For More Than One Voice – quotations from PA Skantze

Quotations from Adriana Cavarero’s For More than One Voice: Towards a Philosophy of Vocal Expression. A King places himself immobile in aural surveillance of his realm, spying by ear until he hears a woman who he cannot see singing.

‘It takes at least a duet, a calling and a responding == or, better, a reciprocal intention to listen…’

‘The fact that this outside is inhabited by a woman ends up being a kind of homage to the tradition, and yet it also poses a challenge to it.  Indeed, the woman here does not represent the usual primitiveness of the extrapolitical sphere but rather the genuine truth of a vocal that forces the political to account for itself in ways that it had not foreseen. ‘

‘Destined for the ear of another, the voice implies a listener== or better, a reciprocity of pleasure’

‘Discovering that he has a body, that he has one life to live, the listening king sings.  But, then, obviously he is no longer king, but rather a human being rooted in his fundamental ontological condition.  The simple truth of the vocal makes the crown fall without anyone ever hearing the crash.’

‘Philosophy’s strategic deafness to the plural, reciprocal communications of voices depends precisely on the methodological decision, so to speak, to ignore the elementary materiality of this phenomenon….[Caverero’s work] seeks to understand speech from the perspective of voice instead of from the perspective of language.’

PA Skantze is a writer, director and Reader in performance practice at Roehampton University. Her book Itinerant Spectator/Itinerant Spectacle will be out in Dec 2013.

References from Luke Burton

Luke Burton - Performing Space
I think the idea of the flaneur, however tired that word may feel if anyone has gone through an arts education, to me, suddenly feels vital to this question of Space and Performance and its inter-relationship:
‘The flâneur’s dual interior-exterior nature, his ability to be both active and intellectual, to be reading the past of the city while existing entirely in the present, and his manner of coloring the landscape with a bit of his own psyche places the flâneur at the center point of a whirlwind of contradictions”.

This is from a very interesting website that probes and presents Walter Benjamin’s fascinating Arcades Project, but which takes a form that that is not unlike Benjamin’s fragmented encyclopaedic work. Worth a look here

Also, Adorno’s notion of estrangement in relation to aesthetic reception is interesting here too:

Adorno: ‘‘…the sharpest sense of reality was joined with an estrangement from reality; this truly would be a worthwhile object for the psychology of art”.

Luke is currently showing at Carroll / Fletcher with artists Alexander Page and Jim Woodall in an exhibition called The Uneventful Day. Go to Luke’s website for more about his work: http://lukepburton.tumblr.com/

Barbara’s Stream of Consciousness

Barbara Bargiel’s Stream of Thoughts, Quotes and Pictures on Performing Memory

 

On Sunday I typed in the British Library catalogue performing memory and the book came up called Performing Memory (2013), edited by Plate and Smelik. For the past view days I have been reading through the pages and I ask myself a question: why on earth I discover these gems so late?

 

“Memory is always re-call and re- collection, and, consequently, it implies re-turn, re-vision, re-enactment, re-presentation: making experience from the past present again in the form of narratives, images, sensations, performances.” (Plate & Smelik, 2013: 6)

 

Bargiel_face
Barbara Bargiel, video still from Poison, 2012.

 

“To perform the past in the present is generating an experience of the past in the presence…Performance is then the point of encounter, where the “ then and now punctuate each other” (Schneider in Plate & Smelik, 2013: 2)

 

… More precisely the memory of these situations remembered from the past that left troubling feeling, mixed with a current situation, and a try of reaching out to people/ audience with a hope they will be touched. Perhaps it is me- acting hopeless unconsciously, yearning to be saved, or perhaps it is my art.

 

Bargiel_book
Anonymous, the scan of drawing made by audience in the comment book, 2013.

 

“Cultural memory – the things and the ways in which the culture remembers. The process of linking the past to the present and the future, thus identifying practices as crucial to understanding how memory works: making, constructing, enacting, transforming, expressing, transmitting cultural memory through art and popular culture. Contemporary studies of cultural memory indeed emphasise that memory ‘requires the active agency of individuals and publics’. ‘Such agency entails recognising and reviling the production of memory as an on-going process involving inscription and reinscription, coding and recording’. Memory then, involves agency.” (Schneider in Plate & Smelik, 2013: 2-3)

 

I read and read further, I am getting confused, and try constantly to make links in my head.

 

Bargiel_touch
Barbara Bargiel, video still from documentation of Curious, 2013.

 

Trying to make sense and stuffing my head with the theory that kind of makes sense in my head but refuses clarification and clearness in writing. This reminds me of a memory that is stored in our bodies and activated when we touch something, or we are being touched. This is memory that is bodily, and cannot be described with language.

 

Barbara Bargiel is part of the PERFORMING MEMORY Onion panel discussion on 27 Nov 2013. For more information about Barbara Bargiel, go to her website: http://www.barbarabargiel.com

Chris Minchin on Wilderness, Nostalgia and Remembrance

Chris Minchin considers if the idea of Wilderness can transform us from a false performance of identity to performing reality or truth.

ChrisMinchin_Candles1
Christopher Minchin. All the Candles (Westminster Abbey, Novermber 2013)

I was interested in your proposition that there is a link between nostalgia and wilderness. I wonder what is the nature of the relationship between the two. Dialectic? Parasitic? Cancel each other out?:

I think the link between nostalgia and wilderness is paradoxical, as it should be; I think of wilderness as the place of revelation, it is the place where you leave behind your identity, and are left with nothing but your own existence. Truth is revealed and moments of transformation come from this, then identity, institution, and nostalgia is formed upon these moments (revelation brings reformation, which then becomes the status quo until that is no longer satisfactory, another revelation, another reformation). Just this weekend I was watching some documentary about Doctor Who and when it was cancelled for 20 years, these were known as the wilderness years, but actually it was a time of burgeoning creativity from fans who wrote/recorded/drew their own fan fiction, and many of the fans developed creative careers from the experiences that they learned during this time. This creativity eventually resulted in the return of the series. Wilderness and nostalgia are opposites, but paradoxically they form each other.

Simone Weil, a 20th century philosopher and mystic, talks about how paradox or ‘contradictories’ are a sign of truth, of reality. If we come up against two things that contradict, and we know both to be fact, then we must accept the contradiction as a reality and transform our perception. For example Weil argues that God both does and does not exist:

“A case of contradictories which are true.  God exists: God does not exist.  Where is the problem?  I am quite sure that there is a God in the sense that I am quite sure that my love is not illusory.  I am quite sure that there is not a God in the sense that I am quite sure nothing real can be anything like what I am able to conceive when I pronounce this word.  But that which I cannot conceive is not an illusion.”

Essentially it is a call to perceive things as they are, not as we wish them to be. Weil loves God, but everything she thinks of when she says ‘God’ builds an image of it rather than allows for the truth of it. This is where nostalgia starts – the building of an image based on truths we have perceived. This is inevitable, the image will eventually become so opaque until it obscures the truth that formed it. However, the contemplative practices – asceticism, mysticism, art, poetry – constantly return to the wilderness, constantly disrupt, look beyond, and find the cracks within the image of things, to see them as they really are. Once one trusts in the image of a thing over its reality, then it becomes a problem, a rotting facade really. Like waving flags and posters of “keep calm and carry on” in the face of economic recession. Or saying marriage can’t be gay because you can’t redefine a word.

ChrisMinchin_Candles2
Christopher Minchin. All the Candles (Westminster Abbey, Novermber 2013)

I also think of our great wildernesses, places like Yellowstone, the Serengeti, Mongolian Steppes, the Australian Bush, and I wonder how these places can escape nostalgia. The ‘wilderness of our souls’ is not exempt from the touch of nostalgia either?:

I don’t think there is such a thing as a ‘great’ wilderness, only wilderness, it is ever shifting and relative. Wilderness is not a landscape, figuratively it can be – it is what we have cultivated civilisation out of – but really it is just the place that doesn’t value us in the way we value or selves. It is disruptive, revelatory and transformative. The ‘great wildernesses’, are nostalgic in themselves; it is a colonialist attitude when we see somewhere as a place to be conquered, controlled, maintained. By nature it is no longer a wilderness once it is known and controlled, you don’t conquer wilderness, you survive it. And maybe it’s the same attitude when we try to conquer our souls, to present an image of ourselves as in control and form a confident identity.

Perhaps your invocation of the ‘earnest’ provides a light. It seems to me that urgency is the antithesis of nostalgia!

I think you’re right. Earnestness comes from need. I think it’s at the heart of activism. Nostalgia is what we want, earnestness disrupts this by declaring what we need.

ChrisMinchin_Candles3
Christopher Minchin. All the Candles (Westminster Abbey, Novermber 2013)

Chris joins the PERFORMING MEMORY panel discussion on 27 Nov 2013. For more about Chris’ work, see his website: http://chrisminchin.com