That grave pleasure
journal contributionposted on 2012-09-01, 00:00 authored by Antonia PontAntonia Pont
This paper argues that gravity is often opposed to lightness in a conceptual manoeuvre reminiscent of the binaries of a metaphysics of presence (the latter as interrogated by Derrida; see generally 1997). In this paradigm, lightness operates akin to the ‘origin’ or presence, and is deemed to have been contaminated by the arrival of weight, the latter framed as threat to this (presence)/lightness. The paper challenges this conceptualisation, one that arguably dominates quotidian attitudes to the body and its movement capacities. It proposes instead that gravity can be read ‘deconstructively’—in other words, that lightness and weight emerge from and produce one another, and that weight always already operates, and therefore includes lightness. In order to inhabit this desiring-body (a body affected by gravity), particular framings of the body’s internal structures can permit a harnessing of gravity’s vectors of attraction, enabling what the author terms ‘a rigorous laziness’. The latter would involve both an initial attitude and a practice that eschews vocabularies of ‘force’ and ‘effort’, in favour of a ‘close reading’ of structural veracities, engaging strategically with, rather than against, them, in an approach akin to deconstruction’s reading along with a text. Drawing ekphrastically on the structural suggestiveness of Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizomatic and arborescent lenses, the paper finally contends that both these models are at work in human bodies, and that they operate in mutually generative ways. Taken up, this thinking may extend what the human body can do, and, most importantly, its pleasure in such doings.