Stefa Govaart


DUPLICITY is a series of letters by Stefa Govaart and Marija Cetinić. Begun in 2020 and written across gmail and messenger, the letters are held by misreading, artifice, emoting and formal shifts. What theory, what poetry, what language can bear the contradiction of being immanent but not reducible to power? A letter demands an address, elicits a response. Is the commitment to response a self-imposed standard, is it inherent to life as such? What are the erotics of commitment? The book contains nine sections: Sentence, Essence, Negation, Woman, Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex. One of us has two children, the other has had life-long difficulty sustaining long-term relationships. Both write from having undergone the brutality of feminization. What story is susceptible to narration? Are repetition, routine and rigor adequate? How can a body become technique? Can a new thought induce a new gender? Is this desirable? Or should there be a kernel of desire? Is a thought an act, an act a thought? Some beliefs shift, others don’t. If a body is said to separate the cause of desire from the rigors of interiority, then duplicity is its corollary: it hates Man while it has sex with men; it thinks itself a ciswoman while it also claims that Woman cannot be cis. Relations don’t come easy. What syntactical force undoes the fantasy of relation? Is that force itself a site of desire? Enacted in the book’s juxtaposition of imperative grammars, series of questions, descriptive absoluteness, and exclamatory affect is not liberation. Instead, DUPLICITY is up against the hope that one’s self-narration can or ought to be owned and managed. The heart is a lion: we must shoot the lamb together.