On the Fluxus workbook-
I am wondering about the purpose of the workbook, is it documentation?’ cookbook’? inspiration pool? all of the above?
Seems that some are meant to be read and don’t have a direct action to be experienced by other ‘audience’/participants, e.g., ‘get pregnant for 18 months’
or ‘change your mind about Catholocism’, while others are more almost schematic directions for replicating a happening.
Others seem to be more of a matter of record, documenting events.
From Christoph Brunner: “Nice Looking Obstacles: Parkour as Urban Practice for Deterritorialization” I like the idea of ‘structured flexibility’ - constant yet always becoming.
It’s interesting to reframe the body as the inevitable space for experience.
And look at the ‘progressive’ fantasies/impossible utopias of ideal bodies that attempt to erase/sanitize the body. He seems to suggest that the body can be made/known real through the experience of physical love.
Raqs Media Collective Stammer, Mumble, Sweat
‘The tree of life, and therefore of art, would be barren were it not for the fruit of occasional misunderstandings.’
This seems to follow the same thread of the impossibility of the perfect body/perfect articulation. That the ‘authentic’ being/expression is more not known than known: a doubting body’ — an ‘uncomfortable sprawl of questions.’
A dead body is a legible statistic in a police ledger.’
While state power requires clarity (except in the case of the handwritten signature and its built-in illegibility that proves authenticity) ‘real’/ experienced existence always exists outside of this—in the realm between legible and illegible. And the reading suggests it pains the body to be demanded to be legible but this pain, this emotive, physical response to being demanded to be clearly accountable—is itself inescapable proof of our humanness.
We are stuck with an oppressive language as the only way to resist it. What do we do with that?
This reading seems to mis-speech as the ‘best’ way to communicate, that the function of art as Barthes says is to “escape the tyranny of
In the stutter, the unspeakable can be said, the illegibility that is at the heart of /authentic/ being.
Squinting/stammering/all contractions and errors here are all mentioned as elevated, as privileged in the sense of being closer to the ‘inside literature’ of one’s own experience of being.
I like also the discussion of the stutter as a way of resistance - as the stutter of slaves.
I was also interested in the way this reading—as others—appear to somehow privilege the disabled body:
‘I confess to a certain aspiring for the stutter, for blindness, deformity, pain. at end performs a garbled repeated step. evidence of failure or success?’
I found the ending compelling and I was a bit puzzled by it too: I like the algorithmic feel of it:
‘The correspondance...false steps, faux pas, fall over...So I walk.... step over.
The correspondence...false steps, faux pas, fall over,...So I walk.... step over. The correspondance.’
A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist
-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century - an argument for pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction’
I spent some time with the Cyborg Manifesto years ago and enjoyed reading it again anew. I was impressed by how plastic it is and how it seems to still be able to accommodate and navigate current relationships with technology. Her framing of the cyborg body as transcending the limits of its ‘father’ is a prescient description of the Internet: The main
trouble with cyborgs, of course, is that they are the illegitimate offspring of militarism andpatriarchal capitalism, not to mention
state socialism. But illegitimate offspring are often
exceedingly unfaithful to their origins.
It was interesting that Haraway also seems to privilege the disabled body: as she catalogues the benefits of the cyborg body, free of the baggage generally associated with gendered existence and politics, she suggests that ‘Perhaps paraplegics and other severely handicapped people can (and sometimes do) have the most intense experiences of complex hybridization with other communication devices.
As ‘bodies are maps of power and identity,’the cyborg body helps breach the boundaries and encourages embracing contradictions: as we are invited to ‘permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints’
‘Cyborg imagery can suggest a way out of the maze of dualisms in which we have explained our bodiesand our tools to ourselves.’
Here Haraway also calls for ‘jamming speech/jamming communication as best way disrupt present power structures: ‘The biggest
threat to such power is interruption of communication’ as she call for the continued ‘struggle against perfect communication (176).