Unthinkable remains: Antigone, La Llorona

Unthinkable remains: Antigone, La Llorona

Drawing of Lhasa de Sela. Source: Garagelatino.


“Antigone remains unthinkable”, writes Butler. How to think (with) this unthinkability? What remains unthinkable of Antigone? What remains of Antigone?

The performativity of Antigone’s remains, then. The remains. They remain.

A spectral performativity. A deconstructive/deconstructed performativity that keeps returning to the returns; returning to repetition and deferral themselves.

What is at stake in Antigone’s re-turns / επι-στροφές / turns and tropes is not one more nostalgic and idealizing return to an essentialized locus, an authentic primal scene. Not one more gesture of appropriating Antigone to the logic of proper. Not asking who Antigone is but rather what “she” does, and how “she” does it, while remaining unthinkable and yet all too thinkable. What impossible possibilities “she” reiteratively mobilizes while crossing over different imaginaries beyond the “canon” (national, classical, philological, phallological); while becoming Mestiza, Furiosa, Llorona.

Ay de mí, Llorona
No dejaré de quererte
La pena y la que no es pena, Llorona
Todo es pena para mí

Alas, Llorona
I won’t stop loving you
Sorrow and that which is not sorrow, Llorona
Everything is sorrow for me

Thinking of Lhasa. Wherever she is. Her pérdida. Her Llorona.

Con Toda Palabra.

Con toda palabra
Con toda sonrisa
Con toda mirada
Con toda caricia

Es ruego el quererte
Es canto de mudo
Mirada de ciego
Secreto desnudo

With every word
With every smile
With every look
With every touch

It’s a desire prayer
It’s a silent song
A blind look
A nude secret

Antigone, La Llorona. Remains. Unthinkable. At times. Then again.

How to think (with) this unthinkability that calls to be rethought in relation to temporality, embodiment, and performance? How to think (with) this possibility of return?

What is left. What is missed. From the modality of the event.

What gives evidence to its passing time. What eludes capture and the troubled logic of archiving the present (as, in Derrida’s thought, the impulse to hold under “house arrest”).

What remains unthinkable of Antigone? What remains of Antigone in being re-written and re-performed, again and again? What remains of the reiterative and excessive temporalities between text and performance as well as between liveness and re-enactment?

The performativity of Antigone’s remains, then. The remains. They remain. But they remain differently, ephemerally, hauntingly.


Athena Athanasiou