salt length of Creator’s erection. In front of a sea they call Dead.
In the sanded light of dawn, a shape can be made out through the nowness of this salt ruin. There are two screens cos one’s not good enough; the two, ripped large, hint at multiplicity, the infinite. Sun continues its rise, the better to illuminate the gods upon the mountain. One god in particular: Pan, another beneath him. Is he a mortal. Legs wrapped around Pan’s waist, the deeper to push him inside. He wants Pan all the way. To become Pan. And Pan the man.
But it is not a man at all. No men allowed here. A time, a world-space, where there was no such thing as faggotry. Because you fucked everything back then. Some other kind of creature. Screen intermittently black, then the image again, bluer and crisper, in subservience to illumination’s rise. One screen crisp, the other blurred until you have the glasses on, which makes the fucking come closer, till you think you might touch it, though you never can.
Panic means to be awakened from a dream. To be awoken and scream. Scream across the horizon, startled by its vastness. A scream loud enough to make it all come alive.
(Never a nightmare. That kind of waking means it’s content’s fault.)
Awaking from a dream is always caused by something outside—this—what some may call the real world. Its realness unimaginable and therefore unquestioned.
This, the realness on the screen, is the fucking. What it looks like when two men fuck, or, to steer some precision through our confusion: what it looks like when a goat is fucked by a man. A mangoat. Godgoat. Manimalized, one can become eternal in this light of morning.
Sodom a place to be expelled from. Everyone had to go away, it was cursed, there was no one left. It was an age of paranoia. Yes, there has been more than one. Panic is different from paranoia. Panic entails a waking; with paranoia, there is nothing to be woken from. It is rather a mist—a very filthy mist that coats yr skin. Sticky, it is near impossible to remove. You have to rub painfully deep, and therefore there can be no nakedness. Not in a place where filth thrives.
Here, in a place where the air is clear, where everyone has gone away, then the music can play. (It’s Maurice Ravel, “Daybreak,” from Daphnis et Chloé (1912).) Nakedness can thrive. There are no people. Only gods and animals, a goat. Even upper-case God can get an erection. Filthy benevolence. The top of a mountain. It keeps growing, the music seems to emanate from the light. Turn every city into a ruin so that it might one day look this beautiful. If there can only be one god left, that’s what I want him to do. Pumping into me, because I was never human to begin with. Goatness as a sort of mytho-larval condition for eventual human-god form. The act of fucking, of course, being also an act of becoming. This is what they mean by animacy. A literalisation of an ancient number. That screen-darkness again. By the time you have entered into me, I have already been negated. Yr goddick inside, and now I have learned the true essence of alone.
Look how empty the sky above the mountain. The sky looks as though it could open up at any moment and kill us all. Don’t you want that to happen. To have a violence done to you. To be violated in the most sacred space this Earth has yet to author. I know I want it, some horns. There are so many reasons behind this destruction, amazing. Defile this land by enacting the sin. Panic inside the goat’s asshole.
The logic of duration. Narcissus and the water. This is about a love affair. Water is green and sick; puke of the borderlands. This is about geography. Each time I die, it becomes an image. An image I may fabricate. Of myself. Instrumentality’s strife. To be in the middle. Raped by an image. Screech of an echo. Grey of the sky in somebody else’s forest. Not Europa.
In the piss-poor light of day, there is no support for the fade. You got here by boat, then it floated off, you were asleep, the wind massaged yr nakedness. There is such a thing as context. We destroy it the moment it ceases to nurture us.
I find myself awoken floating. The sky’s shrieking. (Nikolai Tcherepnin’s Narcissus and Echo (1911).) Moving forwards, then back. The one in the water I don’t recognize as myself. And yet I realize it is not even a person. It must be an image. But how did it get there—a visitation of some god, perhaps? Which one? Stuff shifts here all the time. This is a forest of dreams. Darkening—so as to onset disappearance. Trees painting wickedly their background. Now, as I adjust myself to the transformation, my awakening from the spectacle of dream. In my dream, I was fucking some guy upon a mountaintop. Such images visit me with a frequency I hardly understand the reasons for, there is no reason. In one I am Pan, but awoken, I know I am me, myself again. Call me N.
There’s no such thing as sexuality. N stands for negation. Among other things. See myself in the water, a flower. Reject all sexuality in favor of the image. Image detached from all fuckography. Image uncoded. The me-image, the you-image, the anyone/everyone-image. Image engulfing. Image in its pure autonomy, which doesn’t exist. Inexistence of the image: what I am. When I am wasted, I am finally awake enough to decipher the substance of this am-ness. The loss. The construct. Wouldn’t have gone there had I not been thirsty. Have a drink of myself in the water. I drink the pollution of the borderlands. Between life and death, the place where mortality happens and the mountain of the gods. All spread out there. That fucking horizon. Now the light turning the lake a shade of sick green. Goddamn Apollo, slowing down the ride. Awoke by his chariot. Grind the light into nocturne. Put you into myself at a certain moment of going. Just as Apollo runs off with the sun, so I, into myself. A gloating transcendental. As though you could disappear into it, that image. That gulf of selves, mirroring, shattering. The moment certain of going. That is when I stay. To see myself brighter. Despite the fade. Till I will collapse into flowerform. I can grow, but only in alternate form of animacy. The ultimate of representation: to see yrself detached from yrself yr liveliness projected across a screen. Sometimes the screen is liquid—even better. Makes it so much easier to drown.
I am the same person in all my guises—the same in all my differences.
Man appearing in certain darkness. Too bright to fade.
In front of neoclassical. State power before it was recognized as mass murder.
Please don’t go there a snowflake. Triumph of the West via self-reproduction.
No space for self in front of monumental. Breakdown of transformations, of permutations. Little room left for the everything. Snow in slow motion.
As we lean toward the everything. As we yearn for completion. Engulfment. As the light refuses to astound us. As we make a gesture towards performance.
Here comes Cronus, all matted in gold. Baby in his arms, the descent between two columns. The shriek of arrival. (Gustav Holst, “Saturn,” The Planets (1916).) Here comes a giant sacrifice.
A giant sacrifice can be a man, a self, a goat, an other. A baby, even.
This diffuses all sentimentalia. Saturn’s lore, returned in mortal format. Can you eat the baby?
Cronus is so hungry. He wants a son he never had. To fuck a goat upon a mountaintop is to become one, also. A man-thing. God.
The gods were all objects. And so we commenced our descent. Somehow hoping there would come a day. A day we might be eaten away.
It was a night like this I ate you. Naked, selves reflected all around me. I carried you to the throne.
Snow begins to glow. Raw fuck of lightning across the winter’d sky. Pagan awareness that all is not salt, not sand, not water. That there are structures meaningless beyond their ability to guide us. Architecture a stealth means of panic-steering.
The goatfucker is a babyeater. See yrself die so angelly. There won’t be any gloating. Narcissus has a beard. Winding tropes of abandon. Babydoll made of real flesh.
The baby tastes like lightning. Baby was once part of my flesh, my sperm made it. Stick yr tongue inside the earth’s belly button. Feels so good to molest the world.
We have somehow lost that center that was once believed in. It’s because the world got molested. The gods we have turned our backs upon, they continue to fuck us. Only we aren’t awake to feel it. We can only see it happening to us, from a great distance, in our dreams. From a dream distance.
And so we stand.
Lights go out to let us eat it. Start with the face. As yr teeth launch into the flesh, you know how the gods feel: you, descendant of the sky and the earth. What it means is we all belong inside you; yr cock inside us. Even when you are not the water.
Suffering of mortals so bland. Even when they are being eaten. Baby’s foot tastes just like the salt it was conceived upon. You want to go back there; to feel yrself negated. Horny for that memory you have of yrself, from before the sea began to die. When the image refused to flicker out. When there was something faint like unity. Before endurance got in the way.
Oh, Time. You understand things. How to have a body. How to shatter. To draw words across a page. Images across a screen. The light across the night. The me across the water.
Go back up the stairs. There is something calling. It is yr father. The time has come to slice his balls off. You have already eaten yr son. Dad de-throned, a plentiful harvest will be shat forth from the earth.
We will see, we will come, we will rule through abandon.
Every ascent is justified.
*All images courtesy of the artist and xavierlaboulbenne, Berlin