Exploring the Longitude and Latitude of Public Space Through Sound Art

This presentation addresses site-specific sonic practices from the artistic practitioner’s perspective. The intention is to outline a proposal for a revitalisation of the field of site-specificity beyond transcendentalism, offering a challenge to conceptualisations of “form” and “content” that still hover around site-specific practice today.

Departing from the assumption that spatial production understood in its broadest sense should always be understood as process (Massey 2005) and informed by Spinoza’s notion of “body,” which later on was developed in Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) “ontology of assemblage,” public space can be understood in terms of assemblage in consisting of a tremendous number of components, human and non-human, material and immaterial, each of which has specific relations and its own agency—that is, the specific capacity to affect and be affected. Focusing on sound, sound from such perspective can be understood as having its own agency as a vital part of the production of the assemblage we refer to as public space.

The focus for this presentation is on bringing forward various crucial effects that such an assumption has on site-specific (sonic) practice in terms of vital spatial practice: “Site-specific practice it’s not a question of how one should ‘install’ a work but a question of how to articulate an assemblage” (Cox and Stjerna 2015). Such a statement returns to the idea of considering the site as a body composed of two vectors: latitudes and longitudes. “Latitude” concerns the specific material, historical, political, and social components of a place and the way in which they establish different relations. “Longitude,” then, is about my ability as an artist to understand and to modify these relations in the work, how I can reformulate those relations through sound.

Consequently, site-specific practice, on the one hand, should be understood as an exploration of the heterogenic and complex force relations that together constitute the assemblage of a place and, on the other hand, the modification of these relations through art. As a practitioner, I think of myself as exploring what Deleuze and Spinoza call the longitude and the latitude of the place. Through some recent actualised artistic projects, I intend to discuss site specificity as an ability to trace the ways that specific relations form or have formed a specific site or spatial context and the ability to alter it through art (Cox and Stjerna 2015).

The proposed presentation is mainly based on the first chapter of my ongoing (still untitled) artistic research project on sound art in public space.

References

Cox, Christoph, and Åsa Stjerna. 2015 [forthcoming]. “Sound, Affect, and Public Space: Åsa Stjerna in Conversation with Christoph Cox.” In Dirty Ear Report. Berlin: Errant Bodies Press.

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

Massey, Doreen. 2005. For Space. London: Sage.

Schizoproduction and Artistic Research

In my artistic research for my PhD at the Theatre Academy in the University of Arts, Helsinki, I have used the metamodel of schizoanalysis both in creating artistic works and in pedagogical contexts. Recently I have run extensive workshops around the topic “What is Real?” in the Theaterdiscounter in Berlin and MoKS artists’ centre in Mooste, Estonia, with the performance artist Karolina Kucia. Beside this, we both have been working with the Ueinzz theatre group from São Paulo, directed by the philosopher Peter Pál Pelbart and psychotherapist Ana Carmen, whose practice is focused on schizoanalysis in experimental theatre practice.

The basis for this presentation is the theoretical background of schizoanalysis and practical findings on how it functions as a dynamic tool in creating materials both for artistic production and for how one perceives subjectivity in relation to the group, milieu, social norms, or political bodies. Schizoanalysis is a tool for comprehending how “the real” is being constituted as lived territory through machinic modulation of the flux and in regard to virtual universes of reference. However, my intention is to contrast schizoanalysis as a “system of a systems,” or as the world in relation foreclosed real. These are two aspects that are intertwined in my artistic research: heterogenesis of subjectivity in contrast with the one, not as substance but as unforeseeable void—or, in other terms, the transcendental system of schizoanalysis with the radical immanence of the real.

Schizoanalysis functions as a dynamic tool for meta-modelling the world as being produced by “immanent capitalism.” In groups and individual practice, I’ve used schizoanalysis as a tool to trace processes as philosophy: how certain machinic conjunctions in relation with the flux produces a particular existential territory with the universal reference, how some machinic conjunctions may create new “lines of flight,” and why some others retract to habitual refrains of subjugation. However, in my research I have encountered troubles comprehending the real through the particular system of meta-modelisation. It may seem only to be a horizon, an exterior, or the virtual universal reference. What it does is both analyse and produce relations, exchanges, and conjunctions. The real is being assigned to the asignified territory of the unconscious.

Following the critique of these philosophical concepts by François Laruelle, my attempt is to contrast this philosophical form of thought with the proposition that subjectivity has only unilateral relation with the real. The world is being modelled by schizoanalysis propagating new forms of existential territories or retraction to ossified refrains. The world does not equate with the real, which is separated without separation. In the case of performance art, in this non-correlation with capitalism as philosophy, the foreclosure can be found in body. Not body as severalty, but as “one” body. A body is not only part of the assemblage but also foreclosed real. It is both machinic production and foreclosed indifference as the void. Still, it is only through the heterogenesis or modulation, where the comprehension of the philosophy of capitalism may be regarded as hallucination, that the world is not conflated with the real. Where the process of artistic practice is a process of stitching and ripping apart, probing for lines of flight to create consistency, the practice has only a non-relation with the foreclosed carnality of the body and the unprecedented real.

This presentation includes materials that published in the book Tero Nahua, Heresy and Provocation (Malmö: Förlaget 2015) to be presented at the Mad House event in Helsinki on 19 November 2015.

Repeat, Please: An Experience of Creation

In this presentation, we outline a creative experiment organised by the Ornata group and carried out during the course “The Body, Memory and Becoming: Encounters and Vestiges of Art Jewellery” by art students of the Institute of Arts, State University of Campinas. Ornata is a group of teachers and researchers that runs courses and workshops for art students and employs a teaching methodology that seeks to deconstruct preconceived meanings of jewellery. By drawing attention to its symbolic potentiality, as a sign of power associated with the body, it posits jewellery as a potent medium for artistic creation, an individual and social object able to mediate or interrogate relationships of desire, power, and memory.

The methodology developed by Ornata is informed by Deleuze and Guattari; in the course, the guiding principles were the theorists’ concepts of “becoming” and “difference and repetition” and the relationship of these concepts to memory. The goal was to create an object in which the concept of “Becoming” is manifested, materialised, and produced through the body and for the body. We started from the notion of duration, in which being is conceived as an overlap, as a continuous construction in which past and present contract. As a strategy, we suggested to the students a procedure to produce something so that the body could evoke and/or invoke the concepts of becoming, and difference and repetition. We decided to highlight how time could be made tangible through the body by using the voice. We asked the students to repeat poems or extracts for ten consecutive days and record them. Through this procedure, the transformed speech gives rise to a word that would in turn be translated into an object.

The stages of the exercise were to select poems or extracts from Ana Cristina Cesar (a Brazilian poet) on the basis of a possible relationship found by the teacher between the poem and the student who recites it. Students were instructed to repeat these poems for ten consecutive days, recited at least twice a day. The reading should be governed by the way the text resonates with the student and not by its interpretation. Only the recording of the voice interests us, and the recordings must be posted on the group’s Facebook page every day.

After ten days, we collectively listened to the recordings—only the first and last—to compare the transformations over time and we compiled keywords that expressed the difference in utterance between each student’s first and last recording. The results were discussed among the group and two verbs that reflected the change in utterance (conjugated in the present continuous) were suggested, for example, “swallowing.” The students were asked to use the concept of translation (explored in previous exercises) to make an object for the body related to the verbs identified in the process, but not by making a representation. The guidelines for developing the piece were to think where in the body the object would be placed and what materials would better translate this action.

The objects presented showed unusual connections afforded by the choice of materials and the way they were worked. The relationship between the objects and the body was also unexpected. Thus, the unusual combination of different artistic and material languages, together with the methodological approach described above, set in motion a creative situation that contributed to foster imagination and to stimulate creation.

Noir Désìr: About the Subjugated and Acting Body in Desire

A few years ago, our professor of aesthetics at the Academy showed us Deleuze’s L’Abécédaire. In “D comme Désir,” the following was a significant moment for me: “we never desire an object, for example a woman, but the ‘landscape’ that is what we sense that is ‘inside’ this woman and our imaginary engagement with this (landscape).” I imagined an almost empty landscape, except for allusions to a city, the perception of time (rhythm and light) and the desirous. While the waves of desire roll over the landscape, I embody that body’s desire, its tendency to receive and incorporate the external force that dominates it. The lightning strikes: you see.