[-empyre-] crowd and sacrifice

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Sat Jun 1 04:28:36 EST 2013

what an intense and brilliant piece of analysis you shared with us, Simon,
you make me smile thank you. really. (and i now reread slowly, as your maddening
writing takes time to visualize, as i am glancing and warping one eye to the left side, 
where i play "Happy Evil Friends" (Portugal.The Man), your chosen foreground music in your home of your malevichworld (http://squarewhiteworld.com/)

i agree with you there is something, out of the midst or into it, if you like, that
does not need to be worried about , you do it and I do it and it can be left alone.
techniques are natural.  some are crafty. 

what has been "naturalized" in some of the discussions here is what you
rightly criticize at the end, namely the en vogue politically or otherwise
correct bashing of the ass holes (and fascists, what, the Unabomber and Anders
Breivik? and all the other fucked up individualists?). Funny that the Portugal Man's quoting
or making fun of Pussy Riot, visually,  one-eyed..  (the riot grrrls, sacrificed, mentioned by Zach, daringly, alongside
nosotros somos Marcos [really, though?] and the theoretically beautiful
but of course immediately contradicted (by Zach himself) aesthetics
of failure, out of the midst and exploded, the molecules flying around
and accelerated they do them well at Cern (the atoms), they found god,
nothing natural there either, but they are tracking the bang and the dark
matter that Helen Sloan tried to defend in her post on the Venetian thing
("Deller's British pavilion strikes a combative note") in the Netbehavior.
["Unfortunately I suspect  that art no longer occupies the Zone of Urgency"]
Marc, you were the one who brought up the dark matters -- please expand here?

So failure is the new thing on the block, have there surely been academic conferences
called? special issues published (I think so, in Performance Research?
vol, 17, 2012?) -  ¿la pedagogía del fracaso? 
Zach how do the failed gestures self-consciously gesture at the political reality,
"in the midst of global, obsessive drives to standardize how human presence is calculated, parsed, 
and interpreted by technologies".... ?

No,  you couldn't wear the one colored mask at the border checkpoint
(and I remember Ana referring us to some checkpoints in Westjordanland that are
probably  more horrific & surreal than the US immigration, or the Canada questionnaire
-- "why are you coming here"?  ) and yet, Ana, why do you keep referring us to the occupied
territories, these are not the only regions where activism & collaboration have largely failed?
where there is a problem with food, and with justice?

you are a reminder, I take it, to look the political in the faces?

Please expand on your provocative thought: "the conception of the beggars, is a key concept to understand sharing as a ground for all exchange and for all culture"
- how did it work in Cecilia's and your case, showing becoming beggar? 

yes, why does anyone want to come here to collaborate? Positive collective transformation
would be a necessity under certain conditions, under fascism as under current late captalism, 
as Simon answers Zach, where "where there is threat, certainly, but also where there is opportunity to advance the 
human project or improve the human condition" except that the latter is not
agreed upon nor unanimous and so naturalization or biometrics are quite complex poltical

I remember, a few months ago in a theatre workshop I helped to organize ("Theatre and Resonant Politics", http://people.brunel.ac.uk/dap/artaudforum.html),
one of the artists present, Luis Sotelo, created a performance with local immigrants from the east side who 
stood up, at one point, in our theatre of the oppressed (just joking), and gave testimony to being successfully accepted into
the mass in the UK, some not very specified social assemblage of migrant workers or immigrant
refugees or virtuosos (still trying to understand what exactly Virno and Lazzarato are after,
after the alienated subjectivities are replaced my multitudes of immaterial laborers), queering
the notion of home and homeland....

"A Citizenship Ceremony with a difference... performative archaeology of Colombian migration into London",
this is what Luis called the workshop, as this performance was participatory, ceremonial? we the listeners
were meant to function as witnesses to integration and so the evening was haunting (the
stories told) and also infuriatingly embarrassing, as I do not think (as Cecilia does) that "sharing is caring"  to the extent
that you could imagine (from the privileged position of the ass holes) that presenting the successful sacrifice
was anything I could have collaborated with or would agree with. 

I did not agree with the way the stories were asked by the facilitator to be told, as a kind of rite of spring, and we hold our hands
and feel empathy, catharsis.   

Oh, the discussion on false (?) catharsis, Simon, would need to be expansive.

Johannes Birringer

[Simon schreibt]

Unlike Zach, I am interested in the naturalisation of collaboration.
It's wonderful that Ana can give collaboration a prehistory in human
nature and for Johannes to ask her about it in Spanish.

The necessity that came up before about which I was maddening and
paradoxical comes from outside collaboration. When collaboration becomes
its own necessity it has no object.

Providing collaboration - as state or process - with a ground in nature
- human or non-human - works both ways. Because collaboration is natural
it can simply be - and become - without anything further said about it.
But the nature naturalising specifically human collaboration contains
certain presumptions, a context or system in which natural forces are in
play. Collaboration becomes necessary under certain conditions, where
there is threat, certainly, but also where there is opportunity to
advance the human project or improve the human condition.

In the second case, the collective takes on the necessity for
collaboration itself as a cause or object of critical action, one over
which there already exists some sort of unnatural consensus. The
collective agrees on mass - en masse - action.

Already, it's easy to see that at a certain crowd mentality surpasses
the process of forming a consensus, which is where the collaboration in
this case occurs. What follows is unanimous violence exactly of the sort
Zach evokes as being perpetrated against individual difference. Of
course it is on a different level to threat from an outside, but perhaps
returns to this first case, of natural humanity facing off against
outside threat through group anonymity: anonymity because you don't want
to be the one, the straggler, the victim, whose name or number comes up
in a confrontation with a natural threat, a big cat - or a big boss.

The individual gains advantage from joining with the group and becoming
one big animal to scare off animals individually better equipped for
survival. If this is the natural grounds of human sociality,
collaboration is necessary as long as there is perceived danger.
Convincing people of obscure and omnipresent danger is a matter for
politics, either collaborative, in the sense of developing a consensus,
or a matter of instilling conviction by force.

An oscillation appears, collaboration working from a necessary outside,
and collaboration working against the unanimous violence of previous
social formations, with previous collaborative and non-collaborative
natures. But is the picture of the many-armed human group turning its
many anonymous faces to the natural enemy, the singular predator all
there is in nature?

I would suggest that beyond its failure to arise in adequate fury to
address the enemy - and overcome or scare it off - from which
potentiality there will be those dissenters, who leave the group, there
is also the sacrifice. Dissenter and sacrifice can obviously meet in the
one individual, or the several, but remain singular.

The many-armed human beast, dust rising form its many pounded feet,
elects by expediency an individual to draw off the predator and remove
the threat. The sacrifice is necessary, a necessary critical object, a
young girl, an old man, only human. The sacrifice, alternatively,
presents him- or herself. In actuality, the crowd doesn't need to know.
It is not even required of those in the crowd that they perceive the
threat or danger to which the individual becomes her- or himself sacrifice.

The heroes of modernity it is fashionable to lambaste as dead white
males or selfish and privileged assholes, as, that is, redundant in our
current enlightened dispensation of cultural polyvalence, of which the
guarantor remains the doctrine of liberalism, these fascists - to take a
name that comes from the group - were also often dissenters and in many
instances became sacrifices. Even to hold them up to popular ridicule
today amounts to a second type of sacrifice. It makes us feel better
about not being white male fascists. We assert our group belonging in
the face of the fascist threat: we collaborate.

I have gone at too great a length. Apologies.

Best,  Simon Taylor

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