[-empyre-] "(E)MOTION FREQUENCY deceleration"

sergio basbaum sbasbaum at gmail.com
Thu Oct 20 00:04:42 EST 2011

Hi Johannes, Michelle, Rodney, list,

(I love that Lennon's song. I think I have seen that Pipilotti Risk's
work in São Paulo,is it possible?)

I should start with a brief line about a suggested specificity of
"dancers and performers" territory. As Johannes commented, does this
makes sense at all? I mean,obviously there are questions related to
body, movement, context, etc... which are foregrounded in performance
and, as art practices, certainly performance and dance are strategies
that reach different poetic places. However, I've teached for 7
straight year in an undergraduate program at PUC-SP conceived as a
program for "Arts of the body" -- an interdisciplinary program,
preparing young actors, dancers and performers. The late Ranato Cohen,
with whom Johannes has worked, was my colleague there.

While teaching two courses each year, one dedicated to images, and a
second focused on the five senses (this last one being almost a TAZ,in
which many exquisite experiences took place, so that a strong link
remained between me and all students which took part on those
classes), I could see the extension by which the contact with the
conceptual density developed by cinema and visual arts opened for
those young -- some of them really amazing! -- artists directions of
research and poetic possibilities. They really found in there new food
for creation, as usually happens in interdiciplinary exchanging
contexts. Two of these former students of these classes are now in
Europe, maybe some of you have already heard,or will hear about them,
Veridiana Zurita and Maria Fernanda Toledo (this one is in London

Myself, having my first backgrounds in music and cinema (although
always connected with visual artists and their debates),I learned I
lot from working with these students, and I still work with some of
them. Recently, I've been invited to join a collective called "Nucleo
de Garagem" (Garage Nucleus), a group of four dancers who are working
with different improvising strategies in public spaces.So, I'm quite
familiar and almost confortable when dialoguing with artists from
performance and dance

Also, although I may be not accurate, but at least since Marcel
Duchamp's performances, performance art has always been close, if not
in a certain way a "branch" of a broader " visual-arts" field.

All this is not out of context, since it opens the landscape for
answering the questions raised by Johannes.

The first one concerns "spectatorship". In my PhD thesis, in which I
tried to formalize some ideas about perception in digital
environments, I felt challenged to discuss some of the changes from
modern to contemporary art contexts, and one of these changes concerns
the notion of spectatorship. (An influential reading for me was
Jonathan Crary's " Techniques of the observer" at these times). It
became clear to me that modern artists operated over very well defined
roles for "artist", "art-object" and " spectator", so that they could
explore these positions  to the limit, without ever really superseding
them. The passage from "modern" to "contemporary", thus, can be
described as the moment when this struture starts to be reconfigured.
The new context does not refuse these roles, but creates an opened
landscape in which each art-proposition creates also its own
spectator, that is, it drives its obeserver/participants to positions
specific of each artistic strategy: it proposes the way by which it
will best (or more completely) experienced.

Paradigmatic of these changes are Brazilian artistas now very well
known in Europe, Helio Oiticica and Lygia Clark: Oiticica's
"Parangolés", for example, probably the first "wearable" or "
dressable" art works,not only displaced the spactator from the
comfortable position of visually contemplating the art-work,but placed
this spectator inside an art-work which, for its turn, depended on
being dressed to happen as such. This was in 1969, long time ago. One
can draw a surprising straight line from these Parangolés to the
dressable works of Laura Lima, the "Me-You" workshops conduced by
Ricardo Basbaum or the dressable networks recently developed by the
young artist Claudio Bueno: a tradition of
dressable strategies, of cultural-skins used to provoke different
spectatorship displacements.

On the other hand, there's the question of the kind of spectatorship
related to digital environments. I use the word "technoaesthesis" (in
portuguese "tecnoestése"). Since I've already written quite a lot for
email debate, I just would like to point that perception is never
neutral, one never perceives an "objective world". Such
objectivity,aimed by science, does not exist for living experience.
This was first postulated by Meraleu-Ponty 70 years ago, but
contemporary authors in coginitive sciences, such as the late
Francisco Varela and Evan Thompson, for example, re-state this in new
ways. We're not "world-mirrors", we're "world-enactors", we enact our
circumstance, according to circumstance and our desires, actions and
goals. Thus, perception is the craddle of sense, it gives a world
always already invested with sense.

But perception is also culturally biased, and works from
anthopologists such as Constance Classen and David Howes show us that
this individual "enacting" of worlds happens inside the limits of
cultural patterns: each culture is a way of making meaning of the
world in which we perform our lives. Since perception is always
unfinished, incomplete and transitory, I've been using the expression
"peform toward meaning" to describe the way we perform our lives. Life
is performing towards meaning,we look for a life which makes sense for

Digital environments, as it has happened with any previous technology,
determine some aspects of our perception, thus of our ways of making
meaning of our world and lives. I briefly name some of these aspects:
(1) "omnicalculability" (that is: life present itself as fully
calculable), thus a heavy deamnd for productivity,efficiency,
precision, velocity,characteristic of contemporary life ; (2)
"hiperesthesia",or the deluge of infosensations (thus the epidemic
production of art-works which propose immersive envirnments of sound
and image), and thus the challenge of dealing with spectators which
are addicted to ceaseless techno-stimuli, and are looking for strong
sensations,otherwise they cannot  get involved; (3) "manipulability",
reality presenting itself as fully manipulable, given the simulation
capabilities offered by digital technologies; (4) the lightness of
information, as oposed to the density of our "real" bodies,so that the
body seems for some "obsolete" or "heavy" -- and also all heavy
structures inherited from modernity seem to be colapsing -- and,of
course, information is made to flow, so the control of informational
flow is perceived as a main source of power.

Contemporary artists, working or not with technological means,
have,thus to  deal with this new sensibility. It doesn't matter what
strategies they choose, they are adressing a public whose perception
is being shaped in an environment saturated with digial devices, and
it it thus not simple to make of them "spectators"  in the terms
envisioned by artistic propositions.

These are however, just ideas. Maybe too much.  I tried to address the
points raised by Johannes. I shall be more economic in my next

good vibes from Brazil


On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 6:57 PM, Johannes Birringer
<Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk> wrote:
> oh, it's always good to have inadvertent actors falling to the stage, or, as some might think in response to Gordana's posting on ritual interactive art,
> unsuspecting audiences are also most welcome even as they may not have empathy with the streaming naked realizations...
> , and I think this month as been a somewhat (to me at least) deliberate turn around from the sophisticated tourism to istanbul & isea.
> If you in fact thought that discussing motion/time is a prerogative of dancers, I'd think not so, but something pulled you towards Deleuze, not a bad dancer himself? why?
> Gordana, i think I need to qualify any rash comments on the exhibition I attended, should I've made them; i was actually trying to ask myself why
> i reacted negatively to the repetitive chord structure of the sound in Pipilotti Rist's immersive installation  "Lobe of the Lung."
> There was another work in the exhibition, "I am not the Girl who misses much",   which i enjoyed greatly, even though I nearly re-injured my back.
> The piece was presented in a wooden box, which stuck out the wall like an airplane bow, with one sharp end, and inside the broad end it had the screen;  you had to stand up, stick your head through a round hole,
> and then gaze/listen -  and there was blurry Pippilotti dancing " I am not the Girl who misses much" - the video sped up so that her woman's voice becomes a high girl's voice ------  slowed down it becomes a male voice or a synthetic voice like HAL's, dying (the "Mother" control computer in Stanley Kubrick's "Space Odyssey").  The video is sung by Pippolotti Rist, or "re-synced" to a track, well, you may know it, from the Beatles/John Lennon ("Love is a Warm Gun").
> A lovely piece, and I took time to watch it more than once.
> The taking time is the issue Claudia had addressed, as museum visitors and lurkers have to decide what to do with time.
> best
> Johannes
> ________________________________________
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of Rodney Berry [rodberry at gmail.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 9:17 PM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] "(E)MOTION FREQUENCY deceleration"
> Hi all! apologies for the last post. I was actually forwarding the one post - a bit out of context to some colleagues to lure them into the list but I was typing too fast with my palms on my laptop touchpad and somehow replied instead of forwarding.
> ... fallen from the balcony onto the stage and wondering what to say - I guess that's how we all become artists.
> and Sérgio, thanks for steering me into some Deleuze for breakfast :)
> Rod (red-faced lurker)
> On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 6:55 AM, Johannes Birringer <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk<mailto:Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk>> wrote:
> Hi Rod, welcome to this conversation;
> [and perhaps to clarify, this month's discussion is not about dance at all, but about time and how we think we exist]
> Thanks for your posting, Sérgio,
>  I suspect the speeding-up of our lives, the obession with interactivity and production by means of technological devices are stoping many
> people from experiencing important intelectual and aesthetic challenges and creating a generation of people addicted to to
> intensity and dellusive involvement of technological environments.
> could you speak a little bit more about your experience with immersive installations and sounding instruments?
> are you, following the passage you cited from Deleuze, associating immersion and the 'interactive/participatory" imperative
> with repression or coercion?
> what role plays 'understanding',  in spectatorship?
> moderately
> Johannes Birringer
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-- Prof. Dr. Sérgio Roclaw Basbaum
-- Vice-coord. Tecnologia e Mídias Digitais
-- Pós-Graduação Tec.da Inteligência e Design Digital - TIDD (PUC-SP)

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