[-empyre-] critical motion nowhere and everywhere at some time

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Mon May 18 09:34:38 EST 2009

dear Deborah, dear all

may I return for a moment to a mail you, Deborah,  sent me about “tank man tango”, in response to my question regarding its address


It's a memorial- my greatest hopes for it are that it brings life to the past, recollectivises a lone hero figure, and gives people a way to participate in culture and history at once. >>

<<from the forget2forget site:
June 4 is the 20th anniversary of the massacre of protestors at Tiananmen Square. You are invited to participate in a memorial made of dancing bodies in cities around the world. Tank Man Tango will be an echo across time and space, multiplied against forgetting; an image, a public participatory performance; an enduring archive.>>

that makes your intention clear, i think, sorry i didn't realize it at first.

I think it's a very interesting project (against forgetting, creating echoes) and I am partially fascinated to ponder what such a memorial or remembering might mean

and whether here, in this particular context of our discussion (after Stelarc joined and wrote his provocative posts about involuntary movement & accidents) 
it manifests a small kind of intervention (practice) of a different kind, what kind?  

 a movement (to be filmed/uploaded, remote-sensed, distributed)?

a distributed critical motion? or a distributed futile gesture  (as I always considered Francis Alÿs' action piece, performed by hundreds in the Peruvian mountains -- Cuando La Fe Mueve Montañas  -   a completely futile, if beautiful and aggravating gesture,  one that others -  curators mainly - have refered to as having a "politics of rehearsal"........... (http://hammer.ucla.edu/exhibitions/detail/exhibition_id/88)

what are such politics (in the artistic contexts,  the activist contexts, the YouTube contexts")? And is the claim that “things now move too” in its connection to “Indifference is necessary for an  erasure of agency at the critical moment that allows a coupling” a political statement or a an apolitical disaster (abandoning the notion of agency)?

a movement ?  (tank man tango ---  the notion of a tango again mixing up the cultural references a bit where it becomes confusing)   

expressed in this way, as a dance or an action shared with many others

... I had occasion to review the fantastic work of a Peruvian photographer (Fernando Castro)once, in a gallery in Houston where I haved lived most of my recent life, this was about 10 years ago, and he had done fine-grained and complex studies of this one iconic photo of the man in front of tanks at Tiananmen Square and then reshot new "scenes" with actors and tanks, it was a haunting study of the confrontation of a single human (with agency) against the power of an implaccable state military machine  (and as I grew up in the 60s, I remember the Prag Spring in 1968 of course and the tanks rolling into Prag and the people there trying to stop them with flowers, which did not work).

then again, what is Tiananmen to you, Deborah,  or to the Chinese citizens or the  Chinese artists today or choreographers, photographers and video artists and 
(“organs in excess” - how would I address them, include them in this conversation, Stelarc?).  I agree with you that “Unexpected  kinds of bodily trajectories have been generated”, but my memory is still my own, and my critical aliveness (if so) is not helped or “enriched by the seductive, smooth and speedy motion of machines”.

I again want to thank Ashley for her retelling of her experience in the Kentridge exhibition, to which I will return next week. I much enjoyed Erin's account of the blue tag game in Viger Square garden/downtown Montréal I also thank Norah for inviting me to look at counterpoint tools. 


I found it very hard to participate, I need to spend more time trying to understand the tool and the underlying philosophy for the creation of the synchrononous objects. 

This makes we wonder also about the gestures that were used last week and before (“Cuando La Fe Mueve Montañas”)

  about collaboration, participation, learning. Synchronous Objects is meant to be a teaching tool as well?  Is this what Emio Greco / PC's Double Skin/Double Min and “Capturing Intention” project is about, also?  To share with many audiences the principles of composition, making, moving, understanding. (http://www.dancebooks.co.uk/titles/5343.asp)

How is movement composition thus shared non-indifferently?

and how do you/we recall 1989?

(for me it was the autumn when the Berlin Wall came down, the autumn of openings, not closings, a paradox of course in the global constellations (the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 exactly on the days when I was filming in Prag, i had traveled eastwards , since 1990, from the border-line/wall-line in Berlin, slowly and methodically trying to make my way across the eastern sides i did not know, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia. some of these countries or imaginary communities no longer exist.  On my video tapes, many traces of people I met and worked with or spoke to).


with many regards

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