This is not a struggle for who lives or who dies. This is a battle for what is life. #ॐ
We don’t speak a language, we speak in a language. #ॐ (My take on an idea by Russell Bates).
Polttava taide [Burning Art] (2020) Jenni Nurmenniemi. The text is passionate and echoes a strong commitment to the development of ecologically sustainable curatorial work. Nurmenniemi wants to engage in situated and localized practices. I like the part where she underlines that environmental matters should not be addressed as a “theme” because ecologies are about relations and connections. My presentation on Land-Art Conservation at SOLU is referred, which feels nice. Towards the end of the text she brings up a Haraway-ian idea that art could serve as a compost: It returns ideas into circulation. I believe art can help in creating containers for obsolete concepts (nation state, capitalism etc.) and help in disintegrating them into less toxic models (eu, socialism etc.).
But I think the process is challenging because, actual artworks have a weird relationship to the future. Many artistic gestures are imagined as eternal – Which is why they don’t make for good compost. I’m not talking about materials (Bronze or Wood). I’m talking about concepts, which I believe can be more harmful because they refuse to degrade. Concepts are zombies. I guess this idea is derived from a weird reading of Serres: He argues that objects are made to prevent social change. I don’t know if Serres views concepts as objects but I think bad habits, like eating meat, should be understood as such. The resources needed to maintain the habit rely on and bind to particular infrastructure (fossil fuels).
A performance artwork is defiantly an object. It is used as such and can even be commissioned as a classical monument. Gestures, like walking on the moon make for great monuments, they align perfectly with neoliberal fantasies of future service economies (More specifically to the postwork without communism -utopia). More work should be done in developing ways to digest and compost concepts and the habits they are bind to. This might be a useful expansion to the popular process of decommissioning modern authorship. Paradoxically: The best way to compost a concept might be to make it into a object, so that it can be destroyed. I’ve tried to write about this before.. Exploring how documentation of live art, situates it and makes it conceptually malleable (less modern).
Interestingly, if concepts can be objects then humans (with their skills) can be infrastructure! #ॐ Makes complete sense to me.
Re-reading Performance Architecture (2011) Alex Schweder: “Which came first, the buildings or the actions they house, is perhaps not the most productive way of asking the question” he begins and continues “[w]e build buildings so that we have a place to perform habituated actions, and conversely the buildings that preceded our arrival in part determine our behavior.”
His description of a performance called Flatland (2007) brings to mind our recent Trans-Siberian cabin arrangements: The compactness of the cabin space authored our social interactions. Interestingly he also questions how to document embodied experiences: “[…] the most accurate documentations of Flatland are the divergent and immaterial oral histories, rumors, grudges and friendships. Through Flatland, I came to understand architecture as a series of social relations intimately constituted by and tied to an object.” […] “we have found immaterial performative factors such as duration, emotional predispositions, and interpersonal chemistries are what most impacts our experiences of a space. ”
I agree! Spatial and social relations are indistinguishable. Social relations are performances of our spatial distance from other bodies. If we take for granted that concepts such as “freedom of speech” are not about legislation or cultural norms, but about relations between people. Then how public spaces are build, determine if “freedom of speech” can be performed. I.e. If there is an affordance for self- and co-determined relations or assemblies (as Butler calls them) to form autonomously. Similarly the perceived comfort / discomfort of a space manifests the performative affordances the design offers occupants. Interestingly distances can only be measured between separate bodies of mass, which implies that entities which maneuver spatially perform a sense of self-awareness (Movement is awareness #ॐ).
As budgets are slashed, attention spans shorten and professional activities become eventalized; the cultural object – no longer preeminent – veers into product, turns into activity, de-materializes into performance. Cultural production as process. […] Notions of building performance, performance as construction, the rendering of the socio-political experience of the individual in space, or the architectural program as an urban script reaching beyond the specification of typologies to prescribe behavioral patterns are all converging to formulate new paradigms of spatial practice.
Architecture, like performance, has always contained the energies of live bodies. Both fields structure the behavior of their participants, but until this time architecture had always named the bodily actions and relations it contains and constructs ‘program’. For example, the program architects call ‘house’ uses its built form to instruct occupants where to enter, eat, sleep, fornicate, wash, socialize, et cetera. The partitions in our buildings are built to script the actions of those who inhabit them. Architectural cues let people know what to do where, when, and for how long – much like the script for a performance.
The way a performance is documented impacts the way it will be historicized. For those who do not experience the performance live, visual documents coupled with the oral history of the original performance take on a life of their own. Photographic documentation of architectural performances can play a large role in the way that we use architecture to construct our subjectivity.
There are also an interesting passage on “building-time” which Schweder argues as being slower then human-time. I think he’s right. Buildings perform across generations. They are also lived, meaning they are modified, remade and demolished simultaneously by their habitats. Materials can which make the building can also be repurposed. I’d like to extend this concept to cover “tool-time”: Tools also perform across generations and convey the technical thinking of the episteme they were conceived in. The grip of a tool educates a used on how it is yielded. They are also lived (modified and remade) and adapt to changes in technical thinking (or demand). Sometimes tools conceal their functions, to pass trough times when their intrinsic use-value is not in demand (I have a set of surgical knives and pliers I use for hobby-crafts, when the time is right they can be recommissioned as surgical instruments). Art as a technic is packed with concealed functions: Performance art is the tai-ji of social change.
I don’t like jazz but I enjoy that it exists. I like browsing Wikipedia entries which explain it and detail the artists involved. Browsing is faking research, which is faking working, which is faking there is work. And I couldn’t really concentrate on listening anyway because concentration would make me unavailable for work. Collecting reading lists is how I read… I don’t think I’m alone with this. We are heading towards a future were things don’t matter, because things are just copies of things once made. The remaining work is in building pretty constellations of things that once were and experiencing their temporal relations to the fullest. This experience does not propose transformation, it is only a browse trough a possible reality before the next. Browsing is self-affirming and performs a comforting fatigue: There is no work, there is nothing but work and I’m drowning in it. This is what browsing speaks to me. This is Industrial Loneliness. #ॐ
Communism Against Civilization or Eco-Fascism (2019) zoe4revolution.
As the climate disaster accelerates, the oppressed can build solidarity, increase their own chances of survival, and simultaneously become more experienced in the use of their autonomous power through the creation of networks of mutual aid. Collective networks for harm reduction, to address food insecurity, and provide medical assistance will hopefully be accompanied by the growth of autonomous organizations for the development and synthesization of revolutionary theory, for political mobilization, the dissemination of propaganda, and for collective self-defense.