The alphabet produces order. An order which unfolds along the sequence of a limited number of letters but at the time opens up the potential to proliferate with every single letter in an undetermed way. Letters are one of the smallest structural unit that distinguishes meaning without causing meaning itself. The alphabet is an order without meaning, an exemplary order, which is able to link the singular with the general. The exemplary order exists only and through the concepts which have been created so far, and which themselves are uncoupled of their particular and specific fields.
An alphabetical order of concepts about war. A series of concepts which is constantly shifting, concepts, losing their position with every new concept that enters the alphabeetical order therfore relocating new relations. The accidental clash of two concepts which are juxtaposed side by side or one after the other just because they share the same initial or find themselves at an intersection - that can open a space for something which is not named, but can evolve or be produced. Feedback or vibrancy, antagonism or awarenes, something, which contains neither one nor the other concept, but only emerges through a temporary constellation of tensions.
The alphabetical order of concepts on the topic of war forms up in ever new ways. For a certain edition, at a certain location where concept persons come together during a two days period to create and perform 25 concepts. To choose a concept with a certain initial can be motivated by pragmatical or simple reasons. To gain time the last third is recommended to force dynamics the first third of the alphabet. The alphabetical order of concepts is playing with the role of the concept persons, the celebrity ranking is messed up, the dramaturgy expands horizontaly.
The mere alphabtical line up of words eludes signifying or thematic arrangements and polarising positions. Amidst the series without break and discussion dialectics have no chance. Instead attitudes, positions, modes of narrations and ways of speaking unfold throughout. Depending which concepts are following on each other their meaning and emphasis might chance. The concepts support and reflect each other. The suspense curve over and thourghout the concepts evolves in time, with all the tiredness, excessive demands and self chosen breaks.
Several days later, when all the texts, words, sounds, images are presented and performed, the stuttering and slammering went silent, when the choreographies have been danced, when the framing and formulating of thoughts found a language, when the performative act came to an end and from now is distributed only as recording, then a new line up is built. The recording situation on location with its specific excitement fits in an already existing list of concepts in the frame of a website and makes it just a bit longer. What was just percepted as singularity now shades into a surface, visibly for all those who werent there. It might be enough just to see the list to imagine ones own narrative.
The speaking of war through the creation of concepts, that are in contingent relation to each other and yet coined by absolutely different approaches, can skale up to huge proportions. What can appear is mere bandwidth. Historical and contemporary contexts, local and worldwide conflicts and maneuvers. It is not about an ABC of war, not about an A as ... as in Aufräumen, or clearance in english, but about the concept Clearance - Aufräumen - that is sorted in the Dictionary of War under the letter A. The speaking of war is enriched by a concept that carries the first letter A, not war is being spelled out through an A as ... as in Asymmetric Warfare. The concepts are adding up, the movement of creating concepts is directed into infinity - even if at some time there might be an end, if nobody wants to continue the work. Not to reduce, not to the point, but multiply, not simplify, but complicate. Only in this way one might find ways of speaking about the monstrous proportions of modern wars and warfare.
Archives are granaries of alphabetical writings. As feasible and effective an alphabetical order may seem, the Dictionary of War cannot be feasible in the sense of a reference book. It will always lack concepts. Who is looking for concepts shall rather find different ones then one was looking for. The alphabetical order is an order that is able to reveal ways of an imaginary narration.
Annett Busch, Bolzano, 20.9.2008
Glossary entry, June 2011