[-empyre-] into what midst? which collective? whose imaginary space?

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Thu Apr 18 05:40:02 EST 2013

dear all

as i remember the first posting, vaguely, this month's discussion forum deals with >out of the midst: Deterritorialized Collaboration in Technological Spaces> and from the recent posts I gathered a strong
interest amongst the guests that Patrick had invited to discuss issues of collaboration and collective work, techniques of engagement (of participants) and as Andrew calls it -- " experimental gathering/scanning of environments/objects/people"
and the discussion departed from that dome, initially (and Brian gave us more to reflect on regarding domes). 

This forum seemed attractive and thought-provoking, and thus our conversation perhaps does reflect - Nathaniel, yes I agree, various kinds of shared affinities or if you like, modes of generosity, and I would include of course cultural workers and artists in many other locations, not just Furtherfield or SenseLab as organizations and as networks  (I looked at the SenseLab website and its affiliates and was amazed at how they are connected with so many others).  On a more humble level,
i cannot say that I have any of such experience connecting multitudes, or locally (in the event of "into the midst" or "Generating the Impossible"), propositional groups.  The philosophical language and the abstract terminologies (quotations, as just occasioned by Mayra Angélica's post which I had a bit of difficulty with) are vexing and of course really do challenge all of us here, so thank you for raising the questions you have raised so far, and the descriptions you have offered, the Parc ecvent did strike me as a very interesting instance of reflecting perhaps on how you work, and your "services" (as Nikolina and Sergej Pristaš would call them), but also your tools and expectations (in organization, if not in politics as you have not mentioned the latter). 

I did not feel confident entirely to introduce an eastern postcommunist perspective but it really does interest me now to reflect on my conversations in Zagreb with the small collective of BADco (the name in Croatian, Besimeno autorsko društvo, means 'Nameless Author's Society), especially on labor and ideology, dance and choreography/cinematography, and to understand more  -- perhaps in conversation with colleagues here -  about this notion of the "choreographic unconscious". So if there indeed is interest here, I shall be glad to give you links to the texts (in Croatian, German, some in translation), not all are available on line.   I happen to think these practices that they refer to could "attune" well with the propositions that you have to some extent set afloat here  -- and Mayra even goes so far as to speak of an unrigid atemporal (?) "self-organizing" & "constantly rescheduled"  (collective) event (?) and that made me wonder how a public space (street,  park, plaza) can get stimulated, how its self/organizing reschedules itself,  and how nearby the "gallery" or dome gets reloaded? 

here a quotation  from the BADco newspaper distributed at the Croatian pavilion during their exhibit of "Responsibility for Things Seen: Tales in Negative Space" (Venice Biennale, 2010):

> We've always had trouble with the kind of prescriptive opinion coming from certain curators or colleagues, which would dismiss any dancing that didn't function interpretively or conceptually.
Thus we've often heard stories about how there's too much dancing in our performances, or how our dancing is not clear enough (whatever that might mean). Like any other aspect of performance,
dance has always been a part of our poetics, but it's been differently instrumentalized, or alternatively, it would lose the function of the dominant frame and become noise, redundant, it would
just become labor, or an intensity, etc. It is also true that our conceiving of choreography is conditioned by historical thinking about it and so since dance is one of the forms of our work in performance,
we were interested not so much in what it means but how it works. And another reason to re-examine choreographic thinking in other spheres, be they media or social, is bound up with our need
to re-examine our relation to dance as labor today, when labor no longer necessarily results in manufactured material objects but rather - in services.> [Nikolina Pristaš interview with Marko Kostanić,
TKH [Journal for Performing Arts Theory] no. 18   “Dance/Theories Re-loaded,”   (December) 2010.

The links or references that I can think of thus are to TkH (Walking Theory), and the "Re-loaded" issue is available as a pdf file. 

The Croatian journal Frakcija's issue on "Artistic Labor in the Age of Austerity"  (no 60/61, zima 2011/12)  is not online. 
I refered to essays in it by Goran Sergej Pristaš and Ana Vujanović. 

Frabcija cooperates well with the Slovenian journal Maska, and in 2010 Maska collaborated with CORPUS in a special issue on "Doubles and their Bodies", and here one remarkable and often discussed essay is by Boyan Manchev, 
"The Resistance of Dance."    I take up a little bit of this whole discussion in my recent "Gesture and Politics" (VLAK 2012, Czech Republic) where i talk about the kind of futilities that I  to a certain extent see in the presumed radicality of the
collective "affinities" described in some of the earlier postings this month, and Manchev can be accessed in various languages: “La Résistance de la danse,” Mouvement  47 (2008);  English/Slovene version: “Odpor plesa/The Resistance of Dance,” Maska 25 (2010), pp. 9-19 / german version and other texts on the precarity/labor discussion are on my small lab website of Interaktionslabor, if you go to the Theorie page of the 2011 lab:  http://interaktionslabor.de/lab11/index.htm

Marko Kostanić, "The Choreographic Unconscious"  was published in the program notes of a recent BADco performance and thus is addressed to the dance "Semi-Interpretations, or Or how to explain contemporary dance to an undead hare" (2010, and this addressing I find quite wonderful as the choreographer, in an interview printed in the same program brochure, also shares/readdresses her notes with us the audience and mentions their conceot of a "side position" - which i think speaks to the into the "midst project."  I shall share these two texts that i transribed in the next pst with you, as they are not otherwise accessible unless you witnessed the dance. 

On the matter of immaterial labor and precarity, I'd reference:

Maurizio Lazzarato, "Immaterial Labor" (1996), available at:   http://www.generation-online.org/c/fcimmateriallabour3.htm
Paolo Virno,"A Grammar of the Multitude: For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms of Life" trans. 
Isabella Bertoletti,
 James Cascaito
, Andrea Casson (New York: Semiotext(e), 2004), available at: http://www.generation-online.org/c/fcmultitude3.htm;

Paolo Virno, “Virtuosisty and Revolution” (2003), available at: http://www.makeworlds.org/node/view/34 

but also Boyan Manchev again on 
"Vermögen, Ausbeutung und Widerstand der Subjekt-Körper:  Für eine transversale Veränderung" (Übersetzt von Stefan Nowotny). available at:   http://eipcp.net/transversal/0811/manchev/de

So my question basically was directed as a question addressed to the political / choreographic unconscious of what Erin called "attempt to create situations where philosophy is both practiced and formed" - in a public Parc
or a SAT Dome or in-between?

Since -  like many others - I also work in a small lab/ensemble (we make dance work but we don't only do postchoreography), I am interested in how others make their work work, and produce.  I think i am very much still adhering to manufacture, and I know many who also worry about the materialities of our/their work, and yet, a colleague of mine, Olu Taiwo, a fabulous dancer and drummer, someone with whom I've had many endless debates about the "post-choreographic",  just sent me notes from other streets (involving as you can tell, an African & spiritiual perspective

"I have currently been working in Europe on the reference framework SAWA, a
European network of street art practitioner and educators, which is proving
very interesting. The nature of the performances that I am working on at the
moment is situated somewhere between playing music and a subtle flash mob
with animation, installation and performance. The performances are not
'theatrical' as defined as performing a play for an invited audience;
however, it does employ 'theatrical elements' in so far as I am interested
in impromptu performances where various act, devised by the
performer-artist, occur in site specific areas with a view to stimulating,
entertaining and provoking a passing public. There is something about public
places that I have always been interested in. 

So the plan now is to bring the post-choreographic strategic aesthetic to the street. The translation
and reinterpretation of the Ifá is gathering pace. This is bearing fruit in
that each verse in the Odùs reveals a poetic formula related to that Odù."  (04/14/2013)

with regards
Johannes Birringer
dap-lab / interaktionslabor

[ Nathaniel  schreibt]
I have to admit I kind of like this free radical bit, with only a few provocations now and again...

Anyhow, while I'm unfamiliar with the Kostanic essay (perhaps you'd like to make a case here so we can all be on the same page?), I believe that while their techniques and practices are quite different, the modes of generosity that are inhabited by both Furtherfield and The Sense Lab are not that different (I am very active with both groups). Of course all on this list understand that neoliberalism (etc) poses a threat to the now widely recognized malleability of bodies and identities, being and becoming. And where groups like Furtherfield critique exploitation, an opposition if you will, The Sense Lab explores becoming otherwise, a proposition. Both are absolutely vital to [insert too many words to begin listing here].

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