Monday, December 23, 2013

In memoriam Alain Buffard

How to start a relation?

By learning.

By violence.

By negotiated imposition.

By realizing the potential of common enjoyment.

By devouring until you are not.

By listening to yourself in the other.

Alain Buffard 1960-2014

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Yes yes

Yes yes light
make it light seemingly insignificant (which makes it significant precisely because you add the seemingliness) make it a combination of insignificants of knee-jerk intellectual reactions
Yes yes make it a structure a game we play a play we game a thing is a thing is a think
Yes yes perform it make it outdo itself
See it grow as if spontaneously (if possible, try to avoid as ifs)
Yes be precise about your incoherent professional skills
Make every move count
Indecently attractive
Have a conversation pretend to have a conversation pretend your words pretend your words
Be arrogant dress down move down speak down
Be understandable practice clarity
Yes practice lightness

trailer "to allege" from cie public in private- on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What is New Art (the dark, romantic version)

Rilke - The Departure of the Prodigal Son

Now to go away from all the confusion
that is ours and yet does not belong to us,
that like the water in old wells
reflects us trembling and ruins the image;
from all this, which as if with thorns
keeps clinging to us--to go away,
and all of those
which you had quickly ceased to see
(they were so simple and so ordinary)
-- suddenly to see them : tenderly, appeasingly,
and as if it were a beginning, and up close :
and to realize how the pain
that filled childhood to the brim
descends over everyone, impersonally :
and still to go away, hand leaving hand,
like tearing open a new-healed wound,
and to go away : where? Into the not known,
far into an unconnected warm land
that like a backdrop behind all the action
will stay indifferent -- a garden or wall;
and to go away: why? Out of urge, out of need,
out of impatience, out of dark expectation,
out of no understanding and of unreason:

To take all this upon yourself and in vain
perhaps let fall what you had held, so as
to die alone, not knowing why--

Is this the beginning of a new life?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I distrust my disbelief.

It's something I've taught myself to do when working on an art project. Of course, things go wrong, and I might be heading the wrong direction. But most of the time, once I'm in the process, there is no way of telling. And I do lose faith. I stop seeing any magic whatsoever in what I'm currently making. Without magic things are the opposite of art - so could I be doing the opposite of what I should be doing? Aren't all the other grasses on potential other sides greener?
This is where the critical mind comes in handy, in a paradoxical way. I hear myself think all these "rational" thoughts, these fair criticisms of my own endeavor. And I distrust them. I don't consider myself fit to judge this objectively, and treat myself as a simple worker who needs to keep on working and stop whining. Rationalized whining is still whining. Actually, it's whining of the worst kind, because it uses rhetorical tricks. And it doesn't befit someone of passion - which any artist damn better be.
(Oh, and obviously sometimes the magic appears, after a while. And makes me smile, quite condescendingly, and somewhat complacently, at my whining, disbelieving self.)

 Mario Merz, Untitled
(an exhibition of his is opening at the Paris Gagosian)

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Dancing for Yourself

Awesome, isn't it?
Dancing for yourself is the best, and we all (?) know the feeling of something that is so good it should really be changing the world. Sometimes, we take things just a notch further, and include our private rituals in the non-private world, as if testing what the world can handle. But this esthetic extension is usually our little secret. We sometimes share its secret powers with a select group (maybe grafitti, but also psycho-geography, flash mobs, or even sharing a smile with a stranger who caught us laughing to ourselves...).
Here we have the secret revealed. Dance does change the world. Nothing is ever going to be the same. Say hello to a different persona, space, movement, sound, life.

Now that we've gotten this far, you need to know something: this event was staged. The person dancing is a performer, and what you have just seen is an art project.
This information changes the experience of watching the video (or in this case, it actually changes the experience of having watched it!). So here is someone who was acting as if they were putting their private ritual spontaneously out in the open. Someone who was building a universe for us to see and interpret. Preparing our experience. Possibly - preparing exactly what we felt before we learned this was a set-up.
This knowledge seems to be making it more difficult to fully enjoy the event. After all, what a staging implies we know all too well, and though charming it may be... feels like keeping a safety net, a secure distance.

Finally, the last step: Let's assume that possibly, this first video was, after all, a genuine, spontaneous dance. There is no final answer. The evidence is not convincing, either side. Once we're in the world of such uncertainties, how does it feel to watch the spectacle?
The work is not about excluding Gene Kelly. Or the prepared-choreography-space. It's about including the lady from the bus stop (let's say she is an anonymous passer-by). The work is to have Gene face the challenge and acknowledge the other dancer. The one that seems to be her or his own spectator, that remains their own private dancer, and that keeps making our day.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Happy Acts

In his classic How To Act With Words, J.L.Austin effectively brought about the idea that words (and by extension - other symbolic actions) can change things in the world - they are "performative". In his analysis, he used several categories of his own design. 
Claiming they cannot be considered true or false, Austin proposes to divide speech acts into happy and unhappy ones (the terms seem to have been later substituted (?) by effective, successful or fortunate). The happy ones would be those which achieve the goal of changing reality. The unhappy ones - those which, although they have been constructed correctly, did not achieve this goal (e.g. someone promises something but does not intend to keep his promise).
Austin could have named his categories Alfa and Beta. Instead, he gave them emotionally charged descriptions. As in: insanely charged. You could say this is just British pragmatism, which has a thing for being playful. But this is a text about the performativity of words. A far-going analysis of the effectiveness of language. Why would the term happy appear in such a context? Is Austin making fun of us, engaging us in value judgements, which, being the decent participants of performativity we are, won't be able to leave? Maybe he implies that even the description of communication requires emotion and engagement. Conventions couldn't possibly be innocent. Accepting them is always burning hot, irrational, un-conscious.
One other thing - calling an act happy is anthropomorphizing it. More precisely - it is claiming that acts have an agency. 
You know, when artists talk about works as if they were people: What does the work need? What does it ask of me? 
Even when we act alone, the act - also the artistic act - doesn't allow for solitude. The more of an act it becomes (does every action get to be an act?), the more it challenges us, burdening us with its agency.
And if we want it to perform, it better be happy.



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