[-empyre-] on performance as social action

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Sat Nov 29 08:10:28 EST 2014

dear all: 

joining Alan in a manner of thanks giving to all of you and your rich and diverse, and deeply affecting writings here, what can one do to round up? 

not much, just let these last 2 days of the weekend play themselves out until we are exhausted after what appeared an unlikely proposition, to meet here, and yet we did.  

I also join Alan in saying that this month has taught me more than I've learned in a long while, also stepping away from my dance work
(I wish I could send you music as Alan did), my somewhat useless experiments with dematerialized ghosts and avatars on an other side of being, the Hollow Stage/HoloStage; learning involving self-critique, self-assessment,  and shy glances of humor on art ["Is Our Art Equal to the Challenges of Our Times? the new york times asks,  well, what a silly question] and yet persistence in the need to hang on to what our dear friends, Mine, and Aristita, Ana and Sonja, described today in their fervent posts,  and I am so amazed how many poets we have here amongst us at the table.... (Ricky your poems just came in)...... Fereshteh, I hope you are not too pessimistic, send us your dark poetry that you wrote in Farsi! And Ana, your evocation of the degenerate art, and the power of the erotic, again makes me wonder about the Market from Here, what we collect, what we destroy, what others collect in their anachronistic postmodern ways, but violence subsists, scarface must fight.      

[Mine Kaylan schreibt]
>>A while ago, I introduced the idea of ‘empathy’ by way of talking about my work. I have been considering the idea of ‘revenge’ also>>

well, then you speak of returning to forms as old as the hills, and the slow power that resides in "standing fast"  (Sonja I of course love paradoxes and good etymologies), and the
power that undoubtled resided in the meals you told me about at the Leleg projects in Turkey:  

>>a useful investigation on whether such dynamic spaces of ‘poetic presence’ worked to generates creative exchange and catalyze identification with the other (empathy), across divided and polarized cultural positions. Of course these spaces need mediation, not only to ‘charge’ the space, but also to negotiate the critical thinking towards.........>>

Incidentally, Mine, when you speak of film and "experimenting with language of documentation is a rich vein"  -–  I do believe this is what Olga Danylyuk is after, too, when she follows the soldiers to speak to them, collect their interview performances (when they talk about doing their job)......  Here is Olga's link to a preview ("Soldiers of the Last Empire/From Russia with Love"):   https://www.youtube.com/user/olga290675/videos

Some friends, who live far from where I work, were able to join this debate here;  others whom I have never met were here too, and some (I gathered) felt hesitant, and declined such a discussion of absolute terror, of war and atrocity, of ancient and postmodern weapons, since what good would it be to hold an abstract debate or theorize and speculate on aesthetic and moral judgement?   Having made a casual ironic remark about tourism, at least I think I did (terror and trauma tourism; as one monitors the evils of this fucked up world, the crimes against humanity and environment), the "nosotros somos x";  now I feel humbled by Ricardo Dominguez's call to action, and will join.  

And, Aristita, I will try and look  more carefully and closely at the theatre of the oppressed techniques of encouraging social action and creative humility (maverick Standingman, alongside Gezi Park's whirling dervish dancer with the gasmask) -- if you believe the techniques can wrestle (as in wrestling) even, as you report in your last example,  the law  (Legislative Theatre)......  Law and performance, no one has fully addressed this pair yet......

nosotros somos acéphale.

Johannes Birringer 

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