Annex Publications

Writing Score for Annex publication

At the end of our meeting last Friday (27.09.2019) we decided to do a mini publication annex that will given each time one of the AR publications is given or purchased. This annex serves to contextualise the publications through addressing 1) the meta questions each of them create and 2) to give insight to how we see publishing within artistic research at a.pass.

The proposition is to do a mini writing score to start the thinking and writing. After the two sessions we see where we are and how to process the materials.

This pad serves as the container / storaged of the questions and responses. When your question is ready copy paste it here and send it also by email to the person you are addressing. The length of the responses is between a A4 half page and a A4 full page.

Here it goes:

First Q - META- to arrive before the 13th October First response to arrive before the 27th October

Second Q - ON PUBLISHING- to arrive before the 3 November Second response to arrive before the 17 November

Here is the distribution of the questions and answers for the first round. This was done through chance procedure. We wrote the names of all participants on small pieces of paper, folded them and picked up by chance who was questioning whom.

Sina > Lilia Vladimir > Sara Alex > Vladimir Pierre > Adrijana Rob > Pierre Isabel > Alex Adrijana > Isabel Antye > Rob Nicolas > Antye Lilia > Nicolas Sara > Sina

Raised questions: What are the politics involved in making publications for AR? What is the relation between the content and form? What does it trigger to publish? When in the process do publications appear? How long do they want to stay? For whom are they?

These publications want to activate the thinking about documents and their agency; to contribute to the field of AR; to address the role of a.pass and the conditions if offers within this field; to articulate on what kind of epistemologies the researches produce.

Alex to Vladimir

How can artistic research contribute to clarify the genuine and intrinsic epistemic/cognitive power of artistic practices (in case you consider they have any genuine and intrinsic epistemic/cognitive power…)?

ANSWER (Vladimir) There are two things I always resort to when thinking about art making: drawing and my mother. Drawing is such a basic activity, kind of a foundational practice of art making. I follow kind a mathematical principle: basically if a question about art can be answered when looking at drawing as a practice, it must be applicable across other practices as well. Plus, i like to draw.

My mother is kind of an every-woman. She is someone I check my thoughts against (although usually to her voice inside my head): Can I explain this or that idea or project to my mother, and if not, have I strayed too far into artistic solipsism?

So with this in mind, I want to test this question, but thinking it simple first, thinking about drawing…

I have two drawing practices which I would vaguely differentiate as sketching of ideas and composition. With the question in mind, I think sketching is a form of visual thinking: a repository of thoughts outside my head, a way to look at something, to slow down the freewheeling eye of imagination. I look at ta drawing in order to think details through, as if to magnify a thought, to hesitate on it. This thinking is itself a conversation between a more vague but more perfect imagination and its sketch. what I'm looking here for is a refined imagination of a object or a space and not a refined drawing.

The compositional practice is the part where most people would say I draw as an artist. It's semi abstract, I compose on a two dimensional plane. I layer, I listen and watch expressions relating to each other. I follow harmonies or disharmonies, I add something ugly, etc. Cooking. Here it's the drawing that has to be more refined in the end, and not my idea of it. It is a process of Pinocchio becoming a real boy and talking back.

But the core of this question is not just thinking but cognition. Cognition comes up in google as the mental process of acquiring knowledge. The question proposes a priori that cognition is intrinsic to art making – but if art making is already intrinsically cognitive, what is the point of artistic research?, it seems to be also asking. I feel like I'm left with two choices: I can either deny that artistic processes have cognitive power, and then advocate for artistic research as this missing next step, or argue for (agree with) the cognitive power of art making, and undermine the necessity for artistic research as a separate locus of cognition in the arts.

I woke up at four thinking about this answer and before falling asleep again told myself not to forget to talk about the difference between using art as a tool and creating subjectivities: When the talk is about artistic research, its often understood that the „arti-ness" of research methods can be a kind of a key to unlock some creative potential denied to the workings of science. Many of artistic research projects ten or so years ago were proposed under that kind of agenda: A proper science institution would invite an artist to shake things up. This was art as a tool, a way to see things differently, art offering an other plain of thinking to a cognitive process that is not itself art.

What about composition, art making as embodied thought, as presence, as process within reality which is thought in itself? This feeling vis-a-vie an artwork of being together with a conversation partner, with someone who thinks differently, but compellingly, urging your own thoughts to new pathways. Art as its own knot of complex thought pathways, its own ways of being coherent. But here the cognitive power is not with the artist, it is embodied in the work of art itself. It is not the artist thinking and sketching, it is ideally emancipated beyond the artist control. Therefor it is also not a process of „ acquiring knowledge“ (which prioritizes the artist as the locus of cognition) but creating an artificial intelligence. What is artistic research then? I think artistic research is the conversation with this other cognition. Independent from you being or not being the artist, what do you learn from this artwork, how does it think? The difference between artist and artistic researcher amounts for me to the difference between just putting the artwork out there (which... completely fine) and being there as a translator, an interviewer, as a friend, enemy, interlocutor etc etc.

So I guess the answer to the question is about a kind of a triangulation: yes, there is cognitive power is making art (as it is a dialogue with an emergent cognition), in being art (as it is this embodied cognition), but artistic research is keeping that dialogue alive and making it public.

Lilia to Nicolas

Your interest in ecology, the commons and institutional critique, proposes a way to relate, make connections, learn from or with environments (local and global). If I understand well, this way of making sense of the world hopes to enable positive critic to a fragile world in need of care. Could you elaborate on how you think AR contributes to thinking alternative paradigms for change?

Answer: Nicolas to Lilia

Three aliens talking:

A: What does she mean?
C: … em ?…
B: Is she asking for the role of Art in the broader society?
A: That’s huge! C: That’s ridiculous! B: At least the role of Artistic Research… A: What’s the difference anyway!? C: You don’t get the difference between Art and AR !?
B: shut up!
C: Come on, she talks about making sense of the world - through artistic research.
A: True; Art doesn’t need to make sense. That’s nice!
B: Yes - and with ‚research‘ she relates a ‚critical‘ approach.
C: … a ’positive critical’ approach. No idea how that should be possible - looking at that world! ...
A: Sorry!? - there has to be a misunderstanding! ‚fragile world‘, ’need of care’? I mean, if she means ,world’ = ,ecosystem’ - that ‚world’ shows actually an amazing resilience, no? It will survive humanity by far, and doesn’t need anyone to care for.
B: But let’s say she just means the ‚world‘ of the humans and maybe some other species, it looks a bit different! A: why?
B: just think! For humans it might be a good idea to take care, because otherwise it can get s’car’e’y…. Life on earth is horror, if no measurements against their tendencies of shortsightedness and selfishness are carefully taken!
C: That was always the case and it always will be.
B: But the massive destruction by today’s technical and economic means are unprecedented! Something has to change quite immediately otherwise the course of the world is heading deep troubles. Change has to come through every move, no matter how small. At least, AR, can try to open sight and work on other perspectives to the (unclear) individual - and the environment. C: a bit of ‚positive critique‘ will not save any world! (elaborate pessimist world view) (pause) A: She is asking for our interest in ecology, the commons and institutional critique. C: That’s a heavy line! A: Sure, but these concepts are more concrete and they share some common terrain C:– and not. A: Yes. Let’s take the ‚commons’: it's an economic structure with a specific idea of ownership, and therefore puts the individual in an other relation to the common than a capitalist economy – at least theoretically. However problematic we might see the capitalist economy, we are far from being able to judge wether the commons would be a ‘better’ alternative, but at least the commons is a great tool to reflect about socio-economic relations and the position of the individual in our society.
C: and what has that to do with Art?
A: AR! - Commons as a sceno-performative tool for artistic research practices!
B: That definitively doesn’t help anyone!
A: No, but it’s fun! - and it might creates some weird knowledge!
C: Who knows whom that helps!
A: With ‘institutions’ it’s the same. They are fantastic! How come, that they are constantly fooling and establishing themselves at one and the same time? How do they enable AND complicate life in one and the same action? How come, that there are so many possible perspectives on institutions but we often see them as just one single enemy? I love institutions! They are exciting social experiments – some more stiff then others, who cares!
C: ..and most experiment fail, how fun!
B: … and they are mainly tools for the application of power.
A: For sure, they are tools to handle power relations that are there anyhow. But one could handle powers in very different ways - just play with it!
B: never heard anything more cynical then that! You really mean institutions are a toy for the arts?
A: they have to! Arts are in many sense part of institutions and so they become part of the arts.
C: …with a real effect for which the arts never will be held responsible. The arts can fool a bit around, smashing established institutions or open gates to ‚new’ economies, and finally they just inspire those who are able to take financial advantages.
B: Let’s talk about ‚ecology‘ - The arts can play a role there. The arts have the capacity to relate between different social, environmental and mental ecologies and make the relations experienceable. That’s not a game! That’s a real contribution.
C: and what does it change?
A: What is that question about "change"!? Does the world really need more change?
It changes constantly, and in a speed, that drives us mad!
C: sure, and there are quite some more powerful forces at stake that push for ‚change‘. The arts can just watch the changes with big eyes and probably decorate the cake with a bit of a critical hue.
B: I agree. It’s not about ,change’. We need a totally different perspective of what Performance is! The arts needs to teach the world its lively approach to performance and attack the economic idea of performance as efficiency. The components of the different human needs and desires that seek to be considered are battling since ever for their rights. It’s a question of pulling the balance to a good side; it’s about taking care for an open transformation. I do believe that the arts can help to shift balance, open perspectives, warn, give space for different kind of negotiation between social fields, to work out and enable the transformations to be socially and emotionally possible, they help to digest historic trauma, and reflect about the potential and sustainability of the future.
C: ok. So Art, in order to keep the established balance ‚sustainably' in order and to enable transformation, that turns in circles! Fuck off!
A: Come on, keep it realistic. Transformation anyway goes where ever it wants to go! Life is just more fun with a bit of AR. Anything else is pretentious.

Barkeeper: (until now just cleaning glasses, turns to the reader and says) Fact is, art has an influence - ways beyond the artist intension. A reflection on these influences is absolutly necessary, if art does not want to be instrumentalised. At least, this could be an occupation that migt be framed in terms of 'research'.

Sina to Lilia:

[A question of division in regard to scores:] coming from the boredom of third-rate military music bands after 1850 in Europe and aligned with the rationalizing imperatives of industrial production (i.e. partitioned states executing an external algorithm, and the succession of acts of which a single act is composed), score is the image of programmed labor in our society. In your work, a logic of combination. With this definition in mind, one could suggest, instead of a cognitive schema (the paradigm of performance till the mid 20th century theater, the becoming of the total actor), you rather propose norms of action (in which structure, intention, meaning, and body are separated and discontinuous, i.e. division of labor, which is the paradigm of composition in contemporary dance and performance in our time and also the triumph of industrial society). How the technical mentality of the score, is different than the mode of regularization of time and the distribution of tasks in the industrial societies that you are living in? If your score-escapes are proposing other division of labors, what kind of ordering do they imply and opposed to what?

Dear Sina, thanks for the question. I will try to layout, spill and digest what rumbles around my head in terms of labour and value within Scorescapes - a working structure in a pedagogical context. I took the two questions you ask at the end of your text to elaborate my response. I do not address the context you set up before because it feels displaced from the current economy we are living in.

concepts: invitation for sharing art work processes - weekly meetings for mondaine ritual (calendar) - appointed thinking doing practices in art and theory - logics and intuition of rigorous assemblage of art research - co-cognitive experience through performance - score as instructions for use - rhythmical anarchy - support structure for trans-disciplined and curious people.

To start I would like to give some information about the Scorescapes so that the reader can follow the discussion. A group of artists researchers meet once a week in a studio to share their work. They follow a five minutes time frame to present where they are in their process of investigation. Afterwards, they assign by chance who is addressing a question to whom. The question regards what they have witnessed and is a contribution to the problematics the work exposes. Everyone has to two days to articulate this question and to send it back by email. The week after, the participants meet again and present a response (i.e. performance, essay, lecture, poem, …) to the question they received. This continues for the duration of one block in a.pass.

Scorescapes propose a structure for encounter as a pedagogical tool. As a mode of learning together and as a socio-political operation. I will compare this practice with the distribution of time and value imposed by the industrial production machine to expose their oppositional aims.

The latest, always on going, outsourcing and capitalising, optimises the production of goods through an effective control of private time and a strict predetermined production sequence in order to achieve a profitable outcome. In the case of Scorescapes we do rather something else. On one hand, the time lapses in between the different phases of the score facilitate a non reactive way of producing. On the other hand, the weekly questions trick the efficiency of the production (of knowledge) because they deviate the predicted course of the research and its outcomes.

In relation to value, the knowledge which comes from the researchers ‘labour’ is the consequence of their specific practices, contents, forms and questions. The ‘product’ that comes out of it cannot be reproduced. In other words the ‘profit’ gained by doing the practice, are the tools experienced by the different apparatus one conceives in making art or artistic research. The ‘surplus’ value manifests itself in the performativity (agency, potential) of their works within the score and outside of it.

This indirect manifestation of the ‘goods’ are rather insights about modes of doing art and side-products from the exchange economy inherent to collective practice (ideas,networks, glimpses, understandings,…) and in these terms the division of labour is equivalent to all participants (everyone has to perform and formulate responses and questions).

The score as a collective practice creates links, alliances, friction and paradoxes. The parts that constitute the ‘whole’ are not separated but entangled with everyone’s histories, practices, classes, genders. There is no alienation from the contexts that come along with the researchers. This mingling simultaneously produces the collective and weaves the ethical while feeding back to the individual. This is in total opposition of what happens in the factory where the worker is alienated from what they are doing by the division of labour and the work chain but could be rather compared with the neo-liberal economy. All resources come from the participants and they are profitable, the artist is a player, a self- entrepreneur and embodies all parts of the work (production, concept, critical).

But in here radical difference appears again, in Scorescapes the horizon is not pointing towards achievement but rather towards constant process in collaboration. A bubbling of ideas, ways of doing, processes, promiscuities, practices in constant inquiry and rather in critical relation with neoliberalism and not outsourcing the problems. Through the regular questioning - a constant falling back of one’s own practice - criticality is able to arise. The open source of the practices and their entanglement constitute the collective as a transindividual body both individual and multiple. The structure makes possible to permeate one’s own work through the gaze, practices, thoughts and aesthetics of others. Exposing one another to one another, flirting, teasing, engaging in elaborate discussions… Eroticism? Maybe.

Possibly a distorted version of a system of production which inclines / orients rather than directs. Which affects rather than effects. An artificial structure for artificial friendships. Naughty? Maybe I obviously think the world is a plurality of constructions which can be well sensed, neglected and abused through the manipulation of the conditions inherent to each of them and their contexts - the political is situated in these modes of doing.

Modulated systems, yes. Politics, yes. Encounter, yes. Erotics again, yes. Consent yes. Learning, yes. Educating, yes. Scorescapes creates a system of dependency that can be left at any point. A homeopathic or placebo approach to societal interaction? Yes, so we can rehearse it. Love? Maybe.

Compositional models have changed in terms of author- and audienceship, open source, knowledge processing, co-working, participation, and this since the 70’ with Fluxus, Cage, and in dance with the Judson church movement, just to mention a few. Scoring in this context was a very much used tool to question the paradigm of the artist/God and bring art to ‘real’ life. The idea of belonging to a world in crisis, that interferes directly into the ‘oeuvre’, this makes a paradigm shift in art making, one is entangled into what one is making, with the world. The idea of situatedness, economic, political contexts are incorporated in the making of art as ethic premises (the production machine) becomes visible. And in this way the score is a very valuable critical tool. I use the term score to name a regular collective learning together practice (always the same) based on the participant’s research and that through repetition proposes iteration as a basis of research and creation. A process that keeps the practitioners in a constant questioning through materialising and diggesting criticality. Score there is always one, but which?

Nicolas to Antye:

Dear Antye, you are working with the brain. Of course you do. Your brain is busy while it’s working on its own subject. You - a subject as well - looking at your subjected brain. Isn’t your research a look into an endless mirror cabinet? The Brain! Our brain - mediated through your imaginary - documentation, memory and artwork - looked at by us might let us fall into the same mise-en-abyme. How much is the documentation of the brain a collective mirror? And what kind of ‚reality‘ are these collective mirrors talking bout?

„Thinking with the brain about thinking and the brain offers up fascinating self-referential loops that can create highly productive short circuits and fascinating paradoxes.“ I used to write this about my practise also a bit cheeky in reference to Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. And I enjoy till this day when rational and objective thinking keeps on disproving itself. Which it does all the time. Self-referential looping of looping, of not being able to grasp with our minds what is going on with our minds, is an important trigger for my fascination in human and nonhuman cognition, for our brains as one form of cognitive matter among so many potential others, for various ways of brain manipulation. Even more important might be our conceptualisations of these topics, our ways of depicting and representing the brain and its workings, of how we think we think, and how we think we perceive the world in relation to our perception of the world.*1 And things starts looping again…

insert: „I have a thing for cognitive biases, I would even go so far calling myself an emergent cognitive bias collector“.*2  There are so many cognitive biases, it is phenomenal anyone actually believes in so called ‚objective‘, unbiased thinking at all. One of my favourite cognitive biases is called the bias blind spot, which states, that one easily fails to see the influence of cognitive biases on one's own judgment, while having far less trouble in seeing this influence on the judgment of others.

You compare these loops with mise-en-abyme phenomena, and you wonder how much the documentation of the brain might be a collective mirror. I have the feeling, however, that the ‚mirror’ might be a rather misleading metaphor here. Almost directly reflecting everything back onto what is in front if it, a mirror seems to be this tool of self-reassurance with rather close ties to whatever one might perceive as reality. Even if we look into a distorted mirror, we still know and see that it is us looking back at us. Dealing with the brain about the brain somehow does not offer these loops of recognition. Something is looking back at us, that should feel familiar, relatable and coherent, but instead creates uncanny feelings of a supposedly us, that doesn’t look and feel like us at all. I had to look up the term ‚mise-en-abyme‘ again, that describes this formal technique of placing a copy of an image within itself, often in a way that suggests an infinitely recurring sequence. A common sense of the phrase is the visual experience of standing between two mirrors. And things starts looping again … We have no clear view into and onto our brains,3 we do not feel it — headache is just the pain radiating from the cerebral membranes the brain is wrapped into —, the brain cannot feel itself, we have no material access. We are constantly using our brain, in Western (dualistic) thinking we even consider the brain to be us, the very location of our mind and personhood. We cannot escape the brain while dealing with our brain, but we have neither direct grasp in terms of touch or feel, nor any means of direct ‚reflective‘ knowledge that reveals itself to us. „A system cannot demonstrate its own consistency.“4

I am not sure as well what to do with the term ‚collective’ in ‚collective mirror‘. I am blaming my East German origin notoriously for my suspicions towards organised groups and my great appreciation for individualism (and privacy). We have to keep on thinking for ourselves and with ourselves. As an individualist, however, I also want us to work and live more collectively, which is not a contradiction. But ‚collective mirrors‘ — I don’t know … I could add that I am also not resonating with the idea of ‚documentation of the brain‘, as it sounds like a serious methodology, meticulously collecting facts and documents to establish some kind of truth. But then I wonder why I am picking your question, that I consider as very crucial and meaningful in regards to my practise, into (linguistic) pieces. ‚Steckt der Teufel im Detail‘ or is ‚the whole greater than the sum of its parts‘? „The brain is a work, and we do not know it. We are its subjects—authors and products at once—and we do not know it. (…) Humans make their own brain, but they do not know that they make it.“*5


1 Looking specifically at brain metaphors, at the historicity of how the brain and it is functioning has been described for example by means of technological metaphors, is revealing: the brain as a hydraulic pump driving animal spirits into the muscles, the brain as a telegraphy system with wires connecting the central brain with the periphery; the brain as a blinking, luminous switchboard, with lots of lights displaying changing electrical patterns of brain activity, the brain as the universal computing machine, using electricity and an all-or-none principle for data computation. Metaphors help to grasp and structure complexity. Problematic is this tendency to forget about the presence of concepts, models and metaphors, where the subject matter/ the object conflates with its representation. ‚The brain is working like a computer‘ (which in itself is already flawed and oversimplified), turns into ‚the brain is a computer‘. 2 What does it mean quoting oneself here just ones again? In what kind of congruency to the also undeniable narcissistic topic of dealing with your brain about your brain could one interpret this? 3 During specific neurosurgical procedures the patient’s brain skins are anaesthetised, but the patient stays awake. The brain itself has no receptors for touch or pain. And I always wondered how it might feel knowing that your brain is touched at this very moment unable to perceive a thing, and what kind of eerie feedback loops could be created through a reflective mirror construction. Imagine to see … 4 Kurt Gödel’s 2nd incompleteness theorem (closing a loop?) *5 Catherine Malabou. What Should We Do with Our Brain? 2004

sara to sina

Looking for a fish but find a mermaid or Godzilla! We talked about the affect of chimera as being horrorific because of it exceeding boundaries and definitions. You recognize parts but you cannot completely understand it or its origin. You and Adrijana were working on a lab about the horror in someone's artistic practice. Is there a horrorific side in artistic research too? Is it related to the making public? If chimera is something produced by the lens we use, what about the epistemology of artistic research? Is it about making order or complexifying? Can we really choose the lens from any lens available? If we see chimeric symbiosis as generating life, what about the research spilling into the practice?

sina's answer to sara
The idea of horror for artist-researchers, came from Adriana and my relation to play and reworking metaphors of knowledge. It was an invitation to a workshop to think about what one is making, not as something correct and awesome, but horrible. What could be the horrific results of one's practice. And to tell a story about it, with mood and atmosphere and affect, starting with the cliche elements of the genre. I believe it was more directed to the way people orient themselves in their field, and less addressed to public-making.
I agree with you that chimeric could be an effect or side-effect of one's artistic research. I see that art-relatedpractices sometimes involve mutating old categories and originating new ones. And in the process of genetic experimentation, monsters can show up, figuratively speaking. But it is not the case for everyone. If you accept my proposal, that the chimeric effect is produced in the eyes of an observer, that's to say by a lens, then I don't think this is something one can choose or select. This lens is like something that one inherits. Depending on your particular history and situation you might find yourself equipped with a series of lenses, let's say. And you start from them. And you travel, you change your context, you go to the foreign to figure it out, with the people who don't have your lenses, and have other things. They help you understand what you are inheriting. You can't do it while you are at home.
The category of chimera, as we are using it or importing it from biotechnological discourses, tells a story of genesis in nature, it is a story of how contemporary symbiogenetic biology thinks of nature in the scale of the cells: chimeric through and through. I am not yet sure how to apply that notion to artistic research yet (of those that I have been exposed to in the last few years). Because many times they are rooted in individual people's selves, and that exceeds all categories. And also because it is very hard to track down how concepts and precepts mutate in individual artistic trajectories. But yes yes, research "spilling" as you say, into practices, happens a lot. Spill is a nice metaphor for mild and minor and uncontrollable and maybe a bit accidental influences, something that you didn't plan, even didn't want to leave its container, but it did. If something spills that means we are dealing with an effect that is not the result of our deliberations. Come to the horror workshop! For me, research didn't spill into my artistic practice, it just took over.
I was wondering about your question of "complexifying," and I wanted to think instead of adding branches. Then adding branches could be something chimeric. It is not exactly growing branches, as in extending one's body. In this case the branch is not of the same species of the trunk, it is a chimerical appendix-like organ. And after a while, it becomes part of one's cognitive body, not even remembering how was it before.

Pierre to Adrijana

dear Adrijana,

One could say that your recent work is busy deconstructing and rearticulating the medial processes of visual art practice, the narrative logics of exhibition and ultimately the nature of vision itself within a reconsidered structure of time. Through multipolar protocols you seem to form a technological ensemble that I could name today a dispositif of/for vision. In other words, ‘exhibiting otherwise’ producing ‘seeing otherwise’, creating some conditions for another relation with the real and its multiple actants/inhabitants. When only an artwork is expected from you in general, you propose a veritable ethics of vision. Do you consider your strategy as being structured by ethical concerns? Do you agree? How could you qualify the nature of your positioning today?

Question 2 (alternative question) A radical refusal of classical exhibition formats and an attempt at reinventing the nature and form of an artwork constitute the bases of your research. The consequence is that you apparently ‘close’ the exhibition and do not ‘show’ anything. The gallery is sealed, the artwork is absent. I could not disagree more with this short-sighted and superficial understanding of your investigations and research. I do think that your work manages a permanent opening time of the exhibition and presents an impressive number of encased objects to be seen, to interact with and think through. Your critique of current modes of exhibiting, far from being destructive of the notion and practice of exhibition, is constructive as it generates an ‘hyper-exhibition’ practice, expanding physical, spatial and temporal boundaries to a point of limitlessness, feeding in return new possibles for imagining and understanding otherwise. What do you think? And specifically, what do you expect, hope, look for, wish from your ideas of object/documentation mise en abyme and super-stretched time?

answer: Adrijana to Pierre Dear Pierre, thank you for the two questions. As always, your comments/questions are generous efforts that can guide me to understand and imagine the intensity and the potential of what I (can) do. You told me that you will make an alternative question for me to have more choice, but I ended up writing in response to both of them. I believe these questions define my research interest in a precise and different way than I would do it, so I chose to keep them both. Or maybe: I need to keep them both.

I have never used the word ethical to position my work, but I can say that I work with what bothers me. If we think that exhibitions are active agents in the construction of knowledge and the dominant form of making public in the visual arts - in that way yes, working with this format is about value judgments and cultural sensitivity, maybe also social responsiveness, which are ethical concerns. But my research and art-doings were perhaps driven with more selfish character: exhibition was simply the only place, already given to me as an artist to work with. In stressful eagerness (anxiety) I wanted to work (or I found myself working) with this super - established structure of the exhibition: the construct of the white cube with its protocols organized in time. To fail the expectations, to perturb the habits. Actually, to explore the different moments of direct encounter with the audience, to get a response or feedback. Or something, some resonance, so that not everything vanishes into the white cube void of commodity fethism. In this way it is more a need than a choice, but then also thinking of the causal link between those two. For me, exhibiting was never about relations between objects and viewers, but about what moves between us. As my friend Aurore once described the opening of the exhibition: “We are there, looking at each other, looking at things.” Amazing. Everybody knows it’s a trick, but we still look for a magic.

To come back to your second question, it is not radical refusal of classical exhibition formats; on the contrary, it is exactly to work with this spatial and temporal arrangement that over determines the works and the statements and gestures – it turns the context into content. To perform it’s operations and re-stage its space is to reflect and probe how exhibitions can host practices instead of artworks.

This otherwise exhibiting is strongly related to where I think artistic anxieties operate and resolve: in different forms of mutualities and artistic ‘know-how’ in living, working and learning in relation to others. Maybe it is a proposal for the artists who (have to) work with paradoxes. To work from anxiety is to constantly work for reassurance but paradoxically towards producing more anxieties. Could this be a nature of my positioning?

Antye to Rob

Dear Rob, sorry, I am late. But here is my question: Based on your background in political science you developed a very interesting curatorial practise, that seems to facilitate most of all possibilities to rethink and to react to socio-political urgencies of our times, to change the way we think and act socio-politically on a very local level, within every one of us, that is in your ‚sphere of influence‘. I sense now that you get more and more interested in ‚materialising‘ this facilitation, which started with mobile architecture for the assemblies series. So I wonder, what does it mean for you working with matter and material and all its "own will, stubborness and demands"? What are your experiences making this step from ‚thinking space of writing‘ to physical materialisation? How does it feel? What does it do to you?

Awnser Rob to Antye

With your question you point out something I am indeed encountering in my practice at the moment. In my studies in philosophy my interest always was directed towards the effect that certain worldviews had on the social form of their time period. Grasped by the work of different thinkers (I will just list them to give some frame - Machiavelli, Spinoza, Hume, Diderot, Holbach, Marx, Gramsci, Arendt, Althusser, Foucault, Guattari) I tried to figure out how their writings related to their time and how they brought their ideas to practice. The relation of theory and practice, or in other words praxis has been a concern for me even at the time I just studied books. In my curatorial practice I try to think out formats that are informed by political practices and in a way introduce a politization of the way we make and share art. Because of initiating a cooperative studio floor, Level Five, I am more and more in the middle of practice. The organizational structure of Level Five for example is inspired by council politics; a council is formed out of its members which is responsible for keeping things running, there is a monthly general assembly where every member can do proposals and participate in decision-making, several workgroups are formed for specific projects or tasks. Well the interesting thing for me is that everyday we are confronted with situations that we could not have foreseen but through discussion, and because there seems to be a general outlook on what kind of community we want to be, we can come to a way to proceed. I just bring up this example to bring forward the exchange between practice and theory and their reciprocity in my everyday work environment. I feel that the social tissue is strong on the floor everyone helps each other out and there is a feeling of shared responsibility. At the same time I see that where in the beginning 30 to 40 mem bers of the 80 would attend the monthly forum, over time less and less people do, 5 to 10 attend now. Whereas for me this is one of the most important parts in the organizational live of the studio floor, others seem to distance themselves from collective deliberation but maybe contribute in a different way. Maybe I just bring this up because I want to bring forward that social formations also have their own will, stubbornness and demands. I think we could see in social forms as much matter and movement as you would in atoms and molecules, without falling in the trap of naturalizing them.

But I think that in your question you are pointing to the fact that I started to make structures to support assemblies. I can tell you that it has been a difficult process. Interesting for me is that you have all these parameters that in fact inform the design beforehand; budget, workshop facilities, transport, etc. the initial idea already from the beginning is going to be molded by these considerations if you want it or not. Then of course I have almost no knowledge about construction so I just show architect friends a drawing of what I have in mind and ask them would this work, some say no others say yes, so it doesn’t really get you any further. So, in the end I just have to make the jump and try it. Of course, I should have listened to some of them but yeah ones you have started you have to find a way to make it work. In the process of making the Forms of Life structure I completely underestimated the effect of the wind on the structure and because of that I was forced back into the gallery space whereas the plan was to have all the moments outside in front of the gallery. There was one short moment the structure was standing upright, and it really felt like this is exactly what I had in mind, but it fell over again because of the wind. It is the moments where it works of course that you are looking for when you start making something but indeed you realize there is an art to it, a knowledge of controlling the contingency of all the material circumstances working on each other, for a moment you introduced a combination that stands out, but it will only last as long as it does. In this way I think it is an interesting exercise for me to know what it means to translate thought into form, and to know that there is this whole play of contingency and effects that are part of the process.

One part of Forms of Life was making the feet of rammed earth for the installation. Rammed earth is a technique of building with clay which involves stamping earth layer after layer so that you get a very compact whole when it dries. I already imagined this process to be an intense familiarization with the material. The process of making the feet became so labor intensive that I feel it got some sort of meditative character also because the process is very repetitive. This was another sort of encounter with the material then the one I encountered with the construction. Molding the material but also keeping it at the right humidity was much more a direct relationship with the character of the material you are working with and the thing you want it to do for you. In a way I feel this contingency is necessary for my projects to remain open while at the same time I introduce some forms that bring structure to the space, experience and interpretation of people

This maybe brings me to the suspicion I encountered towards designing spaces or formats which I think is shortsighted. Indeed, making space involves giving direction to materials and people, a certain kind of force. But there is no way outside of this forcefield, even doing nothing is something in relation to continued forces around us. Becoming more and more ephemeral is not an option for me. Deconstructing the power structures would also only be a first step. One has to introduce something that can have an effect on these structures as they are in order to come to another constellation of the world around us. This is what I want to bring forward with Forms of Life of Forms, that we can introduce forms that collide with the forms that dominate our lives and in this way, they might create some moments of freedom. This is what I would like to try, even though the effects will be contingent, I believe it is possible to create social forms and support structures that afford us to introduce different forms of life. Struggling with the given material and social conditions will become more and more part of my practice.

Adrijana to Isabel

I am sorry, I am even more late. I had some other deadline in my mind. I am in between two card-reading performances, here in Zagreb and I just wanted to share with you a photo from the book of questions from Fischlli and Weiss that I was looking a week ago and thought about this questioning practice and you... Maybe it inspires some thoughts. Actually I don't know how to share a photo here. Will do it with telegram, but I can also describe. It is an A5 book, with only/many questions. Black shiny paper with white handwritten capital letters, with two(three) questions on left page: Who is nibbling on my (little) house? Am I too good to work? Where are my keys? (this one was crossed) and those two(three) on the right: How long is the Nile? (crossed also) Is the earth a mother? (this one made me think of your work) and the simple drawing of a chicken instead / as a question. Because of this 'Is the earth a mother?' I went through the whole book, thinking if those are all your questions.

Isabel answer to Adrijana

Dear Adrijana, thank you for going through that book and for your questions.

Some time ago my house became my lab, where I excavate the geology of the erogenous cavities that make up the territories of my sexual organs. And the mobile farm that I manage is a communal extension of my home, where I’m researching on 23 different female juices cooperatively found in the harvestings of other female bodies.

The origin of this exploration started with my work as a theatre director and filmmaker, documenting the autonomy struggles of the Rapa Nui, the indigenous community in Easter Island, and of several Amerindian groups. In trying to comprehend these cultures’ belief “the Earth is a mother’s womb”, also comprised in other notions such as “Gaia”, I underwent practices of DNA exchanges with volcanic landscapes, among others. Overstepping my artistic disciplines and going beyond the margins of representation, I embodied the challenges that you encounter in shamanic scores to find a new key that expanded my interest on indigenous colonization into the study of what colonizes life itself. Navigating from extra-logical principles of ancestral body techniques, to the logics of bioengineering, gynecological and genetic technologies, utopic chapters started unfolding that I write with the agro-culture of bodies.

How long is the Nile? I don’t know. What I know is what used to be a sacred source for an ancient civilization, is now polluted with industrial wastewater, municipal wastewater, oil, agricultural drainage..., affecting the diversity of fish, microorganisms and the health of a large population that still depends on it. The creation of utopic narratives in my work is not an escapism of illusion but a container to destabilize the present and that I bond to the efforts of a Cosmopolitcs configuration.

The word FARM is problematic because it can cause morbid delusion, but not if it anchors you in a reality, there is the paradox. What can be the ethics of exploiting, fabricating, designing, up-scaling, packaging, distributing in any production location? And what if in this farm we replace the chicken, the cow and the vegetables by humans? Then this FARM becomes an unsteady setting that breaks the norms of social fixations in terms of the designated roles in any industrial realm. How much of an animal are you? How much of a plant are you? How much of a mineral are you? How much of an electrical source are you? Can your body be a place for agricultural development where you can be harvested? If so, what kind of “person” are you? Or what kind of being are we speculating about? Who would then be nibbling at my FARM?

Feminists associated with L’écriture Fémemine, such as Luce Irigaray, emphasize "writing from the body" as an activist exercise. Because it implies the incorporation of emotions and other kinds of experience that are difficult to capture in words, it eludes male-signified economy. My practice spreads an autonomous-making system, which I invented to repair the relationship that we have with our body, a body that is populated with living materials. These are central figures in the farm. And I literally transcribe the contents of their experience in a hacked labor setting, to reclaim them from a white anthropocentric engineering perspective.

The juices we harvest in the farm pertain to the menstruating, fertile, orgasmic, pregnancy specific, menopausal and post-menopausal ecosystems. Via a dedicated enquiry into allopathic and alternative medicines (e.g. Chinese medicine) I question if the nature of our sexual organs can also be other than human, since these juices have a hybrid mix between animal- / plant-like nutritious and healing properties. Nobody thought me in school that besides the possibility of producing milk and of course sperm other bodily fluids are also nourishing. And, surprising enough, most of these fluids' components can be used to replace ingredients of market products.

Psychophysical and economical sustainability are some of the main premises behind the emancipatory habits we have in the farm. From a psychophysical perspective in the farm we harvest and recycle, not only what’s considered waste, but also the traumas that are stored in the areas of orgasmic pleasure. My insistence on the long durational full immersive communal universe provides the space to practice principals of alchemy: transformation and transmutation. Via farming activities and tools that combine eastern/western body-sexual training and medical techniques. Added to the guidance of specialized artists that form the farm team, we unlock the voice of historical pain accumulated in the female abyss (sexual organs) of participants, to transform it with care and pleasure into beauty. In this process not only living materials are harvested, but also mental fluids that emerge with critical wisdom to configure, beyond scientific perspectives, a wild kind of knowledge. Throughout these processes, non-representation is at the core, because everyone is doing the real deal. Evenmore, there is a lot happening that goes beyond rational comprehension. It seems that when you work with a group of people that signed a contract to transgress within an environment of this kind, magic can occur.

From a sustainable economic perspective, we harvest what contains the memory of a process and that is archived or published in the form of eco-erogenous skin care and Para-pharmaceutical bio-products. These I share and eventually sell to the public via different installations and performances, such as the Beauty Kit Spa. But why the hell sell? The farm proposes a self-sustainable model of production, rooted in the concept that I call fluid lineage exchange. This model frames its economic plan in the shape of a spiraled water pump. A pump where every process of labor influences each other, in order to create the lineage that will sustain the future generations of farms to come. Participating in the farm has no costs for its guests, who in return donate their juices. Juices that I freeze to make the products that will be sold as art objects and finance the farms.

Again..., this is problematic, but now I will stop writing, because I need to prepare my stuff for PAF.

Rob to Pierre

He Pierre, Sorry for the delay. In the time we spend together I got to know you as an artist and a mentor. More and more I have the feeling these two roles actually overlap in your cultural practice. For what I know of your practice is that it is prolific, many books, many more references, lots of collaboration, and hours of time spend with people together. In this context I was wondering to what extend therapy plays a role in your practice? Not the kind of therapy of laying down on the couch of the doctors of the psyche, but that of self-analysis or that of giving birth to new insights together in conversation. Maybe to follow up on this a more reflective question: How much can we keep the imaginative being alive beyond childhood with all the pressures and demands that human beings have to endure –which leave, most if not all, disillusioned and conflicted?

Dear Rob,

In the time we spent together I got to know you as an artist and a mentor. More and more I have the feeling these two roles actually overlap in your cultural practice. For what I know of your practice is that it is prolific, many books, many more references, lots of collaboration, and hours of time spend with people together. In this context I was wondering to what extend therapy plays a role in your practice? Not the kind of therapy of laying down on the couch of the doctors of the psyche, but that of self-analysis or that of giving birth to new insights together in conversation. Maybe to follow up on this a more reflective question: How much can we keep the imaginative being alive beyond childhood with all the pressures and demands that human beings have to endure –which leave, most if not all, disillusioned and conflicted?

Human beings endure pressures and demands. This nefarious process leaves them disillusioned and conflicted. One conceivable antidote is to keep the imaginative alive as much as possible. A way into this is to give birth to new insights together in conversations. A practice of mutual self analysis, not a classical therapy. Taking time will be necessary, as well as reading a lot of books, exchanging references and collaborating. The binary principles analysing/analysed then can actually overlap more and more. Into a cultural practice of knowing together.

Workers endure a series of unnecessary pressures and unjustified demands. This repetition leaves them alienated and overwhelmed. One possible remedy is to stop dreaming that it will end. As much as possible. A way out is to start imagining other working conditions together with colleagues and unionists. A practice of mutual support and care within the actual context. It takes time and sharing resources is a must as well as constituting common objectives. Some revolutionary and creative methods can be used in addition. As a social practice of reclaiming one’s own conditions.

Artists self-inflict unnecessary pressures and unrealistic demands. A self destructing process that can drive them nuts and/or transfixed and/or obsolete. An urgent reality check is necessary, starting by reading the following Haraway’s quote: “So, I think my problem, and ”our” problem, is how to have simultaneously an account of radical historical contingency for all knowledge claims and knowing subjects, a critical practice for recognising our own “semiotic technologies” for making meanings, and a no-nonsense commitment to faithful accounts of a "real" world, one that can be partially shared and that is friendly to earthwide projects of finite freedom, adequate material abundance, modest meaning in suffering, and limited happiness.” As much as possible. A radical change would be to get rid of the model based on weak art and strong organisation. A singularity possibly provoking a collective chain reaction, in no time. No examples but possibilities at everybody’s disposal, now. Phase-shifts will occur. An actual artistic practice.

Curators inflict…

Women endure…

Citizens of colourSpectatorsAnimalsNeighboursEducatorsChildrenNursesCleaners

I took your words to the letter, made them into a score and wrote the beginning of a series of short draft tentative portraits. We could continue together, if you want. Maybe a good starting point for another conversation? Thank you for your question by the way, even if it seems to draw a disproportionate parallel between one aspect of my practice (the long semi-open conversation) and the question of the conditions of possibility of the human imaginative power (oops!) But a disproportion that could also be interesting since, after having made me startle at first, compels me to affirm that, yes, I believe in long conversations as a practice that can sometimes turn into an area of mutual invention and empowerment, but always in a clearly situated context. Conversations only succeed when the labour of thinking together creates some conditions for imagining otherwise, and this happens only when positioning is possible and situatedness is a prerequisite. Between your lines I sense that you whisper about desire and affects of joy versus sadness -important spinozist ideas especially during these tough times when everything seems to be competing into drawing the best picture of the sad passions aiming at rendering the world as one populated only by self willing captives. I am sure you know well Spinoza’s antidote : a continuous practice of individual and collective political self-determination. But let's meet to talk about all that... to finish, some questions that we could use to co-con-versate:

Do you associate sadness with the outcomes of the all encompassing capitalist system?

Do you think that you can still affect society today?

How can you create some conditions for joy to be possible again? And what is, today, a joyful passion for you?

Do you think that we might have to redefine and reallocate desire? And do you think that the process of redefining desire could produce other kind of joys? What could be the consequences?

For you, can artistic researches and curatorial practices produce an atmospheric change in culture? And what could, for you, be the nature of an ecology of affects that could potentially be of help to provoke that change?

à bientôt


Isabel to Alex

Hey Alex! If you were to make a stream of consciousness salad in a, or in the, liminal space between embodiment, performance and knowledge production in the arts, what ingredients would it contain?

Alex to Isabel

well, you are proposing a very interesting kitchen… If I try to answer your question taking the term “stream of consciousness salad” not as “Caesar salad”, which basically could have been whatever, but rather trying to make a very site-specific dish, that is, choosing ingredients that directly refer to the aspects of the place, in which the salad, will be made (“embodiment, performance and knowledge production in the arts), I will suggest the following. The main ingredient is the body. We could take one single body or more than one—as a group or as single ones—but in any case living bodies! The decision about the quantity has not only consequences in relation to the final size but also to the qualities of the salad. I’m sure that it works with human bodies but there are good reasons to think that it could also work with any kind of organisms or living systems. The decision of taking the one or the others will have consequences not only for the qualities but also for the complexity of making the salad. Whatever number and type of living systems you take, be aware that, on the one hand, they have space to act and, on the other hand, they are in touch with one another and with the other ingredients (I know that “space” is not an ingredient but I allow myself to give some advices about the preparation, if you don’t mind… In this sense, be aware that the body or bodies are organized or at least good frame: do not through them on the salad bowl “somehow”). Actually if the bodies are of good quality (difficult to say what this means but nevertheless is possible to enumerate some features: fresh, porous, that is, with fine skin or external membrane, flexible, recycled and recyclable…) no other ingredients would be needed. One of the amazing aspects of this salad is that it organizes itself by virtue of a transfer of the main ingredient’s constitutive quality—autopoiesis or autonomy—to the whole. But if this is frustrating for the cook—normally this is the case because cooks are trained as semi-gods that tend to control and fix everything that happens on each plate and in the whole kitchen—and furthermore you want to reinforce the aspect of the so-called “knowledge production”, which together with “performance” can caused a certain indigestion (that’s why I prefer to substitute “knowledge production” with something like “cognitive or epistemic transformation”…), you could dress the whole with a good institutional sauce made out of thin walls (better if they are movable and removable), big windows and doors, the best parts of very good but not so many living systems (in this case mainly humans but not exclusively; please be aware of cutting off egocentrism, own hidden agendas, mediocrity and any kind of lack of communication skills), sufficient economic resources and embeddedness in good networks

Actually this salad is very simple. The problems begin if you try to make it as if it would be of another kind!

Bon appetit!!!

Vladimir to Sara

Hello Sara! you know, its kind seductive to take the talk of flexi-gendered bacteria and slime molds as analogies for togetherness. But I kind of hesitate, because in my experience, when working together, these states are so hard to achieve, right? So I think my question would be, how do you apply, or more precisely where do you apply these imaginary (politics) in your practice? Who, what are the agents that come together and interact using these analogies and metaphors. Is it about the materials themselves, or is it between you and the material, or ... ? Have you read the novel "Annihilation", or seen the film they made out of it? In that story a group of female researchers enters a zone in a marsh landscape which has been transformed by an unknown presence. The researchers undergo a process of slow biological take over and transformation: the longer they are exposed to the landscape the more it enters them and mixes with their biology. The film chooses to find a different ending to this process than the novel. In one of its last scenes the las surviving researcher meets an alien organism, and this organism produces a copy of the researcher made from alien tissue. What follows is a dance: a choreography where the alien copy carefully mimics every move the terrified researcher makes. It is beautiful and uncanny and almost like a mating dance. ... I'm not sure why exactly I have to think of this scene. Probably because the choice here is not to become something less then human, not something to be fermented and part of the slime, but to dance with the uncanny. Is that a different perspective onto your work?

Dear Vladimir,

I am taking time to ferment, being in a mode of hypersensitibilization to what is around me, like a color changing strip measuring the PH. I mapped a geography of experts and amateurs and I collected their “techniques”: their crafts in carrying out a particular task, an idea, a performance, a procedure.

With “Wicked technology/wild fermentation”, I am not trying to make simplicistic analogies for togetherness, instead I am looking for other narratives which imply different ways to look at the body and bodies in relationship.

I am deconstructing habits of thinking (mine first) to redinamize clottered connections. I like the figure of the pocket (or the fold if we look into Deleuze's writing on Baroque aesthetics), depth and surface coexist so we are obliged to rethink our idea of value, as we tend to consider depth as closer to the essence. I started working with triads as a way to break binary logics. This is one of the techniques which constitutes “Wicked technology”.

healthy/junk/gourmet cooked/raw/rotten mind/body/gut good/bad/ugly self/other/it he/she/they wicked/wit/wild concave/convex/spiral surface/depth/pocket agents/agencies/agendas opaque/transparent/mirror figure/background/foreground production/reproduction/remix

But you are right: resistance is there. Maybe because of my early studies in semiotics I see the world resisting to language (or the way language discriminates the world). In this project I want to pay attention to the body. In composting, also a fermentation process, you might generate a new problem by trying to solve another one. You need constant monitoring and you get to know it from trying. The bodies involved have different agendas and still the whole structure is reactive, adapting, resisting or morphing. I wouldn't talk just of resilience of the body: there is a mix of elasticity and plasticity, that is also how I experience my own.

I could think of the body as a slice of a thousand-leaves-cake or a cut in Caillois stones: past (enfleshed memory), present and future (DNA pre-scription or clayrvoyance) layer at the same time. Next to the multiplicity of times, there is a multiplicity of bacteria that colonize us (in different parts of the body and even in the skin if you have a combination skin). On top, biological, pharmaceutical and psychoanalitical factors are tuning different frequencies of one body (Preciado and Wilson) and therefore modulating what the body is.

Thinking that way, we see a complex system of relationality: the relation between the bodies in one body, the ones with other bodies, the ones in which proximity implies a high degree of porosity (apparently if you sleep with the same person you start growing the same kind of bacteria). The togetherness I am talking about is not always simple, if you think for example about "opportunistic pathogens" that do not cause disease in a healthy host but take advantage of a host with a weakened immune system or a disrupted gut microbiota.

And there are double binds which create conflicting messages. Autoimmunity must happen that way. The body doesn't recognize its own boundaries: the immune system is attacking instead of defending. I think of desire and capitalism or how capitalism colonizes our mindset and our desires to our own arm. I think of Virginia Woolf defining “heroism” as “botulism.” Woolf ’s “heroism” stands in for the enactment of Man’s conquest of Nature, a dream of modernity. Botulism is a form of food poisoning most commonly associated with canning; the anaerobic world inside the tin can may encourage the growth of toxin-producing Clostridium botulinum bacteria. These bacteria are common in soil and water, but they only produce toxins under special conditions, such as life inside a can. The tin can is an iconic invention of modernity as much as botulism is an iconic monstrosity of modernity. These linear heroic storylines of modern male hero have alternatives in Le Guin’s “carrier bag” as another way to tell a story. Collecting offers stories with more complex arcs of temporality, she argues; instead of a hero single-handedly making the future, there are entanglements and losses of many kinds. Monsters are bodies tumbled into bodies; the art of telling monstrosity requires stories tumbled into stories.

I think of remixing, reformulating, retelling (memory anyway is not something fixated in our brain skull), translating (which share the same root of cheating tradurre:tradire), as a transformative and generative process like in ekphrasis. In Italian the translation of culture needs disambiguation, as coltura refers to cultivation, to farming, and cultura to education and learning. Fermenting is similar to an alchemic process and a complex relation to nature becomes evident. I need to do and let the thing do in order not to kill the wild but get along with it. Is that what you mean by dancing with the uncanny?

How to claim my position in a process of transformation? Embodying what is there, bringing it to the surface. How can I take care of the unknown (an idea of the future?) without killing it (by anticipation of what I already know)? What is there do not have a direction yet, not a sense (therefore not a meaning), but we can sense it (sometimes).

I need new recipes and new techniques to get involved, to sense more precisely. Latour in the article “how to talk about the body?” takes the example of the odour kit to study how to recognize parfumes. During a week training, the students starting from the most different scents they learn to differentiate closer and closer flavors. It's called “to become a “nose”: becoming able to discriminate more and more subtle differences even when they are mixed or masked. Becoming able to register those differences is like acquiring an organ. You have to train to become a body, to sense the world. “Acquiring a body is thus a progressive enterprise that produces at once a sensory medium and a sensitive world.” New questions arise: What is the standard for the kit? Where is the discrimination? In the one who smells, in the design of the tool kit or in the chemical laboratory? It is in the encounter of all these structures.


Rob > Sara Antye > Sina Sina > Pierre Vladimir > Lilia Sara > Vladimir Nicolas > Adrjiana Alex > Nicolas Pierre > Isabel Adrjiana > Alex Isabel > Antye Lilia > Rob

Nicolas to Adrijana

You aim to make the process of writing and editing visible in the end ‚product‘ of your research. What is the actual value for you of publishing process? How do you perform your over all research practice on artistic anxieties through this way of publishing? - Or would it be better to ask, how does anxiety perform within this way of publishing?

Adrijana to Nicolas

I approached publishing as I approach exhibiting. Making some kind of repository of traces. The traces of events and activities I have done, references I collected, practices of other artists that moved the thinking, that moved the body, that moved the conditions. Writing as a mode of activating these traces. The reading of the same mode, too. As any essay does, you can say. Taking the conditions for essay writing as a content, too. The propositions are: it is an online publication, that comes in the form of an essay. The editorial team is composed, based on trust and shared interest, through professional and personal relationships: Sina Seifee, shaping the material through design and coding, Goda Palakaite, Pia Lauwerence and Kristina Gvozdenovic through their comments, suggestions and questions. These will be signed and visible. They are invited to explore the double role: helping the essay and making it relevant for their own research/practice. My publication is about making public what I have done and where I am now in my research. It will host the future thinking and events of the project. It will be used to perform the research. As any artist’s website does, you can say. For me, it is a tool for thinking, it is researching while making public. I expose the decision making, as a content of the publication. The parts develop in the collaboration, I am setting up the structure for working, I try to oversee and manage the process, but not towards desired, preconceived form and content. The editing process is outsourced to Sina, Pia, Tina and Goda. I prepare, arrange, assemble, organize, put together the material for a publication; they decide to follow on that by correcting, approving, condensing, proposing shifts or otherwise modify. So I can improve, revise, rescript, adapt, rewrite. As any editing does, you can say. But not to make a coherent whole, instead to propose a relation with the material, coherent to their practice.

QUESTION Nr. 2 (Lilia to Rob) Dear Rob, in your answer to Antje you explain why the materialisation of practices are important to trigger forms of political gathering and how the singularities of the practices implicate specific knowledge, responsibility. I’m very interested in the process of contribution that art practices propose as intrinsic conditioners for ways of coming together. In your response you don’t mention the poster publication as materialisations. To me, they seem to be in between, a document, an information board, a propaganda tool. I would like to ask you to develop on the strategy implied in the making of the posters as domino trigger to further gatherings and how you consider performative publishing as a concept that might contribute to your research on Forms of Life Forms as a political tool.

Within the instantiation of Forms of Life of Forms at the Zsenne art laboratory I felt it was needed to have something that could overflow. Forms of Life of Forms consisted of an installation that assembled works of artists, collective readings of texts, and other references which came together over several different moments in the time frame of three weeks. As said before (see awnser question antye to Rob) the whole process came with ups and downs, moments of success and of emergency which made it a bit of an experiment in the fluidity of something like an exhibition. In the run-up to Zsenne i was thinking about how all the different things would come together and I realized there needed to be something that could tranmit in a way the previous moment each following moment and in the end be some sort of overview of the mOments; the works, texts, and thoughts shared. I didn’t want it to be merely a documentation though, because I knew this instantiation for me was only a shared moment within the research trajectory. Next to that the proposition of Forms of Life of Forms -that form is not only aesthetical but also social and political, indeed that there is no politics without form and that those concerned with form everyday, artists for example, can bring forms into being that can generate (un)foreseen effects on the forms that dictate our everyday life and shape our world- was not going to be concluded in the assembled installation and therefore was above all an attempt to have some shared insights to better understand the expressions and workings of some particular contemporary forms. As said above (see anwser question"antye to rob") this I feel is the research that artists, but many more people, do and should continue in order not only to understand the form-of-life they live in but also to introduce forms that can create other constellations of life. When I asked D.E.A.L. - the graphic design collective - to work on making the posters I asked them to be present at the moments and then with the input they had -text excerpts, pictures, photographs, notes- design a poster that would not only document -i.e. be a representation of what happened- but also think about the posters as a way to be a starting point for a following conversation, as you say in a way like an information board. And of course the series of posters would gain traction as such and function as a visual identity for the project but also evolve in a work, in and of itself part of the final assemblage.

For the publication the posters are the starting point and in that way are the part that will flow over to another instantiation of Forms of Life of Forms. I think D.E.A.L took this idea a bit futher even and did not consider the posters as completed design but disassembled their content and brought it in conversation with the disparate parts of the whole installation at the Zsenne art laboratorium. The way they folded the booklet makes it possible to put fragments next to eachother in different ways. In this way i think they reopened the distribution of the assembly and opened up potential conversations that were not considered before.

This in a way informs also my definition of performative publishing. Where publishing is traditionally the endpoint of a trajectory, the worked out version of an idea (even though I think books always were meant to spread an idea and in this way they would lead their own life beyond the printed pages). I would like to think of publishing as public moments in the middle of the process that could inform the research trajectory in different ways; confrontation with material articulations of some ideas, encounter with different perspectives. And then also incorporating this process in the stable form of a printed publication which again can make people do or think some things beyond the bounderies of the printed pages. In a way this means not to focus only on the object or content of the book, but more on what it can do. In this way I think performative publishing is related to Forms of Life by the idea that forms can effect stable structures and practices in such a way that a space for creative alternative proposals is opened up in the collision. This in a way is the political tool that Forms of Life of Forms proposes; rather than the binary right/wrong position introduce something that can problematize the structure and therefore show there are other options. (also see anwser adrijana -> nicolas)

Antye to Sina

Dear Sina, I hope I am not too bland, but I also would love to talk about practicalities, or more precisely about finances. If I remember it right, you are planing to publish a magazine for quite some time now. You were applying for funding, but that is obviously tricky. So, I am curious, how do you deal with the financial side of publishing? How to deal with the dependency on a financial budget, with the fact that without it there will be no magazine? And is there a way to entangle these real and pressing struggles with your current research topic of the surreal and fantastic chimera, which seems to be such a clash? I guess what I am curious about would be to learn if there are porosities, how your surreal research topic is punching, influencing or counteracting these annoying practicalities, we all have to deal with as well? Best * Antye

Sina's responce to Antye:

Well... the idea of the magazine or zine, was a way to use conventions and standards of publishing to produce in myself a particular mode of responsibility that I thought is interesting for my growth as an artist. Namely, to embody the anxiety of writing something that has a chance of being considered by others (a larger community) in an art world that is saturated by artist's publications. To feel that anxiety I needed to engage with the protocols and apparatuses of distributing and attention-making that are installed in civil society. I say civil society loosely just to exclude, (not judging) other kinds of public making, such as propaganda, rumor, terrorism, authority, or revolution. And I use the word anxiety, also loosely, to indicate the productive embodiment of an imperative. As a visual artists I have a tendency to "textualize," but this time I wanted to write. I know that these things are complicated, capital and attention are not always directed to you. I hoped for it, but I didn't expect it.
And regarding my research, the topic of which you formulated: delving in the surreal fantastical chimera of the past in the backdrop of real banal concrete economy of the present. I think of them more as realities that I need to negotiate with. My research has been useful for me to understand how individual artists, other than myself, create and cultivate modes of signification. It has helped to throw myself in the space of somebody else's enunciation, how to work with that, and when to risk fighting against it even. This is really small scale, a tiny thing, happens sometimes in the scale of one-to-one. The financial side of publishing, is something that I didn't have a confrontational relation to. It is so massive and larger than me, that I just can swim with it. Sometimes I have been pushed to shore, but I haven't drown yet. I haven't really thought about money in the last years, other than its banal definition, which, you are right, is against my research. What is liquidated as money, and the whole cultural and industrial system that works with it, is now what is understood as capital. And capitalism, a system that operates with that construction, has nothing to do with older ideas of money. I honestly don't know exactly how modern capitalist economy works. Nevertheless I depend on it, and I am part of it, and I feel its effects and its wide range of side-effects, especially here in this part of Europe. I also don't know how to think about the intellectual capital of which we, in a.psss, are part of. Perhaps I am producing a cultural capital, by my mere labor of working on old Middle Eastern zoologies, while sitting in Brussels. How does it enters a circulation of values in this system (is that publishing?), and how does it liquidate to which material or abstract properties for whom, I don't know.

Vladimir to Lilia

hello Lilia! for my question Im thinking about the potential of scores as "insta"-publications.. I'm intrigued how your scores create communities of artists, peers, stakeholders, and how everyone is involved in being audience, collaborator and artist for each other. This is more of a brainstorm than a question, but is there a way to expand this? Can it be a format for an evening with an audience? How would that work, what would be the potentials and problems?

Scorescapes as publication

The desire to make public of the Scorescapes is there every time we practice it. The paper publications we have been making after each iteration take the question of what is there to make public, to whom, why. These publications have been functioning as a tool to collect and think research strategies, methods (or ways of doing what do) and the relation between practice and analyses of practice. How does one think what one does?

The question that made me starting thinking about Scores as tool for artistic research is the following: Can a practice contain its own documentation so that it is not so much a matter of thinking in retrospective but rather a constant address of a thinking- doing in the present? How to engage the gaze of the other in artistic research? How to make research part of the commons?

In this sense the Scorescapes practice can be seen as a sort of structured improvisation - because of being dwelling with interests, inputs, actions form others and to form action through the relation with what is there to play with. It addresses forms of collective research and starts from the view point that one is never alone, isolated or not related with context(s).

It wants to bring to the fore the performativity inherent to art practice and the agency that is inherent to that performativity. A something not able to be completely nailed down but that has always the potential of the speculative as a way engaging.

I think one evening format is too short but I came up with two possible ways of having working sessions with audience. Would love to braistorm further with you.

Will think further about potentials and problems from the two following propositions. For now here it goes:

What if… One day of Medium Score with audience - curated publishing practice

10:00 -11:00 Six art researchers come together to make public a 7 minutes (max) sample of their actual research in a materialised form and through the medium or mix medium they work with. Not a talk about the research but the exposure of an experiential object that tells, problematises, opens up its potential and agency.

All researchers take notes about each other presentations. From the notes keywords will be selected to start a conversation.

The audience (people not presenting materialisations) is there. They are assisting. They can take notes from which they can select keywords to later participate in the conversation. They can take pictures that will be collected in the pad.


11:15 - 13:00 Everyone looks at their notes (30 minutes) and selects keys words that reflect topics, concepts that have been addressed. An open discussion takes place by saying the keywords out loud and why they are relevant. Collective notes are taken on a pad. The notes are projected on a wall or screen. The discussion starts by the keywords of the researchers.

Lunch Pause

14:00 Everyone including the audience have 30 minutes to formulate in a written form a question that problematises what they have seen. - The six researchers take by chance to whom their question is addressed. All researchers formulate a question. Every researcher will receive a question. - The audience formulates questions that bring in relation 2 or more of the propositions they have seen.

14:30 - The questions of the 6 researchers are written in the pad and projected on the wall or screen. - The questions the audience formulates will be collectively collected in the pad in the following hour.

15:00 - The art researchers have 1 hour to respond to the questions they have received. - The audience has one hour to share their questions and engage in a discussion about them, take collective notes on the pad and select pictures.

16:00 Materialisations / responses of the six researchers take place one after another like in the first session - 7 minutes max. Before responding the researcher reads out loud the question s/he, they is responding to. Everyone takes notes and/ or pictures.


17:15 - 19:00 Everyone looks at their notes (30 minutes) and selects keys words that reflect topics, concepts that have been addressed. An open discussion takes place by saying the keywords and why they are relevant. Collective notes are taken on a pad. The notes are projected on a wall or screen. Pictures can serve as keywords.


Problems: someone(s) will have to be actively working with the pad so that the publishing is happening simultaneously in different media.

What if… Fragile Community Score for one day with audience - curated publishing practice

10:30 to 11:30 Six art researchers come together with their research on a back pack. They are prepared to engage in a 30 minutes collective exploration of their research. Their research is presented in a materialised form and through the medium or mix medium they work with. Not a talk about the research but the exposure of an experiential object that tells, problematises, opens up its potential and agency.

Before starting it will be decided by chance to whom each researcher has to pay special attention to. Everyone will have a researcher to pay attention to and will have someone paying attention to him, her or they.

The audience (people not presenting materialisations) is there. They are assisting. They are asked to take notes from which they can select keywords to later participate in the conversation. They can take pictures.


11:45 - 13:00 Keyword discussion Everyone looks at their notes (max 30 minutes) and selects keys words that reflect topics, concepts that have been addressed. An open discussion takes place by saying the keywords out loud and why they are relevant. Collective notes are taken on a pad. The notes are projected on a wall or screen. The discussion starts by the keywords of the researchers.

Lunch break

14:00 - 14:30 Formulating questions Everyone including the audience have 30 minutes to formulate in a written form a question that problematises what they have seen. - The six researchers will address their question to the person they were assigned to pay attention to. All researchers formulate a question. Every researcher will receive a question. - The audience formulates questions that bring in relation 2 or more of the propositions they have seen.

14:30 - 15:30 Sharing of the questions All formulated questions are read out loud and collected on a pad.

16:00 -16:30 Researchers prepare to the following materialisations.
Audience prepares to be an audience by engaging in a discussion about spectatorship.

17:00 - 17:45 Materialisations II Before starting it will be decided by chance to whom each researcher has to pay special attention to. Everyone will have a researcher to pay attention to and will have someone paying attention to him, her or they.


18:00 - 19:00 General discussion

Adrijana to Alex

Hi Alex, maybe I should wait for your first answer but I have something on my mind already, related to your Intevention in the unsettle study this year -reading an essay, essay written as researching - as exploratIve intevention? is it also a proposal for publishing artistic research? You wrote/read about a closed object, an object of stable meaning and form, present for someone or just for itself and in itself. Apparently so, since there are processes and relationships that enable its presence. The disclosure of such an object would be an intervention in the temporality from perceptive to operative - enabling tranformation or even deformation to happen. But then, if the object to be desclosed is not clearly an object, you read/wrote about disclosing the moments of stabilization within the processes. By letting mater lead to materialize what is there, before its there. By or better through taking care of what is forming through need or desire. Correct me where I didn't paraphrise well, but this is what I understood and go with, interested in (your) ways/methods/tolls to take care, to hold on, to stay with, to recognize, observe and grasp? (While publishing?)

Alex to Adrijana

Dear Adrijana, you paraphrase it perfectly! Thank you for that!!! I read two questions in your text: the first about the possibility of considering my reading in the (framework of) unsettle study as a form of publishing, and the second about different operations as being components of my/this way of publishing. Referring to the first I would say: yes, I think that intervening in a collective and public process is a form of publishing artistic research. Defining “publishing” minimally as the action of “making public”, and understanding generically this action as a move that allows for transcending the, let’s call it, “intimacy of the researcher(s) and her (their) research processes” towards a more extensive field which includes other people that have not been participating in these processes, it’s clear that this happened with my reading in the (framework of) unsettle study. I think that this reading provided conditions for “others” (meaning “not me”) to get in touch and further more to participate in my research. It generated a kind of exteriority as a medium of access to a kind of interiority. Referring to the second, more complex and extensive question, the first thing I would say is that one of the operations you mention is the one I use to encompass all others: to observe. By observing I mean an intimate, adaptive and highly receptive form of getting and being in touch with the object of research. Observation, etymologically, refers to “watching” (I take this as a partial expression of all kind of perceptual actions) but also to “paying attention” to and “keeping safe” (and I would therefore say also to “taking care” of) what the observer has “in front”. All this meanings reveal or simply make clearer that observation is, on the one hand, a very active procedure and, on the other hand, that it is an activity that has an influence in the observed phenomenon. My practices of observation which I denominate generically “practices of very slow aesthetic observation” are more or less systematized forms of action that mobilize an aesthetic relationship with my environment and more specifically with my object of research (a relation based fundamentally on the performance of my sensorimotor and emotional skills). This kind of relation, this “conduct” as I like to say, allows me to interact with the actualization of the agencies both of the object of research and the media in which I practice (in the case you mentioned, language or more specifically written language) in order to disclose the object of research. There would be much more to be said but I guess (and I hope!) we can continue the dialogue by this and other means!!!

              #Sara to Vladimir#

In one of our first meetings we talked about books that are/were important for us and our project. I went back to my stattering and uncomplete notes because I didn't want to start from a misleading idea of beginning from a white page: “there is no such thing as a beginning there is always a continuation”. You were talking about speculative architecture and the architecture of law: “architecture embodyes a precondition for law to be actualized”. You talk about regulation, design, agreement as figures arousing from this idea of architecture of law or so it seems in my notes but I don't know anymore who's saying what and that's interesting in terms of territories and the unclear zone that remains from a lot of our meetings, diligently resumed in files, then organized in folders and most of the time forgotten in my full startup disk. I understand that in your practice you work with ideas of negotiation and negotiability, you propose structures with an empty center: the position is not stable and the center is always re-negotiated. “The non base is the base”. Can we understand the architecture-non-architecture that you propose as an arena, as the making of the public? Is it artistic research and making public in your project the same? Could you talk about the experience of a.pass “Settlement” in Kanal Pompidou? Are there different degrees of publicness in different stages of the “Settlement”? Is there a continuum or an evident discrimination between the law and the out-of-law?

Dear Sara, this is really aiming at the core. In a way my work with Settlement is based around these questions as an unresolved field. As we are enveloped by law and architecture, made, cultured and sustained by them, this work is akin to meditation: a subjectivity becoming aware of itself, without having the luxury of an outside view. The subjectivity is in this case the embodied institution, a semi-stable gathering and assemblage of minds, structures, processes, potentials and limitations.

Can we understand the architecture-non-architecture that you propose as an arena, as the making of the public? Yes, it is the public sphere of the institution: the institution becoming visible to itself. First of all in a very simple way, by leaving our homes, our offices, we come together to be visible to each other and make our processes visible to each other. And then immediately political, because visibility produces difference.

Is it artistic research and making public in your project the same? It is funny that you ask it like this, I just finished answering Alex’s question, where I come to exactly this conclusion when thinking about artistic research in general. I would say that it is only by artistic means that this publicness can be manifested, „artistic“ is here a Trojan Horse. This kind of gathering is too much outside the institutional processes, it can be only organized as an art work.

Could you talk about the experience of a.pass “Settlement” in Kanal Pompidou? I’m not sure if this can be answered in full in this context. But if I concentrate on the aspects this question shares with your other questions: moving to Kanal for a week was motivated by being public, not necessarily by making something public. We thought that It would be important to bring research to the institution which customarily limits its output to products (artistic research being a process here). My experience is that it is very difficult to change that custom just for a week, and towards an audience that does not expect to encounter a process. There is something about Settlement that requires a specific being together, letting the shared public/publicness/publication grow and evolve, that was always to be conflicting and impossible at a place like Kanal. But we tried it anyway.

Are there different degrees of publicness in different stages of the “Settlement”? It's great that you say that, I really like the idea of „public“ not being a single on or off state but a continuum. Yes, I think that is exactly what is possible in the Settlement and impossible in a museum (or on stage). On the two ends of the spectrum there is the publicness of a shared environment and of a visibility to others. On the other end there is the publicness of presentation, of address, of formal gathering. Maybe they can also be described in terms of forrest and clearing, or {…} and circle. (Trying to find the opposite of circle as the primal form of gathering and shared attention, I realize that this lack of terminology might point to a lack of conceptualization of the the shared state of being together, that is unstructured. We don't appreciate and use it enough to have a good word for it?) I like to think that publication can describe the whole continuum and not just the formalized part.

Is there a continuum or an evident discrimination between the law and the out-of-law? The public moves by gradually going beyond the law, so I think it is always a continuum. Breaking an unspoken rule is the same as proposing a new one, and the new rule can only be accepted by the public, it required the public to become a new norm. The continuum is the the constant movement between proposal, rejection and modification. Which makes it related to design.

Pierre to Isabel

Hello Isabel, How are you?

I understand that I am asked to question you about the relation between your practice and the act of publishing…

As far as I know, your work encompasses different iterations of hybrid narratives embodied in different designs but all directed to a public invited to imagine and speculate with you forms of resistance and solutions to address and overcome the environmental, cultural and politic crises of our times.

Your method, your way, your style is to intentionally blur the boundaries between future and fiction -you call it "SF in real-time” and your general attitude is the one of recruitment of your collaborators and audience in a sort of “gesamtkunstwerk” in which everything and everyone is both real and fictional.

Therefore I perceive your work as an ongoing publishing gesture as you situate all the practices in a (public) theatre that performs itself as well as operating as a container.

I suppose that your use of, what one could call, “public fictioning” is a tool and a weapon to infiltrate and actively pursue alternatives by posing “what if’s” to deconstruct the present, repurpose the past and create a plural future. But if one considers that our time compels us to live in a daydream of imperialist, capitalist state-produced fictions producing a constant state of befuddlement, I wonder why then do you use a somewhat similar strategy? And second, what is your definition of the nature and function of fantasy in relation to the possible modification of the public sphere? And finally I would like to share a quote that I thought about while writing to you:

’The struggle to survive is not really separable from the cultural life of fantasy, and the foreclosure of fantasy is one strategy for providing for the social death of persons. Fantasy is not the opposite of reality; it is what reality forecloses, and, as a result, it defines the limits of reality, constituting it as its constitutive outside. The critical promise of fantasy, when and where it exists, is to challenge the contingent limits of what will and will not be called reality. Fantasy is what allows us to imagine ourselves and others otherwise; it establishes the possible excess of the real; it points elsewhere, and when it is embodied, it brings the elsewhere home.’ (Judith Butler, Undoing gender, 2004)

Be well and hear from you


Answer Isabel to Pierre

Thank you Pierre for your reflection on my research. By answering your first question I hope to answer your second one.

Let me share with you a quote from Capitalist Sorcery by Isabelle Stengers, p.137: “lt is perhaps the word reclaim that Guattari was missing when he spoke of ‘reconquest’. Far from the sense of reconquista as a crusade against the forces of evil, this word associates irreducibly to cure and to reappropriate, to learn again and to struggle. Not to say ‘it is ours' (compare the sad slogan ‘everything is ours, nothing is theirs’), not to think ourselves victims, but to become capable once again of inhabiting the devastated zones of experience”.

Yes, if one considers that our time compells us to live in a daydream of imperialist, capitalist state-produced fictions producing a constant state of befuddlement, my research can be regarded more as a mirror than as a clone to the system that we critique. Mirror, as my practice dwells on the borders of commerce to reflect on our consumerist identities, but not a clone, as it proposes new possible living habits through alternative cultural arrangements. I’m interested in re-populating the zones of experience of a devastated world, creating semantics and semiotics of fictions that can be weaved into the fibers of the future.

My use of "SF" has two distinct meanings. Firstly, it is inspired by Speculative Fabulations and the idea of "worlding practices" behind it. As Donna Haraway explains through the game of string figures in her book Staying with the Trouble, it is not about being in the world but is about being of the world and the response-ability this entails in the patterings, comakings or in kinship making beyond biological human lineage. Secondly, SF implies a statement that situates Science as fiction from a Technofeminist perspective. Science Fiction then in my work is a critique to the modern definition of technology that is rooted in applied sciences, and questions the techno-scientific engineering methods of objects and commodities production. It brings the ideology of useful arts to the front, where anyone can be a technologist beyond sex, social or ethnic stereotyping. To add praxis time to my proposition of SF means an invitation to embody the living and non-living organisms through performativity systems that can provoke tansindividual knowledge exchanges.

A Post-structuralist approach generally argues that to understand an object, it is necessary to study both the object itself and the systems of knowledge that produced it. Neo-colonial global economy is founded on an “objective truth knowledge”, which has turned out to destroy specific value systems that define the diverse ecology of existence. Material, personal, cultural, organic, bodily, mental, etc. assets, are all put on the same level, to the point where CRISPR/Cas9 comes to break the law of organic reproduction, objectifying life itself. The alienation achieved in the objectification process of “goods” has transcended the industrial platforms to penetrate our intimacy, to the point in which the objects that we possess, configure our identity and format our imagination faculty to create only illusions.

Indeed we and others are becoming synthetic and I play with the synthesis behind this logic. In one of your mentorings we discussed about the hyper- or over-identification premise behind my work. I use this concept to work with archetypes embedded in the neo-liberal subconscious, that I take out of context to re-create or actualize in another form. In the Three Ecologies of Felix Guattari pg. 38 he writes: “From now on what will be on the agenda is a futurist´ andconstructivist´ opening up in the fields of virtuality. The unconsciousness remains bound to archaic fixations only as long as there is no investments (engagement) directing it towards the future”. I use notions of farm and product, for example, as archaic fixations of the capitalist system, but that I re-direct in a virtual present that is bound to an immediate future outcome.

So, I create intimate and public experiments that incite a negotiation between mind and matter that aim at reconfiguring the relationship we have towards materiality, and that can de-format our trapped imagination and re-orient it. Here I propose performative scores and DIY technology systems that queer or de-square the logic of techno-scientific make-ability. I design subversive repetitive gestures of labor that emphasize the transformative powers of process and matter, and that can bring subject and object into crises, just like a ritual. Thus I provide spaces that offer the possibility to experience states of confusion, by which the irrational, the wild, the obscured, the monstrous, the uncanny, the abject, the banned, the forbidden are allowed to emerge, freeing memories and images that can possibly reconfigure feelings on how and what we posses. And where the Ecology of Imagination can function with no boundaries, be creative with no guilt, fantasizing, speculating on, and/or eventually having a real impact in the public sphere and in the construction of an alternative world.

Be well too and see you very soon !

QUESTION 2 Rob to Sara

You are quite experienced with publishing your work in print. But what I find interesting is that it seems you actually use printed matter to distribute and activate your work. Similarly it is quite rare that people with a background in choreography and dance work with printed matter. Can you give us an insight into how you use the medium of print and how this relates to the performative aspect of your practice?

Dear Rob,

indeed in the last years I have been printing 3 "Spectacles" and I am now again busy with editing a magazine to “make public” my work as associate researcher. Previously to that, a.pass published “Democratic Forest” for my final presentation (10 years ago!) and Tanzquartier published the article “not not a lecture” with Constanze Schellow for their series “Scores” but this is probably something totally different as I was not initiating the publication. I am sure you are interested in why and how I use printed matter to “make public” or else “publish to publish”.

Spectacles #1, #2 and #3 are dance pieces to read. It's an edition with 3 books, a bookmark, a poster, all stamped with a tattoo designed for the project. The poster is a 3D image from the movie Spectacle #4 with Christophe Albertijn and the stamp represents the tattoo of the dancers described in the text. This is to say that the work is multiplying and find derivative forms like bubbling from one to another. The books are not descriptions of existing pieces nor they want to be notation for a future piece on stage. I am interested in how dance exists outside of the black box, the white space, the studio and even before and after the time of the performance. When I like art, the piece keeps working on me for long after and I am sure it becomes something else in my mind: it grows with me, maybe it transforms me as I transform her. Spectacles #1, #2 and #3 are performances constituted by a reader and a book: someone reading a book and interpreting the dances I imagined with her own desire and experience. I try to be as specific as possible also taking into account heterogeneous levels of reading: the visual, graphic and poetical aspects, the philosophical insight that is often the motor for movement, possible historical references, personal experiences and details that remind of other works, other archives. I work on ekphrasis: the Greeks used it as a rhetorical exercise of describing an art work, no matter if the work exists or not. As for the work the reader-spectator does with the books, I am not sure which term to use: reconstruction, recreation, translation, co-autorship, spiral of interpretation, imagination, realization, visualization, representation... Anyway as you see there is a broad idea of dance, in the last years there's been a number of people talking about “expanded choreography” probably in relation to these kinds of practices. I start with thinking dance and choreography and then I use different supports: film, tattoo, website during the creation process, workshop, a dvd and print.

Printed matter tends to have a longer life than art performed in front of an audience. They are more agile in passing from hand to hand and can reach someone by surprise. I would love if they could spread as rumors of a piece that not a lot of people actually had the chance to see. I am also interested in the economic aspect of it as it is very difficult to make a performance with several dancers and it involves a long and more than often frustrating labour of asking for money, organizing the production and sell it. I wanted to produce differently. I was responding critically to the economical conditions I was dealing with and at the moment seem to get even worse. But the problem I am facing is distribution because I don't have a publisher and a distributor.

With ROT, the magazine around my research project, I am more and more interested in the performative aspect of publishing. I am using the fiction of the glossy magazine and exhaust/exploit its possible narratives. My research is called “Wicked technology/Wild fermentation” and it pivots around 3 points: fermentation techniques, artistic research, feminist authors (with a bio-pharmaceutical-psycoanalitical approach ??? such as Haraway, Tsing, Preciado, Wilson, Bang). During this year I met by chance or choice practitioners (from art to food) and I collected their techniques with the aim of making a “technology”. I think of it like a series of techniques that are recipes or practices on how to work the wild without killing it. It is a wicked technology because it's working on twisted performativity and on radical idea of the self: the body and the bodies in relation. A recipe for compost tea, next to a recipe of a cocktail called “mother's milk”, next to a skin exploration body practice, next to a chimera, next to an advertisement for brain inhancing food, next to a parfume designed especially for the publication. I am interested in how a magazine addresses the reader in a casual way. The format of a recipe or instructions are an invitation to do. They activate the reader while sharing knowledge. The idea of the magazine is my proposal to connect to a potential audience and publish part of the research in a performative way. I want it to be different than a participatory performance and different than a theoretical text. The glossy magazine works particularly well with the topic of the research because it allows me to put together different materials that might react next to each other. The magazine has a specific visual design that thights everything together but allows quite some freedom and I am intereted in how it can affect the reader -like a virus? For example what if I Ieave some copies in a everyday kiosk around the corner? Will it spread like a seed and a bacteria? Will the work survive?

Sina (2nd round of question) @Pierre:

Around six or seven years ago, I started to have a shift in the way I think about my audience. This shift influenced consequently the way I think about, and relate to, the notion of public. I used to think of the public, as a general mass of unidentified strangers who are, by accident or deliberation, confronted by my work (a painting on a wall, a performance, etc.) To be blunt, this public was for me, uninformed, somnambulant, stupefied and stoned (or instrumentalized by) religion, ideology, consumerism (or other monolithic machinery of social production), whom by the virtue of my enlightened and genius intuition about how the true world works, would awake from misrecognition to a true recognition. I was trained to think like that because of a (maybe not so good) education in a Marxist mentality or tradition (for whom the idea of 'homogenized mass' is crucial in thinking about the social order) interpreted by artists (the invention of a popular mass audience goes back in Italian Futurism in 1910 onward), from which I learnt to embody (not conceptualize) the idea that the only way left to make meaning is to make revolt. "Fuck em!!" This idea of public, made me physically active, erotic, hot, fueled by a right-full anger, and entitled to provoke...
The shift I made was that, just for the sake of experience, I changed that mind set (not in an instance of course). I started to think about the public, not as silent victims of mass subjectivity, but as experts in my topics, informed and responsible people, who are here because they are interested and have stakes in what I am talking about. And they are smart, and individual, and have their own questions and problems, and most importantly, I don't know more than them. One might say, this is of course a lie (a construction you make), but I think it is a better lie. And it changed the way I respond and enact responsibility as an artist in civil society. My work became the expressive consequences of a responsible gaze, their responsible gaze. Because of that I started to learn more and reconsider my own roots of knowledge, believing that there is helpfull knowledge out there. And 'learning more' was the direct effect of that gaze.
My question is, how do you conceive the public? Who are they for you? How do you think about them (if there is a "them" as actual people) as a collective and additive thing? Or, am I making a mistake, the public is never a "who," but it is the locus of an other-less responsibility?

Isabel to Antye

Dear Antye, When you were in residency in Japan, while you were temporarily inhabiting landscapes that affected you in unknown ways, we had a skype conversation. You were fascinated with the idea that the thinking faculty doesn't necessarily need to be located in the brain, as of other cultures in the world believe and practice. You also remarked that for these cultures a more animistic principle of life could possibly be at stake. I then wonder what happened in Japan with you in relationship to the spirits of the ancestral form of porcelain handcraft you were busy with, as of what we spoke you were opening to the possibility of relating to them somehow. As far as I understand the choice that you have made for publishing is based in an object that acquires a daily use but that contains some historical information about western perspectives on the brain. I would be curious to know how the experience in Japan and your animistic question have influenced your publishing choice and in what ways do you expect to affect the "user" of your publishing object.

I came to Japan with this vague feeling, that one way of opposing problematic Western dualistic thinking could be through diving into the monistic properties in animistic traditions and concepts. I had a loose sense about Shinto practises, that are apparently up until now deeply embedded into everyday lives in Japan, and which, at least from a Western perspective, seem in odd relation to the hypermodern Japanese society that has little trouble embracing new technologies. During the residency I realised how much more ground-shaking this ‚animistic thinking‘ potentially is, leaving me, up until now, somehow in this state of emergency. And yes, one astonishing finding relates hereby to the different concepts of spatialisation of personhood in other cultures, meaning where personhood is placed in the body, as well as to the non-separation of emotion, intuition and unconscious on the one hand, and rational thinking and decision making etc on the other. 1 During my stay in Japan I started to learn Ikebana, the Japanese form of meditative flower arrangement. Fascinated by its intriguing beauty, I nevertheless had strong objections towards these corrective operations of cutting away all leaves or bending the stems to fit the arrangement. I felt like disciplining nature, superimposing a (cultural) system of control onto flowers and branches, and addressed my concerns, in form of questions, more than ones to the Ikebana sensei. Somehow her answers never satisfied me, and it took me a while to realise, that this has not to do with her evading the question, but with me imposing this nature and culture devision, that seems not only of no relevance to her, but most of all of no means of understanding from her perspective of thinking. I am not sure if you meant inhabiting landscapes that affect me literal. If so, I am afraid, even if I enjoyed these ‚exotic’ landscapes very much, the time frame was too short to really get substantially affected. In the same way I have the feeling the time frame was too short to engage with spirits etc., for example of the ancestral form of porcelain handcraft* in a meaningful way. I am at this stage of opening up, of becoming more porous in order to ideally overcome these separations I am deeply cultivated in. Sometimes I wonder how much I really will be able to succeed. But then again I do feel shaken up. I had this spiritual experience at the Ise shrines, that made me feel connected to an archaic cosmos so much bigger than myself. And I started a side project during this residency making cobalt glazed sci-fi tiles, that might not only entangle, but perhaps even liquify the demarcation lines between the past, the presence, and the future.

In regards to your second and third question: I am thinking about textile and its fluidity between 2D & 3D -- in relation to brain imagery and (brain) patterns as systems of information -- for quite some time now *2 , and I encountered scientific posters printed on textile, as one important reference for this textile publication, way before my experiences in Japan. I am sure I would have developed a different publication if I had not been in Japan this summer. But the only answer I can give to your question of how my experience in Japan informed my decisions to make a textile poster publication is: I don’t know. I do know, however, that I like the idea very much of people using the textile in very different ways, and that I love to imagine my brain structures around the brains of so many others. It gives me this mischievous pleasure to develop a very attractive scarf, that people truly want to wear, and thus to almost trick them to also wear my brain structure, printed onto the scarf, around their heads. I create hereby first of all an imaginative realm for myself, a realm that as well connects me, in a puzzling way, with other people. Does this also have to do with porosity? For sure …


1 For us ‚westerners‘ it is so self-evident, that our personhood, our mind is situated in the brain. We dismiss every other way of thinking as unscientific or folkloric superstitions. For us ‚westerners‘ the separation of mind and body, thought and feeling, the conscious and the unconscious, culture and nature (always with the implied hierarchy, that the latter is somehow less valuable) is so deeply ingrained into our cognitive modes, we have trouble to even recognise the cultural constructiveness of these dualisms. In Japan I encountered this non-dualistic thinking that puts, for example the mind into the belly … 2 MRI data, for example, is generated in the scanner in slices, and then 3D-reconstructed within particular visualisation softwares. One particular visualisation inflates and flattens this 3D reconstructed MRI brain data afterwards again for specific purposes. What happens if this flattened brain visualisation gets printed onto a piece of textile?

Question Alex to Nicolas

SMS: Dear Nicolas, here's my question: does publishing artistic research at a.pass needs specific formats (like the research cathologue) or are the means for publishing art and/or established forms of research adequate?

Your question, takes for granted that artistic research AR has to be published in one or the other way.... I see artistic research as a form of art - a form of art that is inherent to the arts. This understanding is based on view on the history of art, that draws a close relation between the creation of narratives and knowledge, visions and wisdom, poesis, facts and findings. whether in the middle-aged monasteries, or in the Renaissance artist's studios, whether in Tesla’s labs, or in the critical salons of the surrealist, the Berliner Ensemble, or Warhol’s Factory - research is nothing that adds to art, but is part of art making and result of artistic practise - as much, as it is for other fields of knowledge. The ways of expressing and communicating this research found many forms and formats. Some of which are communicating directly from within and through the artwork. Others are reflective accompanying products. Yves Klein’s Rocket Pneumatique added to the discourses of art as much as to discourse of speed and philosophy. Duchampe’s „Texticels“ are artwork and research paper in one. And if Hito Stayerl performes her lectures, we assist the intertwined process of research making and publishing live.

Now, since some years additional academic requirements and possibilities merge with the field of arts in a new way. A general wave of inter- and crossdiciplinarity in many fields opened a gate, that provokes many artists to take diverse scientific approaches as aesthetic forms. (Bologna) And at the same time academic institutions offered artists to either compile - or rethink their standards of conducting and publishing research.

To me, these forms of publishing that flirt, reflect, compile ‚adequately‘ to academic research are a welcome - none-less tricky - expansion of artistic practices. The knowledge generated in all the crossovers of artistic and non-artistic disciplines that are inherent to contemporary art practice, might require specific and new forms of expression and publishing. But - as in all times - this form must be evaluated ‚adequately‘ to the research case.

A.pass, with it’s multiple layers and perspectives of individual and collective research situations, needs a constant critical creation of new forms and attitudes of accessibility. Meta reflection, documentation of process, thinking from within, thinking alongside, walking the talk, experimental practicing, etc. - all those approaches need to find specific ways of materialisation, which go beyond the often suggested overcoming of the dichotomy of theory and practice.

Therefore, YES, to specific formats of publication, - but NO to a general specificness for research publication in the arts.

If we need to write collectively, we might need to code tools for it. If we feel the need to expand the time bases notion of performance into ‚paperwork‘ we might need to think about print processes. If we need to communicate the non-linearity of a complex, we still might accept a two-dimensional space, a poster, a banner, a canvas, as a means of communication.

At a.pass, the actual shape a research is growing into, is often a mixture of aims and visions, circumstance and situation, contrast and comparison to other fields. I therefore see the task of a.pass more in the creation of an environment wherein formats can appear and emerge, then in the provision of formats.