“Only seeing the event itself, finding its landscape laid out before me would move me”
The Book of Disquiet
Pessoa voices a desire common to all of us at some point, the wish to see the entirety of an event fully explored, mapped and charted. To hold in the mind a final and total image of what has happened, is happening and will happen, an image that depicts all possibilities and exhausts all potential.
This desire to see an event without doubt, question or the need for any speculation, is too see an event completely and utterly resolved.
It is to see an event deprived of time.
In spite of this impossibility the desire remains and surfaces when we look, experience or witness something happening before, around or to us. It is the desire to know, to make sense, to resolve into language, to displace some-thing from the formless Real into the signs of language.
Crucial to this the act of acknowledgment, of seeing, of giving notice to that some-thing and from this moment, when an event crawls into perception, it becomes collaborative. But this is a collaboration that is not about working together. It is not about a common cause or effort to reach a mutually agreed end. It is instead a point of departure, a moment of splitting and a rupture from which difference and division multiply without boundaries.
Saturday, 24 March 2012
Over 4 days ‘Collaborating with an Event’ will explore the persistence and mediation of an event through the practice of writing. Building upon the proposition that critical writing can perform as a textual afterlife to an event, ‘Collaborating with an Event’ will be a live process developing, demonstrating and discussing potential methodologies.
Posted by john dummett at 14:31
Monday, 7 November 2011
Friday, 28 October 2011
If “in the observation of things there is also the observation of memory” then the site of criticism is the finding and opening up in the artwork of what breaks from memory, from history. Critical engagement seeks the discontinuity, the rupture with the past that reveals this actual present, or throws light into an expanding hinterland of potential futures. In the desire to make legible something outside of an “observation of memory”, something improbable and momentarily outside the layers of institutional framing, a critical engagement or interpretative encounter needs to apply maximum stress to the artwork.
Posted by john dummett at 01:40
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
The moment of interpretation, the space of reflection moves and the encounter extends beyond the confines of an actual physical proximity to the work. The live duration of interpretation continues as the event itself moves past in time, not into the site of forgetting, or into an archival space of documentation. To maintain the act of interpretation involves none of these sites. Interpretation continues to develop as the event rolls around in the spoil of un-witnessed events, the sparks of its passage into other spaces and times become legible as a second-hand communication, through the telling and re-telling of other conversations and discussions, relayed back to this site of interpretation through voice. The work has shifted momentarily into a video document, a recording capable of being repeatedly unwound as a technical spectacle, but the telling of this particular event is still different, it does not rest in seeing a projection of the workings of the black box of the camera. The vocal telling, is instead projection of the biological black box of the mind.
Posted by john dummett at 02:11
Friday, 21 October 2011
ventriloquism is a performance in which a trick is played, but it is a trick you knowingly accept. what is at issue in the ventriloquist's act is the performance of a specific skill; how much do their lips move and are we able to 'believe' that the puppet is alive. The acceptance of a trick, of a manipulative act on the sense and cognition of the viewer is important in many forms of entertainment or stage-craft. But in all of these staged situations it is known that a trick is being performed, the viewer accepts the contract of the stage with its sub-clause of manipulation. in most performances, theatrical or otherwise, the key element is technical skill, the virtuosity of the performer and their ability to captivate the viewer, to generate an emotional or aesthetic experience. unlike the magician, or the ventriloquist whose obvious trickery is part of the pleasure of their practice; theatre, cinema and most forms of performance (except those of a Brechtian leaning) seek to hide their illusion, the strategic manipulation of space, time and the viewing subject. this is a politics, a construction of the subject, in which free agency is negated or at least put on hold before the seductiveness of aesthetic pleasure.
how much can we choose what gives us pleasure, an innocent and maybe pointless question, but when asked from inside a consumer society it reveals the limits of agency and will. when we experience aesthetic pleasure we become the ventriloquist's dummy, unknowing of whose grammar is animating us.
Posted by john dummett at 00:52