downsized preaching from a pale basement
a disorder of notes collected for a talk on the topic of artistic research in choreography at REACHER, WELD, fall 2018
I am to speak/write of the topic of this event/publication
No speech could ever overview the magnitude of the topics brought to display by this ambitious enterprise
No scripted description will do
I will walk the speed and complexity the proposed topic requires
I hope you´ll get the point
And that following dyspraxial plot will benefit some-thing
here we go
As far as I understand, the question here at stake is, what is choreography in artistic research of today?
Or should I say, what is artistic research in choreography of today?
Either way. The question is a question of ontology.
I wish I could speak about the ontology of choreography, and of dancing. But I can’t, and I won’t. Instead, I will linger about Rosi Braidotti and borrow her thoughts on this matter. First of all, she suggests we return to the notion of the nomad, for the following reasons: The nomad is a Spinozian subject immersed in a living material, in an intelligent corporeality that runs on a mono-ontology (true equality!), where difference is a matter of speed and intensities of patterns/trajectories, in other words, is a matter of motion (calculus) and not of identity politics. Therefore, this monistic vision of difference allows for a derail from the binary positioning our society is run by, as well as from the entire dialectics of relations between the same and the other, between the self and the different, that has dominated western thought from Hegel on, up onto post structuralism, psychoanalysis included.
This said and pondered, one could claim today´s field of choreography to be suffering from a (generic) identity crises, immediately interpreted as a lack of value, hence to be in need for a new description, a new ontological trope (never mind technology), at best if provided by an established field of knowledge … that is, from other sciences, legacies and languages. Be aware: this has nothing to do with the inter-disciplinary, inter-sectional or with interaction or discoursivity or even knowledge for that matter (remember Deleuze: what is philosophy?).
So, again, what about the ontology of artistic research in choreography of today?
According to the above, no research should be looking for the kind of knowledge that will organize information and reduce complexity – which would be an ontology (single) able to determine what is observable, accessible, transposable/transmissible and archivable, thus graspable and held accountable, in turn consumable, and ready to be conserved as a subject/object of ownership. Instead, artistic research in choreography of today should choreograph the kind of ontologies (plural) that proliferate and disorganize information, and by that not only will sustain complexity, rather in fact increase it, whilst thriving upon the post-logics of aesthetic perception and affect – these are ontologies that operate upon and within what is not observable, accessible, transmissible and archivable, thus ontologies that will challenge the very foundation of neoliberal economies and politics-making value.
The current problem with education (research included) is that it is entirely under the spell of neoliberal capitalization, which project is to turn education slash knowledge slash everything for that matter, into a commodity. In turn, thus education, which inherent aim is capitalization, aiming at confirming the researcher as unique (selected) ‘author’, genius ‘other’ to be held outside the social sphere/system. Vis a vis which we have neoliberal capitalization of innovation and contemporaneity, which makes every art practice a commodity, defined as ‘new’ and ‘contemporary’, yet already in-capsulated into the institution, where the contemporary is being reduced to a reduced/reductive representation, in the worst case to a mere description of a here already future (the alleged ‘new’) – provided it is a future (new) already turned into a homogenizing fashion. Let´s be honest; we do have a problem with trend-attentive novelty consumerism in research, art, culture at large, and the dance field (or should I say market?).
Choreography as discipline is in a crisis. Academia of choreography is in a boost.
Dancing still is of no interest (no one really wants to see dancing as such) – Research thrives as education.
Education claims ownership of (highjacked) expertise, whilst bringing about a divide between the field and the market (the first big boom of research funding in England did coincide with major cut backs in the field).
When a discipline loses hold of its own knowledge production, a shift may be possible. A shift or rather a flitch that might entail further articulation, and diversification. So, HERE is a thought by Rosi Braidotti: Let’s believe all of this is a positive sign. Let’s believe the boost that feeds on crisis might turn into an Optimistic affirmative leap towards choreography.
And where in the humanities (built upon neo-liberal hysterics) some people are always left out, I plead for a new categorization of Dance and Choreography as Disabled humanities that not only require but also generate special skills. I plead for Reflecting on the minimal differences constitutive to our differential worlds of Parallactic Perspectivism (not relativism). So please, let’s not even attempt to appropriate knowledge, instead let us pay attention to the ungraspable knowledge (kinesthetic) (intellectual) (emotional) (sensorial) (etc.) – which by the way is never proper knowledge in the neoliberal sense of the word (remember Karen Barad: we must care for that which we cannot grasp).
There has been so much talking OF choreography (talking OF by no means is a guarantee for analysis). So much chasing ‘the’ one explanation that may grant choreography the right of existence as a (broad/readable/generic) field of knowledge … And yet, hardly any actual doing is being done. Of course, doing would require specific focus on ‘a’ singular (singular in the sense of impossible to reduce) multiple choreography and not on ‘the’ whatever one choreography. This is the same problem as that of global human rights … where rights are entangled with the responsibilities entailed by singular forms, languages, traditions, legacies etc. in other words by local- and time-, site- and situation-specific bodies and circumstances … yes, like ‘a’ choreography.
This also explains why dancing is never investigated per se, or rather not welcomed as subject of research. Whilst all along dancing is continuously used as a generic moving scheme to manifest whatever concept (or practice), that is, it is used to de-scribe inscribe whatever else meaning. This has always been the case, unless you look up a few exceptions, which if and when recognized are treated as curiosities with great market value (see Judson Church now at MoMA– the otherwise turned into main stream …), meanwhile, no one really cares for the legacies of the work itself, never mind the politics of Lucinda Childs or Steve Paxton for that sake… her being elevated to distant ‘elite’, him totally highjacked and commercialized …
And yes, we’ve gotten much better talking about, protecting, lobbying for choreography (me included). Not necessarily any better at, or at least not any more experienced (experience is a reflected doing) in how to do choreography, never mind how to dance … (again Deleuze: what is philosophy? He says: only philosophy informs philosophy … and claims that when he writes OF film it is not to inform film but to articulate philosophy). And yet, since speaking OF has come to not require the knowing how, the door got opened for anyone to speak of choreography, which by no means is a guarantee for equal access, rather for non-argued exposure to the neoliberal mess we live in, for the better or the worst.
Still. Let’s be as optimistic as Rosi wants us to be.
Let us recognize that, as of now, if not a critical process, at least a diversification of discourses have been and are being produced by the field of artistic research. A diversification which could pave for a (re-volt) leap into the white noise complexity that art (dancing included) is made of (and at the same time generates).
This leap is not a given. It must be traced, trusted and thrusted. To leap this leap into the noise requires a considerable effort. One must pay attention to the kind of specificity of dancing, which is neither human, nor post-human, but already plus human by choice.
‘My mother called me Silver. I was born part precious metal, part pirate.’ (opening line of Lighthouse keeping by Jeanette Winterson).
There is a whole field of Feministic science fiction doing that already (not to forget that Angela Davies’ revolution begins in imagination). In Octavia E. Butler’s novel Spillage, the She figure, in order to bypass binaries, must imagine herself as coming from another planet. For Vandana Singh, the woman is a she who thinks she is a planet and other stories … Very much likely, to leap into the noise of dancing, one would have to grow extraterrestrial, make oneself diffused, extra-ordinary, and home-less. In other words, you would have to give up your privileges and reassemble at a distance. Dispatch your limbs and dwell into science fictional stories. No, into speculative fiction *, and therein claim that difference actually matters. By uninterrupted activity of dis-identification from dominance, by each one of us critically distancing our moves from dominant form. Speaking OF how critical we are claiming to be will not do, actually inhabiting a shift of doings will be the imperative. Only then, will the Pathological Optimism suggested by Rosi jump cut the air, whilst running a final Energetic Negativity, as suggested by Julia (Kristeva).
* In 2005, Margaret Atwood said that she does write speculative fiction and that The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake can be designated as such. She clarified her meaning on the difference between speculative and science fiction, admitting that others use the terms interchangeably: ‘For me, the science fiction label belongs on books with things in them that we can’t yet do … speculative fiction means a work that employs the means already to hand and that takes place on Planet Earth.’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Atwood)
SHE foreign to herself half not human who thinks she is emancipation by fictional set-up a planet orbiting around the world at a distance – co- complicit and totally dependent, yet moving in its own orbit partially lit, with no light on its own, if you wish, self-illuminating by proxy pale not white, rather compulsively anemic, she will not comply to post-colonial identity-politics stress syndrome she will remain achromatic, bloodless, a spineless mollusk, cyborg and a lot more otherness by stories …
bits and pieces
thriving the disorder of an ungraspable tonality
fully focused on the scratching and rubbing between sign and signification
rubbing and scratching
those are qualitative shifts
the turn-over shifts which make a (minimal) difference
After years and years of attending to writing I am now shifting lane
Pale planets as we are
Orbiting our self-ignited loops of stupidity
Rather than writing I believe we now need Neurological grooves of not the third but the thirty-fourth kind
We need to plug in our brains, stand spineless upright and lean forwards a mile ahead
In fact, we need to grow tall, and we ought to increase our spinal curves whilst stating a convergence
Then overlap hyperboles and spin all we’ve got
We need to travel afar and engage in micro-politics
Stop unpacking, rather wrap at least one thing into some-thing
Stay put on the spot and work like a beast
Commit to circumstantial families and dismiss the tribe
Don’t get blinded by the view
Give up the reductive trope of expansion and work for equal distribution of means
Give up every religion (diluted simulation of concept, suggested, commented, per definition not lived, harmless but deadly, pornographic, preposterous, pretentious pieces of whatever fashion, marketed and sold to as many consumers as possible)
You need critical thinking (referring to critical thinking will not do the job)
We need critical mass
I must remain so unstable and so polymorphic, so finely diffused that I will be taken for a fog
Probably dismissed as an ungraspable ‘white’ noise
But that will not be a problem, since by then we will be done with misinterpretation and we will have taken responsibility for both the landscape and the work
Again, as Karen Barad suggests, YOU must respond/take responsibility for that which YOU do not grasp
So, I say:
Work against binaries
Against the dialectics of the subject and the other
Set up the proper kind and the proper amount of elements, what proper measure is able to ignite the probability of a self-induced split (klyvningen)
Set up the proper critical mass
Then don’t explode, just keep probability alive
Have NO stress of ever needing to deliver the future, to be creative, innovative, successful
Stay put where you are, work in a puddle, don’t overdo it, deal with the storm inside the storm and remain on track
A research scientist generates hypotheses
From a predisposed set-up (the episteme of Foucault)
I say go ahead and pay attention, download data, surrender to (a) set-up, recognize and map its patterns
Instead of re-searching I say, FIND the patterns, WALK the patterns, again and again (turn & re-turn)
Then plough the patterns into your bones, my skin and all that is in between
Imagine, think and argue
Thrive in the mud and sustain discomfort
Sustain the incompatibility between signifier and signified
The scratching rubbing that won’t ever match the one to the next
But which feeds perception into the relational field where you can cultivate a dis-ability to see, and sense and do a different place
Where you can spend your time articulating the HOW and the WHY
STOP asking questions, put one thing on the table and stand up for some-thing
STOP re-inventing the wheel, and claim creativity
rather move into intra-dependency and play a single tune
I recently saw a documentary on Bach, in which it was stated:
Scientists look for and find patterns – to then play with and unpack
That is a Bach sonata, soliloquy, one voice arguing with itself and speaking to surrounding counter arguments
That is a Bach sonata, art and science at once
Where performance, performer and listener all become participants on the same terms: at once measuring patterning observing unpacking experiencing receiving experiencing responding receiving experiencing adjusting following writing the plot by surrendering to the task whilst moving along and letting it go
Robert Kurz means that art is a ghost that ruptures capitalistic narcissism
That is a beautiful and a super-optimistic thought
And yes, dancing choreography may actually do that, but then it will have to groove itself into pieces
By syntagmatic constructions, by hiatus-based discoursivity
By finding the minimal differences which insert a pause, a tiny break inside every consecutive bow
By threading the pausing/breaking-up non-breath that holds the utterance together
By allowing dislocation of sameness (one as half of two) rather than by compliance to the traps of a misinterpretation of identity politics
By leaping a gap, JUMP-CUT a bridge, whilst riding an achromatic cloud, rather pale at its core, mostly silent, if it wasn’t for the low-key noise it emanates
Clouded stuff pouring out from every orifice
Whilst the back-folding findings of a re-search grow into an ungraspable more
More is more
Quantity as it must
Speed and Measure at its crucial core
Traditionally speaking, research is expected to provide clarifying evidence that is able to ensure repetition (with no difference). Artistic research in dancing choreography is nothing but a back-folding scrutiny of evidence wherein dancing finds all kinds of (minimal) differences (always and already there) then used to fence/embrace/com-prehend a ‘limited’ space of un-sense. In other words, for the purpose of paying attention to a probability of ‘sameness’, untranslatable, non-reduceable, and yet to be determined, which singular moves and specific traits are to keep the entire plot in motion.
In this research, then, innovation is not an issue and transgress not a duty. Moreover, the anxiety of providing diversity, interdisciplinarity, accessibility, etc. are left behind, to give space to actual difference. No development is required, no more stress from one into more (expanding into a presumed other (innovative? unique?) which remains the same, only diluted and enlarged … besides, distribution is no guarantee for democracy, rather just another commercial project). Instead, high priority is given to the need for plenty of entrances (in-gresso) (grossezza) (nativity). Whereby working becomes a process of intra-dependent in-velopment of the many into the many, each one already singular (which by the way would imply actual democracy, and equality).
Let’s not pretend to open our senses, let us loose our minds, give up anxiety, split into many and roll over again (re-volt/vändningen)
A re-distribution of the sensible will not be enough
What will be needed is for us to literally tune in, turn on and un-grasp the lot
And then what?
What if the question remains: what about dancing choreography?
Of course, we can tell each other what choreography is about, but that would still be just talking about it
By no means getting us any closer to the actual doing dancing choreography, which is a real-time continuum
So, I should move into your house or you into mine and we should stay put, stop being clever, just dance for a couple of years, or rather more
Then, maybe we could stop talking the normative and dance some-thing choreography, whereby the uncanny, splendid, disabled could strike a singular move
a useless necessary move
as if it were stratified desire
as if it were sustaining the aesthetic experience that dwells us into the ethical
whilst teaching us to cultivate the pale planets that we are
hyper-real and diffused images at once
real and virtual overlapped
standing tall spineless upright on a barricade
silent by choice
You need to pose the right questions and find the tools to answer them by, collectively. We must focus on answers, at best on affirmative manifestations. We must speak that which differentiates every proliferation, every probability, every possibility, by the continuous motion of trans-materiality, which includes the cerebral (not only the mind is a muscle (Yvonne Rainer, later on claimed by Robert Wilson), but also the heart is a brain is a muscle is a move). I must move as to engage the imaginary, and the abstract, even the metaphysical if I dare say … Not by reducing difference into the generic, rather by dividing disciplines into intra-dependent entities, by dissecting the world into minute places and events, by the recognition of ‘minimal’ differences, by maintaining not a relativistic but a perspectivistic parallactic approach to everything we engage in. Move as to comply to a Deleuzian monistic materiality, vital to the kind of auto-manifestation that is the sole antidote to reduction. Dancing choreography would then cultivate a manifestation that although never functional, hence which is always and already moving past and beyond the institutional organization – by and through a (plus human) dancing choreography that allows us not only to think but most importantly to DO (per-form) the useless becoming of a incommensurable productivity of the world (Spinoza/ Deleuze).
Let’s answer to Rosi’s call
We need to produce GRATUITY, that is, art
We need to make ART
Where Science overlaps with poetry, language with technique, praxia with dyspraxia with intra-dependency with politics with theory
Always local never tribal
By the labor of (syntagmatic) post-logics of post-hermeneutics as the only way to challenge predetermined/predetermining descriptions/ontologies
By a Post-human that is a Plus-human
I den mängd som föregår kollektivet – amongst the many, in abundance, before the formatting of a common, inside the conditions and the circumstances that might provide for a common to dwell itself forth (truly the Virno’s type of multitude that never becomes a unity)
none of the above is a big deal
the world runs along with or without this kind of groove
all for the fools and nothing for the wicked
Moral outrage put on hold
Indignation put on hold
Extreme fatigue no longer an excuse
Disenchantment no longer sufficient
Attendance (care) – omsorg – om sorg – about grief
No time for tears, more time for tears
Flow and interruptions at once
Always too fast or too slow
Hyperlocal, intra-growing, rooted and rooting, pointillistic – a cloud
Airborne moves, determined to remain unstable and diffused
I wish to promote choreography – neither as expanded nor as research or whatever it takes to be accounted for, but rather as the use-less intra-doing after the doing … (re-turn/re-cord/re-cycle) – as the REPETITION that puts in circulation (or rather in orbit) the probability of one and the same yet different/differential order. Still and again operating as a choir, or rather as an orchestra in the sense of an assemblage of singular protest-ethic prosthesis (speculative voices) rooted to one another by a common intra-dependency to (a) specific plot, script, project, concept, ideology or whatever score a common may chose worthy to root into. Not for the purpose of writing about choreography, but for the sake of a doing dancing, which with no claims on her own promotes a very specific, hyper-local, pointillistic (impressionistic) plus-human (which welcomes technologies) virtuosity (Virno) of trans-material trans-morphology.
Here, now, upon us, through the sky – clustered shape, blurred in a foggy view – a cloud for us all to see, touch, perceive yet for no one to ever grasp (under-stand) or keep or hold (appropriate and consume).
I suggest a labor of thinking, or rather I wish to advocate for dancing as the site and situation specific choreography of minimal difference.
Scientific, poetic, tactile rearrangement of the sensible in dialogue with the world, standing tall on a barricade claiming a pale planet (female) warrior.
she shall stick to a language to unpack that language
lose her mind and stay off balance
move at hyperbolic speed
stumble if they must, strike a pose if you can
take a risk and never comment
engage in gratuity
indulge in the useless
take responsibility for the ungraspable indispensable
perform a plus-human body at work
she shall trespass an entrance (enter)
you may follow and trust
I say. Find a dance to trust long enough for her to be able to thrust you into (a) specific choreography, whereby dancing may appear somewhat ceremonial, yet not the least pretentious, clearly dysfunctional, purpose unclear, yet with the outstanding capacity to perform the overlapping move of the hyper-real and by that to enable the entire event/place to relate to the subconscious and its uncontrollable production of desire.
then she will let you go
and return to the next
Imagine a place that doesn’t crave visibility
that’s where this dancing might occur
not for my sake but for its own and yours and our desires
trusting this particular groove is attended for
and recognized yet left unknown
All dans är en enda dans (ett endast en gång solo)
Varje dans hamnar på en plats den får dela med sig med någon/något
Vidare kan välja att låta sig tvingas, bli invald att, eller självmant ingå i en formation
Vari dansen fortsätter dansa ensamt
Och genom det åter-konstituerar gemensamheten
av Cristina Caprioli