[-empyre-] swarms, task envelopes, trajectories and displacements...

Cull, Laura lkc202 at exeter.ac.uk
Tue May 19 02:05:58 EST 2009

Hi all,

I agree with the implication here that not all forms that appear to be emergent are truly emergent (that is organised from the bottom-up rather than from the top-down), but also with complicating any kind of Manichean distinction that would automatically see the flash mob, for example, as "good" and the solo artist as "bad". Evaluation, clearly, of practices and concepts is much trickier... This was part of what I understood Stamatia to be doing when she was embracing the notion of "code" - or, at least, undoing any moral distinction between "code" and the spontaneous, rationality and sensation etc. If "critical" is the value term here - it's the motion practice we want to support and make in contrast, presumably, to the 'uncritical', then I don't think we can lay out any guidelines for what that practice looks like (techno/live; solo/collaborative), only perhaps, for how it works - how it uses performance / bodies / space / time and so forth.

My own “way into” technology perhaps largely follows that of Deleuze insofar as it begins from an interest in the inhuman perception of movement of the various kinds of camera eye or sensor; an interest in what different technologies can see that ‘we’ cannot and the capacity of these technologies, therefore, to remind us of the multiplicity of actualities that make up the present. 

However, I think so-called 'live' performance can do this too - and I'm particularly interested in the work of Goat Island in this regard (http://www.goatislandperformance.org/) . Stamatia framed her interest in techno-choreographic practice partly with reference to the capacity of these practices to “re-formulate some very general, basic paradigms about human movement and perception”. And indeed, much of my interest in the critical motion practice of Goat Island stems from an encounter with this very same power: of their slowness and stillness, for instance, to recalibrate our perception of durations - to slow down our thinking and perceiving. I also liked very much Micha’s reference to Boal’s idea that “by moving in new ways we may learn to think in new ways” - and again, I think this is pertinent to Goat Island, who enter into becomings with their source materials - imitating other dancers ways of moving, historical figures' speeds and rhythms of speech in order to transform their own relations to time. 

I also wanted to share with you their definition of the critical and its relation to the creative that I have found helpful. I wonder how it compares/contrasts to the definitions of others - what is it to be critical?:

"We want to keep the creative mind engaged as we engage the critical mind. Critical does not mean negative. It means discerning, or able to separate into parts. Whatever we look at, the spot upon which we focus our energy seems to proliferate. If we focus on a problem, we start to see problems everywhere. We become one who is defined by the perception of the proliferation of problems. Because of this approach, the creative mind often seems to shut down when critical discourse starts. If we focus on a miraculous moment instead, we start to see miraculous moments everywhere. We become one who is defined by the perception of the proliferation of miracles. Try the second of these approaches. Think of a creative response as your own work that would not have existed without the work you are responding to. Start with the most obvious miraculous moment that you see in the work. What is obvious to you may not be obvious to anybody else. You may have an association with that moment. You may want to echo it, multiply it, or work from it in some other way. Work out from that moment. The moment may have been intentional or accidental. Instead of a moment, your starting point might be a structural element, a visual element, a spatial element – anything. We want to destabilize the boundaries between critical modes and the creative modes in order to enrich them both".

Sorry for the fragmented nature of these posts - I hope more coherence might emerge in due course.


 PS. What is a task envelope?

From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of Johannes Birringer [Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk]
Sent: Monday, May 18, 2009 3:53 PM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] swarms, task envelopes, trajectories and displacements...

dear all:

thanks to our moderators for their generous invitation to participate.

If it's all right, I won't wish to speak about my own work at the minute, but wait a bit,
there is still time & space needed for response to what was said earlier,
and what Laura Cull has now set in motion.

Indifference is necessary for an
erasure of agency at the critical moment that allows a coupling.
This  coupling can result in Chimeric Flesh.

We are fascinated by the diverse locomotion of living things, of the
flocking behavior of birds and the swarming behavior of insects
>> [ Stelarc]

In december of 2008 i did a 365 hour performance in mixed reality called
Becoming Dragon, in which i used a motion capture system and wore a hear
mounted display so that i could be immersed in Second Life for the entire
duration.....one of the main explorations was to see
if one could learn the new movement required for a new identity using
virtual worlds...

In this way, I find the notion of indifference to movement difficult, as
in my experience movement is always closely tied to desire and affect. In
fact, considering the practice of Theater of the Oppressed, and the
trajectories of feminism and cyberfeminism, it seems that learning not to
be indifferent to movement is critical, learning to listen to the body. In
my experience as a transgender person, it has taken me years of work to
learn to allow my own desires to exist and that has come through listening
to myself and exploring my own body and movement and desires and affect.
>>  [Micha Cardénas]

so i want to extend greetings to the borderlands hacklab, and all the

it was  pointed out to us  [by Reggie Cortez Woolery] that mobs are not auto-poietic
but can be used to do another body's bidding, inflicting violence upon real people.

perhaps the dialectical positions (<<above>>) could be addressed, to get a stronger
grip on the political assumptions underlying the notion of task envelopes.  It would
also perhaps be fruitful to think about the collaborative practices addressed,
both artistically and academically/discursively (research practices), in their
relations to soloism and the position of solo user (say, someone visiting the data
base interface of Synchronous Objects), and the conceptual position of imploded singularities.

for Dragon, i found i small haiku, written by the Japanese poet Basho:

Furu ike ya!
Kawazu tobikomu
Mizu no oto

The old pond
A frog jumps in
The sound of water


with regards
Johannes Birringer
Dap-Lab/dans sans joux

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