TEXT AS is a six-volume print publication proposing and testing analogies for textual and literary operations. Extracts from each volume are below.


(begins at the interface between users and uses of a text)


(begins at the word’s effort to touch its object)

Lines drawn to page from mouths saying Oh


(begins at the mutual authorship of a machine and its product)

One pianist is jealous of another, whose piano produces more pleasing constructions than hers and often with moving parts. Her attempt to contrive an exchange is unsuccessful.

A man plays for several hours and opens the lid to reveal a pronged and dented apparatus he subsequently puts to use in the kitchen.

Of the four piano-playing members of a young family, not one can produce anything but adjustable book rests. They send the piano back for refitting. It is returned unchanged and with a letter guaranteeing the arbitrary configuration of each instrument’s mechanism as a prerequisite of its authenticity.

A broad comparative analysis begins among musicologists at the London schools, pairing scores with their resulting constructions and cross-cataloguing them both chronologically and by provenance of composer, pianist and (provisionally) technician.

Venue programmers arrange for pieces to be pre-played and for their objects to be displayed in the auditorium throughout the final performance of their originary pieces.

A composer isolates the effect of each key of her piano and with the lid raised learns to compose objects according to visually aesthetic criteria. She learns to sight read the constructions produced on her own piano and to play them back into sound.

A man finds a perfectly sculpted bust of Franz Schubert under the lid of his piano as he concludes the Trout Quintet in A. The technician to blame is swiftly identified and an example is made of his dismissal. Pianists subsequently suspect their own pianos of equivalent calibrations and play with apprehension. Those who do not take advantage of the manufacturer’s newly extended exchange policy turn exclusively to improvisation and composition.

A pianist makes it a point of pride never to lift the lid at all. He prefers the constructions to accumulate in confinement and reveal themselves by force as their uppermost parts begin to press against the lid from inside.

The improvisation of an inexpert performer produces a scale rendering of a rural property with pear tree in full fruit. A bewildered technician identifies in the vignette her childhood home whose architectural and horticultural detail she had long forgotten. Following an investigation, the correspondence is attributed to uncannily precise sympathetic correlations between pianist and technician who are consequently furnished with one another’s telephone numbers as a gesture of goodwill.

Under increased pressure to guarantee the principle of arbitrary configuration, factory foremen enforce restricted access to mechanical testing in post-production.


(begins at the conductor’s intervention between a musical score and its users)

Your first breaths should be warm enough to soften the air around your mouth. Try to keep your breathing steady so the sound can thicken evenly on contact with the air. Moving your head in rapid circles as you exhale should soften a patch large enough to contain most of the things you might choose to say. You should prepare the air in this way immediately before you begin to speak, because as it begins to cool it will disperse your efforts and you will have to start from the beginning again.

Since your breath will not accumulate for long in the open air, for more voluminous speech you should increase not the duration but the degree of your preparation. To more vigorously thicken the sound, move your head more quickly and in wider circles so a larger patch of air is softened. In this way greater speech can be accommodated, provided you keep in approximate proportion the relative volumes of air and sound.

If the movements of your head are still inadequate to your speech, you can make use of your hands to weave the air softer still, until it accommodates anything you should wish to say. It is most effective to splay your fingers and flick your open hands in continuous circles, keeping slack the joints of your wrists. You can develop efficient ways of accumulating great volumes of softened air by speaking and weaving concurrently, one excess giving form to the other.

Try to sustain these excesses in perfect proportion until their forms exactly correspond. When they do, the softened air should be thickened sufficiently to carry the articulation without the support of your accompanying voice which, during these periods of correspondence, you should refrain from using altogether.


(begins at the reciprocal regard of subject and object)


(begins at the softest feather I had ever had)

Single edition: no part available online.