Noah Travis Phillips

I have destroyed it already from the beginning (Fragment(s) GAN Summer 2022)

for Fragment Performances Festival (300-1000ce) at Pancake House
& featured at the 58th ICMS (International Congress on Medieval Studies, Spring 2023)

script / “lyrics” / closed captions

Take 5

Fragment(s) (GAN Summer 2022) – (300-1000ce)
(I have destroyed it already from the beginning)
    These speculative fragments are from the year 3023, or 3683 (or so),
(approximately the same temporal distance into the future(s) that the present is from the year 300-1000ce,
expanding zones of exchange and encounter)
. . . mysterious matters & materials, spaces/places, and scales and resonances,
(whatever it may have been before) subject to reassembly in a variety of ways.
when this is what survives into the present, Fragments suggest a future:
the fragmentary hints and gestures, but can’t tell . . . fragments are fragile
. . . all the world’s in fragments now, the horizon(s) of possibilities,
collapsing time as well as space even . . . scraps and ruins;
abstracted because they are too small or are so extremely recontextualized.
fragments demand interpretation. (intentional, or accidental (or incidental) – aphoristic;)
    This is a kind of alchemy, a speculative spiritual technology,
that generates and joins these fragments, into something more akin to a jeweled web
/ an Anthropocene landscape, scree of fragments,
“stitching” these shards into the present and speculations of the future,
surreal rethinkings, transcultural and transtemporal,
fragments survive, they resist, they don’t wanna’ die, fragments insist on existence . . .

    the final shape of every effort
fragility, somewhat damaged, things fall(ing) apart, . . .
the combination creates strange chimera . . .
multi-headed fragments reaching into the pasts, presents and futures
the fragment is soaked with desires;
to know, to reconstruct, to repair, to recover, to heal . . .
    they are ecotones, broken apart, refugees, survivors,
    (a seed (truly metamorphic)
a minute form can serve as a signifier, containing a very fertile past & future
unknowable in its distance from us and use;
ritual, activation, intimacy, sensuality, . . . without fixity,
the fragments' possible purposes come into being,
alter, disintegrate, recohere, the rest disappears, open to other matter,
the purely imaginative feeling, the breathless thrill,
indefinite emotions, presences of unknown beings,
alluding, implying, teasing,
all (these) fragments are wayward , discursive, & can’t be choreographed)
there is something necessary (essential? vital?) and unavailable,
open to an overwhelming question(ing),
    and all that could have been. Unless
. . . cannot express the full meaning of what they have to say
the composition(s) of a dream, liminal, full of possibilities!


Barthes, Roland. trans. Andrew Leak. 1994. Barthes: Mythologies. London: Grant & Cutler.

cårdenas, micha. “Trans of Color Poetics: Stitching Bodies, Concepts, and Algorithms” in Scholar & Feminist Online (Issue 13.3 - 14.1 | 2016).

“affective proximity” Arthur Jafa via John Akomfrah in multiple video and textual interviews

Janowitz, Anne. “The Romantic Fragment”. A Companion to Romanticism, First Edition, Edited by Duncan Wu. 1999, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

“The Fragment Transformed” - The Getty Research Institute - YouTube

""No More Heroes: Franco 'Bifo' Berardi after David Bowie” Verso

In the foreword to Steyerl's The Wretched of the Screen Franco Berardi writes, “History has been replaced by the endless flowing recombination of fragmentary images.”

Mellamphy, Dan. “Fragmentality (Thinking the Fragment).” Dalhousie French Studies 45 (1998): 83–98.

MoMA | Endless Anagrams: Hans Bellmer and Anna Gaskell’s Imaginary Conversation

Dillon, Brian.(ed.) 2011. Ruins. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Hans Bellmer, Stephen S. Prokopoff, Krannert Art Museum (1991). “Hans Bellmer, photographs: 23 February to 31 March 1991”

Nochlin, Linda. 1994. The body in pieces: the fragment as a metaphor of modernity. London: Thames and Hudson.

Russell, Legacy. 2020. Glitch Feminism. London, New York:Verso.

Ian Jeffrey (1992) "Fragment and totality in photography", History of Photography, 16:4, 351-357.

Woodward, Christopher. 2001. In Ruins. new York: Pantheon Books.


    I have destroyed it already from the beginning is a four-minute long performance lecture / video essay / speculative poem that intuitively, poetically, and radically wonders (and begins to imagine) what fragments can be, do/are, as we enter the future(s). The video is emo(tional) and drama(tic) in tone and structure, like a radio-play or theatric(al) poem, and looks both to the past and future via algorithmic materials in the present. I have destroyed it already from the beginning has been grown from found (and half-remembered/half-invented) text, and imagery generated in dialogue with algorithmic systems. Distortion of structure and coherence occurs as new fragments are generated by a GAN (Generative Adversarial Network) in response to keywords and visual materials of fragments from the years 300-1000ce. Phillips speaks about fragments with and through fragments, and they discover along the way that the Anthropocene itself is a time of fragments. Fragments are revealed to be unknowable, inaccessible – fragments behave as a noun and a verb. This futurist transmission is corrupted, broken, environment / landscape and memory / culture are fragmentary.
    I have destroyed it already from the beginning suggests the manifold ways that fragments have, are, can and must be reimagined and repurposed to tell new stories and challenge established traditions. From the found materials and bricolage aesthetic of assemblage and arte povera in the 1960s to the use of multiple aesthetics in contemporary artworks, fragments have been reconstituted as expressions of creativity, resistance, and power. Throughout Phillips’ I have destroyed it already from the beginning the nature of fragments makes it difficult to grasp the full story, and leads to a discursive structure and the possibility of creating an alternative (pseudo-)mythic space around and from fragments and the fragmentary.

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