[-empyre-] stepping out of the frame to play around
mcquire at unimelb.edu.au
Mon Jul 23 13:52:54 EST 2012
Hi Johannes, Sean, Karen and all
Lost this thread in the weekend, and, even though wk 4 has begun, didn't
want to leave it hanging.
Johannes Birringer" <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk> wrote:
"I wanted to just pause for a moment and ask about what kind of play you
have observed,how you evaluate or interpret it (again one might think here
of large screening projection works like Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Body Movies,
or even more popular seemingly wide-spreading events like the "Big Dance
Day" that Wayne McGregor organized via the internet on July 14),
and how we feel about the mass ornament today?"
These are great questions Johannes but way too big for me to do more than
sketch a response here. The stylization of the affective by regimes such as
the National Socialists in the 1930s was certainly one of the examples I was
thinking of in terms of the left abandoning affect and thereby leaving it to
the worst exploitations... (I agree that Kracauer's Mass Ornament, like
Benjamin's 'aestheticisation of politics' critique, remain vital in the
Nathalie Bookchin's 'mass ornament' video <http://vimeo.com/5403546> offers
a sense of how the sort of distributed individualism fostered by the culture
of web platforms such as youtube might intersect the ambivalent demands to
'express yourself' in the present. Not sure I read this work as an
'intimate part of a democratic drama' (review in the LA times), but see it
as more about the limits of contemporary exhortations for self-performance
I think Body Movies offers a number of pointers as to how things might
proceed otherwise. It involves a level of spontaneity, in the sense that
people often discover the interface unexpectedly and then proceed to learn
how it works through experimentation. There are diverse modalities of
engagement including observation of others and more direct forms of
participation. The work is not organised around turn-taking or competitive
scoring (the normal game paradigms) but is relatively open-ended.
Individuals are able to recognize their own contributions, but these are
always located in the broader context of a collective 'screenplay' (think of
this in the old sense as a collectively authored film). And engagement
depends on implication of the body in the scene, which limits the tendency
towards relating to the work as pure spectacle.
Finally, I agree it is not only about what scenarios we think the audience
might fulfil, but what people actually do (and don't do) in these contexts.
A brief aside to Sean
"In the scanned screen, completion is permanently held out as presence, and
permanently denied -- a dialectic of the unstable attept to construct a
Sounds a bit like the screen as desire in the Lacanian of lack?
Now to the beginning of a new semester of teaching...
On 21/07/12 5:55 AM, "Johannes Birringer" <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk>
> yes, i have no problems with the argument at all, Scott (regarding play).
> And I am of course interested (and try to engage) affective athleticisms
> or forces in multisensory environments we create or find ourselves in.
> These also can be transformative, although I'd be carefully questioning mass
> phenomena or massive/collective sensortiziations...
> My concern was how the "sensory" or the "play" in interface
> scenarios got validated and overvalued in recent interactive art and
> interactional design [discourses] in western display sectors, leaving the
> interactive turn (which i was excited about initially, admittedly, in
> terms of art practice, and then later on came to find severely limiting
> and red-herring-ish), and we were talking here about (screen and
> after-screen) interfaces and participatory imperatives in consumption-play-
> driven modalities).
> Thus, to remember the analyses of the apparatus posted here,
> or the imaginings of cloudy virtual data worlds seemingly ubiquitous or
> i wanted to just pause for a moment and ask about what kind of play you have
> how you evaluate or interpret it (again one might think here of large
> screening projection
> works like Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Body Movies, or even more popular seemingly
> events like the "Big Dance Day" that Wayne McGregor organized via the internet
> on July 14),
> and how we feel about the mass ornament today?
> Not too long ago, during a workshop at EMPAC in 2010, we worked a lot on
> and devising interfacial [computational] environments for audience
> interaction, and I remember
> staying up many nights to write a blog on the "social ritual" (Goffman)
> aspects imputed into such
> participatory designs – Goffman very interestingly spoke about
> inter-faciality and keeping/losing face
> in such social contexts – yet then I noticed that in the lab we spent
> probably most if not all of the time on
> programming and testing, not on asking ourselves why we wanted our "users" to
> do this or that,
> and how they responded or might respond, or not respond.
> with regards
> Johannes Birringer
> Scott Mcquire schreibt:
> Yes, play, like participation, is a term that is much used in the present,
> probably too much. And of course the conditions of play have been
> significantly transformed by its pervasive commodification in the digital
> But I'm not sure I want to surrender the term.
> Johannes asks: Why is there so much credit given to "playful" immersion?
> why is the sensory valued over the cognitive and pro-active political
> organization of behavior and decision making, interpretation, withdrawals,
> denials or choosing?
> For me, both modalities are important and necessary in any transformative
> project. One of the problems with traditional 'left' approaches to public
> space/public sphere was the tendency to ignore the affective and privilege
> the cognitive/rational (Habermas, etc). I was thinking more in Sennett's
> sense, where play involves the collective testing and renegotiation of
> social rules, both formal and informal, in the course of public encounters.
> I think we ignore the affective, sensory dimension of play -- which is the
> aesthetic ‹ to our own loss.
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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