[-empyre-] from Johannes

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Thu Mar 30 18:53:58 AEDT 2017

(excuse the odd format; the original was lost at my end)

And now, Alan, you reference military activities in Iraq and the 
commanders that were questions about civilian deaths (does not the 
military call these deaths 'collateral damage"?). In your response to 
Brian Holmes you affirm that a new ethicopoetics would be good, but you 
then offer the insight:

*/oddly enough, I haven't heard the term "collateral damage" used
this time around - I think it served as a subterfuge during Vietnam
but perhaps by now has disappeared?/*

I do wonder if it would make any difference. All these analyses! (Mine, 
too, on "semiotic splatter.") We feel we understand what's occurring, we 
constantly come up with scenarios, alternative solutoins, but it makes no 
difference to those in power. What they do understand is violence 
(military, environmental, etc.) and its employment/dissemination.

I asked myself this too; many times; today I listening to a political 
scientist who seems to be on to something, research wise: Immunity 
(politics of immunity) and its relation to Security (military power, 
control), looking at auto-immune disease (in a medical but political 
sense) through a critical lense, namely tracing how power and occupation 
as we can observe in many regions now lead to the decline of civilian 
immunity in warfare; (this is directly I think related to the attack in 
Mosul you comment on, Alan). I pondered how thoughtfully this colleague 
explained his book project, refering also to Espositio, Agamben, 
Sloterdijk, and Derrida. Philosophers of immunulogy and the refugee, the 
bare lives? Yes, what indeed does it make a difference for. Well, for us 
here, in this pale shadowland, it serves to discuss and analyze; I have 
nothing to offer though.

*/Johannes, do you remember the book? I would very much like to see it. 
And yes, a pale shadowland describes us exactly, I think for myself, even 
within daily life, here in Rhode Island, a shadlowland./*

Instead, i mention something I witnessed on the weekend, inside and
outside one of the museums here, where I went to see a concert by an old
friend, Phill Niblock, who has been performing for 50 years or more, and I
listened for 150 minutes to his deep drone music, the instrumentalists,
and the films he shot in 1970 ("Environments III and IV"), and I venture
that like you Alan, writing poetry every day, and like everyone else here,
the music and the performance created a powerful energy transfer amongst
us all, very clearly not just a resistance to fear or despondency, but
also an acknowledgement that we can move between the somewheres and
anywheres (this is a nod at "The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt
and the Future of Politics," by D. Goodhart), we can negotiate;
performance is also direct action.

*/Performance keeps me sane, even practice/praxis. I played at Niblock's 
by the way, years ago, and saw much of his cinema at the time./*

The night previous to Niblock, there was an outdoor dance on the south
terrace of the Tate Modern (I attach a photo, given to me by Claudia
Robles). A pioneer of installation and video art in Japan, Fujiko Nakaya
had come to create an amazing fog sculpture, generated out of water mist.
The fog sculpture acts as a barometer, reading shifts in atmospheric
conditions, reacting to the environment and rendering it visible and
palpable to viewers. The fog was further animated  by a
light-and-sound-scape by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Shiro Takatani. And then,
from nowhere, suddenly Min Tanaka, the butoh master, appeared and danced
into the fog. Already in 1974 Tanaka had developed a unique style known as
hyper-dance which emphasizes the psycho-physical unity of the body, and he
tends to enact improvisational performances that abandon the stage in
favor of parks, streets, seashores, and fields in Japan & abroad; in the
1980s, Tanaka secretly infiltrated the former Soviet Union countries to
perform as an act of rebellion.

  A Chilean dancer friend who watched the happening told me yesterday:
"yes, like an appearing and disappearing ghost indeed; so beautiful, so
beautiful; his dance tells me also this kind of complete surrounding  to
the world that pushes around us, sometimes I felt his own disappointment
for the world created by humans, with hopeless love. He is extraordinary
really, just a huge amount of energy and the inspiration to keep working
regardless of everything, age, time, struggle, cold, hot, everything and
anything."  Then she added that she traveled home, and "I danced a little
solo on Sunday here in Oxford, my way to say thank you to him in the
silent distant."

I wanted to share this with you all

*/Thank you so much for this and the descriptions above. I saw the image 
that accompanied the post; I have no idea if it came through the list- 
serv, but it must have?/*

Johannes Birringer

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