‘To Refrain’ takes Kafka’s last stories as acute diagnoses of making’s plight under the catastrophic conditions engendered in the emergent continuously self-transforming techno-capitalism. In particular, ‘Josephine the Singer’ is taken as the key bearer of the way the making-body – the small all-too-human body making for Art’s Body – is written all over by the terms of its own disappearance.
Art’s fate, figured through Josephine, is offered as the predicament of surviving its own unbecoming. As well as ‘Metamorphosis’, other late stories are discussed both in support of this sense of disappearance and for the acuteness of the ways they open onto art’s possibility now. Intertwining art with everyday life, they show the latter as a site for art of both halting subsistence and interminable alternation between autonomy and adulteration.