Strata: A Lecture Performance

My first creative gesture, always, is inwards. I look inside; I dive inside. I bathe myself in the numerous, interconnected yet distinct streams of sensations, thoughts, and feelings that incessantly rush through me. I drift upon them; I observe how they intersect, split one another apart, or converge. Amidst the buzzing of inner activities that living appears to be as soon as one suspends one’s project-oriented actions, one sees tentative tropes emerging, heteroclite assemblages forming themselves. Some persist, others vanish quickly to cohere later in a different combination. My work attempts to investigate how we constantly compose our experience from the multiplicity of which we are made. Artistic research too proceeds from an introspective drive: art turning itself toward art in an attempt to question anew its processes and its effects; research as a movement that goes nowhere but insists to be where it is, digging up the very place upon which it stands. Following such a self-reflexive movement, art encounters itself as not self-identical, animated as it is by multiple other practices—craftsmanship, daily life, theory, philosophy, politics . . .

Strata, the online publication on which this lecture performance is based, is an instantiation of such an introspective approach. It is a cross section of my own work, applying my compositional strategies to question my own practice. A collage of images, text, and video fragments on an endless white page, it was created in 2014 on an online platform for multi-modal publications, Oral Site, which is hosted by Sarma, a workplace focusing on artistic research and discursive creation. Although explicit references to Deleuzian concerns do surface in Strata—direct quotations as well as excerpts of an interview with I. Stengers—it is mostly through its rhizomatic mode of composition that it meets the philosopher’s work. With no centre, no end, no linearity, it offers itself as an environment to get lost in. By maintaining their reciprocal heterogeneity, clusters made of distinct documents create a wide constellation, a field of tensions where relationships are endless, yet (or because of this) are never totally effectuated. In this composition, gaps are pivotal and the trade with the non-actualised is constant. It invites the visitor to a diagrammatic experience in which meanings and affects emerge in the midst of invisible trajectories that saturate the page as one’s attention bounces from words to drawings to filmed movement, from personal anecdotes to art history to philosophical digression or political concerns. In its associated lecture-performance series, Strata is screened for the audience and offers itself as a score for a digressive exegesis. We navigate its large plane, unfolding one of the countless ways to think and feel its layering. Live dance and/or drawing extends its constellation into the room as the performer—myself—embodies the particular mythology instantiated by the publication.