Saturday, 22 October 2011

On paperclips (Rong-Wrong debut issue, an extract)

We know now that every thought has a size and weight. Each thinking mind seeks a material correlative, a partner, for the thought that bobs in its inky depths. The thing tumbling within this man’s thinking fingers slowly acquires the form of the thought that makes it tumble, just as the thought itself is smoothed and resolved by the simple symmetry of the thing itself. The thought is materialised in the object; the object gave the thought a material likeness. The fingers have run through coat pockets and the dusty mouths of drawers for something to give form and shape to the movement of the mind. The hand imitates the mind’s travel, picking things up or casting them aside. For now, this thing is a paperclip. This is the form the thought has taken. This is the size and weight of the thought in this man’s mind.

A paperclip. Not (for now) the lid of a pen with its corrugated teeth-marks, the tiny screw-on cap of a bullet of lip salve, or the wild maw of a bulldog clip. All of these things are available, depending on the nature of the thought. But for this thought, this recursive and reflexive pondering (a city bus, bumping in summer traffic), the double curl and sudden annulments of the paperclip give unrealised materiality to the meanderings of a waiting mind.

[above: the size and weight of Sarah Connor's thoughts of escape]

The complete essay on paperclips is to be found in the debut issue of RONG-WRONG, a new publication featuring essays by Owen Hatherley, William H Gass, Kodwo Eshun and Stephen Connor, among others. Copies can be purchased via the website,