Saturday, December 08, 2007


The idea of shock intrigues me. How does shock work? Why and when do we shock (or when should we shock) an audience? Are there different tones of shock? Does shock work in different tones and timbres for similar audiences and contexts? Why is "dogskin flute" shocking? Is it?

Not unlike the bodily process equivalent to a physiological or biological “what the fuck?” in order to save itself, shocking an audience creates a space for salvation, a rhetorical cul-de-sac anything can be drawn from. The piñata still intact, a quiet frame the moment after being shocked: Huzzah! We can still react and language works, stilmuli work. Turn and listen or turn and fight.

Statements that elicit shock, if unexpected (through timing or an ethical breach or variance), do so partly because the language is working to that end. The delivery of the message – how it gets to us, why it was made, etc— becomes obscured by the shock we feel in the face of such a statement. The moment when our language either asserts or submits itself over or to the message becomes an interesting space for the poetic to occupy.

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