From a project that never got projected:
Exhaustion can be a paradoxical affect. It is at one and the same time physiological and also conceptual, encompassing fatigue, depression, boredom, mania, confusion. Marina van Zaylen believes that “exhaustion [….] has a curious way of eradicating more complex signs of weariness, one of which being the indeterminate state we call fatigue.” Perhaps that is so. However the adjective ‘curious’ may indicate a wider gyre for exhaustion as it fights–-by collapsing into a syncope—for larger beginnings rather than only individual physiologies and pathologies, although they can both indicate the beginning of resistances). Exhaustion is about fatigue as well as elation. Anyone who has ever observed small children at play at the end of day can see the register of exhaustion switch to manic energy before collapse and sudden rehabilitative sleep. Once could perhaps even say that the unconscious is more often summoned by the collapse of exhaustion. Depression, worry, failure, violence, fatigue, mania and all the other affective eddies which exhaustion drags in its wake can lead to either a quiescent amor fati or revolution or revelation.
Nevertheless to even concentrate on exhaustion seems like a grinding propaedeutic, a waylaying and perpetual beginning of legitimate topics—which intensifies the feeling of exhaustion for all who might work in such tenebrous and infrathin margins. Various net searches only begin to draw more gloom, not because of the net’s own darkness (does it have any properly speaking?) but because it has none. Or because it is in the process of enclosure of its darkness by light, the wavering line where information becomes noise and vice versa.
THE SECRET DREAM OF EXHAUSTION
Exhaustion exists mostly in its macerated by-productions, like when we speak of the exhaust of a car, a generator where the real work is a going forward while the exhaust/ion pushes out behind, falling into more decay, formlessness. But perhaps the ‘curious way’ of van Zaylen’s overarching concept of exhaustion, it’s inclusion of all other sites of breakdown, physical and mental, DOES function as the larger dream of the earth, an un-noticed Bataillean excess, a shapeless geochthonic mass always escaping—and undermining—our most precious productions and predictions. Whether it be our own body’s waste material, or the negentropic outlier of our machinic culture, an uncountable and largely invisible excess, produced by exhaustion and leading to more exhaustion, piles up behind us, under us, all around us, the true aspect of Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History being blown backward into the future (perhaps for the diaphanous sempiternal Realm of Angels, production and its exhaust are all the same in their effects/affects/special effects; inasmuch as they exist as bits of etheric desoeuvrement, workless, community-less forms much like exhaust itself –which we can never own nor WANT to own, it is always our past and our future but never, not now anyway, our NOW. Much like our Coming Selves in fact, perhaps composed of nothing but exhaust and exhaustion, folded back into earth processes. But then perhaps the dream of exhaustion is not simply an emptying out, creating a husk, a shell, a semblance mimicking life/death, work/not, but a supersaturation, reversing the relations where what is valuable is the precipitate from exhaust, the non/thing which is larger than life, than work, than art, a dark matter/energy which can only be sketched in its absence, in its wish to come. Perhaps the dream of exhaust is to be equilibrated with the exhaustion of its production, stranding us again in the dark zero of the angels.)