The cultural politics at work in Sukenick's methods have been best described by Marcel Cornis-Pope. He has, in a number of recent essays, argued (emphasizing in particular Sukenick and Federman) that surfiction's "concern with the conditions and power configurations of narrative articulation" has always been as fundamental to its work as a more literary formalism (181). In Sukenick's case, surfiction operates as a "revisionistic exercise of cultural imagination...questioning our perceptual and discursive systems, reinventing the rules by which reality is projected" (182). >7 It is, in surfiction, as Cornis-Pope puts it, "the writer's responsibility to challenge and rewrite the given representational frames and to imagine better aesthetic and sociocultural syntheses" as well as it is "her concern to prevent her articulations from rigidifying into a new dogma" (183).
Cornis-Pope points specifically to how surfictional discursive modesmediate deconstructive and reformulative tendencies (and it's interesting to note that he sees powerful similarities between the discursive modes of surfiction and those of postdeconstructionist and feminist theorists as well as contemporary innovative feminist fictionists). The "theoretical hesitation between [these] two concepts of innovation" points to surfiction's "dissociative model of narration," which simultaneously undercuts the totalizing practices of traditional narration, asserts its own "smallish narratives...discursive preferences and displacements," and, in a continuance of its original gesture, undercuts those smallish narratives by constructing them out of fragments, heterogeneous voices, and a self-conscious self-disassociation that refuses self-understanding (184). This results in text as "field of action" that maintains a "provisional balance between competing claims and styles of articulation" and that "repeats without accumulating" (192).
These styles of articulation, as I've hoped to show here, often involve typographical discourses in addition to narrative ones, as well as the metadiscourses resulting from their combined work. To take up again the point that began this essay - such articulations demonstrate that surfictions are not merely manipulations of already existing forms, but that they actually strive to destroy ordinary language in order to communicate new perceptions of reality; these perceptions are often unique in that they do not base themselves on binaries or dualities, but are instead "multiplicities" of immediate experience. Are these multiplicities unintelligible, uninterpretable? Oftentimes, thankfully, yes; if always understandable, in one way or another, they would likely not achieve the kind of difference toward which they struggle.
Oftentimes, though, they can be interpreted, and it seems that a line on such understanding should take surfictions not as concrete art, but yokings of narrative and typographical image-yokings that pursue engagement with an audience, yokings that theorize about the very fabric of our meaning-systems.