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The Performed Art Act

See also: [(art) concepts] [Art Movements] [Coerced performance] -[post post-modernism]- [Performed Art] [The Performed Art Technology] [The Performed Danse] [Performed Art: Filmed] [The Performed Performance] [The Performed Score] [Performed Text] [Performed Theatre] [The Performed UFO's] (and esp, etc) [The Performed WEB (including programming)] [Dada] [Dadaism] (an art "ism") [Performance frank: Realism Now!] [Fluxus] [Street Art] [Interventionist Art] [T.A.Z.] (Association for Ontological Anarchy) (Hakim Bey, chief janitor) [Frank's stuff]

The Performed Art Act

On this page: {Intro} {Stuff} {Perf art vs Theatre} {Danse} {Artist} {Ritual} {Art Act as Thought/Research}

Intro


Stuff


Perf art vs Theatre

See also: -[
Performed Theatre]- -[Performance Art as Art]- (irreproducible) So, what are the aesthetics of peformance art as opposed to theatre? Do we need restrict our definition/usage of theatre to "traditional theatre" -- whatever that is; ie, elisabethian, classical greece, Mollier vs the 1800c ?? More directly: What are the particular aesthetics that select/differentiate between performed text and performance;per se ? (it is recommended to listen to the 1st movemetn of Prokofiev's Symp #2 (yes; number 2, and NOT the classical) (an old beige rain coat might help as well) We take as read text as text as text as text read as simple recitation and/or discussion, etc. Even if i speak as non chalantly as possible the words To be or not to be (or their equivalents in Klingon) there is almsot no way that i can do so without destroying context at that moment. Or, as certainly one of the most feared (or one assume so) poets of Plato, has sed: >>In ancient times, paintings we- re given their finishing touches in stages. Each day brought so- mething new. A painting used to be sume of actions. In my case, a painting is the sum of destructions. I paint a work, and then I destroy it.<< -- Pablo Ruiz Picasso Thus, in the case of Hamlet's words (arguably the most famous words in the Language English!), we can not escape their weight of destruction. Imagine a clown of most comic proportions, who suddenly "strikes a pose" and utters them, or a dictator (eg, Hitler, Nero, Cardinal Jimenez, etc) - that is, the two anti-podes of human existence (nilhilism vs obliteration). In either case, their preceding remarks/actions/etc are struck into another unvierse this sort of *ultimate* dividing mark: "To be or not to be". Of course, we cheat here, since the words would have little meaning prior to the widespread knowledge of Hamlet, it's performances, and the "soaking in" of the work as pure text. Note that only the the case of Hitler and his time (the 1900c), would his audience be aware of what the words meant - whether spoken in English or not. We might well ask if there have "always" been such words? Thus, we might have found some equivalent in the time of the the Roman or Catholic scourages of equal maginitude in the denigration and derrogation of the human spirit. But, we would find such words useful in any event. In the modern context, uttering "Fire" in a theatre, or the word "gun" in the presence of secret service agents protecting a president, king, or other official would be the only equivalent in destructive power. Here, quite literally so. And what of the words of a doctor concerning some critical results of a test? For example, an "HIV" test? In my own case, i had determined if indeed i was still "hiv free" i would say a certain thing from a certain play - sort of thanks to the mues for sparing my life (at least for a little while, and in this major way). The lab tech got my file, went back to the back of the office - through which i could see him looking at my file. The passage from the reception room, led past the desk that served as the reception, down a darkish hall, and into THE ROOM (that is, the room where people were counciled when the news was not good). And the ages clicked by, the tech (way "back there") continued, looking at the sheets stapled to my file. An infinity of time passed as inifnity does (as it does at about 3 minutes into Satie's "Ballet Realiste"). Finally (as it turned out, i had had a liver cancer test done as well, and of course, that was a bit unusual).... oh, you're all right..... (sed he') so out sprang these works, Very well, then we shall have a new opera. And Herr Mozart shall write it. And it shall be in German; there 'tis, then. Odd, how performance just "happens". START AGAIN

Interactions/Themes

I want to again return to the I/A (inter/action) of the performers and the audience. At the lowest level is the stage itself and any props in it. We as observers see (or hear if the "prop" is an SFX) etc "from the space". Anyway.... We take as read (for this part of the discussion) that t the observor/observed extends to not only the actors on the stage (custome, their physical appearance, etc) but to the stage (theatre, where they are sitting in the theatre - ?shakespeare in the park?, etc), and then the props, lighting, and of course music, Snd F/X, etc.
In various plays, signs or set props can be "dropped in" to the set; eg, via the so-called "fly system" of counter weights. And of course a sign which is in darkness can be lit up at a certain point of the performance. And of course, with the advent of projectors and such, these things can be quite intrusive (either in a good or a bad way - but mostly in varying degrees of "much-ness"). [Note 1] (Jacques Lassaigne's ideas on L/D) Note that this is different with the way that signs (to confine ourselves) for the moment manifest themselves in film. The film is much more directed and forced in its presentation - and of course editing has much to do with that. For example, in the film "2001", a sign lights up (with attendant sound) saying: LIFE SIGNS CRITICAL Of course for film this sort of "mise en scene" (shouldn't that be mise dans scene ???) is part and parcel to not only the economies of making a movie, but the look and feel. [Note that in the case of V/R the mise en scene is actually the actors themselves and the "scene" (being V/R) is the main prop - as is all scene work (even the "void" or even "the road, mound, and tree" in Beckett's "Waiting for Godot", etc.] -[Performed Art: Filmed]- That effect can of course be simulated in a live performance with either the fly system or lighting effects. And of course a similar effect can be achieved by actors speaking certain words at certain times; eg, the "stage manager" in "Our Town". So, somewhere in there is the nature of what we might use in a performance work. We might hae prepared cards with words or phrases on them - and in interactive (I/A) performance we might allow the participants to write phrases (or at the very least choose cards, etc). In one limit of this is of course traditional theatre where the audience are essentially bumps on a log and only view but do not inter-act (or ostensibly so) with the performance. Somewhere in the middle of the range is the game show - where the players direct the action of the game; subject to varying degrees of rules and/or other attributes of the game. At the other limit is of course totally free-form interaction that we find if people are given a space in which to do pretty much anything. But, again the things that are available (either by accident or intent of the artist/designer) set up parameters of the game. Consider the absurdist conditions created by Monty Python's "World Hide and Seek" contest - the players can range all over the world, and involve years of play. But, these variants on the "observed play" that are presented as entertainments have some purpose - we presume. One aspect of art is to either deny/negate/amplify the contexts of normal behaviour. For example, a game show could be constructed where the "pay off" is knowledge itself - thus attempting to negate the under-laying consumer-based materialism of such shows in general. Of course, then we have the advent of "survior" or "real tv" shows. Which are both fictions - but the audience is supposed to not know that - which i'd assume that only a dolt would not know the ficticious b/g of the shows. I mean how many people actually THINK (?!) that a company would put someone on TV and actually put them in harm's way??? Especially on the celeb survivor things. It might actually be interesting to "stage" the death (even murder???) of someone (eg, Agatha Christie's "And then there were none" - aka "Ten Little Indians") and then of course have it turn out to be real. This of course (now that i think of it) //'s (parallel's) Neil Simon's "Murder by Death". And of course tha would lead to theatre of the absurd, python, etc. Thus, tv seems to be the dominant measure of "success" of art and such - which of course is antithetical to art, poetry, story telling, and other authentic experiences. But of course, along that line goes the old debate of whether or not the "on-line" life is worth living. The answer (as with other such aesthetic questions) goes back to the nature of the "game". Thus, the museum experience is a value-less game. It's only possible reward is personal enlightenment - unless the museum becomes a "battle ground" or "playing field" for some "meta game". But, we need not go that far to see how the "game show" and "material advantage" motifs have invaded normal experience. We need only look at "teaching the test" which is now much the measure of the effectiveness of education. And of course "making the grade", "honors lists", and such are all in the competitive model as well. Of course, the intrusion of tv life (or at the very least its commercialist and consumeristic manifestations) into normal life is just more of "The Matrix". That, is more and more "normal" behaviour is moulded into the flow and model of the game show, the action-adventure film, other "warm and fuzzy" versions that fill the air waves. One problem that i see is the disappearance of text. Almost every thing on tv/films/etc is presented as visual experiences (as well as a very small sub-set of auditory experiences) - or in the words of John Cage (when talking about music) - many patterns are possible, few are tried. ********* BONUS TRACK - this section only **************** It occurs to me that "lab experiments" are form of theatre in which the ideas of science (usually) are transmitted by participatory involvement. While we could imagine a play being acted out and the viewers being actors/directors/fx-people/etc that are in the process of critiquing/re-directing/editing the on-going play - we usually see the lab as a "hands-on" experience designed to teach the students things the subject. This is in keeping with the Confucian dictim: If i hear about somethng, then i know. If i see something, then i understand. If i do somethng, then i remember. Thus, lab experiments are essentially theatre with a very intense kind of interaction

Danse

So, how do we "deal" with danse? how are its aethetics reflected in the flat world of 2 diminensional art is: (Philip Glass's "itaipu" may be of help here) So let us start with a "view from a above", We might imagine the danseurs with arms akimbo - out to the sides of their bodies. And yet the bodies are not straight down poles onto which these angular things are attached. They are sinuous and sensual - the very body of the body, and then with amrs and legs the magnetism of action is thrust out and taken back in to and from the torso and head. And the head, more massive than the arms or feet - and of course carrying with it the mind, face and senses. And one person in the danse to the next (in the case of the 11 dots, perhaps) they fan out and inter-act. But, in the painting - everything is static. Even Matiss'es lines lines lines-curving, one picking up where the last one left off, and in the end the lines ending only when they can begin again to enclose the "surfaces" round, angualar, sharp, rounded and rounded - lithe and sensuous again. STATIC, and yet flowing in the mind's time but not the time of the canvas. Static, and yet flowing with line texture and qualities of line, flows of lines separate and grouped, shaded and shadowed the lines echoing and re-capitulating each other and then cresendoing into infinite darkness of line OVER line over line on top of line, adding and adding until the paper nearly tares. And then line from line from line FROM line subtracting until a whiteness that the paper never could have had is revealed. Torents of swift lines flowing at infinite speeds, frozen in time timeless disolving into nothing. and the then contrast having its final say in both the blinding whiteness of the lightening of the mind - and an infite abyss of darkness that only a mirror can penetrate. So, finally there is nothing "save empty space and you; and you are but a fiction, a lie, a truth that has no mirror not even that of reality" - or so, Twain has told us. And then the rolls of paper cascade into our mind's eye and all the colours of black and black and BLACK cascade into the whiteness of nothing's infinite diversity. And awakened from this dream of nightmare we enter traipsing about in shadows of colour -pastells that flake and crumble dustless to the floor, and liquidituy is no where to be found, and the billowing of sheets of flaxen linnen escape the drying line and fly out out out the window into an azure sea that turns that pale blue that only matisse, picasso and you could have ever imagined. And then the brownnesses of texture and dark greens of the curtains weigh down the very wind until the floor becmes covered in grey grayness until it is folded and built up in textures of cloth of quickly fading colours. And into the middle a slow wave flows outwards like the circles of a lake - but flattening the canvases into flater and flat flat flat lime stone textures of the shadow of lizard's dustless foot print, and the danceurs then again begin to slowly walk to their first positions. and then frozen, they then merge downward into the floor into into its top ness never to move again - captured at last in small lines oddly arranged - one line leading to the next until there is only the grey line on the pale pale pale green-gray limestone with its sublte textures. (and then silence)

Stuff

So, again we come to what is it that we do? How does it vary/differ/similar (cf/qv) with other arts and of course the age old "Well a child could do that!" comments. I take it as read that the "they" in this case are people who in the Sartrean sense come in good faith to try to understand art and what it is that we do. But, in reality they just still don't get it. The argument goes to the idea that it all is rather simple. We go back to the ancient Egyptian Hierglypic epigram: There is no art that can not be mastered; And yet there is no one that is treuly the master of any art. The mechanics is simply a matter (as Betty Edwards tells us) "It's easy, once you get beyond the first 5_000 mistakes". Which i think is a good place to start. We do that don't we? We do something wrong 3 or 4 hundred times (or at the very least 42, i'd say) and then we keep on doing it. When we come across some small nuance, almost a sniggling little jot; a zert if you will - althought it could well be "just" a zirt instead of a zert. Some small twiddle in the way that we are doing something. And then we notice it - "Ah!; the art moment!" we will later say. And like the mathematician (here i draw upon Poincaire's essay on the creative process of proof and such), it is when we are almost not paying attention, that it comes to us. But, then in a way we are always paying attention, we can't help it. We are taught (and if we be treuly ready to enter in *every* level of Sartre's "good faith"), we willingly go into the mode where ALL we are is to notice. We that which (in a 'pataphysical sense) notices, that which attends; ie, we become that which becomes the infinitely reflecting mirror. And as such, since what we reflect must necessarily "stretch across the curve of the universe" and thus, be reflected onto the "back-side" of the mirror that is - and that bare, raw self that is our mind (or what-ever it is) becomes the note of the noted. It becomes the footnote that we think is the distinguishing mark of our seeing of "the thing" (or a thing, or any thing, etc). In that moment, everything that we are up to that point is focused in an almost mindless way (or else in some sort of ultimately mind-full way) onto that small "jot". And then that jot becomes the starting point, the pivot if you will. And here we might think of a Kung Fu movie, in the present day where the two fighters are frozen in mid stride/leap/etc -- and then the "camera angle is taken around at all views -- but, of course NOT all, just the 360 (or 180) staying parallel to the earth, to the floor, to the room's "down-ward-ness". But, when this "jot-noticing" occurs, there is no dimensionality at all. It is some sort of meta-dimension. The way that the negative space between two fronds of a leaf, or gap in space between the fore and back ground, or pattern of light and dark. In that "meta-moment" of creativity, there ceases to be *any* referenece - the "jot" itself becomes the entire universe. And yet, we are hyper aware that this jot-lit is still this very small thing: Atomic, micro-scopic, absolutely non-ness - having NO dimension what-so-ever. In fact negating dimensionality entirely. And going further, that this zotlet is both a similarity and a differentiality of its own nature. It sets up all that we know and understand NOT in some sort of classifcation or ranking (that horrible word: ranking), but in explosion of thought/idea/concept/consciousness that in that moment (which of course is time-less and yet time-full at the same "time") everything is both "tested and found wanting" --and-- "completed" by this new insight. And the world is never the same again for us having expierienced this latest of ideas and (if we give it lease) it takes us over and re-capitulates every thing that we know or have done before or sense that. It becomes in our consciousness (which is now returnng since the "art moment" has become achored and weighed/tested/assessed in that moment of the past), and then following its discovery: It becomes this snick or stub or the errant brush hair or the exception to every rule. And at the same time, all of the similarities and differences flow by the idea in a wordless stream juxtapositions that are both contrasting and similarities - but so far beyond "mere contrasts" or "mere likenesses" forming a point in our meta-physical space of discovery that is both a nub/seed/jut-out as well as the universe of all-inclusion, instantly filling all voids and then becoming all voids in our minds. (well, it's a start)...

Artist

Say put on an act where we act as an artist?

The "Portrayed Artist"

There are two examples that come to mind: The filme ??name?? about the ??artists-name?? where in the *actual* artist Sun Doo Kim (or more properly Kim Sun-Doo) artist uses his HANDS for the close-ups of the actor ??actors-name?? who is portraying the artist. And of course "Pollock" where Ed Harris was coached by the art director ??art-directors-name?? on how to paint. The idea is that (unless he was an artist as were "Captain BeefHeart" (Dan Van Vlet) or Fred Gwynne ("Herman Munster) later in life), then he is an actor acting as an artist. Compare and contrast this with Tom Hulce who played "Mozart" in "Amadeus" (1984) and actually plays the piano. Or Clint Eastwood who in "In the Line of Fire" (1993) played "Frank Horrigan" who in turn is based (loosely) on the real-life Secret Service Agent ??persons-name?? who was on duty when Kennedy was assasinated. And if *that* isn't looking glass enough for you, the part of Eastwood's character was modified/written to feature him as jazz pianist - which in point of fact Eastwood is in real life. Similarly in the film "HopScotch" (1980) Walter Matthau plays a cold-war agent and the part is modified/written so that the character likes Mozart - which Matthau does in real life. In fact much of the music in the film is tailored around Mozart's work. Or in "The Time Machine (2002 - re-make) where the part of the libary assistant hologram "Vox" played by Orlando Jones has him exit the viewing area -- similar to when you close MicroSoft Word and the paper-clip PDC (Personal Digital Character) turns into a bicycle and drives off the page. Anyway, the sound or actual director knew of Jones' love of Star Trek and so added the "swoosh-shhtchump" sound of the sliding doors on the Enterprise. Or then at a deeper level where the actors seek out the parts because the film says what they feel; eg, Peter Sellers calling the author Jerzy Kosinski that he wanted to make "Being There" and play the part of "Chauncy Gardner". Similarly, when the film "Gandhi" was being cast, the person ??actors-name?? who specifically wanted to play the horrible jail master in South Africa because, "I know what that kind of person is like, and i wanted to play it as ruthlessly as possible - so that my daughter would see what can happen in our world" -- by NO MEANS an exact quote, but i'd say 90-99% on the mark as to the actor's intent. (And no, i haven't see it yet - yes, i know; i have a kilo-zillion things to do, and they're all marked TRIPLE-A-PLUS-HIGHEST-PRIORITY) START AGAIN Anyway, this "mixing of modes" (mixed media???) is pretty much accepted in real life. And when the viewer sees them incorporated into film, it adds "just that bit more". So, we begin to see the cross currents and bifurcations (branching/mixing) and such: The artist painting (say in a documentary) and then talking about their art/ideas/life as they do so. The actor's own ideas/preferences worked into the story line. etc Note that for the actor (the actor is "only" human, and indeed the actor IS only human), these aspects are equivalent to what we do when we paint using symbols or such. I'd say that the *strength* of the horse as symbol in Picasso's "Guernica" is the same as James Wood's (playing "Senator Kitz") acting intensity in cross examining Jody Foster (playing "Dr. Arroway") in the film "Contact" (1997). The actor has only their self as art element (with perhaps a prop). It would be as if we were a canvas and paint, or as if a danseur *was* flow, movement, pause, and rhythm. Sort of meta-physical, what? Thus, as such there is no "pure performance" - anymore than there is a pure re-creation of the creative act. The actor/danseur/musician is *in* the moment of performance. And yet as we "perform" we are not aware of it except on occasion. If we/they (all of us chickens) were more than marginally aware of what we were doing then we would "fall out of time/act/creation". Imagine if a pianist was totally aware during the 3rd movement of a piano concerto of every note that they were playing. It is the continued practicing/exercises that makes a particular chord or transition "automatic" otherwise they would "stutter" from one note to the next. An example of this was clearly demonstrated in Jonthan Miller's TV series on the human body "The Body in Question" when he had Dudley Moore (best known as a comedian) play a bit of a piano work from memory, and then play it but transforming it into another key. He was v. much forced to *think* - the performance was stilted, and then jumping, and then stilted: As his brain had to de-construct (dis-assemble), transform (translate), and then re-construct (play) the piece. Thus, this goes back to Betty Edwards (best known as the author of "Drawing on the Artist Within" and "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain") who said it best: "[Art is] easy; once you get past the first 5000 mistakes". Thus, even though we (at the very least suspending dis-belief/analysis/etc) "see" a performance of an actor that seems flawless (or even when it is flawed), we are seeing the externalisation of how they are as an actor (sum of all parts/talents/ideas/etc), how the piece uses them to be performed, and of course WYSIWYG - What you see is what you get: the act not as act but as authentic expression/experience/existince. Similarly, when we paint the mental states that make us up when we pick up the brush (environment/body-feelings/music|sound/lighting/emotional-state/etc) are all in the mix as well. But, as with the rehearsed musical/act/danse, the expression just doesn't happen. Our clearest example is of course from Guernica which because of the intensity of that act of pure creation probably comes cloest to "the art act" stripped bare. And that it (like many major works that we all work on) roiled on and on in Picasso's mind for days on end and the fact that his friend photographed it as it went along, and the fact that the motivation of the intense emotion that must of continually possessed and re-possesd him (even almost certainly haunting his dreams) to finally create the work itself: All of that was the art act performed. I would go so far as to say that the art act (in such cases as this, and rarely so intensely in normal practice - we can see where it led van Gogh when he (as i put it "tried to be colour", "tried to be texture", etc) was in the creative fughes in which the self does actually disappear: Then he *was* art; art with out consciousness. I think that this parallels (and perhaps is even an example of) Sartre's ideas of thinking, thinking about thinking, and thinking without thinking that he explores so well -- if a bit difficult to understand (words as gORAN has said are the least efficient way to describe what art is; like comparing the processing time of a disk-drive to RAM) -- that WHEN WE ARE (in the act of creation). Then we aren't even aware of it as "act" (in all of the senses) and in that state where to act, to create, to draw/paint/make - these states of being come back into us as we finish or pause. And i would hazard a guess that this is the same "way of being" (altough prob not exactly the same) for the singer, danseur, etc. Finally, i just wanted to talk about what are called "Koesler Discoveries" or "Koesler Acts of Insight". That is, what he described as being things that "just happen" but that they can only happen (if i understand it correctly) *because* we have been prepared, trained, and mostly already thinking about either the problem at hand, or at the very least problems like that. thought lost!!!! interruptions!!! drub the world!!!! (no wonder the human race finds the only thing that it's good at is war, hatred, predjudice and raining on someone else's parade and judging the quality of life (ie, it's $$$$ value!!!) as how much raw hamburger you can shove up you nose (JLO'Trek reference/quote). arrggggggghhhhhh! (oh, well. back to the TV - the thought is gone, maybe a crumb from me will entice it back?)

Ritual

See also: [
Thru a Ritual Darkly]- (word doc) v-1.1 -[Thru a Ritual Darkly]- (back-made html v-1.1) In this section: {Intro} {} {} {} {} {

Ritual - Intro

As might probably easily be guessed, if we (as artists) were to take up almost anything as ritual and incorporate into our performance work - we would almost certainly make a muddle of it. For example, in the Python's film "The Life of Brian", John Clese (as a Jewish law-giver) presides at a stoning of a person who has spoken aloud the name of "G-d" (god). In-advertantly in dressing him, the costumer (and apprarently without anyone in the cast - many includin jews and some even historical scholars (all that cambridge and oxford biz, doan tchuh gnogh)) didn't realise that the "shawl" that John had drapped around his head was in fact a holy-of-holy prayer shawl and was NEVER worn in such a casual way. One thinks in the overt ways of modern days of such flushing a Koran down the toilet to put "those arabs" in their places". Alas, there seems no end to such anti-culturalism - even among "the" elite. Regardless, the point is that no one in the cast/crew had intended to give offense - in fact the whole portrayal of the ritual was to cast it into an absurdist fashion. The under-current of the story being that only MEN were allowed to go to stonings - and yet, women (almost obsesively so) wanted to go. They had to don wigs and masculine accents. The stonee (played by "John Lily" ??actor??) recalls, "I don't think it should be against the law to say his name. All i did was to say to my wife after dinner, was, 'That piece of Halibut [a kind of fish] was good enough for Jehova'. I don't think that that should be against the law." You see the problem - if not, you are to research the ideas of "distracting details", "in-appropriate use of a symbol in a play/paintin", and "detracting elements due to muddiness in an art work". So, what's an artist to do? On the one hand we want to feel that we are a conduit for the common man to the greater world - esp art and culture. And yet, at the same time we are imbedded in that culture and subject the same sorts of blindenesses. Just look at how feminists and psuedo-feminists view Gaugahn and Tahiti. The most famous case being of course Picasso's viewing of the Dogan Mask at an exhibit in Paris and its resulting influence on his "Les Mademeseilles d'Avingon" ??sp?? (Egad: Now he's gone to torturing spelling in TWO languages! ;) How must that bit of culture been derrogated and mis-interpreted??? And yet, it falls to us to extend the bridge to many of these cultures. It to no end continues to amaze me as to how artists of different B/G's "get along". In one case, a chap that i met at a "installation work" was from Australia (and not thinking anything of it - being an American - he was black). And trying to "reach out", i asked him if he'd see the film "Thd Dish" - which recounts the story of the Apollo 11 moon-walk flight. And he was furious with the producers because they'd not had any "native australians" in the film. The insult was (as i saw it) by the fact that "they" felt just as moved by what was happening as the "white man and his culture" was. That is, the DREAM of being on the moon. There is the story of one witch doctor who visited the moon and sat with the tall, thin moon men and looked at the Earth and such. And when he returned the point wasn't whether he had been (physically) to the moon or not -- but rather what he had learned while he was there: The unity of the earth, the alone-ness of space, etc. In the same way, if we as participative artists try to exclude one group for some bizrre reason - which i think seems so un-utterably "alien" as to almost beg it be an act or at least a characterisaion. And of course, on reflection - why *didn't* they have aboriginees and of course that superbly and wondefully (John Cage would have gone ape!) digeridoo music??? One can only wonder - obv'ly who ever was the A/D or F/D (Foley) just didn't "think it thru". Oh, well - live and learn. Or as we in perf art say: Next time EVEN beter-er. Thus, we return to the various scripts that we use in our interpreation/portrayal/etc of ritual: Anthro - the way humans AS humans use ritual. And note that in fact in this case ritual is by EXACTNESS not the day-to-day ritual of existence. In fact what we (as outsiders) see as "ritual outside of the normal human activities" ISN'T. Imagine in the western tradition, the marriage ceremony. This is such a part of culture that it isn't really seen as ritual outside of day to day existence/existance/existince. If at work (say in a high-tech digital company) some one says, oh, my brother got married this past Sunday. We hardly skip a beat: We "know" the nature of that ritual and every detail of it simply refines (dots an i or crosses a t) of an image that we already have. Only if something out of the mainstream occurs do we have to "adjust our set". A friend of mine and her finace got married in a druid cermony by a monk - adjust, adjust, adjust. Thus, the things that we as outsiders (even as artist outsiders) "see" when looking into a culture are just as needfull of adjustments as those of anyone other than a member of that culture. Socio - We tend to view this as a group (anthropos) of people and how they interact in a larger sense - and almost always in a context of ANOTHER group. Thus, we come up with ideas such as: Alientation, Distancing, Off-the-beaten-path, sub-cultures, etc. Which thank Ipthar we suffer far less xeno- phobia than the mainstream. I'm always happy to see "non-normal" people - whether they be goths, punkers, or dwarfs. We live for dividing mark of form - even though those choosing (or by the judgements of society - being forced) to live outside the norm may have "a hellova time just getting by". For example, the late, great "little person" (pol cor speek for "dwarf") Billie Bartie was invovled (as are all kind celebrties) in having properly made toilet seats and such; after all as the pol incorrect speek speech said, "All they're looking for is a warm place to go to the bathroom" - but, then as we'd say: Yessss, and who isn't? Psych - As thank you professors (Freud, Jung, Meade, etc, etc, etc) for filling in the missing puzzle that Darwin so skillfully dansed around: Man isn't decended from an angel but an ape, and then to boot - he's the least "rational" ape of them all. So, there we have all of the elements that we can mix and match, mish and miss-mash as best we can. So, how far do we want to go? If we are bound to exactness, then we become like the anthropologist who seeks to re-create a ritual in as accurate of detail as possible. If we are bound to breadth, then we become like the sociologist who seeks to relate behaviours and ritual elments to other cultures and hence derive historical paths, independences/similarites, and sustaining-behaviours via studies of the ritual(s). And of course, as good psychologists we try to derive meaning through our works. As with Dali when he met Freud who told him that he so clearly was in contact with his subconscious that he probably didn't need analysis. And then of course, this goes back to art as therapy and the "discovery" by Klimt that the art works by the insane and the "sane" artists was often hard to distinguish. Hmmmm. So, where does that leave us? Exactly where we are with any other choice of line-width, colour-palet, canvas-shape, sculpting material, etc, etc, etc. We choose the level to which we stay realistic - in which case we "ape" (in the mime sense) the works. Or we INTERPRET using very little translation to take us too far away from the source of the ritual, its meaning in that culture, etc. Or we EXPRESS our impressions and "readings" of the ritual. And at the furthest, we EXPLODE via all means the art totally out of context and force into the public perception; eg, "Les Madesmeseiles d'Avingone" (a different spelling every time). And by whatever route or in what every mulitplicities do we go from the birds of Audibon to the abstraction of a parrot, as we go from the horrors of war (that for the LIFE of me the human race *still* hasn't "gotten it" yet) to Guernica, and of course from the depths of dispair to that wondrous trickle of water in the desert of reality: hope. The perf art via ritual is not ritual any more than the map is the territory of Borge's optic nerve. [

References

(this section only) Having been formally (B grade, a gift me thinks) through a course in ritual - just a survey one. I think that a good "self-paced" course in ritual could be gleaned from the following: Eliade, Mircea. Myths, Dreams, and Mysteries. 1957. Trans. Philip For artists of all kinds, Eliade is THE book. He was the first to range far and wide and even his detractors have to admit that even when he is wrong - he's still right. As the saying goes: The opposite of simple truth is a simple lie. But the opposite of a profound truth, is another sort of profound truth. Langer, Susanne K. (1957, 3rd Ed.) Philosophy in a New Key - A Study in the Symbolism Reason, Rite, and Art. Harvard Press. Cambridge (Massachusetts). It is so heartening to me that she is (finally!) getting the respect that she so richly deserves for her work. During the "cold war" she was seen as almost under-mining the good, strong approach to TRUTH - which must surely, Shirley, reside in the "hard sciences", better living through pesticides and chemicals, and of course: To pave the entire world in Concrete. Enjoy a bit of Eliade and Langer today - you'l be glad you did! - frank, fleeding @ hotmail.com Now for the more formal "ritual" studies as anthro: Turner, Victor (1969). "Liminality and Communitas" in "The Ritual Process". New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Turner (along with Van Ganep) are seen as the founding fathers of ritual studies in Anthro. Very readable and very human. Van Gennep, A. (1960). The Rites of Passage. Chicago, Ill: The University of Chicago Press. This is a reprint of his original 1910d work. Don't let that date fool you - he's a refreshing blast from the past (eg, the fact that no one needs a passport to travel from country to country :) and he builds a sturdy foundation. Think: da Vinci on "scafolding" or van Gogh on "black and white". Grimes, Ronald L. (1996) Readings in Ritual Studies. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. This is a "catch all" sort of book with a superb wealth of both breadth and depth. Rituals in "Super Tuesday" (voting day) as well as reprinting many of the classic papers. With that simple bookshelf, i think that you will find (as i did) a new and beautiful path to viewing the sculpture (in both open and closed forms) that IS ritual among the humans. :|:|: ; I have to end with a personal favorite (mainly because he went to the same school that i did) - even though it is (for me, personally) a difficult but rewarding book to work through. I'd say that his book is a bit easier than Rapport's works are in the same way that Taylor's books on relativity are easier than say those of Slater and Frank. Armstrong, Robert Plant (1981). The Powers of Presence: Consciousness, Myth, and Affecting Presence. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania Press The key concept is synthesis vs. syndesis. Which i (still trying to get grip on - i dip into the book quite often) take to be a view of the time-dependent and time-independent forms of art/ritual/etc. Probably because Hegel has given us such a clear new "dialectic" in his formula: Thesis (gives rise to its opposite) --> Anti-thesis And hence in terms of evolution: Thesis + Antithesis ---> Synthesis (new thesis) Thus, the process of change/growth/evolution are clear as historical consequents of previous conditions: Synthesis. Well, that's as much is clear to me. Syndesis is more in the realm of being outside of time (change/growth/evo/etc). e mail me with your thoughts, frank fleeding @ hotmail.com --30--

Art Act as Thought/Research

Art Act as Thought/Research. Of course if the act of painting itself can be a "performance piece", then what about the way that we think about art, or the way that we do research that goes into making art - or at least "informs" our art work(s)? I had just started on "Carnap is where you find it" and the idea is that it is an installed space that re-creates/depends upon the way that the light falls in through the array of columns and then of course this goes forward (thru the past - which is far in the future of Carnap) to the way in which light flows through/into/onto an object in nature, of course that object can be a painting. And of course is most commonly (and most importantly) a painting installed into a space or esp. a statue. And then, i had begun work on "Towards a phylogeny/history" of the mark as mark and realised that (as i was preparing the b/g cartoons for it), that the process of creating the pages (web pages or even "just" pages for publication, galley sheets, etc) was also an art work being created/performed. hmmmm.. v. tired. will rest, and return soonest. 747pm So, the process of us as we pursue the expression of the somethingness of the what that we are (for the moment) focus-ing on. And then if we are writing about it. Then we stop one kind of creative process and then open up the section of the mind that deals with the text ABOUT the art. Thus, the meta-art (in this case: the discussion about the creation/nature/ of the art work itself) becomes the *distracting* focus. Again this goes back to the idea that if we are talking about art, then we aren't doing art -- or at the very least, we are doing a totally different kind of art. Of course if the text and the discussion about the the text are the art to be produced/examined then at least they are in the "same way" as each other in terms of the type of art-thing that they are. But. What if they aren't? As i'm writing "Phylogeny/History of Surealm-ist art" which must nessarily be minimalist - and therefore close to being non-art (but prob NOT being near anti-art or pop-art), if i restrict myself to a minimalist discussion (almost a sort of baby talk about the art), then i do a dis-service to the work itself. For example, i can no more ignore the history of art as a guide to the process of building an hierarchical ladder of the tree of "minimalist art". Thus, i proceed in and out of "time" - that is, backward and forward into the history of time to find *references* to what i need/want to say about the marks at a given point on the ladder. (We assume that for the moment we're simply talking about a linear, non-branching ladder. But, we know that some things just don't match the concept of time. After all, how do we as artists (and for the moment taking off the art historian's hat - or at least the baseball cap that we often don) place Malevich's "Black Square" with the work of (eg) Rhine Adhardt? They are almost literally a 100 years apart in terms of time, but on the exact same page in terms of design - let alone the moment-just-past of their own place in their own small puddle of time. Thus, we construct these almost fantasies of "simple to complex" or "un-textured to sculptural to actual-sculpture", etc - and we do so, in our constructions of *understanding* which of course, upon reflection/absorption/expression change the what-ness (and of course how-ness) of our art works. But, we return to the idea that the "conversation" or "textual story" that we are constructing as we think about the ark work lead to evolution, change, or just cf/qv (contast/compare) of the different aspects of the art works. That is, the "art history" or "documentary" is still removed from the art work - even if we are the artist. This goes back to being too close to the forest for the trees and of course the problem that while we are thinking about thinking then we aren't thinking (well at least normally) - as Sartre reminds us. Thus, one approach is to simply to create the cascade of art works one from the next, etc. And then reflect back on them. Of course, we do this all the time - but the idea is to begin to build "scripts" as to how we create art works. And that these scripts should be of consciously different natures. We do this anyway, for example, when we specifically do an art work in the cubist, surrealist, abex, trad, etc styles. And of course, when we choose the medium (or media/mixed) to execute either the work, or even one aspect of it. In the same way if we decide to execute say a painting a day for 356 days during a particular year of our life, we decide to execute a series of blind contour drawings each timed and each 30 seconds long. Thus, we might use time (planned/directed or sporadic/interrupted) as a differentiating element of a series of work. Of we, might use the text about it as we consciously decide to use it as a "program" directing our actions.

Phylogeny/History - Deconstruction

(or at least a decomposition) Let's examine the process that i was undergoing while working on this project. Overtly, the project is to take mark (think a dot or other minimal thing on a canvas) and see how we can tweek it "upward" from nothingness to create an ascending ladder/tree of how mark evolves or at the very least gets more and more complex and at each stage seeing how these prototypes have manifested themselves into various actual art work. Of course, the original project was just searching for those forms and how to create a minimal back-bone/tree of the various mark additions. But, then came the idea (synthesis and/or translation) of each "milestone" into the corresponding art object(s). Of course, this idea of translating rather long and distinguished history in terms of art history - but in the reverse direction. In comparing/contrasting different art works, we pick out details (brush stroke, use of shading, etc) as the "elemental" objects of an artwork and use that as the criterium for talking about a particular aspect of style/content/medium/etc. But, then of course this process of "exampling" each mark with an artwork is in itself a form of translation/commentation - in short a process of *creativity*. Thus, in a similar way, when i bring my analytical skills to go back and forth between art objects (that i know/have-studied) and this theoretical frame work that i am wanting to create - then that is this process of exampling/reducing: exampling: The translation/extraction/etc of the minmal node on my hierarchical design tree of the mark into a known art object - or what easily described. reducing: The decomposition/extraction/etc of the art work into a particular element that either fits into my hierarchcial design tree - or by the artwork's very existence forces me to create a new node and fit it "somehow" into my nice, orderly *view* of the universe. Of course in reality this process *must* (i would nervously maintain) be at least part of the under-laying narrative/experimentation/thinking of the minimalists (and other movements) - esp in such direct examples as "die stehl", "the blue rider", and of course of the minimalists themselves - so declared after almost an entire century of incubation. And of course, in reality this process is at least part of what we do in the normal course of creativity in the production of a new work of art. So, it's all circularity after all - and (some of the harshest words) of all: As to what i so brilliantly conceived as a break thru is: Nothing new here. (but, still i pick up the brush (in this case digital) "and go on"... --42--

Notes

(this section only) [
Note 1] (Jacques Lassaigne's ideas on L/D) [1] We often (as "moderns") talk about "light is life" or "being in the limelight" (ie, the centre of attention). And i came across this by the artist/historian Jacques Lassaigne: BEGIN BLOCK QUOTE ================================================ [P. 6]

Degas and the Lighting Effects

Degas was much attracted to the smoke-laden cafe's, to the atmosphere of the theatres, stage wings, ballet studios, and cabarets. How many lighing effects must have been revealed to Degas' eyes by the briliant gas illuminations and later by the ELECTRIC CHANDLIERS THAT WERE INSTALLED IN PLACES OF ENTERTAINMENT ABOUT 1900! - emphasis mine; note the date Light played a most important role, for without its vivacity and sparkle the danse halls and music halls would have lacked much of their mystery and charm. Light was such a strong and cominating factor, that when the orchestra played the introduction to the performance, it was necessary to banish the light entirely or reduce it to one fotlight whose intensity was attenuated for a moment and then slowly increased to support the singer's entrance. Under the blaze of the full light, the artist would appear all the more radiant and brilliant because the spectarors were plunged into darkness. The flickering gas flame would throw its jests of light onto the crystal pendants of the chandeliers, which were usually enveloped in a heavy veil of smoke; the light from the gas flame was fragmented and broken by hughe mirros, which were placed along the walls in order to intensify the ligting effects, to repeat the images, to create many images of the scene, and to create a feeling of enchantment. For the last quarter of the nineteenth century (1875c) was in need of enchantment. [??why????] Then annals of the Second Empire were over, and the annals of the future would no longer belong to the aristocracy alone. [hmmmm...] Crystal chandeliers reflecting gorgeous gowns and ostrich feathers -- all these luxuries would henceforth belong to other social classes as well. For it was now the turn of the people to seek enjoyment. At the end of a week of exhausting work, the people wanted to have their own gala festivals. And that was the function of th brilliant amusement halls such as the Moulin de la Galette and, later, the Moulin Rouge. END BLOCK QUOTE ================================================== Ref: Lassaigne, Jacques (1970). Toulouse Latrec and the Paris of the Cabarets. McCall Publishing, Milan, SBN 8415.1008.3 See also: -[
Jacques Lassaigne]- (A/H entry on him) {Back up to the TEXT, above} [2] {Back up to the TEXT, above} [3] {Back up to the TEXT, above} [4] {Back up to the TEXT, above} [5] {Back up to the TEXT, above} [6] {Back up to the TEXT, above} [7] {Back up to the TEXT, above} [8] {Back up to the TEXT, above} [9] {Back up to the TEXT, above}