TEXTS SOLICITED DOCUMENT
[dancer dragging a spectator on stage by the collar]
AN UNSOLICITED INTRODUCTION
This morning I had this introduction much better written up in my head, but half way through sounding it to myself - a friend from the past called. I didn’t recognize his number. I picked up the phone anyway. He had just had a child. I heard the boy child coo on the phone. He then told me about failures of the revolution, how he was out on the 28th and for the following 18 days but now he was going to the 6th of October to sit by the pool, “oh, you mean today’s protest? Fuck that, fuck them all.” Yeah, ok and fuck you. I'm not sure what I'm doing today. I know I want to go, but in all honesty I don’t think today makes sense and I don’t get what they’re asking for. Non-military trials for civilians, excellent - with you. A second revolution? No, premature… bad try... you need more people for revolution number two. Misnomer. It will lose people. It already has. The tone is all off. Yesterday they were talking about it being a day of anger and by noon, the same day, others called for humor and swimming costumes.
But I am bored. I am bored of being a document writer. I yearn for a pre-linguistic space where one can prowl, a fantastical space to tickle. A space without archives. Where you must feel your way. A space of water. But oh! This is not possible outside the lands of anarchy and magic golden plums. I often think the space of text is the space of death. They say you get too stuck in your head, in an obsession with a trail of knowledge of sources and solutions. But there are ways by which to live in this darkness. A certain living dead who know how to move there: dark, anarchistic, circulating with no clear source and destination. We write documents in order to safeguard free experience; to safe guard the rites and rights of the individual, in order to nourish the desires of the body. To occupy a pre-linguistic space where you can only think of fucking and love. My friend said, “oh you, I used to think like this too, you're just jacked up on serotonin and oxytocin, this madness will end soon.”
Last night I watched a film. May I retell parts of it to you? The woman, a redhead delivers a monologue to an Arian looking USSR Commie figure skater about the artist’s inability to love an individual. She ridicules his belief that he is there to sacrifice himself for the masses, she tells the man of art off and calls for the action of his penis, he weakens at the knees, falls for her, makes love to her four times, then chops her head off with the blade at the bottom of the skate.
[a man swimming with the aid of a black tire tube in water]
A group, each surrounded by a tire in the sea, a moment in waves and you float in its body. The body is vulnerable for it does not know fully what it is, what affects it and where it will lead. In each moment in an event, one’s constitution changes outside of its knowledge. There is pleasure and there is anxiety in this suspension.
[hands wrinkled from sea water]
Body acts on body, ground acts on feet, feet acts on posture, posture acts on voice, voice acts on listener, listening acts on body, body acts on wall, wall acts on room, room acts on objects it carries, objects carried act on bodies observing, observation acts on mind, mind acts on feeling, feeling acts on breath, breath acts on words, words act on rhythm, rhythm acts on perception, perception acts on mind, mind acts on heart, heart acts on body – all at once.
Something emerges and is missed.
[movement in a room]
And then in the next moment these new composites act on each other again.
[waves from the sea]
Non-knowledge that which results from every proposition when we are looking to go to the fundamental depths of its content, and which makes us uneasy.
– Georges Bataille
Unforseeability considers the very structure of the event.
– Jacques Derrida
“Displaced” Oraib Toukan (2011), moved partition wall, Hordaland Art Center, underlying wood, varnish.
(Present EXPERIENCE) ANXIETY
Anxiety of experience without knowledge. Anxiety of not having knowledge of the script in which you perform. Anxiety of a body being acted on without a sports presenter informing it of its movements. Anxiety that there might not be any significance to this moment. Anxiety that it is not of value. Anxiety that you are not of value. Knowledge that you have no value in a moment of experience, any more than a cup in a room might have. Anxiety that we are all objects with equal agency. Anxiety of not knowing how to assign value to pleasure. Anxiety of not knowing how to experience pleasure. Anxiety that pleasure can only be told and delivered in words. Anxiety of how to use words right in the right order with the right metronomic meter with the right structure. An anxiety with being entrapped by language that orders your mind. Anxiety that you lack value without knowledge. Anxiety that you need knowledge for pleasure. The anxiety that you can only feel pleasure with a knowledge of value. The anxiety that you find pleasure in knowing the trajectory of value. The knowledge of value is what makes your body feel safe and of worth.
[distance, desert or mirage]
An illusion of control by looking at an image knowing you know more than everything in that image in that moment. A pleasure from feeling the power of your brain, that you can assign words and structures, that there has been no loss of information. That everything of worth is there.
A head projected in a second atmosphere with another time pattern. From this second atmosphere the head looks back and sees the present as an image in stasis – to relive forever without anxiety?
Only from the second atmosphere can one begin to feel pleasure.
Only when oxygen is claimed by ammonia and methane, in reduction.
An illusion of time control. An illusion of measured, tabulated, countable distance between yourself and the image you hold. A control over the future of your past body. But it is only an illusion. This illusion was yesterday. Tomorrow today will be yesterday but yesterday will still be yesterday. Yesterdays are always yesterdays. Except yesterday is always today.
“If not Us, Who? If not Now, When?” Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová – 1 May 2011, Torgallmenningen, Bergen, Norway
One turns the image over and makes a score on its back each day: this is one yesterday, this is two yesterdays, this is three yesterdays. And with each stroke one feels them getting stronger and more visible through the distance. That too is an illusion.
UNFATHOMABLE EVENT / MEASURE
A writer named Nick Royle launches his book “Quilt” at the London School of Economics. An event during which he would read a passage from his new book. He begins by briefly explaining the multiple qualities of the term “Quilt”: 1. Quilt as a blanket; 2. To quilt as a means to swallow and; 3. Quilt being another name, form the 18th century, for a Mantaray. The three terms become ways by which he explores the notion of an “unfathomable event”.
He deconstructs the title of that evening: “Unfathomable event”. He begins by defining the term “fathom”. The fathoms and unfathomables, are what I am interested in here. He says:
Fathom… in its verb form is
one. To get to the bottom of;
to dive in;
to see through;
and to thoroughly understand;
- that’s the OED definition.
- There’s another OED definition which is,
To take soundings.
Perhaps, there is a tension between those two senses –
fathom: to understand thoroughly
fathom: to take soundings but,
not necessarily to understand, thoroughly.
The word fathom is Old English, originally meant to encircle with extended arms. So the old Saxon ‘fathoms’ (plural), was two arms outstretched, which is, of course, how we get to fathom of six feet… the length, I suppose, of two arms of a six foot person. 
The anthropocentric fathom. A means by which to extinguish fear of unfathomables, far echoing sounds, misunderstandings, garbled words, dreams, tongues, schizophrenic waters by turning them into regulated, calculable, intimately known-by-father fathoms.
I engulf you with my arms black night!
I extinguish your blindness and make you light!
[locked in embrace on a train platform]
I worry often about the educational turn in 'art'. I worry often about the unquestionable value in the archive. I worry about this unquestioning Humanism. I worry about placing notions of progress and value on a linguistic, intellectual knowledge. All value being placed on the mind, with a reduction of the value of the body, the values of the information society. The being of the body being annihilated for the most part. You learn about the politics of the body in complex theoretical terms. And you pant for life when you breath air.
FEDDAN / RHYME / ECHO
An almost-rhyme in the sounds of units of area. Two words, perhaps they were once one and echoed away from each other with glossolalias of shifting time and place. But no, it seems not so. It seems they never knew each other, met late in life and found they are completely different conceptions of the nature of measuring nature. The Fathom is a measure as a stable man who does not grow or change. His stability organizes space. Regulated patterned, ordered. The Feddan is a measure based on the power of an Ox on different kinds of nature – a measure based on energy - slower on wetlands by the river, faster on dry grass inland – a varying space determined by a varying time.
A unit of an area, feddan (pronounced faddān), from the Arabic, the word means a 'yoke of oxen'. It is used in Egypt, Sudan and Syria, implying the area of ground that could be tilled by an oxen, in a certain time. In Egypt, the feddan is the only non-metric unit which remains in use, even after switching to the metric system. A feddan, is divided into 24 Kirats (175 m²)
[a forest / a cruising site / sound of water]
OFF-SITE / RHYTHM / SILENCE
Negotiations on land must happen off-site. In a land of another nature. Negotiations occur in the act of walking in this other nature, in a forest perhaps. And only later renegotiated around a table and on chairs. There must be distance between the land on which the future events will take place and the land on which the document is written. A way to relate to land through the head from projections of images. This is necessary in order to produce legible words, thoughts, intentions and documents. It is perhaps not so unordinary that when one returns to the land and reinstates the order of understanding towards a comprehension of politics, through relating to the world from the stand point of the body, that the memory and framework of these documents fall apart.
Walking becomes a means of reordering the notion of rhythm in nature to recalibrate the body to the mind. A way to extinguish body rhythms. From offsite other land becomes flat image. A map, a topology. Without ecology. An image of a nature. In theory, agreeing become easier. Its rhythm and flows from this distance can never be known.
[the cosmos or a deep dark mesmerizing blackness]
[ecology without nature]
The death of a father.
The death of a land.
The depth of the sea.
At the book launch Nick Royle explains the unfathomable event of the death of one’s father. He explains that the notion of the death of the father as a means to explore unfathomables is shared with that of the “Interpretation of Dreams”. A book too, which Freud said was penned, “as a reaction to the death of my father, that is – the most poignant loss in a man’s life”.
Is it then the loss of a body that finally launches one into the unknowable distance of a deep time, a deep ecological time - to the depths of exploring the time of dreams, of death, of another consciousness, of being on another edge. It is only in the escape of dreams that one sees the agency of inanimate objects, an alternate subterranean life of simple living and non-living forms – a notion that one can barely hold in wake.
SOUNDING / DEEP TIME
A sounding is a way to measure the sea through vibrations. It is an invisible stretch into the depths, a way to learn by calculating another sense, a sense of different materials and powers. Sound waves become a relation, bouncing from one surface and returning to another.
sounding 1 |ˈsoundi ng |
the action or process of measuring the depth of the sea or other body of water.
• a measurement taken by sounding. (vibrations)
• the determination of any physical property at a depth in the sea or at a height in the atmosphere.
adjective [ attrib. ] archaic
giving forth sound, esp. loud or resonant sound : he went in with a sounding plunge.
• having an imposing sound but little substance : the orator has been apt to deal in sounding commonplaces.
– (excerpted) New Oxford American Dictionary
The profound seas hiding unknown fathoms.
– Shakespeare, A Winter’s Tale
A saline dehydration of language. A place where time is lost. A place where one senses the body. A place where the land collaborates with sea, with light waves and with temperature to reach across geometrically unseeable distances and projects them forth as its future image. In the sky it displays its own dreams to confuse distance, to confuse time, to confuse the power of who produces and holds images.
People at sea lose their mind at the confrontation with such a loss of control. People at sea lose their mind with the realization that the function of their mind - its intentions, language and education has a diminished value here - here one is a mere object as anything else. Dream Democracy.
[fish bone / exoskeleton / salt]
The shell of a snake’s skin shed.
A future reference.
A man calls out in the desert for 24 minutes. He takes a photograph and makes notes. Fifteen years later he is no longer a madman but an artist that has a document of fifteen years of continued intention in a functionless act.
DEATH OF EXPERIENCE
The state of a formerly living body. A person is dead by law if a Death Certificate is approved by a licensed medical practitioner. At that point a person is removed of their personhood.
Ultimately there is no value in experience, for it bares no trace. Ultimately the value in experience is lost because we don’t know how to assign value to something without use. And so auras, or the surplus value is lost. Ultimately the aura is lost because every time it possibly emerges, one brings it to light. And in too much light, one can summon, an aura is more product.
The value of experience, giving reason to the event, risks the annihilation of experience, in becoming obsessed with the knowledge of its future. The value of the event is transferred from the moment of its happening to a document, that allows it to re-exist, enabling it to be re-lived. The referral becomes of higher value. The document becomes the form through which we live through.
– Does this create more value and faith in the post-script, as a monument?
– I am not so sure.
A MEASURE / VALUE / COMPUTE / METER
DOCUMENT AS EVIDENCE
A performing artist, in the 80s in the United Arab Emirates, used to go out in the desert and give speeches for 30 minutes to what was no more than an audience of 3 or 4 and sometimes just 1. At other times he would go out into the desert and throw stones then measure the distance of his throws. Later he made a large tumbleweed, and when he laid it down it blew away. An interviewer asked him once, what was the function of these works? He responded that they were acts, happenings, events without a function. Upon being asked by the interviewer why then - if the purpose was to have no function - was the audience largely made up of the documenters of the event of his work? His response was that documentation is evidence of intention (an intention of a non-function).
It is often believed that document, monument, structure or events are evidences of human organization - a human organization that explicitly comes from the intention of human thought processes.
In the market of art great value is placed on the evidence of intention in human thought processes. Today, thirty years later, the value of the performing artist’s dematerialized work grows. Documents of these events circulate in museums.
Evidence of a man making documents, making known his presence in nature and marking a power of intention, a light in the unknown unfathomable darkness – a way to move out of the an unfathomable sea, a way to move out of dreams, a way to move out of deep ecology.
Having evidence of intention allows one to reconstitute the importance of the mind, to reconsolidate its value, in preservation against the threat of autonomous objects and dream democracy. The document as evidence of intention becomes a way to preserve the value of human progress above all else, namely an assertion of the power of language amongst living systems over being engulfed by ecology, a means to document fading existence.
Evidence of a moment of human life. Evidence of the absence of a human life now. Evidence of death. Evidence as a form of legitimacy assigned to a moment and made visible, legible. This legitimacy it seems is what gives value and worth.
Is this value given to legitimacy a way to confirm a certain agency as a being? Is there a fear that there might be larger agents – both living and non-living agents – who might have a certain higher consciousness too, and can have power over us – without the need for language and images?
FEAR OF ECOLOGY
Ultimately, it seems the document is evidence of the art world’s fear of the dark – the dark of a deep ecology. The concept of deep ecology regards human life as just one of many equal components of a global ecosystem. In such, it considers diamonds, a fork, a manta ray, light rays, imaginary countries and figments of the imagination to have equally as much agency in the movement of life, and to have individual and autonomous existence outside of human perception. All objects are on par. And all relations are on an equal footing. Be it an interaction between a human with an art work or the interaction of cotton with fire. All objects comprehend – in some manner – each other’s presence. Ultimately, if the art world acknowledged such a notion of democracy all notions of value would fall apart. The document then becomes a way to set ones self apart – as if trying to archive certificates of life in fear of actually dealing with the notion of being of equal value, and of having to experience things with traceless qualities. The power of language, certification and legitimacy would begin to defragment. How then would you measure progress?
A show of documents, a show of archives, is a show of fear; fear of expenditure, fear of loosing worth, these are not enigmatic fears, they are signs of real human fear, signs that even language and human consciousness are sometimes no greater than an ants' relation to its neighbor. Fear of losing worth. Fear of having no worth. Fear that we can ultimately all have the same value as objects/imaginations/fictions.
TRACELESS ACTIONS OF OTHERS
[hologram of Calla Lilies, an epilogue and a glossary]
Both living and non-living systems produce events, structures, ephemera and can exhibit the most complex of organizations – this is evident in the studies of self-organization and emergence in biological systems.
Self-organization is a term applied to a system in dynamic interaction with itself; that builds and structures itself. Particular to it is the point that the organization is not directed by a plan or a leader or coordinator. Instead, individuals or elements in such a system interact to local conditions. It is a very complex, volatile, dynamic system in motion, which is sourced in ongoing internal activity and feedback mechanisms. One of its primary conditions is that all forms of interacting elements in the system act in a parallel way with equal agency running through all entities, whoever the system consists of. When large numbers of individuals act simultaneously a system can break out of an amorphous state and begin to exhibit order and pattern.
Emergence is a term applied to a system where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That is, when some new property or unexpected structure appears in a grouping of elements that cant be accounted for by the addition of elements to that property or structure is said to be “emergent”. The paradigmatic example is how the mind or human consciousness emerges from biochemical processes.
Equally profound, perhaps, is how an intricate and complex architecture of an army ant mound can be produced by the work and self-organization of a form of life as simple as an ant. Or in a third example, the formation of a perfect sphere in which a million individual fish swim in perfect moving and twirling order and coordination as a school.
What is interesting about this is a question of occasional moments of order and pattern which emerge outside of the plan or intention of a singular actor, but by exterior conditions which switches on a system of feedback mechanisms where individual actors do individual actions with no knowledge of the end structure, but by reacting to their neighbors – sounding off of them and responding intuitively without thought. It is a situation of trust, of equal agency where all individual actors act as one unit and what emerges is a higher collective consciousness.
No documents are left as evidence of this moment of profound intelligence and self-organization. It is something that emerges and then ends. The evidence is the event itself – the value is in the self-preservation at the moment of experiencing this emergence.
 Link to: http://richmedia.lse.ac.uk/publicLecturesAndEvents/20110510_1830_unfathomableEvent.mp3 - listen starting 5:45
 Link to Ralph Vaughan Williams “The Lark Ascending” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKz6XJlI_jk