[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.
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.
about the author(s)
Art making is a constant activity of my being human, sometimes in the wings or occupying centre stage. My recent work uses my body as an immediate form of expression and art[efact] making as a method to assist in performances as props or ways to engage viewers into co-creating, usually taking the form of public yarn making and knitting.
My non-performative work explores the materiality of matter heavy with metaphorical content (e.g., love letters, education documents) and stuff that cannot be composted or recycled. The various art processes transform this matter resulting in emergent objects and assemblages. Thread and paper are recurrent materials. I am born South African and based in Cape Town. I have taught design at a tertiary level and design and visual art at a high school, owned and directed a hand-painted t-shirt and fabric company, and worked in various art departments of the commercial and movie industry.
info & contact
Independent artist and educator
marksplendid [AT] yahoo.co.uk