[-empyre-] installation / enveloping environments and sedimentation

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Mon Oct 24 03:06:39 EST 2011

In the last few days, posts contributed by you all have made the initial "contact improvisation" originating in a transcultural 'choreolab'  (evoked and described by Michael Weiss in the first week, and expanded by some of the physical workshop's participants) inevitably more complicated and complex. How to thread these threads?

Mine Kaylan created a beautiful and (to me) very convincing image when she spoke of learning contact improvisation – from a teacher and within a group practicing it together:
>>I still know and practice (though not always physically), how to give and take weight and turn myself, or the other, on their head, supported and safe.>>

this kind of turning to each other is difficult, I surmise, when we discuss matters over the internet, and yet, just thinking of Nilüfer's story of working in a kitchen, I sense how threads connect with each other, how Sérgio's concerns with "calculability" of affect and sense perception  (and his notion of "performing towards meaning") counterpoints well with Gordana's description of "Fugue" and the recent posts by Jaime, Atau, and Scott on possible or not-so-likely possible decelerations. 

Atau writes:
I was hoping to catch on butoh and performance from the first week, since I'm better equipped to talk about gigs than about galleries. But it's interesting what the installation discussion has triggered off.

Embodiment, synaesthesia, interaction, or crappiness of SGI-ness of it, we're talking about several things at once, hoping somehow to universalize somehow a synthetic view. But as we probably all have encountered over (accelerated) time, there's no simple answer to any of this, and analytically characterising some of the percepts we work with creatively (perhaps differently across dance, music, installation art) might lend insight to be shared.

Atau's critique, first of a meandering imprecision of our terms, and then of the pressures of version-updating experienced in his performances  (as well the pressures of product enhancement/output enhancement and, quoting Mine again, "impact delivery"), includes an important point about sustained, decelerated practice time - the time it takes to be/live and work with the instrument.

This is what I take Mine to mean by the "slow fuse" of transformational experience (and the sedimentation of learning, and of memory evoked by Sonja in her post on learning through the skin (of public space). 

Scott evokes the skin of our bodies, too ("What is skin when it is neither discovered in time nor explored in space?), then surprising us with a rhetorical pirouette: 

>>What is troubling is that there really isn’t any such thing as a culture when we are talking about speed-up and digitalization>>

One might argue that cultural practices of course always exist and continue to be sustained (if not entirely fate-mapped) or relationally expanded/modified, even as you seem to argue that some (medically or psychosomatically) necessary decelerations are not taking place, amongst the 'affective athleticisms' (this is Artaud's term for an efficacious and cruelly necessary metaphysics) in our advancing tribal/global cultures......I'd like to throw this back to Olu Taiwo and anyone who has posted on creative culture-practice (under current conditions of perverse capitalism), 

.. and repeat Nilüfer's incisive question:  "who are I/we to talk about decelerating culturally or anything about society and culture?"

Johannes Birringer

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