Right now, our instinct to abject is ever-more fervent, excessive in itself, but because of constant warning signs ripping through everything we’re just used to.
My worry is that this will have lasting effects on our view and treatment of bodies -- especially those that already transgress the patriarchal ‘norm’...or exist as ‘Other’ comfortably or otherwise.
Does this then perpetuate our worries on borders? On the protectionist treatment of Green Space?
A note on excess:
The progressive moralisation of the body meant that sharing bits of our bodies, visually, otherwise sensually, became ‘too much’, because it is a powerful thing that bodies as bodies transcend social standing in a sense that we all have them.
I want to make it clear that in no way is this a dismissal of the noted differences in bodies and how this correlates in a socio-economic sense, but that through accepting ‘the body’ as a whole, that all of our bodies make the whole, maybe the societal corpus at large can be unionised…..
D: TOUCH shrouded in a rare serene stillness, undermined by the decaying presence of the ghosts and shadows of historical violence, a sudden and significant shift in my individual and shared understanding about the world I’m in……. particular how my knowledge, had built up, constructed and imagined was not at all what I experienced.
G: That bodily excess triggers bodily responses is ultimately a shared experience that allows us to feel a shred of collectivity amongst the alienating promotion of individualism - that we can link sharing through the body -- it is maybe, in some contexts, a kind of antidote to the aspirational, capital excess that is continuously promoted.
D: The oscillating situation of apprehension and comprehension, the instability of miss reading and miss understanding opened up instability, and now amplified in our current COV-19 world, knowledge is by definition very unstable and not fixed, also it has become increasingly defined now by being remote – distance, proximity, mobility are not what they were to me……can we travel there again or do we then re-imagine and re-shape what we started?
What is wrong with instability?
Does it matter if you really ever know?
G: Push back - instability is so loaded, it's easy to say this from stable positions, we should be able to have movement, certain important ‘freedoms’ (I find this word very loaded to be perfectly honest) if we have a basis of human rights, income, housing, education…
D: These issues raise lots of pressing question - pre and now during COV-19 of a microcosm of inter-related history, cultural metaphor, motifs and shared concerns now ‘remote’ - distant in time - memory, or by definition remote from once familiar everyday experience, we are now distantly related…….in a variety of representational forms - complex relationships of personal immediacy remotely?
– remote – the idea of a place - distant. What does distance and proximity mean now, is touch – our feet on the ground, caress and physical proximity - now the new distance and what does our dependency on a variety of electronic devices create - remote devices for knowledge production and exchange - operating or operated at a distance? So are our representations and artefacts responsive critical friction points in an ‘image saturated’ culture, that become read disposable and forgettable, with erasure and remembering, moments of displacement, contest our white christian identity politics of belonging and the ghosts of historical violence.
Here representation and remembering is as a thing in itself, changing material relationships, towards the act of reading images, how they perform and the ethical concerns of representation between related worlds…..
“I make the history of colonialism part of my history in the only way I know,” the artist Pia Arke once wrote, “namely by taking it personally.”
G: You’re right that instability is loaded. On the one hand I think this is where a lot of thriving can happen, creatively at least because you’re forced to just do things...but I’m really uncomfortable with simply washing off stability as a base necessity. If we’re talking socio-economic stability - which when you’re talking about instability you inevitably ARE - how can anyone do anything without basic human rights being upheld as stable? I don’t ever want to dismiss stability as a necessity. How privileged is it to say “oh, stability is overrated”...as I’ve heard several artists do.
-- maybe then we need another word, because I think what we’re talking about when we discuss instability as productive in this way, is really a kind of fluxus, liminality?
D: I'm not a fan of 'liminality' as a concept, it sits for me in another kind of privilege, to find something 'liminal' is to be spoken about, more or less in cultural theoretical terms as an object of somebody else’s subject. I think we need to move on from that.
It is a privilege, that's what we are talking about, and it's so important we have accountability for that privilege. So for example, to look at something, I just assume I can look, to look away or not pay attention is another thing all together.
So is it not art, or our activity here, is not merely a question of education, but rather a process founded on the culturally rooted – an anchoring from where development can progress. Taking part in a questioning and practices of inter-dependency of what we see, and the act that allows or is accountable for this, in avoiding or adopting a foreign conception of art or creative actions that is not development but mere superficial imitation.
G: Passing a baton, an implication of trust and responsibility, an exchange. Touching is how communication is often conveyed really — maybe converged, or divulged is a better word.
The baton slips out of a sweaty palm, and into the twitching grasp of the next, I palm it off
Itching and red from that momentary friction, open gestures closed for a moment.
That gesture would not be so fluid now, in fact it’s because of fluids that it would not be so fluid.
Fluidity relies upon a lack of fluid? It’s an issue of transmission.
D: Hering conceives memory as a fundamental property of reproduction of organic beings. The nervous substance of any organism retains the traces of its experiences and hands them down as an inheritance to the following generations, just as we received in its turn a certain amount of traces from the previous generations.
G: Touch is how we relay information to one another, in a lot of contexts, this sharing is gone and the relay defunct.
I’m terrible at tone on these things
I don’t know if you’re being serious or not?
Moments of corporeality are exchanged like a baton; over and over repetition sees bodies extended in small gestures. The baton of corporeality is passed on through proximity and proximity is my attempt at extending touch where maybe I can’t do so physically - the reciprocal generosity of sharing touch. We repeat these things without thinking about them because it’s a way to feel close to someone, to break down certain barriers in communication —
It is also involuntary in that maybe we don’t want it, maybe it is an act of violation.
Exchange is participation, engagement in transitory and promised coalition.
Now, is communication weaponised?
D: When hasn’t it been ? Language systems and forms of representation are weapons.