Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Regarding the pain of others II- THE RETURN

After a week and half, I am back to writing this blog.
Thank you all very much for pushing me or encouraging me to go back to writing.

4 Reasons why not writing your blog (my own story)
During this time, I had to think hard what the reasons were for pausing writing. I had to be hard with myself and here is what I came after:
1) I was overwhelmed by the amount of feedback and I needed some time to digest. I am not quite sure if "digest" is the correct word (everybody uses it when we talk about feedback, it's the fashion), but indeed I feel more comfortable with the feedback. Selective memory I would call my case: my memory decided to keep only certain elements and to strike some others out as "not so important". Here is what my memory reminds me today: "I need to work on the text and on the timing of showing the photos". Documentation can tell me the rest (so I am not worried), but I should only approach my documentation once I have solved these two issues. Quite obvious I know... but it's also a matter of a panic because of being overwhelmed and I needed some time to calm down.

2) Another reason was that I was having this anarchic idea of not being a god, a leader, a teacher, an educator (and therefore I did not want to show anything). I still believe that this is right. But with Martin (who loves psychoanalysis, Lacan and male hysteria) we have identified that a deeper reason for this aphorism is my fear. (Check out number 4 below)

3) I needed to do another work (quite creative and self-reflecting again), and I could not split my mind into two things. I am not so multi-tasky after all...How do you become multi-tasky? Is there a school or a module for multitaskiness? Even now talking, I still have a presentation on Friday and my mind can't just invest on both ideas at the same time. Because for me, going to the toilet, cooking some dinner, walking in the street, brushing my hair, drinking water, are all moments of great enlightment and I am constantly thinking of the piece in these little trivial everyday incidents. How many glasses of water do I need to drink to think of these two projects? And how about the toilet??? Do I need to piss long time or should I try to piss in two periods? Or maybe I should split my piss in two directions just like my thought... Is that possible???

4) I was afraid of Laban's disturbingly arid criteria. Hell yeah I am... I am not afraid to say that... I mean two great works of mine (that have been embraced by renowned artists and scholars) have already been thrown to the bin because they just don't meet Laban’s criteria. I hate criteria, I already did before, but now it’s soooo obvious. I don't know how many times I should say that... Criteria are about things people have already thought and they want to see again. Not meeting criteria, but meeting the general guidelines of a module/application, means sometimes that you have managed to do something beyond these criteria. Isn't that what Deleuze thinks of art in comparison to craftsmanship? I am sorry to say that to the teachers of Laban but you produce bad imitations of your thoughts. Bad because they will never arrive at your thoughts. Imitations because of your thoughts. Thoughts because of you. You because of you. You and you and you and you.
Anyway, I guess people have heard these things before. I am not the only one shaking this old building dressed in new clothes. My students might also be reading this blog today… Guys, I am not saying that criteria should be abolished. I use them quite often because sometimes they help me to arrange my thoughts. But theyare only a guideline and should remain a guideline. Each student/ applicant should be treated individually and beyond my own perceptions. That’s why I like teaching you composition. Coz you do things I would have never thought. Keep on working.
What is important is that after a supportive (I like calling it "spiritual) talk with Martin (yes we managed to have one, he doesnt hate me that much), I understood that I should not feel intimidated or feared by Laban. My work has a substance, and certainly it still needs some work but it is presentable.
Furthermore, I have understood, that Laban in not going to change, to accept my anarchic ideas. If they can’t change, I need to take that into consideration and move on.
Move on
I think that’s what I am learning here. It’s a barrier. Just move on. It’s ok… Move on.

So, although I was not writing the blog, that does not mean that I didn't work on my solo every now and then. So, what I have thought is that I need to understand what it is exactly that fascinates me with war photography so that my lecture and my performance is all about that.
Loosing many hours rereading Susan Sontag, my notes, Caroline Brother's amazing book "War and Photography: a cultural history", I have finally managed to come out to this very open structure:

My thought is to leave the structure space. So that means that I will not write down a speech. But, I need to learn some things by heart. I guess tomorrow, that's what I will be doing.
As you can see the main idea is about Reality- Captions- Captions echoing Captions echoing captions echong chaptions econg captns acng cpts cn tns cntnsg...- Reality. And where is Virginia Woolf ???
I have decided on this main idea because my work is a lot about representation of reality and live documentation. So what I wanted to do is to reflect Sontag's ideas in my meta-perfomance. As I have already, I want the ideas of Sontag to gain a performative element beyond what I am saying as a lecturer. That's how the laser pointer came in.

I have also done a smal small work on a small videopreview I want to be shown in the Plasma screens of Laban where they usually show performances that are going to take place in Bonnie Bird. The idea is to make a small video like a teaser, only that it is going to be much more naturalistic than a seductive teaser (naturalistic does not mean realistic though).

(the video keeps on stopping at 00:25. If it does, just move the cursor to 00:27 and it's ok)
Here is what I have made so far... But I realy want to hear your opinion.
Yes the video is without sound. I don't want to make the violence be appealing.
Yes the caption are randomly put out of order.
Yes the red dot is a laser dot, I am sure that in a bigger screen it will look better.

What do I want to do with this video ?
I want first of all to see the public's reactions. Especially
(a) whether they are shocked by the pictures, by the playmobils or whether it manages to pass unnoticed, and
(b) how does a teaser or an advertisement of vast public dissemination might create an audiencship. I mean, would the people be interested to come and see the piece just because of all this advertisement? "renowned choreographer" ? how do they react on that?after all my piece is about this ficticious or maybe real character who makes this fictitious or maybe real choreography and discusses about it or maybe about something else.

On one of my first entries, I was discussing about Mariella's suggestion whether this work is about documentation. I had very passionately, at that time, replied that no, this work is not about documentation, I don't want to make it easy for me, I should really try to make a piece. The last week though I was constantly thinking of it (maybe becoz of my fears).
After lots of thoughts, I think that my work is about documentation and has always been in my mind that it is so. But what I mean by the word documentation is very different to what some of you might think.
The action of archiving time (with the red tags), the laser pointer showing a time path, the live feed that comes in delay, the live feed of a photo that is a document of a document (like photos echoing photos echoing photos), all that is documentation...The lecture is about reality of documentation and captions. And so the whole performative event should be about documentation and captions.
In this realization, Dr Elena Cologni, an Italian artist living and working in London, has been a very big influence. I will soon be uploading an enlightening discussion I had with her. For the time being here is a very inspiring piece of hers.

"MNEMONIC PRESENT, UN-FOLDING #3 involves the action of folding a long stripe of paper extending beyond the internal square of teh museum, this is recorded and projected back onto three screens, each with an 8 second delay – the exact time during which each of us is aware of the present events – in relation to the original action so that spectators perceive the event itself both live and deferred. This manipulation of the documentation of the live event is an attempt to generate a sort of memory of the present memoria or mnemonic present to question notions of memory, present and past."

There are many similarities to my work especially the delay of the live feed that she calls a "supplement" (according to Derrida's notion). Here is what she says about the delay:

"The use of the live recording (or manipulation) projection in my Performative Video Live Installations enables me to investigate this time gap in the audience’s perception of the event. In my recent pieces defined as 'Video Live Installation' (VLI), the 'live-recording' and 'pre-recording' projected during the performative event has opened up questions regarding the involvement of the audience and their perception of what is present and represented. VLI, including its own simultaneous documentation can be regarded itself as a form of 'present memory' of the event, as perceived by the audience.
In the new work I create a 'real time distancing' from the event as part of its delivery at the time of its perception, to draw a parallel between the production of the performance's documentation and methods of memory archiving. The implicit continuous temporal and spatial shift of the event's meaning is thus created together with the temporary presentation and representation of the performer's self in relationship to the spectators - participating in the creative process through the interchange that takes place during its production." (Elena Cologni, ‘PRESENT-MEMORY: LIVENESS VERSUS DOCUMENTATION AND THE AUDIENCE’S MEMORY ARCHIVE IN PERFORMANCE ART’, psi conference 2005)

The delayed video works in order to create a live memory, a document that is live and interchanges between the past and the present, being a trace but never leaving a trace. A document that is not really documenting anything from the past, but performs the present through the past. Exactly what Susan Sontag means when saying that a photo says more about the now than about the war.

The Return should not be lonesome

Please do not forget to reply to me, even if you can't read all of this automatic writing... I know sometimes it's too much, sometimes it doesnt make sense. Just whatever you read (a line, a paragraph, the whole text, a picture, a video, please send me your comments). It's too difficult being that lonely

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