[-empyre-] Research self criticism & the abuse of self-encapsulation

magnus lawrie magnus at ditch.org.uk
Thu Mar 1 09:39:25 EST 2012

Hello Johannes and all,

On Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 12:20:20AM +0000, Johannes Birringer wrote:
> now one brief link-back  to the debate on self-criticizing research embedding this (the horse metaphor, by the way, is inscrutable; where would this proverbial english saying come from?). I pick up Menotti's question to Ioana:
> >>
> > what is needed so that the moment of the performance  itself can be a learning experience, I think, is openness or, what I sometimes like to call, "being in the moment":
> > being aware of and in constant reaction to what is  actually happening then and there, on stage. […]  So what  I think can first and foremost be  learned in the moment
> > of the performance is another way of knowing that breaks   away from teleology. [IOANA JUCAN]
> This is an interesting way of considering knowledge in relation to different awareness of time/history. But how do they negotiate with one another
> In other words, is the learning experience of the performance limited to the (timeless!) stage, or can it survive (does it have any value) once we are cast in the flow of (secular, teleological) time? How to translate the awareness of “being in the moment”, or whatever is learned from it, back to the everyday (or precarious) life?

I wonder what kind of reflection takes place after one of the N&C
performances and if this becomes a time for speaking about anything
like "being in the moment". I would really like to hear about that
from Anthony. I wonder if there is any collaboratively formed circle
of practice and theory going on to inform further practice and theory
(but not necessarily beginning with practice).

> >>
> This is Menotti asking, and I would add, suggesting perhaps to Ioana, that that moment, the one you speak about, may matter to actors or dancers, but not to the PhD research examiners.  Being in the moment probably has little reference to the humanities or science community; unless you seek to convince them that (after you have come out of the moment) such moments exist and have potential to be analyzed and critiqued in/after observation?  not sure where this argument would go,  and if you are defending, say, the somatics and kinetics of movement and movement consciousness, and the embodied awareness of actor/dancer, then, yes, you can develop an embodied theory, i think it might be quite possible.  A colleague from my DAP ensemble, Olu Taiwo, just wrote me today commenting on "developed embodied awareness" --- "This is in order to meet some embodied engrams; performative habits, stored in my physical journal. I want to test the practice of writing and rewrite 'effort forms to in-form new tacit response base
> d on 'mindful embodied cognition'. This is synaptic-ally rewiring and remapping new pathways between neurons and neurons to muscles..... (Olu Taiwo).  I think Deborah Hay as well currently is working on dance research engaging her life long practice and her continuous emphasis on drawing from, learning through, cellular consciosuness;  she is at the moment working with the "Motion Bank" research team in Frankfurt (Forysthe Company).
> Menotti schreibt:
> > And are these products [of artistic research] to be discussed under the rubric of aesthetics, still? Is talk  in terms of aesthetic value relevant as far as they are
> > concerned? […] To push this question one step further: What is the relation between artistic research  and the category of aesthetics?  [IJ]
> Or, to attempt another reversal of paradigms, is the category of aesthetics still relevant as a means of assessment? Couldn’t artistic research move us from the epistemic fascination with the aesthetics of results/products to a more general attention to the poetics of processes?
> >>
Whereas aesthetics & process would bring us back to noise (if that is
a useful segue to Andrew and not too glib an observation!)
> This last complex question has not been discussed here yet;  I know that Olu dances and make dance works, but not only, he also thinks of his practice in relationship to philosophy;  Deborah Hay makes dance works and is a choreographer,  but she has written at least three fabulous books i know of ("Moving Through the Universe in Bare Feet", 1975; "Lamb at the Altar," 1995,  "My Body, the Buddhist", 2000);   so my question to some of you would be how/where you would
> position the deconstructive practices you avow? your "plays"?  the theoretical practices taking things ad absurdum?   I suppose i would indeed ask Magnus what kind of work/practice you would show  (or is that not an objective at all any more, is there no reception required, beyond self-encapsulated self-recursiveness?) What is a PhD attached to "problems of precarity"?

With 'problems of precarity' I meant only the economic precariousness
people working in universities experience. Mind you, I can imagine the
call for applications... But also, the avowal of self-encapsulated
self-recursiveness ad absurdum is a little more emphatic than I
envisage. These are certainly difficult questions and propositions. I
suppose my thinking is that these are nevertheless approachable (for
example, by returning to the exploratory methods involved in going

> Magnus schreibt:
> >>
> In terms of concrete forms that might come from such an approach, your question really goes straight to a possible (possibly fundamental) weakness in my line of thinking, because so far, I do not have a clear answer (but bear with me please!). In my PhD, I am evolving a recursive way of working, describing processes which come from their own set of processes and institutional conditions. I might be charged with making a completely self-referential project and that's a risk, I would agree. However, one aspect of institutional experience (for the uk, certainly) is to be facing cuts, so on this count at least, there is hope that my PhD results will attach to problems of precarity, relevant beyond the academic world. That for me, is a concrete form, because it means at least some kind of action (which implies also practice, however defined).
> >>
> Coming back to Ioana's question -- 
> <<"I am quite taken by this approach to artistic research...... I wonder what concrete forms this approach can take  - in other words, what the products of this kind of artistic research would look like. And are these products to be discussed under the rubric of aesthetics, still? Is talk in terms of aesthetic value relevant as far as they are concerned?"" ---  >>
> it seems that one has not to expect artistic work (something that we would recognize, say on a stage? in the performing or new media arts?) in aesthetic manners that might have been understood by those trained in art forms, am I right?   (and are not those who trained and then passed on techniques of composition most likely to be in the position to "exchange" value?  research degrees for artistic work rewritten as research?).   I guess this discussion raises the issue of a much wider embrace of "practices" (beyond the established disciplines in art schools), extending to the invisibilities Magda Tyzlik-Carver so beautifully evokes, or to the camouflages that Lasse mentioned, to the glitches and abrasions imagined here in this discussions?   And Magnus, I was intrigued to read  the progressive-sounding language of Vienna Academy of Fine Arts (" Artistic research operates in a methodical manner, is problem-oriented and eclectic. It has its own grammar that is derived from its own interferences and spaces for n
> egotiation, which are constantly being re-constituted through praxis...as a space for negotiation, a space in which action-reaction are fundamental modes of working and where openness and indeterminacy are not seen as flaws of the system, but as advantages.") 

Here's more from Vienna:


Summit non-aligned initiatives in education culture

SUMMIT sets out to propose and develop a notion of "non-alignement"
which refuses both, the privatization and bureaucratization of
knowledge and education. "Non-alignement" also means that we try to
disengage from binary oppositions like "institutional" and
"non-institutional", "public" and "private", "formal" and "informal". 

> Yes, but  the grammar.

So far for now.

Best wishes,

> Well, the sceptic in me still wants to see/hear the performance, Ioana:
> >>
> I am interested in the idea of the structure (a script of some sort) that can give "the gift of the event along with its indecidability" (to extrapolate Alain Badiou's expression). The structure means determinacy, coherence, and consistency,  but it is a structure with soft, provisionally defined boundaries. It ensures that the essentially indeterminate event – a set of possible outcomes, by (mathematical) definition – is unforeseen (it is perceived as impossible, in Derrida's notion of impossibility, as that which is possible only by virtue of being seen as impossible) until the very moment when it springs into being.
> >>
> so I try to imagine how your Derridean play sounds or looks like?
> with regards, and apologies to Tero, Rob and Andrew
> Johannes Birringer 
> DAP-Lab
> London
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