Time, Transcendence, and Performance was a three-day conference held at Monash University, Melbourne and focussing on the title fields, through Philosophy, Performance Studies, Architecture, and Film Studies. Presenters included Stelarc, Brian Massumi, Alphonso Lingis, Erin Manning, Anthony Steinbock, Jeff Malpas, Peter Snow, Jack Reynolds, Ian Maxwell, Martin Del Amo, Sue Healey, Monika Tichacek, Movement Research Melbourne, Nikki Heywood, Lanei Rodemeyer, Madeleine Flynn and Tum Humphrey, Peter Fraser, Danielle Wilde, “and more”. Below are my notes from the three days of the conference. (I have only written up the presentations which I attended, so this is by no means a comprehensive survey.) Alternatively you can download the notes properly formatted in PDF of day one, day two, and day three.
Day one – 1/10/2009
Excess and Indifference: Alternate Body Architectures
Renowned Australian-based performance artist, Stelarc, has visually probed and acoustically amplified his body in his work exploring the body and its relationship with technology. With an interest in alternative, intimate and involuntary experiences, Stelarc’s study of human-machine interfaces incorporates medical imaging, prosthetics, robotics, VR systems and the Internet.
Regine at We Make Money Not Art has done a good job of recording a very similar talk Stelarc gave at Transmediale in February 2007. It is available at http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/2007/02/stelarcs-talk-a.php
Now is a time of body hacking, neural implants “flesh circulating”, where we can sustain a comatose body, perform face transplants.
Cadaver, comatose, chimeric bodies – mixed realities
“Fractal Flesh” electronically commented, supported bodies.”Phantom flesh”
Stelarc: Suspension → exhaust body. Expose hollow, involuntary, uncertainty
Stretched skin: gravitational landscape, choreography via swinging.
Stelarc talks in predominantly in 3rd person about himself: “the body moves”, and “as the body is pulled into the window the police ask to see its ID”
“Third hand” work. Prosthesis: symptom of excess rather than lack for Stelarc: “extended apportional system”
One work captures the sound of brainwaves and heartbeats, amongst other things.
Obsolete body, augmented. 3D person.
“site specific” stomach installation. Focus on the empty spaces of the body; Stelarc’s body a “Host for a sculpture”. Explore performing involuntarily. “empty body”
Touch-screen remote control of his body: “Telepolis” choreograph it at a distance.
“In a posture of indifference, the body’s awareness is extruded and its operation is extended”. Indifference allows performance to move in its own direction at its own rhythm. With expectations it collapses into something else.
Walking robot. Reframing choreography of robot: autonomous interactive chimeric structure as interface. Stelarc shows us robot designs from Case Western University, featuring “wegs”; half-wheel half leg.
Zombies; bodies without mind and thus involuntary. While a is Cyborg human/machine system tending toward automaton.
Blender work mixes bio-material from Stelarc and another artist. Machine is host for material, the opposite of stomach work.
Ear project: growing cells. Seeding them on a bio-degradable scaffold. At RMIT they scan Stelarc’s arm and ear to virtualise growing. Stelarc talks of a Bluetooth connection for the microphone in the ear growing in his arm. It is not currently internet enabled, but it will be.
Facial motion capture (2002). Head extension, articulated LCD screen on robot arm.
“Eartial face” grown from living tissue. Start-up company is preparing to print organs from living cells, from work by Vladimir Mironov at MUSC.
More info at www.stelarc.va.com.au
The Strange Intruder: Towards a Politics of Pure Feeling
C.S. Peirce begins his 903 lectures on pragmatism from the premise that the starting point for pragmatic philosophy as he envisions it must not be a concept of Being but rather of Feeling. Pragmatism, he explains, will be “an extreme realism.” Its first category will be “immediate consciousness” conceived as a “pure presentness” whose self-appearing is elemental to feeling. In the course of the lectures, a most curious conceptual character bursts upon the scene: the “Strange Intruder.” The arrival of the Strange Intruder is an attempt by Peirce to dramatise what he says is the fundamental point about his philosophy and logic. It is an idea which, he confesses elsewhere in “despair,” was also the point he had proven least successful at conveying: the First category, that of immediate consciousness of pure presentness, cannot be couched in terms of recognition, cannot be contained in any first-person accounting of experience, and most of all can in no way be construed as being “in the mind” of a subject, however the subject is conceived. Peirce extends his injunction against interiority, through his Second and Third categories, to thought, volition, and the semiotic process. Peirce’s “extreme realism” dovetails on these points with James’s “radical empiricism,” Whitehead’s “critique of pure feeling”, and Deleuze’s “superior empiricism.” This paper follows some of the byways of Peirce’s thinking on this issue in order to map a shared problematic field these thinkers differentially cohabit by virtue of their explorations of a constitutive field of pure experience prior to subject/object determinations. The Strange Intruder will be welcomed as the germinal figure of the political, already agitating the field of pure feeling.
Pragmatism → radical empiricism: “pure experience” prior to object/subject. Junction between thought and bodily feeling. Opens potential to first person thought.
Peirce. Birth of politics at “pure expression” James’s lecture on Pragmatism. No doctrine of being (Kantian). For pragmatism beginning through feeling. “The world is of pure experience”…
“Strange Intruder” for exposing a point; if nothing behind. semiotic process signs effect “upon a person”.
Peirce: “Abduction” 1st, “induction”, “deduction”
Deleuze and Guattari: “micropolitics”
Quality, nothing else. Not building blocks (empiricism: sensory data) “Sensationist” is metaphysical question begging. Assumes; implicit assumption about world/associative laws. Not intended by Hume, but allowed, says Peirce. Deleuze and Guattari: Phantism = monism
Quality is relationship between parts you would otherwise parse out. Gift: unfolding series of phases.
Becoming into strangeness “first person present”. Time is the abyss of Qualitative existence. Between/across discontinuity.
“Struggle” different basis for politics. Pre-emptive in warfare – priming for action. Carl Schmitt: Politics creates a real possibility for differentiating friend and enemy.
Time Out of Joint
In this paper, I discuss some of the findings coming out of neurology and cognitive science regarding our experience of time, particularly Benjamin Libet’s account of the so-called user-illusion (analyses of the brain suggest that decisions are made well before volitional or self-conscious awareness of them), as well as some of John Sutton’s research regarding the reaction-time of cricket players. Both are rendered more explicable by a Merleau-Pontian account of embodied intentionality and shown not to undermine his account of freedom. Whether creativity is best understood on this model, however, is debatable and something that I want to explore by contrast with the Deleuzian account of time, which suggests that genuine creativity involves/requires a rather different experience of time, a form of time that the “excesses” of sadism and masochism better capture, and which he and Derrida might call “time out of joint”.
Cognitive Scientist John Sutton: Cricketers watch ball out of hand, and anticipate. They are not watching the ball all the way. There is no time for conscious decision making. A combination of procedural memory and anticipation.
Husserl; similar point regarding listening to music, memory of notes, and anticipation. “Retentive and Protentive” element
Deleuze: Problem with this time: time-out-of-joint
Event can only occur when time is out of joint. Interrupt the now moment. Contre-temps: untimely, contra to teleological history. Deleuze: Habitual, memorial, futorial.
Habitual: Hume ABAB
But Present passes.
Futorial: Transcendental condition
Learning to swim, example. Not merely overcome.
Become a nomad. Nomads change habits so not change habitat. Immigrant is opposite.
Typologies of Sado Masochism: Repetition runs wild of its own accord. For its own sake.
Repetition as not tied to identity. Living presence for sadist is compressed to be obliterated. Patience for masochistic time; impatience for sadist. Masochistic related to artistic → ethical evaluation. Aeon and Cronos. Aeon breaks open living presence.
Timing Space – Spacing Time
Can we think temporality without also thinking the spatial? Might not the thinking of temporality always implicate the thinking of the spatial along with it? What is at issue here is not merely a question concerning the nature of the temporal alone, but of the unity of time with space, and so also of event, action, performance, as spacings no less than timings. The idea of the unity of time with space, expressed in the notion of “timespace” [Zeitraum] is a central idea in the development of Martin Heidegger’s thinking as it moves away from the problematic treatment of time and space that is evident in Being and Time. On this account, there is no temporality that does not bring a spatiality along with it, and no spatiality that does not bring a temporality also. Understanding the unity of timespace is to understand the unity of place. Moreover, it is only in and through that unity, which is also always a working out of plurality, that there is any possibility of transcendence.
Reversal in thought of temporal over space. Looking through Heidegger: “Time as horizon of being”. Time over spatiality.
Shellings work through Heidegger. Time as activity, performance. Ordering. Dynamic ↔ static. Movement ↔ structure.
Tendencies to disposition of privileging temporal: Spatial as conservative.
Donald Davidson (analytical): Engagement with artistic work. “Blind time paintings”. Robert Morris. Potential gap between action and intention.
Called “Drawings” even though they are temporal-spatial.
Kant: Time carries no determination outside of spatiality.
1935 Heidegger realises mistake of primacy of time. Looks at them inseparably.
Inevitable tendency towards subjectivism in temporal privileging. Performance is a working out of time-space. Transcendence opening up of time-space as our own potential. We treat temporal + spatial as measurable: emphasis on measurable mode of spatiality, vs. conjoined place: topos → not measurable.
An Immanent field: listening, time & space
The Birdland research project inquires about audio-visual art practices. It questions the aesthetic dimensions of the auditory and the visual in relation with lived existence, and about the ways that listening might shape subjective experiences. In this context the embodying and emplacing spatio-temporality of sound bears a special relationship to the philosophical concept of immanence. In this case, the medium of virtual space is suggestive of questions of transcendental relations within the mind and body’s temporal experience.
RMIT Design Research. 3D sound movement → immanence. Birdland presenting a psychic space (from Adam Nash work on image/body).
Deleuze and Guattari: “Plane of immanence”
#3 NARRATIVE MULTIPLICITIES
‘Mr Johnson is a man of a most dreadful appearance’: Boswellian manipulations of time & the portraiture of Sir Joshua Reynolds
Daniel Vuillermin Biography Institute, Australian National University – dvuillermin [at] gmail.com
This paper will examine the various manipulations of time in James Boswell’s Life of Johnson and his use of Sir Joshua Reynolds’s 1756-57 portrait of Dr Samuel Johnson. Part 1: Ion dedicating the Life of Reynolds, Boswell relied on the painter to establish his biography as the authoritative text on his subject, the essayist, biographer, and lexicographer, Dr Johnson. Despite Reynold’s centrality to the text through the Dedication and, indeed, through the pervasive recounting of Johnson and Reynold’s relationship throughout the Life, the depiction of the relationship is, ultimately, only through isolated fragments of time of ‘noctes caenaeque Deum’ (nights and suppers of gods) rather than as a coherent sub-narrative. Moreover, Boswell disrupts the chronological conventions of biography by staggering Reynold’s introduction through several stages of the Life’s narrative. This is achieved by making use of the proper noun “Sir Joshua Reynolds” as a binary: one aspect is the atemporal Reynolds who, for Boswell’;s purposes, is the arbiter of Johnson; the other, obversely, is Reynolds as one of the dramatis personae.
Part 2: In his Samuel Johnson’s Attitude to the Arts (1989), Morris Brownell arghues that Reynolds’s portraits are an ‘intellectual biography’ of Johnson or, alternatively, a ‘history f Johnson’s mind’. However, despite the parallels between protaiture and biuography to vire Reynolds’s portraits of Johnson diachronically is misleading since they do not form a coherent whole or a sequential narrative as oftern used in biography. Rather, Reynolds’s portraits as an oeuvre can be viewed synchronically, providing disparate perspectives, aspects of various modes of Johnson. Lastly, this paper will examine Boswell’s radical obfuscation of time in his use of Reynolds’s 1756-57 portrait in what is arguably the most momentous occation in the Life – the meeting of Johnson and Boswell.
Through the ‘I’s’ of Lost Time: Proust’s Performative Fugue of Temps Perdu
Dr Ruth Skilbeck
Proust’s A la recherche dud temps perdu s written as an extended narrative/speech-act of memory. The labyrinthine, non-linear narrative of search unfolds in the guise and form of a first person contrapuntal auto-dialogue. This is a paradoxical, ‘impossible’ conceptual dialogue between the narrator, his former selves evoked in recollection, and temps perdu itself, the past, which – we are told – was once lived and which is now brought back, re-lived, or rather articulated, reflexively, in firctional form through the author’s narrative voices. Deleuze (1964; 2000) describes Proust’s notion of ‘Lost Time’ as ‘not simply ‘time past’; it is also time wasted, lost track of’ (Deleuze 2000:3). It might be more accurate to see temps perdu as in no structural or imaginative sense ‘wasted’ but as the conceptual transcendent zone or space of writing which Proust, the author, enters when he is writing, the arena of the literary narrative which is created through and in the modality of his writing. The almost interchangeable mechanisms of time and space suggested by Bergson’s notions of time as le temps and la durée and his related notion of élan vital, or creative animating energy can also be used to apply to the contrapuntal mechanisms – or textual counterpoint – of Proust’s fugal text. The notion of Temps perdu goes beyond this to articulate the conceptual space of Proust’s writing, of memory and imaginative creation, contained and inscribed within the narrative text which is accessed, or capable of being accessed and set into motion by, and through, the writer’s and reader’s attention. The paper discusses ways in which Proust’s act of writing transcendence is performatively realised through uses of techniques of musicalisation associated with the fugue form, including development and variations on his subject themes, recurring motifs, and the subtle polyphony of multiple ‘Marcel’ narrative voices.
Proust’s fugal text: polyphonic, flight, “multi-modal” research.
Most radical form of deterritorialisation.
Quincy “dream fugue”
Synaesthesia → multi-modal.
Chora: counterpoint musical reworking of melodies. Democratic – everyone joined in.
“All moments, past, present and future have always existed. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just the way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5
Non-linear time is stretched across our computer screens like the Rocky Mountains. With the advent of hard-drive based video recording, consumers and home video enthusiasts are no longer required to fast forward or rewind, where they wait for the time to pass in order to reach their remembered moments. I propose that the home video enthusiast’s cutting up of time in the digital video editing suite has changed their experience and visual perception of time. On the computer screen we can jump across time just like the Tralfamadorians, yet back in the real world we are left waiting, waiting for the moment to pass. Our body rebels, it is stuck in beads-on-a-string time, but it yearns for the freedom of Tralfamordian time, so the body succumbs to a glitchy shake, an anxiety caused by the digital rhythm.
Experience of video editing is informing a different conception of time.
Editing time – play god, techno-romanticism
Digital rhythm is an extension of montage
frustration of non-linear video in real-time
no beginning or end – looped video
priming for medium -> Paul Virilio
self portrait is writing oneself. Sequencing symbols
Borrows-style cutups (Deleuze and Gouttari: even the completely cut up appeals to an extra dimension that joins the folds together)
“Slipping out of the moment”
“Charlus takes the narrator’s chin and slides his magnetized fingers up to the ears “like a barber’s fingers.” This trivial gesture, which I begin, is continued by another part of myself; without anything interrupting it physically, it branches off, shifts from a simple function to a dazzling meaning, that of the demand for love. Meaning (destiny) electrifies my hand: I am about to tear open the other’s opaque body, oblige the other (whether there is a response, a withdrawal, or mere acceptance) to enter into the interplay of meaning: I am about to make the other speak. In the lover’s realm, there is no acting out: no propulsion, perhaps even no pleasure — nothing but signs, a frenzied activity of language: to institute, on each furtive occasion, the system (the paradigm) of demand and response.”
— Roland Barthes (A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments)
Day TWO – 2/10/2009
#5 BUILT TIME
Site Constructions: Performing Time and Space
Amanda Yates | Gemma Loving-Hutch
Aiming to frame architecture and architectural representation as a performative and eventual condition this paper explores the moments in which architecture transcends its normative stasis. In so doing this paper addresses a void within the theorisation and practice of architecture – the concept of time. Through the design-based research discussed in this paper architecture and architectural representation is reconceptualising as existing only in relation to time’s flow and as
performing the mutable environment through changes in spatial qualities of light, shade or containment. In so doing we erode the discursive boundaries between architectural artefacts, whether large-scale or small, and between architecture and site. Site becomes understood here as a condition of change, the architectural artefact a site construction which performs time. This conceptualisation of spatio-temporal flow arises from Polynesian spatial concepts – particularly the notion of the va or ma, where space and time are intermeshed – and from Western eventual theory which proposes existence as a condition of ongoing and ceaseless flux.
Ocean primary site of the pacific. Mike Osten: Architecture on sea, boats, respond to shifting (eg of water, sand) Site specific event space.
Dr Alex Selenitsch
Architecture’s resistance to gravity is an obvious given, less obvious is its resistance to time. In fact, architecture is publicly assembled, visibly deteriorates and is constantly altered. Its use generates
spatio-temporal performances. Rarely – if ever – are these temporal effects part of an architect’s vision or intention. Unlike gardens, where temporal effects are brought into the composition, architecture tends to a frozen or instantaneous state, with no past or future. Yet time can still be given an architectural image without resorting to literalism such as operable parts, or nomadic systems.
The main part of this paper will present and discuss a number of architectural images of time used in the author’s project Journey North of 2003-2007. This is an architectural fiction which exists as models, texts and drawings. Journey North represents time through cultural quotation, body-centred space, the spatial structure of Australian land subdivision, architectural figures such as perspective and the display of elements of construction, as well as more abstract strategies such as
series and suites.
Architecture’s stasis, which can be made to represent the flow of time, points to the artificiality of representation, made even more complex in architecture by the reality of time that flows through it constantly. It is an analogue of the function/form tension that thrills architects, but operating at a cultural rather than instrumental level. The paradox of saying something through its negative or its absence in architecture allows for an insight into similar problems in all arts where representation is resisted by the reality of the object or event. To illustrate this, some connections will be made to similar problems in the ‘temporal’ forms of literature and music, particularly 20th century works, where concernas an ideal condition.
Journey North: A five decade long/interval houses moving through front yard; iconic, public discourse → backyard; back into compost, the forgotten.
Selenitsch experienced a “English Dreamtime” back as an immigrant then becoming a migrant again in London.
“Quotation: models of english/old world buildings (model of Parthenon). Looking at “series”, “suite”
Inspiration from Metabolists; Kisho Kurokawa, and unbuilt designs of Archigram.
Buckminster-fuller, US. Pavilion tracked the sun with umbrella blinds that opened and closed according to its position.
“Frozen music” → “liquid architecture” connection to music.
Performative spatial practices in the urban realm: a ‘tactic’ for
Performative spatial practices in the urban realm have been used by artists as vehicles for transcending the boundaries defined by land ownership, wealth and power since the late 1960s (1). As Michel de Certeau noticed, power relations are enacted through an unfolding performance between ‘strategies’ – those people, institutions and things that draw boundaries around place and declare ownership – and ‘tactics’ – those that use timing to usurp, momentarily, the place of another (2). ‘Tactics’, de Certeau suggests, are the practices of the marginal that unfold through the dimension of time to transcend the spatial limits imposed by the powerful.
Whilst words such as ‘performative’, ‘event’ and ‘unfolding processes’ have been part of the vocabulary in architecture also for the past two decades, such practices in architecture have been largely confined to the generation of form or its inverse, ‘the void’ (3). They have ‘strategic’ objectives. Rarely is performance used ‘tactically’ by architects as a critical practice.
There are exceptions, however, as noted by architect and theorist, Jane Rendell (4). This paper will present examples from some of those architects who use ‘tactics’ (described by Rendell as ‘critical spatial practices’), to critique power relations in the city (5). It will contend that architecture that arises from this type of performance does not privilege form-making. Although the outcomes may include built form, the performative spatial practices that unfold along the way are as important, generating new types of social relations and developing new visions for a sustainable future. Tactical performances such as these are often collaborative, crossing disciplinary boundaries to
critique authorship, ownership and rights to the space of the city.
 Artists of note include Laderman Ukeles, Tiravanija, Matta-Clarke and Kawamata.
 Michel de Certeau (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley:University of California Press) pxix
 Architects of note include Tschumi, Eisenman, Koolhaas and Lynn.
 Jane Rendell (2006) Art and Architecture: a Place Between (London: I.B. Taurus).
 Rendell (2006) Art and Architecture, p1. Architects that will be referred to include Stalker, Miyamoto,
public works, and muf art/architecture. The author’s own projects will also be referred to, including a collaboration with homeless women previously published in Janet McGaw “Urban Threads” The Journal of Architectural Education, vol 59 May 2006 and Janet McGaw “Reciprocal Performances: the Un-making of an architecture” The Journal of Architecture (in press) as well as one under way with the Victorian Traditional Owners Land Justice Group.
Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye: “machine à habiter”
Strategy vs tactic
Architectural is traditionally strategic. Focus now on tactical architecture.
Work quickly becomes strategic when realised. Lefebvre: Tripartite space objective, subjective, abstract.
Tschumi: Fireworks as architectural performance “gratuitous consumption for pleasure”
Derrida theories into architecture. Deconstruction (Eisenman) Park de la villette
Vectors of movement such as bridges. Rem Koolhaas “performative voids”
Koolhaas: “void is great liberator”
Architects have designed buildings to look like Deleuze special metaphor for time, without understanding
MUF: Do not assume tabla rasa, no real greenfield site. Sympathetic to the political/social.
“This is what we do” a MUF manual.
Rewrote brief from Council. Brought sheep into area.
((However, work through the Council is going to be strategic, where there is a pluralist mandate, and idea of representation, etc.))
Diller and Scofidio: problematic through actual use.
Performing in Time
Using her own speech-performance as inspiration, the presenter will demonstrate the different layers of time. We will begin with the individual experience of time, understood phenomenologically as an expanded moment in consciousness. Then, we will consider how our own bodies are implicated in this synthetic moment. Finally, we will turn to the time that we share, the time that exceeds our individual moments and links us as a community. Here, there performance itself will be our paradigm, as we participate in our own, transcendent moment in time.
1) Husserl: Individual Constitution of Time
2) Body Time-Consciousness
3) Performance and Time Consciousness
Protention: leaning forward into the future, which allows the possibility of surprise.
Immediate Impression: We don’t experience
Retention: Holding on to the past
Gives a demonstration of blinking dot.
Extended consciousness. Husserl’s “The Living Present”
For retention: passively present.
Touching: Bodily retention. Investment of body in specific awareness. Getting off a boat, taking a self-defence class, dancing (example used by Merleau-Ponty).
Bodily Protention: Blinking, flinching, beginning to fall. Expressing intentionality through body, which can be called by others. Intentionality: Shared directedness (example of who audience pointing at something).
Performance is special form of intentionality.
#8 FILM PANEL
Beyond the Time Image: Theorisations of File – Time Pre & Post Deleuze
Much of the scholarly conversation between the disciplines of film theory and philosophy has taken place, in recent years, under the shadow of Gilles Deleuze’s epic twin-books on cinema, and especially the concept of the ‘crystal image’ of time in Cinema 2: The Time-Image. But this conversation has reached something of an impasse: on the one hand, discussion has tended to centre on filmic examples that explicitly narritivise, thematise or allegorise the workings of time within human subjectivity (from Hiroshima, mon amour to Memento), rather than dealing with the challenge of cinema as a ‘time-based medium’ as a whole; and on the other hand, the time-image has come to be uncritically regurgitated as a kind of iron-clad doctrine. We would like to introduce a historical sense into this discussion by recalling the many important theorisations of time in cinema both before and after Deleuze, whether by filmmakers (Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, Erice, Ruiz, Moullet), film critics (Daney, Bonitzer, Bergala) or film theorists (Kracauer, Bazin, Doane, Zunzunegui).
The Cinema of Eisenstein: Time, History, Event
Dr Julia Vassilieva
The cinema of Sergei Eisenstein, the ground-breaking Russian director of the first half of the twentieth century, has been traditionally understood as concerned with historical issues: his earlier films (Strike (1924), Battleship Potemkin (1925) and October (1927)) were dedicated to the depiction of the Bolshevik revolution, while Alexander Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible (1944/1946) dealt with the territorial establishment of the Russian nation state and consolidation of power. However, from our vantage point at the beginning of the twenty-first century, it can be argued that Eisenstein’s cinema had a larger zoom-lens. On the one hand, it can be suggested that he was concerned with a broader category of time (which he defined as the main issue of the twentieth century art); on the other – despite the famous remark made by Bazin that Eisenstein’s cinematography does not give us an event but only alludes to it (1) – it is precisely the modelling of Event which can be discerned at the very core of Eisensteins work. Such and understanding would resonate with what Slavoj Zizek defines as a paramount tendency in twentieth century philosophy, culminating in the work of Heidegger, Deleuze and Badiou wh (albeit in different forms) deploy the definition of Event that :stands for historicity proper (the explosion of New) versus historicism.” (2) From this philosophical ground Eisenstein’s overriding goal can be understood as the attempt to capture this “explosion on New,” to map forces that in their dynamics can create a possibility for change, to juxtapose the repetitiveness of description (historicism) with the singularity of occurrence (historicity proper).
1 André Bazin, What is Cinema? Vol 1 (Berkeley; University of California, 1967), p.25
2 Slavoj Zizek, The Parallax View (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2006), p.167.
Stealing Away Time: Theoretical Notes on Contemplative cinema
Dr Adrian Martin Film & Television, Monash University – Adrian.Martin [at] arts.monash.edu.au
It is instructive to revisit the places where Gilles Deleuze found (and then transformed) many of his concepts for The Time-Image. One such place is the film criticism of Serge Daney, who wrote of the work of Parajanov and Tarkovsky in the early 1980’s that it inaugurated a new kind of film-time: layered, stratified, still or hardly moving, and not reducible to biological human-time. What there filmmakers did has helped create a whole new form, dubbed “contemplative cinema: (the films world-wide of, among many others, Tarr, Reyagadas, Ceylan, Apichatpong, Diaz, Bartas, Hou, Alonso, Yang, Tsai, Leiva…). this paper will explore some of the small0scale and large-0scale disturbances and problematisations of film-time – and of our spectatorial experience of it – in this vast but under-discussed poll of modern cinema, and their implications for an ongoing theory of film-time pre- and post- Deleuze.
Contemplative Cinema vs video art: Difference is in setup. The 35mm projection, watching in a dark room from start to finish. Imposes an experience. “Monumentality of cinematic experience”. Imposes time.
A relation to narrative.
“Material imaginary” -> Daney, Parajanov, Tarkovsky. “Stalker” influence to Deleuze.
Others (Eisenstein, P.T.) interrogate moment through discontinuity. Fill up movies over time with material.
Béla Tarr’s film “ The Man from London”. “Great saturator” intense investigations into textures, actors, etc. Characteristic long take.
Playing with distance: Plot events in far background. “Geological world”
Repetition: Chantal Akerman (director).
Shigehiko Hasumi (film critic): “Archaeological rapture of film”
Barthes: Bliss is close to boredom
The labyrinth is a thickening of time
“6 functions of a shot”
Duration: Montage – metaphorization of the image. Metaphor “carry across”
Duration resists metaphor through temporal realism.
Immediacy and the Impossible Poetic
Two statements follow, the first with a corollary, leading to my proposal.
First statement – It isn’t apparent that perception can’t be immediate, except when we think it can’t be.
Corollary – Failure to recognise this 8indifcates a limitation in the thought of Husserl, who tries to make perception and thinking coextensive from the angle of perception, and of Derrida, who tries to make them coextensive from the angle of language, and of Nietzsche, who tries to stabilize the difference by metaphoric marking (for instance, in the first section of Beyond Good and Evil).
Second statement – Time enters (only) into such after-images of the relation between perception and immediacy. Berson’s philosophy is deficient in not recognizing this, as are all theoretical and philosophic attempts, excepting sentences such as this which insist on problematizing the relation.
Proposal – In my paper I will suggest that some poets “hound” logic to ruin so as to jolt us into feeling the “experiential nonexistence” of immediacy, into receiving even the post-hoc notion of immediacy as transparent to feeling (for example, Stéphane Mallarmé), and that some use an attenuation or an exhaustion of the imagination they seem to venerate as a means to the same end (for example, Wallace Stevens). I will also argue they in neither case can the attempt succeed, except as a savouring of the after-taste of an experience which subsists only in memory.
Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida
Difficulty and failure to represent a moment.
Convert it into present “is listening to” from “listens” continuous
Husserl: “transcendental field of consciousness” Derrida: unmediated consciousness is mediated in language, always.
Derrida print re: iteratively.
Merleau-Ponty “tacit cogito” is impossible…
Derrida: trace holds symbols together.
Poetry -> immediacy: imediase rez
The Atemporal Space of the Poem: A Phenomenological Interpretation of Charles Simic’s Poetry
Zdravka Gugleta Slavic Studies, Monash University zgugl –[at] student.monash.edu
The opaper involves an analysis of the phenomenon of time in terms of memory, perception and writing. Relying on the concepts of phenomenological theory – Bergson’s “duration” and “pure memory,” Husserl’s conception of (a)temporality of consciousness, and Wittgenstein’s Bild (picture), I shall illuminate the neo-Surrealist and absurdist dimensions of the poetry of Charles Simic, the 2007 Poet Laureate of the United States. In particular, I will look at the process of remembering prevalent in the poems where the lyrical persona often engages in the act of recalling the traumatic past of a wartime childhood, only to find herself unable to escape the present moment of remembering. This present represents the pure or transcendental, atemporal, duration of the poem. The remembered solidifies into mute and mysterious images permeating the present, so that the two – past and present – grow indistinguishable. Instead of transcendence, the lyrical “I” is plunged into the fragmentary dream-like universe of memory qua representation. It is, one could argue, memory itself, structured as/through language that speaks in the Simic poem, self-referentially pointing to its own working – the process of a constant collagist juxtaposing, seemingly random and inexplicable, of image. This subverts the linear progression of language in Simic’s poems. For the imagination contained within them is grounded in the logic of atemporality or verticalness, which leaves the riddle of the past unexplained. However, thanks to this vertical lyrical impulse (to paraphrase Simic) that strings together disparate images, the poem intuits a feeling that endures; that is, it offers a newly created Deleuzian desubjectivized percept which gives more than past, which discovers eternity into which the lyrical persona disappears. Writing thus offers a true transcendence.
Immediacy and the Image
Prof. John Letche Sociology, Macquarie University – John.Lechte [at] scmp.mq.edu.au
Following the work of the French philosopher, Marie-José Mondzain, from whom the Byzantine image as an immediate invisibility, and of the work of Mark B.N. Hasen on embodiment and the digital image, I intent, in this paper, to explore the notion that the image is an immediacy and not essentially a form of mediation or representation. If the image is immediate, it cannot be a thing, as is commonly thought today. To address this idea in full, however, we need to consider the image in relation to the possible meanings, not only of “immediacy”, but also of “mediation” and “medium”. Through this approach we will have a better grasp of immediacy.
Freud speaks of primary identification as “direct and immediate”. To get a deeper understanding of this we can refer as Julia Kristeva does, to Hegel’s Absolute Idea as being revealed to the subject immediately. We must explore this further to establish the nature of the relationship between Idea and image in Hegel. Initially, it appears that Hegel dismisses the image as being entirely superficial. And this may indeed be the case. Nevertheless, the fact that Idea, immediacy and image are discussed in the same context does, I hope to show, illuminate how the image and immediacy coincide.
Mediation, or a medium, I will propose, can never appear as such. This point is developed at length in Hansen’s work where image, embodiment and cognition are seen to come together immediately in interactive, new media art: “New media art calls on the body to inform the concept of “medium” and also to furnish the potential for action within the “space-time” of information”, Hansen’s mistake, however, is to reduce the image to a digital, informational format. It has no phenomenal form. By contrast, my hypothesis is that the image gives immediate access to phenomenality. Such a view, I will conclude, also has implications for our understanding of memory.
Day THREE – 3/10/2009
Lived Time in the Emotions
This paper examines the experience of time in the context of personal emotions. One way of examining the meaning of temporality is to describe it impersonally in perceptual, kinaesthetic, and epistemic manners. Another less travelled way is to discern lived time in experiences that exhibit either a positive or negative valence, and that pertain to the personal dimension of the human being. Personal emotions have the following structural characteristics: They possess temporal orientations, their relation to being is modalized in terms of possibility, and they have a relation to otherness. By enlisting specific personal emotions, this paper begins to clarify the intersubjective meaning of lived time.
Phenomenology of the emotions; in this paper exploring Repentance. In particular looking at the temporality, modes of consciousness: dispositing, and otherness.
Can be addressed in kinaesthetics, but we look at emotions to account for Lived Time.
Not looking at repentance in the context of religion or theology, but phenomenologically.
“remembering liberates the past” embolding, into present.
Repentance is reaction: re-operative on level of person, relation with past in some form. Reprise. Relived towards the future. Not denial or forgetting past, but affirming it. Increases guilt the more I am repentant.
Future position is related to repentance being a reprise which involves change in your life.
Temporal memory is futorial.
Repented past is given to me differently.
Kant says repentance comes “all at once”, while Steinbeck states: “it is not limited in duration”
Steinbeck examines repentance vs regret with regards to revolution, reprise; Repentance needs coherence to allow change. Can’t say “I am going to remorse this in the morning”, and likewise with repent. Can’t anticipate repentance.
Modality of possibility:
I)“Liberation” modalises us. Negative → positive. Dispositive past, grounded in positive of new directedness.
II)Dis-positive and dis-claiming
Not a denial; affirmation in such a way that accept it “differently” distance from it. “Who I am”. Full gesture is of dis; it releases from “existential claim” am who I am. “Unity of meaning”
Can it be achieved as a personal act?
Immanent transformation/”transcendent praxis” Hamlet’s uncle: How can his repentance effect, with fruits of event. Divestment of these gains. Must be matched on “transcendental dimension”
Freedom and ability to repent. Attachment to things: (or not) can’t covet things and also repent. Economics: Marxist alienation, enslavement → necessary for survival. Want to repent but be “double business bound”
Attachment to self: pride, accolade of the offence (that one is trying to repent). Self-emptying. Explains vicious circle of Hamlet’s uncle. Where does it start? Repentance is before another. Qualified as repentance worthy. Humility: Pride ↔ self-doubt “Diary of a Country Priest” film
Cannot confuse repentance with altruism. Altruism is defined as self-hatred, fleeing (by Nietzsche)
Repentance is socially located. From Abrahamic tradition: Does not make sense in Zen, where there is no hope or shame.
#13 TRANSCENDENT BODIES
Transcendent Sensory Experiences in Circus
Prof Peta Tait Theatre & Drama, Latrobe University – P.Tait [at] latrobe.edu.au
Flying trapeze performance has been critiqued to be representing cultural ideas of transcendence (Russo 1993; Tait 1996; Stoddart 2002; Goodall 2002). Yet this is a performance illusion created in circus by highly-trained athletic human bodies doing fast action on and off specialist apparatus. In arguing that flying action is received bodily and viscerally by spectators, circus performance makes explicit how the phenomenology of sensory bodies creates an impression of transcending physical limits.
Animal bodies in traditional twentieth-century circus were stages in ways that faked transformation across species boundaries. Categories of domesticated and wild, human and non-human animal appeared to be suspended when animal performers emulated human performers. But how were animal bodies perceived? Spectators watched an elephant, lion or tiger performer undertake a series of highly prescribed physical actions interacting in a performance of actuality with a trainer/presenter. If animal performers are anthropomorphised, then human performers become zoomorphized (Acampora 2006:85). Jane Desmond writes of exhibited animals in processes outside cognitive formulations of “identification with these animals” in which we imagine their senses and their “sense of perception of our shared environment” (1999: 166-7). Ideas of body phenomenology do at least offer ways of understanding an orientation to bodies as and through sensations.
Appearance of transcendence through skilled, athletic training,
Body to body engagement; takes the watching spectator along. (e.g. Mirror neurons) Spectators bodily feel what they see – transcendent performance.
Imagined cognition of animals sensations / experience.
Feminisation and Occidentalisation of male performers. Hint of common origins of animals and performers.
The Feel of Five Minutes
Kath Bicknell Performance Studies, University of Sydney – bickchik [at] hotmail.com
Athletes grapple to accurately understand time in relation to a complex, interanimating matrix of variables: fitness, technologies, landscape, skill and, critically, their experience of states of flow. As fitness and skill improves, the experience of flow alters to create a sense of mastery of the sport. At the same time, the euphoria and adrenalin produced through the experience remain consistent, despite fluctuating levels of competence and more advanced states of flow, potentially yielding a false sense of speed and performance in relation to one’s competitors. Competitors need to develop strategies to balance these divergent modes of experience.
Using the example of mountain bike racing, this presentation questions the human perception of time in relation to competition, flow and skilful, risky performance. Developing Drew Leder’s concepts of dysfunction and incorporation alongside John Hockey’s sensory analysis of sport, I will investigate the ways in which a rider develops skill and fitness in relation to the temporo-geographic characteristics of a target event. This will demonstrate the way that athletes develop a bodily knowledge of time and pace which is carefully matched with visual and auditory cues.
Mountain biking – Adrenaline, and feeling in the Flow.
Flow theory “state of mental arrangement when in peak performance” Mihály Csíkszentmihályi – components of flow mindset.
Possibility to learn and develop how to get into a flow state.
Mortifying performances: pain, mortality, temporality and transcendence
Gretchen Riordan Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney – cthulhus.spawn [at] gmail.com
The mortification of the flesh in performance forces artists and audience into a perturbing confrontation with the limits of the flesh as medium, in short, with mortality. Suspension, the practice of hanging the body from hgooks in the skin, mimics the passivity of the corpse and invokes the inevitability of death. Stelarc used suspension to illustrate his claim that “the body is obsolete”1. Stelarc’s concpet of trascendence mimcs the Christian denunciation of the flesh and strives towards an immortal, fleshless eternity. Amelia Jones argues that Stelarc’s fantasy makes sense for a white heterosexual male. However, given the hiustorical assocaition of women, queers and other “others” with immanence and corporeality, most people do not have access to this phallocentric fantasy. This paper asks critical questions about its material implications.
Jones also asserts that it is difficult to imagine a white middle class feminist or a working class black lesbian “perpetuating such violence on her body”2. Yet my performance partner and I are white, queer feminists of differing class backgrounds who use suspension and other painful practices in our work. Provoked by Stelarc, Jones and others, this paper reconsiders the temporal and material relations of our particular bodies with pain, mortality and transcendence, in the context of suspension performance. It deploys Brian Massumi’s (Deleuzian) argument that the body is a “sensible concept”3, or thinking flesh, to recast suspension as a modality of thinking materially. Suspension places bodies in propeleptic memory of their death in order to create new configurations and capacities for the living flesh. Suspension is a potentially feminist practice insofar as it mortifies the limits that phallocentric fantasies like Stelarc’s produce for other(ed) bodies.
1 Stelarc, “Stelarc”, http://www.stelarc.va.com.au/ (accessed March 06, 2009)
2 Amelia Jones, “Stelarc’s Technological Transcendence/Stelarc’s Wet Body”, ed. Marquard Smith (Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 2005)
3 Brian Massumi, “The Evolutionary Alchemy of Reason”, ed. Marquard Smith (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2005)
Critique of Cartesian Transcendence.
Massumi → Thinking Body, Stelarc’s affirming.
Suspended and in stress, the body realises its obsolescence → the zombie body. “Possibility” is radically suspended.
Post-evolutionary pressures. 3rd world bodies transcending? Post-human → like Übermensch. Only luxury for the middle-class.
((Virtual bodies, Male World of Warcraft players hassling female players. Abjection and eroticism in virtual worlds is the number one use – think Second Life. Ironic considering the transcendent virtual body that is literally hollowed out, and does not leak or secrete))
In discussion Stelarc explains he means Body as Merleau-Ponty sense.
A Life: Waltzing with Bashir
In a paper entitled “From Biopolitics to the Biogram or, How Leni Riefenstahl Moves Through Fascism” (a chapter in my recent book, Relationscapes), I developed the concept of physical transcendentalism in relation to the becoming-body of Riefenstahl’s moving images. Physical transcendentalism is a concept from Italian Futurist Umberto Boccioni that foregrounds the becoming-actual of the physical. One of my arguments in this paper was that Riefenstahl’s work does not in and of itself subscribe to a “fascist aesthetic” so much as it creates a new aesthetic of the interval (of in-between movement). Yet, a tending toward transcendentalism (of the fascist kind) persists in her films that suggests that the physical transcendental strata can be usurped by the transcendent. This occurs when the field of emergence created through the physical transcendental (the becoming-body) is usurped by a recasting of its conditions of emergence. This creates a closed-loop system that tends toward fascism. When this occurs the immanent force of the physical transcendental becomes a metaphysics of transcendence – a closed system dependent on its own set principles.
I would like to push this inquiry further, exploring the relationship between transcendence and immanence with respect to Deleuze’s notion of A Life (life as pre-individual tendency that cuts across the field of lived experience) and Guattari’s notion of micropolitics – with a particular focus on Ari folman’s Waltz with Bashir. In this case, I will be working not with the physical transcendental (the biogram as the intensive interval of becoming-bodies) but with Deleuze’s notion of the transcendental field. One of the aims is to explore how fascism situates itself at the intersection where transcendence and the transcendental field meet. Contextualising micropolitics within the field o though proposed by Brian Massumi’s recent work on ontopower and bare activity, I hope to be able to contribute to the ongoing conversation on the micro political as the intense becoming-actual of potential politics today.