A art-critical/pedagogical practice with teenagers: School of Performance (1995) Avdej Ter-Oganian.

Received my copy of Malfeasance – Appropriation Through Pollution? (2011) Michel Serres. I dislike his etymological, latently nostalgic word games. He adores a reality that remains inaccessible for non-germanic folk (this statement is best exemplified by a cry on pg. 55. “Old Europe, what ignorant ruling class is killing you?”). But I like the coarse tone of the book. He argues that human cruelty is derived from the cruelty of our neighbouring animals and that a process in religious practices, which developed the concepts of afterlife and holy-land (sites that are not tainted by bodily impurities), were needed to produce a tangible, object-like earth for us to habit and study. Science is possible only through religious traditions.

Serres argues that people who seek to live without producing waste are modernity-producing-myth-reenactors. He argues that the founding myth of modernity is a story of a man who left his grave without leaving any waste behind: “[L]eaving no trace whatsoever that would allow us to infer a history”. This myth enforces the de-territorialization of localized cultures: Colonization of any-and-all terrain is possible only because there is a holy-land which lies beyond reach. “[O]ur being is not there” or even here, someone else will judge us – We are tenants of our bodies.

Current economic schemes which focus on intangible services and brands echo the same shift. This has a convenient impact on consumer culture: When we were branded clothes we get excused from the pollution these objects develop into. The objects are just on loan – This means that hiding a logo is a process of claiming responsibility over it.

Human misery marks the limit of possible life. Those who have a place have. Those who have no place have nothing, strictly speaking. Do they exist? They have fallen below the level of animals. (pg.12)’

I don’t agree with his view that “our appliances rig out the organs of our bodies”. I believe the body has the potential to change and the potential to develop into something else then flesh-defined, which has other then personal desires. For me “exo-darwinism” in development can result to altruism. Serres points out that “since the emergence of blacksmiths” we have know that, the stuff we produce taints the world and destroys habitats. Our understanding of the anthropocene is not new. We know that we are wasteful and do it anyway. He argues that we cause pollution to keep the nature at bay, to kill tigers. I wrote something similar in 2016 “Zoos provide us an opportunity to approach animals rationally”.

[…] sewers, garbage barges, factories. and loudspeakers can be thought of as orifices, pores, mouths, anuses. […] Our species wins out and becomes the master and possessor of nature. (pg.40)

The text might offer me some tools to develop a “performance architectural” / postricturalistic analysis of build environments too. Serres talks about language as a maze, which locks subjects inside it using prepositions (in, for, to, from). These spaces (made of prepositions!) pit us against each other by creating categories of subject/object. Prepositions feel like a great route for developing and understanding of text as space / space as text!

[…] this is how the walls of a dwelling or the partitions of a room function. (pg. 44)

Serres claims that e-waist is send intentionally to “the mangroves of poor countries” to cause disarray and recolonize these sites and that we should see advertisement selling e-goods as exactly the same waste. He continues that mass-media (facebook etc.) makes it impossible to talk to out neighbours (by monopolizing communications): Streams of noisy information appropriate all possible relations, everywhere.

Spatial expansion is becoming total. (pg. 52)

Pollution should be addressed simultaneously as a hard substance and a soft coercive substance. The division between hard and soft pollution (ie. e-waste and e-good advertisement) is superficial: Both manifest the same desire. He does not want to separate nature from culture? Because of pollution “We can no longer enclose a piece of land”. Pollution makes it possible for us to envision collaborations without a need for nationstates!

Consequently pollution, both hard and soft, signs its will to power, its desire to expand spatially – yes, the war of all against all. (pg.68)

Serres believes that we have reached an impasse. Wars are over because there is no space to fight over, our war against the world is at its end. He believes that humans can and will destroy every other species. He does not believe that new species will emerge from pollution.

The war against the world replaces, integrates, summons, adds . . . and terminates all the wars among men. Peace with the world requires peace between men.

Idea: Make waffles out of plastic by melting milk jug lids. #ॐ


Bought a book by Michel Serres and started working on an application for the Doctoral Studies Programme in Artistic Research in Performing Arts at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. I’ve written a 12 page research proposal called “Horse & Performance” (it’s taken me two-to-three weeks and I’m currently waiting for comments/guidance from friends). The English summary is the last part (I’m having trouble with it). Apparently I want to spy on people, talk to horses and ask them what they think about our perception of them.  I can’t read the the summary without giggling – Which has to be a good sign.

The “Horse & Performance” research investigates “what do we talk about, when we talk about horses” at Finnish horse-stables. The research is rooted on an ethnographic study which analyses how horse-hobbyist and professional construct the figure of the contemporary-horse. The ethnographic part of the research will focus on situations were people explain the animals behaviour trough unintentional utterance, murmured while working with them. I will also engage in an “performance architectural” analysis of the sites, where people meet with horses, trough which I will formulate an understanding on how particular sites (and particular technologies presented in them) affect our perception of the animal. The fieldwork will be contrasted to the work of artists and theorists who have contributed to the development of the “animal-turn”.

From these sources I will develop a set of post-humanistically geared exercises and grooming techniques, through which I will direct the question to the horses themselves and ask for their feedback. These exercises will be presented as public performances, organized in urban spaces. The feedback audiences provide will be used to further develop an understanding of the contemporary-horse. Performing publicly with an animals cause conflicts through which we can access views and assumptions people project on them. Techniques developed through this research, can be used to ask animals for feedback on how build environments should be organized. The research aims to advance the wellbeing of animals and to advocate ethical environmental design.

Here is a list of texts I refer in the full proposal:

  • Barad, Karen. 2003. Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter
  • Butler, Judith. 2015. Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly
  • Cull, Laura. 2012. Theatres of Immanence – Deleuze and the Ethics of Performance
  • Despret, Vinciane. 2016. What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions?
  • Haraway, Donna J. 2007. When Species Meet
  • Haraway, Donna J. 2013. SF: Science Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far.
  • Haraway, Donna. 2016. Staying with the Trouble: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene
  • Hribal, Jason. 2003. “Animals Are Part of the Working Class”: A Challenge to Labor History
  • Hribal, Jason. 2012. Animals are Part of the Working Class Reviewed
  • Ingold, Tim. 2011. The Perception of the Environment. Essays on Livelihood
  • Korhonen, Pauliina. 2014. Ratsastusreitit kaupunkialueella – Suunnitteluesimerkkinä Länsi-Vantaan ratsastusreitit
  • Leinonen, Riitta-Marja. 2013. Palvelijasta terapeutiksi – Ihmisen ja hevosen suhteen muuttuvat kulttuuriset mallit Suomessa
  • Mbembe, Achille. 2003. Necropolitics
  • Mitsuda, Tatsuya. 2007. Horse in European History 1550-1900
  • Kaimio, Tuire. 2004. Hevosen kanssa
  • Malm, Andreas. 2016. Fossil Capital – The rise of Steam-power and the Roots of Global Warming
  • Mejdell, Buvik, Jørgensen & Bøe. 2016. Horses can learn to use symbols to communicate their preferences
  • Morton, Timothy. 2017. Humankind
  • Ojanen, Karoliina. 2011. Tyttöjen toinen koti – Etnografinen tutkimus tyttökulttuurista ratsastustalleilla
  • Salminen, Antti & Vadén, Tere. 2016. Energia ja kokemus: Naftologinen essee
  • Serres, Michel. 2010. Malfeasance – Appropriation Through Pollution?
  • Schweder, Alex. 2011. Performance Architecture
  • Urry, John. 2004. The ‘System’ of Automobility
  • Weizman, Eyal. 2015. The Roundabout Revolutions
  • Weizman, Eyal. 2017. Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation
  • Wright, Stephen. 2014. Toward a Lexicon of Usership