handwritten prose i don’t remember writing

I was cold, and perched next to jagged rocks and short sharp shrubbery. I could feel the ends of my toes as if they were separate to their starting joints, and I breathed low and short, in an attempt to push down whatever warmth was left in my gut, through to the rest of me.

It had been months since I started falling. Walking and climbing seemed now to be an antidote I wished I had practiced from the start; instead of running, stumbling, running endlessly attempting to know the truth of what ached me.

If there was anything I learned as a teen it was that if the slope is kind you can never fall off a mountain. One must be a goat.

As I sat there taking in the extraordinarily massive view, 180 degrees around me, eating crunchy peanut butter and lettuce sandwiches and breathing sharp windy clarity through my teeth, I decided it was finally time to descend, and face (them) my worst fears.


deeerheadwritten at La Cunziria, Vizzini, Catania, Sicily, Italia, Globo, 2015

what are we doing with our time in the mindfield

CRITICAL DREAMING: POLITICALLY ENGAGED ART IN AN UNREASONABLE WORLD.
Or, metamodern avant-garde propositions to aide in the reintegration of human to human and to cosmos (all as one in multiplicity and chaos)

There is no central or single concern.

Rather a complex of methods investigating the usefulness of an art, now, formed beyond a system of capital and into a realm that helps us to redefine and re-understand who we are, in relation.

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In this way (my) research embodies various theoretical methods and positions.

Why? Because they are already connected anyway, and it would be dishonest to not try and re-newly connect the dots. We live in a world of dream and lore that is hauled into an invented space for competition and conformity. A space in which we are forced into submission, as subjects and objects of power.

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There are not too many free spaces left. As artists we work in the mindfield. In a whatmire. What are we going to do with our time in the field of mind? We ask ourselves this question every day and night without knowing it. It is an essential and moral problem of knowing being.

As I said before there are not too many free spaces left. Where can free-seeking agents of agency turn? In my view this is the realm of the artist-philosopher. Some have argued that the artist has no place to hold a moral high ground, that throughout history and especially now they are an affectual problem of the capital elite. They are the access class, they access the elite through the performance and production of capital. They are an imposter, fixed in a symbiotic relationship. Producing and performing desire. The (cultural tourist) elite pay to feel they are culturally superior, elevate themselves even further away from the classic oppressed. If they perform the right manners, the artist gets an invite to the dinner table. BUT I am not talking about that kind of artist. I am also not interested in understanding how the word artist becomes a Creative, who’s purpose is to sweeten product to market. What I am interested in is the type of artist I would like to think I am, and the types of artists I think all of you are, and the million other hearts and minds across the globe who also wake up every day unconsciously asking: what am I going to do with my time in the field of mind?

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I can’t differentiate the two anymore: the artist from the philosopher, the philosopher from the artist, or either from the human. This process of research-practice has further entangled that. If I ask what kind of artist am I, will it suffice to say I am a philosophical one? Perhaps, but that may be inaccurate. It may be more true to say I am a problematic one. One who enjoys problems. One who requires them to wake up to the world.

The problem of time is a real one, it’s an important one, it is one we have a privilege to play with in a way that many others do not. And THAT is a problem. Perhaps it is the problem.

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It is important. To understand the type of artist I am. Or the one I should be. Or maybe it is discovering I am not one at all. That through the deepening into discourse on what it means to be an artist, I discover it was fakery all along – like the language I speak that is not of this land, like my performances of being, me.

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In my 2018 work Humans Can Be Artists, art students sold themselves to the highest bidder in a museum in Nanjing, China. Whilst ‘sold’ they had one role, to be a burden on the buyer, to talk with them about the kind of artist-person they are, or want to be. The buyer, on the other hand had no obligation other than to be physically attached by rope to the student-artist during the length of time they spent in the gallery; how the two spent time together is largely unknown.

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Almost a year later the same group of students took on another aspect of the original provocation I made; to accompany their buyer to their home and continue their work in burdening and proposing their self. I was unawares this project continued. It’s a small meme, an appropriation of appropriations. It is theirs now.

And isn’t this interesting, at a time in academic and wider cultural discourse where we are rightfully concerning ourselves over questions of what is human, what is person, who can be human. The moral-political agenda informing these questions has always been critical but now it is urgent as our current paradigm requires a radical re-shifting. A project of undoing (and re-imagining) who or WHAT we all are. If we survive it, perhaps we can all be artists.

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This brings me to the place of further definitions. What then, is an artist? As Noam Chomsky points out in the 1971 discussion with Michel Foucault on the ‘ideal society’ – all human beings are creative. The very act of learning language requires not only the intrinsic brain that can allow for it, but that individual creativity is required to make the leap from mere sets of signs to systems of meanings.

As Foucault and Chomsky go on to disagree with each other as more than just a sport of different perspectives we also learn that the external conditions, the historical and physical apparatuses, bare significance in whether the child (or the scientist or artist) can creatively leap between frameworks of knowledge in order to make sense, or, anew, of the limited data in front of them.

As Foucault points out this is a “matter of transforming the same knowledge” or, as Chomsky adds, of “forgetting certain problems and leaping to new theories” .

The position of individual creativity becomes paramount then when considering the conditions a society puts on its people, as Chomsky states:

if it is correct, as I believe it is, that a fundamental element of human nature is the need for creative work, for creative inquiry, for free creation without the arbitrary limiting effect of coercive institutions, then, of course, it will follow that a decent society should maximise the possibilities for this fundamental human characteristic to be realised.

And this was in 1971.

And it remains as immediate and real a concern as ever. What are the measures that should maximize these fundamental human characteristics like creativity? What changes need to occur to allow for it to flourish and be central to our way of life, every day, and leading to every other day? It is not so difficult to imagine an ecology that puts human creativity as a driving force of its economy. You could rewire that sentence: It is not so difficult to imagine an economy that puts human creativity as a driving force of its ecology. As Chomsky says, “There is no longer any social necessity for human beings to be treated as mechanical elements in the productive process”.

In my work Humans Are Horses, (2017) https://vimeo.com/251905839
I spoke of the simplicity of re-perceiving oneself not as a cog in the machinery of disaster capitalism, but as a free-seeking agent of change who can use their time to creatively care for and uplift fellow others. In this work – which was performed in my domestic home, and which stepped through body-sculpture, video installation, performance-lecture-ritual, feast, and dialogue – I proposed a few simple mechanisms of how an artist-led economy could and should “change the world”. There were a few tongues in cheeks. But a few nice things have come out of it. The donations given upon entry have been invested in the first crypto universal basic income, which is growing, and which will be fed back into a collective, commoning project I am working toward.

A friend and curator-artist colleague recently pointed out to me there is a significant element of care in my work and life. It is central to my methodology. In her words:

You hardly ever make work for galleries because they are cold alienating spaces. You don’t simply cater for people you cook for them. You make them comfortable in spaces, you drive people to the airport in the middle of the night and talk with them about their ideas. BUT WHY? This love (or care) is a subject worthy of critical attention.

PERHAPS.

This leads me to what may be actually be the central tenet of my theses. That it is now the role of the artist-philosopher to take up the charge to overcome oppression and mechanistic reductionism by forging (urging for) “a society of freedom and free association in which the creative urge… will in fact be able to realise itself in whatever way it will.” (Chomsky, 1971).

In other readings, such as from a depth psychology or contemporary shamanistic view the term creativity could be re-classed as desire but more on that another time.

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As I have contemplated this problem, I have come to understand it in a complex way. When Chomsky refers to free association, he is likely referring to the ability for people to freely associate with others, for civil liberties to be open, for human mobility to not be encumbered by laws of private property and the nation state. I would add another layer of meaning/need to this term: the free association of phenomena, of psychological experience, of meaning making, of new language forms, of signs, of an embodiment of the unconscious through daily (creative/ collective) praxis. An identarian heuristics informing our personal-collective.

If we assume that the space of artistic investigation is free, and if we further acknowledge that the bulk of social relations are ordered through a mechanistic framework of capital growth through production and resource extraction which is harmful to our human and other-than-human ecologies, then it becomes clear that the role of the artist, and the spaces which artists inhabit, have the responsibility to open to, and be imperative to the struggle for freedom and free association.

Ultimately then maybe I come back to the places of inquiry that launched me into this investigation. The effect of history on my bodies, the effect of histories on my body. And the responsibility we have to re-embody a history that could have been, and through this rewrite our future. This is not just words. This is the playing field of ritual-body-communal-dream-world-making. Whether we know it or not we are in the practice of it. I have become aware of this. And I choose to follow it.

PRESENTED AT LOOP FOR THE ART & PERFORMANCE GROUP, DEAKIN UNIVERSE 9th July 2019, Melbourne

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assassiNATION

As much as I despise the idea of the nation state, or perhaps because of its despicable way of dehumanising and denaturing our human nature I have decided to start a new one. Who would like to be a citizen?

It will be called assassiNATION.

Our first policy will be to remove the Qld Labour Party and the Federal Liberal National Party from power for their insanely stupid lobbying, pandering and signing of contracts toward the Adani coalfacefuck. It is unforgivable, and in the lands of assassiNation we will not stand for such stupidity, heads will roll. it waste of money, our blessed minds and the ecosystem which does not deserve to be mistreated for their revolving door capitalocentric disasters.

Our second policy will actually be a declaration of war. Against the United Kingdom. For many reasons, not just the visual pollution of the Royal Family and the present-history of colonial violence and shithouse cooking. But, because the UK Parliament just signed the extradition papers to send Julian Assange to the United Fucking States of Idiocy Foolish Christian Crap Country.

He will die there.
The coral will die here.
Our hearts are dying we as accept the status qua as it is written in front of our forsaken faces.

Join assassiNATION. Burn them all!

Pulling down the pain

The overthrow of the Jankowski monument:

“Driven by concern for the common good and respect for human dignity and freedom, we undertake our action in the conviction not only of its profound rightfulness, but also of its public usefulness, and as such, we summit to the community’s judgment”

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A propositional choreography which is itself a derivative of a proposition by choreographer Michael Klein, of the state of dance being a channel through which to design a political system of bodies. In this ALT-Parliament I propose a site where all bodies together move to their own pace, within their autonomy but with awareness of the other bodies they are in relation to. Here, is a deep listening exercise in which we deconstruct the very nature of what we perceive as different and in which we learn to embody the sense of oscillation that governs all life. Here, in this site – waving between stillness, objectivity, substance, flow, and intersubjective pain and pleasure – we attempt a dance of knowing; ourselves with each-other, within space over time.
The structure itself is simple. We move, without instruction, without music. We try not to look to each other, we allow ourselves to move freely through space, we try to not play with each other, but more so allow the sensation of the other to ripple through our own movement. For two hours we move and hold ourselves in this space – defining and stretching the limits of our environment, and re-coding our interpersonal ecologies.
We start and end this through a selection of dance tracks each of us love that we want to bring to the group. 2-3 tracks to begin, 2-3 tracks to take us out. In the middle (between these phases of ecstasy) we find each other in time together, and design this Alt-parliament.

To work on FOUNDATIONal dreaming we must, to a certain degree, perceive through a tabula rasa – this is the space of our gallery, and our time together in defining it centres and edges. The present remains, as does history, our tabula-rasa thence, is a palimpsest.

There are so many aspects to my desire to participate in FOUNDATION so I will try and hone it into a single sentence or paragraph:

My artistic practice is increasingly trying to reframe itself as a dialogical aesthetic which can be used as a vessel for critical dreaming. Within spaces of critical dreaming we can use the extent of human experience, and knowledge of other subjectivities as methods to define the institutions which govern and ‘manage’ our lives. These institutions range from infrastructure, technology, governance procedures, energy production and consumption, economic modelling and distribution. Critical dreaming allows us to use alternative apparatuses to aide in the potential design and implementation of new systems which consider human and non human experience at the centre of institutional processes. I feel like FOUNDATION is the perfect place to explore the possibilities of these frameworks, where the consideration of ethics and aesthetics is paramount and where our intellectual apparatuses (whether they be writing, dance, construction, deconstruction, cooking, etc) become the driving investigatory tools.

Prompted by the opening statement of FOUNDATION, I started to develop a social system based on key principle-processes and morality-meshes that might inform a built environment. We could use this as a way to defining a day of activities and objectives, here it is written propositionally:

Foundation al
Factor ies

Each
Factor ie
Considers
A
Foundation al

“Process”
(which is
principle) of the
Collective autonomous
Experience… *

These are where we ‘work’play’
On enterprises which relate to each
Factor & how it relates to others. Here, in these factor/ ies, we freely choose to
enter, participate, plan, pull apart, and place together;
evolve, dream, criticise, rest, play
All these (edges) (centres) are of cause, not for profit.
Each is connected into the grid (of energy & information) > a smart system which allows each to focus on the moment they are in, whilst still, (positively) affecting others.

These edges all flow, spiralactically into multiple centres, to which we are always reminded of ‘who we are and what we can be’… & how these articulate into a generative human RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES paradigm. This is the only paradigm we are expected to constantly participate in, how and when and with what intensity is defined by ourselves (need and ability).

Interspersed between these foundational factor/ies are enterprise stations > where, if you choose you can operate free-share-trade-fair of goods, services etc, in these here agoras are the engines of further or meta-economy. The bulk, base economy, is taken care through social reformation, smart economy, foundational factor/ies (which are largely automated) and which provide us with food and energy. This metaconomy is where people extend and play within a fair-market. Base livelihood is not at stake. In the metaconomy we play for growth, fun, and extension.

People continue meaningful work, not superfluous economising and profit driven practice. But engage in activities which feed into and from the multiversal declaration of human rights and responsibilities.

This means that workplace schemes, such as teamwork, culture, productivity through pleasure, and management strategies may be continued, not within a for profit or competitive framework, BUT within a collaborative / share economy. We take root in the key meanings of the word economy – management & home… let us then define these terms.

In this foundational social dream all are welcome to work, rest, and play, simultaneously, together, and apart. This the way toward rewatering mars. Nothing is enforced.

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Originally proposed for FOUNDATION, a project by:  http://www.metasitu.com/

Book of Walls, Folds, and Fools (Book of Dream) NYE 2018

 

 

Turning a new page in a book is a refreshing sound. Like how an old book smells when we crack it open. We breathe in wisdom. We exhale guidance. We don’t even realise the world we are stepping into. Sometimes. We come back to same stories for a new perspective. The Great Wall of Books was born from this provocation. Dreams evolved towards an epic collaborative installation made of steel, timber and time. Books, and deep seeking. It became a space sparking change through subtle engagement with ideas for public encounter. A vessel to inspire critical dreaming and social change. It has been fifteen years to this day. Last year, we came together with the Village Festival of New Art and Performance and Falls Festival to conceive of a new phase in the life of ‘the biggest book ever bound’. Over NYE 2018/19 we facilitated and collated artworks with hundreds of punters – across clay, film, sound, painting, writing & performance. Together these pieces form the basis of the next phase of experimental performance, exhibitions, wildflower gardens, and screenings. At night we screened an evolving film, created from the processes, actions, intrusions, pauses and phases of the material existence in and around the book…

Watch Book of Dream