Worlding Refrains
Kathleen Stewart
What is, is a refrain. A scoring over a world’s repetitions. A
scratching on the surface of rhythms, sensory habits, gathering
materialities, intervals, and durations. A gangly accrual of slow
or sudden accretions. A rutting by scoring over.
Refrains are a worlding. Nascent forms quicken, rinding up
like the skin of an orange. Pre-personal intensities lodge in
bodies. Events, relations, and impacts accumulate as the capac-
ities to a√ect and to be a√ected. Public feelings world up as
lived circuits of action and reaction.
Critique attuned to the worlding of the refrain is a burrow-
ing into the generativity of what takes form, hits the senses,
shimmers. Concepts built in this way score the trajectories of a
worlding’s looping refrains, its potentialities, and attach them-
selves to the living out of what is singular and proliferative in a
scene or moment, to what is accrued, sloughed o√, realized,
imagined, enjoyed, hated, brought to bear or just born in a
compositional present.
This afterword is my refrain on the concepts gathering in
the scenes of this volume. A repetition that underscores, over-
scores, rescores in a social aesthetics aimed at a√ect’s moves
and subjects jumping to invisible airs that waver and pulse.
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