Cutting up Conference Papers

“Breaking” is the main theme running through my work but it arises in many different contexts and I deal with it on different planes. My research simultaneously explores and draws parallels between personal experiences in life: breaking bones, making/breaking sculpture, and philosophical concepts of the break.

During my doctoral research one of my supervisors commented on my writing that any paragraph from any section could easily be placed into any other section and that themes reoccurred throughout. As I started physically cutting, rearranging, and adding new thoughts and sources on Post-it notes, I realised a distinct similarity with the processes I use in my sketchpad where visual material is stuck in with masking tape enabling rearrangement on a daily basis. I ceased to worry about finding a definitive structure to my writing and instead perceived the process as playful and under continual review. Juxtaposition of material from various disciplines brought different structures into contact, creating breaks on a philosophical level and a methodology of breaking.

This draws upon William Burroughs’s (2003) “cut-up technique,” which interested him because of the unpredictable spontaneity this method introduced. In my sculptural installations audience participation in breaking similarly introduced unpredictability and uncertainty through the variety of responses and interactions. This led me to explore audience participation in my writing through experimental formats for conference papers for example, allowing the audience to cut up, reconfigure, and add to my paper before I re-presented it.

For the duration of this conference I propose using audience participation to create a continually shifting assemblage of writing and images. I would prefer this to be sited in a space that people move through or a social space, such as a corridor or bar, to allow for frequent informal interaction. On day one I would like to introduce the project and provide Post-it notes on which participants can write their personal experience of breaking and then add to this space. Following this, I will invite participants to cut sections from Deleuze and Guattari’s Capitalism and Schizophrenia (2004a, 2004b) and add these to their experiences. If presenters at the conference are willing, I would like them to add any notes they have used to prepare or deliver their own presentations. Throughout I would encourage constant rearrangement and additions as people see connections or related structures.

The form of Capitalism and Schizophrenia reflects its content in that my experience of reading the book exemplified what I was reading: some parts were read in a linear order; however, I re-read some sections many times and didn’t read others at all. Disassembling the book and utilising fragments to create a changing assemblage fits with this ethos. The intention is to use Deleuze and Guattari’s ideas on structure to reflect on the process (and include these reflections back into the process). Starting from participants’ personal experiences encourages a shift from abstract theory toward lived experience; the resulting tension could, for example, be interpreted through concepts of smooth and striated. My authoritative position is challenged as the viewer’s participation introduces multiple views; opening possibilities to reflect on arborescence and rhizomatic structuring.

References

Burroughs, William. 2003. “The Cut Up Method of Brion Gysin.” In The New Media Reader, edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montford, 89–92. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 2004a. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane. London: Continuum.

—. 2004b. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. London: Continuum.

[terror]tory

[terror]tory is an assemblage of processes that develops portraits of fluid identity; identities that are unravelling and becoming. In his lecture “Subjectivity and Thought in Gilles Deleuze,” Manuel De Landa (2009) describes identity through an analogy: as the matter brought down by a river, layered over time on the ocean floor. This layering refers to habitual routines and repetitive narratives, which become identified with the subject, I am. He points out that the identified—myself or the mountain—also has historical evidence and therefore cannot be reduced to a mere social/linguistic construct. Following De Landa, [terror]tory explores identification as a territorialisation of consciousness, which occurs primarily in an inherited/taught/socialised/genetic way, becoming the bedrock of what identity is based on. In a Spinozan sense, all things are unavoidably the way they are and that which emerges is necessary. However, it seems that the matter that makes the bedrock can prove problematic if, for example, the matter layers on beliefs such as “I’m not good enough.” Apparently this matter cannot be removed physically or psychologically, we are stuck with it, it is “the matter” (as in “what’s the matter?”).

Deleuze points out that beneath these layers of habitual routines and narratives that harden and densify, we find a domain of intensive and volatile magma (desires/will to power), which cause a folding, fracturing, stretching, moving of the matter above it. Psychically he refers to these ruptures/disruptions as states of “delirium” (vertigo, meditation, shock, yoga, breath work, psychedelics) that afford the consciousness glimpses of experiences that support its non-dependence on identity—that consciousness is not what it identifies with. De Landa adds that psychological wellbeing is dependent on a certain amount of stable identity; however, identification becomes arthritic and Spinoza points out that human perception is primarily lodged in an erroneous perception structure mechanism, identifying with what isn’t rather than with what is (I continue to watch sunrises and sunsets, even though I know the earth revolves around the sun!). [terror]try researches methods that can tap into the psychic magma—practices that loosen identity, opening up to new possibilities and creativity.

[terror]tory engages with the following practices as a methodology to catalyse and maintain fluid identity: This methodology is performed by using clothing as the matter of identity. This clothing is personal and owned by the performers. Deterritorialisation occurs by “filleting” a garment, removing the fabric from its seams. This process is a shifting of paradigm from a transcendent, linguistic ontology; it liberates the fabric of being from categories/territories from the map, making the material of identity virtual. Reterritorialisation begins with the fashioning of yarn from the liberated fabric—relating to the matter, eliciting the narrative. These yarns are bound into balls—an introspective cocooning procedure. The balls are gifted to and swapped with others—the exchanging of stories, listening and relating to others. Knitting begins. Sitting with the narratives creatively developing new fabrics of identity that relate to the materiality of being, witnessing and assisting in the emergence of new forms of becoming: sitting with, witnessing, and co-operating with emergent forms in an embodied way. The new material can be unravelled, be gathered, be stretched, and have spaces. All the fabric from the original territory has been used; however, it has changed state.

These processes embody sustainable “delirious” practices: mediation (sitting with), yoga (embodied practice), relating to stories of another. The performance itself becomes a “delirious practice.” As a craftivist work it deliberately uses the politics of gendered spaces and practices as a means of disruption within places and practices—specifically, knitting (female, domestic, personal, unseen, craft, private) in a public/academic (male, intellectual, public, valuable, important, visible) context. Knitting in an academic/public context creates a disorienting juxtaposition, a disruption serving as a delirium to shift consciousness.

Web: terror-tory.blogspot.com; vimeo.com/134178378; vimeo.com/134127764.

References

Manuel De Landa. 2009. “Subjectivity and Thought in Gilles Deleuze.” European Graduate School Video Lectures. 11 videos. Accessed 15 July 2015. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL30032170CD028499.

OMNIADVERSUS Self-Actualising the Subject

“OMNIADVERSUS Self-Actualising the Subject,” or “O,” is a theoretical, visual, and performative art research project that has been developed since 2010. It is an ongoing piece that undertakes artistic research on post-identity through heteronomy, the formation of artistic subjecthoods, the interdependence between subject and object as artistic values in non-art approaches. O proposes a revision of the question of authorship through a conceptual and immersive practice and inquires about the functionalities of the self in art politics.

O is a rhizosphere-like platform that revives concepts that are put to an experimental performative practice. It explores these concepts to an empiric extent, setting its research to analyse and develop knowledge over the aftermaths of such experiences. Its formulation has been influenced by ubiquitous concepts in philosophy and in critical theory and by a subsistential affinity encountered with Mille Plateaux. These are undertaken as playful elements for research, with ultimate considerations in self-overcoming, becoming-other, metamorphosis of the being, schizoanalysis and schizophrenic practices, the existential nomadic, multiplicity, and impersonality.

O’s practice happens through an immersive performance with existential contours, consisting of launching several artist-personae, or immersive heteronyms, that develop distinct lines of investigation resulting in individual bodies of work, by inducing the manifestation of agencements, practising deterritorialisation, and evolving through becoming-other.

The heteronyms, are integrated in particular cultural and social backgrounds and interact in specific circuits, describing their existence as living personae. Evolving in an autonomous way and independent of one another, they create different artistic approaches, as by-product multiplicities surging within the context of immersion. Promoting insights into the overcoming of the self through multiple-subject approaches, O aims to cast the self as the art piece, ungraspable, within several prisms and cultural influences. This is in accordance with the identity forming process of subjectivation, which the heteronyms relate to in the field of visual and performing arts.

These heteronyms are impersonated by a sole person who temporarily disengages from using her official, familiar identity and sets off on a post-identity journey, immersing herself in a field of action with other identity attributes (such as name, origin, generation, gender), allowing these to become tinted by the circumstantial contact in the cultural-social environment they are immersed in. This self-approved allowance for frequent identity shifting according to an external leverage strives to recreate and actualise the concept of identity as an ever-changing interfacial embedding of the self, as a medium for self-overcoming, beyond arborescent compliances.

The launching of the heteronyms’ personalities allows for observations about the formation of identity in a bid to transgress its own officialised restrictions.

O enables practices toward an ultimate merging of subject and object, as a formula for retrieving significance ahead of dualism, impoverishing the fields of stage/wall representation.

O encourages processes of becoming, immanence acts as the subject emerges as an artistic object in unexpected existential formats, as in life itself, sustaining non-art statements.It conceives trajectories of life as the artistic object per se, living-as-form, with their inevitable processes of deconstruction/reconstruction unveiling the possibility of “being-zero” as an excellent source of the art medium.

The authorship of OMNIADVERSUS is presented sous rature due to the reasons explained above which defend the impersonality of the author; thus it should always be presented in this way: Silvia Pereira.

Matter-Flow: Studies of Minor Composition

Among Deleuze’s encounters with art, jewellery has certainly never had any particular relevance, if compared with literature, painting, cinema, or music. And yet, jewellery making and metal arts (metallurgy, smithery, metalworking) more widely, appear at a crucial juncture of A Thousand Plateaus. Not only because of their relation to “nomadism”—“something lights up in our mind,” Deleuze writes, “when we are told that metalworking was the ‘barbarian’ or nomad art par excellence, and when we see these masterpieces of minor art” (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 401)—but above all because metal is the pure matter-movement, or “matter-flow.” Metal, Deleuze says, is “neither a thing nor an organism, but a body without organs,” the “conductor of all matter” (ibid., 411). The “first and primary itinerant,” then, is the artisan-metallurgist, who follows the flow of matter. Metal arts let emerge “a vital state of matter as such, a material vitalism”: a “nonorganic life” (ibid.). For Deleuze, “Metal is what forces us to think matter, and it is what forces us to think matter as continuous variation” (Deleuze 1979)—that is, as pure “modulation” (in Simondon’s sense). Metal and metal arts, then, allow us to break with the form-matter dualism of the hylomorphic model, typically exemplified by moulding techniques. Instead of a succession of forms and variability of matters, metal arts indeed operate a capture of nonorganic forces through a “continuous development of form” and a “continuous variation of matter” (from which also follows, according to Deleuze, the essential relationship between metallurgy and music). In short, the artisan-metallurgist replaces the static relation, form-matter, with the dynamic relation, “material-forces,” creating properly metallic “affects.”

This conception opens the possibility of a decisive displacement with respect to contemporary jewellery, which remains mostly tied to figuration (or organic representation) and the hylomorphic model by merely reproducing forms and looking for a diversity of materials. The pursuit of this possibility is the attempt of the works I present. The aim is to experiment with a non-hylomorphic approach to matter-flow and the genesis of forms. To this end, I tried to construct an assemblage between two heterogeneous material elements (metal and glass formed by lightning-induced melting of sand) upon which I performed different processes of deformation. The result is a series of “consolidated aggregates,” of “coupled figures,” where the metallic form is not obtained by any casting or moulding operation (such as lost wax casting or electroforming), but primarily by means of one of the most ancient goldsmith’s techniques (though completely liberated from any decorative, figurative, or narrative function), called repoussé, which consists of a continuously variable modulation or folding of thin metal leaves. The genesis of form is thus immanent and topological (instead of transcendent and geometrical), inseparable from forces exerted upon the material. This reveals a “vague” materiality in which forms are not imposed to matter but emerge as intensive affects of the material itself. These works of minor art thus attempt to contribute to the questioning of what Deleuze calls a “phenomenology of matter.”

References

Deleuze, Gilles. 1979. “Metal, metallurgie, musique, Husserl, Simondon. Cours Vincennes 27/02/1979.” Available at: http://www.webdeleuze.com/php/texte.php?cle=185&groupe=Anti%20Oedipe%20et%20Mille%20Plateaux&langue=1 [accessed 1 October 2015]

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1987. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.