So, I’m going to start with a weird story and then pose it in relation to the reading of Grosz’s Chaos, Territory, Art.
While I was reading section 2 in Grosz, I started thinking more literally (materially) about my relationship with my cat. I began to think back on the time I first brought her home and she was frightfully scared having been an abandoned kitten. She would cry for seemingly no reason, and I couldn’t think of a way to calm her down so one day I buried my face in her side and began humming to her. Soon she started purring in response then calmed down and fell asleep. Later on as my relationship with her developed, I noticed that when I would whistle the same tune she would respond by calling back to me which eventually lead to her nuzzling me.
This summer (2 years later) when I began moving around quite a bit, she would become very agitated at the ‘chaos’ of each new place we would stay and would even hide from me. To help her feel more comfortable I employed the whistling/humming of the song and each time she would recognize the sound and respond to the familiarity of the situation.
So, what does all this have to do with the readings… well, I realize I’m taking Grosz too literally perhaps in how she is using certain terms, but I feel like the use of sound in my relationship to my cat is reflective of some of the theoretical contributions Grosz is making about music. For example, through the use of the refrain, that is the repetitive nature of the humming and “a kind of rhythmic regularity” (52), my cat understands that I am attempting to begin, in a way, to territorialize our surroundings. Then she responds in kind with her own vibrations (her purring) which creates the possibility of the territory or milieu. For her, the confines of spatiality were not as important as the recollection of the past in our relationship which enabled her to express her comfort in her interactions with me in our ‘musical frame’.
I don’t know if the concepts in her book are capable of being extrapolated so directly, but thinking through it this way helped me to grasp the way that every body interacts with another body in a way that allows for the development of certain relationships (e.g. the spider and the fly). I did not have a reason to hum to my cat except that I thought it would be similar to the sound of a mother cat addressing her young, and she did not have to respond to me except that she found some intensity in the sensation of my humming.
So, outside my most direct interpretation of her work, what other ways can we understand relationships in regards to music and territory?