(PPP ^ PPP)

[Present Practice Produce ^ Perform Perform Perform]

 

{This texting is a long overdue introduction to some perf-

ormers that have been of an undeniable influence. One of

The main reasons for writing about them and their practices

is the strangeness of me working in the private English edu-

cation sector, an experience that at times is painful but it

teaches me much. Especially the importance and radical

extent that performance encapsulates so much about our

daily existence. For example when I first started teaching

it was not because of a desire but rather because of a lack

of opportunity to work in an independent rewarding way in

the United Kingdom. So, when I arrived in Tokyo it took me

longer then expected to get used to the culture and also the

business behaviour of the company that accepted my labour.

Of course a person is always conscious of general changes

in life, yet we are often not aware of alterations to our daily

behaviour. To meet the requirements of such a tedious

schedule and more importantly the happiness of the many

customers (which is not a problem if they are adorable

Asian people) I found myself being a completely different

version of myself six times a day five days a week. This

feeling of a pseudonymous mutation hints at how fluid

and limitless a “healthy” human being actually is – the narr-

ative of stable identity is as outdated as they come. So many

people live their entire lives threatened by self possession

and attachment to mere holograms, that is hollow grams.

Anyway, all performances require practice and lots of it.

After this comes a kind of mastery that those armchairists,

hobbyists, lobbyists, business moguls, and ghastly ghouls

may never taste – a true transmission of understanding,

that is not lobotomised by overly capitalised overvaluing.

Okay, all this is still too linguistically lauded, let me re-state

with more clarity what I intend you readers to grasp. Not

everything but most human things are encountered through

a funnel in which performing has a large role and function.

This is important – we need to grasp its ramifications: for

example how does language relate to identity, (see, J. L.

Austin, Performative Utterances, 1962.) and is this really

just generative (see, Chomsky Generative Grammar, 1950.)

Such ideas and others, will only elaborate so much, what

one needs is to show you examples of some beings who

harness the above – long live their mad methods.}

 

#H.R.H.the, Some say her real name is Hester Reeve others claim that she is an alien on a mission to encourage the human species to get performing. My own personal encounters with H.R.H.the happened when I was taught by her in my first years of art school. My admiration for her is unwavering because I can vividly remember the idiocy with which I sometimes behaved (on one occasion I fell asleep right in the middle of a crit group like some rude homeless person (I had been out all night) – I also once spectacularly failed to make her instant coffee), nevertheless these daft events seemed to not make her write me off. I’ve always gained a lot from listening to her, and engaging with her work. Highlights of which are the image presented here is from an exhibition TEXT 2, Bury City Art Gallery & Museum, Manchester, 2009. One is also sad that I did not make the journey to experience her Yorkshire Sculpture Park take over Ymedaca – The Game Plan. These two projects show Hester articulating and expressing potential positions on Art History, and in the sculpture park sacrificing to Athena in a platonic exercise. Hester in a recent publication re-articulated what Philosopher Hannah Arendt once claimed, and which the global creative community has to start to understand that is how art begins as a thought-thing and then exists as an object-thing. This artist is well on the way to understanding this through her research on the relationship between art and philosophy, and as the Suffragette as a militant artist. I think this artist and thinker’s many interventions and creations offer ways of understanding complex constructs for example what Maurice Merleau-Ponty describes as: ‘You are a body’ instead of ‘having a body’ – this connects directly connects to Nietzsche and his conception of ‘self-becoming’ the procedures of authentic living are as much an object for creativity as an element of thought.

Canonisation_with_cannons hester reeve

 

#Forced Entertainment, How do you entertain via force? How is entertainment forced? The word forced has strong suggestions: coercion, persuasion, physics, reluctance, repression, regression, frustration, and all this excludes the second noun. Forced Entertainment consists of six artists based in Sheffield (centre of the cosmos), they are one of the most interesting theatre groups of all time, period – not that this creative community would ever admit to such evaluation. Active since before I was born, their theatre consists of a fearsome commitment to the live environment to perfecting the performance questioning what it and the theatre consists of. In doing so, they simultaneously safeguard the ancient cathartic qualities of theatre as described by some Greeks (probably), and expose the culture (their culture) to the widest audience the global community. I was lucky, I saw their performance The Coming Storm at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre and watching this brilliant blizzard of live storytelling was a most enjoyable experience. Only one microphone on stage and a lot of politics as characters battle enthralled and trapped to the need to vocalise what their colourful presence promises. It’s thanks to independent and financially supported companies like this that should serve as a model for other aspiring creators to join together and embrace language as a free tool with which to explore the world. The group’s name reminds me of Noam Chomsky’s notions of “mass media”, and how authentic creative culture erases the injustice of high and low class distinctions. All the more reason to partake, experience, and follow these particular enforcers.

HG5_956512

 

#Sophie Jung, how to describe this fantastic force which is SJ. I met her in person for the first time when I and a lady called Alice invited her to partake in an exhibition we curated in 2014. The work she exhibited although moving image was still a performance featuring herself strewn over a coastal rock, the beautiful image and its pixels in consistent state of fluctuation. Please watch Hepworthy and look at the other works of the exhibition A Pixel or Digit?. Sophie’s recent activities include a body of new work Come Fresh Hell or Fresh High Water, curated by Tom Morton and on show at Blain Southern London. Next to the relentless performance and manifestations of Jung’s creativity in exhibitions she has maintained a firm commitment to writing and teaching. Recently I read her essay Operative: Smart Phone – Tactics of the vigorously opposing thumb (2015), in which she starts with great meditations on neo-liberal times, “We’re all in it together. Blaming the screen is as cheap as blaming the system. Fuck THEY. Find “they”. Note to self: Must learn to make iPhone iPhoney again. Top. Thumbs up to that. Like.” Then towards the end of the text we catch this performer dancing with Deleuze and his nomads, “they are not individuals to which meaning is attached as properties, nor persons fit to interact in an episteme of representation. We should look at the iPhone -Equipped – nomad as a disassembling individual who makes sense along the lines of de – to reterritorialization, dislocating the material certainties that we now attribute to the digital world by seeing them as virtual.” Then in the closing lines we see Sophie correct Hegel, and achieve ten likes the moment her status is updated. I hope you see clearly how her writing is informed and radiates with the power of being performed.            

 Evan-Ifekoya

#Evan Ifekoya, #Joseph Beuys, and #Tino Sehgal (I am sorry to lump you all together into the same paragraphs you deserve more sentences but unfortunately I have a presentation of Foucault’s Technologies Of The Self, and an essay on Nietzsche’s Genealogy to pen – amid many other ambitious animations.) Starting with mrs. Ifekoya, I need to share your brilliance. I have only met you twice yet both times were a respite from the banality of capitalist crap. You selected my degree show animation in an artist run film screening Equations Film Festival in London which was of course great fun, but you also invited me to an artist run crit/seminar group in the bowels of Tate Modern.You were interning there at the time and the conversation we had epitomised what is expected of a creative community. Since then you have completed a masters and have punctually performed your performances all over the place via screens and live and direct in the flesh. My favourite works Evan has authored include the Gender Song, “Female, he-male, she-male, don’t matter” showing Ifekoya summoning our senses to better grasp the concept of gender. Her 2015 West End Angel Of Love Teacher For My It Girls, Can You Feel Food Waiting? A mix that explores what the artist tags as #nightclubontologies, and quotes DJ Sprinkles in terms of a desire to reclaim something lost – but Ifekoya here demonstrates much more than the contents of a concept such as Hauntology rather this ear candy may be haunting but not by a ghost of the past but of now – the moment you listen to it. The spectral ghosts of sound do their work and all that is left is a desire for more of Ifekoya’s creativity. Evan, like sophie, has a commitment to education and learning; the U.K and London is very luck to have her as a full time resident.

The next individual as far as I know (off the top of my head) does not feature in the majority of his performances instead his structures are to be experienced narratively. Again according to the recordings of such spectacles as a member of the audience/public you may or not be written in to the web of living matter Tino Seghal offers. His work makes use of the qualities of the human individual, its voice and motion, to create unique instants where you may encounter the artists intentions. Now I speculate because I have never been to one of his exhibitions but one envisions some uneasiness as your confronted with the people that constitute the art. Seghal, allows me to re-utter questions others have long asked of language. Is it a social construct? Does it speak us? Or, do we speak it? For me this performer creates images of therapeutic communities like those that Felix Guattari (The experimental psychiatry clinic of La Borde,) and Michel Foucault visited (the Agapē of the Hebraic and Hellenistic society the Therapeutae). So, the fruits of Tino Seghal’s labours in my humble opinion can potentially serve as contemporary versions of the later – and boy does humanity not need such spaces to explore language as technology sublimates it?

To end, the end is always never really the end! It just happens to be when you press send! That it ends! So when one of the immortals Joseph Beuys sent himself to New York and for eight hours armed with an umbrella and felt did battle with a coyote. This image is a fitting one to end on because all these performers represent in all its glory what Beuys called Gesamtkunstwerk a conjunction of rationality and emotion that for me represents one of the most powerful demands for humanity to acquire understanding of art as ontology. Please take time to appreciate these artists, for me they all represent this German motion – and therefore deserve your devotion.

i-like-america-and-america-likes-me

Have a Very Merry Neitzschmas!

Reading Questions

 

  1. (Pref., §5) In what respect does Nietzsche disagree with Schopenhauer?

 

Nietzsche disagrees with his great teacher on a notion of morality. He reads Schopenhauer as having dealt too drastically with the “unegoistic”: instincts of compassion, self-sacrifice, and denial. In Nietzsche’s eyes this moody German as having took these things to a place where they became the values with which made him then reject life. For the unholy Nietzsche values that would affirm life for the individual are of the utmost importance.

 

  1. (1stessay, §2) Who, in Nietzsche’s view, first defined ‘the good’?  What were their motivations?

 

At first glance Nietzsche would seem to hold English psychologists accountable for their idiosyncrasies, yet this hides who he really sees as the true originators of the concept of “the good” that  is under  consideration. The nobility and the mighty or high placed who generated “the good” in this autonomous sense that they are the ones that had the power to judge what was good in and by itself for them. They had the power to be self reflective because one easily follows Nietzsche’s logic in that its a class distinction which could be easily enraging to those with Marxist tendencies but it should be noted that Nietzsche’s Master-Slave dialectic contains a deep dark truth. Just consider an initial notion: it is often the case that roles are reversed and the slave wishes to enslave (master), and the Master through its mastering becomes a slave to that which it masters – a rather complex topic for further thinking.

 

  1. (1stessay, §13) How do ‘the oppressed’ contribute to the notion of ‘the good’?

 

The oppressed contribute to the notion of “the good” because they are oppressed in the sense that it is only due to something being oppressed that any good may be seen as separate from that which is bad. Yet, this is not so clear so when we read Nietzsche as saying, ‘Whereas all noble morality grows out of a triumphant saying ‘yes’ to itself, slave morality says ‘no’ on principle to everything that is ‘outside’, ‘other’, ‘non-self’: and this ‘no’ is its creative deed.’ It is possible to understand this relation that Nietzsche brilliantly revealed to the world the trope of resentment ressentiment a revolt within morality itself providing the creation of values.

 

  1. (1stessay, §13) What does Nietzsche say here about choice and personality and how does it relate to Kierkegaard’s view?

 

This is an interesting question and it shows both of our existentialist forefathers to be extremely relevant to life today. When numinous Nietzsche suggests the battle in judging the relation between birds of prey and the tender lamb one may also translate that into Kierkegaard’s discussion in Either/Or which is a pseudonymous play on authentic identity and a reaction to the Hegelianism of his time. One would see the two positions developed individually to really share a great deal in that through their writings the modern individual and secular experience of either choice or free will?

 

  1. (2ndessay, §16) Do you think that in Nietzsche’s opinion we should return to being ‘half animals’?

 

Again, a good question and difficult to answer there are two parts to it the notion of half animals and the return. Developing Nietzsche’s thought one of the greatest readers of Nietzsche… Gilles Deleuze invites us to become animal – are we then to answer by repenting our repressed animality? One does not think this would be agreeable to Nietzsche I imagine he would urge you to understand the animal which you could become[…]

Arthur Schopenhauer (Lover of Poodles)

arthur-schopenhauer

Reading Questions (will post more soon)

  1. (4) Why is it ‘one-sided’ to consider the world as representation?  How does Schopenhauer differ from Kant here?

If we clearly state and compare the two philosophers thoughts on the world we can easily appreciate the way Schopenhauer is different from his illustrious predecessor. For Kant the world in itself, the noumenal world can not be fully known instead sensibility is filtered through the categories of the understanding, making genuine authentic knowledge phenomenal (existing in space and time). Schopenhauer, reduced everything into either will or representation. As he states right at the beginning of The World as Will and Representation (1818),

“Therefore no truth is more certain, more independent of all others, and less in need

of proof than this, namely that everything that exists for knowledge, and hence the

whole of this world, is only object in relation to the subject, perception of the perceiver, in a word, representation.”

So, analysing this more deeply the difference is a nuanced one, Schopenhauer admired Kant’s discovery of the thing-in-itself, but in the predication he observes an aesthetic aspect of being created by the individual whereas Kant gave privilege to the individual I’s manner of cognition. It is one-sided to consider the world as representation because reading the text we are supposed to appreciate that “everything belonging to the world is being-conditioned by the subject”, “existence and perceptibility are convertible terms”, and the subject itself  “does not lie in space and time, for it is whole and undivided in every representing being.” All statements that culminate in a lack of autonomy and, or freedom from nature yet we can still experience these things only through a bleak acceptance of the inevitability of suffering.                 

  1. (146) What picture of nature emerges from Schopenhauer’s conception of the world as will?  

This moody German’s image of nature starts to be described in [146] as a continuous state of competition and conflict. One where what is thought of as separate qualities of the world turn out to be battling one another for the chance to reveal their own idea. Schopenhauer references the animal kingdom and its predator prey dualism to help him assert that ideas only manifest in relation to another idea. In other words nature is an infinity of competing ideas?

  1. (196) What is it that enables us to transcend our nature as blindly willing beings?

 

The specific thing that provides the capacity to transcend such an aimless condition is the thing we refer to as suffering. This is understandable when he starts discussing Eris (strife) as a contradiction between the will-to-life, its inner self, and its visibility through the principium individuationis. Eventually resulting in, “a goodness that shows itself as pure, i.e,. disinterested, affection towards others.  

  1. Book four is taken to contain Schopenhauer’s treatment of ethics, in the light of his conception of the world as will and representation.  How do you understand his doctrine of the ‘denial of the will-to-life’ (378).  Do you find this appealing?

 

I think my understanding is in line with the well established interpretation of Schopenhauerian ethics, that the ‘denial of the will-to-life’ is the logical conclusion of the ancient wisdom/myth of Silenus, “that it was better to not have been born”. However, I think that there is much more in Schopenhauer’s writing to suggest that his ethics are not just about a complete negation of life (how else would Nietzsche have been so affirming of life? If there was not some positivity to be had in Schopenhauer?) Rather, when he quotes the great Spinoza, Benevolentia nihil aliud est, quam cupiditas ex commiseratione orta (Ethics, iii, pr.27, cor. 3 schol.) It is safe to say that because of this disjunction of sympathy or selfishness this imbalanced duality one should gain a great deal more attentiveness to the short lived, fleeting, and perhaps serendipitous nature of happiness?

  1. Schopenhauer accepts many tenets of Kant’s theory of knowledge, but he completely disagrees with Kant as regards the practical philosophy (376). Why and in what sense?

 

His disagreement with Kant’s pragmatical use of maxims and the categorical imperative can be understood as a negative view of mere concepts… Kant’s practical philosophy was created to be practised, for Schopenhauer this was still way too theoretical and analytical, “All true and pure affection is sympathy or compassion, and all love that is not sympathy is selfishness. All this will be in direct contradiction to Kant.” Opposing Kant, and embracing chance and error Schopenhauer even saw Jesus as struggling to apply the Categorical Imperative.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than a rich

Man to enter into the Kingdom Of God.”

– Jesus