NORTHERN CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART//8.3.2019
“Have they in fact led to thinking in another way… Maybe at best they have allowed one to think in another way what one already thought, and to see what one has done from a different vantage point and in a different light…” (Foucault, The Use of Pleasure: Volume 2 of The History of Sexuality, 1990, p. 11)
Apocryphilia speaks of an orientation, a desire towards text, specifically apocryphal text. But how? What are the qualities of apocryphal texts to elicit, contingent on those properties, a sense of attraction, orientation and desire? After all, a text can become apocryphal which at one point was not. In any case, there can be any number of differing ideas, frameworks and belief systems from which certain texts, claiming to be written within and about such traditions, are precluded as apocryphal. So, what could apocryphilia be, given the stark, disciplinary and ideological differences between the various and multiple cannons that what ends up as the apocryphal is ‘othered’ by?
Perhaps it is the process by which the apocryphal appears as such? The process and following fact of exclusion? A fondness for exclusion or the excluded? Perhaps its status as other, as discarded? A fondness toward that which is otherwise? But why specifically text? What is even meant by text?
Denoting the apocryphal is in some way a process of categorisation, prefaced by notions of legitimacy and illegitimacy. The apocryphal is then, also, a spatial concept; a location, arena or place where spurious, illegitimate, dubious and dangerous texts are discarded and dumped, or simply re-homed within a lesser body. Hidden in plain sight. Labelled ‘other’, these texts provide insight, context, perhaps even edification, however, never truth. A fondness, then, for falsity?
Is it even correct to assess the apocryphal within the binary of legitimacy and illegitimacy? There are canonical texts and non-canonical texts, but not all of the later are apocryphal. That which denotes the apocryphal, therefore, finds itself somewhere in-between; their relation is not necessarily that of a negation, rather, a displacement. The space of the in-between is the terrain of the queer; a place for the strange, the curious, the ‘that doesn’t seem quite right’. Canon-space is the location of the standard; apocryphal space is queer-space.
Photography: Fiona Morrison