Nathalie Blanc

I am sore

I have sore legs to the point of not knowing whether they are sticks.
When I move them, they do not meet - as straight as ski poles.
So I say it's not serious, just use them that way and propel these sticks.
This does not always work, let me tell you, and sometimes these canes get caught in the carpet.

I fall

My pain can reach all limbs which clearly makes me fragile.
And I cannot wait, paralyzed, lying on the bed in misery. Maybe the pain will pass, this is always possible, but I do not remember my state before the pain. I have forgotten.

In short, I hurt in the hollow of my knee, but also at the heart of the calf, at the front of the ankle, in the foot that arches unnecessarily. The eye, the eyelid lifts, and beats insolently, suggesting a wound has been reached. I say nothing. I cannot take care of all the pieces of my person. It is very rare in these cases of sovereign illness, to get to the end, regardless of the drugs, all the tickling, beats, irritation and burns, that govern you incessantly, like the chatter of a million birds that nest in your body with the attendant cacophony.

Legs Feet

When my feet hurt, it is the arch, “the rainbow” of the foot talking. Losing that voice is like losing the sense of walking. In other words, walking requires feeling and some forms of pain are absences. The foot is the head’s antenna. It speaks directly as if it was talking to the head. I like my feet with all their rotundities. I love my foot with its small hemmed fingers, but when damaged nerves make it insensitive to the needle that penetrates deep to the bone, I realize that the foot has disappeared. Think about what it means, I hurt ... how to talk about what hurts as if it is not there, not now?

Pain is an intimate torture: the feet express themselves, the legs too. The ankles are beginning to suffer, then this kind of electricity, of painful tingling, spreads to the leg, calf, back, like some shutter beating, banging with age.

It hurts my lower back, in the back that tenses, and asks to be extended, unfolded and deployed. My hands are also clenched like hands old and worn by age, those of the very same people I saw on some paintings and admired when they are well conceived, suffering. Painful instruments are what project me into the future! A dented old copper space shuttle with squeaky joints.

The inner self

And I moan, completely consumed in my inner self. But I have no more conscience, no fortified inner core. The pain has mobilized my heart, the surrounding walls have crumbled, and, in truth, the fortress is, was and will be, an illusion. It is no longer fair to dream of security and peace!

I have sore legs but in reality it is the soul that hurts... hurts... hurts... It is imprecise, drawn with arrogance. My soul refuses to look the future in the face. It imagines disaster fuelled by bad memories, floating impressions.

But I shouldn’t want to throw myself into the ocean and forget to the point of denying my own existence. A voice comes. The pain does not count: think of the ills of humanity! This heavy voice, deep and wise like water, is extremely liberating. Its slow flow limits the risks of precipitation towards annihilation.

The voice would say, if it dared, that suffering is like a truck about to hit a wall. Vile pain!

Keywords: pain, frailty, liberation, body
Synonyms: ache, affliction
Antonyms: wellness, blessing
Genealogies: late 13c., "punishment," especially for a crime; also "condition one feels when hurt, opposite of pleasure," from Old French peine "difficulty, woe, suffering, punishment, Hell's torments" (11c.), from Latin poena "punishment, penalty, retribution, indemnification" (in Late Latin also "torment, hardship, suffering"), from Greek poine "retribution, penalty, quit-money for spilled blood," from PIE *kwei- "to pay, atone, compensate" (see penal). The earliest sense in English survives in phrase on pain of death. Phrase to give (someone) a pain "be annoying and irritating" is from 1908; localized as pain in the neck (1924) and pain in the ass (1934), though this last might have gone long unrecorded and be the original sense and the others euphemisms. Pains "great care taken (for some purpose)" is first recorded 1520s (in the singular in this sense, it is attested from c. 1300). First record of pain-killer is from 1853.

References / Activities
Performance within the framework of ZINNEKE, biennial event of contemporary art in Brussels: I hurt. In a performance combining reading, choreography and video, Nathalie Blanc, seated and immobile, is at the center of the attention of the dancer and choreographer Chiharu Otake. A video screen in place of his face presents in very close-up the mouth, reciting in the form of a litany the (real) suffering of his sick and inert body. Chiharu Otake is connected to the reader by long threads. "Blood" color is the moving metaphor of the fragility of the flesh and the suffering of the body. Performance / Reading / Choreography / Video duration: 17 to 20 minutes. Nathalie Blanc: text and reading. Chiharu Otake: choreography. VivoEquidem / Ananké: production and direction.

COST Action IS1307 New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on 'How Matter Comes to Matter'.

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With the changing of societies on local, national and international scales owing to economic, ecological, political and technological developments and crises, a reorganized academic landscape can be observed to be emerging. Scholarship strives to become increasingly interdisciplinary in order to grasp and examine the unfolding complexity of ongoing ecological, socio-cultural and politico-economic changes. Additionally, academics forge... Read more or find out Who's Who

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Genealogies of New Materialisms; examines and intervenes in canonization processes by compiling a web-based bibliography, coordinating the OST 068/13 8 EN... Read more

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New Materialisms on the Crossroads of the Natural and Human Sciences; seeks to develop new materialisms at the boundaries of the human and natural sciences. The group focuses on how European new materialisms can rework the ‘Two Cultures' gap... Read more

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New Materialisms Embracing the Creative Arts; brings together European researchers, artists, museum professionals, and other activists with a keen interest in the material... Read more

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New Materialisms Tackling Economical and Identity – Political Crises and Organizational Experiments... Read more


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COST Action IS1307

New Materialism —
Networking European Scholarship on 'How matter comes to matter’

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