[-empyre-] creative powerlessness/ creative power & theatre of the oppressed

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Thu Nov 27 05:58:53 EST 2014

thank you Aristita for expanding on your first post, 
and illuminating the election process in Romania and the voting in of a new president who seemed not to have a chance to be elected.  Your evocation of the
collective will or action, and the post-Soviet/communist era de-traumatizing process, was vivid and encouraging, and it was so also (in response) following some
of the discussions on nihilism (Alan) and powerlessness, and what Murat yesterday called 

>>"My own work carries failure in its heart, it helps some people (I hope)  cope with the world - we all hope for that - it has no effect on the systemic, however...."[Alan]
In this sentence by Alan, I think,  the most succinct crystalization of power in powerlessness is expressed. In the objective sense of political action, political change, art (Alan's or others) may be useless. But in hope -created out of hope and projected in hope- *creating* a conversation between soul and soul, art is all powerful. >>

I urge us all to discuss this further  

- I had invited critical feedback to Monika's and Ana's visions of collective lament and protestation (visual choreographies of public space-pollution)

- I would ask Sonja to tell us more about her work on cities, public space, and memory from her perspective

- And we should look at Aristita's suggestions regarding the power of theatre (Boal's theatre of the oppressed)
  which Polish critic Michal Kobialka, whom I mentioned last week when I refered to Hamed Taheri's "Home is in Our Past", has subjected to critique, proposing that Pisactor, Brecht, Boal, etc are all outdated models that have outlived their 
  promise to give us a praxis to challenge existing politica regimes.   I wonder what Rustom and Olga would say to this, and others out there working in performance and new media?

- Simon's response to Alan included a reference to his Minus Theatre –– and their "using the different languages of individuals from different cultures" –-  thus also to "accents" (as we debated them also in the second & third week) -- can we please discuss Simon's very thought-provoking comments on Eastern philosophy  (I tried the same on Monday by moving against Heidegger and evoking Kuki Shūzō) and on nihilism? 

>>Now, from the little I understand of the point of view which makes violence particular to a place and the point of view which makes violence a singularity in any place whatsoever, I would agree that these positions seem irreconcilable, and yet... this is not the irreconcilability of violent acts, or terrorism /tout court/, but of a singularity with a particularity.>> [Simon]

thank you,
Johannes Birringer

[Alan schreibt]
Nihilism isn't a course of action, and it doesn't mean giving up; instead
it references taking a stance, most likely useless, just to assert that
one is human, that anguish is still possible. My own work carries failure
in its heart, it helps some people (I hope) cope with the world - we all
hope for that - it has no effect on the systemic, however... On the other
hand, one may well change the attitudes of the police - through education,
community learning, dialog, and this is (I think) happening in some
places. (I'd appreciate any bibliography you might be able to supply on
nihilism and its potential.)

But ISIS - or other groups believing in absolute inerrancy, absolute
power, absolute truth, absolute annihilation - what is to be done? How to
reach them? Is anything possible?

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