FIG is the second installment of the ongoing series Goan Atom. It is a colllection of 12 poetic pieces written between 1996 and 2004. They have each previously been produced as off-page collaborations or text-installations. This range of artistic and poetic contexts and the compositional processes that result from these is a crucial aspect of the goanatom poetics represented in FIG. Each piece has been carefully rethought and twelve short prefatory notes have been written and developed especially for the book. They function as an additional textual layer, a poetic dimension in their own right. The pieces in FIG explore the connections between the materialities of written or inscriptive language and the materialities of human physicality. Language inscribed in the speaking, listening, writing body. This includes the pursuit of physical and sexual imaginaries, bilingual and translative poetics, time-led and context-specific writings, textual and spoken patterns of misrecognition. It is one of the premises of FIG that the poetic texts are written with an accent and with body. The book’s drawings and photographic material add to the traffic between verbal and visual textualities.
"This collection opens up the sweep of Caroline Bergvall’s intertwining of disciplines, as well as zooming in to luminous seams of language where the microscope reveals universes. From a folding-in of language, the performed-in-a-body, ripened to bursting, sows performance in attention’s body. Cultures in a morpheme, narratives in a fract, history in a sign, things in a life, the mind in a woman, in print. Writing’s polygendering, braiding authorship, layering thought. Jouir de l’influence. Politics of the tongue. Honest, acute, visceral, ludic, funny. Arising too in the social, the contextualized projects return the gift. Both seducing forward as sound, and details compelling “wait”. Resaid. Rehear it. Relived. Replay. Reread and reread it."
– Fiona Templeton
"Listen to the glissade, as meaning slides into sound, sound into sense, sense to action. Working at the borders of poetry, installation, performance, and translation, Caroline Bergvall’s Fig is conceptually astute and structurally shimmering. From figuration (imagine) to figure (articulate) to fig (object): a pleasure for eye, ear, mind."
– Charles Bernstein