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即兴MV:White Hinterland乐队的“Vessels” (或者叫“家作坊的冬天”)
“Vessels” by White Hinterland, an instant music video (or, HomeShop in winter)

This comes in the after effects of our reading group discussing Claire Bishop today, a contestable figure in the realm of participatory art practices today, we fall in and out of line. We discussed quite a bit about the different politics of maker/audience relations, the possibilities and limitations of criticism (or the lack thereof) amidst the alternating roles of curator, artist and audience. Whether it’s about critique or pure naiveté, what necessarily emerges in this triangulation is the question of community. Who is speaking to whom, and does that relationship generate community, make it elitist, or raise propositions to completely unpredictable others? We move from the Argentinians who use socially engaged art to motivate participants to push forward in the realm of the socio-political, to the Eastern Europeans and Russians who evade the directly political for a meta-political alter-realm of the sensible, to ourselves. Dialogue evinces a form of self-reflexivity that cannot conceptualize self without other, a 对方. Is that 对 antagonistic, or, like the best love letter i ever received, simply… “Yes.”? 对 Duì, in that Chinese sensibility, pragmatic, like its ‘寸 hand’ on the right and in the traditional 對, where on the left 业 industry stands over 王 rulership. Our being in place is oppositional, but insofar that we do in order to be relative to others (power). And if those power struggles are not finite, we have a form of agonism that does not value one way over an other, but in its perpetual instability, the way itself. This ‘way‘ is meta-politics, it is aesthetics, and perhaps, it is from here the beginning of a research into style. Style here cannot be separately conceived from its actors or audiences, and perhaps, it may be one of the last remaining realms where the spectator possesses the most valuable rights of critique towards an author who does not see him/herself (is that democratic?). So who is the curator here? The media, the mob, or the system itself? That which cannot be critiqued in and of itself is power, is the stampede sparked by inadvertent incident, where action supersedes any one intention or attempt to communicate. Style is only manifestation, it is the superficialness of the masses, it is a form of representation that both critiques (bitchy) and evades critique (inessential). So to go from there, it seems possible to start from two cultural forms of analysis: one, fashion and semiotics, starting from Barthes and moving forward, and then, translation as a mediator of meaning. Maybe thereafter, something more spiritually or politically charged, but that will come upon further introspection of what that “we” really meantUntil then…

“Ray studies English, Orianna studies Chinese”, an instant educational video by Céline LAMÉE (“HomeShop, a contemporary tower of Babel, where, in the enthusiasm of learning each other’s languages, strange new lifeforms of languages emerge…“)

2 Responses to “artificial hells – hells —> stylistic agonism ?”

  1. sportsbabel

    yes. ………………………… looking forward to learning more of this stylish research.

  2. c

    As I couldn’t be present, I wanted to comment on just a couple things:
    I had especially appreciated the questions raised in chapter 8 with regard to Pierre Klossowski’s Monnaie Vivante, namely why participate? “What becomes thinkable if the pleasure of reification in these works of art is precisely analogous to the pleasure we all take in our own self-exploitation?” I wanted her to turn back on the rest of the book, asking with equal force the same question of any example, rather than complaining about the moralizing of artists trying to work with the communities around them. If it comes down to pleasure and self-exploitation (paying someone to represent themselves, and the fact of their being paid), then the negativity of the delegated performance has no copyright. This perspective could be expanded more.
    On that note, Bishop admits her omission of Asia in this book, but could probably do well to look at how negatively (or banally) it’s been received when artists in China have systematized delegation (see Pauline Yao “In Production Mode” for instance). That might satisfy her thirst for exploitation.
    The book also seems to be a demand for a particular type of criticism, a demand for access to it as secondary audience, through objects, in order to be meaningful. Though this—and the question of form, which Bishop does bring up as a weak point in many participatory projects—is worthwhile for any participatory or performative project to consider, it cannot be a blanket demand on them, unless the intention is to invalidate large sections of performance practice and history.
    With much project work in the book, “the demands placed upon the viewer were even tougher, to the point where spectatorship became an almost impossible position.” Her quotation of a reviewer of the dispersed Sonsbeek show, who complained about the “public” stranded on the train platform, seems to suggest that this “public” is composed of the time-sensitive spectators (and critics) hopping from show to show. What about their rights? And on the other hand, once Bishop finally slows down to enjoy a Thomas Hirschhorn spectacle, she opines: “The meaning of the theatre production also lay in the fact of its dogged performance, relentlessly taking place every day, regardless of the weather or number of performers who showed up.”
    In the introduction, she had divulged: “The hidden narrative of this book is therefore a journey from sceptical distance to imbrication: as relationships with producers were consolidated, my comfortable outsider status (impotent but secure in my critical superiority) had to be recalibrated along more constructive lines.” A praiseworthy concession—but this seems to have been written retrospectively, after the rest of the book had already been printed.