[-empyre-] say what: what language should OCCUPY speak?
swht at clear.net.nz
Sun Nov 13 09:21:49 EST 2011
What struck me first about Occupy Wall St. were its theatrical
possibilities. Then I heard about the chorus effect. Because authorities
prohibited the use of PAs and megaphones, machinic amplification of the
voice, principals mounting addresses to the crowd had their voices
crowd-machined, vocal migrancy: the front rows, whatever percentage they
are - a forum? or form of chorus? -, repeated each phrase so that the
people at the back could hear. What was being said was more clearly that
all will be heard despite the efforts of city authorities and rather
than that any particular message that all manner of things will be heard.
Might one see, I am still following Guattari here, OCCUPY as a refrain?
The definition of a functional space?
In tribal societies this definition occurs through dance, rhythm, chant,
tattoo. Enacted. And bodied forth in time.
In New York as in Auckland the refrain becomes the theatre of property,
of appropriation. Props to the occupation for taking up property.
What detaches in the refrain is the world, but a world taken-with, a
mobile property - evading the grid of proprietary exploitative relations
or homogenizing network of practices -, a partial subject caught up in a
nomadisation of space: an aesthetic emergence, the demands of which are
none other than those of durational performance. For as long as
possible. (Or topic of time a trope of space from last month's soft_skin
as slow as <http://www.john-cage.halberstadt.de/>.) (OCCUPY might also
be called ectopian and perhaps sidestep the charge of colonialism, a
charge seeming inevitable given as the land is not ours.)
Interesting to read Adam Curtis in regard to OCCUPY (here
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2011/10/dream_on.html>), where he
looks for a political vision - Tournier's, actually, after telling his
story of repeated betrayals of visions because they are just ideas - to
the point even the history of betrayal is exhausted -, where he looks
for a political alternative, OCCUPY is a functional imperative. Actually
performs this imperative. Durationally. With the potential for
exhaustion - or consubstantial with the void - such as described by
Deleuze in Beckett's plays for TV.
These descriptions may serve, it's not impossible, as indexes to the
languages of OCCUPY:
1. form exhaustive series of things
2. dry up the flow of voices
3. extenuate the potentialities of space
4. dissipate the power of the image
Because we are tired of things, what things? Let me tell you. Because we
are tired of not being seen, say what? ... Because we are tired of where
we are placed, where? Place may migrate. Because we are tired of
spectacle, see? And the voice migrates.
A friend visiting OWS notes a change. The number of homeless in the park
has increased in proportion to protesters. The tone of the refrain has
also altered, from a come hither to a more familiarly urban fuck off.
The spectacular aspect has changed with the spatial: the homeless more
jealously guard not so much their territories as the byways and paths
circulating amongst them, between tents; the footpaths too around the
park are now no place for performance. My friend has been visiting
regularly to engage people who happen to be around in Urban Play, a form
that has emerged from his Creative-Therapeutic practice (Urban Play
He was accused of performance art.
I am waiting for myself to add that the tone may alter, even sour, but
the refrain continues. And I want to drag this peroration back to the
prop in hand. It insists - with the void. So I will ask:
The financial crisis allegedly has affected different national economies
in different ways. What then are the differences? And do these
differences relate to others closer to the month's discussion, to the
art problem? Are there refrains here? Resonances?
I wonder if I ought to have been rebuked for talking about 1984 in New
Zealand. Or is what we are witnessing, victimised if not quite
traumatised by, now a dark precursor to a new dispensation, a new
thought, or neoliberalism's after-image dying in the light?
Was it just ideas? or were we simply playing?
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