September 2013

on the art of undoing: knots, illustrated with some beautiful works by Julien Spianti

It must seem confusing. I’ve been advocating, advocating by the most simple means, the means of naming, which cannot these days be anything but an ironic take on branding, or on meme creation, undoing. But I’ve hashed undoing. I’ve hashed it by calling it by that tag, that could not these days be seen as anything but ironic and therefore transparent and therefore self-…something, and by then accusing Creative New Zealand, acting in complicity, with all sorts of complicities, major and minor, from the government to the individual artist, of undoing an institution, Downstage, a venerable institution, an institution almost fifty years old.

And now we must ask what is the difference?

Then I was listening to Bill Calahan singing about his apocalypse, making all sorts of connections, major and minor, from the government to the individual artist, and I decided it was tentacles. Or maybe strands. Or better, braids, if we think of a river. A river running over the shingle, across the plains. The Waimakariri. Did you know, briefly, when I checked the spelling, it was known as the Courtenay River? Now that I have the spelling right, it is again the Waimakariri. But it would have been spoken. Not spelled. As Lorde sings, So there.

Of course, again, I think of Courtney Place. The view out onto the twin domes of the old public toilet, the Taj Mahal, onto Kent Terrace. Or course, I think again of James K. sleeping on the draughty open slats of the bus stop bench.

What do you do if you undo but separate the strands? the streams? of which the river is braided? And even when there is no shingle basin, no separation, no plain to see them single silver snaking blending weaving down there, undoing the river would still mean to find each water in the waters, each flow in the act of blending and weaving, and separate each current, in its process.

What if the moutain withdrew its tentacles? It would draw up the waters of the Waimakariri. You would see them all, in all their colours.

I found the apron straps had formed a knot. And a knot, as Wyndham Lewis tells us, is a form of energy. The form of energy. An energetic form: the forms of martial arts are the same; they sculpt the air. Henri Gaudier-Brzeska saw this too. Sculpting expresses the energy already present in the medium.

We have a front-load washing-machine. It knots the apron straps into a ball. How do you undo a knot?

We could stop. Appreciate the knot. Try different media. Submit them to the front-load washing-machine. Knot them up. Admire the washing-machinic expression.

I have no doubt they would each be different and each one in its way would be worthy of admiration. Different passages of parallelisms, interlacings, bifurcatings, crossings, inversions, subversions, perversions. Transversalities.

But consider, just consider, we want to undo. Do we need to know, as I mistakenly suggested in a previous post, invoking Michel Foucault talking, if I recall, about Romanticism, was it? Do we need to know how a thing is made to unmake it?

No. We don’t even have to follow each complicity, from the complicities of government to those of individual artists; or, in the case of the Southern Alps and its Waimakariri, we don’t need to retrace every braid, each stream in the current to its source in melt-offs, run-offs, mountain streams, each tributary, major or minor. This would in any case be misleading: the river is braided by the rocks in its course, not from the summit of its source. Similarly, the intentions of government and individual artists do not need to be eked out for us to know there is a flow of eventuation, finding its summary energetic expression in a knot.

Destruction would already look different. I’ve considered before detaching the straps from the aprons before submitting them to the wash and washing them separately. Perhaps we use velcro. But the straps themselves need cleaning. They’d knot up worse on their own without the opening out of the aprons themselves, which in some way breaks the flows of energies and makes for serial and not singular knots.

My mother sat in the sun patiently undoing the strands of apron straps, picking at them with her fingers, and her mother’s fingers. At some point or other she gave up. Then she’d simply sit. In the sun. Have a gin. Smile more or less benignly. J., however, said just pull randomly at the knots with your fingers. Randomly. Without thinking about what goes or weaves in where. I don’t have the energy, said my mother.

Pulling randomly works. The strands loosen; the energetic form weakens; the straps separate: the knots undo. A certain tentacular emancipation is effectuated. To each apron two straps. When before the braid, the confusion.

So I think undoing is like this. It is like what Michel Foucault did with discourse. The reading, the analysis is random but inclusive. Pulling now here now there at the energetic form. You have to have the energy for this. Because it is not immediate. First one line will work its way loose: one contributor, one kind of complicity, one agent of knottiness. Name him. Name her. Then progress.

One is never enough. For anything like a knot to occur there have to be at least two.

What happens in a case like the destruction of Downstage is like a vengeance. A revenge killing. All those tentacles, some were good, some bad, sure, all lopped off, some wriggling on the carpet, escaping down the easy stairs of sentiment, Such a shame! … some long dead dead ends … some outright castrations … some cuttings-off merciful … some stupid … but taken in sum, to shut down every flow, to sever the root or plug the spring – a drought may still be a flow – but fracking the earth, killing the spring. No. There is something different in destruction than undoing.

 

...
infemmarie
τραῦμα
National Scandal
porte-parole
textatics
theatricality
X

Comments Off on on the art of undoing: knots, illustrated with some beautiful works by Julien Spianti

Permalink

Creative New Zealand under Stephen Wainwright finally succeeds in destroying Downstage after nearly 50 years trying

This is a picture of Stephen Wainwright, Chief Executive (Pou Whakahaere) of Creative New Zealand. Here is his statement:

“As a young nation at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean our arts help to illustrate our lives with new layers of meaning and fresh perspectives… life is personal and experiencing great art makes life better.”

[link]

He probably does not know what he is doing because he is at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Why would Creative New Zealand destroy Downstage? This is really the topic of my doctoral research. Along the way I will be interested in and my research will intersect with the stories that we as New Zealanders tell ourselves and others. Here are a few:

  1. to tell our own stories in our own words is a cultural and artistic objective;
  2. New Zealand is a young nation;
  3. losing things like your memory is probably beneficial in the long term – if you were meant to keep your memory you’d remember;
  4. loss – like Downstage closing – is natural and inevitable;
  5. from the kind of loss that is inevitable comes the new – this is how nature works;
  6. the principle of competition is also natural;
  7. sport and business and art are all natural activities in so far as they are competitive;
  8. politics is an exception to competition, because it is based on PR, therefore opportunism, expediency and lies;
  9. you pour water into a cracked vessel because you too are a cracked vessel – a cracked vessel does not constitute a threat;
  10. one day New Zealand will finally be able to take its place on the world stage;
  11. you can only contribute to society by success;
  12. wearing a red poppy on Armistice Day (11 November) is part of our national identity – not to promote tall poppy syndrome, or its effects.

Of course, Wellington City Council ought also to be held accountable for the closure of Downstage as a crime against the city. Auckland City Council is accountable for the desuetude of the St. James, which is equally a crime against the city. Although the loss of Downstage is the greater as much for the lies about it being inevitable, necessary, a product of the times as for the fact that theatre was still being made there.

Do their mouths taste of ashes, those who look forward to a phoenix? Do they destroy just to be able to say that out of the ruins something new will come? What is this resurrectionist nightmare?

...
CAPITAL CAPITAL CAPITAL
enomy
τραῦμα
National Scandal
theatricality
X

Comments Off on Creative New Zealand under Stephen Wainwright finally succeeds in destroying Downstage after nearly 50 years trying

Permalink

to know how to undo something you must first know how it was put together: Shima on 95bfm, first broadcast 11 September 2013

advertisement

Comments Off on to know how to undo something you must first know how it was put together: Shima on 95bfm, first broadcast 11 September 2013

Permalink

an example of doing that is really an example of undoing – here, from the puff for an exhibition at WKV Stuttgart called ‘Giving Form to the Impatience of Liberty’ featuring the artists Manuela Beck, Banu Cennetoglu / Yasemin Özcan, Stefan Constantinescu, Alice Creischer / Christian von Borries / Andreas Siekmann, Kiri Dalena, Barbara Ehnes, Heinz Frank, Grupo Baja Mar, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Francis Hunger, Sven Johne, Hassan Khan, Jakob Kolding, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Dóra Maurer, Klaus Mettig / Katharina Sieverding, Marina Naprushkina, Boris Ondreicka, Marion von Osten, David Riff / Dmitry Gutov, Pedro G. Romero, Allan Sekula, Klaus Staeck, Wolfgang Stehle, Jeronimo Voss

The exhibition’s point of origin rests in the younger forms and discourses of a (re)politicization of the arts, which are meant to be probed in terms of their heterogeneity and antagonisms. These are artistic practices which subject the aesthetic utopias of modernism that were said to have floundered to both a critical reading and a reevaluation, and which-reaching beyond a naïve euphoria or worldly-wise distance-renegotiate the political, societal, and critical potentialities of art. Activist positions and artworks with concrete political points of reference are considered here, as are works that approach, on a rather structural level, a rereading, realignment, and relocalization of knowledge, power, ideology, space, and the body. The works not only reference, but actually create acts of political articulation and subjectivization.

&

With regard to content, the exhibition focuses on developments from the capitalist disciplinary society to the neoliberal society of control.

pique-assiettes

Comments Off on an example of doing that is really an example of undoing – here, from the puff for an exhibition at WKV Stuttgart called ‘Giving Form to the Impatience of Liberty’ featuring the artists Manuela Beck, Banu Cennetoglu / Yasemin Özcan, Stefan Constantinescu, Alice Creischer / Christian von Borries / Andreas Siekmann, Kiri Dalena, Barbara Ehnes, Heinz Frank, Grupo Baja Mar, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Francis Hunger, Sven Johne, Hassan Khan, Jakob Kolding, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Dóra Maurer, Klaus Mettig / Katharina Sieverding, Marina Naprushkina, Boris Ondreicka, Marion von Osten, David Riff / Dmitry Gutov, Pedro G. Romero, Allan Sekula, Klaus Staeck, Wolfgang Stehle, Jeronimo Voss

Permalink

Erkka Nissinen in an example of undoing – here, Arnold Schoenberg

porte-parole

Comments Off on Erkka Nissinen in an example of undoing – here, Arnold Schoenberg

Permalink

Erkka Nissinen in an example of undoing – here, the social contract

Tilaa massa tilassa massa litas…

porte-parole

Comments Off on Erkka Nissinen in an example of undoing – here, the social contract

Permalink

join the undoing movement and undo poverty, property, hunger, waste, debt, hurt, wrong, and all your petty mistakes

 

undo

it

all

now

CAPITAL CAPITAL CAPITAL
detraque
enomy
inanimadvertisement
tagged
textatics
X

Comments Off on join the undoing movement and undo poverty, property, hunger, waste, debt, hurt, wrong, and all your petty mistakes

Permalink

other colours

hearing Orhan Pamuk talking to Robert Harrison (link to audio) – Pamuk, the Nobel Laureate, self-confessedly conservative and superficial – superficial enough that winning the Nobel makes him happy – conservative in wanting to keep the language of Turkey ‘as it is’ – the ‘dictionary of the streets’ – and not turkify or alter it to fulfil any sort of social or political agenda – but to use the language of his mother, his grandmother, which is the same, in fact, as that you hear on the streets – I felt both let down – was it Thoreau who said writers are the worst company because they never have anything to say for themselves? – and you invite them to parties – particularly those writers who are so witty and interesting – to parties where you expect them to entertain and perform for your guests – so as, I expect, you can claim some sort of glory by association – but they sit glumly – or worse start drinking, smoking, taking drugs, behave scandalously, seduce the hostess, and the host, the children – or worse, they sit glumly – as if they’ve forgotten their scripts – as if the only words they know are written ones which they do not in fact speak – as if speech is a foreign language – company a foreign concept – perhaps they only accept your invitation because they are so lonely – or worse to perform like rutting monkeys, like smoking misanthropes, like opiated invertebrates, like inebriate self-advertisers, appetitive inverted anuses, both sucking and blowing – to act up, act out, in short – according to the major clichés and minor vices – would sitting glumly be worse? – I felt both strangely let down listening to Orhan Pamuk and more strangely slightly incensed he could call himself, his Istanbul, provincial – that Robert Harrison should accept this without question – the capital of the Ottoman empire provincial? But I then considered, after, without any consideration, being put in mind of the provincialism particular to the colonies – the torturous ennui and cultural self-deprecation – when it is not wildly self-affirmative, enhanced by social and political agenda – the horrific critical void – of New Zealand – I considered, as Pamuk suggested I should, as he did, Moscow – the capital of the glorious defunct Soviet Socialist Republic. I wondered if there is a provincialism particular to fading glory? a memorial provincialism? However it could not possibly contend – if there could ever be such a contention – with the colonial provincialism of our own green ghetto, which, contraindicatively lies in the suburbs and not in the provinces of memory. The consideration of … Moscow – can it be said of London? – of Rome? – then why especially Istanbul? – proceeded from a lower-level – a baser – resonance with Orhan’s description of the provincial experience: the cultural avidity – a need to know and find out – to extend feelers and find out what is really happening in the rest of the world – that is really happening because it is happening elsewhere: the greed for news. Music, art, magazines, criticism. But Pamuk’s provincialism is not so much a provincialism of geopolitical dimensions but of sentiment, of the dusk, of the black-and-white city, settling into winter, with long winter nights, of ruins, where little Orhan played football, in the Ottoman ruins, the wooden houses that within ten years were burnt and razed. The provincialism is of the city since the city Pamuk loves is not the one which has made his love provincial, provincialising his spirit. And I suspect this is the reason Pamuk applauded the analogy obsequious pill of a host, Harrison, made, when he said that in the piece of Orhan’s writing he liked best, which he of course had to admit, it is as if Istanbul is the writer and Nobel Laureate’s second mother, usurping the voice and role of the first, whose language, as said, Orhan wants to conserve. It is a maternal provincialism. Or perhaps the mother is always like this, a province removed from the centre – of culture, of art, of enlightened politics and social democracy? Orhan’s memorialised city or mother is in the process of rejecting exactly what it is about it, about her, Pamuk loves, of rejecting its black-and-white post-empire despondency and pushing it out to … the provinces, out onto the hem of her skirts, cutting apron-strings. The memory of baking. And he wanted to be a painter, between the years eleven to twenty-two, was it? And now it has come out, his brilliant work, a bricolage of autobiographical fragments and essays – which he had hoped one day would be in a proper work of fiction – called Other Colours. Its title testifies to the provincialism foisted on him of being mere monochrome. It reclaims the technicolour to ironic purpose – it also claims it as property – while I remember the grey Wellington of my youth, which had Models, Crafts and Hobbies and Kirkcaldies’s lights, open late only Friday nights, as puddles of colour in the wind-driven drizzle – now Istanbul and Wellington both put on – performing – like those writers earlier – acting up, acting out, simply – the economic good news in lurid technicolour smiles – the other colours, as Harrison with his practised and efficacious literalism points out, of toothpaste commercials.

...
anciency
CAPITAL CAPITAL CAPITAL
croydon
detraque
hommangerie
luz es tiempo
Trans-European Express
X

Comments Off on other colours

Permalink

The prayers

– Julien Spianti, 2013, oil on canvas, 210 x 140 cm

porte-parole

Comments Off on The prayers

Permalink

thrownness into the world including the i ching – unseasonal snaps

snap

Comments Off on thrownness into the world including the i ching – unseasonal snaps

Permalink