Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Georges Bataille - The Sacrifice of the Gibbon

Pondering the post on Abruptum and Hermann Nitsch, I was reminded of Georges Bataille's short story "Le sacrifice du Gibbon", which was written between 1927 and 1930.

Like the work of Hermann Nitsch, animal sacrifice is at the center of attention in this text. However, where Nitsch sacrifices European farm animals, referencing a 'cheerful, rural, attractive' paganism, Bataille's sickening tale sacrifices a Gibbon. This unusual choice of animal adds a frisson of decadent exotica.

This in turn lead me to wonder how an Abruptum would sound in which the instruments form the European classical tradition (violin, piano) would have been replaced with instruments which signify 'exotica': congas, bongos, harp, tambourine, celeste, alto flute, Korean stone chimes, Burmese gongs, Chinese woodblocks, Japanese bells, African xylophones and marimbas, gamelan instruments from Indonesia, Yma Sumac replacing Diamanda Galas.

Abruptum meets Les Baxter: perhaps I've liked David Toop's book on Hollywood's misappropriations of indigenous musics a little bit too much...

Anyway, the story is reproduced below.

The Sacrifice of the Gibbon

In order to renew this tender pact between belly and nature, a rotting forest offers its deceptive latrines, swarming with animals, colored or venomous in sects, worms, and little birds. Solar light decomposes in the high branches. An Englishwoman, transfigured by a halo of blond hair, abandons her splendid body to the lubricity and the imagination (driven to the point of ecstasy by the stunning odor of decay) of a number of nude men.

Her humid lips open to kisses like a sweet swamp, like a noiseless flowing river, and her eyes, drowned in pleasure, are as immensely lost as her mouth. Above the entwined human beasts who embrace and handle her, she raises her marvelous head, so heavy with bedazzlement, and her eyes open on a scene of madness.

Near a round pit, freshly dug in the midst of exuberant vegetation, a giant female gibbon struggles with three men, who tie her with long cords: her face is even more stupid than it is ignoble, and she lets out unbelievable screams of fear, screams answered by the various cries of small monkeys in the high branches. Once she is trussed up like a chicken-with her legs folded back against her body-the three men tie her upside down to a stake planted in the middle of the pit. Attached in this way, her bestially howling mouth swallows dirt while, on the other end, her huge screaming pink anal protrusion stares at the sky like a flower (the end of the stake runs between her belly and her bound paws): only the part whose obscenity stupefies emerges above the top level of the pit.

Once these preparations are finished, all the men and women present (there are, in fact, several other women, no less taken with debauchery) surround the pit: at this moment they are all equally nude, all equally deranged by the avidity of pleasure (exhausted by voluptuousness), breathless, at wits' end . . .

They are all armed with shovels, except the Englishwoman: the earth destined to fill the pit is spread evenly around it. The ignoble gibbon, in an ignoble posture, continues her terrifying howl, but, on a signal from the Englishwoman, everyone busies himself shoveling dirt into the pit, and then quickly stamps it down: thus, in the blink of an eye, the horrible beast is buried alive.

A relative silence settles: all the stupefied glances are fixed on the filthy, beautifully blood-colored solar prominence, sticking out of the earth and ridiculously shuddering with convulsions of agony. Then the Englishwoman with her charming rear end stretches her long nude body on the filled pit: the mucous- flesh of this bald false skull, a little soiled with shit at the radiate flower of its summit, is even more upsetting to see when touched by pretty white fingers. All those around hold back their cries and wipe their sweat; teeth bite lips; a light foam even flows from overly troubled mouths: contracted by strangulation, and even by death, the beautiful boil of red flesh is set ablaze with stinking brown flames...

Like a storm that erupts and, after several minutes of intolerable delay, ravishes in semidarkness an entire countryside with insane cataracts of water and blasts of thunder, in the same disturbed and profoundly overwhelming way (albeit with signs infinitely more difficult to perceive), existence itself shudders and attains a level where there is nothing more than a hallucinatory void, an odor of death that sticks in the throat.

In reality, when this puerile little vomiting took place, it was not on a mere carcass that the mouth of the Englishwoman crushed her most burning, her sweetest kisses, but on the nauseating JESUVE: the bizarre noise of kisses, pro longed on flesh, clattered across the disgusting noise of entrails. But these unheard-of circumstances had set off orgasms, each more suffocating and spas modic than its predecessor, in the circle of unfortunate observers; all throats were strangled by raucous cries, by impossible sighs, and, from all sides, eyes humid with the brilliant tears of vertigo.

Post scriptum

Text through the Sex, drugs and post-structuralism blog (here).

1 comment:

Adam Luebke said...

Georges Bataille is absolutely wonderful. His stories, philosophy, and literary criticism are all worthwhile of being read and studied.