The status – certainly the role – of language in Histoire d’O feels most of all defined by its sexual-anatomical reticence, above all in its at first disorienting substitution with ventre where most readers would expect to read con. Such a discursive technique has various affective and analytical consequences, some appearing at first to be mutually contradictory, others definitively intertwined:

  1. The demonstrative capacity for acts of sexual subjugation and punishment, free from vulgarity aligns the text with – as Bataille expresses in Eroticism, and Deleuze echoes in Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty – the language of the torturer, “the language of authority.” Just as torturers are “people who in real life could only have been silent,” (MCC, 17) Réage’s text is effectively “silent” in its reference to conventionally sexualised organs.
  2. To one degree, the notable absence of references to the vulva operates as a dual process of castration, which would thus affirm Deleuze’s assertion that “sadism stands for the active negation of the mother” (68). Indeed, even ignoring the body itself, the text’s introduction to O, simply through her clothing, already feels oddly defined by notable absence: “elle est vêtue comme elle l’est toujours… un blouse de soie, et pas du chapeau.”
  3. However, to another degree, the almost mutual reservation in alluding to the sexe of any male character, rather than queue, pine or bite, may be interpreted as a functional, fetishistic, disavowal of sexual difference – not least of all maternal castration.
  4. Disavowal as a system of repression which, in the Freudian sense, is not merely a quashing down of reality but a system of distorted or dishonest representation here might allow for – in the case of ventre – a diffusion of the gaze to this typically-understood-as-separate body part, which could thus be interpreted as a linguistic device in accordance with the overall theme of Deleuze’s interpretation of masochism as a desexualisation of sex, and an effective re-sexualisation of everything else.

Permeating Histoire d’O is an economy of supplementation, at the level of content and form: René demonstrates his capacity to supplement any number of slaves at Roissy for O, and is himself supplemented by various masters and mistresses. Indeed, even the events themselves are revealed at multiple junctures to be possessed of an ontological uncertainty: the introduction is immediately countered with an alternative version, whilst there are small indications that neither passage may be entirely correct. Indeed, by the end of the novel, several variations are presented that leave the reader uncertain as to whether O is even alive or not.

That such a literary device may appear absurd is not, to my mind, particularly far from Réage’s intent, if we consider absurdism through temporal non-coincidence the manifestation of the humour Deleuze locates at the centre of the masochistic contract, and its enactment’s relation to law: “To imagine that a contract or quasi contract is at the origin of society is to invoke conditions which are necessarily invalidated as soon as the law comes into being. For the law, once established, violates the contract in that it can apply to a third party, is valid for an indeterminate period and recognizes no inalienable rights.” (92) And, indeed, several pages before, Deleuze states: “A close examination of masochistic fantasies or rites reveals that while they bring into play the very strictest application of the law, the result in every case is the opposite of what might be expected (thus whipping, far from punishing or preventing an erection, provokes and ensures it). It is a demonstration of the law’s absurdity.” (88)

Accordingly, we ask: what is the law, here? My interpretation, both of Histoire d’O and, indeed, Venus in Furs, is that it is love. In both cases, the masochistic contract is presented as a condition of, or for, love. In both cases, the tensions are revealed between love and the contract at the introduction of additional parties, even when such additions are stipulated as permissible within the contract itself. René’s characterisation throughout Histoire d’O is remarkably inactive, indeed impotent – he appears to be more of a voyeur of O’s subjugations than an agent, and yet does engage in one repetitive behaviour akin to the continuous repetition required of the sadist to appropriate the Ego of his victims, and that is his repeated declarations of love. That they evoke such feelings of repugnance is, I believe no mistake on part of the author, but a revelation of the logic of masochistic contempt. Rather, just as the logic of linguistic supplementation is invoked through discovery of a lack that, non-existent within the Real, must be a product of the linguistic Symbolic imposition, revealing a recurrence of failure through différance, there exists just such a phenomenon within the romance novel whose structure is predicated on a romance whose meaningful signification is forever deferred through an inherent vice of volatile supplementation.

Sodomized and tired: sexual ambivalence and nihilism in gothic rock, post-punk and deathrock

(given at the 2018 Punk Scholars Network / International Society of Metal Music Studies conference – “Doing Metal, Being Punk, Doing Punk, Being Metal: Hybridity, Crossover and Difference in Punk and Metal Subcultures,” De Montfort University, Leicester 14/12/18)

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Goth morbidity arose in part from a Schopenhauerian scorn for organic life: from Goth’s perspective, death was the truth of sexuality. Sexuality was what the ceaseless cycle of birth-reproduction-death (as icily surveyed by Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Circle Line”) needed in order to perpetuate itself. Death was simultaneously outside this circuit and what it was really about. Affirming sexuality meant affirming the world, whereas Goth set itself…against the world and against life…Goth suspected that rock was always and essentially a death trip.”

– Mark Fisher, k-punk, “It Doesn’t Matter if We All Die”

Of the predominant counter-cultural phenomena found within youth culture, Goth is perhaps the most associated with a ubiquitous sexuality, after the Hippie “free love” movement. Nevertheless, an encounter with the lyrical and sonic content of the most explicit gothic rock compositions, for all the darkly naïve romantic aestheticism one might associate with the genre, reveals a stark reflection of the neoliberal Thatcherite/Reaganite era: where love was not already dead, it most certainly was no longer free.

I came upon your room
It stuck into my head
We leapt into the bed,
Degrading even lice,
You took delight in taking down my shielded pride

Until exposed became my darker side

The imagery of sex and sex work in “Dark Entries” holds a position of self-consciously counter-intuitive dual functionality in Bauhaus’ psychogeographical tour through a red-light district: offering an escape from a grim capitalist mundanity, but only via an even darker transactional relationship with desire: “well-meaning upper class prey” rendered “walking money cheques, possessing holes”. This is not, however, to say goth sexuality as displayed in “Dark Entries” is “the same but more somehow;” there is, as briefly referenced by Mark Fisher, a queering of the normative sexual dynamic, in as much as the male/female subject/object relation is rendered in Gothic discourse an abject/object relation, instead. Mulveyan gaze theory historically bifurcates the experiences of male visual pleasure in transfixing the female object between positions of either fetishistic scopophilia or voyeurism: either holding the object up to the imaginary ideal – the cold, distant, inhuman partner of phallic desire, or revelling in the violent and lustful invasion and degradation of the object, scornfully rendered subhuman. In either case, this process is to affirm the integrity of the male subject, threatened by the castration represented by the image of the woman. However, the “protagonist” of the song’s psychotically close relationship with the jouissance-associated Real loses himself within this unconscious realm, to an extent where pronouns, both in the sense of gender, and in the sense of first/second/third person become notably interchangeable – “Dark Entries” begins from the perspective of “I”, referencing a second party, to whom the former appears to be sexually submissive: “in a hovel of a bed / I will scream in vain / oh please Miss Lane / leave me with some pain” – moves to an exchange between the singer and partner for whom the listener is avatar: “I came upon your room” – and then finally lands on a third-person-omniscient perspective on a cruising hustler: “he’s soliciting in his tan brown brogues, gyrating through some loathsome devil’s row.”Accordingly, aside from the traditional dynamic of sexual difference that affirms male subjectivity, here that subjectivity is entirely atomized.

Of course, the most obvious statement one can make is that, the ambiguity of gender past the first stanza queers the sexual dynamic inherently, simply through being almost certainly an exercise in non-heterosexual representation, and yet the ambiguity is not one of celebration; simply the result of an apathetic economy of sexual discourse. I phrase it thus, rather than indicating an economy of desire for, as Foucault’s history of sexuality notes, the evolution of society towards modern ethical concerns, reflected first in confessional religious practices, then later in psychoanalytical and psychological ones, is a shift from questions of “limitations of pleasure” to the “deciphering of desire as hermeneutics of self.” There is a greatly apparent ambivalence toward this latter position: desire itself is never acknowledged, and the self as a fixed enough concept to warrant hermeneutical investigation is called highly into question. And yet, such deciphering does occur, through the actions of another in a manner we would associate with the most voyeuristic dynamics established by Mulvey. This revelation of self within a frame of jouissance is, predictably, unutterable and horrific. Until exposed became my darker side.

Accordingly, the abject/object position of gothic sexual economy, leaving no subjectivity affirmed, has a consciously troubled relationship with integrity – particularly the sort of integrity one might expect to hear insisted upon in punk lyrics.. Simon Reynolds and Joy Press’s description of Siouxsie Sioux’s unmistakable image as “towards a glacial exteriority of the objet d’art’ evinced through ‘a shunning of the moist, pulsing fecundity of organic life” speaks to a universality of disgust: rejecting societal normality, in all its hypocrisy; not for something more profound, but for more illusion. The goth feminine opposition to normative commercial beauty standards is not on account of the falsity, but of the duplicity – makeup, painstakingly applied in such a way as to imply an absence of makeup, constraining itself to the regime of the natural. Meanwhile, as Fisher remarks, “The Siouxsie Look is, in effect, a replicable cosmetic mask – a literal effacement of the organic expressivity of the face by a geometric pattern, all hard angles and harsh contrasts between white and black.” Beneath the mask, we may expect to find nothing, but it is not comparative; it is not a “nothing” that may in contrast affirm “something” else – it is the nothing of mortality. Though ersatz, it is effective, inasmuch as the idealised inhuman feminine object is the catalysing avatar for abject male self-destruction: as Siouxsie sings in “She’s a Carnival,” “she’s a portrait of a poison for you to quench your thirst.”

Indeed, the opener to Christian Death’s seminal debut, Only Theatre of Pain attests to this sentiment:

Let’s skirt the issue
Of discipline
Let’s start an illusion
With hand and pen
Re-read the words
And start again
Accept the gift of sin

It is not my intention in this essay or, indeed, any other to speculate on the trauma of others as artifacts for philosophizing or cultural theory. Suffice to say, surviving friends, bandmates and lovers of Rozz Williams have in interviews directly quoted him as describing Only Theatre of Pain as being “autobiographical” – accordingly, I shall endeavour to allow the lyrics that combine dark manifestations of Christian ritual and sexual abuse – not least of all of children – to speak for themselves at a most fundamental level.

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that every aspect of an immediate impression of his performance advertised a disregard for Nietzsche’s old adage: in battling demons, Rozz Williams displayed extreme comfort with becoming one, himself. However, the ubiquity – at least in the Theatre era of Christian Death – of symbolism associated with Satanism cannot be divorced from the reality that to hold an upside down cross is still to hold a cross; to say the Lord’s Prayer backwards is still to say the Lord’s Prayer. The sadomasochistic content of Christian Death’s music and imagery being rooted so firmly in a dystopian Christian world should not so naïvely be read as adolescent subversion, seeking to offend chaste, or at least vanilla, straight-laced churchgoers. Rather, it may be interpreted as a distinctly alternative, but nonetheless sincere, investigation of fundamental truths – not just hypocrisies – of the spiritual position, which undoubtedly include feelings of loneliness, confusion and ambivalence, perhaps best illustrated in the chorus to “Stairs – Uncertain Journey”:

Be Satan
Be Satan
Be Satan
Be…
Satan be gone

Indeed, sacrilegious as it may assuredly be, the subject position most often paralleled in the album’s lyrics is that of martyrdom: including and especially that of Jesus himself: “spiritual cramp coming for my ribs / those gangsters toting guns are shooting spikes through my wrist”. In this regard, Rozz Williams’ ethos reflects that of Joan Didion’s famous espousal of the philosophy of one of the first rock bands to be described as “gothic” – The Doors – whose music “insisted that love was sex, and sex was death, and therein lay salvation.” In essence, Eros becomes the binding agent between Agape and Thanatos that can justify such messianic sacrifice as the passion of Christ, through an overtly queered and feminized position:

Ritual mockery
Rectified doubt
I’m holding with arms open wide
Sleeping endless sleep on a bed of nails
Wake me up with your kiss

It is in moments of Christ-like endurance of torture / reception of sexual advances that Rozz takes on the cold, inhuman object position, himself, but it still maintains human frailty – the “salvation” sought after here seems to be, more often than not, salvation from profound isolation:

To hell with your excuses
What do you know
Of desperation?
You people never feel the pain
Of dark-eyed angels
In a desperate hell

Certainly, this is most clear, returning to the opening track “Cavity – First Communion,” whose final stanza addresses the notion of communion, a spiritual togetherness, catalyzed and congealed in what can only be sadomasochistic congress to remedy a loneliness that seems intertwined with any concept of a discrete subjectivity, again dissolving the fixity of pronouns. Perhaps most interestingly is the manner in which this song mirrors – possibly intentionally – James Kirkup’s controversial, banned poem The Love That Dares to Speak its Name, a first person account of a Roman centurion, having sex with the corpse of Jesus, following the crucifixion It is of note, however, that once again Rozz takes the passive position – the most direct action sounding withdrawn and masturbatory, until this also results in a diffusion of identity:

Three shots ring out a scream
Who wants to play Roman soldier
That lives inside of me?

My secret fear of being alone
I sit and hold hands with myself
I sit and make love to myself
I’ve got blood on my hands
I’ve got blood on your hands

Blood on our hands

This unappetisingly surrealistic state of queer sanguineous unity in isolation does, of course, take on a greater poignancy in the face of the goth scene’s notable concurrence with the HIV/AIDS crisis in the UK and USA. In his infamous reflection on homosex and the masculine ideal at the time of the crisis, “Is the Rectum a Grave?” Leo Bersani opens with the provocative first line: “There is a big secret about sex: most people don’t like it.” Though it would be supremely ambitious, this late in my paper, to try and précis for anyone unfamiliar with Bersani’s work all the avenues down which he travels, I shall simply summarise the final concluding paragraphs: the tragedy of the HIV/AIDS crisis was its literalisation of the self-annihilation represented in the “feminising” position of being fucked in the ass, and in doing so one may demolish one’s own “perhaps otherwise uncontrollable identification with a murderous judgment against him…[one] grounded in the sacrosanct value of selfhood.” He ends, reflecting on the almost spiritual ritualism of shattering the self through queer sex as “propos[ing]… jouissance as a mode of ascesis.” The “I” dissolves again, and becomes a position of “we” through untenable congress: blood on our hands, blood on our hands, blood on our hands.

In discussing Rozz Williams’ lyrics within the context of self-annihilation, one cannot avoid the fact that, on April 1st 1998, he took his own life. Such a fact makes difficult any reading of Rozz’s work that would doubt his sincerity. And yet, earlier in this paper, we discussed the issues surrounding this concept within the gothic context. Accordingly, I wish to propose that, through the inversions and subversions of hegemonic psychic structures of knowledge production through sexual difference, the gothic position is to be sincere about one thing: nothing.

Bathing in the Horror That the Blood of Time Carries

It is by no mere coincidence that a quick online search of any band or artist known for high volume and even the most casual relationship with noise, and the word “punishing” will almost inevitably yield multiple results – in particular, reviews of records and, even more so, live shows from mainstream publications. But who is being punished, and who is the punisher? Certainly, if we understand performance style as a type of language, we may turn to Bataille and Deleuze for rather surprising answers: “The torturer does not use the language of the violence exerted by him…In this way [the Marquis de Sade’s characters] fall short of the profound silence peculiar to violence.” Consequently, de Sade’s gratuitous revelry in humiliation and degradation is in fact the “language…of a victim.” By contrast, Andrija Filipović reflects, Masami Akita’s “inexpressive performance is colder and crueler, as the title of Deleuze’s book on masochism reads.” One could imagine the performers of Hijokaidan, expressing through their corporeal linguistics their victimhood and desire for the cold and cruel discipline and punishment of the inexpressive, impassive sonic masters. The under-documented variance and perhaps even precarity of Merzbow’s cold distance from the audience will be discussed here later, nevertheless, it is an incontrovertible truth that, despite the many hypermanic noise performances in which an audience may be held captive in stunned silence, there are many others in which an audience will (at the very least strive to) meet the energy of the performers, particularly in the case of noisecore and grindcore artists such as Melt-Banana or Sissy Spacek; or potentially surpass it, in the case of those who would strive to headbang to the drone doom of Sunn O))), and above all to dancers in contrast to almost all techno or beats-based performances, such as that of Surgeon, Muslimgauze or Demdike Stare. However, no matter the levels of energy typically returned by the audience, we may still interpret their motion and especially their shift in consciousness as a purely reactive force, and thus evidence of a degree of subordination to the active force of noise. Nietzsche and Deleuze would affirm this position:

In Nietzsche, consciousness is always the consciousness of an inferior in relation to a superior to which he is subordinated or into which he is “incorporated.” Consciousness is never self-consciousness, but the consciousness of an ego in relation to a self which is not itself conscious. It is not the master’s consciousness but the slave’s consciousness in relation to the master who is not himself conscious.

Friedl’s acknowledgement of the sadomasochistic contract between artist and spectator is lacking, on account of its non-acknowledgement of the fluidity or versatility of the contract; instead, he believes “the agreement between the audience and the performer…defines the roles of activity and passivity” to an extent with which neither I nor Foucault would agree. Nevertheless, he does account for the sphere of music, from its composition to its reception, being a matrix of power relations, in which a subject may be master to one, and slave to another. In such a vein, the modern, avant-garde classical composer plays the role of the interpreter’s sadist, “exaggerating the technical difficulties of their scores to the point where they are impossible for any interpreter to play. The interpreter[‘s]…ever-losing fight…gains a very emotional dimension: Sisyphus onstage, performing his masochistic pleasure, only to fail every time.”

Aptly enough, the score-sheet’s ever-increasing rendering as “a set of technical instructions” moves it ever closer to Deleuze’s conception of pornography as “literature reduced to…imperatives (do this, do that) followed by obscene descriptions.” We should, of course, consider that – more often than not in relation to records than performances – the listener too may be given a set of imperatives as part of the listening process: recall the need for the listener to move the needle each time she wishes to hear the next track in From Here to Infinity, or the increased labour demanded of the listener for the playing records by post-rock/noise rock/drone band Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This reached its culmination with ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, whose vinyl release was as four tracks, on two records – one 12” (“A”) played at 33 1/3rpm and one 7” (“B”) played at 45rpm. The liner notes instruct the listener to listen to ‘Allelujah in the order A1-B1-A2-B2, requiring the records to be exchanged and the speed of the player to be changed between each track.

Friedl suggests that the contract between artist and audience “does not obviously include the idea of suffering from the performance,” which suggests a difference between pain and suffering, at least within a sadomasochistic context, dependent on the theme of tension and release. In this case, pain may be understood as a singular phenomenon, which may be interpreted in multiple ways – including as a source of pleasure – during its increment and at the time of/just following its release. Meanwhile, suffering acts more as an existential condition of relative consistency, on account of chronic sustain or lasting, even permanent, damage. Accordingly, there appears to be a temporal component to the pain / suffering distinction. One perspective on a macro level might be to understand the sensuous echoes of power, as revealed as pain within the sadomasochistic theatre, as foldings of the planes of suffering experienced at a chronic level from the descendants of atrocities. Indeed, from a Foucauldian perspective, the sadomasochistic encounter may be understood as a certain genealogical praxis:

“The body manifests the stigmata of past experience and also gives rise to desires, failings and errors. These elements may join in a body where they achieve a sudden expression, but as often, their encounter is an engagement in which they efface each other, where the body becomes the pretext of their insurmountable conflict. The body is the inscribed surface of events (traced by language and dissolved by ideas), the locus of a dissociated self (adopting the illusion of a substantial unity), and a volume in perpetual disintegration. Genealogy, as an analysis of descent, is thus situated within the articulation of the body and history. Its task is to expose a body totally imprinted by history and the process of history’s destruction of the body.”

In this sense, we may understand suffering as being – or at least as being directly related to – the perpetual disintegration experienced as a result of the process of history’s destruction of the body. Pain experienced during the sadomasochistic encounter is the genealogical articulation of the body and history. This is reflected within the noise performance, and yet the suffering also remains extant; it is, however, almost invariably experienced not by the crowd, but by the performer. Friedl ends his essay by mentioning “how Schumann’s fourth finger on his right hand became crippled because he tied it up to improve his playing.” Similarly may we consider the tinnitus and perforated eardrum My Bloody Valentine guitarists/vocalists Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher have sustained, due to the extreme volume of their shows (most infamously, the extended climax to “You Made Me Realise,” known to fans as “The Holocaust”),  the potentially self-injurious results of harsh vocals of artists like Masonna, or the neck and back injuries caused by headbanging.

Aside from suffering-as-side-effect, the noise aesthetic invites, more than any other, suffering as an integral fabric to the creation process; one of the most remarkable examples being the production of “Báthory Erzsébet” by Sunn O))). Guest singer Malefic (Scott Conner) of Xasthur and Twilight, an apparently severe claustrophobe, was locked inside a casket, loaded into a hearse, and from there recorded his vocals, beginning: “Here / decompose forever / aware and unholy / encased in marble and honey from the swarm / a thin coat of infernal whispering that bleaches from within / a darkness that defiles thought.” With regard to “Báthory Erzsébet”’s sound, Graham speaks of its disarmingly quantum state: “It’s chromatic and pitch-centred, riff-based and ambiguously discursive. The music’s complication of conventional codes of musical organisation means that it impacts in the register of confusing and unstable jouissance as opposed to that of clear discernment.” Malefic’s vocal performance also operates in kind. Employing a traditional black metal “wretched vocals” technique, Malefic would, by most accounts, sound “scary.” However, what renders the sound of “Báthory Erzsébet” so unique is the extent to which Malefic in reality sounds petrified in his delivery. Graham’s description of the ways in which the instrumentation “wobbles” and “flickers” are wholly matched by Malefic’s involuntary wavering, whilst the punctuation of gasps between roars speak entirely to the sense of flickering; the listener’s mental image of Malefic is disturbed by the flickering, irrepressible intrusions of Scott Conner’s chronic fear of enclosed spaces.

As with many extreme metal – and particularly black metal – song structures, there is no verse-chorus division in the lyrics and the unclarity of the vocals strips away any need for rhyme or avoidance of enjambment. Thus, Malefic’s delivery is an effectively unbroken account of the corporeal putrefaction and spiritual desolation of titular Hungarian countess and mass murderer Elizabeth Bathory. Within such lines as “Stolen by the wingless harpies whose memories lay waste the valley of diamonds … / a thick viscous cloud smothering hope … / the begotten mistress of eternal hunger … / worship in the torment of a million wasted lives / bathe in the horror that the blood of time carries,” in conjunction with the aforementioned opening, “Báthory Erzsébet” is a poignant reflection on Bathory’s legendary vampiric status as one who retained her beauty by bathing in the blood of young maidens, ultimately succumbing to a most brutal realisation of the way of all flesh. Thus, at the heart of this song is an unmistakeable tension between preservation and entropy, made manifest as imagery of claustrophobia and isolation, as reflective of Bathory’s death in a condition of solitary confinement tantamount to immurement. One may naturally assume that, of all lyrics a claustrophobe might wish to find oneself singing, from the confines of a casket, these are absolutely not they. Thus, just as the (in this instance, both bass) guitars of founding Sunn O))) members Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley – credited in this instance as Mystik Fogg Invokator and Drone Slut, respectively – are drenched in feedback distortion, so too in another sense are Malefic’s vocals: every element of his performance having an amplifying and, indeed, distorting effect on every other.

Within the context of musical production and performance, “Báthory Erzsébet” perhaps stands alone as the most effective sadomasochistic genealogical exercise, whose hellish iconography of eternal entropy acts of course as acute representation of the perpetual disintegration to which the body is subjected by history, as described by Foucault. Amplified by the creative process, stemming not merely from an artist’s pain, but his suffering, on account of the chronic and seemingly lifelong condition of his claustrophobia, even when not trapped in a casket, the song through its crushing loudness transfers the pain to the listener. Friedl reminds us that Nietzsche considered the suffering experienced through dramatic performance as first and foremost an experience of “compassion,” that would imply sympathy. However, there most certainly is a physical, sensorial component to sadomasochism, to noise, and most assuredly to this particular instance. In such a way, the sadomasochistic theatre and the Sunn O))) performance – both of which revel in their paradoxically timelessly historical costumes – act as the repetitious festivals of Deleuze’s description: “they repeat an ‘unrepeatable.’ They do not add a second and a third time to the first, but carry the first time to the ‘nth’ power. With respect to this power, repetition interiorises and thereby reverses itself.” We the listener and Sunn O))) the performers – not least of all Malefic – are united and unified by the shared experience of the repetition of Bathory’s death.

What this unification between musician and listener in sensuous relation to the repetition of unique events as expressed in noise reveals is that, although the listener/spectator is only able to respond in this situation via – by definition – reactive force, the musician/artist also does not seem necessarily – and perhaps is not at all – capable of holding the active position, either. As Nietzsche and Deleuze already established, the active position is dependent on a level of unconsciousness that, if present in the scenario of noise-creation, would by even the most liberal standards, likely preclude someone from the ability to self-identify as an artist. Thus, it would appear, the noise itself behaves and exists as an active agent