MINUS THEATRE RESEARCH GROUP PRESENTS

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hommangerie
imarginaleiro
immedia
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infemmarie
luz es tiempo
theatricality
theatrum philosophicum
thigein & conatus

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postexegetical thetic palavers amok: on names, or, towards Minus’s next show, VMG (workshop 1) pt. 1

VMG is the acronym for Visit Me Genius, which is what, so far, after one workshop (the next tomorrow–come along!) I am calling Minus Theatre group’s next show, scheduled to have its public outing 26 June (come along!). It may change, the name, although this is what I called it in the recently finished exegesis (submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the qualification of … Palavers hi-Def) on Minus’s work over the last three years. It does not, the name, refer to mathematical, scientific or artistic genius, however; neither does it refer to political or diplomatic genius, if such a thing were today to exist. It is intended to refer to place, to the genius loci–the spirit of place, of a place, always singular, a place having a spirit which is unexchangeable and inequivalent to any other, nontranslatable from one to another and from place to place. A spirit must then speak in its own singular terms and be the definition, if not the embodiment and encapsulation, of the utmost and extreme differentiation, as an absolutely unique belonging of a place.

To be visited by the spirit of a place, what does it mean? I don’t know… but I do know; I think one does know: one is visited in some places by an uncanny (or is it weird?) and unheimlich (German for unhomely, although nothing is more at home than spirit of place?) sense of… what is it? I think of the magnetism of Auckland’s west coast beaches, which is very literally there in the iron sands, summoning ghosts… And I look out into the bright dappled light of the Waiheke suburb where I write this and recall the pscyhogeography a friend invoked when we were talking about the special attraction this place holds for certain people, whom it holds in its embrace, whom it doesn’t always love lovingly. Some people can’t stand it after a while! It is as if it magnifies the reasons they have for choosing Waiheke as their place of dwelling. So they dwell but don’t abide, are not abided, perhaps by the spirit of the place. Berlin, too–although Paris may be the city of love, Berlin’s embrace is hotter, erotic, sexual, it has been said.

Christchurch–a flat city recently picked up and shaken like a rug: who can deny the genius presiding over the planes on which it is situated? threaded with braids of rivers… It can drive you mad, like Munich in the föhn. And so the place of a climatics must be granted when considering genius loci, which needn’t be anthropomorphicised, but may initiate a nonanthropological discourse…

Last Monday, May 15, Minus held at AUT its first workshop of 2017. Our last show was At the Stock Market Meeting–called this (always something in a name?) for the neurolivestock invented by Gilles Châtelet for his book (there being always something in a name) To Live and Think Like Pigs and subtitled, The Incitement of Boredom and Envy in Market Democracies, which I had recently read. At the Stock Market Meeting (ATSMM–Automated-Teller (Autotelic? Autosomatic?)-Meat-Machine) took place at Auckland Old Folks Association Hall on 19 November 2016, one night only, since which a full six months has intervened. Present on Monday last were all the people in ATSMM, minus Amber, plus Rumen.

In the writing so far on Minus, I have used pseudonyms for those involved. I break with this practice on the precedent of the RJF Project which, without the pretext, without the context of an academic assignation, assignment or task, I covered in regular posts on Square White World in 2007, where I used first names, and, sometimes, just initials. It is interesting to see in this although decade-old precedent also an invocation of the human stockyard and of anacting (proceeding minus theatre), as well as the dancer‘s critique of an actor (or is it a betrayal?), since the halflife of these, or the imaginary and fantasy life of these, as theses and thetic, overlaps with the concerns formalised in and by the work on and with Minus.

This writing, here on SWW (always square, a lit square, and white light, sunny, artificial, screenlight, separating, sacralising a world the profanation of which it presupposes), is anyway less formal and, surprisingly, less fictive: I don’t need to protect the names, to protest the givenness of names, in the essential contingency of their conventionality, here, from something called–a name!–ethics. I am released from the fiction of ethics here, again, surprisingly. …

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Ἀκαδήμεια
luz es tiempo
theatricality
thigein & conatus
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field recordings 2016:10:17 14:40:56 – 2017:02:03 22:05:16 including Gregor Kregar’s fantastic scaling personnages & Nick Cave & sculpture on gulf

snap

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more Igorrr postchickenism

porte-parole

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woob

porte-parole

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Thank you Minus Theatre. Your participation & involvement in & support for Minus’s next outing is now sought. Rehearsals begin May 15. Production 26 June. For details of how to help email: simon@minustheatre.com

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of course as a contributing writer you may find yourself on a beautiful site (designed) with some beautiful writing (actual critique) and you may ask yourself…

the answer is:

the perverse

delights of

artistic incest

& nepotism

in NZ

introducing

the pantograph punch

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National Scandal
pique-assiettes
theatricality

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listen / hear

porte-parole

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step out of line: an exhortation to the Untimely & Questions from Alfredo Véa’s overwrought & overwringing timely book (the prison is to hide the fact society is the prison)

…in the first photo of the triptych the young man is still alive. Can you see his eyes? He doesn’t have long. …

His black body is shining and radiantly serpentine at the base of a tree. His skin is glistening, and his musculature is as chiseled and defined as an athelete’s. People who knew him said that he was a slow-witted and gentle young man. He is surrounded by hundreds of white men in white suits and white hats, but he is all alone in the universe. There is nowhere for him to go, no one who can help him. Who could be more alone than Jesse Washington? Someone who was standing near the tree wrote later in a letter that Jesse was praying as he lay there, but to which god? What good would prayer do when there were ten or eleven ministers in the audience along with dozens of their parishioners?

If you look closely into the faces in the crowd, you can see smiles and you can almost hear the laughter. You can see hugs and back slaps–handshakes, brisk tips of the hat, and friends greeting friends.You see men fresh from the perfumed talc and lively jabber and banter of the barbershop. You see men who are tired and sweaty after hours or walking in the furrows behind two gray mules. At the top of the photo, you can just make some men who are giggling and tipsy from a couple of beers at the local saloon.

Look in the lower left corner. Right there! you will see a young red-haired Irish boy in a linen cap. He is lighting a cigarette. You can’t see it in his freckled face or his white skin, but he is half Mexican, and he is about to do something awful. Look around in the picture. You see men who have just jugged their haggard wives and mussed their children’s hair. In the second picture you see Jesse dangling above their heads like a bag of clay. In a circle around his black feet, some freckle-faced children are leering and laughing.

In the third photo, Jesse Washington’s arms are now only stumps, and his legs are stubs of charcoal above the knees. Someone has poured kerosene on his body. Someone has tossed a flaring matchstick. By most accounts he was alive when the flames to enrage all of his nerve endings. A fourth photo–not part of the triptych–is found on a picture postcard.

As you can see, someone has written the words ‘This is the barbeque we had last night.’ …

How does this happen? …

[this song was written by one of the two sons of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg executed by electric chair for espionage in 1953–see here

Ethel and Julius both enter Alfredo Véa’s narrative.]

You’ve all seen paintings by the impressionists, by the post-impressionists and expressionists. I know you have … even you here in state prison have seen the paintings of Van Gogh, Edouard Manet, and Paul Gauguin. Everyone loves their work today, but in their own time no one loved them–and I mean no one. There was a special venue for many of these artists. It was called the Salon des Refusés–the salon of the rejects. Vincent Van Gogh never sold a painting while he lived. Only one or two people out of the millions living in Paris could see the beauty and power of their work.

Those one or two Parisians were derided as absurd, ridiculous–they were branded as tasteless radicals. In fact, they were the lucky ones. History shows that they were right. What were those other millions of Parisians thinking and doing at that time? Nothing unusual. They were doing what everybody everywhere does–even today. They were marinating in the culture of their day, happily mouthing the clichés and the jargon of their time and place, thinking the current thoughts, following the current fads, and eating and drinking the current foods of their time and place. Like you, they selected their music from the few choices that were placed in front of them.

Black prisoners play black music out in the yard, brown inmates play brown music, twelve-year-old girls all love the same little boy bands–it’s so stultifying, so damned predictable. When you’ve been simmering in your own cultural broth all of your life, your flesh and your soul soon begin to take on the common color and flavour. In time you lose the power to taste your own individual life on its own separate terms.

Nowadays everybody loves Van Gogh. People line up at exhibitions of his art and pay millions for his paintings. But it’s a cheap love. Vincent climbed all the way out of the mundane and painted what he saw through his own wild bipolar mind. He had to escape the tepid broth, and he paid everything he owned to attain his unique vantage point–for his art. We pay nothing for it.

If you’d lived in Paris during Van Gogh’s life, would you have stepped forward to champion his work? You can only answer ‘yes’ if in your present life you have stepped forward to defend someone or something against the opinion of everyone around you–against your entire era and against your whole culture. If you were that kind of courageous visionary, you wouldn’t be in here counting the days until your next parole hearing.

… Do you want to know if you’re one of those people who came into Waco by train to see the spectacle of Jesse’s death? Do you want to know if your love is cheap? The question you have to ask yourself is this: What is it that I believe that no one else does? What cause do I espouse that is hopeless–radical? What salon of rejected artists or thinkers have I stepped into lately?

I hear a telling silence … Do you know what that means? It means that you and I were in that crowd when Jesse Washington’s neck snapped.

I’m trying as hard as I can to fly out of this smelly broth that we’re all drowning in. … I want you to lie in your beds tonight when everything is quiet. I want you to use your imaginations to melt away your tattoos–let all of that murky ink dribble down your fingertips and drip onto the floor. Use what’s left of your imaginations to tear away your gang language–all two hundred dull, insipid words of it. Pull all of those tired clichés out of your mouth and spit them onto the linoleum tiles. Rip away every facile obscenity. Then peel all that deadening television culture away from your gray matter.

After you do all that, ask yourself: What’s left? Where am I? Who am I? It might seem like there’s nothing left of you inside that body. You all look like prison and smell like the street. But take my word for it, there is something there. Each of you possesses things that you’ve never seen, never even sensed.

–Alfredo Véa, The Mexican Flyboy, pp.150-155

pique-assiettes

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what remains. Robert Shults’s The Washing Away of Wrongs. Decomposition.

– photo Robert Shults, from the series The Washing Away of Wrongs

Allison Meier: “clothing and personal items from suspected migrants found on the US-Mexico border”

(at Hyperallergic)

– photo Robert Shults, from the series The Washing Away of Wrongs

Allison Meier: “with flowers from a nearby tree fallen across a donor’s body”

(at Hyperallergic)

Photographer Robert Shults shot the series The Washing Away of Wrongs at the 26-acre Forensic Anthropology Centre of Texas State University, the world’s largest outdoor facility for the study of human decomposition through donated cadavers.

Robert Shults: …”a process virtually teeming with life as new microbiomes rise and fall during decomposition. There is an astounding range of plants and animals that depend on the donors’ bodies as a critical part of their own life cycle. As such, when I visit the facility, I don’t really feel the presence of death hanging over the ranch. Rather I get the most palpable sense I’ve felt anywhere of how an individual contributes to the lineage of natural history.” (from here)

The whole series is available here.

porte-parole

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