France, 1862.
Hugo’s Les Misérables has just been published. Fretting over sales, the author writes his publishers: “?” The reply: “!”. As well as providing us with an instance of ‘absolute discourse’, the exemplary conciseness of the correspondence in question reveals modes of communication in which the most can be conveyed by means of the least to the benefit of both asker and asked, and without concessions on either side. The apotheosis of a technique of consensus in which nothing is repeated, concealed or surplus to requirements. A model of literality which is also a triumph of allusion. A touch of the absolute via the minimal and vice versa. Finally, a route charted ex nihilo whose duration is assured thanks to the otherness of its coordinates. In other words, the paradigm states: communication equals a common place found. And it is this commonplace (which already exists or should be created) that constitutes the prime space in which we are invited to communicate whatever we have or are set to acquire through a series of successful meetings. The only prerequisite for ensuring participation in a process of this sort: recognizing the necessity of the participation of others.