Arid Chasm


Originally printed in 2016, Genet’s piece guides us through a puzzling logic akin to that of a point-and-click adventure game, venturing through an abandoned industrial landscape on the tail of a strange man. Our protagonist functions as the viewer’s own eye, catching glimpses of a buried and occluded space clearly cribbed from photographs of the Christopher Street Piers during the 1970s. These photos, taken by the likes of Leonard Fink and Alvin Baltrop, depict a mystical zone of transgression among the ruins. One can imagine Kant, in the process of working out his ideas on the sublime, having a similar experience to that of his sniveling descendant Adorno: coming across a group of women in the woods, lying prostrate to the sun. In viewing the fluid contour of a figure in an abandoned room, masturbating in silhouette, we find ourselves lost in the experience of being the watcher whose subject is unaware of his gaze, which forms the undoing of rational thought, confronted with all the beauty and terror of the other in its natural state.


In their swooning twilight reverie, the author attempts to hit us over the head with a vague political analogy by drawing on Deleuze and Guattari with a direct quotation from Anti-Oedipus. This pseudointellectual nod, camouflaged by the citation “AO,” could be read as a confirmation of the initiated reader’s “superior intelligence” (assuming they don’t read it as cloyingly try-hard), but to a scant few will reveal as a signalling towards a lost, “pure” alterity. This sentiment may hold some weight in a time of pornsick inanity, but we, too, must admit that it could just as easily be viewed as a histrionic requiem, a bleary-eyed gaze into the past evoking Kant’s desperate plea to his servants to bind him to his own bed lest he accidentally masturbate in his sleep. It most likely goes over the heads of the average dull alternative comics reader, lost in their desire to read the most anodyne personal anecdotes relayed by an artist of equal stupidity to themselves.

We hold that the real meat of the story is not in an infantile attempt at a sort of weird fiction “Sous les pavés, la plage,” but in the sublime beauty of a shaky, terrified glimpse into the unknowable. Our goal is not to cloud this with analogy, with the endless ritualized repetition of references for those “in the know”, but to push towards a world beyond restriction, beyond language, beyond the real.

Your devoted servant,