Begun in 2005 and finished in October 2013, short months before the Madeline Gins’ unexpected death, this fully invented biography is an act of sustained approximative-rigor and friendship in the best spirit of the Reversible Destiny project.
Initiated spontaneously over an exchange between Madeline Gins and Jake Kennedy at the first international A+G conference in Paris (Nanterre 2005), it was carried out over years without exchange between biographer and subject. Kennedy’s writerly arc on this project came to a natural end in October 2013, and he unwittingly closed the invented biography a scarce two months before Madeline herself came to an end, of sorts.
Excerpts from: MADE LINE SING by Jake Kennedy
[Here for the first time public, the final and first chapters (the end placed here before the beginning) from MADE LINE SING, the invented biography of Madeline Gins by Jake Kennedy 2005-2013 – courtesy of the author. Ed.]
Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better, Fail Forever (Stumble)
Then… Madeline was home in the studio. Nighttime New York was on the windows and nighttime New York was on the ceiling and nighttime New York stretched itself across the taps and across the tea-kettle. Then… Madeline was home in the night studio. Then… all the night objects of the house were, she thought, sad as that-which-exists-for-what-it-can-never-itself-be: … Then… so much was evidently missing here, she thought, too—hence these abundant furnishings as markers for other absentee objects. Or all of this, all of these, said Madeline to herself, have become a “suddenly” of my own singularity and also its might-be untenableness. Soon.
Madeline stood up and walked to the wall and made a window. She knew that—because it was nighttime New York—necessarily there must have been a new Dogen sitting across the way or, down the block, a Mary Shelley, an Issa, and a Beckett, too. Madeline was at the wall-window as a representative of the mind-must-make-gates-gape-wide method. The window, in its fashion, pointed to the new Gins who would—if she couldn’t/if she couldn’t?—continue to point to life and lifing.
World of dew ting-ing on a Mercedes-Benz hood ornament, world of slugs drilling through aspidistras, world of glass bells clogged with mud, world of sunlight illuminating filleted oranges, world of one-tree-and-rubble-and-two-hobos-on-stage, world of horrendous Hollywood cinema, world of 4 billion wombs, world of words alive as the world, world of ill-played violins, world of chessboard pieces toppling in the wind, world of brick-upon-brick suburbias, world of unburnable hearts in jars of formaldehyde, world of pig shit and unfindable pearls, world of business mergers and karate chops, world of Plantagenets and Shabazzes, world of Future floor polish and the exposed skin of ax-hacked trees, world of mushrooms and world of nuclear explosions, world of Chris Marker and Dziga Vertov and Agnes Varda and Lucille Ball, world of grape juice communions and green tea ceremonies, world of televisions as fish bowls and fish bowls as televisions, world of the future world of death into deathlessness—I and “I” into us and we… continue
Gourd Brain: Madeline in the Womb
Madeline-Not-Yet was so suggestible. She turned in a Lascaux chamber—painted walls, shadow/less shadow, light/less light—and one that duplicated itself north and south.
She was becoming a realism. There was a radio playing hush and shh and umm and whoosh in the background. Madeline was more mandala than omen. And, eventually, wearing the little placid mask of before-time-began, she heard through the life-cord that “the body of the baby vibrates much more than ours since for many years adults have been total squares.”
So Madeline lived in a drum which was, for the Greeks, the saddest instrument. Now, in her life, in this home-dome, she thumped it out: “my rhythms are faulty but still readable: ‘adults can only imagine joy while all my desire arrives via pneumatic delivery.’”
Meanwhile, the archaeologists discovered that the strongest answer of the cave will always lead to the locations of paintings in real life. In other words, both the use of art to get back to life as a “life-saving activity” as well as the recognition of the history of language as a recognition of “what-could-be-worded-could-necessarily-be-lived” was also here in the soft rocks.
At least, the PhDs surmised, a number of the symbols located deep within the chamber (antlers as, in fact, now seen as giving forth fingers of light) signified rebirth-ing. “Infinity,” they agreed, is the easiest sound for babies to make.
Madeline measured the exact frequencies of the outside-sounds: panic and pessimism or ho and hum. As they echoed throughout the cave then her body-which-was-not-quite-but-getting-there-all-the-same embodied the all-in-forever-body, too. On the walls, Madeline made the muck mean “life will go on and does.”
Out of the Cradle Alwaysessly Rocking
(a General Theory of Hi, We’re Back For Good)
For Madeline, being a baby was an appliqué which was especially apt when one felt in one’s adipose sublimity to be very much the chubby reflection of the moon: this expansive, shimmering this… and then (but then) the plonking rock of real-time-aliveness was seen as not shattering the moon but radicalizing it on the surface of the pond.
To be a Madeline-sticky-circle-moon-as-reflection-baby was to be the moon-as-island shivered out of its coherence by plonking-rock-reality and into an “anarchic doily atop the undulating black table.” Such are the days and months of the travelers of eternity which are fetus babies—me, Madeline wrote in her journal.
It would be quite alright, according to her notes, if one just pushed a stern finger through the fontanel and found another bottomless lake. That is, our bodies are fathomless portable seas. Madeline-the-baby would—she resolved—crawl towards all objects as if away from her crypt.
This is the same old (very old) story that was in Madeline’s still-black-under-the-lids-baby-eyes: life as a bat careening through the windy stable. The new dream-narrative was lucid: she dreamed herself as a one who usurped mortality by treating walls as doors.
What does the rocking of the cradle reveal? Only that even the furniture is trying to shake itself awake from all that is static. The body is its own kind of chaos, said Madeline the baby. And I will be, she thought, one of those ever-new subjects that refuse ever to go to sleep. Wahhh!
[ Ed. – For the full invented biography, please root for the publication of MADE LINE SING by Jake Kennedy.]
ABOUT THIS TEXT:
Begun in 2005 and finished in October 2013, coincidentally short months before the unexpected death of Madeline Gins, this invented biography is an act of sustained approximative-rigor in the best spirit of the Reversible Destiny project.
I was there in Paris in 2005, at the first international conference organized around the work of Arakawa and Gins, when Jake Kennedy met Madeline Gins and vice versa. It was a wit-toss that exchanged his quip “Someone needs to write your biography” into her “Write it” for his “But I don’t know anything about your life” to her “It will probably be more true that way”, or something like this, goes the story of how this book got started.
I knew Jake in the years after meeting in Paris, and occasionally heard the thing was still in progress. Alongside his impassioned teaching, writing and family life at home in … Canada. It had been years, though, since Jake and I had been in touch, when Madeline passed. I wrote Jake to let him know. I asked how far his manuscript had come, and he said he had just recently finished it, about two months ago. He had had no idea, and was shocked and saddened at the news.
He volunteered these short excerpts as part of a publication for proceeding.