“The Sentence is hierarchical: it implies subjections, subordinations, internal reactions. Whence its completion: how can a hierarchy remain open?” — Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text
In his seminal work, The Pleasure of the Text, Roland Barthes captures a complementary relationship between the ideas of Chomsky on theory v/s practice and Julia Kristeva on ideology. He identifies that for Chomsky, in theory the sentence is potentially infinite, but practice must necessarily conclude it. And for Kristeva, a compositionally complete utterance is the practice of ideology for the purposes of propaganda. But what does the unique predicament of the sentence — which must necessarily be cut short to propaganda — originally described by Barthes signify in an age that no longer dreams of the utopic national context that framed post-independent aspirations in the South Asian region and that is weary of continuing communal conflicts, sectionalisms and the threat of economic and political instability? The contemporary culture of dissent — especially with the rise of authoritarian nationalisms — is resigned to the idea that its cause would never end and will perhaps be repeated throughout history. If one is to move from propaganda to suspicion, ‘practice’ cannot align with ideological certainty, especially if we are to include stories that have not been ordained a political stage. The workshop tried to explore how resistance may still be inscribed, over and over again through drawing. As a process that is constantly in the state of becoming, drawing eludes the predicament of the sentence. It could spiral forward infinitely like a helix, with the potential to encompass within it all spaces and times, ‘re-writing’ not just history, but also everyday spaces.
With this speculation as their premise, the artists who are part of this project began to discuss the potential of the continuous line in their practice. They deliberated upon everyday spaces in the city, instrumenting line as metaphor to inscribe history, memory, and the city without the closure of hierarchy.