[-empyre-] The city as a skin -- Sparta and the helots / molecular revolution in process ?

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Thu Mar 29 07:39:40 EST 2012

dear Ana

sorry for the misunderstanding here; 
when i was writing, i was doing so in response to some the concerns we addressed regarding
practices, and i was trying to respond to Alejandro and Aristide, regarding political, communal
and eco/artistic practices, so when i said i would not know how to apply this to exhumation,
i meant it in that sense, not that I had not "heard" of exhumations or was ignorant of
mass graves. 

I tried to ask myself how  (when I discussed with Argentinian friends your example of Uruguayans waiting to hear from a government
commission whether someone was/could or would be identified after being ex-humed) one could act upon that process, or
on a grave, or on the ethical and political (and certainly psychological) challenges arising from trauma. 

I found no immediate answer, except thinking of the human rights activist processes people engaged in several territories 
recently, and then of the legal issues involved (remembering what we discussed here regarding "protocols" or what
Aristide calls for -- reinvestigating "the value of the common legislative force".....

I also tried to think critically, and skeptically of "performance" or performative healing, even if the value of ritual cannot be doubted, 
and I picked up, between the lines, a small reference in a footnote, in Alejandro Meitin's essay on "Urbanismo crítico, intervención bioregional y especies emergentes",
to Lucy Lippard criticizing activist art flying into the area, the local territorio, to "ex-hume" or deal with the traumatized:

   Alejandro schreibt:
>>Lucy R. Lippard, cree que es necesario que los artistas colaboren, directa o indirectamente, con los movimientos ciudadanos pero sin intentar dirigir sus acciones ni apropiarse de sus discursos, evitando en todo momento cobrar un protagonismo excesivo o caer en una lectura meramente esteticista de la lucha social.>>

>>Lucy R. Lippard believes that the artists need to collaborate directly or indirectly, with the citizens' movements without attempting to direct their actions or appropriating their speeches, avoiding any excessive charge a role or falling into a purely aesthetic reading of the social struggle...>>

My concern arose remembering a performance practice (addressing trauma) choreographed by Norwegian researcher-artist Per Roar in Szrebenica, as i always felt somehwat ill at ease with the approach and the ethics or politics involved, hard for me here to explain. I published Per Roar's field report in a book on dance and madness last year ("Tanz und WahnSinn/Dance and Choreomania"), and you can find some photographs of the theatrical work Roar and his participants did in an abandoned, partly destroyed building in Vijecnica, Sarajevo (in 2006), if you go to the book's website: http://www.choreomania.org/Roar_abstract.html   &  http://www.choreomania.org/maniavisuals5.html

That work was entitled "An Unfinished Story" and dealt with "griefscapes" and ghostly matters.

Again, I would ask Alejandro, or anyone, what  is a "hemispheric audience" -- ¿ lo que es esto público del hemisférico? --  in this or other cases (and Ana, you mentioned many, and you tend you dwell on notions of a "nation"-identity or you look selectively at ethnic/political perpetrators you seem to have identified, as you thought you identified me. I question such easy identifications), and is there a conceivable audience at all, when you think of the practices Alejandro positioned, or the everyday survival practices of our animalities evoked by Leandro:

Leandro schreibt:
That is why I think that resilience should be seen, observed and considered also in everyday practices of survival in the cities, practices that have nothing to do with broadcasted or spectacular events .... I would like to know how (and which of) these forms of painful resistance actually works out without the control of biopower (if it does) and how animality in all these examples shows and allows a relationship with humanity (if it does) different from all we can know and understand from our comfortable animal lives>>

so, yes, i do not know well how to exhume 
and how to come to terms with the constant contradictions of the domesticated art produced; our obvious obscene traceability in the age of "post-civility" (?) locative media networks and, at the same time, the apparent untraceability of some of the disappeared.....

Johannes Birringer


i can assure you I know nothing about exhumations
and would not want to be an expert or lover in forensics.

Ana schreibt:
I am not sure if I grasp the sense of your statement. Are you being ironical or teasing me/us?
Because my point was NOBODY today can be ignorant of the exhumations, they are nowadays as common as jail for dissents or genocide.
We live in the century of genocide, the Turks killing Armenians, the Nazi killingJews, Rwanda, the Japanese killing Koreans, the Serbs killing Bosniaks...
And we have political genocide, our own in Central and South America, in Africa, etc..
And genocides cause massgraves and exhumations...
Yes you can be someone without direct contact or information, but our "memes" pass the stories as part of our common heritage.

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