An Abandonment Handbook

An Abandonment Handbook

«tout ce qui est intérieur s’y déploie au-dehors,

y prend la forme d’une image»

Maurice Blanchot

An Abandonment Handbook

Take 1

Abandonment, a word that entered the language very early, in the 12th century, persists today with multiple meanings. Derived from the French abandonner, «surrender» – hence the expression laisser à bandon (to leave under someone's power) –, from the Latin bannum, «verbal proclamation», from the Franconian bannan, «to proclaim, banish», from the German bannan «speak in public», from the Indo-European bha-, «speak». In the Franks' language, bann meant «power, jurisdiction» and gave rise to the English verb to ban (proscribing, preventing someone from entering a country), which came to Portuguese as «banir».

Abandonner was to loosen the horse's reins, to let the animal or person go on their own; a ban donner was the act of exiling someone; it expressed the idea of seeking autonomy by breaking ties, by separation.

Take 2

The word Abandonment is right in the first page of Latin and Anglo-Saxon dictionaries. It is the sort of thing only noticed by someone busy digging a hole in a seldom visited place.

We abandon the place where we came from, where we were, an idea, an experience, a situation, a path, a post, a title, a name, a person, an animal, an object. We can abandon everything. Everything that was, that has been, all that remains.

Take 3

The word Abandonment can have multiple meanings. Abandonment almost always presupposes a movement away from something or someone; or a ceasing action: to no longer act.

When we say abandon, we can mean: leave behind, move away from, reject, leave alone, renounce, drop, release, run away, withdraw, put aside, give up, leave, disdain, vacate, stop feeling attached, give in, fail to tend, give in to entropy, forsake, neglect, abdicate, abjure, fail to care, go away, cease to reside, depopulate, die, disconnect from.

Just choose what suits you best. We always choose, even when we don’t.

Take 4

Abandonment may refer to the thing abandoned or to the abandoning subject.


(Published as a visual essay at  Triplov magazine)