i am only when i see these sequences of letters. – from Waiting
Waiting is composed using printouts of the letters from The Complete Works. These letters were gathered together and thrown into the air. Their flight was recorded using a high-speed camera at 1500 frames per second. At that rate, the four second event stretches to approximately four minutes at 24 frames per second. It introduces “a waiting” into an event that would normally appear instantaneous.
In this case, the instantaneous is the reading of the word within the text. The film version of Waiting slows the reading down to reveal the letters as the atomic units of the text. It juxtaposes Nichol’s depiction of the text as a solid substance waiting to be brought to life through the act of reading
The poem is not written in language, the poem is written by language.
Waiting lets us see the reading of the poem. This is a theme that can be seen throughout Nichol’s work. As Jacques Lacan stated, language does not express consciousness, it brings consciousness into being—rather than I write language, language writes me. The poem is not written in language, the poem is written by language. Waiting casts the “life” of the poem as a sequence of letters that bring into being not only the poem, but also the reader.