Blanchot took Mallarmé’s “Book” as the paradigm for an artwork that aspired to such excess it could not exist. And yet it partly did, in the form of the poem Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard. For Blanchot, this ultimate literary work acted as a model for a relentless deconstructing not just of what existed but also of that which did not. His emptying theoretical perspective is ideally suited to analyse the phenomenon that is harsh noise wall music. This type of music aims to be both total and static, an extreme stilling of the music impulse, and even of noise itself. This stilling will of course fail, in the shape of recordings, concerts, recognizable “pieces,” but this failing puts it into the same realm as the Book, as glossed and mobilized by Blanchot, in that it exists but it should not. It cannot happen and yet it unfolds. Rather than failure, then, I argue that this type of noise music is one realization of Blanchot’s thinning, dissipating and disappearing of Mallarmé’s project. This (in)completion, present in these writers and in harsh noise wall, notably in the work of Romain Perrot (Vomir) is not just resemblance but is something that enables a reading, a return (in)completion of Blanchot. This article looks to stage this double reading, a reading that produces nothing. Actually, not even nothing.
Hegarty, P. (2018). In the absence of noise, nothing sounds: Blanchot and the performance of harsh noise wall. Angelaki, 23(3), 112-124. https://doi.org/10.1080/0969725X.2018.1473933