« May the movement of writing never cease» (T.K.)
These notes were not intended for publication. Thierry Kuntzel wrote them for himself, compelled by an inner impulse to formulate and fix in the flow of words what surfaces from thought and the unconscious and forever eludes our grasp. They were not commissioned and did not have to meet any formal constraints. It is this precious freedom that informs the uniqueness of writings that shift without warning from pleasure to humor to pain. They are crafted from thoughts and desires, approximations and decisive insights, captured at the speed of writing. A speed of writing in an endless flow-"May it never end ... May the movement of writing never cease"-that forcefully calls for resistance to stasis, to completion, to norms.
No schedule, no worktable; Thierry Kuntzel tends to write standing and at any time of day on loose sheets of paper, sometimes in a notebook, with a fountain pen ("flowing ink"), in a beautiful clear handwriting, with no (or hardly any) crossing-out, with no remorse (where would it come from?), but with the reiterations and insistences that characterize the very activity of thought in the process of developing. He underlines words to emphasize their importance, even temporarily. As for punctuation, he makes extensive use of 2-Em dashes for digressions, specifications or a breathing pause. No suspension points. Only the definitive in progress. The left margin, which contains a few words that re-mark a theme, a context, or a reference, is like a return to the flow, the backwash of the text. Waves and traces through which ideas insistently persist-there is something of this "oceanic feeling" that grasps the reader too.
It is all one movement from text to work, from work to text. These working notes, these "minims" (short displaced maxims), these comments on things that he has seen, heard, or read, have accompanied, anticipated, and precipitated the images and the works. "One day the image becomes detached from the infinite process of writing and of memory," says Thierry Kuntzel. It "falls" from it. The realization gives concrete form to a project that he has been in the planning, sometimes for a long time, conceived with multiple variations. A few technical specifications, research on dimensions and material in the form of inventories, a few drawings of no particular aesthetic worth (He claims he cannot draw), but the strokes are traces of the idea, as are the words.
These notes are the imagination of the works. Just the possibilities of the projects. They do not describe them. A title or a note introducing a work might later be used to indicate another, or will "apply" to another. The movement is also that of a slippage between registers, of an ongoing potential reorientation of ascriptions and of active layers in the thickness of possible meanings.
Excerpts from a wide variety of authors run through these notes (Hegel, Mallarmé, Walser, Cami, Bernhardt, Baudelaire, Andersen, Allais, Woolf, from dictionaries, etc.) but they are not exactly quotes. They should not be seen as evidence of an exaggerated attention to references (keep in mind, these notes were not written for an audience). They simply say what nurtures his thoughts; they indicate points of departure for the imagination, encounters and outstanding or tacit affinities with paintings (Matisse, Poussin, C.D. Friedrich, Balthus, Rothko, etc.), songs (Lou Reed, Mistinguett, Francoise Hardy), and movies (Marker, Snow, Frampton, Browning, Lang, Tourneur, Dreyer, Schoedsack, etc.)
Above all else, Thierry Kuntzel has a passion for language, for the beauty of language. This is evident in his taste for etymology, definitions, declensions.(e.g., Hasarder, Esquisser), for plays on words or rather for playing with words and letters.
Written in the mid-sixties, his notes depart radically from the major essays in film analysis that he had just completed, to pursue reflections on "an other film." They are traversed by the theoretical but no longer belong to that category. The other conception of the image and its movement that emerged in them naturally required an altogether different, atypical discursive form.
These notes are not autobiographical. And they are nothing but that. Dreaming at work, unreserved raw emotions, they convey better than any anecdote, fragments of life woven from a skein of encounters and stimulated by events that are perhaps of no consequence to others. Some very personal notes have been included, such as "Tu" or "Paris-Tampico," but I felt that it was not for me to incite the author to make public secrets from his childhood or from his more recent personal life.
The order of the notes has been maintained as they were grouped together in files and sub-files, in cardboard extensible folders, under the headings Nostos, Wunderblock, Vidéo, and so on.
For several years, I have traveled with passion over kilometers of this writing to publish so little of it today. Several hundred more of them are still pending (?) like so many projects to be completed and only a few of them are presented here. I have always felt that it was a great privilege for me to transcribe these notes and I thank Thierry Kuntzel for risking this publishing venture. I know that it is painful and disquieting, not because there is something shameful revealed by this intimate writing but because it has the fragility of the solitary "little voice" that was meant to stay that way.