SALON #1 , 2017 : Angela Schubot & Jared Gradinger, Mikatsiu Hores, Serigu Matis
Read this text inside your head.
Use at least two different voices.
Decide which voice is “you”.
(If you have already started: Decide which one is “me”).
The performance is over. The ears and their carriers are long gone. The time of audibility has simply passed. Has it not? The real thing no longer appears to be at our disposal.
What one expects from a text that comes after is a summary, a description, a report on specific experiences of the audience. Even though this description might be purely subjective it presupposes the idea of an author that is herself separate from the thing she describes, explains or judges.
But what if audibility is not something that ends and can therefore be described, but rather something that takes over? What if the voice does not transport meaning but hits you like a projectile seriously affecting your body’s capacities in the future? Or if it moved through your nervous system like a poison/drug changing your perception and behaviour. What if the moment of audibility was just the point of first contact?
A virus released once patient zero appeared on stage. Contamination could be traced in those exposed to it. Symptoms would appear in parts of the audience. Some could be immune others might feel a little different but recover in the next two to three hours. And then there would be those who will never be the same again. The symptoms, the virus, the voices might take over.
The voice might speak the magical formula again crossing over from the limitations of meaning to the sphere of matter. Speaking in tongues, raising the dead. Dead as in people who died, gestures and voices of the past, and things that were not thought of as having ever been alive to begin with. Communing with ghosts, plants, animals, artificial intelligence, being possessed by splinters of digital and pop culture. Being under the spell of voices that became detached from something or someone else that can no longer qualify as identity.
The process of infection counters ideas of identity and objectification. A voice jumping from host to host. If you’re one of the hosts how can you distinguish between self and other? What did you say? Is that even you talking? Was that part of the performance? Is my breathing now part of the sound design? Was the stutter planned or did the performer’s tongue slip? Did something make your leg move? Where is the artistic genius in movement that seems to be an accumulation of reflex reactions? Was that strange sound your body made voluntary. Was it even your body or did I hear the rumbling of the stomach next to me? Is there a plan? Is there causality of any kind? When did it start and when does it stop? When the lights go on? When the door closes? When some people in the street start laughing? What would the rubber plant think about all of this? Or is there already a plant taking root in my brain? Some bird controlled by algorithms?
Being taken over by bird code, plant dancing, digital overload poses the question of autonomy. Is that you talking or some digital greeting card? Is it still nature calling or some augmented reality posing as background for recreational activities?
Meaning is suspicious – it can be recycled, stolen, copyright infringement. But has there ever been autonomy? What is the bourgeois idea of heartfelt original expression of the autonomous individual other than a different algorithm? Why not do some bird coding with Siri? Why not doing some plant’s bidding? Why not having an involuntary reaction to some leaf rubbing shoulders with you? Why not screw yourself together with the romance machine, if in need? Why not simply recycle the protocols of digital meaning production. Why do all this work, make all this sense, if there are machines for that?
There are two beautiful concepts that somehow seem to address the question of being one and many, possessed and free, redundant and singular at the same time. One is Mannigfaltigkeit (can be loosely translated to manifoldness) and then there is Idiosyncrasy. It is the same paradox viewed from two different angles: One thing consisting of many distinctive moments and innumerable threads being woven into one singular moment.
The term idiosyncrasy is a combination of idios, "one's own", syn, "with" and krasis, "mixture". This text’s idiosyncratic interpretation and recommendation of idiosyncrasy is: Being oneself is being a singular mixture of all the stuff already seen and done. It is multiplicity instead of reduction. Being many instead of “one” self or being one particular mixture of the many. It is like a loop, the elements looped might seem identical, but they create a particular order in which they each take different places, have different effects, interact with different momentary circumstances.
Let’s put it in a slogan for future looping: In times of alienation there is only counter-alienation.
Coming soon >>>>>> NEXT >>>> Episode 2: What does it all mean? How can we ever find each other again? Will we mange to disentangle ourselves from this web of words? What about aliens? Will they love us? And what does all of this have to do with the international proletariat?