towards day 11 @ sf

So. We lose Morgana, the dancer character, to projects dearer to her heart, one presumes. I was too quick in my exclamation, Progress! We will make do, with or without. And what is making do if not a process?

We have a room, square but not out of necessity. And dark, for there being minimal light. The room itself is oppressive, but not so for want of the possibilities that we may bring to it and not for lack of objects, figures, interest. And then there’s always nothing: part-objects, incorporeal ideas, half-mimed actions, impersonal embodiments and the supernumeraries, who aren’t themselves not the actors but the same acting in the modality of unacting. (For the latter, it remains to be shown to what extent it is an idea.)

If making do is the process, what sort of process is it?

Say you remember an original and that this original is the Great Piece you now seek to reproduce but for the fact that you lack certain resources. They could be your own personal skills – I can’t dance I can’t sing I can’t act I can’t direct – or they might be the forces required more generally to realise, to represent the greatness of the remembered original.

For instance, at the point where I drop the vase the acrobat who catches it before it hits and smashes on the floor isn’t there to do her tragicomical turn down the back of the ladder, whose timing is precise, whose movement is practiced and adds so much, whereas all I need do is let go of the vase.

If she is not there dare I drop the vase? Is this all I need do? It will no doubt smash and no one will be any the wiser that there was ever any intention in the original that it be caught and that the action of its being caught could hold in itself a presently absent meaning, comical, tragicomical, tragic, comic-tragical or otherwise.

How might these questions arise without the acrobat? How might the questions you would ask of the Great Piece be transferred onto its remembered representation? Its represented and reconstructed memory?

Is it simply – although not entirely simple – at the level of signification that the remembered original in its representation needs to reproduce an effect missing for the absence of the acrobat? Both her designated, denoted action and her manifest presence are missing, so, is her (non-)effect significant? More significant, that is, than manifest or denoted? (You’ll see that this has to do with a Deleuzean tripartition of the proposition into signification, manifestation and denotation.) Or are we really resting on the complex surface of sense, on its complexion?

What is it and what does it mean at the level of process to make do without the Ear-scratching performer, the Vase-catching acrobat, the Non-illustrative dancer? Again, will you tell me, what is the problem?

How approach a sense of representation without, in the spirit of making do?

Memory provides some clues. The necessity that the recalled Great Piece be denotatively, manifestly or significantly great provides none. Greatness is clueless.

Clive Barker – of Theatre Games fame, not the other Clive Barkers – writes of the tape the rehearsed actor has running through his head – that actress has running through hers – that rehearsal itself inscribes with its records of past actions, figures, interests, in order whatever actions or figures for the actor, actress, or their interests be tensed past. He talks of the naturalisation of a rehearsed past in terms of consciousness of pastness damaging performance of presentness and therefore hurting, stripping back the presentational presentness of the performance to the representation of a remembered pitiable figure, human.

There is a pragmatics in action here of how to make performance (go) hang (in the present), of how to improve the acting. The actor’s and actress’s memory of a rehearsed performance or a rehearsed Figure better presents that Figure through his and her individual representation of, and therefore memory of, the Figure’s actions and interests.

Rehearsal is to make past. In order for past to return. The hermaphroditic actor-actress is therefore the aleatory point of this return, in Deleuzean terms, the dice cast damaging memory on which memory hangs, depends – its humanity. Its thrown humanity.

Will you say then, we remember this Greatness? Because we have no excuse but Greatness – that we recall in part but are totally! And will you hear these falls and feel the awful making do of our process? Will you know we lack even the ambition of the will? And don’t enact our own want (of phallus) and unact the meaning we mean and then rise to the surface we and only we can show without?

To clarify: the remembered Great Original is scattered over the surface of memory. The actor counter-actualises the event. But as well as memory there is also hope. Along with reproduction there is the production to come. And it is no longer a question of a chronic choice between a pitiless presentation and a pitiful representation (in the sense that Virilio uses the word pity in genetic qualification of (re)presentation, in Art and Fear [Paul Virilio, trans. Julie Rose, Continuum, London, 2004]).

Deleuze quotes the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius in a note: “Above, below, all around are the movements of the elements. But the motion of virtue is in none of these; it is something more divine, and advancing by a way hardly observed it goes happily on its road.” [Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, p. 93, n. 3] The ethical choice, then, for the Stoic sage as for the actor, lies elsewhere. It is advanced neither in the mixture of elements, presentation, representation, nor in the directions up or down, but is in motion and observable, tracing its line, by a sideways glance, out along the surface.