ART, MEMORY, RESISTANCE

Akseli Virtanen: For Félix Guattari an a-signifying semiotic opens meaningful words up to unexpected material intensities. Perhaps we could understand these elements which express the materiality of language and its internal tensions a little better by recalling Deleuze’s analysis of a Francis Bacon painting. For modern painters the canvas is not a tabula rasa, but a space of visual preconceptions and accepted conventions of representation, which the artist brings to the canvas, and with which she struggles, and which she tries to defeat or escape. For Bacon the moment of transformation begins with a stroke of the brush, a drip of the paint or touching the canvas, which may be unexpected. For example a light touch on wet paint makes a mouth suddenly spread across the face. It creates a moment of chaos, a catastrophe on the visual probabilities, which Bacon calls a ‘diagram’. The diagram is really a chaos and a catastrophe, but it is also a seed of organization and rhythm, as Bacon starts to follow the created change, the form, colour or line of this diagram. As if the skin of a rhinoceros were suddenly tightened and it revealed new microscopic, repetitive patterns. Bacon uses this as a way to produce new intensive relations with the painting, which inevitably transform the character he had started to paint. The new form emerges out of this unformed figure. I think of Luca Guzzetti’s jump as an unexpected stroke of the brush in our organizational experiment. In fact, that is why his motives are not so relevant. What we then did was to follow the new intensive relations to transform our experimentation, to make it a performative, a work of art.

Bracha L. Ettinger: I agree with what you suggest, and in terms of the copoietic moment there is more to say.1 The first jump was a reaction to another work of art. Such reactions to a work of art are wonderful, crazy, the dream of every artist. It was not a work done for the gaze, but for the sense of touch, a ground-play for adults, a sandbox. It worked as such for Luca. His reaction was strong. For you and me it was génial, yet it didn’t make it a work of art. The work of art was born in the repetition that was a sovereign trans-subjective move: a new cocreation. So, the first jump, of which we have no record – it is only in our memory now – is the enigmatic event in reality: this is the beauty of whatever has no first-hand visual record, it is only in our minds now. Then, with the repetition-in-jointness in our coemergence, a transformation is created, the

the morning, because on the level of transformation it travelled to other venues through outbursts of anger, reflexion, discussion, and hopefully some transformation and rethinking and reframing of the whole experience within the larger experience. With this performance as a matrixial event, all the difficulties of the group to let borderlines be crossed to become thresholds and borderspaces be shared were revealed. It is important that you stress that, in the end, Luca’s private motivations as such are not the central point here, because on that level it would have remained an idiosyncratic act after which you feel fine, or you feel guilty, or ashamed, or proud, or stupid, etc., and so what? After all, there are many such gestures going on everywhere and all the time and leaving no artistic trace or ethical impact. It could have remained on the level of catastrophe or chaos or jouissance or even ‘instinct’. The work of art ‘begins’ when the artist – here the artist is the matrixial subjectivity composed of the three of us to begin with, but surely also of others who were not there and entered before and after – seizures in the catastrophe a potentiality, and for one reason or another, both ethical and aesthetical, must make of it the point of birth for another sense and another form, whereby the seeds of the catastrophic gesture, arriving from elsewhere, will grow into something else. There are rare moments when copoiesis emerges, and there are millions of moments, or jumps, that ‘fail’ to make sense and do not make an art event.

It is an important task to articulate all this as an artistic event on its own terms – not in terms of the original work to which Luca reacted, not in terms of the first stage which would still be considered a reactive acting out, with some ancient reason that wouldn’t have an artistic intensity if it had been left on its own – but in terms of the project itself: Capturing the Moving Mind as a work of art. I think that we all agree that it is one. For this voyage as a work of art, this moment is a peak moment. The fact that the whole performance was not planned in any way, but became a necessary, unexpected crescendo of a thread of this journey – the journey as an art event, is significant. It ties the beginning and the end, not in a repetitive cycle, but as a section of a spiral of transformation-within-repetition in a matrixial bordertime and borderspace. Luca allowed us to perceive and even materialize the difficulties in opening and fragilizing yourself and generously accepting the other, and in transgressing mental borders. He is therefore my hero. 

jump embodies and displays sameness within difference or difference in repetition. The first step of the Jump as art is at that point of repetition-indifference; when the Jump becomes an artwork, we don’t have ‘the origin’, we don’t have a single author, and this is symbolic of the fact that in any case there is no one origin to anything that is becoming art in copoiesis, and a virtual matrixial borderlinking is also at play.

Luca’s jump was an unexpected stroke of the brush in our organizational experiment, not only motivated by personal needs, but also by the group’s ‘original sin’: the trauma of the expulsion of a transgressive individual. Contrary to the conceptual declarations concerning the transgression of borderlines, which was the group’s conscious wish, the group couldn’t deal with transgressive behaviour within its mental shareable borderspaces. The event of the first jump, within these parameters, was about to become a repetition of that original trauma of transgression and expulsion. What we then did, matrixially, in copoiesis, was to embrace and plant the new intensity within the web of our relations, to transform our experience into artistic experimentation, to turn Luca’s reactive acting-out toward the work of art of someone else (Won Suk Han) into a sovereign act, to turn the event performative, to turn this event into a subjectivizing time-space of encounter: not transgression – but a performance of transgression, so that the potentially traumatic, unexpected stroke, a stroke that could simply become jouissance and trauma, both to Luca and to the group, like previous acts of real transgression of borderlines, would become a transformative matrixial encounter-event and a work of art that allows us to approach anew both aesthetical and ethical questions.

In other words, we can pay attention to five points here: 1) Won Suk Han’s pile of cigarettes. 2) The unexpected stroke. 3) The original traumatic event on the level of the group, and the pattern of repetition it was destined to entail, which for us exists from before. 4) The artistic event as a transport-station of trauma: where the potentiality for retraumatizing becomes transformative, while we are moving together to a zone between the aesthetical and the ethical. 5) The matrixial copoiesis whereby a joint trans- subjectivity allows, by compassionate hospitality and a duration of fascinance, the transformation of gesture jouissance and catastrophe into an artistic encounter-event. And of course the encounter-event went on all night from that inaugural moment until the morning, because on the level of transformation it travelled to other venues through outbursts of anger, reflexion, discussion, and hopefully some transformation and rethinking and reframing of the whole experience within the larger experience. With this performance as a matrixial event, all the difficulties of the group to let borderlines be crossed to become thresholds and borderspaces be shared were revealed. It is important that you stress that, in the end, Luca’s private motivations as such are not the central point here, because on that level it would have remained an idiosyncratic act after which you feel fine, or you feel guilty, or ashamed, or proud, or stupid, etc., and so what? After all, there are many such gestures going on everywhere and all the time and leaving no artistic trace or ethical impact. It could have remained on the level of catastrophe or chaos or jouissance or even ‘instinct’. The work of art ‘begins’ when the artist – here the artist is the matrixial subjectivity composed of the three of us to begin with, but surely also of others who were not there and entered before and after – seizures in the catastrophe a potentiality, and for one reason or another, both ethical and aesthetical, must make of it the point of birth for another sense and another form, whereby the seeds of the catastrophic gesture, arriving from elsewhere, will grow into something else. There are rare moments when copoiesis emerges, and there are millions of moments, or jumps, that ‘fail’ to make sense and do not make an art event.

It is an important task to articulate all this as an artistic event on its own terms – not in terms of the original work to which Luca reacted, not in terms of the first stage which would still be considered a reactive acting out, with some ancient reason that wouldn’t have an artistic intensity if it had been left on its own – but in terms of the project itself: Capturing the Moving Mind as a work of art. I think that we all agree that it is one. For this voyage as a work of art, this moment is a peak moment. The fact that the whole performance was not planned in any way, but became a necessary, unexpected crescendo of a thread of this journey – the journey as an art event, is significant. It ties the beginning and the end, not in a repetitive cycle, but as a section of a spiral of transformation-within-repetition in a matrixial bordertime and borderspace. Luca allowed us to perceive and even materialize the difficulties in opening and fragilizing yourself and generously accepting the other, and in transgressing mental borders. He is therefore my hero.

Akseli: So, three visible levels: we have the work by Won Suk. We then have Luca’s first jump. Then we have the performance as our copoiesis: the second and third jump, documented by you and Steffen Böhm. Then we have an invisible level, the whole experience of Capturing the Moving Mind as a work of art, of which the performance as a work of art is a part, and into which even Won Suk’s work was carried by the first jump and by the performance. As Leena Aholainen says in her essay, the second would have a very different meaning in this context without the third level – and then there is also the moment of watching the video and what it generated: a kind of moment of a stroke on the canvas in which all the forces represented there regroup themselves and create a ‘line of flight’ from the ‘chaotic’ lines, as I said at the beginning.2

And you are right, ‘its own terms’ are of vital importance. Why? Because the Jump did not emerge out of nothing. It can’t be separated from the potentiality of our lives, through which we may encounter chances, others, and either lose or gain in combinations. None of this happens by itself, but rather creates its own ‘problem’. To create our own problems is to climb back to ‘the origin without an origin’ to touch, not a chaos in which we would disappear, but a movement that gives us consistency. That is why what happened in Factory 798, and on our journey, is something that cannot be reached by spatial successions, historical facts or a succession of presents – first jump, second jump, third jump etc… this is what happened in Helsinki, this in Moscow, this on the train… – just like the arrow in Zeno’s paradox is motionless at every point of its trajectory and seems to annul the reality of motion and change. Movement, or copoiesis as you call it, is betrayed every time it is approached as the relation between mere actual elements or as a succession of presents or motionless cuts, or, in other words, when time (duration) is mistaken for space, or memory for states of consciousness that are separate and external to one another.

So asking ‘Why the Jump?’ is not a question of causal relations, of causes and effects, of pinpointing reasons. It is rather to acknowledge this ‘space of copoiesis’ or ‘time of mutation’ without which we cannot create and become actively, without which our journey also remains a little more than a reactive series of sequential sensations. Without a ‘matrixial’ metaphysics or memory as the force that keeps what-is-no-longer in that-which-is, without memory as duration, the world would be forced to start over from scratch every instant. Without this fertile succession that contracts before and after all sensations, Luca’s sensitivity would have amounted to simple excitation. It is a question of explicating the ability of copoiesis or the structure of change.

Bracha: As I said in Beijing, the artwork processes a matrixial time where a memory of oblivion that can’t be otherwise processed finds its space. Artworking is sensing a potential coemergence and co-fading and bringing into being objects or events, processes or encounters that sustain these metramorphoses and further transmit their effect. Art evokes further instances of trans-subjectivity that embrace and produce new partial subjects, and makes almost-impossible new borderlinking available, out of elements and links already partially available in bits. These are going to be transformed in ways that can’t be thought of prior to artworking itself, on the way to shifting with- in-to the screen of vision inside the tableau. In art today, trauma and virtual matrixiality more then phantasm determines the trajectory of what is, out of art, a forever no-time and no-place. Art links the time of too-early to the time of too-late and plants them in the world’s time.

Akseli: So, if copoiesis is the place of mutation or a potential transport station, as you call it, then it must be that which differs, not from something else, but internally from itself, or which, in other words, changes. Change is here not change between two different states of affairs, but it itself takes on a substantial nature without any need to presuppose something else, like a changing object. To say that copoiesis is change, is to say that it differs with itself internally: the difference, the change itself becomes a unity of substance and subject, a causa sui, that is, a substance that is the cause of itself. That is why copoiesis does not need anything outside itself, a reason, a cause, a meaning, no kind of external mediation for the support and guarantee of its existence. This makes it absolute. And it does not mean any kind of confusion, chaos or indeterminacy, because the elements and relations are with one another in a completely determined whole, but this whole is just not actualized as such. So we need to avoid the temptation to give the elements of copoiesis an actuality that they don’t have, and deny them the reality that they have. Instead, that the Jump as a work of art emerged out of nothing, or was reactive, or that existence was merely added to a possibly existing thing, the actualization is the creative taking place of things.

Bracha: The creative taking place of encounter-events I would say. A sense of danger, mixed up with immense joy, immediately started to build up, and with it, an intensive appeal to transform the moment and give it a new meaning, or a memory as you say, based on the unconscious of the voyage itself. It seems to me that Luca, you and I shared this urge for another meaning. Aesthetical and ethical knowledge could arise only through working it through and acting it up, or climbing up to ‘it’ and giving some visage to the foreclosed and the virtual. Thus, what we see on the video was born. Now some people became extremely aggressive and also expressed a lot of fear and domineering emotions; the questions asked were: ‘How does Luca dare to enter the work of an artist who was not there to give his consent?’; ‘Who gave the permission to do it?’; ‘Why did Bracha encourage him?’; ‘Why did Akseli protect him?’; and ‘Why did we enter the private room and not remain in the public gallery?’; ‘Why did Luca mess with the work of art of others?’. Luca was aggressed, then you, then me. Later in the night, watching the video, I was the focus of the attack because it was easier for some people to see Luca as a drunk and therefore as the object and not as the subject of his acts, and me as a theatre-director and not as a subjectivizing vector. I know that Luca was not an object, but the subject of his acts, but for a time-space to become a subjectivizing scene a compassionate hospitality is needed – ours and the artwork’s. And this was making us strong and very fragile. Through participating in a larger subjectivity and in allowing us to participate in a larger subjectivity, individual borderlines opened up and copoiesis was working-through.

After the first jump, you became worried and asked me to close the door. You thought, and you were right, that some of the people around will not tolerate Luca’s jump, but we made the choice on the spot to transform, together with Luca, this second potentially traumatic event of transgression into an artistic performance, within which even the aggressive reactions will acquire another dimension and be recontextualized. It was quick, no time to think, it was thinking-and-knowing as feeling-and-affecting, it was affective transmission, reattunement and cooperation. I didn’t really foresee that the reactions would be so aggressive, because for me Luca’s first jump was a reaction of love, and my joining both of you instantly and the Jump were about love, not about crossing the private borders of another artist but sharing in the artwork’s generosity.

For me a work of art, any work of art, is a string of generosity by definition. A work of art is a gift. Watching the video, I couldn’t believe that this flow of generosity that I was trusting so joyfully could turn into something that everyone is blaming. The decision to transform the performative moment into an artistic performance had ethical and aesthetical dimensions all along, and in it the ethical compassion towards the other and the arising borderlinking in trans-subjectivity and the emergence of matrixial responsibility were crucial. You and I turned our wit(h)nessing into sovereign subjective positions, and Luca turned his reaction into a sovereign acting, in jointness.

Akseli: ‘Wit(h)nessing’ captures something important in the structure of change.

Bracha: The participation of partial subjects within a trans-subjective matrix is important for the understanding of the meaning of change in copoiesis. The whole event goes together, we all felt concerned and responsible, concerned for Luca and concerned for the event, and responsible for the other and for an event we didn’t initiate – that we wit(h)nessed – that’s in matrixial terminology. The artist becomes responsible for an event she didn’t produce, and by joining in and transforming it into an artistic working- through, the original event of the other or the cosmos, which can be traumatic for the other or for a world, becomes a source of meaning and knowledge within a joint psychic sphere and for whoever can join this sphere immediately or later on. This is, for example, the sense of my painting within traces of images of traumatic war events. This is also at the heart of my works of conversation and notebooks. The link between aesthetical working through and ethical working-through (which is the psychoanalytical healing practice) is at work in the working of art. A strange responsibility it is: to take responsibility for the other in the other, for a world in the world, for the cosmos in the cosmos, and to embrace the virtual matrixiality accessed to you – based on a kind of illogical knowledge of the other in the other and the cosmos in the cosmos. Such was even our shared knowledge in the cigarette work, the knowledge that this work is assuming its own consequences, that it is there for this: for someone else to enter it.

I somehow felt that I must take on board the responsibility for transforming Luca’s jump, as well as the fear and aggressivity that started to build all around Luca, so that this event would not end up in aggression and expulsion like the group’s first transgressive event: the drunkenness of K. The rejection of K., and following that his losing his papers, symbolic of the loss of the self and the losing one’s face by public rejection, was the group’s first trauma, its unconscious primal sin. A transgressive behaviour, the crossing of private borderlines, in a group that is there to work on the issue of crossing borders, became a reason for exclusion and expulsion. I view this event as a traumatic founding event that transformed anonymous individuals into a group with an already traumatic history: an unconscious founding event of the group as a group, that followed the conscious establishing of the voyage of a group as a work of art. As the experience went on, few projects became non-defensive parts of the co- emergent evolvement itself: for me the most important in these terms was the Mobicasting work (Adam Hyde, Netta Norro and Sophea Lerner), which was transformative as they mixed together ideas and visions evolving in the group, and Helen Grace’s work, who was filming the group itself and putting together thoughts coming from different members, putting also visions and ideas together, and, personally and surely somehow partially and privately my own notebooks work, asking and taking notes and signing all the time what people thought art is – working through these ideas to raise the consciousness and bring out more ideas together. So, these and many other ongoing encounter-eventings took place in the moving and with the moving and for the moving. There were surely other influencing threads, Brett Neilson’s and Ned Rossiter’s ongoing reflections for example, but I am not able to articulate anything about all the different significant interventions for the moment.

But the first trauma of the group, its primal sin, was doomed to be repeated. There is an interesting photo in the set, where we are with Luca arriving at the hotel in Moscow, and if you look carefully, K. is there with a mask on his face. The second transgressive event could also have become a simple repetition of a similar traumatic moment, with transgression plus fear, aggression and finally some kind or another of silencing and exclusion. This time, the crossing and transgression was of spaces. The group couldn’t tolerate the blurring of the borders between a private space and a public space, as formulated by some. A transgressive borderspace was forbidden. To transform the jump from an event that arouses fear, shame, guilt and aggression, and has a private intra- psychic meaning, into a transformative event with inter-subjective and trans-subjective meaning, the Jump as materialization of a virtual matrixial unconscious net, reattunement was needed, but also an ethical acting-decision and aesthetical working- through: to turn the impulsive and compulsive reaction from a repetition and reaction into a subjectivizing event and a work of art with its own parameters with what looks at first sight like a stage or scene, stage-directors, an act, a few acts, an actor, a few actors, a photographer, and also a video documentalist, all an event supposedly needs in order to be taken out from within the limits of the individuals involved and be turned into an oeuvre. But not even all these elements necessarily make a work work. When I started to take photos, asking Luca to jump again, to stay there longer, to jump again, etc., when you started to rearrange the place as a stage, this was almost an instant drive that followed the instant drive of Luca. But it took the joint dancing of few bodypsyches, a copoiesis like that of a musical dance, connecting Luca, you, myself, and Steffen, who joined in suddenly at the end of the second jump, to transform what had already taken place inside someone’s (Luca’s) mind and was acted out, into an artistic working- through with the second and third repetitions as a joint event that needed the body- psyches of each participant to be in unconscious attunement with one another and to create a shared psychic camera obscura with poietic and healing potentialities. This is coemergence, copoiesis and cofading. It transformed Luca’s act into a matrixial encounter-event that became Jump. And it worked. From that moment on, even the fear and the aggression became a part of the artistic performance. And later on, with Leena and others, the long discussion into the night about the meaning of art, of ethics, what is ethical, what is a work of art, what is private and what is public, modernism, postmodernism, etc, based on the video shots taken by Steffen – and involving people who were not physically there, but who viewed the performance in the video – was already the reaction not to the jump but to the video which is a part of Jump. The work of art Jump in question was not the basin of smoked cigarettes, and not the first jump that was still a personal reaction, but the copoietic videoed duration itself. What matters is the event, the repetition of the event as performance art, and the repetition of the performance as performance art, the video, and all that followed from that moment on – the discussion, the conversation.

For me the fact that suddenly Steffen was there taking a video of the event was a part of the matrixial unconscious web that was woven slowly during the voyage itself and attracted us all to articulate this web as an artistic event, unknowingly. I didn’t know that he was there and filming the second and third jump until later in the hotel. He did, however, work hard; insist on interviews after the Jump and before the night-long discussion. Steffen played an important role in the first trauma and expulsion. It is therefore no wonder to me that unknowingly he was drawn to this particular copoiesis and became a part of it as a wit(h)ness to it and the producer of the filmed traces of the whole performance. He was surely working-through and perhaps understanding for the first time the meaning of his active part in the production of the first trauma. He was perhaps working towards understanding and reparation, and was wit(h)nessing with us, something that the ethical side of this performance as a work of art was offering. The fact that you two could, immediately after the performance, discuss the expulsion of K., as seen on Video 23, points to this as one of the lines of flight.

Akseli: A Crane Dance, we refer to its necessity as a way out of the labyrinth in which there are no visible landmarks or set cardinal points also in the introduction to the project as a whole.4

I also think that responsibility is essential here, not responsibility for the other, or for K.’s behaviour, but for intuition, joy and its expansion. Responsibility to escape destiny, to take our destiny into our own hands. I also think that the key to reaction and action is here, which is also to say that let’s be careful about the ‘cause’ of what happened: I am sure that the Jump overstepped its own time, it was untimely, unzeitgemäβ, in the sense that Nietzsche talks about it: it didn’t emerge out of history, the already-happened, which cannot be affected and is outside the human being. This untimeliness is necessary for creation. For to create we need to step outside of our own time, out of the demands and requirements of society, out of the necessity to communicate and respond to the demands of the age. This is also the way I understand the potential nature of copoiesis: it may produce outcomes or effects in the state of things, but it is never reducible to its outcomes, products or effects. It has no beginning or end; it is without a cause and a subject. The one who does and what is done, the active and the passive, cannot be distinguished at that level, it does not have any particular content, cause or task; it can’t be divided, partitioned or represented. It is there from where the Jump as a work of art originated. And it was with the Jump that a sudden possibility to climb back there emerged, a possibility to jump beyond our limits. And here I would also like to refer what you said in Novosibirsk about the uncertainty of this ‘transport’.5 That is why I don’t think we can do Jumps by listening to others, which is precisely how the preconditional, the preorganized ‘facts’ and communicative requirements work on us. The feelings of sorrow and disappointment originate in our inability to use our powers, they express submission and powerlessness. Joy is the opposite of sorrow. If sorrow is the reduction of our activity and capacity, and originates from withholding powers, from eyeballing the ‘cause’ or the ‘subject’, then joy is always the multiplication of our capacity and an extension of our powers by addition. Joy does not focus or contract powers, but expands them. There is no investment in joy; it does not proceed through ‘the other’. Luca’s jump was joyous directly, we were joyful directly. Joy does not reduce or weaken our power. When we encounter something that is right for us, we link to it, combine with it and devour it. What we were before fuses with what we have encountered and becomes part of a greater and more extensive subjectivity.

Bracha: In Video 8 and Video 96 I explain how one knows in the other, indeed something very different from communicating or proceeding through the other or through the self. Joy was there, I knew it in you and in Luca, even though you weren’t maybe able to feel it on the spot because other vectors, necessary for the event, were known in a stronger way by you. I would therefore say: responsibility for jouissance and for trauma as well. All these vectors were there, carried from one another and from elsewhere and nowhere, and creating the transformation into an art-event. Joy was there, but if it weren’t for that particular matrixial web it wouldn’t have appeared like that on the video. This is freedom, as Luca felt and expressed it, and it involved what I call co- response-ability. Subjects, objects, actors, etc., should be viewed, from this perspective, as the redispersion of trans-subjectivity in and by different partial subjects.

Here is what I wrote in my notebook on the 7th of September, before all this happened: ‘The machine of social communication eats it all. Compassion is the only resistance to the power-manipulation machines. Compassion is the ethical opening, and also the possible response. You can’t command it. You can’t falsify it. But you can work yourself through to become more and more compassionate in attitude as well as by the aesthetical practice of fascinance with others (toward the other). The psychological practice is a compassionate practice, and the painting process is a practice of compassionate fascinance with moments of horror and bewilderment of other sister human beings.’

This is one of the points: in the matrixial sphere on the aesthetical and ethical level it is possible to take responsibility for the other in differentiation-in-jointness, by which the other is never total Other. I felt an appeal to take responsibility for the first ‘sin’ and for what Luca is doing, and by this, in compassion towards the two transgressors, you are transported to a sphere where reasons and communication don’t matter, where the already transforming potentiality works to create-while-transforming an encounter- event. Or, like what you see in the video, you are starting to discuss with Steffen about K., which is a beautiful moment, entirely nuanced, mellow, delicate, unfinished, and of course very relevant somehow, with no particular reason, no beginning, no end. It somehow goes together with my assumption that the trauma was in the air or within the web. Or like you defended Luca, saying that he always liked cigarettes, and so on…, I mean you were there and really supporting Luca and explaining that he liked to smoke, and this enabled Luca to do many things, not because this was a ‘true reason’; this – and not the fact that somebody said ‘jump!’. Luca was also letting himself do it again because by the second and third takes he was already compassionately held by our affective fascinance, and he was therefore already a part of copoiesis and not anymore in the realms of reaction or repetition. This is why our work of art, and his performing as a part of a work of art started after the first reaction. So, when one starts thinking about irrelevant questions like ‘authorship’ one misses the point of coemergence, though the difference between individuals on other levels (like the self-identity level) is not denied and choice is not erased. Freedom begins there. Co-emergence is not easy to admit, it means the giving up of all kinds of powers (of limits, boundaries, of self), and it therefore usually remains invisible. Or it is ignored and foreclosed. What is so beautiful in the Jump is that the borders between any definition and who’s contributing what, and why, are entirely blurred. There was never one reason anyway, metramorphosis was working its borderlinking within and between webs – this is one of the points. The point of copoiesis as the emergence of ‘the jump as a performance’ is getting more and more clear, no?

Akseli: Yes, I think so too. An organization without ends and subjects, that is one of the names we also gave to Capturing the Moving Minds.

To tie again the beginning and the end, I was thinking about the ‘original sin’: it is maybe difficult, and not fair, to reduce it all to that and for everybody. Even if at the Moscow railway station I too easily believed that it was a consensus opinion of all. Maybe we could say that the original trauma also included our worry, insecurity, anxiety and fear of not understanding the experiment, being afraid of being just a tourist, not getting something concrete out of it, not being able to handle it, to give up one’s defences and to open oneself to creation. So even more, and especially in terms of Capturing the Moving Mind as a whole, as a work of art, or as an act of resistance, we can move beyond the level of individual body-psyches and that of our particular group. We have to understand that there is more at stake here than just personal inabilities (like the enormous distance between the intellectual desire to cross borders and the emotional incapacity to stand the crossing of borderlines) or private transgressions or self- developments (or their absence).

I mean that today the new controls, or what we have called ‘power over life of the mind’, operate no longer so much with our actual actions in space, but with the possibilities of our thinking and acting, with the possibilities of our entire time of life.7 Our potentiality, which is without any function and always open to change, is subject to pressures that try to subordinate it to the already structured tasks and aims of a particular historical period (like to economic valorization). Thus the question of copoiesis or good life – a life in which our ways and acts of living are never simply facts, but always and above all about creating our own problems, about the possibilities of life – interferes directly with the core of this enterprise. Either we submit to ‘creation’ within already set questions and limits, and allow our lives to be ‘put to work’; or we create our own problems, our own forms of life. So what I am trying to say is that the Jump and how you understand art and this voyage as a work of art, and the critique of capitalism, must today be seen as the same thing. The ethical has become directly economical and political, we have moved from being between aesthetics and ethics to being between aesthetics and politics. What is at stake is not just this or that historical fact, or this or that injustice, but the ability and structure of copoiesis as such.

Bracha: For me, art will always escape organization, and the vibrating strings between ethics and aesthetics will always escape the political, while forming and informing it. The best photo as a still for me is Luca with a dirty face and his hands up. Especially in the context of ‘war’ and ‘resistance’, as you said already at the beginning of the conference. Having your hands up, on the other hand, being dirty and ambiguous, is a very strong image and in a sense more enigmatic, more problematic, and for all of us it is perhaps an important ambiguous image. It takes us further away from the question of tobacco, which is not important, and it puts the emphasis on the journey, the trip, the peoples, the issues, and takes us to the question of the group journey as performance, what is art, what is surrendering, what is freedom and how self-relinquishment is connected to freedom and resistance – and what is courage.

Language editing by Mike Garner.

The artist & author:

Bracha L. Ettinger is an artist, psychoanalyst and feminist theorist. She is a professor of psychoanalysis and aesthetics at the University of Leeds and a visiting lecturer at Bezalel Art Academy, Jerusalem. Her latest book, The Matrixial Borderspace, is in print with University of Minnesota Press, 2006.
E-mail: brachale@zahav.net.il

The author:

Akseli Virtanen is a philosopher and organizational activist based in Lohja, Finland. He is a co-curator of the ‘Capturing the Moving Mind’ project within the ARS06 exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland.
E-mail: akseli.virtanen@hse.fi

___________

1 See Bracha L. Ettinger’s article ‘Copoiesis’ in this issue as well as Ettinger’s essays in Poiesis VI, 2004 and Poiesis VII, 2005.

690

2 See Leena Aholainen’s article ‘Resisting Death’ in this issue.

3  See Video 2 by Steffen Böhm at http://www.ephemeraweb.org/conference/framework/jump.htm

4  See the Introduction to this issue.

5  “The place of art is for me the transport-station of trauma. A transport-station that more than a place is rather a space that allows for certain occasions for occurrence and for encounter that will become the realization of what I call borderlinking and borderspacing in a matrixial trans-subjective space by way of experiencing with an object or process of creation.” Ettinger L., B. (2000) Artworking 1985- 1999. Ghent: Ludion.

6 See the videos by Steffen Böhm at http://www.ephemeraweb.org/conference/framework/jump.htm

7 See Akseli Virtanen and Jussi Vähämäki’s article ‘Structure of Change’ in this issue.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top