representationalism

the thing about invisible theatre

dermo

It’s an incredible project: part dance, part secret, part ritual. Heroic in its unsustainability, its unrelenting absence of logic tears like a cannonball through our understanding of the value and meaning of art – why we need it, how (and if) it functions, who it is for.

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Simulation Theory

link here to the mistaken idea that something called consciousness is able to be simulated. … If a cut up were done of multiple universe theory and simulation theory together, then there might be something in it. Because to simulate the emerging universe demands the addition of another universe, plus another to simulate that, in a cascade of simulations; the mistake comes about through the Cartesian error of the anthropological exception (alluded to in the Guardian article). Human consciousness cannot be extricated from nature in any part but all of consciousness requires all of nature or cosmos, chaos, or chaosmosis.

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thanks, Stephen, for pointing to Ron Eglash’s work unfolding African fractals

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fragment: flight from Syria as biopolitical protest, an expression of popular political will–in contrast to standing man and occupy, the bodies won’t stay still

we can no longer speak

watch the bodies leak

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thanks, Mike. Watch … New media are not new. They simply allow us to focus on what all media do… And what a medium can do…

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“The “Simplon Express Zagreb-Paris” was one of several artistic projects Croatia presented to the French public in the autumn of 2012 … the performance of a young Zagreb artist, who masturbated in the train, “completely imperceptibly, sitting with legs crossed and tensing her abdominal muscles.””

The artist is convinced that her artistic project is both feministically and artistically provocative, even though (or perhaps because) it is – “invisible.” For those with slightly longer cultural memories and experience, hers is simply a dull recycling project. Over the past fifty years female artists have staged similar performances in many places, Croatian artists among them. The artist’s project reveals not only her naivety, arrogance, and unwillingness to bone up on her predecessors, but also an absence of context and continuity, the absence of a will to build continuity. The episode speaks to a humiliating artistic and intellectual apathy. And in this sense, it is indeed a very “female narrative.” Because without a women’s canon (now why wouldn’t that be a word for continuity?), ambitious and lazy little girls will go around in circles repeating the same thing over, determinedly claiming that they’re doing something new. The absence of a canon, that is, the presence of discontinuity, leaves an empty space that enables the inevitable reinscription of the female, the production of an exhausted art that resorts to the same stammering vocabulary, self-convinced that it is declaring revolution. In any case, a canon exists to be destroyed – and so that there is an awareness of what is being destroyed.

– Dubravka Ugresic, “A Women’s Canon”, in Europe in Sepia, pp. 177-8

 

… the same can of course be said for the what is euphemistically called “the reinvention of the wheel” in New Zealand cultural and artistic spheres, behind which the usual explanation is lack of resources to provide institutional (canon-like) continuity: however, as Dubravka Ugresic has it, the lazy little girls ought also be called to account.

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profit and loss: Bruce Barber & Milo Moiré

Bruce Barber in his lecture yesterday, given as part of the Action and Delay conference hosted by AUT, raised for me the question – what is meant by performance in the ‘art world’, and in the institution in which I currently find myself? Why, indeed, would I want to align myself with it, if, as Bruce suggested, after Gregory Sholette, the vast pyramidal-base-sized majority of artists, those engaged in performance, he seemed to intimate, preeminently, are destined to become the ‘dark matter’, their efforts and their art invisible, that holds the Ponzi scheme together and keeps it from flying apart? While a few, as few as there are Russian oligarchs, profit from the existence of an art market, succeeding as artists, at the rarefied tip of the pyramid, they would hurtle off into non-existence without the infrastructural support of curators and managers, middle-men, critics, publications, research interest, courses and conferences that the vast and overwhelming mass of those who will never accede to such heights – or such success, failing inevitably – enables, the existence of which it feeds and feeds on, as an underwater milieu and vast sea-bottom.

What is at stake in ‘performance practice’ as used in this milieu? It seems on the face of it that performance practice is the last place to think about and reflect on performance or think through what it is. Even the documentation has a tendency to collapse into or onto the practice. Whatever thinking goes in to the practice occurs before the outcome which is generically the performance itself.

My understanding of a practice is however exactly the thinking through, about and reflection on the methods, beliefs and ideas that are brought to it, to itself think, and reflect on itself. The question, ‘how does performance think?’ seems to arise less in the milieu of performance than in theatre. The difference being that the performer thinks in theatre through the practice of performance – which is what is meant by technique, acting technique. While the performance artist expresses herself in acting, in an action, intervention, interaction, all the inter-s, she does not interrogate the practice except in research or theory – the technical practice being relegated to a position outside the performance.

The performance artist does not generally have the technical means to think in performance. The performance is an outcome of thought.

How the theatre actor thinks is in the technique of making transitions between states of being in performance, during performance. This insight is due to Esa Kirkkopelto.

Milo Moiré’s performance, PlopEgg #1, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKFZOIv5sS0 and at her website http://www.milomoire.com/ has the theatrical components of a technical mise-en-scène – the trestles and scaffold platforms, the canvas support for the finished Rorschach – and the strangley improvised modesty curtain behind which the performer inserts paint-filled eggs into her vagina. She has a stage-manager manoeuvre the latter at several intervals allowing her to refill. But the performance as performance according to the art-world milieu and the tenets of its self-understanding is not and could not be acted – there is only one state of being in the performance, between which the transitions are of low interest in technical terms: between Milo in performance and Milo preparing, backstage, behind the modesty curtain; between Milo pushing out eggs and Milo taking care of the business – albeit nude – of rolling and folding the paint squibs in a canvas. The canvas, it might be said, folds into the performance as its documentation. But the performance is the one repeatable action or operation of plopping eggs.

Where in this performance would there be room to think? As Bruce Barber pointed out, with the Paypal price for the uncensored version of the video at 4.99 Euros and the YouTube views at over 4 million, the thought is, how much money could Milo Moiré potentially make? The success or failure of this performance as performance rests on its reproducibility and functional iterability (this is PlopEgg #1) and statistical and quantitive considerations.

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Bartabas & Ko Murobushi

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yes

a review of Frederik de Wilde’s work that I like a lot and which I like a lot. Let’s read it together.

oh, now I discover it’s actually an interview with Frederik de Wilde. Even better.

I’m up to this bit:
“Most valuable is bringing together a group of passionate inter- and transdisciplinary individuals. As an artist you are a free electron. I don’t have to align myself so easily with rules and regulations, institutes, … i can be ‘wild’ and that’s a quality that is generally accepted and respected. This stimulates and facilitates cross linking, confrontations with different ways of seeing, other ways of experimentation, getting out of the comfort zone.

“In the case of the Nano Black research it depends.” …

This bit has relevance to the discussion of the symptom: “After a half a year of lobbying, and signing documents, i finally achieved to get a hold of the data. The main restriction was not to represent the actual data but only ‘subjective’ data, whether it’s a sculpture, painting didn’t matter.”

This is good too: “To be able to generate truly random numbers one would need a routine that can break the causality law, an observation of a source that acts without any or any knowable cause.”

And: “It’s hacking, or tuning into, the substrate of the universe.”

Strange to read a text with emoticons: “You have to be in an ecology to understand it, get a feel of it. Blowing things up is a part of that too ;).”

 

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The Hobbit: The Failure of Smaug and The Desolation of Commercial Entertainment

Perhaps art would add something to the experience. And in the addition, which itself might be obscure, there would be a clear if indistinct feeling of relief – a purely human quality consequent on the addition of a wholly inhuman quantity. The experience itself in turn might be neutral or it might be intensely stimulating and would not want for the addition – that is, it would be neutral in view of the addition, or at least could be. Which is only to say that the experience might not even appear lacking but what it lacked might only appear or occur later, on reflection. Reflection could reveal a capacity or a potentiality – purely human – that experience had not reached because it could not without involving another intensive quantity – wholly inhuman. And if the system were by design dissipative, there to provide an experience of social, political, erotic or artistic satisfaction, by relieving a purely human quality, the failure would be one of art, taking into account that this supplementary schema of dissipating what is human need not be, and perhaps were better from the start called, inhuman.

I am thinking of the thermodynamics of art and the energetics of commercial entertainment. Which trades in distraction and – for what reason? – seems to want to avoid adding anything to the closed system of its experience, however stimulating. So that the stimulation is the point? But doesn’t this make it worse? by raising a false expectation that it is this very human capacity that will be invoked, relieved, opened on to?

It is as if the closed energetic system of commercial entertainment excludes from the outset any prospect of relief, that its determined materialism is foreclosed from giving satisfaction. Marx was of course here before. He was right on the problem that capitalism ratchets up desire through the illusion of increasing production – which is resource exhaustion – through a continuous addition of factored-in cost, resulting in a boom-bust cycle, the constant in which is that the producer cannot afford what is produced. What the producer can afford is expectation and disappointment: the call to put more and more energy into a system which offers monstrously disproportionate reward. And little relief. The solution of at least one Marxism is the producer’s ownership and it is assumed control of the means of production. How to re-own ownership of what is given? and of what is the given of capitalism? i.e., the gift.

That something essential is missing occurred to me after seeing the second installment of The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug. Not that I am missing or I am being missed – as in I am not the target. Market. Not that I am missing for being excluded from the means of production. And not that I am missing it, or, the point. I was highly productive of laughter, fear and trembling, awe, and kinetic exhaustion, throughout the hyperkinetic HFR 3D experience. It was exhausting. But it left me with regret rather than grateful for having seen it. Not grateful to the massive corporation that made it, delivered it to me, and to the machine of the industry – for which the NZ government in the name of the people is bending over so low to accommodate. Regretful that some supplementary dimension is missing – by design. As if all this artistry were in vain, the artistry of hundreds of artists, from texture artists to actors. Albeit that Peter Jackson has not learnt to direct actors. All those resources and all I had to show for it was an experience from which something was missing. And really it’s not a question of the resources. I saw Frances Ha, a little movie, a character actress vehicle, and it unequally – because it was not so physically involving – failed, failed to acknowledge that anything was missing from it. ‘Relief’ therefore is not the right word. Because the addition is all about acknowledging the problem of art, perhaps, as a barely human defeat in the face of the wholly inhuman.

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