[-empyre-] METAFORMANCE - Redefining Relationality --- continuation - POST 3

Jaime del Val jaimedelval at reverso.org
Tue Oct 25 21:29:57 EST 2011

METAFORMANCE - Redefining Relationality

Genealogies of perception: from proprioception to otherception

[continuation - POST 3]

Anatomy and control


Cartographies of the body have, within the best of humanistic traditions, fulfilled a number of reductionisms in our embodied experience.


It is stryking for instance that such broadly overwhleming and oppressive frameworks as sexual identities are derived from the reductionism and measurement of genital anatomies in the new born, which leads to the assignation of a binary sex or an intersexual status, whereby genitalia are classified according to their functionality within normative reproductive heterosexuality. 


This gives us just a faint idea how strongy human(istic) anatomy is shaping the social body, as theories on the Body Politic suggest. 


In order to map the body one must have an exterior perspective to it. What happens if we abolish that condition? What happens if in our experience the body becomes amorphous, and yet is still moving, alive and present? 


Presence vs. identity


Presence is not to be confounded with identity, much as though in information society it is. We may produce accounts of presence that do not rely on identity whatsoever. Indeed in our daily experience we go through many moments in which we don't operate through identity, we don't assume an exterior position. When we sit in front of the sea, or of a sunset, or wonder in the woods we don't identify, we get lost in the endless and amorphous movement of waves and clouds and leaves. (Unless we are an expeditionary scientist from some of our imperialistc journeys of discovery and conquest).


The relational body in metahumanism - metabodies


Metahumanism proposes an approach to embodied experiences in terms of their relationality, their inbetweenness, to understand reality and ouserlves, not as two independent entities, but as mutually contitutive and transformative relational processes, thus emphasising the meaning of "in betweenness" that the prefix Meta also had in ancient greek. In proposing the Metahumanist Manifesto, both Stefan Sorgner and I felt that this prefix was more to the point than the prefix post- since our point is in the relational, or starts there, leading into the amorphous.


Every technology is a relational technology, is articulating or setting to motion of modes of relationality. We have seen what modes of relationality cartesian technologies of information society puts into motion: exteriorities and borders hidden behind façades and rethorics of conectivity, that are the condition of possibility of identification and form as instruments of control.


The metabody is the relational body, one that is not located here or there, but is constantly moving in the relationality of forces and affects. Reality is thus an unquantifiable field of metabodies in changing and constitutive relation with one another.


Metamedia Metaformance - relational technologies


If we intervene in the modes of relationality being aware that this will transform us and that to which we relate - it will displace and eventually dissolve the identifying border -, we may work thorugh all of the given anatomies, cartographies and forms through which we usually structure our experience. 


This includes or starts with a reworking of our sensory apparatuses, the relational technologies par excellance. 


The process of reworking relationalities at different levels is what I call a metaformance, which exceeds the dualisms of spectacular control society, and goes beyond perspectivism to introduce immanentism: we are never exterior to that to which we relate, we are never exterior to the relationality itself.


Arguably some of the artworks that have been called performances could be understood in terms of metaformance, since they were reworking relationalities at different levels (of the body in its capabilities and potentials, of the relation to the audience, etc). Even the most apparently non-procedural works of art can be reviewed under this light. It is tragic in this sense that the notion of artistic object, so suitable to markets, has pervaded discourses on art for so long, while I am almost certain than many painters, for instance, have experienced their work as a neverending relational process.


Metaformance puts the relationailty in the forefront of investigation, though we could say, like Picasso, "Je ne cherche pas, je trouve", since the contingencies in metadiciplinary work are so great that we are often more imbricated in openning us a way amidst the jungle of things we encounter and have little time to look for other.


Metaformance is metamedia, since it operates in the conditions of possibility of media themselves not trying to define another fixed sensory anatomy, but in an endless amorphogenesis, where new potential media emerge.

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