[iDC] The Social Machine of Events
brian.holmes at wanadoo.fr
Wed Feb 1 20:39:37 EST 2006
This thread raises real questions. The formats of what Kodwo
Eshun calls "the rubber chicken guru circuit" are definitely
impoverished. But I would say, in every direction. Why
should those who are really interested in constructed
discourse have to pretend to be spontaneous? Why should
those who are really interested in direct expression pretend
to construct discourse? Why should anyone have to be the
same all the time?
The following, from my angle, is not enough:
As speakers, we talk as if our audience were disembodied
> readers. We act as if we were alone, scribbling in a garrett or typing
> on a laptop, and not enacting ourselves in the living, sweaty, twitching
> presence of actual people in need of food, smoke, love, meaning – not
> abstractly but here, now, this very moment. Paperism is the literate
> condition that privileges knowledge products over knowledge processes,
> seeking to turn every event into an artifact, a disembodied,
> decontextualized book on a dusty shelf rather than a communal
> psycho-kinetic collision.
Honestly, that sounds rather foolish. One of the traps of
the performance ethos has been just blah blah blah.
Constructed discourse is not always dusty and
decontextualized - it can also be vital, passionate and to
That we haven't quite figured out
> how to effectively replace antique top-down ideals at conferences and
> festivals with collaborative catalytic networks isn't surprising, for we
> remain stuck in our highly literate skins.
Actually I'm quite fond of my literate skin and prefer it to
all kinds of other skins I could put on, or be cloaked in.
The business about the problem being paper, and all the
subsequent repetitions of that theme, sounds from my
perspective like self-promotional digital BS, sorry. You
might be surprised how much dialogic experience you can get
through print, through literary forms, through philosophical
argument, through the social sciences - hmm, these are often
very interesting things, coming from very interesting
people. I've often thought that Borges had to be an
interesting guy. Despite the Library of Babel and the
circular ruins. But the challenge of how to create
situations for complex and also light, innovative
interactions - it's a good thing to go after.
I was thinking, why not engage a process, using the
pre-event list technique, and maybe other media, so that
people could collectively invent some formats? For instance,
I would propose some live discussions on the basis of shared
readings of texts, or shared consideration of visual or
sound or audio-visual work - open meetings that anyone could
come to, but where the understanding would be that a certain
number of people who had agreed to beforehand during the
list process, were going to start from some deep and
prolonged contact with an existing piece of work. In that
way you could start from something a little more engaging
than how's the weather or what's the latest fashion or watch
my stage moves. Of course, I would propose this, and surely
the proposal would change as people received it, and in the
end, through affinity and metamorphosis, something different
would come out. Which wouldn't necessarily prohibit other
proposals, or prohibit the event hosts from being more
voluntaristic about certain proposals, or anything, really.
Obviously each person might succeed in getting through the
beginnings of one proposal, but they would also definitely
want to hook up with many other proposals to avoid being
like, totally bored at the conference. Of course the results
would be totally risky but also fully experimental. And why
not? Once the "event" has been sold to its funders, it
doesn't really matter what you do.
Just a thought.
all the best, Brian
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