Emotional Architecture, text one
I realized this morning, that with the hours, I was becoming the auditor of institutional ethics.
The only silent attendant in the room.
♦ The auditor listens in. To what is not said. Or listens out. For that which cannot be said.
I am listening out for a soul. The soul that resides in a silent contract. The silent contract that governs the room. It might be the thing that holds the room together. But might also very well be the thing that holds those who are in the room apart. Apart from each other. Apart from themselves. Apart from the words they say.
♦ How does one listen for a silent contract?
* * *
They pretend I am not there. I pretend I am not there. And the more we collectively try to pretend, the more there the not there becomes.
➢ The auditor of institutional ethics is a double. He is a phantasy that he himself creates.
I turn on my devices. Take out my pen and paper. Make checks and balances into a secret chart of measurements. It unnerves.
Is it for the sentiment in their words? The reason behind their actions? The conviction of their character? For their management of the soul?
➢ The silent contract is unspoken with the very words that had made him hear it for a second. It is that thing which is only present in its disappearance.
There is a moment in which their words fall, fall out of agreed meaning. And in that discord something emerges. Like a hallucination. An apparition of the governing structure. But only once it is gone.
➢ The contract that was not spoken has been broken. Who is to be held accountable and against what?
It was there. It moved further. But now the words are more self aware, and it is hard to regain sight.
➢ And how is he to tell anyone that while he has been listening to everything he has not heard a thing?
Did they kill it?
➢ Keep watch over absent meaning.
Did they wish it were there?
➢ At what point, and was it already too late, did you wish the contract had been spoken?
At the time that the contract is broken it is already too late.
➢ Coming together necessitates a contract of a certain type of not knowing. That is to say coming together needs be outside of a contract. Coming together necessitates that risk.
We reenter with this clown-like idealism, even while knowing the future is otherwise.
➢ Coming together again necessitates an unknowing, a second type of not knowing. A knowing that has to be un-known. Or a not knowing that has to be known over and over again. This second type of not knowing exists only in relation—ever so slight, but always there writes Cixous—with the possibility of its opposite.
* * *
√ The auditor may gain knowledge, but is not assessed. He does no homework. He gives no exams. He places himself outside of the contract that binds the class. Outside of responsibility. Outside of confidence.
There are moments when I urge to speak.
√ The auditor of institutional ethics is an ear witness. He is implicated in the process of judgment. Even though the court before which he may be called to bear witness is (how shall I put this? as Mick likes to say) imaginary.
√ He cannot bear witness through words because that is what the law does.
√ How long does it take to do an audit? It depends.
* * *
Thanks to Mohamed Abdallah.
Emotional Architecture is a project by Nida Ghouse and Malak Helmy. It is conceived as an exercise in addressing the social, intellectual and psychic legacies of entering and leaving collaborations.
Nida Ghouse is a writer born to Bombay.
Malak Helmy is an artist based in Cairo.
The auditor of institutional ethics is a fictional character that emerged during the closed meeting on “What is an institution?” at Beirut in Cairo. He is bound to expire with it’s documentation.