...Outside It Snows

...Outside It Snows

by Jyanni Steffensen

What is involved in the discovery of the 'true story' behind the events that come to us in the chaotic form of 'historical records'? What wish is enacted, what desire is gratified, by the fantasy that real events are properly represented when they can be shown to display the formal coherency of a story? In the enigma of this wish, this desire, we catch a glimpse of the cultural function of narrativizing discourse.

She cannot always be indifferent. Her lover has an emerald in her navel and cornflakes in her hair. She has cruising on her mind.

Pardon me, I must be going.

Very well, I will begin again.

Everyone lives in a city called THE CAPITAL. The action takes place between 8.25pm and 5am in a Gothic hotel called The LiLy. It is winter. Outside it snows. Sofia has long black hair, curled, and extraordinarily large eyes.

Two women board a train. Their destination is unclear. Unethical and undetermined. They exchange briefcases. This is the Law of Exchange. Or the Law of Briefcases. She stares at Kanska's desk. Her lover lies unwritten on the page.

Can we imagine, or should we, a position that speaks in tropes and walks in sensible shoes? In other words - for the moment I am not fucking. I am talking to you. Well, I have the same satisfaction as if I was fucking. That's what it means. Indeed, it raises the question of whether in fact I am not fucking at this moment. There can be satisfaction, in other words, at giving up satisfaction. Desire moves around.

Now you see us.

Now you don't.

Second Tableau.

Describes scenes in which two women figure. You and your lover embrace naked in a room. Outside, it snows. Your lover enters the scene and after, you leave and disappear.

Sixth Tableau.

Describes you and your lover fucking on a desk. The phone rings. Outside the window are described a multiplicity of scenes of the world. There is a major category error at the core of the director's ontology. Not so much a homage to the plot, but to language perhaps.

I had this dream. I dreamed I was walking with friends. I saw a black cat and I picked it up and I ate it. Desire is indifferent to it's object. Desire, like power, inscribes its subject(s). This is a game of seduction. I heard it on the radio.

An actress who looks exactly like Kanska will board the train. In fifteen minutes. She will be smoking a smallish cigar. She will know you by the tenor of the transaction. She will leave the train before it reaches a destination. She will leave another in its place.

A bisexual sadomasochist has no shadow. A glitter in the darkness. The cruelty is in the text for anyone to read. Epistemological sadism. The audience remains seated. A word bomb explodes (unexpectedly) in the wrong place. The film just keeps flickering in the darkened cinema. She suddenly remembers another plot. A doomed love affair between two female journalists. During a politically volatile period. The critic quotes its 'pure eroticism.' This time I am mistaken.

The Scene. A hotel room, noirish. Somewhere. Outside, it snows. The phone rings. Light filters through the blinds. The window overlooks a swimming pool on the roof of the adjacent building. Another hotel perhaps. It is empty. It has water but no one swims in it. What is it then to say 'the pool is empty?'

Scene Two. Two women are in the room. One stands by the window looking out. She smokes a smallish cigar (languidly). The other is seated on the bed. She adjusts her stockings. A man enters.

Theory is first defined as a reading. The pleasure moves around tricking objects.

The street is silent. Her cunt hovers ambivalently between desire and pain. I knew you would say that. She stumbles by chance on a fragment of a photograph. In the gutter outside the hotel. The train thunders toward Vers -Roissy.

Imagine a woman who steals letters.

Imagine a woman who exposes herself.

At 8pm precisely the performance will begin. The door will be locked. No one will enter after 8.02.

The train pulls into the station. Kanska gets off. Still carrying the briefcase. Walks slowly away from the camera. Same languid movement. A man turns to watch her. She does not alter her face. She crosses the square to the hotel. He follows her. When he enters the lobby she has disappeared.

"I'm glad you are in such good humour," said the director, "but your face has lost the expression which I need for my picture."

"The expression you want for your picture," she replied smiling. "Wait a moment."

She rose and dealt me a blow with the whip. The cinematographer looked at her with stupefaction, and a childlike surprise showed on his face, mingled with disgust and admiration.

Words pile up. In the night she is restless. The console does not comfort her. She prowls. Words do not console her. Images haunt her. A TV monitor is bolted across the window. There is nothing on the screen but snow.

What he is trying to see, make no mistake, is the object as absence. What the voyeur finds is merely a shadow, a shadow behind the curtain. There she will phantasise anything, the most beautiful of women, for instance, even if on the other side there is only objet a.

Scene Four. A reception. Outside, it snows. Sound, muted. A low hmmm. Two women enter wearing black trenchcoats. They admire the artwork. They kidnap a well dressed man. Speeding into the night.

Her hands are arrested expectantly over the keys. Her lover murmurs in her sleep. Caress this spot. & here. She has a number tattooed on the nape of her neck. Under the skin. Serenity becomes her. She could be a femme fatale. She always seems to be noir lit. Someone is watching this scene.

The man at the train station is the lover of the man in the apartment opposite the hotel. His window has no blinds. He will enter screen right. He will be carrying a mobile phone.

You think desire. It is all the more intense. These images would be untranslatable in any country whose inhabitants did not speak French.

The phone rings. The woman in black enters.

"Untie him!" As they loosened the ropes, I fell to the floor like a lump of wood. The woman in black grinned. "Untie the rope around his feet."

They did, but I was unable to rise.

"Come over here."

I approached the beautiful woman. Never did she seem more seductive to me than today in spite of her cruelty and contempt.

"One step further," Sofia commanded.

The first scene lends itself to a number of floral associations. Artichokes, for example. The sexual relation is thus not a relation between two subjects, but rather between five things - the Other, the subject, the other, the phantasm of the other desired by the subject, and the phantasm of the subject desired by the other.

Are there any further questions? The text ends.

The mobile phone is glued to her ear. She breathes into the other one. I want 14 strand high voltage wire. I want it now. She blows into her nostril. She has a theory of fucking and flying. Fist-fucked to heaven.

The train pulls into the station as in Scene # 2. The actress who looks exactly like Kanska alights as before. A man with a newspaper watches her. She crosses the square to the university and disappears. To put it another way: the option left to me was to have a fling with the philosophers, which is easier said than done . . .

Two women steal luggage. From Lost Property. At the terminal. There are railway cars full of suitcases. The man who interprets the dream is a psychoanalyst. The woman he interprets it for has given him her suitcase. The two women steal it back. It contains pages of a story about two women who steal luggage. The psychoanalyst is surprised. The woman who dreamed her suitcase was stolen is not.

Scene One. Two women are lying naked. On the floor. In a hotel room. One of them gets up. Puts on a black dress. She picks up a dossier puts it in a briefcase and leaves the room. The other woman wakes up. Gets up. Puts on black pants and a leather jacket. She puts some items in a briefcase and leaves. Locking the door behind her.

"Is this the expression . . ." the director stammered.

"What?" said Sofia scornfully. "Perhaps I can help you?"

This theory comes as a complete shock to Freud. He is dumbfounded.

Sofia tied his hands behind his back, drew a rope through his arms and a second one around his body, and fettered him to the crossbars of the window. Then she rolled back her sleeve, seized the whip, and stepped in front of him.

The phone rings. It is the man from the apartment opposite her hotel. He writes stories. His are about two women in a hotel room across from his apartment. He says that he is calling from New York. She can see his lips moving.

In which language would she speak?

A few moments passed and Sofia arrived, dressed in nothing but the leather jacket, with the whip in her hand. She descended the stairs and stretched out on the velvet cushions as on the former occasion. I lay at her feet, and she placed her foot upon me as her right hand played with the whip.

She said, for example, fetishism is the only perversion for which there is no corresponding neurosis. The female fetishist can see the rabbit and the duck at the same time. Or one might say that the fetish is the negation of time insofar as it attempts to defer the arrival of death. A fetish is a fantasy of unity. Death is a fantasy in ruins, or, as someone said, the conquest of time.

Who are these characters? What are they doing here? On this page. Wild thoughts in another direction. Outside, it snows.

Desire dissolves.

One can have a body that does not coincide with the actuality of one's anatomy. Some other body. A body that no one can see. Nobody.

The man from the train station scene - with the newspaper - watches the entrance to the university. The woman re-appears. He follows her. She passes the hotel. Another woman comes out of the hotel and follows the man. She takes his photograph. It is not a photograph of the body, but a map of the degrees of the erotogenicity on its surface. An image of its significance. The man is a journalist.

"One step further," Sofia commanded. "Now kneel . . ."

"You ought to be like this," said the director.

"May I really whip him?" he asked.

"Do with him what you please," replied Sofia.

She enters the scene of narration in order to interrupt it.

Authority can claim only the credit due to the speculations of the reader.

The phone rings. Outside, it snows. She receives an invitation. "We would be pleased if you could join us for this occasion." A reception. The Minister will be there. The Minister for Images.

Thursday 6pm 28 September.

She ascends a grand staircase. Incognito. The Minister for Words is confused. You shouldn't make jokes if it makes you unhappy said Isabelle. She smokes a smallish cigar. Saunters toward the artwork. Afterward, a man approached me and engaged me in a conversation about my work. He was a stranger, although not altogether unknown to me. I was intrigued, a little, as to why he did this as he did not know me and he, as it turned out, was not a known homosexual.

Scene eight. A woman's hand reaches down and unsnaps a stocking from a garter belt. Rolls the silk down and slides her hands inside a creamy white thigh. The woman at the window raises her binoculars. Same languid movement. She watches a man with a newspaper crossing the square.

He is a journalist. Everyone in the photograph looks so much like themselves. Are there any further questions?