[-empyre-] the will to escape identities (and the taboo of destroying property)

Gabriel Menotti gabriel.menotti at gmail.com
Thu Feb 16 21:51:11 EST 2012


> It might seem strange that i'm interested in escaping
>identity when this current work is so heavily routed
>in identity politics. There are two primary responses
>to this.  First, I feel that you have to work through
>identity in order to escape it. [Marie Thompson]

Actually, there is a peculiar resonance between this (let’s say)
political strategy and your poetic interests, if we consider another
divide besides the noise-silence one: the separation between noise and
language (or signal).

Some people involved with particularly creative practices (writer
Clarice Lispector and Picasso are two that come to mind, but I’m sure
there are other examples) have posited that in order to overcome
(abandon) grammar/rules, they must be first mastered.

In that sense, the way to get to the undefined seems to be through a
highly-defined territory. Regardless of superficial impressions, noise
(the awkward prose, the convoluted drawing) would not be something
prior to the structure of language, but something that is beyond (or
in spite of) it. (Maybe as a result of linguistic saturation, which
makes language become the unwanted/rejected?)

(This might take us back to the issue of assessment, and parents
pointing to modern art and saying that their kids could do better.
Would this be a good or a bad thing to Picasso, who once declared that
it took him a lifetime paint like a child?)

In any case, Marie, I was wondering if you feel that this active
reaction to rules/canons plays any role in your musical work or

>So I guess there is also the question of do I have a
>responsible to create certain sounds that don't risk
>equipment? (I appreciate this isn't the most interesting
> question, and I feel that its been asked a lot of times...) [MT]

Or maybe it is *the* most interesting question, as it points towards
boundaries that *seem* unshakeable. But why? Bruno Latour once
mentioned how highly political is the definition of materiality, and I
believe this could be extended to such claims about the
infrastructural limits available to action, thus throwing open
dynamics of ownership and authorisation.

Besides the *equipment*, what else is under threat? The room’s
electric installations? The artist’s voice and reputation? The
audience’s amusement and inner eardrums? Someone’s job? Social and
economic contracts?

Among all the possible risks, why is the destruction of property still
the strongest taboo?

> Of particular interest to me has been the noise of
>neighbours. A number of participants have commented
>on missing the sounds of their neighbours, when they
>have been (forcibly) relocated to ‘better’ housing with
>thicker walls.  [MT]

Fascinating study! Besides this relation between noise and presence,
it suggests how noise seems to be in-between public and private
communication, softening their boundaries.

Would it be possible to understand gossip through a similar logic,
especially when it acts as a form of social engineering that modulates
institutional and personal regimes (often, in the most perverse ways)?

>I felt myself lucky to participate in a performance
>'going fragile', involving Mattin and other contributors
> to Noise and Capitalism. […] It seemed as if people
> ('audience') couldn't bear the silence and the absolutely
>(radically) open structure of this collaboration. [Magnus Lawrie]

Annoyed audiences always get me curious, Magnus. =) Could you please
bring more details about the performance?


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