[-empyre-] incompatible research practices - week 03 - feedback & control // language & curating

I. J. jucanioana_b at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 21 08:04:01 EST 2012

Thank you, Gabriel, for
inviting me, and to all contributors for still having me despite the
Having just read Lasse and
Magda’s posts, I think there might be some fruitful intersections (and
“in/compatibilities”) between us.
By way of introduction, I
will say a few words about the research and performance project I am currently
working on. This project has grown around some issues on which I presented at
the  reSource “in/compatible”
workshop in November. In brief, I am interested in exploring the human-nature interaction and the relation between nature and
technology today, as well as the role of reason and affect in the negotiation
of these relations (I do want to hold on to the notion of “reason,” but I
recognize that it needs to be reconceptualized for me to be able to do work
with it). I think that one way to go about this (figuring out the role of
reason and affect in the negotiation of these relations) is to turn to the
notion of an experience of thought (a sort of embodied understanding; a thought
experiment + the body) – a concept that I have been thinking about but have yet
to develop. (I feel that I might be crossing paths with Lasse with my interest
in what I term “an experience of thought,” particularly as regards his question:
can moving a "mouse" on a table and pressing a finger onto that mouse
while watching apparent motion on a computer screen be experienced as one
integrated action: clicking on something?”). 
Relatedly, I am interested in the
question of the radical potential of myth and myth-making today, and of the
possibility for a certain cross-fertilization between the natural and the
technological through myth. I understand myth along the lines of what Ricardo
Dominguez terms “the mythopoetic:” the opening of a space that allows one to createrituals of understanding around the social space,around pervasive epistemological-ontological constructs;a meta-space for transmissionwhere
conversation and experimentation can happen. One avenue of thinking about this
network of connections developed around myth is that of a conceptualization of
nature in terms of transformation, of change, of that which is slightly ahead
of us, rather than as some kind of definite entity to be preserved (at stake
here is a coming undone of the traditional nature-technology dichotomy to which
I referred in my contribution to the “in/compatible” workshop). Key to this
approach is acknowledging that new mechanisms of action-reaction (feedback, if
you will) have emerged with recent technological developments, as well as
trying to figure out what these mechanisms could be. 
As I mentioned earlier, my interests are
now taking (artistic) shape in my current project, which is called
“Techno-Mythologies.” This is a collaboration with poet
Robert Snyderman (http://www.thecorrespondingsociety.com/robertsnyderman).
This past fall, Robert and I have had a series of theoretical conversations on
our topic of interest (the relation between nature and technology today). In
parallel, each of us worked on developing a play materializing in artistic form
our different positions towards this topic (Robert's play is entitled
"Voice Graffiti;" mine, "The Deaths of Pan"). Robert and I are
now staging our plays (separately) and presenting them together in a performance-installation
(we are working with visual artists: our shared set consists of paintings and
sculptures that, in a way, re-create nature). 
Documentation of the project is available here: http://technomyth.wordpress.com/. (* below is a brief description of The Deaths of Pan)
Some challenges I am
facing in my attempt to move across different disciplines (theatre and
performance studies; philosophy; media studies), and between theory and
practice in my academic and artistic work are:
How can I embody and live what
I theorize, without letting it close down my possibilities of experiencing? How
can I make of my performance-making practice a learning experience (that
materializes in some kind of knowledge acquisition or understanding) rather
than an application of the theoretical outcomes of my research? (How) am I to
justify my art practice in relation to my theoretical research and demonstrate its
relevance to the latter? (this question matters because mine is a
theory-focused PhD; its outcome will be a dissertation)
I would also have some other
thoughts about the relations and in/compatibilities between research and art practice
in my case, but I’ll stop for now for fear that this post is already too long.
I hope these thoughts will
generate some discussion.
Best wishes,
* The Deaths
of Pan is a one-hour performance that invites
its audience to a thought-experiment: what has become of our memory now that we
are increasingly relying on technological devices to remember for us, and what
has become of our relationship to nature now that we increasingly live our
lives in artificial and virtual worlds? Are we beginning to experience an acute
nostalgia for what we now grow to realize is a life to which we no longer have
access (a life of simplicity, in so-called “harmony” with nature)? 
Built around the myth of the mortal god
of nature Pan (whose name is at the root of the word “panic”) and the nymph
Echo, this thought-experiment is presented through the metaphor of a love story
– “an anxious sudden intimacy worked out as a practical relationship – that
devolves through jealousy and alienation” (in Erik Ehn’s reading of the play). The Deaths of Pan traces Pan and Echo’s
journey together (or, rather, together apart), in a meditation on the
human-nature interaction and the relation between nature and technology today.

 From: Gabriel Menotti <gabriel.menotti at gmail.com>
To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au> 
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2012 2:05 AM
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] incompatible research practices - week 03 - feedback & control // language & curating
Hello again!

I'm happy to say that Ioana Jucan, who could not participate last
week, is also contributing to this one.

Welcome, Ioana!

empyre forum
empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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