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Friday, 23 August 2013

Peformance and thought

Been reading Avelina Lésper, a Mexican anti-performance writer. She claims that performances don't add anything to the knowledge, experience, courage and sense of body accumulated by art, science, philosophy and activism. She compares, for example, Marina Abromovic with some Greenpeace actions favoring the latter for the courage of being exposed to a real vulnerability. I think performance deals with the ordinary. It is about bringing stuff to the fore and doing it in the midst of things. I tend to think of it as being crucially stage-less even though Abramovic's (for example) stuff is often protected by the stage-like setting of a gallery. In any case, it has few features that I find interesting. (And, indeed, performances sometimes add nothing to the pile Lésper presents, but surely they're not about adding something to the pile, let alone adding something to any pile in particular.) The features:
1. It starts out with a goal but then gets disturbed by whatever else is around (in galleries it becomes indeed more immune).
2. It interferes in a space of co-existence and therefore is affected by co-exiting with other events.
3. It invokes a possession - it is not a representation but an incorporation of a character. It is a vehicle to convey its theme. Possession could occur in different degrees but the act sets the stage for it to happen.
4. It can go astray - it is no implementation of a plan or a script. It drifts.
I guess these features are also features of thought. Surely, there are different kinds of thought (I was thinking of Laruelle's image of a philosophical decision providing a stage-like setting for thought). But in all cases, thought is not scripted, it doesn't deal in representations and it doesn't interact with other thoughts through as if they were fictional characters to be dealt with through descriptions...

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