[-empyre-] The Market from Here

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Mon Nov 24 11:54:17 EST 2014

Following up, with very small steps, on a few observations, if you allow.  

--  limits of performance, limits of "performance" (used for political terror and atrocities). Rustom does offer, at one point, the strong suggestion that we call a killing an act of atrocity. Yes. It causes revulsion, and not because it is bad art. 

-- a moral judgement, then, would be to condemn the killings and the violence and what Jon had called "slow terror", with its much larger political, social, economic and cultural ramification, and the worst of intentions. 

After listening to Jon early on, let me pick up up Ruston's reference to this matter:

>Jon makes us think of the terror of civility: 'With the best of intentions, government, museums and universities have contributed to this slow terror, which provides the backdrop for the fast and furious terror of ISIS, Boko Haram, Abu Ghraib, Taliban and Latin American death squads.' This focus on colliding speeds encompasses both the terror that hits/strikes in the blink of an eye, and the terror that moves so slowly like a Noh dancer crossing the stage with invisible stealth that one doesn't even see the movement until it is completed with the deafening sound of wooden clappers.>>

I tried to connect this to Alan's drawing attention to the cuts in (arts) education or the neoliberal privatization of education (Alan names it a 'war on education') in the west,  and remembering what many have said here (about the powerlessness of art, the uselessness, as Alan emphasizes, of Picasso's  horse and bull), I think still that Christina has a point - "make evidence," "change the frames of the conversation" (well, Christina, your reference to the Lakoff article, I am not sure what to make of L's simplistic world view)......

-changing the frames of the conversation (what can poetry and art do, what can theatre do) and following Simon's crypts (collapsing Justice and the Law),  have we succeeded at all, to change frames, or do we find ourselves now in midst of dissensus?  

Could we discuss Simon's provocation? 

<<Because to me the discussion has been strangely silent on politics - as if the swordhands at the beheadings were about to find Eichmann-like wriggle-room in the banality of bureaucratic 'just doing our jobs' ... When, as has been pointed out, the job is a sacred duty. So who is playing god? These are not person-less mechanisms. This shit doesn't just happen. Divine justice /is/ being visited on work-a-day legislated life-styles. Kafka is apposite. The absurdity, like the commonplace, are both 'hidings in  plain sight'. What they obscure is exactly what most effectively obtrudes - no, it is common; no, it is too absurd! Stupidity may in fact be infinite; fear may indeed induce paralysis: but the world we rehearse in our constructions, whether we own them as fantasy or reality, /theatricalises/ - takes place on its blood-soaked stage - in a certain way to gain certain ends for certain parties. When it asks of us that we bleed too, we can be sure ... that there is political profit in the ...  pop cultural obsession with zombies, undead; our images of art can seem so lifeless... and vampiric.>>

To stop tonight; here a short note from Hamed Taheri, when I asked him how his life was and whether he could participate here:

   <dear johannes, good to hear from you. I am fine and doing works which no one needs. Thank you for you email.>>

Another short memory note:  In 1997, during the spring, I met Abdel Hernández when he came, with a group of Latin American artists from Venezuela and Cuba, to Houston to stage his exhibitions and talks and performances: "The Market from Here."

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