S I T U AT I O N
J U LY 1 8 — S E P T E M B E R 8 — 2 0 1 3
S I T U AT I O N EVENT
Alex Cecchetti, Theory of Rising, 2012 4
T H E R O O M WAS E M P T Y A N D S H E K E P T BUMPING INTO CHAIRS
Idiots like something only when they see it twice, said Picabia. If we know something it is because we saw it twice and again. And if we end up to like something we know, it is because we are all a bunch of idiots. Today we all know that if an exhibition space is empty, it does not mean that there are no art works. We are all confident that somewhere in the empty room there is a board, a sign, a panel, a little something that accords the value of art object to that nothingness. Even the most empty of rooms has a title. A name can do it all. It can transform the context into the object. Now the object is like a jar, can you still pour water in the jar when it is full? When water becomes clay, who is thirsty anymore? The spectacle, we know, is above all a system; it is to look through an instrument, a means; it is a place with specific predicates. The spectators of this empty place have the same gaze as a hunter or a fisherman; they are, in other words, subjects with specific knowledge in a specific territory. Once again, we are a bunch of idiots. In the room there is a table and on the table there is soup, so in the evening it is called the dining room. In front of the window there is a chair and when she sits down there, it is called the living room in winter and the terrace in summer. In one corner there is a bed, big enough for two people if they spoon close like lovers. So at
night it is called the bedroom and in the morning when the water is collected in the basin it is called the restroom. And when William thinks or draws at the window or at the table, the living room is the workroom. And when William prints, they call the room the printing of Hell. And when they have gone too far in the afternoon stroll, and they have passed the tall oak tree, they say let’s go back and they call it home. Visions do not knock at the door, here angels and daemons come through the window, and in the simple poverty of this room William and his friends discuss the plague of Heaven. Then the plans are placed in a box with the drawings and poems, the box is pushed under the bed and on the table the soup is served again, warm. Any room can be good and no name is needed. We can produce any image inside our mind, in every empty room, even in a garden, a jungle, or on a roof. William says that there are no better sunsets than the one he sees when he closes his eyes. The other good thing about it is that he can see the sunset twice before the day is done. The trick is and was: do you see what I am seeing when there is nothing to see? Scan the object in your head and render it in your tongue and out of your mouth. If it will appear in front of our eyes as if summoned and not as if represented, then you are a poet. That was the precept. Names were invented to compress information, to zip up a whole story, a system of high technology. A symbol is not a shell divided in two but !smack! a compression. Force this against that. Stars with animals or time with a bicycle !smack the two! Like when you clap hands. If you are good enough, we’ll see what you see when there is nothing to see. The discourse surrounding representation and presentation has been turning over and over and everywhere, and it has always revolved around the structures of the exhibition and the relation between spectators and actors, or spectators and the exhibition itself. It has always been a discourse about the room, the number of seats, the position of the stage, at what height shall I hammer the nail? But you can remove all the seats in the theatre and rip down the walls and ceiling of a museum, still the difference will remain between those who do not know what is next and those who know where the story ends. The question at the core of the problem can be answered only by idiots. All of these questions and concerns
can in fact be brought back to their relation to a single specific concept of time: if I re-present I am always in the past, if I present I am in the present. What is unfortunate is that in this series the future has never been considered. Some say that we share what is real, but what about the fact that we give shape to what is unreal? When you walk with an architect in your new house to come, you as much as him can transform the staircase as long as you descend it. He does not know what comes next, neither do you. The room is empty, and everything can be represented or just summoned. The difference seems minimal, it is not. It was summer and my grandfather was working hard on what he called the family house, a heap of nothing up on a rocky hill. He was lining bricks on bricks, sweating under the morning sun, building up walls, sawing planks, drilling and hammering. I was 8. I was just fucking around with his tools, the hammer was a daemon, little plastic nameless things were horses. The daemon spirit was hammering the little yellow plastic horses, that’s why they were galloping around so fast. My grandpa said: Give me that thing. I said what thing? He pointed to the space around me where warriors, daemons and horses were battling. That thing for thinging this thing here, he said. What thing? I asked again. Christ, he said, pointing at the ceiling, that fucking thing there, I have to thing that thing with that fucking thing. I handed him a screwdriver, he looked at me as if I was dumb. He came down from the ladder and grabbed my daemon and went up again. That was the time when I first saw the devil bashing down the gates of heaven with horns of fire. Our distance was out of measure, we were in two different places in that room that was not yet a room. Words are made out of air, the voice vibrates, resonates, my lungs and tongue cast material objects that are rendered here and now in the space we share. The concept at the core of rhetoric is the ability to make things appear here and now as if they are real. The articulation of body and voice is high technology, nothing else is needed, not even a room. If only at that time I was initiated into the art of music, I would have shown my grandpa that he was time, the event behind the rise of the rebel angel. Here is not written that “every artist is a spectator but not every spectator is an artist”. Here is written that the uncontrolled capacity of no matter which brain can produce metaphors, associations,
and assemblages, and can render from what is known a world that is not known yet. Dreams go ahead without you, isn’t it?
This whole text should be re-written and re-thought for those, whom instead, know the inner something of anything at first sight.
W AY F A R I N G S T R A N G E R S WA L K K N O W N PAT H S
Even an idiot has the sense of things, said Deleuze. To know something it suffices to see it once. I learned to fix windows like this. Watching my grandpa one day, I was 8 and it was summer. I saw it once and I will never forget. Images, words, smells root themselves somewhere in the body and never leave. We transform their predicates according to the images, the sounds, the smells that come after. In the process we may succeed in deleting information, but even when data are deleted the mathematics always comes back, the predicate of the story is now embodied. In a way our head is a chamber, an apparatus of the spectacle that produces the object that it is looking at. Imagination and fantasy are generated by an organ that has its automatic functions, like the lungs, a liver, my utero. Here in this chamber the uncontrolled capacity of no matter which brain can produce metaphors, associations, and assemblages, and can render from what is known a world that is not known yet. So at the theatre, let yourself go. Who needs you? Dreams go ahead without you, isn’t it? Shall we start everything again, the whole structure of the exhibition, from this active capacity of the spectators? Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those that want to transform everybody in Sherlock Holmes. I am not going to spread clues and tips around this empty room for you to work out. We all know what happens with that, once we know who the assassin is we are always disap-
pointed by the mediocrity of the author’s imagination. And we go home with nothing but a good bunch of titles. The discourse surrounding representation and presentation has been turning over and over and everywhere, and it has always revolved around the structures of the exhibition and the relation between spectators and actors, or spectators and the exhibition itself. It has always been a discourse about the room, the number of seats, the position of the stage, at what height shall I hammer the nail? But you can screw up all the seats in the theatre and rip down the walls and ceiling of a museum, still the difference will remain between those who dance for an audience and those who dance for the rain. Between those who dance for a ticket and those who dance to change the rules of the cosmos and transfigure the whole community into the cause of the rain. If you want to exchange the word rain for revolution, you can. The question at the core of the problem can be answered only by idiots. All of these questions and concerns can in fact be brought back to their relation to a single specific concept of time: if I re-present I am always in the past, if I present I am in the present. What is unfortunate is that in this series the future has never been considered. The room is empty and everything can be represented or just summoned. The difference seems minimal, it is not. Let’s leave the theatre, it has become too small anyway. Before it was large enough to host a whole community, now it has been chopped into pieces, multiple screens, multiple chambers, everyone has their own dream. Let’s get the fuck out and take to the open road. The road is one good place to talk about time and art. It is a sculpture as much as a journey. It seems that the future is ahead and the past behind, but instead the road is anew every time. It is new before, after and all along the curve. Every wayfaring stranger has his or her own reason for wayfaring that way. If you are Orpheo who came to rescue Euridice from the world of death: walk in front of her, all along the cave. If in a moment of doubt you’ll turn your head to see if she is following, she will disappear forever. Euridice is a ghost, something more than a shadow and less than an image. The precept imposed is simple: don’t look at images or they won’t become flesh. But another precept of love
exists. Enide, she is followed by her lover, half a mile behind, along the path of their adventure. Enide sees what’s behind the hill that blinds the horizon of his lover eyes. She fears what is hiding in the forest before he could only see the trees. She drinks at the dam when he is hopelessly thirsty. She is into the future, he is the present. But she cannot talk of what she sees; she cannot tell him of the sweet things to come, neither of the deadly danger. If she does, his value as knight-errant could not be proved and he will love her no more. When the brigands appear behind some rocks, and she fears death, her lips shut down and the words choke in her throat. So strongly the words push against her lips that little objects start to appear there in her mouth, just to vanish in the air like figures in the clouds. Clap, smack, hammer these two stories into one, and you will have 3 wayfaring monks walking in line. The first one, hitting the road half a mile ahead is in the future. He cannot advice on what is to come. The second one is the present, he cannot look back at the ghost of the past behind him. If he wants to keep walking ahead he has to be confident in the continuity of the existence. The third one is in the past, a quasi-image, we are not sure he is following, but if we look at the series of monks we can probably guess that his precept has to do something with listening to a voice that calls him back. Or maybe not, because this idea of the repartition of time is related to the primary experience of life and death, but who can say that this experience cannot be overcome by imagination? Backwards or forwards, our directions are more ambiguous than our way of walking. We are animals, creatures that eat everything since the beginning. We understand the lie as poison and truth as taste. We can eat meat, vegetables, plants, whales, snakes, rocks, trees, clouds, stars, planets, we eat the weather, we eat time. We are a greedy lot, our eyes are bigger than our stomach and our mouth is history. Every single hiding particle of the world has to be part of it. Even the history of mountains has to be arranged and rewritten, processed as food. I do not believe in progress, and any idea of the new that can be proposed should not be inscribed in the arrow of time. Time is not an arrow, or if it is, it cannot fly straight. Exactly as an arrow it would rise and fall on a long curve. It would spin, bend, and it probably will miss the target. Have you ever looked for a miss-
ing arrow in an open field? It’s worse than looking for golf balls. At least they are white. Every wayfaring stranger has his or her own reason for wayfaring that way, but sometimes they come across and meet, and from where she came I was going. Her past was my future. At the cross road I took the new road for the old, but new roads as any other roads have been there before us. Someone else conceived them, someone else has walked there before. Still when you walk that road it is the first time of that road. I took the new for the old, I wished her good luck, she said do not wish me good luck, I am myself good luck. And she took, instead, to the open field.
ANTOINE DAV E N N E
This whole text should be re-written and re-thought for those, whom instead, love only what they know.
The SIT|EV residency programme intends to explore working processes within event-based and live practices, with work-inprogress becoming public activity. Could you elaborate on the role of process in your practice? I see process as a possibility for the coexistence of ‘real-time’ or ‘live’ performance and documentation. It allows me to build a construing cycle where performance and documentation appear one after the other, mould each other and alter each other’s composition. I usually start working with material, either still images or written notes, to conceive a performance. Once the material has grown into a sufficiently developed form, I rehearse the performance and edit the material accordingly until the performance can be performed. The edited material is sometimes also part of the performance itself and afterwards it becomes the documentation of the performance. The material thus pre-exists the performance and outlives it, while the performance self-documents through the existing material rather than through specifically arranged ‘stage photography or video’. When this part of the cycle is complete – material as primary source, performance, and material as documentation – the constituents of the performance return to the state of primary source. They may be used to develop another phase of the process, as objects or other performances.
"The room was empty and she kept bumping into chairs" and "Wayfaring strangers walk know paths", Alex Cecchetti 2013, published by Gasworks...
Published on Nov 15, 2015
"The room was empty and she kept bumping into chairs" and "Wayfaring strangers walk know paths", Alex Cecchetti 2013, published by Gasworks...