23 September 2012

enjoy the nonsense-lab

"V2 Can you make this a bit more concrete as regards interactive art? We’re still essentially in painting and in the visual. Can you give an example from interactive art?  
BM OK, but give me a minute to work myself out of the vanishing point, which has taken over a bit. As I was saying, classical figurative painting employing perspective technique renders the abstract movement of perception as a spatial order governed by a universal principle ensuring harmony between perspectives. What shows-through the dynamic of this perceptual event is a spatial order that is as harmonious as it is unlimited. Its intimations of harmony seem to promise stability (although in the historical playing out of its principle in political ecology, what it delivers is far from it). The vitality affect of the perceptual event taking place is settling, pacifying, “civilizing.” This is why it feels more “concrete” or “realistic” than later painting that claims for itself the explicit label of “abstract” art. In art, concrete and realistic mean appearing with the feeling of a stable perceptual order that lends itself to analogue capture by larger frames of social or political orders that promote stability as a conservative value, even though they are incapable of delivering on it, given the reality of the transmonadic “quiver” at the heart of every formation. Given the virtual agitation tensing the “chaosmic umbilicus” of its affective core (Guattari 1995, 112). Given the Benjaminian disruptions and interruptions this lived-in tension, this lived intensity, immanently invites from outside, in the way it includes within itself its own-others that inhabit it as infinite alternative potentialites. The point is, we should be wary of calls for a return to the “concrete.”
 Decorative motif, for its part, is in no way radical. But it also has less potential for order-bound capture. That’s why decorative art is considered fluff. It doesn’t have that kind of potential because its motifs don’t extensively spatialize, they don’t spin off an extensive order that continues beyond the fringe, wraps back around, and strongly resonates with a political ecology of potential. It restricts itself to producing a movement-effect that is pretty much content to be how it is, where it is. Its effect is anodyne because the vitality affect it produces takes off from patterns of line and curve that in their actual form are figurative of determinate things likes leaves and branches and flowers. There is still a gentle uncanniness to the effect, which consists in an animation of the inanimate support on which the motif moves. But flowers coming to a semblance of life on the lace of a tea cozy are not the most disruptive or potentiating of things.
 Abstract art, on the other hand, was and continues to be just the kind of disruption that figurative art was always afraid of, in its quivering heart of hearts. Abstract art is dissonant, dissensual, incommensurable. It’s eternally popular to hate it. Even those who like it seem only to disagree about it. We interpret it in combatively disparate ways that never seem to find a common ground of judgment. No semblance of a universal principle of harmonious order here. The works punchily affirm the fragmentary nature of their worlding. They are interruptive in their own right, and proud of it.
 Paradoxically, abstract art is disruptive in a way that, from the point of view of the quality of perceptual event that gets mobilized, places it in a kinship with the decorative art it often belittles. It also produces out and out movement-effect—and even takes that further. It is not disruptive, interruptive, dissonant because it brings threatening things to a semblance of life instead of anodyne ones. It is because it draws its experiential power from suppressing the figurative element as much as possible. It makes felt a dynamic, a vitality affect, that has no object. It’s not an animation of anything. It’s a pure animateness, a vitality affect that comes from no thing and nowhere in particular.
 For example, in color field painting, the movement is dispersed across the surface. It is an irreducibly global effect that detaches from the surface, appearing to float above or across the canvas, like its ghostly double. You’re not seeing the work if you’re not seeing this lively immaterial double of it. It has this effect as an expression of its immanent relationality. What is being activated are certain relational dynamics of color—effects of simultaneous contrast and color complementarity, for example. These are relational dynamics immanent to vision, and productive of it. They are the normally unperceived activity constitutive of vision itself. What is being brought out is a perceptual energy that goes unseen even as it makes seeing happen. This is art going back to the conditions of emergence of object- perception, and bringing those conditions to visible expression. It’s the production of a semblance of seeing itself, as it happens—a perception of perception in the making. This brings out the self-referential dimension of perception that I talked about earlier. It lives-vision-in in a totally different way than perspective painting does, without the projective aspect. Rather than projecting perception into an order of different dimensions from those of vision (the three infinitely extending dimensions of geometric space), and rather than projecting these dimensions into an analogical symbiosis with other orders (such a sovereignty), it brings out the dimensions proper to vision as such—dimensions that only live in vision. Touch can also do lines. Empire can also be expansive and extend its order all around. Color is something only vision can do. It brings these properly visual dimensions out as it lives them in. It brings them out and makes them float, in their own optical take-off effect. There’s a tension between a sinking into the dynamic center of vision, from which it emerges, and a floating off from the surface of emergence. The painting visibly quivers. The effect can be a powerful visual feeling, a feeling of seeing sight caught in its own intensive act. The thinking-feeling of vision as it happens. This appearing for itself of an immanent activity, intensely going nowhere, is dizzying.6 Abstract art dizzies vision, not unlike the way Deleuze says modern literature stutters language. It dizzies vision by returning it to its movement-potential while refusing to give that potential an actual outlet feeding it into other existing formations. It strives not to participate in political ecology in any conventional, harmoniously symbiotic way. Of course, this in itself is a political act of a certain kind. The slogan “art for art’s sake” should be understood in this light, as an affirmation of the autonomy of art in the sense discussed it earlier: not beholden to external finalities, bootstrapping itself on its own in-dwelt tendencies."
– Brian Massumi Semblance and Event

13 September 2012

Found in the back of a National Geographic issue from August 2012

"P.S. It might interest you to know the story of the suitcase top. I was invited by an awful modernist architect to participate in an exhibition he had arranged at his house in Cologne… A few years ago, when I was going around Europe exhibiting the Edition MAT (multiplied art objects) I always wanted to be able to carry all the artists in one suitcase. Once I even asked some of them to make their work small enough to fit into a suitcase. So on this occasion… I took up the idea again and I asked ARMAN, CÉSAR, DESCHAMPS, DUFRÊNE, HAINS, RAYSSE, NIKI DE ST.-PHALLE, TINGUELY, and DE LA VILLEGLÉ to participate with me in a suitcase exhibition. I made use of an old suitcase of mine that I was then using as a kind of table; the snare-picture that you bought is the top of this suitcase. By chance, a young gallery owner from Cologne—HARO LAUHUS—came to see the week I was working on the suitcase, and proposed an exhibition at his gallery, to follow the first performance at the architect's house.
So I went. BOB RAUSCHENBERG, who was at the time also in Paris, offered to participate in the exhibit, then said the only thing he'd like to do was furnish a padlock to lock the suitcase with, and to throw the key away. And I did it. It was rather difficult to cross the Franco-German border with my locked suitcase, but I succeeded in explaining to the customs officials that I was an illusionist, and that I couldn't open the suitcase without ruining my whole act—and from the way the top of the suitcase looked, they were ready to believe me… I arrived, with my suitcase, at the house of the architect as scheduled (June 10, 1961). About 200 people were there, including DAVID TUDOR. The architect asked me not to take more than ten minutes, but I think the whole performance lasted about an hour and a half. First I had to saw the padlock, then I hung all the things on the wall, explaining irrelevant things about each artist and his work. NIKI had given me sugar candy to distribute to the public, TINGUELY asked me to blow soap bubbles, GHÉRASIM LUCA made a poem that I handed out, DUFRÊNE screamed a few lettrist poems on a tape, we shot at one of NIKI's pictures, two sculptures of TINGUELY had to be mounted together (they were attached to the suitcase), and so on. Anyway, I succeeded in what I had to do… Next evening was the vernissage at the gallery… And that's the story about the Blue GILLETTE Blade.

P.P.S. For the sake of exactness, I inform you that ROBERT FILLIOU has since made an even smaller exhibit. He carries small "works of art" in his cap, over his head, through the streets. He calls cap and contents "The Legitimate Gallery."d
d. This Legitimate Gallery also has a history. The idea was born during a tumultuous evening at the sumptuous seaside villa of AAGARD ANDERSEN near Helsingør where we drank a great deal, and where FILLIOU insulted MESDAMES ANDERSEN and HALLING KOCH, for which I don't know if he has  been pardoned. In any case, he got the idea of starting a wheelbarrow gallery in Paris, where he was returning soon because of his expulsion from Denmark. Everybody present—TINGUELY, NIKI DE ST.-PHALLE, ADDI AND TUT KOEPKE, the ANDERSENS and his wife, the HALLING KOCHS, the USSINGS and I—was bowled over by the idea and, convulsed with laughter, made preposterous suggestions, which FILLIOU took seriously. And to prove to us that he was serious, the following day he sent TINGUELY this letter:

        Dear TINGUELY,
    Pursuant to our conversation of last evening, I confirm that the vernissage of The Legitimate Gallery will take place during the month of October (or as soon as possible) with an exhibition of your work. The Legitimate Gallery is itinerant. It consists of a wheelbarrow or pushcart, according to need. It travels (legitimately) through the streets, in the highest creative tradition. Upon receipts of your works, I promise to maintain them in good condition, respect your prices, and to follow an itinerary to be worked out with you. My commission will consist of the usual 33 percent.
On your part, you will contribute to the launching of the gallery by sending out invitations to your exhibition, and taking care of your publicity (press, television, collectors).
The Legitimate Gallery will open as soon as legal formalities are arranged. If the license surpasses my means, you will be expected to advance me the money, to be deducted from my commission.
In exchange for your assistance in launching the gallery, I promise to exhibit your "legitimate works" whenever you express the desire, in Paris as well saw in the provinces and abroad (I intend to take the gallery to such cities as Brasilia, Tokyo, New York, Moscow, Peking, etc.), respecting, of course, contracts with other artists (NIKI DE ST.-PHALLE and DANIEL SPOERRI have already given their consent). Your confirmation of receipt of this letter will serve as our bond of agreement.
So long,
To conclude the history of the gallery: FILLIOU was not able to get a license from the city of Paris, so he decided to reduce the dimensions of The Legitimate Gallery and carry it around on his head without a license. Thus The Legitimate Gallery turned out to be an illegitimate gallery."

— Daniel Spoerri, An Anecdoted Topography of Chance, p. 168-170