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    • SELF / Throughout the block each participant develops a self-interviewing practice. The self-interview develops through the individual 'journeys of practices and researches'. During opening week we will introduce possible strategies for self-interviewing and start up the process. During the End Week we will share our results or work in progress. (for inspiration (and fun)... https://youtu.be/o51RdZBsv0w)

      PEER / On top of the dedicated mentoring and the self-interview practice you will also mentor - and be mentored by -a peer participant who will follow you throughout the whole block. You meet with each mentor (at least) twice throughout the block.

      This list shows the chains of  mebtorings: A mentors B, mentors C ...

       Mentored byMentoring
      Isabel Burr RatyThiagoVanja
      Thiago AntunesKleoniIsabel
      Ricardo Santana (PhD)VeronicaEsteban
      Esteban DonosoRicardoKleoni
      Tinna OttesenHektorMavi
      Mavi VelosoTinnaYaari
      Yaari ShalemMaviHektor
      Hektor MametYaariTinna
      Audrey CottinVanjaAdriana
      Kleoni ManousakisEstebanTiago
      Vanja SmiljanicIsabelAudrey
      Marta Verónica Cruz CamposAdrianaRicardo
      Adriana La SelvaAudreyVeronica

    • postgraduate program
    • Untouchable/Unacceptable/Intangible
    • UNTOUCHABLE/UNACCEPTABLE/INTANGIBLE about the imaginative aesthetics of change
      01 August 2015
      posted by: Nicolas Galeazzi
    • 01 August 2015
    • CURATED BY ELKE VAN CAMPENHOUT & NICOLAS GALEAZZI & PIERRE RUBIO
    • case of: Pierre Rubio
    • UNTOUCHABLE/UNACCEPTABLE/INTANGIBLE

       

       

      What is the possible relationship between art and social change? When forced into the corner of economic demands on the one hand and the need for aesthetic subversion on the other, a lot of artist workers feel the need to defend their ‘right to be’ through critical strategies and political transparency. In defence of the power of aesthetics this block tries to pry open the difficult paradox between criticality and imagination, between the power of the subject and the passive resistance of the object, between political critique and artistic re-imagineering strategies.

      In a famous essay, Isabelle Stengers borrows from Dostoevski, through Deleuze, a conceptual character : the Idiot. Stubbornly believing that “there is always something more important”, the Idiot slows everybody down and consequently opens ‘interstices in the soil of good reasons’. During this block, we will use this Idiot figure as a conceptual totem, ‘in the presence of which’ we might challenge our aesthetic certainties and ethical values.

      Over the past decade a renewed interest occurred in the arts in practices that have been labelled as ‘neo-animism’, ‘neo-shamanism’, ‘object oriented performance art’, ‘speculative’, etc.... These movements seem inseparable from the general crisis of modernist avant-garde forms of art that, one way or another, based their authority on the exclusive reference to progress, universality, authoritarian formalism, self-referentiality, critical conceptualism and so on and so on.... In that sense they announce a large and deep unfolding crisis, because one does not get rid so easily of the Modernist agenda of aesthetic and political concerns that has served as a compass for the Euro-American art scene since its unfolding at the beginning of the 20th century. Nevertheless, a necessary crisis, because the aesthetic mind frames of the current arts scene are blind to the actual novelty of the current era, marked by a reevaluation, through practice, of the models of production of aesthetics and subjectivity.  New models that pose a threat to the accepted contemporary artist identity and its well-defined role within society. "New Age fabulation!, Idiotic!, Superficial!, Overly therapeutical!, Dangerously spiritual!, Fuzzy dreams!, Pseudo-Metaphysical!, Not serious enough!…", a whole bunch of despising critiques erupt regularly. Mocking what produces discomfort and what demands a redefinition of the ways one reads art and ultimately of who one is.

      Here in a.pass, when we practice and discuss the outcomes of aesthetic speculations, of magical practices and of spiritual performativity, it is because these practices/modes of thought are too often defined as purely utopian, ineffable, abstract or just disconnected imaginations unable to get a grip on reality. In response, we want to consider them as forms of agency, concerns, as localized potentialities. The sense we can make out of such unacceptable, untouchable, intangible proposals are linked to their consequences, to the modifications in the understanding of the present they perform.

      Animating objects to animate our agencies.
      Fictionalising  the real as a critique to produce alternatives to ideology.
      Speculating on the impossible to construct a possible.
      Considering imagination not as escapism but as an operative vehicle for change.

      The unacceptable reveals the limitations of the acceptable.
      The untouchable foreshadows the adventurous discovery of difference.
      The intangible offers a speculative sense towards the radically other.

       

      Pierre Rubio, March 2015

    • INTRO:

      Elle sings:

      i am free to give

      what anyway isn’t mine

      the energy i suck from the earth

      and breathe back into the other,

      i am free to embody the powers of this city

      oscillating with ideas

      that enter my bloodstream and exit my body

      amplified, ordered, and displaced,

      i am free to vibrate with the desire of the other

      that lets me discover my soul, my knowledge and my being

      i am free to let go of fear of losing

      what anyway wasn’t mine:

      the identities i share with so many others

      the security blankets of opinion, belief and good taste.

      i am free not to be bound

      by my dependence on respect, affirmation and flattery

      i am free to be what i anyway always was:

      a wave, a thought, a vessel or a tree.

       

      Elke (a.pass researcher):

      Elle, with the new project ‘Mobile MNSTRY’ you again tackle some of the issues you have been dealing with in your extended project Bureau d’Espoir already for some years: the recuperation and embrace of practices and terms that have been categorized, marginalized and recuperated by capital strategies.

      For example: you worked on the mobilization of the concept of ‘anorexia’ in the Hunger and Anorexic practices as tools for rethinking our relation to the consumption of food, and our own place in the ‘food chain’ of capitalism. You worked in ‘Battery’ on the embrace of circumstances that are considered detrimental to the ‘healthy’ development of the individual: 21 days of imprisonment, hunger and lack of private space as a spiritual-aesthetic machine for the production of hope and change.

      Now you propose the Mobile Monastery: a practice that is based on rethinking the monastic rule, the disciplining and deep experience of the everyday, introducing ‘poverty’ and social service (karma yoga) into the practice. Your proposals all seem to verge on the extreme, uncomfortable, and frankly, possibly moralistic. How do you plan to make this collective practice seem inviting to collaborators.

       

      Elle:

      Although it is often perceived as such, my practice is not one of asceticism. It is rather a practice of finding pleasure, or even liberation, in reducing the overall demand for entertainment and ‘keeping busy’ that order our daily realities. If I introduce the ‘poverty’ demand to the temporary monks in the MNSTRY, this is not so much an act of moralistic self-deprivation, as it is an invitation for an active and vitalizing rethinking of our relationship and dependence on money: on subsidies, a steady income, a minimum requirement of comforts and ‘good circumstances’ to work and produce in.

      A lot of our thinking as artists and citizens is based on a conscious or unconscious fear to fall out of the grid of organized society, to become invisible to the powers that matter. What the Mobile MNSTRY proposes is to do exactly that. To live without everything we think we need to be able to ‘live’, work, enjoy life, stay connected. By giving up on these things, we are able to install other connections to the city, the environment, our practice and other people. By taking away the markers of our social position (identity card, money, private space), we enter into another reality. A reality marked by a collective discipline, a shared purpose, an outward orientation. Together we rethink what it means to be alive: what kind of practices can keep us not only alive, but also charged, and aware of each other and the outside world.

      The Mobile MNSTRY (which you can read as Monastery, but also as Ministry, or Monster-y), is an exercise in pragmatic ritualism: it opens up a space and time to reorganize our attachments and preconceptions to capital values. To make space for other ways to mobilize time, space and artistic practice, away from the confinement of the studio, the artistic workspace. To test our knowledges on another playground of society: to see what it is we can do with what we think we believe in.

      Elke:

      You could say that you try to rethink the economies of desire that rule our everyday lives. Making use of very diverse practices borrowed from spiritual body work, inventive object design, philosophical reconceptualization and artistic practice experience. But at the same time this ‘economic liberation’ is presented as quite a disciplining practice: proposing collective day rhythms, the denial of private space, limited resources to work with. In that sense, your practices might also seem old-fashioned, frugal, and out of tune with the individual freedom of the artist/collaborator/citizen to fill in their lives in a flexible, creative and singular way.

      Your collective practice environments seem to stand in stark contrast to the contemporary ideology of flexibility, choice, individual creativity. In the arts field, in particular, any sense of pre-set rules or limitations to the practice are often labeled as ‘power games’ or even as ‘fascist’, a word that seems to fit any kind of disciplined practice these days.

      Elle:

      Yes, but this term has also been hollowed out by its frequent, uncritical use. Funnily enough, it lost its meaning exactly through the banalization of the term in so-called critical discursive environments that, by seeing fascism everywhere, actually disempowered the term completely. If fascism is everywhere, then actually it becomes life itself. If fascism is but a strategic stab in an intellectual debate to disarm the opposition, there is no serious consideration for the all-too-real context in which fascism took form as a societal transformational power. Such a ‘metaphorization’ of the term, which makes is applicable to all circumstances in which a play of hierarchical oppositions of power are at stake, is nearsighted, and cynical.

      Elke:

      Let’s say that by ‘fascism’ I mean a specific coming together of Beauty, Order and the practice of what I would call the Physical Sublime, that is often created by suffering, or disciplined bodies. Or maybe rather, the dual mechanical and massively reproduced political aesthetic organization that bases itself on Beauty and Order, and produces the violence of exclusion and exhaustion in its wake. Off course this term can not be interpreted separate from its historical contexts, and the often violent mass effects it produced. But whole generations of leftist critical thinkers have grown up in the shadow of the stormy historical heritage of the 20th Century, and their historical awareness of the traps of combined ideology, idealism and organization have made them hyper-sensitive to the telltale signs of power abuse or disbalance, but also of the uncritical embrace of Beauty as a bourgeois pacifier of unrest, revolt or social struggle.

      In the wake of the 20th century, modernisms, fascist and communist critical strategies, a lot of aesthetic strategies have become suspect. Loaded with historical weight: be it romantic escapism, political incorrectness, social exclusion, uncritical acceptance of the bourgeois order, the crash and recuperation of the ideals of the 1960’s, and what more. What has been constructed however, out of the rubble of broken ideals, is a discourse police that has made a significant part of the aesthetic vocabulary off-limits, and brandished as naïve at best, hypocritical or ‘f...t’ in the worst cases.

      My question is now if maybe it is not a time to dive back into that long-forgotten dictionary of terms and see if it is not high time to rescue some of them, reactivate their power, and make them speak out another reality, another world view, than the ones they have been associated with. It is my impression that we have gone through an every-expanding exclusion of possible terms to think our realities, a progressive retreat into the trenches of a politically correct aesthetic-political discourse that is now keeping us hostage to ideas that are no longer capable of creating worlds that we actually would wholeheartedly consider to live in. What critical discourse, or at least, the particular critical discourse I’m addressing now has come to establish (which, to be clear, was not always the case) is a state of feeling constantly under siege, beleaguered and in mortal danger of recuperation of any of our bright ideas by the corporations that be.

      Instead of this kind of Repressive Criticality, or the Discourse Police, I would like to see a new wave of criticism come to be that is mainly creative: a creativity produced through a clarity of practiced conceptualization and experienced practice, that would create realities in its wake. A criticality that would not be afraid of being labeled as naïve, old-fashioned or uncritical. Since, frankly, the Discourse Police has produced a toxic reactionary environment for practicing art and politics, that is blind for the potential of other ways of doing, speaking and creating the worlds we live in.

      Elle:

      Aho. (smiles)

      It is time to reconceptualize our concepts. Not by fleeing from them in horror, but by accepting them in all their confusing associations, radical unsuitedness, and therefore irritating potential. Beauty for me is not about Order, but about Orgasm. Beauty appears at the confluence of the experience of the interior and exterior, the experience of the self expanding into that what seems separate to it. Unlike the fearful trepidation in front of the Sublime, this beauty is nothing if not powerful, energizing, and emancipatory. To know you are connected, you are part of the whole, dissolves the fear of exclusion. Orgasmic Beauty, in that sense, is a tool to overcome alienation THROUGH alienation, a kind of homeopathic medicine. It is overcoming the doctrine of individuality that has captured and narrowed our desires to the handkerchief-size of a self-realization wellness project. I think we can do more with the energy of our desires than this empty craving for self-fulfillment.

      I was just reading this rather interesting paragraph about sexuality, which might clarify what I mean with this orgasmic quality:

      ‘Sex, for its part, likes nothing so much as mixtures. Mixtures of skins, salivas, humors, organs, words to the point of delirium, images, as well; sex makes do with anything, can put everything to use. (...) Sex is not the body. It is even the forgetting of the body. It is what makes us, in jouissance, feel desire, or sadness, excitement, fear, longing - everything about the body that is not ‘the body’, that is, flesh. When the body becomes world, landscape, moor, sand, language, collage, collapse, memory, the entire body is convoked as other than flesh. Other indeed, for it is a matter of otherness, for philosophy as well as for sex. Their history is the same, like two sides of a single coin stamped with the seal of that recognition.’

      Just like Criticality, indeed can be rethought as Creative Clarity, a courageous step into the unknown potential of concepts that are constantly redefined and tested through practice. And this goes for all terms that have been derided, labeled as unfashionable, and banned out of our life practices. ...

      There is a big confusion in my practices indeed, especially around notions of self-organization, freedom and discipline. Off course this is due to the superposition of two different practice ‘myths’: the one of artistic research and creation, and the one of transformational ‘spiritual’ body practices which i started to use as ammunition, as weapons in my struggle to overcome the inertia that was keeping a lot of artists hostage in regard to the workings of contemporary capitalism: they felt their tools, their creativity, their imaginative powers had been largely recuperated by marketing, advertising, and the overall economy of affects that produces desires through the production of ever-more empty containers for the construction of ever-more ‘individualized’ selves. The artist-individual therefore has become wary of his/her ‘individual’ power, since individuality in itself has become suspect as a commercial construction of Capital. And rightfully so.

      What I try to do in my practices is to liberate, to unveil, to come to a nude understanding again of what is the non-produced power of the self. And this can, paradoxically, only be done through the stripping away of the presumed ‘personal’, or ‘hyper-individual’ layers of comportment, habits, and convictions. Temporarily! To make other potentials visible. And as such, to rephrase freedom not as a freedom from, but a freedom FOR. FOR a collective project, for a shared dream, for a collectively supported change.

      BUT, and this is very important to understand: this change is not a collective ideology as the ones that supported the communes and collective of the 1960’s and 1970’s. We do NOT have to agree on the world-supporting myths of political affiliation, religious normativization or economic regularization. At least not in Bureau d’Espoir. We only temporarily agree on a scored practice of time and action. And on linking this practice to an outside world. In this sense the Mobile MNSTRY is not built on stable grounds of conviction. While starting out with a proposed score, throughout the project, this score is bit-by-bit transformed by the collaborators, based on their individual myths and dreams, which we then begin to share through our bodies, and ending up with a monastic score that is probably far detached from the original proposal.

      Elke:

      Do you consider Bureau d’Espoir to be an activist cell? Do you see yourselves as producing instruments, weapons to fight affect capitalization. Are you a Warrior of Desire?

      Elle:

      Why do you ask me things you already know the answer to? Why do you need me as an excuse to say what you can not accept yourself saying? Why is Elle so much alluring, sexy and attractive as figure of flight for you? Why do you distrust your own desire so much you can not allow it to carry your name?

      Elke:

      Last night I spoke my name and there was no one there. The sound echoed in the long corridors but I could feel the house was uninhabited.

      Elle:

      Don’t get mystical on me. Don’t pose fake questions. Don’t play the ignorant. Practice what you know.

      Elke:

      (silent)

      Elle

      (drunk):

      to the gathering of all people that can toast to the liberty that appears out of nowhere.

      to the liberation that doesn’t need anything

      that doesn’t need to be acquired

      but that just appears in the middle of a conversation

      a touch

      a cup of coffee.

      to the enchantment of getting lost in the situation and finding

      there is no place like this place.

      to the flight of folly that connects you to my projections

      to the me i can only be through you

      to the you that is here without expectations

      to the we that will never be formed

      to the air that keeps us from being glued together

      as one big blob sharing everyone’s smells, headaches and anxieties

      to the air that allows me to keep my distance

      to the floor that supports my position

      to the gravity that keeps me down to earth

      to the sky that still hasn’t fallen on my head

      and keeps on not doing so day after day

      to the microbes that keep on digesting my food

      to the hairs on my arms that allow me to feel the wind moving on my skin

      to the hairs everywhere on my body for reminding me i’m an animal

      a rabbit, a deer or a worm. well, maybe not a worm.

      to your unhappiness that reminds me of my own good luck

      to your ravings that tell me i should slow down

      to your madness that tells me i haven’t seen nothing yet

      to the streets that keep cars from crashing into houses, or people, or trees

      to houses that keep people from crushing into each other

      to walls for protecting our privacy

      to carpets for muffling our sounds

      to tables for keeping things from falling on the ground and messing other things up

      and creating chaos

      to clothes for giving me something to imagine

      to no clothes for giving me something to imagine

      to touch for allowing me to live in my imagination … … ...

       

      24 HOURS LATER

      Elke:

      The Mobile MNSTRY is part of a bigger social-artistic neighborhood project, called Re-Commerce, in the commune of Forest. In what way do you consider the MNSTRY to fulfill a social engagement?

       

      Elle:

      The Mobile MNSTRY (Monastery, Ministery, Monster-y) is a collective location project, organised in and around the previous Abbeye of Forest. The MNSTRY will install a temporary (monastic) community that lives and works within a limited area, following a shared time score and accepting the rule of poverty for the duration of the workshop.

      During this time all activities of the MNSTRY will be organised within the public contexts of Forest, and developed as an open invitation to the neighbourhood and passers-by. During the workshop the time score of the MNSTRY will bit by bit start to change: the original ‘monastic’ score will be taken over by the members of the community, who will start to decide on what there is to be done, what we will spend our shared time on, and what is it that is needed today, here, and for whom.

      The workshop is part of the larger project Cité d’Espoir (part of the REcommerce social-artistic initiative, organised by Bains Connective) which develops a constant practice for about six weeks (starting half October) with intense public moments during the weekends. The Mobile MNSTRY starts out with one member and through a call on the internet, the development of the workshop but also through local advertising the community starts to grow.

      The ‘cité’ of the Abbaye will be renamed ‘Cité d’Espoir’ and will house the artists and their guests, supporting their ‘monastic’ practices. Cité d’Espoir will develop into a social meeting place, with a silent space to hang out, daily soup dinners, a library and regular ritual and other activities. The temporary monks start to develop their practices on the basis of poverty, social service and artistic transformation. Neighbours and interested people can pass by to have a personal ritual made for them, but we also want to involve groups and youngsters to develop group public rituals with us, based on their needs and visions. For example, we develop mourning rituals for pets or family members, light rituals for those who can not stand the cold anymore, love rituals for the lonely, political change rituals for the disengaged, etcetera.

      We also give short-term ritual training workshops: how to develop your own rituals, how to gather material for your rituals, based on the Psychomagic methodology of Jodorowsky, or the artistic methodologies of the temporary monks. The silent café in the Cité d’Espoir offers free tea and something, and would become the starting point for all projects. The monks would sleep on the premises and be available most of the time for a talk or a ritual ‘guidance’. On Sundays there is also a kind of ‘service’, which is not religious but only aims at developing an alternative ‘common’ event for the neighbourhood in the margins of the market.

    •  

      (excerpts July 31st 2015)

      -good morning

      -good morning

      -this morning you wrote :

      “On the black and icy waters of the Styx, in the infernal meanders of his arms, Charon's boat progresses about the kingdom of Hades. Aboard the vessel, you, me and a bunch of thinkers and activists, necessarily part of this globalised miserable journey. Of the nature of the swamps, of the depths of the mud in which we sink, of the once renowned magical properties of the river, we have lost track and memory. Sondes throwers more than prophets, advancing in the midst of experiments, we clumsily try to offer a tentative guidance...”

      very nice introduction text, very promising…

      you seem to work well in the morning, are you a “morning person”?

      -yes, I always understand better, even difficult texts if I read them, study them, in the early morning.

      I wake up, drink a coffee or two and immediately open a book and read and… understand it most of the time. And it’s the same concerning writing… words come more clearly… sentences, ideas, articulations… yes I am definitivly a morning person…

      -why do you think it is like this?

      -I am less afraid and stuck by the blank page in the morning because I feel like a blank page myself.

      -like a virgin…

      -yes like a virgin… touched for the very first time… you made me feel shiny and new...

      It’s a precious feeling and the very appropriate moment for me to work before the world imprints itself on me.

      -”imprinted”, what do you mean?

      -I am very quickly and deeply affected by things, things that appear in front of me, things that happen, objects, events, news, conversations, all problematics that the people I work with are busy with… all sort of things that want to enter into dialogue with me, populate me, occupy me and affect me so much…

      -why?

      -because they cry to be taken seriously, they insist for being articulated... sometimes they hate each other and ask me to become the referee, sometimes I have to get them around a negotiation table and perform the role of a diplomat, they… it’s like I catch any kind of information and try to make sense with everything...

      I am everyday in a titanic effort to articulate all kind of singular heterogeneities…

      -you speak about things like you would speak about persons…

      -yes, the all-kind-of-things are part of a fabric, a stuff that is in the making all along my day. This stuff is kind of alive, like a coral colony formed by organisms forming a hyper organism.

      -do the things talk to you? do you hear voices?

      -oh yeh… a lot of voices… they occupy me… I feel occupied by several entities

      -do you consider yourself as schizophrenic?

      -oh yeh… very much… sometimes I don’t feel possessed anymore, I AM possessed

      -is it a good thing?

      -oh yeh… I do believe that’s one of the best way to make sense!

      -you often use the that expression “make sense” or “making sense”, why and what do you really mean by that?

      … … … … … … ...

      what do you want to begin with, then?

      polishing lenses?

      objects as machines to be mapped out, deconstructed and rebuilt?

      objects as machines whose gravitational organisations should be read and then changed to free movement?

      objects as machines to be assembled differently to create new ecologies?

      are you a machine?

      why our magic should spellbind people?

      critical dark moments?

      which concrete outcomes after these “magic” months?

      was it all about magic?

      how to queer but avoiding 'system building', 'moral injunctions' and 'political correctness'?

      is magic putting an end to any discussion or criticism?

      what do you mean by beautiful?

      what do you mean by magic?

      what do you mean by affect?

      what do you mean by desire,

      what do you mean by care?

      what do you mean by being changed?

      what do you mean by risks taken?

      what do you mean by magic powers?

      what do you mean by powers of magic?

      what do you really want?

      do you do what you want?

      do you want what you do?

      you seem quite focussed on the Bermuda triangle Spinoza,Deleuze,Guattari, why them again? why them now? 

      putting into practice the concepts of “Sadness decomposing relations” and “Joy composing more relations”?

      is it really necessary to feel this fear to learn how to defeat capitalism and its obscene trade with death?

      evil spell? curse? aren’t you performing the anti-capitalist drama queen?

      remove the fingers out of our nose to smell the real shit?

      do you think that, like at the end of the sixties, we have to “set fire on reality itself”? is it still possible?, imaginable?

      what do they mean by “reconnecting desire and reality”?

      considering seriously our works as medicines?

      what do you mean by “the only thing to do is to construct apparatuses that will stimulate self-healing”?

      why is it necessary to affirm again that 'another world is possible'?

      what do you mean by “new affects” and “new joys”?

      doing whatever but methodically?

      why do we need to produce new joys?

      producing new lives, really?

      today, it seems not possible anymore NOT to see the coexistence of a plurality of worlds, how to practically deal with that idea?

    • Thiago’s Self-interview I write in Italic. I make the questions. Sometimes I explain things for you, the one who reads. I am a bit smarter than the others, but I don’t have a color. I am… I am a recorded voice transcripted. I am another voice, written. I have this yellow light behind me, as you can see. So, what is your research about? My project is about a creation of a game that discuss and is inspired by… the bureaucracies that migrants have to undergo when they try to live regularly in Europe. I am not certain if it is a research about something. Or instead a research through something. The fact is that this research is interested both in the performative language of games and in the migration policies that sometimes look like games. The games are not only a mean to address something, they are also object of the research. When you say game, do you mean video-game? No it’s a game that happens in a space. In the real space with people. And, it could be like a role playing game (RPG). Actually it is a RPG, because each player has a specific role in the game. And… It’s a game based on acting. It’s strategic and also theatrical. So, people have to choose to what places they go, and how they perform in each one of these places, and then afterwards they conquer or they lose… the possibilities to get the document. No, it’s a live game, and it is a role playing game. It’s both strategical and performative. Each player has to choose, in each round, which actions they will perform in order to get the documents to stay in the game as much as they they can. Is it a game to train people in how to get documents? Initially it was a game… I had the idea to have this game… I planned to build it on the very exact… Initially, yes. But now, I think it would be interesting to create a game that somehow. It has no end. Or it demolishes itself, or it collapses. I think there is a way to use games to train people, based on the thinking that games are an effective way to teach. My opinion is that games can also be a platform for people to think by themselves, specially if the game offers the possibilities to see a situation from different points of view. For me it is more interesting to create a game like that than only use this language to train people. A poetic game, or a game that comments itself could be an interesting way to provoke the players to find solutions by themselves, to complexify their points of view about a situation that is believed to be completely understood. Or to create interest about a situation that some people would find only boring or distant from their realities. Why do you want to build a game that collapses? Because with this I’d like to… to… to reinforce the non-sense of the system. Otherwise it would be… I think it would be considered like a training for getting documents, and I don’t think it is. Yes, it is useful somehow, it’s still a way to believe that game… That the system is a game that you have to learn how to play. But for me it’s also important to say that the game itself must be criticized. A think we are “gamified” enough. We are educated to follow paths that most of the times are designed to maintain capitalism working, with the promise of self-realisation. This mismatch between the promise and the means to obtain it are how games are structured. The seduction created by a fictionalised reality in order to maintain the functioning of a machine. The political importance of exposing the “game-like” structure of certain political issues can be useful to open spaces between us the and games in which we are involved. So, in this sense, I am more interested in create a game that disempowers the game. An anti-game, or a “game that collapses”. Are you inspired conspiration theories? I don’t understand why are you asking that. But maybe you are trying to insinuate that I see a discrepancy between discourse and practice in the political level, which is obvious, and also that I have some interest by Sci-Fi, which is true. But I don’t identify migration policies with conspiration. I don’t know why I asked that. Ok, no problem. So, what benefit migrants will have in playing your game? I don’t think this game is for making migrants happier or wiser, but to create other possibilities of integration between migrants and non-migrants. Which in a deeper level would take to a discussion about what is nationalism, nationality, what is… what is race. Because underneath this discussion there is a very conservative discussion which defends the autonomy of the countries and the legitimacy of nationals to have access to basic services and to. No, more precisely, there is an instinct of defense of many of the states that avoid integration. This game is against this belief. So it relativizes the… the needs or… the expression… or the assumptions that migrants have to be integrated. Not a shared integration program. I think I am repeating myself. In which way you think a game is the best platform for this project instead of a theatre play? Well, I think a theatre play reinforces… Well, I think there is in my project a desire to create a theatre play a bit more porous. A theatre play that could be played by non-actors. A theatre play that could involve more the audience inside itself. And not just an interactive play but something that people could engage even more, like in a game. And… I have. I have this experiences in playing games with groups that are non-actors, I I could understand with them how things operate in order to train them in very theatrical skills. Even though no one of them were actors or performers. These games were creating a common language for this group of friends. It was important for the creation of specific kind of spirit of community. I think this game could create more integration than a theatre play. But why aren’t ping-pong or football as much or more effective for integration than this game you have in mind? (two weeks later) Maybe yes. But there is something empowering in jocking about a situation that is frustrating or annoying for you. Maybe this hypothetic game could help to create a new understanding about what integration is, or at least, what is not integration. If this game can be hypothetically empowering for migrants, what would be the interest for natives or people who have no initial interest about the discussion about migration? I hope the game can be fun and an opportunity to gather also people interested in theatre, in games, and in arts. But I am prepared to understand that some people can be completely not interested. Which are your beliefs around the migrant? I have read something about that. Octavio Paz was the first, I studied one of his texts during the School, about his experience as an ambassador. It was a course on anthropology and the techer related Octavio Paz and this situation of the migrant with this movie Lost in Translation. I think it was this. It was 1996. More recently I studied Beckett and learned how important was for him to shift his writing from English to French, and to move himself from Ireland to France. Without that he wouldn’t have produced his masterpieces. It was capital for him to express in a foreigner language and to be himself a foreigner. It is deeply present in his texts this condition. All his characters are displaced, they do not belong to the place where they are. And for this reason, they are completely part of the landscape, although, this landscape is completely strange for him. Being human is being foreigner. What is the importance of being funny for you? Isn’t it tragic? Is it ethical to laugh on a subject that is related with death, violence, and exploitation? Would it be more ethical to not talk about it at all?

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      Self interview

      Blue & Black <span
      style='color:#3366FF'>March 2015

      Green & Pink July 2015

       

       

      Why art?

      I like the different ways that art can
      touch someone, it can appeal to the logic, to the body, to something
      untouchable, to that which cannot be explained rationally, it can undress things.
      It can use metaphors or very literal and logical statements and it can do both at
      the same time.

       

      Art is for me the ideal way of accessing
      and creating mythology, something I am very interested in.

      Why? I like very much Joseph <span
      class=SpellE>Campel’s
      explanation on the importance of mythology,
      mythology being that which transcends the individual to the universal, to the
      unseen, to its ultimate potential or vice versa convince him of his superiority
      over nature, of his twisted nature etc., depends on the belief system it
      supports.

      It is a very powerful tool to shape
      reality, according to the mythology people believe in, you shape society and
      vice versa of course.

      In addition to that I am interested in
      mythology because it makes the whole universe alive, the personification of the
      world is not something to be dismissed lightly, by understanding that the river
      has a spirit, a vibration, that it is alive our relationship with it changes
      and it cannot be a commodity anymore.

      It is easier to sell a pair of shoes
      than your friend in a way,

      So there, art is a way to access
      mythology, invent or awaken myths and thus challenge society.

       

      What are you currently working on?

       

      I am trying to create ceremonies. I am
      interested in mythology and particularly fertility and the way mythology is
      changing in our society with the assistance of science.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
      These days I am thinking about the bees
      as the pollinators and also as the creatures that are getting affected through
      the use of pesticides, the development of gmo
      agriculture and the increase of monoculture agronomy, our current commercial
      way of dealing with fertility in farming.

       

      Well in terms of appearance, I have a
      video that I shot in Brazil, that is a form of prayer, I have a pair of new age
      paintings that I hope to continue, there is a barely started macramé piece, and
      a few performances/ rituals that took place the last few months, sliding
      between artistic documentary and ceremonial collective moments.

      In terms of thematic, fertility and
      mythology are weaving the connections.

      Fertility from the physical point of
      view, the earth’s and humans fertile ability, but also fertility in thought and
      in action.  Fertility
      as a way to celebrate life, and the interconnection of the human and the earth.

       

      What do you mean?

       

      Well, with the use of science we can
      control fertility in ways that we were never able to do so before. That I
      believe is changing the way we view life and I am interested in that change.

       

      Well, for example I find that the
      violence that vibrates at this point on earth is a very unfertile <span
      class=GramE>field,
      it stimulates pain, depression, blind anger,
      alienation, death (death not only on the physical realm but also in the
      vibrational realm, like a living dead social body). So I am interested in
      finding ways to reclaim that space and make it fertile.

       

      How?

      Well this is what I am trying to find
      out. By creating collective moments of prayer, by bringing awareness to certain
      acts, by creating a new cosmology, and by understanding what are our needs from
      science.

       

      How did it start about?

       

      Of course there is not one moment, but
      let say my first proposals had to do with Theogony,
      the birth of the Earth from the god Eros (the creative, passionate, sexual and
      sensual force of nature).  Then I
      continued my inquiring on mythology and on contemporary mythologies (<span
      class=SpellE>gmo
      , eugenics, authoritative systems on life), the questioning
      of archetypal memory. For example one of my questions was and somehow still is
      that if we forming our memory and our connection to the primal archaic
      existence through food (among other things) how is this lineage to our ancestry
      affected if our seed loose that memory (with the invention of <span
      class=SpellE>gmo seeds for example).<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes">  How is our own fertility affected when <span
      class=GramE>our the food that we nourish ourselves is sterile? And then
      these questions expanded to the fact that technology is used very much to
      create commodities and a social body that views life as a commodity.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes">  For example we are creating coral reefs
      that can withstand the climate change, gmo is
      proposed as a way to fight the famine of the planet and the overpopulation,
      eugenics as a way to create a species that is more intelligent and can conquer
      the universe, but the real issues on human greed, the distraction of the environment,
      the insanity of colonization are bypassed, because it is too hard to address
      them.

      Etc<span
      style='font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:green;mso-bidi-font-weight:
      bold'> etc etc

       

      And now where do you find yourself?

       

      I am in place that I am wondering how
      the different elements of my work can come together, I am not so much interested
      in that which I find poisonous, (like gmo, eugenics,
      authoritative systems on life) but of what on the beautiful in the potential of
      the human being.

      I have picked up some words that I have
      found interesting,

      Like city shamanism, Joy and Desire, I
      have felt my creative castle falling on the ground, and I am trying to see how
      and what this work means for me, what are the perfomative
      aspects of this act. What is moving forward, and I feel I need a pose for a
      bit.

      I crave spending time in Greece.

       

      Why is Greece important?

       

      It is very important, it is the <span
      class=GramE>mother land
      .

      The smell of my bones.<span
      style='font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:green;mso-bidi-font-weight:
      bold'>

      My interest on the human and mythology
      that I always come back in my work comes from there, the love and the beauty of
      the human being.

      Also I think that Greece at this point
      played the role of unveiling the matrix, this of course we can talk for a
      while…

       

      And what is your trouble?

       

      Well I feel I need to make a leap and I
      am not sure in what direction. Last cycle/block/ season I was saying I do not
      have enough tools in terms of spiritual knowledge and techniques, this time I
      feel the same but in an artistic way.

       

      Why?

      I see this change of genetic control
      as a continuation of our need to control life.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
      And I also think that it calls for
      further authoritative power in our lives. 
      I do not want to live in such a society.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes">   Maybe our need to controlled
      engineering is another blindfold, without dismissing the amazing advances that
      technology is doing, there is a world that treats life as an object, as a
      commodity and the human as the creature that holds authorship in this. If that
      does not change in its base then controlled engineering will become just a way
      to reinforce this attitude.

       

       

      That sounds very confusing

       

      Well the idea that we can choose
      the genetic traits that we desire is a way to control and create
      uniformity.  Remember the 80’s
      haircuts, great but who wants an 80’s hairdo today. It is like the tomatoes,
      there had been a law in the EU until recently that all vegetables need to look
      in a certain way, that created a market that only wanted a specific look in the
      vegetables and everything that did not meet that standard was thrown out of the
      selling basket, without necessary being worse, as a result people prefer to buy
      a tomato that is wrapped in a plastic case and looks “perfect” than a tomato
      that smells like a tomato but has a few marks on it and maybe a hole from a
      warm.

       

      The same can
      happen with gene control. 

       

      It is the way of thinking that
      this selection creates that I want to put into attention.

       

      Is it about Morals then?

       

      I hope that it is not about <span
      class=GramE>morals,
      morals create a hierarchy which is also problematic.

       

      And ceremonies?

       

      I believe shamanism is a
      powerful tool to accessing archaic ways of viewing life.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
      There has been a strong rejection in the
      west of the magical but I think that it is important to be re
      –introduced.

      Shamanism as a science creates a
      different balance in life, that is why I think it is a
      very important tool.

       

      I saw a show recently about the
      Lascaux paintings and there was a 3-D video that illustrated how the cave
      paintings were viewed then.  It was
      this representation were the paintings, which are huge by the way, were lit up
      with fire and the trembling of the fire made them look alive.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
      It made me feel that the way the animals
      were represented made the “visitor” feel in awe towards them. <span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> The paintings, huge over the head of the
      visitors in combination with the darkness of the cave, illuminated only by
      trembling fire, created a mystical environment that glorified these creatures. <span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> I think this point of view creates a
      different balance to life.

      The same way Greek theater was
      used as a tool for democracy.  It
      was presenting the viewer with questions and moral/ethical values,
      it was creating and supporting the society. (sometimes
      in support of the state some times as a critic to it, democratic Greece had its
      flows also)

      This is the value that I am trying
      to find in art I think.

       

      So you want to pass your values
      and ethics?

       

      I do not like the way this sounds,
      but probably yes, you could say that.

      Of course the
      work is created by me
      so it is made by my way of thinking, but instead of
      me passing my values I want to think of it as me creating platforms for a
      collective experience. A place for people to discover and
      bring forth their own ethics.

       

      Why collective?

       

      Well, I find it strange that we go
      to a museum to see a painting and we do not talk to each other.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
      I have had an experience many times of
      being in the museum trying to listen to what the guide is saying, and being
      told off.  I do not understand how
      we can look at art and at the same time be so separate to each other.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes">  This does not hold life in it for me.

       

      What is life?

       

      The highest
      vibration.
      Our
      highest potential.

      Maybe it is not a very clear
      definition but I do not have a better one at the moment.

       

      So you want people to take part in shamanic experiences?

       

      Yes or even better create them.

       

      Do you still believe this?

      Yes and no, I am starting to feel
      the need to even revisit or re-evaluate the word shamanism.

       

      You talked about city shamanism?

       

      Yes, the way I understand this
      term, it is about finding ways in the rural environment, in the industrial
      world, in the cities to connect with the elements of nature. To practice with
      them, to get information from them, to have a conversation in these ecosystems
      that have forgotten about the complexity and the mystery of life and that they
      tent to exclude nature in its wild form.

       

      The relationship to ritual and
      shamanism seems to be very attractive in art these days,
      Do you feel part of it?

       

      J<span
      style='color:green'>
      Maybe this is why I do not like the word shamanism so much.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes">  It is already
      appropriated by the matrix
      . 
      Like anything that could possibly shake the matrix the <span
      class=GramE>idea of shamanism has been quickly adapted by the matrix.

      There is fashion that is inspired
      by shamanism from Zara clothing to high couture tribalism, but it is not very
      interesting in the way that it affects someone’s life.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes">  
      My interest in shamanism, magic
      and ritual is to find tools, relationships, ways of living and creating that
      can be used to connect to the vibrancy of life.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes">  Ways to make reality escape The Given
      structure and bring awareness on the distraction of nature in its raw
      form.  How many people today, how
      many kids have drunk water that comes from the mountain and how often?

      How can we respect our resources
      when we do not know where they are coming from?

      So yes,

      I am interested in bringing those
      values and practicing them within a performance or even more important bring
      those practices in our contemporary life.

       

      Don’t you
      think that this “shamanism” can be a constraint for some people?

       

      It is very possible.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
      But I want my “viewer” to have to take a
      personal risk.

      There is no change happening
      otherwise.

       

      And I would also like to add, I
      find this restriction very very interesting, it is a
      point to be very present!! What is it exactly that makes us feel uncomfortable
      with shamanism, and magic?

       

      So it is about change?

       

      For sure

       

      How do you create these ceremonies then?

       

      Well this is what I am in the
      process of understanding.  I think
      the best way I have found until now is to be open to information to come to me,
      this happens either by using shamanic journeying (accessing other realities
      through the sound of the drum) or signals or random moment of inspiration and
      also by scientific research, which is very difficult to come around maybe the
      most difficult.  I hope soon to open
      that process also to others and try to find collective ways that we can create
      a ceremony.

       

      Well this is what I am in the
      process of understanding.  I have
      been trying different things and now I am at the moment of realizing how it can
      tight up.

      I am interested in leaving enough
      space I think for people to wonder in diverse worlds, I am interested in the
      elements that people can bring in and add to the work.

       

      And your paintings what is
      happening in and with them?

      I started by drawing my shamanic
      journeys, (travelling with the power of your imagination accompanied by the
      shamanic drum to access your reality and find tools to bring to your reality).
      So I would travel and then make a drawing that was somehow inspired by my
      journey.

      The last two are <span
      class=GramE>different,
      they are very much influenced by my recent trip
      to Brazil.

      The rising bird is a calling that
      I think is happening at the moment for a new generation of people that walk on
      the Earth with love and respect.

      This generation is not only our
      kids, it is our selves and our ancestors that still walk through us.

      So the bird is making the calling,
      a calling to the earth. It has elements of different mythologies, some
      conscious some unconscious.

      The second painting with the
      snakes came after, as a way to tame the unbalance or to call for balance.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
      The last weeks I felt that the hunger of
      the monster has been so big that all inhibitions were dropped. <span
      class=GramE>From the Greek crisis, to the public rapes in Africa, to the
      extreme weather conditions and the destruction of the rainforest, to name a
      few.  Sacredness is becoming
      a taboo word, and this is where shamanism, magic, ritual etc
      become important again. As a way to acknowledge the sacredness of life to the
      present to art, to challenge the “rational” thinking, and to affect the emotion

       

      Sacredness?

       

      Yes! Life is sacred. I like a
      definition from Starhawk on sacredness, respecting
      something or someone for its own being.

      The Cycladic phases <span
      class=GramE>that are
      looking at the sun.

       

      So this year you went to Brazil,
      how did it work on you?

       

      Brazil was very playful and my
      time there taught me even deeper the necessity of joy.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
      So in a way it liberated the place from
      which I create.  The idea of
      suffering, of being an artist martyr in order to create left me and creating is
      coming from a place of joy and pleasure. 
      It also brought me back to video art, which I haven’t touched for a
      while!!!  And somehow it’s the first
      time that I am painting just for the sake of painting.

       

       

      Why is scientific research so difficult?

       

      Because it is a very sensitive
      subject and one that is connected with a multi billion dollar industry, so on
      one hand there are business issues that tend to obstruct real information
      coming through, and on the other you have very passionate activism against,
      which also is not very accurate most of the time.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
      So for example it is very hard to find
      information on gmo technology that is detached from
      the companies that are associated with it. 
      On the part of humans there is a strong sentimental part that is also
      hard to overcome, why not make sure that your kid will not will not develop a
      lethal disease and why not overcome sterility, on the other hand there is a
      strong claim that we are overpopulated and that this is causing huge imbalance
      etc.  So it is not an issue that is
      easy to tackle scientifically either.

       

       

      And the city
      life?
      How you see those values stand
      in the city life?

       

      Here I have a conflict.<span
      style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
      There are important choices to make in
      the city from the way we shop, to the way we behave, the way we look at each
      other, our capacity to share love and joy, to keep our vibration high by the
      means that each of us finds appropriate. 
      I see the fight in the city more important or as important as anywhere
      else.  On the other hand I remember
      when I was living in New York, I had a friend that was making fun of my
      vegetarianism, he was asking how living in a city like New York could be an
      ethical choice.  Just the existence
      and sustenance of this city means the death to other life forms.

      It is complicated but urgent. A
      very difficult task

       

       

    •  

       

      This is the time to come together.

      To celebrate what we worked on.

      To transform our preconceptions

      of rituals, of magic, of transformation itself.

      A pilgrimage of the self into the common

      and back again.

       

      This is a transformational journey

      that displaces our relation to our bodies, to nature, to objects

      by recognising the recuperation and commodification

      of these relations by capitalism.

       

      We come together

      To inspire different ways for counteracting

      oppressive operative systems

      of knowledge, love, work, and metaphysics.

       

      We come together

      To create a counter-spell for colonising forces

      that suppress, limit, undermine our natural virtual powers

      to resist, to perform, to be part of the world.

      To create a shared awareness of the recuperation of magic,

      of ritual commodification, of the reduction of everyday life

      by machines of correction,

      perverting our desires,

      crushing our potential selves.

       

      The world is full of magic unaccounted for

      We need to acknowledge its power

      and share it with others to empower their lives and dreams.

      We invite you as helpers, as energetic vessels

      to play with, to discover new ways of being together

       

      The artist can be the poetic warrior

      fighting for power and courage

      awakening the sense of self

      to write his alternative myths on the surface of reality

       

      Tonight we have the opportunity to experience and experiment the no-difference

      between the I that performs, and the you that undergoes

      Not as a closure but as a beginning

      A nudge to push us over the edge

      to allow us to spill over, grow wings

      and launch into transformation.

       

      We celebrate our schizophrenic adaptations

      of foregone cultural debris

      of ritual rumours and phantasies

      into operative practices for today’s crises.

      No exotic imitation

      but inventive re-draftings

      of what it is to be:

      a hybrid magic body

      that reinvents itself and all there is

      every day anew.

       

      We are virtual bodies,

      filled to the brim with knowledge

      we can not grasp through lack of words,

      we can not operate through lack of awareness

      we can not read through lack of skill.

       

      We are virtual bodies

      that have the power to overcome

      the limits of fear, guilt and physicality.

       

      We are beings on the edge of awakening

      generous souls that want to share their transgression

      expanding it over the edges of the precious circle

      into the heart of the matter

      into the matter that matters.

    • I would like to start with a recapitulation of the substantive points made last Tuesday. The purpose of these lectures is to follow the implications of Amerindian "perspectivism": the conception according to which the universe is inhabited by different sorts of persons, human and non-human, which apprehend reality from distinct points of view. This conception was shown to be associated to some others, namely:

      (1) The original common condition of both humans and animals is not animality, but rather humanity;

      (2) Many animals species, as well as other types of "non-human" beings, have a spiritual component which qualifies them as "people"; furthermore, these beings see themselves as humans in appearance and in culture, while seeing humans as animals or as spirits;

      (3) The visible body of animals is an appearance that hides this anthropomorphic invisible "essence," and that can be put on and taken off as a dress or garment;

      (4) Interspecific metamorphosis is a fact of "nature" - not only it was the standard etiological process in myth, but it is still very much possible in present-day life (being either desirable or undesirable, inevitable or evitable, according to the circumstances);

      (5) Lastly, the notion of animality as a unified domain, globally opposed to that of humanity, seems to be absent from Amerindian cosmologies.

      Let us go back to the conception that animals and other ostensibly non-human beings are people.

       

      Animism, or the projection thesis

      You will have probably noticed that my "perspectivism" is reminiscent of the notion of "animism" recently recuperated by Philippe Descola (1992, 1996) to designate a way of articulating the natural and the social worlds that would be a symmetrical inversion of totemism.[37] Stating that all conceptualisations of non-humans are always "predicated by reference to the human domain" (a somewhat vague phrasing, it should be said), Descola distinguishes three modes of "objectifying nature":

      (1) Totemism, where the differences between natural species are used as a model for social distinctions, that is, where the relationship between nature and culture is metaphorical in character and marked by discontinuity (both within and between series);

      (2) Animism, where the "elementary categories structuring social life" organize the relations between humans and natural species, thus defining a social continuity between nature and culture, founded on the attribution of human dispositions and social characteristics to "natural beings";

      (3) Naturalism, typical of Western cosmologies, which supposes an ontological duality between nature, the domain of necessity, and culture, the domain of spontaneity, areas separated by metonymic discontinuity.

      The "animic mode" is characteristic of societies in which animals are the "strategic focus of the objectification of nature and of its socialisation," as is the case amongst indigenous peoples of America. It would reign supreme over those social morphologies lacking in elaborate internal segmentations; but it can also be found coexisting or combined with totemism, wherein such segmentations exist, the Bororo and their aroe/bope duality being such a case.

      Descola's theory of animism is yet another manifestation of a widespread dissatisfaction with the unilateral emphasis on metaphor, totemism, and classificatory logic which characterises the Levi-Straussian concept of the savage mind. This dissatisfaction has launched many efforts to explore the dark side of the structuralist moon, rescuing the radical theoretical meaning of concepts such as participation and animism, which have been repressed by Levi-Straussian intellectualism.[38] Nonetheless, it is clear that many of Descola's points are already present in Levi-Strauss. Thus, what he means by "elementary categories structuring social life" - those which organise the relations between humans and natural species in "animic" cosmologies - is basically (in the Amazonian cases he discusses) kinship categories, and more specifically the categories of consanguinity and affinity. In La pensee sauvage one finds a remark most germane to this idea:

      Marriage exchanges can furnish a model directly applicable to the mediation between nature and culture among peoples where totemic classifications and functional specializations, if present at all, have only a limited yield. (Levi-Strauss 1962b: 170)

      This is a pithy prefiguration of what many ethnographers (Descola and myself included) came to say about the role of affinity as a cosmological operator in Amazonia . Besides, in suggesting the complementary distribution of this model of exchange between nature and culture and totemic structures, Levi-Strauss seems to be aiming at something quite similar to Descola's animic model and its contrast with totemism. To take another example: Descola mentioned the Bororo as an example of coexistence of animic and totemic modes. He might also have cited the case of the Ojibwa, where the coexistence of the systems of totem and manido (evoked in Le totemisme aujourd'hui) served as a matrix for the general opposition between totemism and sacrifice (developed in La pensee sauvage) and can be directly interpreted within the framework of a distinction between totemism and animism.

      I would like to concentrate the discussion on the contrast between animism and naturalism, for I think it is a good starting point for understanding the distinctive stance of Amerindian perspectivism. I will approach this contrast, however, from a different angle than the original one. Descola's definition of "totemism" also deserves some comments, which I shall present for your consideration after contrasting animism and naturalism.

      Animism could be defined as an ontology which postulates the social character of relations between humans and non-humans: the space between nature and society is itself social. Naturalism is founded on the inverted axiom: relations between society and nature are themselves natural. Indeed, if in the animic mode the distinction "nature/culture" is internal to the social world, humans and animals being immersed in the same socio-cosmic medium (and in this sense, "nature" is a part of an encompassing sociality), then in naturalist ontology, the distinction "nature/culture" is internal to nature (and in this sense, human society is one natural phenomenon amongst others). Animism has "society" as the unmarked pole, naturalism has "nature": these poles function, respectively and contrastingly, as the universal dimension of each mode. Thus animism and naturalism are hierarchical and metonymical structures.

      Let me observe that this phrasing of the contrast between animism and naturalism is not only reminiscent of, or analogous to, the famous gift/commodity one: I take it to be the same contrast, expressed in more general, non-economic terms.[39] This relates to my earlier distinction between production-creation (naturalism) and exchange-transformation (animism).

      In our naturalist ontology, the nature/society interface is natural: humans are organisms like the rest, body-objects in "ecological" interaction with other bodies and forces, all of them ruled by the necessary laws of biology and physics; "productive forces" harness, and thereby express, natural forces. Social relations, that is, contractual or instituted relations between subjects, can only exist internal to human society (there is no such thing as "relations of production" linking humans to animals or plants, let alone political relations). But how alien to nature - this would be the problem of naturalism - are these social relations? Given the universality of nature, the status of the human and social world is unstable, and as the history of Western thought shows, it perpetually oscillates between a naturalistic monism ("sociobiology" and "evolutionary psychology" being some of its current avatars) and an ontological dualism of nature/culture ("culturalism" and "symbolic anthropology" being some of its recent expressions).

      The assertion of this latter dualism, for all that, only reinforces the final referential character of the notion of nature, by revealing itself to be the direct descendant of the theological opposition between nature and super-nature. Culture is the modern name of spirit - let us recall the distinction between Naturwissenschaften and Geisteswissenschaften - or at the least it is the name of the compromise between nature and grace. Of animism, we would be tempted to say that the instability is located in the opposite pole: there the problem is how to deal with the mixture of humanity and animality constituting animals, and not, as is the case amongst ourselves, the combination of culture and nature which characterise humans; the problem is to differentiate a "nature" out of the universal sociality.

      Let us return to Descola's tripartite typology.[40] Given the nature/culture polarity, Descola distinguishes three "modes of identification" (these being our familiar triad of totemism, animism and naturalism), then three "modes of relation" (predation, reciprocity, protection), then an indefinite number of "modes of categorization" (left nameless and undetermined); the combinatorial possibilities within and across the three modes are not totally free. Now, I believe that the absence of any specification of the "modes of categorization" is more than a temporary vacancy (but I can always be surprised, of course); it points to a conceptual problem related to the definition of "totemism" used by Descola.

      The typology seems to suggest, correctly I think, that the pre-eminence of the nature/culture opposition in our anthropological tradition derives from the joint privilege of the totemic and naturalist modes, both characterized by dichotomy and discontinuity (the first supposedly typical of "savage thought," the second of "domesticated thought"). Descola's emphasis on the logical distinctiveness of the animic mode - a mode he considers to be far more widespread than totemism - is intended to correct this distortion; it also destabilizes the totemism/naturalism divide and the nature/culture dualism common to both modes.

      Descola appears to adopt an institutional reading of totemism, whilst Levi-Strauss had taken it as a mere example of the global style of the savage mind; the cognitive form exemplified by totemism is considered by Levi-Strauss as much more important than the contingent conceptual and institutional contents to which it is applied. We are accordingly led to infer that animism is also conceived by Descola in an institutionalist key, and that it would be then possible to reabsorb it in the sacrificial pole of the famous Levi-Straussian contrast between totemism and sacrifice, if we interpret it as a general cognitive distinction and not in terms of its somewhat ill-chosen institutional labels.

      If I am right in drawing these conclusions, where does totemism stand? Totemism seems to me a phenomenon of a different order from animism and naturalism. It is not a system of relations between nature and culture as is the case in the other two modes, but rather of correlations. Totemism is not an ontology, but a form of classification - it would not belong, therefore, to the category of "modes of identification," but rather to that, left vacant by Descola, of "modes of categorization." The totemic connection between the natural and the social series is neither social nor natural - it is purely logical and differential. By the same token, this connection is not metonymic and hierarchical as is the case with animic and naturalist modes of relating and defining nature and culture - it is a metaphoric and equipollent relation. This would explain why totemism, as a form of classification, can only be found in combination with animic systems: even the classical totemisms suppose more than a set of symbolic correlations between nature and culture; they imply a relationship of descent or participation between the terms of the two series (Levi-Strauss called this latter relationship the "imaginary side" of totemism - but this does not make it any less real, ethnographically speaking).[41]

      In sum, I believe that the really productive contrast is the one between naturalism and animism as two inverse hierarchical ontologies. Totemism, as defined by Descola, seems to be a different phenomenon. However, let us suspend our judgement till we explore more fully the notion of animism, for it may be the case that totemism and animism reveal themselves to be related by more significant similarities and differences.

      Problems with projection

      The major problem with Descola's inspiring theory, in my opinion, is this: can animism be defined as a projection of differences and qualities internal to the human world onto non-human worlds, as a "socio-centric" model in which categories and social relations are used to map the universe? This interpretation by analogy is explicit in some glosses on the theory, such as that provided by Kaj Arhem: "if totemic systems model society after nature, then animic systems model nature after society" (1996: 185). The problem here is the obvious proximity with the traditional sense of animism, or with the reduction of "primitive classifications" to emanations of social morphology; but equally the problem is to go beyond other classic characterisations of the relation between society and nature.

      I am thinking here of Radcliffe-Brown's 1929 article on totemism, where he presents the following ideas (1952: 130-31):

      (1) For "primitive man" the universe as a whole is a moral and social order governed not by what we call natural law but rather by what we must call moral or ritual law.

      (2) Although our own explicit conception of a natural order and of natural law does not exist among the more primitive peoples, "the germs out of which it develops do exist in the empirical control of causal processes in technical activities" - we find here the "germs" of Leach's distinction between technical and expressive aspects of action, and perhaps also of Bloch's distinction between cognition and ideology.

      (3) Primitive peoples (in Australia, for example) have built between themselves and the phenomena of nature a system of relations which are essentially similar to the relations that they have built up in their social structure between one human being and another.

      (4) It is possible to distinguish processes of personification of natural phenomena and natural species (which "permits nature to be thought of as if it were a society of persons, and so makes of it a social or moral order"), like those found amongst the Eskimos and Andaman Islanders, from systems of classification of natural species, like those found in Australia and which compose a "system of social solidarities" between man and nature - this obviously calls to mind Descola's distinction of animism/totemism as well as the contrast of manido/totem explored by Levi-Strauss.

      Some ethnographers of hunter-and-gatherer economies have appealed to the ideas of an extension of human attributes to non-humans and a metaphorical projection of social relations onto human/non-human interactions. Such arguments have been put forth as weapons in the battle against the interpretation of these economies in ethological-ecological terms (optimal foraging theory, etc.). As Ingold (1996) most convincingly argued, however, all schemes of analogical projection or social modelling of nature escape naturalist reductionism only to fall into a nature/culture dualism which, by distinguishing "really natural" nature from "culturally constructed" nature, reveals itself to be a typical cosmological antinomy (in the original Kantian sense) faced with infinite regression. The notion of model or metaphor supposes a previous distinction between a domain wherein social relations are constitutive and literal and another where they are representational and metaphorical. Animism, interpreted as human sociality projected onto the non-human world, would be nothing but the metaphor of a metonymy. [42]

      The idea of an animist projection of society onto nature is not in itself a problem, if one abides by the doctrine of "particular universalism" (the term comes from Latour [1991]), which supposes the privileged access of one culture - our culture - to the only true, real Nature. This particular universalism would be, says Latour, the actual cosmology of anthropology, being in force even among those who have "cultural relativism" as their official creed. It would also be the only possibility of arresting the infinite regression that Ingold rightly sees in the relativist cliche "Nature is culturally constructed." Particular universalism brings such regression to a halt because it subordinates the Nature/Culture dualism to an encompassing naturalism, according to which our culture is the mirror of nature and other cultures are simply wrong. But all forms of constructionism and projectionism are unacceptable if we are decided not to let "animism" be interpreted in terms of our naturalist ontology.

      Allow me a further comment on Latour's idea that particular universalism is the practical ideology of anthropologists - their official or theoretical one being cultural relativism. While agreeing with Latour, I would just remark that the really characteristic relativism of anthropologists seems to consist less in a clandestine appeal to particular universalism than in a kind of distributive inversion of it, which carefully distinguishes culture (as human nature) from (cosmological) nature. Since every culture studied by anthropology is typically presented as expressing (and recognizing) some deep hidden truth of the human condition - a truth forgotten or denied by Western culture, like, for instance, the very inseparability of nature and culture - the sum total of these truths leads to the dismaying conclusion that all cultures, except precisely the (modern) Western, have a kind of privileged access to human nature, what amounts to granting Western culture an underprivileged access to the universe of culture. Maybe this is the price we feel we have to pay for our supposedly privileged access to non-human nature.

      Now, what is Ingold's solution to these difficulties he found in the projection argument? Against the notion of a social construction of nature and its implied metaphorical projectionism, he proposes an ontology founded on the immediate "interagentive" engagement between humans and animals prevailing in hunter-gatherer societies. He opposes our cognitivist and transcendental cosmology of "constructed nature" to a practical, immanent phenomenology of "dwelling" (sensu Heidegger) in an environment. There would be no projection of relations internal to the human world onto the non-social, i.e., natural domain, but rather an immediate inter-specific sociality, at the same time objective and subjective, which would be the primary reality out of which the secondary, reflective differences between humans and animals would emerge.

      Ingold's inspirational (and influential) ideas deserve a discussion I cannot develop here. In my opinion, his perspicacious diagnosis of metaphorical projectionism is better than the cure he propounds. For all their insightfulness, these ideas illustrate the inversion of "particular universalism" I alluded to above. Ingold never makes it quite clear whether he takes Western constructionism to be absolutely false (that is, both unreal and malignant) - I feel he does think so - or just inadequate to describe other "lived worlds," remaining true as the expression of a particular historico-cultural experience. But the real problem lies not with this. My structuralist reflexes make me wince at the primacy accorded to immediate practical-experiential identification at the expense of difference, taken to be a conditioned, mediate and purely "intellectual" (that is, theoretical and abstract) moment. There is here the debatable assumption that commonalities prevail upon distinctions, being superior and anterior to the latter; there is the still more debatable assumption that the fundamental or prototypical mode of relation is identity or sameness. At the risk of having deeply misunderstood him, I would suggest that Ingold is voicing here the recent widespread sentiment against "difference" - a sentiment "metaphorically projected" onto what hunter-gatherers or any available "others" are supposed to experience - which unwarrantably sees it as inimical to immanence, as if all difference were a stigma of transcendence (and a harbinger of oppression). All difference is read as an opposition, and all opposition as the absence of a relation: "to oppose" is taken as synonymous with "to exclude" - a strange idea. I am not of this mind. As far as Amerindian ontologies are concerned, at least, I do not believe that similarities and differences among humans and animals (for example) can be ranked in terms of experiential immediacy, or that distinctions are more abstract or "intellectual" than commonalities: both are equally concrete and abstract, practical and theoretical, emotional and intellectual, etc. True to my structuralist habitus, however, I persist in thinking that similarity is a type of difference; above all, I regard identity or sameness as the very negation of relatedness.

      The idea that humans and animals share personhood is a very complicated one: it would be entirely inadequate to interpret it as if meaning that humans and animals are "essentially the same" (and only "apparently" different). It rather means that humans and animals are, each on their own account, not the same - they are internally divided or entangled. Their common personhood or humanity is precisely what permits that their difference to be an inclusive, internal relation. The primordial immanence of myth (never lost, ever threatening) is not absence of difference, but rather its pervasive operation in a "molecular" mode (Deleuze & Guattari 1980), as difference not yet "molarized," i.e., speciated. Immanence is not sameness, it is infinite difference: it is (molar) difference preempted by (molecular) difference.

      Among the questions remaining to resolve, therefore, is the one of knowing whether animism can be described as a figurative use of categories pertaining to the human-social domain to conceptualise the domain of non-humans and their relations with the former, and if not, then how should we interpret it. The other question is: if animism depends on the attribution (or recognition) of human-like cognitive and sensory faculties to animals, and the same form of subjectivity, that is if animals are "essentially" human, then what in the end is the difference between humans and animals? If animals are people, then why do they not see us as people? Why, to be precise, the perspectivism? We might also ask if the notion of contingent corporeal forms (clothing) is properly described in terms of an opposition between appearance and essence. Finally, if animism is a way of objectifying nature in which the dualism of nature/culture does not hold, then what is to be done with the abundant indications regarding the centrality of this opposition to South American cosmologies? Are we dealing with just another "totemic illusion," if not with a naive projection of our Western dualism? Is it possible to make a more than synoptic use of the concepts of nature and culture, or are they merely "blanket labels" (Descola 1996) to which Levi-Strauss appealed in order to organise the multiple semantic contrasts in American mythologies, these contrasts being irreducible to a single massive dichotomy?

      Ethnocentrism, or the rejection thesis

      In a well-known essay, Levi-Strauss observed that for savages, humanity ceases at the boundary of the group, a notion which is exemplified by the widespread auto-ethnonym meaning "real humans," which in turn implies a definition of strangers as somehow pertaining to the domain of the extra-human. Therefore, ethnocentrism would not be the privilege of the West, but a natural ideological attitude, inherent to human collective life. The author illustrates the universal reciprocity of this attitude with an anecdote:

      In the Greater Antilles, some years after the discovery of America, whilst the Spanish were dispatching inquisitional commissions to investigate whether the natives had a soul or not, these very natives were busy drowning the white people they had captured in order to find out, after lengthy observation, whether or not the corpses were subject to putrefaction. (1973 [1952]: 384)

      From this parable, Levi-Strauss derives the famous paradoxical moral: "The barbarian is first and foremost the man who believes in barbarism," which, as Aron (1973) noted, may be taken to imply that the anthropologist is the only non-barbarian on the face of the earth. Some years later, in Tristes Tropiques, Levi-Strauss (1955: 82-83) was to retell the case of the Antilles, but this time he underlined the asymmetry of the perspectives: in their investigations of the humanity of the Other, whites appealed to the social sciences, whereas the Indians founded their observations in the natural sciences; and if the former concluded that Indians were animals, the latter were content to suspect that the whites were divinities. "In equal ignorance," says our author, the latter attitude was more worthy of human beings.

      The anecdote reveals something else, as we shall see; something which Levi-Strauss came close to formulating in the Tristes Tropiques version. But its general point is quite obvious: the Indians, like the European invaders, consider that only the group to which they belong incarnates humanity; strangers are on the other side of the border which separates humans from animals and spirits, culture from nature and supernature. As matrix and condition for the existence of ethnocentrism, the nature/culture opposition appears to be a universal of social apperception.

      At the time when Levi-Strauss was writing these lines, the strategy for vindicating the full humanity of savages was to demonstrate that they made the same distinctions as we do: the proof that they were true humans is that they considered that they alone were the true humans. Like us, they distinguished culture from nature and they too believed that Naturvolker are always the others. The universality of the cultural distinction between Nature and Culture bore witness to the universality of culture as human nature. In sum, the Levi-Straussian answer to the question of the Spanish investigators was positive: savages do have souls. (Note that this question can be read as a sixteenth-century theological version of the "problem of other minds," which continues to this day to feed many a philosophical mouth.)

      But now, in these post-structuralist, ecologically-minded, animal-rights-concerned times, everything has changed. Savages are no longer ethnocentric or anthropomorphic, but rather cosmocentric or cosmomorphic. Instead of having to prove that they are humans because they distinguish themselves from animals, we now have to recognize how in-human we are for opposing humans to animals in a way they never did: for them nature and culture are part of the same sociocosmic field. Not only would Amerindians put a wide berth between themselves and the great Cartesian divide, which separated humanity from animality, but their views anticipate the fundamental lessons of ecology which we are only now in a position to assimilate (as argued by Reichel-Dolmatoff [1976], among many others). Before, the Indians' refusal to concede predicates of humanity to other men was of note; now we stress that they extend such predicates way beyond the frontiers of their own species in a demonstration of "ecosophic" knowledge (the expression is Arhem's [1993]) which we should emulate in as far as the limits of our objectivism permit. Formerly, it had been necessary to combat the assimilation of the savage mind to narcissistic animism, the infantile stage of naturalism, showing that totemism affirmed the cognitive distinction between culture and nature; now, as we have seen, animism is attributed once more to savages, but this time it is proclaimed - though not by Descola, I hasten to note - as the correct (or at least "valid") recognition of the universal admixture of subjects and objects, humans and non-humans, to which we modern Westerners have been blind, because of our foolish, nay, sinful habit of thinking in dichotomies. Against the hubris of modernity, the primitive and post-modern "hybrids," to borrow a term from Latour (1991).[43]

      It looks like we have here an antinomy, or rather two paired antinomies. For either Amerindians are ethnocentrically stingy in the extension of their concept of humanity, and they "totemically" oppose nature and culture; or they are cosmocentric and "animic" and do not profess to such a distinction, being (or so has been argued) models of relativist tolerance, postulating a multiplicity of points of view on the world.[44]

      I believe that the solution to these antinomies lies not in favouring one branch over the other, sustaining, for example, the argument that the most recent characterization of Amerindian attitudes is the correct one and relegating the other to the outer darkness of pre-afterological anthropology. Rather, the point is to show that the thesis as well as the antithesis of both antinomies are true (both correspond to solid ethnographic intuitions), but that they apprehend the same phenomena from different angles; and also it is to show that both are "false" in that they refer to a substantivist conceptualization of the categories of nature and culture (whether it be to affirm or negate them) which is not applicable to Amerindian cosmologies.

      The subject as such: from substantive to perspective

      Let us return to the observation by Levi-Strauss about the widespread character of those ethnic self-designations which would mean "real humans" or some suchlike myopic conceit. The first thing to be considered is that the Amerindian words which are usually translated as "human being" and which figure in those self-designations do not denote humanity as a natural species, that is, Homo sapiens. They refer rather to the social condition of personhood, and - especially when they are modified by intensifiers such as "true," "real," "genuine" - they function less as nouns then as pronouns. They indicate the position of the subject; they are enunciative markers, not names. Far from manifesting a semantic shrinking of a common name to a proper name (taking "people" to be the name of the tribe), these words move in the opposite direction, going from substantive to perspective (using "people" as a collective pronoun "we people/us"; the modifiers we translate by adjectives like "real" or "genuine" seem to function much like self-referential emphases of the type "we ourselves"). For this very reason, indigenous categories of identity have that enormous variability of scope that characterizes pronouns, marking contrastively Ego's immediate kin, his/her local group, all humans, humans and some animal species, or even all beings conceived as potential subjects: their coagulation as "ethnonyms" seems largely to be an artefact of interactions with ethnographers and other identity experts such as colonial administrators. Nor is it by chance that the majority of Amerindian ethnonyms which entered the literature are not self-designations, but rather names (frequently pejorative) conferred by other groups: ethnonymic objectivation is primordially applied to others, not to the ones in the position of subject. Ethnonyms are names of third parties, they belong to the category of "they," not to the category of "we."[45] This, by the way, is consistent with a widespread avoidance of self-reference on the level of onomastics: personal names are not spoken by their bearers nor in their presence; to name is to externalise, to separate (from) the subject.[46]

      Thus self-references such as "people" mean "person," not "member of the human species"; and they are personal pronouns registering the point of view of the subject talking, not proper names. To say, then, that animals and spirits are people, is to say that they are persons, and to personify them is to attribute to non-humans the capacities of conscious intentionality and agency which define the position of the subject. Such capacities are objectified as the soul or spirit with which these non-humans are endowed. Whatever possesses a soul is a subject, and whatever has a soul is capable of having a point of view. Amerindian souls, be they human or animal, are thus indexical categories, cosmological deictics whose analysis calls not so much for an animist psychology or substantialist ontology as for a theory of the sign or a perspectival pragmatics. (In a previous version of this argument, I used the expression "epistemological pragmatics" where now I prefer to talk of perspectival pragmatics. This is because in the meantime I developed a deep mistrust of "epistemological" interpretations of Amerindian ontological tenets.)

      So, every being to whom a point of view is attributed would be a subject; or better, wherever there is a point of view there is a subject position. Whilst our constructionist epistemology can be summed up in the Saussurean formula: the point of view creates the object - the subject being the original, fixed condition whence the point of view emanates - Amerindian perspectival ontology proceeds along the lines that the point of view creates the subject; whatever is activated or "agented" by the point of view will be a subject.[47]

      This is why terms such as wari' (a Txapakuran word), masa (a Tukanoan word) or dene (an Athapaskan word) mean "people," but they can be used for - and therefore used by - very different classes of beings: used by humans they denote human beings; but used by peccaries, howler monkeys or beavers, they self-refer to peccaries, howler monkeys or beavers (Vilaca 1992; Arhem 1993; McDonnell 1984).

      As it happens, however, these non-humans placed in the subject perspective do not merely "call" themselves "people"; they see themselves anatomically and culturally as humans. The symbolic spiritualisation of animals would imply its imaginary hominisation and culturalisation; thus the anthropomorphic-anthropocentric character of indigenous thought would seem to be unquestionable. However, I believe that something quite different is at issue. Any being which vicariously occupies the point of view of reference, being in the position of subject, sees itself as a member of the human species. The human bodily form and human culture - the schemata of perception and action "embodied" in specific dispositions - are deictics, pronominal markers of the same type as the self-designations discussed above. They are reflexive or apperceptive schematisms ("reifications" sensu Strathern) by which all subjects apprehend themselves, and not literal and constitutive human predicates projected metaphorically (i.e., improperly) onto non-humans. Such deictic "attributes" are immanent in the viewpoint, and move with it. Human beings - naturally - enjoy the same prerogative and therefore see themselves as such: "Human beings see themselves as such; the Moon, the snakes, the jaguars and the Mother of Smallpox, however, see them as tapirs or peccaries, which they kill" (Baer 1994: 224).

      We need to have it quite clear: it is not that animals are subjects because they are humans (humans in disguise), but rather that they are human because they are subjects (potential subjects). This is to say culture is the subject's nature; it is the form in which every subject experiences its own nature. Animism is not a projection of substantive human qualities cast onto animals, but rather expresses the logical equivalence of the reflexive relations that humans and animals each have to themselves: salmon are to (see) salmon as humans are to (see) humans, namely, (as) human. If, as we have observed, the common condition of humans and animals is humanity not animality, this is because "humanity" is the name for the general form taken by the subject.

      Let me make two remarks by way of conclusion. The attribution of human-like consciousness and intentionality (to say nothing of human bodily form and cultural habits) to non-human beings has been indifferently denominated "anthropocentrism" or "anthropomorphism." However, these two labels can be taken to denote radically opposed cosmological outlooks. Western popular evolutionism, for instance, is thoroughly anthropocentric, but not particularly anthropomorphic. On the other hand, animism may be characterized as anthropomorphic, but it is definitely not anthropocentric: if sundry other beings besides humans are "human," then we humans are not a special lot. So much for primitive "narcissism."

      Marx wrote of man, meaning Homo sapiens:

      In creating an objective world by his practical activity, in working-up inorganic nature, man proves himself a conscious species being. . . . Admittedly animals also produce. . . . But an animal only produces what it immediately needs for itself or its young. It produces one-sidedly, while man produces universally. . . . An animal produces only itself, whilst man reproduces the whole of nature. . . . An animal forms things in accordance with the standard and the need of the species to which it belongs, whilst man knows how to produce in accordance to the standards of other species. (Marx 1961: 75-76 apud Sahlins 1996: 400 n. 17)

      Talk about "primitive" narcissism. Whatever Marx meant by this idea that man "produces universally," I would like to think he is saying something to the effect that man is the universal animal - an intriguing idea. (If man is the universal animal, then perhaps each animal species would be a kind of particular humanity?). While apparently converging with the Amerindian notion that humanity is the universal form of the subject, Marx's is in fact an absolute inversion of it: he is saying that humans can "be" any animal - that we have more being than any other species - whilst Amerindians say that "any" animal can be human - that there is more being to an animal than meets the eye. "Man" is the universal animal in two entirely different senses, then: the universality is anthropocentric in the case of Marx, and anthropomorphic in the Amerindian case.[48]

      The second remark takes us back to the relationship between animism and totemism. I have just said that animism should be taken as expressing the logical equivalence of the reflexive relations that humans and animals each have to themselves. I then proposed, as an example, that salmon are to salmon as humans to humans, namely, human. This was inspired by Guedon's paragraph on Tsimshiam cosmology:

      If one is to follow the main myths, for the human being, the world looks like a human community surrounded by a spiritual realm, including an animal kingdom with all beings coming and going according to their kinds and interfering with each others' lives; however, if one were to go and become an animal, a salmon for instance, one would discover that salmon people are to themselves as human beings are to us, and that to them, we human beings would look like naxnoq [supernatural beings], or perhaps bears feeding on their salmon. Such translation goes through several levels. For instance, the leaves of the cotton tree falling in the Skeena River are the salmon of the salmon people. I do not know what the salmon would be for the leaf, but I guess they appear what we look like to the salmon - unless they looked like bears. (1984a: 141)

      Therefore, if salmon look to salmon as humans to humans - and this is "animism" - salmon do not look human to humans and neither do humans to salmon - and this is "perspectivism."

      If such is the case, then animism and perspectivism may have a deeper relationship to totemism than Descola's model allows for. Why do animals (I recall that by "animals" I always mean: each animals species) see themselves as humans? Precisely because humans see them as animals, and see themselves as humans. Peccaries cannot see themselves as peccaries (and then speculate that humans and other beings are really peccaries behind their species-specific clothing) because this is the guise in which peccaries are seen by humans.[49] If humans see themselves as humans and are seen as non-human (as animals or spirits) by animals, then animals must necessarily see themselves as humans. Such asymmetrical torsion of animism contrasts in an interesting way with the symmetry exhibited by totemism. In the case of animism, a correlation of reflexive identities (human : human :: animal : animal) serves as the substrate for the relation between the human and animal series; in the case of totemism, a correlation of differences (human ≠ human :: animal ≠ animal) articulates the two series. It is curious to see how a correlation of differences (the differences are identical) can produce a reversible and symmetric structure, while a correlation of similarities (similarities differ, for animals are similar to humans because they are not humans) produces the asymmetric and pseudo-projective structure of animism.

      37 Descola's inspirational articles on Ameridian "animism" were one of the proximate causes of my interest in perspectivism.

      38 To remain on an Americanist ground, I might mention: the rejection of a privileged position for metaphor by Overing (1985), in favour of a relativist literalism which seems to be supported by the notion of belief; the theory of dialectical synecdoche as being anterior and superior to metaphoric analogy, proposed by Turner (1991), an author who like other specialists (Seeger 1981, Crocker 1985) has attempted to contest the interpretations of the nature/culture dualism of the Ge-Bororo as being a static opposition, privative and discrete; or the reconsideration by Viveiros de Castro (1992a) of the contrast between totemism and sacrifice in the light of the Deleuzian concept of becoming, which seeks to account for the centrality of the processes of ontological predation in Tupian cosmologies, as well as for the directly social (and not specularly classificatory) character of interactions between the human and extra-human orders.

      39 "If in a commodity economy things and persons assume the social form of things, then in a gift economy they assume the social form of persons" (Strathern 1988: 134 [from Gregory 1982: 41]). The parallels are obvious.

      40 Let me say I have nothing against typologies as such, which I deem an important step in anthropological reasoning: typologies are like rules - we need them in order to break them. And butterfly collecting is a most honourable and rewarding occupation - if carried with ecological circumspection - unjustly reviled by one of our eminent forebears.

      41 Totemic orderings can also be found in combination with naturalist schemes, as shown by modern genetics and its correlations between genotypical and phenotypical differences (the "more natural" series of the genome and the "more cultural" series of its expressions), or by linguistics - the formal model of Levi-Straussian totemism - with its vast repertoire of differential correlations between signifier and signified, physico-acoustical and mental-conceptual series, etc.

      42 In the article referred to above, Radcliffe-Brown also proposed, in contrast to the Durkheimian idea of a “projection of society into external nature,” that “the process is one by which, in the fashioning of culture, external nature, so called, comes to be incorporated in the social order as an essential part of it” (1952: 130–31). This is an interesting anti-metaphorical remark, which Lévi-Strauss (1962a: 84–89) interpreted quite unfairly as a kind of utilitarian argument. Radcliffe-Brown’s point reappears almost verbatim in Goldman (who does not mention Radcliffe-Brown’s article): “To Durkheim . . . it was easy to imagine that ‘primitive’ people projected their own natures onto the rest of nature. It is far more likely that Homo sapiens sought to understand himself and all other realms of nature through a dialectic of interchange, of understanding the outer world in terms of his own nature and his own nature in terms of the outer. If Kwakiutl attribute human qualities to the grizzly bear, they have also learned to define and to regulate their own qualities of physical strength and fearlessness in terms of their knowledge of the bear. . . . Kwakiutl do not merely project themselves on the outer world. They seek to incorporate it.” (1975: 208; emphasis added).

      43 Latour has provided here only the term, not the target: I do not intend his work to be identified with anything I say in this paragraph. By the way, there is another familiar variant of this change in the way "we" think "they" think. At the time La pensee sauvage was written, it was deemed necessary to assert, and to provide abundant illustration thereto, that primitive peoples were endowed with a theoretical cast of mind, showing an authentic speculative interest in reality - they were not moved by their bellies and other such purely practical considerations. But this was when "theory" was not a word of abuse. Now, of course, everything has changed. These peoples have returned to practice; not, it goes without saying, to practice because of an incapacity for theory (well, the "oral vs. written" or the "cosmological disorder" schools would disagree here), but to practice as anti-theory. Be that as it may, not all contemporary primitive peoples seem to agree with our current interest in practice; perhaps because they are no longer primitive (but have they ever been?). So, in Fienup-Riordan's latest book (1994: xiii), we can read the following introductory remark from a Yup'ik man: "You white people always want to know about the things we do, but it is the rules that are important."

      44 The uncomfortable tension inherent in such antinomies can be gauged in Howell's recent article (1996) on the Chewong of Malaysia. Chewong cosmology is paradoxically - but the paradox is not noticed - described as "relativist" (p.133) and as "after all . . . anthropocentric" (p.135). A double mislabelling, at least if carried to the Amerindian universe.

      45 An interesting transformation of the refusal to onomastic self-objectification can be found in those cases in which, since the collective-subject is taking itself to be part of a plurality of collectives analogous to itself, the self-referential term signifies "the others." This situation occurs primarily when the term is used to identify collectives from which the subject excludes itself: the alternative to pronominal subjectification is an equally relational auto-objectification, where "I" can only mean "the other of the other": see the achuar of the Achuar, or the nawa of the Panoans (Taylor 1985: 168; Erikson 1990: 80-84). The logic of Amerindian auto-ethnonymy calls for its own specific study. For other revealing cases, see: Vilaca (1992: 449-51), Price (1987), and Viveiros de Castro (1992a: 64-65). For an enlightening analysis of a North American case similar to the Amazonian ones, see McDonnell (1984: 41-43).

      46 It has become quite fashionable to drop traditional Amerindian ethnonyms, usually names given by other tribes or by whites, in favour of more politically correct ethnic self-designations. The problem, however, is that self-designations are exactly this, self-designations, which when used by foreigners produce the most ludicrous referential problems. Take the case of the Campa, who call themselves "ashaninka," and who accordingly are now called "Ashaninka" by well-meaning NGO people (I thank P. Gow for this example). The root shaninca means "kinsperson"; ashaninca means "our kinspeople." This is what Campa people call themselves as a collectivity when contrasting themselves to others, like viracocha, "Whites," simirintsi, "Piro," etc. It is easy to imagine how strange it may sound to the Campa to be called "our kinspeople" by a viracocha, a white person, who is anything but a relative. It is more or less like if I were to call my friend Stephen "I," because that's what he calls himself, while "Stephen" is a name which someone else gave to him, and which other people, rather more frequently than he himself, use to refer to him.

      47 This idea comes from Deleuze's book on Leibniz (1988: 27): "Such is the foundation of perspectivism. It does not express a dependency on a predefined subject; on the contrary, whatever accedes to the point of view will be subject." The Saussurean formula appears on the beginning of the Cours de linguistique generale.

      48 Be that as it may, Marx's notion of an universal animal - capable of "producing in accordance with the standards of other species" (whatever this means) - is an accurate anticipation of another universal metaphorical being. I am referring of course to the universal machine, the machine capable of simulating (i.e., re-producing) any other machine: the Turing-Von Neumann computer.

      49 This would be our version of "perspectivism," namely, the critical stance regarding anthropomorphism (here crucially and mistakenly conflated with anthropocentrism) as a form of projection. It was advanced two and half millenia ago by Xenophanes, who memorably said (though what he meant is very much open to debate) that if horses or oxen or lions had hands, they would draw the figures of the gods as similar to horses, oxen or lions - a point which reappears under many guises in Western tradition, from Aristotle to Spinoza, from Hume to Feuerbach, Marx, Durkheim, etc. Characteristically, our problem with "anthropomorphism" relates to the projection of humanity into divinity, not animality.

    •  

       

       

      Researchers Participants in the Postgraduate Program

      Audrey Cottin
      Esteban Donoso
      Isabel Burr Raty
      Jeremiah Runnels
      Kleoni Manousakis
      Mavi Veloso
      Thiago Antunes
      Tinna Ottesen
      Vanja Smiljanic
      Verónica Cruz
      Yaari Shalem


      Research End Presentations

      Gosie Vervlosem
      Philippine Hoegen
      Samah Hijawi
      Sara Santos


      Research Centre Researchers

      Adriana La Selva
      Cecilia Molano
      Juan Dominguez
      Mala Kline
      Ricardo Santana
      Ruth S. Noyes

       


      Partner

      PAF Performance Arts Forum


      Contributors for workshops

      Abu Ali * Toni Serra
      Adriana La Selva
      Adva Zakai
      Elke van Campenhout
      Esteban Donoso
      Geert Opsomer
      Isabel Burr Raty
      Kleoni Manousakis
      Luanda Casella
      Marcos Simoes
      Medicine Man Oscar Parada
      Nicolas Galeazzi
      Peter Stamer
      Pierre Joachim
      Pierre Rubio
      Sara Manente
      Thiago Antunes
      Veridiana Zurita

       

      Coordinators a.pass

      Elke van Campenhout

      Nicolas Galeazzi

      Pierre Rubio

       

      Mentors

      Adva Zakai
      Femke Snelting

       

       

       


      'UNTOUCHABLE / UNACCEPTABLE / INTANGIBLE'
      about the imaginative aesthetics of change

      Curated by Elke Van Campenhout (Research Coordinator), Nicolas Galeazzi (Program Coordinator), and Pierre Rubio (Associate Program Curator)


      In defence of the power of aesthetics this block tries to pry open the difficult paradox between criticality and imagination, between the power of the subject and the passive resistance of the object, between political critique and artistic re-imagineering strategies.

      The unacceptable reveals the limitations of the acceptable.
      The untouchable foreshadows the adventurous discovery of difference.
      The intangible offers a speculative sense towards the radically other.

       


      01/05 - 31/07 / 2015

      Ongoing workshops

       

      House of Spirits
      Throughout the whole period, the House of Spirits is a common space for the (re)collection, digestion and transformation of the traces of the individual researches and workshops. The House opens up a space for the ‘shamans/conservators’ of the Research Centre, as well as some of the participants. Every week another ‘shaman’ practices in the House of Spirits, working with the case objects of the participants or with left-overs of the workshop, developing a shared ritual for the a.pass group. The strategies of the ‘shaman’ include reordering, cataloguing, magical transformations, ritual alchemy, displacement and fictionalisation.
      Every shaman puts the individual case traces in another context, allowing them to resonate and breed new meanings and connections. The shamans together develop the Book, which documents the changing protocols regulating the workings of the House.
      At the end, the House of Spirits opens its doors to the public. In the form of a weeklong celebration, a curated exhibition, a mini-festival, a performative conference, or whatever at that point seems to be the most relevant to the group, the House functions in that week as a kind of temporal 3D publications that offers guests an insight in the works developed throughout the block.

       

      Reading Circle
      As a red thread throughout the block the participants engage in a weekly communal reading practice of the book ‘Realist Magic - Object, Ontology, Causality’ by Timothy Morton.
      Reading and discussing in-depth this one central text allows for the development of a common ground of reference and connection that functions as a backdrop to the workshops and practices that shape the block.

       

      Self-interviews
      Throughout the block each participant can develop a self-interviewing practice, which is supported by one or more mentors. The self-interview develops through the case practices, and is embedded in the mentoring process. During opening week we will introduce possible strategies for self-interviewing and start up the process.

       

      04 / 05 - 06 / 05 / 2015

      ‘BRICOLAGE’
      workshop by Nicolas Galeazzi


      Diving into the concept of bricolage, described in Claude Levi-Strauss' 'The Savage Mind', we develop a practice to present, discuss and discover the momentary objectives of our researches. With the help of found and constructed objects - objects of personal importance and desire, objects of daily or precious use, objects of thought and discourse - we will try to get a hold on the actual qualities of each one's research model and methodology. The bricolage technique may be very close to many of our practices. The artist researchers are commonly acknowledged as the bricoleur-scientists. They craft the object of knowledge.
      In the course of this week we will present the current state of our research case from various perspectives. ‘Bricolaging’ the 'objects' of your research, turning them upside down, looking at them through the other's eyes and assembling the elements in play, we want to understand the complex horizon of your research target.

       

       


      25 / 05 - 29 / 05 / 2015


      ‘ECOLOGY OF AFFECTS’
      a.pass Basics workshop by Pierre Joachim, Geert Opsomer and Pierre Rubio

      Can we associate sadness with the outcomes of our capitalist world? Are we affected so much by capitalism that we can only sadly survive in what seems to have become its ‘nature’? Can we still affect the world? What could a joyful passion mean today? Is a joyful passion subversive? How can we create the conditions for joy to be possible? Is it by re-allocating desire that new joys can emerge? Can artistic researches produce a change Can agency be generated with aesthetic means? Could we critically re-combine ethics and aesthetics to reclaim the transformative power of our researches? What could be the nature of an ecology of affects with the potential to produce a change?
      Every block, a.pass organizes ‘a.pass Basics workshops’ that focus on the basic principles of a.pass as a collaborative artistic research environment.
      This B-workshop ‘Ecology of Affects’ will put into discussion Spinoza’s concepts of Desire, Joy, Sadness and Affect in the ‘Ethics’ and Guattari’s concepts of Mental Ecology and Collective Assemblages of Enunciation by reading closely a series of texts from the 17th up to the 21st century. With the help of two guests, Pierre Joachim and Geert Opsomer, we will study these philosophical key notions but also discover how Pierre and Geert put them into practice and consequently how we can do so as well.

       

       

      01 / 06 - 05 / 06 / 2015


      ‘PLACE THIS’
      Workshop by Sara Manente and Marcos Simoes


      The workshop unfolds a series of extra-sensorial practices as tools for collaboration in groups, couples or with objects. The tools, for example the telepathic approach, offer the possibility to create a third existence which is ‘a self’, an entity other than us, with its own qualities and ability to perform in an attempt to include chance and other contingencies in the work, to destabilize power relations based on linear logics and to questions the effect of belief and make-belief in a performative environment. Can we create magic by creating the rules for magic to happen? Like an ‘experimental magic’ without magicians? Is it possible to empower an object, a person, a situation through speculation and prediction?
      The workshop will start with a daily practice of writing questions for a tarot reader. Then, we will offer three different performative tools to be explored and then appropriated into your own project. The workshop “Place this” wants to discover the transformational powers of this knowledge in different constellations: individually, with objects, in couples, trios, groups. With the stubbornness of ‘the idiot’, we will practice and question again and again opening up the creative process to the material and the immaterial.

       

       

      08 / 06 - 12 / 06 / 2015


      ‘UNSEEN WORKSHOP’
      Workshop by Abu Ali * Toni Serra


      Abu Ali * Toni Serra is a researcher through video. He hosts and programs the Observatori de Video No Identificat based in Barcelona - an observatory archive, that is structured around particular themes, which does encourage a critique of contemporary culture and society,
      His videos explore different visions between the essay and the poetry, with an evocation of trance and the realities of dream. His videos immerse into the relationship with the visionary, into the inner experience, the no man’s land between real and unreal, dream and awakeness, poetry and prophecy... as ways to deepen the criticism of reality.
      Normally we associate image with vision. But in a society of the spectacle images have become a form of blindness - an increasing veil, that prevents us from viewing. Our vision remains a prisoner of the images constructed by the entertainment, media and network apparatus, which not only tries to shape our vision but to colonize our dreams.
      For the workshop, he offers a selection of footage, which directly deals with the ‘Unseen’. Based on these projections he will experiment with us on practicing the not-seen. Challenging the relation between the gaze and action, vision and perception, the imaginary and the experienced, we will cruise through a network of text, video, and physical practices that open the vision for the unseen and the un-seeing.

       

       


      22 / 06 - 26 / 06 / 2015


      ‘TOWARDS A COLLECTIVE RITUAL’
      Workshop by Medicine Man Oscar Parada


      What is a ritual and how can we use our bodies as tools to access a ritualistic space? Could rituals be keys to enter the invisible world and render it perceptible to us? Are ritualistic practices ways to open a specific space inside us but connecting us as well with the outside? How to navigate the body for it to become an instrument that can reveal those spaces? What is the epistemology supporting the ritualistic practices? What are the tools and symbols at work to create a healing ceremony? How to realise that a mere procedure can escape the mechanical, become a ritual and perform power? What is a sacred space, and what can it do?
      In this workshop Medicine Man Oscar Parada proposes hologenic breathing techniques, re-birthing, sound evocation, Zen Buddhism and ritualistic elements from the Amerindian cosmogony as ways to explore the sacred.
      This workshop has as objective to engage and reproduce the sacred in connection with a performative ritual space. Which is: to operate a transformation. And that is what we can call medicine. Medicine is everything that transforms us.
      Firstly, the workshop proposes techniques and practices to open the body not only as an artistic tool but also as a medicinal tool. Secondly the workshop is also a research into creating individual and collective rituals in different ways.
      We will question and challenge the limits of what ‘self’, ‘presence’ and ‘relation’ mean.
      We will open different space dimensions to find in ourselves ways to discover, recreate and relearn our personal ritualistic spaces connected to our memory. The different sessions will produce a possible catharsis for the participants to create a collective healing ceremony.

       

       


      29 / 06 - 03 / 07 / 2015


      ‘SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION’
      Workshop by Peter Stamer and Luanda Casella


      We are dealing with what is known as „The Small World Problem“, a popular research method, especially in times of immaterial communication or social networks like Facebook, trying to merge mathematical parameters of statistics with marketing tools to improve accessibility to one’s consumer behaviour. And yet, the thought is fascinating: that everyone of us is connected with anyone on this planet of now 7.5 billion inhabitants, regardless of race, cultural background, continent, religion, age. Next to the political implication of such a thought this idea provides us with a resourceful generator for stories, narratives, fictions about human beings and their lives.
      Six Degrees of Separation is based upon the desire to create contemporary storytelling formats in which we explore fiction in shared narrative practices - narratives without a centre plot, but composed of biographical fragments, travel experiences, random encounters, figments of imagination - and maybe very little resolution. We believe that the world is full of stories, told ones and concealed ones, voiced ones and mute ones. Stories that we fantasize are not less true; digging them out and rendering them audible creates a multiplicity of narratives which form a large tapestry of events, a patchwork of textures, interwoven in such a fashion that they somehow may exist on the verge of being. Using a mixed media apparatus (Google Earth; Skype; Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, etc), we will go through different storytelling exercises focusing on the construction of evasive, critical, imaginative narratives in order to create a common imaginary in the end. So what is it that holds the world(s) together?

    • The House of Spirits is a common space for the (re)collection, digestion and transformation of the traces of the individual researches and workshops. The House opens up a space for the shamans/conservators of the Research Centre, as well as some of the participants. Every week another shaman practices in the House of Spirits, working with the case objects of the participants or with left-overs of the workshop, developing a shared ritual for the a.pass group. The strategies of the shaman include reordering, cataloguing, magical transformations, ritual alchemy, displacement and fictionalisation.

      Every shaman puts the individual case traces in another context, allowing them to resonate and breed new meanings and connections. The shamans together develop the Book, which documents the changing protocols regulating the workings of the House.

      The beginning of every week (Monday evenings) is marked by a shared ritual with the participants, in which the reading of the shaman/conservator is revealed and the new shaman takes possession of the House. After the ritual the group engages in the weekly reading session (the Reading Circle).

      At the end of the block (just before end week), the House of Spirits opens its doors to the public. In the form of a weeklong celebration, a curated exhibition, a mini-festival, a performative conference, or whatever at that point seems to be the most relevant to the group, the House functions in that week as a kind of temporal 3D publications that offers guests an insight in the work developed throughout the block.

       

    • postgraduate program
    • workshop
    • Untouchable/Unacceptable/Intangible
    • TOWARDS A COLLECTIVE RITUAL 29 March 2015
      posted by: Nicolas Galeazzi
    • Oscar Parada
    • a.pass
    • 22 June 2015
    • 26 June 2015
    • TOWARDS A COLLECTIVE RITUAL

      In this workshop Medicine Man Oscar Parada proposes hologenic breathing techniques, re-birthing, sound evocation, Zen Buddhism and ritualistic elements from the Amerindian cosmogony as ways to explore the sacred. The workshop has as objective to engage and reproduce the sacred in connection to the performative ritual space. Which means: to perform a transformation. It is this transformation we can call 'medicine'.  Medicine is understood here as everything that transforms us.  

      In the first place this workshop proposes techniques and practices to open the body not only as an artistic tool but also as a medicinal one. Secondly, the workshop is also a research into creating individual and collective rituals in different ways. We will question and challenge the limits of what ‘self’, ‘presence’ and ‘relation’ mean. We will open different space dimensions to find in ourselves ways to discover, recreate and relearn our personal ritualistic spaces connected to our memory. The different sessions will produce a possible catharsis for the participants to create a collective healing ceremony.

      The last day of the workshop will be directed at questioning and clarifying the individual and collective experiences. We will take time to hear Oscar Parada talking about his concerns, the way his practices make sense to him and how he perceives their possible consequences.

      Some questions that will be addressed throughout the workshop:

      What is a ritual and how can we use our bodies as tools to access a ritualistic space? Could rituals be keys to enter the invisible world and render it perceptible to us? Are ritualistic practices ways to open a specific space inside us but connecting us as well with the outside? How to navigate the body for it to become an instrument that can reveal those spaces?

      What is the epistemology supporting the ritualistic practices? What are the tools and symbols at work to create a healing ceremony? How to realise that a mere procedure can escape the mechanical, become a ritual and perform power?

      What is a sacred space? What could be a pre-religious sacred space? Why would we need rituals, ceremonies and sacred spaces? What can they do?

       

      Subscription for this workshop is unfortunately no longer possible. All available places are taken. 

       

       


      Biography

      Medicine Man Oscar Parada

      Master in Traditional Chinese Medicine

      Healer master in Reiki, Acupressure, Jin Shin Do, Shiatsu and Do In


      Taoist Yoga instructor: Chi Kung, Dao jin and Ba Dua Jing

      Received his ordination as a Bodhisattva Monk in Zen Buddhism more than 20 years ago, receiving the name of Do Sei.


      Zen- Za-Zen meditation instructor

      Martial artist: Aikido, Wing Chun, Tai sword and Katana

      Music therapist

      Professional Rebirther and healer in the art of the breath



      Coordinates a self-healing school in Bogota, Colombia: El Centro de la Respiración Conciente


      Director of the Tierra Humana Foundation.



       

      He has been training actors for more than 15 years, from a perspective that defines the actor as a social healer and the origins of theater as collective cathartic rituals.

      Medical anthropologist and researcher of different healing systems from different cultures, he has specialized in the Tibetan Buddhist system, the Greek catharsis techniques and the Sotai from Japan.


      In order to integrate his knowledge as a Medicine Man he has embraced the ways of the Native American Wisdom and works and learns with other medicine men of North and South America.
 He has been walking and learning with traditional indian medicine for more than 15 years.
 At the moment he prays and prepares the medicine with the master Don Segundo Navia Mutbajoy of the Inga tribe of the Putumayo jungle. He also works and learns with Hilario Chiriap, Shaman of the Shuar tribe of the Ecuador Amazon, participating in the cutting, preparation and praying for the ancestral ceremony of the initiation of the NateMamo. In the year 2000 he began his formation as a Spiritual Leader and Medicine Man in the Native American Tradition of the Sacred Fire of Itzachilatlan. He received the blessing as Fire Man, the water blessing of the Temascal and the Sun Dance Drum blessing, 13 days Vision Searcher, Carrier of the Channupa (sacred pipe), Carrier of the Moon Prayer. He has guided for the last 4 years vision quest processes in Colombia and since last year in Greece.


      Walker of the Medicine Circle of the Hicuri grandfather, he is initiated in this way with Emerson Jackson, medicine man and spiritual leader of the Navajo People. For several years he accompanies Uncle Fred Vasquez, Medicine Man of the Teocalli Tlanezi branch of Mexico, of whom he receives the instruction of the ceremony of the the 4 tobaccos. He presently collaborates and learns with Tomas Adriano Perez, carrier of the Medicine of the Huichol tradition of North Mexico, with whom he opened the ceremony of the 4 Inipis to support the Sun Dance prayer in Colombia.

    • Abu Ali * Toni Serra is researcher through video. He hosts and programs the Observatori de Video No Identificat based in Barcelona - an Observatory Archive, that is structured around particular themes, which encourage a critique of contemporary culture and society,

      Using strategies of video art, independent documentary, and mass media archaeology embedded in this archive as source and tool to engaging with some of the dreams and nightmares of our times, he organizes frameworks for practicing and discussing perspectives beyond the visible.

      For the workshop at a.pass he offers a selection of footage, which directly deals with the ‘Unseen’. Based on these projections he will experiment with us on practices of not seeing. Challenging the relation between the gaze and action, vision and perception, the imaginary and the experienced, we will cruise through a network of text, video, and physical practices that open the vision for the unseen and the un-seeing.

      Normally we associate image with vision. But in a society of the spectacle images have become a form of blindness - an increasing veil, that prevents us from viewing. Our visions remains a prisoners of the images constructed by the entertainment, media and network apparatus, which not only tries to shape our vision but to colonized our dreams.

      We need to experiment and to experience the Unseen as a way to live the plenty of a reality, that finally can not be appropriate, represented or de-fined by any means. The Unseen is the source of the limitless ‘all’, and can not be confined in a narrow horizon.

      Here, closing your eyes means open them to another dimension, and not only disrupt the hypnotic flow of objective images, but "stops the world" around it to see. It is in this reality where a non return trip starts, beyond or before dualism: interior - exterior, to compose a world without borders between wakefulness and dreams, real and unreal, life and death.

      Find more information and content on this blog: 

       


       

      Biography

      Toni Serra * Abu Ali Barcelona 1960

      www.al-barzaj.com

      Lives in between Duar Msuar (Morocco) and Barcelona (Spain). videos, mass-media archaeology,texts and other submedia

      Member of OVNI Archives, he is also working in the research  projects: Ru'a [visions] , disReality, The Colonial Dream, and Babylon Archives,..

      His videos explore different visions between the essay and the poetry, with an evocation of trance and the realities of dream. His first works in New York and Tangiers were questioning the beauty and mystery of the ephemeral and marginal. In 1998 he finishes the TV Codes series: a critical immersion into the mass media mechanisms of alienation, a deconstruction and its hypnotical creation of social and identitary models. His last videos immerse into the relationship with the visionary, into the inner experience, the no man’s land between real and unreal, dream and awakeness, poetry and prophecy.,..as a way to deepen the criticism of reality.

      As a founding member of OVNI Archives - Observatorio de Video No Identificado (www.desorg.org), he was doing research and programming around Exodus, The Margins of the Empire - Colonial Dream and Autononous Zones,  Resistances, Rhizomes, disReality, Oblivion etc.

      He is also founder of the research project Ru'a [visions] www.ru-a.org: An intersection between western criticism and the islamic rhizome. To deconstruct the media monotype imposed on islamic realities. A reflection on the image in its relationship with the dream and visionary and on the images ability to project reality.

       

    • postgraduate program
    • workshop
    • a.pass Basics workshops
    • Untouchable/Unacceptable/Intangible
    • ECOLOGY OF AFFECTS 28 March 2015
      posted by: Pierre Rubio
    • Pierre Rubio / Geert Opsomer / Pierre Joachim
    • 25 May 2015
    • 29 May 2015
    • case of: Pierre Rubio
    • ECOLOGY OF AFFECTS

       

       

      “The supreme mystery of despotism, its prop and stay, is to keep men in a state of deception, and with the specious title of religion to cloak the fear by which they must be held in check, so that they will fight for their servitude as if for salvation.”
      Spinoza, ‘Tractatus Theologicopoliticus’, 1670

       

      “There is an ecology of bad ideas, just as there is an ecology of weeds”
      Gregory Bateson, ‘Steps to an ecology of mind’, 1972

       

      “There is only desire and the social, and nothing else.”
      Gilles Deleuze-Felix Guattari, ‘Anti-Oedipus’, 1972

       

      “The question of subjectivity is now returning as a leitmotiv. It’s not a natural given any more than air or water. How do we produce it, capture it, enrich it, and permanently reinvent it in a way that renders it compatible with universes of mutant value? How do we work for its liberation that is for its resingularization?
      Felix Guattari, ‘Chaosmosis’, 1992

       

      “A revolution is as much a reorientation of our affective relations as it is of social relations and cannot be one without the other.“
      Jason Read, ‘Economies of Affect / Affective Economies’, 2013

       

       

      Every block, a.pass organizes ‘b-workshops’ that focus on the basic principles of a.pass as a collaborative artistic research environment.

      This B-workshop ‘Ecology of Affects’ wants to address critically the production of subjectivity. We will put into discussion Spinoza’s theory of Affect in the ‘Ethics’ and Guattari’s critique of Capitalism's exploitation of Desire by reading closely a series of texts from the 17th up to the 21st century. With the help of two guests, Pierre Joachim and Geert Opsomer, we will study these philosophical and critical key notions but also discover how Pierre and Geert put them into practice and consequently how we can do so as well.

      Can we associate sadness with the outcomes of our capitalist world?
      Are we affected so much by capitalism that we can only sadly survive in what seems to have become its ‘nature’?
      Can we still affect the world?
      What could a joyful passion mean today?
      Is a joyful passion subversive?
      How can we create the conditions for joy to be possible?
      Is it by re-allocating desire that new joys can emerge?
      Can artistic researches produce a change?
      How can agency be created with aesthetic means?
      Could we critically re-combine ethics and aesthetics to reclaim the transformative power of our researches?
      What could be the nature of an ecology of affects that has the potential to produce a change?

      The workshop will make use of an elaborate reader that will be shared with the participants well in time for the workshop.

       

      The workshop is curated by Pierre Rubio

       

       

      Biographies

      Geert Opsomer

      Geert Opsomer is a German philologist, theatre scientist and dramaturg, teacher at the director’s department of the RITS and artistic collaborator of the arts centre CAMPO. Between 2001 and 2007 he was the artistic director of Nieuwpoorttheater in Ghent, which in 2008 fused with the theatre company Victoria to become CAMPO. Within CAMPO Geert Opsomer organizes the Plateau/Platform for Artistic Nomads, which is the artistic research department of CAMPO.

      An extension of this research platform turned into the celebrated CAMPO production ‘A l’attente du Livre d’Or’, selected for the Dutch Theaterfestival in 2010. Together with Johan Dehollander and a strong Belgian-Congolese cast, Opsomer made a joyful-anarchistic assemblage piece about Congolese comedy and Western tragedy. The jury praised the piece as a pioneer in the construction of connections between local and international practices, allowing them to strengthen one another.

       

      Pierre Joachim

      Pierre Joachim studied architecture (la Cambre, Belgium) and philosophy (ULB, Belgium). He has been exploring interactions between ‘theory’ and various practices, from architecture to pedagogy, social work, or dramaturgy. Rather driven by collaborations born from joyful encounters than any specific field of expertise, his main recent activities are writing and research collaborations with psychoanalyst Kathleen Rochlenko, performance and installation creation with Alexandre Le Petit (Verso Natura) and architectural conception. He is actually working on a blog and inquiry project. Spinoza’s Ethics have often offered him a precious tool for thought and collaboration.

    • postgraduate program
    • workshop
    • Untouchable/Unacceptable/Intangible
    • SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION 23 March 2015
      posted by: Nicolas Galeazzi
    • Peter Stamer / Luanda Casella
    • 29 June 2015
    • 03 July 2015
    • SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION

      In 1969, the American psychologist Stanley Milgram designed a study to explore if two randomly selected individuals, strangers to each other coming from different American states, are nevertheless connected by acquaintances in between. Starting the test in Kansas/Nebraska, linking people to one individual in Massachusetts, the experiment suggested that an individual knows of any target person only by six degrees of connecting steps: Mr X from Kansas knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows Mrs Z, living in Massachusetts. Even though this experiment showed some flaws in its methodological design, it seemed to prove a fascinating idea which the Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy had already carried out in his fictional essay ‘Chains’ in 1929. In this text the writer even suggested that the population of the whole planet, not just from a region in the United States, was closer together than it had ever been before: “We should select any person from the 1.5 billion inhabitants of the Earth - anyone, anywhere at all - and, using no more than five individuals, one of whom is a personal acquaintance, one could contact the selected individual using nothing except the network of personal acquaintances.”

      What Karinthy and Milgram were dealing with is now known as „The Small World Problem“, a popular research method, especially in times of immaterial communication or social networks like facebook, trying to merge mathematical parameters of statistics with marketing tools to improve accessibility to one’s consumer behaviour. And yet, the thought is fascinating: that everyone of us is connected with anyone on this planet of now 7.5 billion inhabitants, regardless of race, cultural background, continent, religion, age. Next to the political implication of such a thought this idea provides us with a resourceful generator for stories, narratives, fictions about human beings and their lives.

      Six Degrees of Separation is based upon the desire to create contemporary storytelling formats in which we explore fiction in shared narrative practices - narratives without a centre plot, but composed of biographical fragments, travel experiences, random encounters, figments of imagination - and maybe very little resolution. We believe that the world is full of stories, told ones and concealed ones, voiced ones and mute ones. Stories that we fantasize are not less true; digging them out and rendering them audible creates a multiplicity of narratives which form a large tapestry of events, a patchwork of textures, interwoven in such a fashion that they somehow may exist on the verge of being. Using a mixed media apparatus (Google Earth; Skype; Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, etc), we will go through different storytelling exercises focusing on the construction of evasive, critical, imaginative narratives in order to create a common imaginary in the end. So what is it that holds the world(s) together?

      References/Literature: Sophie Calle: Exquisite Pain and other writings; George Perec: “Life – A User’s Manual”; “Species of Spaces and other pieces”, Alfred Hitchcock: “Rear Window”; ‘The Phantom of Liberty’, film by Luis Bunuel, 1974; ‘Street Scene’ by Bertolt Brecht; ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ by Augusto Boal; ‘Phone Booth’ (film) by Joel Schumacher.

       

       

      Biographies:

       

      Peter Stamer works as director, dramaturg, mentor and curator in the field of contemporary theatre and performance. In his projects he is mainly interested in the potency of bodies and their potential for language. His performance and theatre projects, realized all over Europe, also led him to China, Egypt, USA, or Israel. His recent works include a.o. The Path Of Money, a documentary/theatre/installation on a travelling banknote through China; the performance For Your Eyes Only on story telling and blindness; or The Big Event 1 – 3, a documentary theatre play on the assassination of John F. Kennedy (with toxic dreams). Lately he has been working on the international building-performance-project A Future Archeology within which spatial structures in Berlin, Vienna, and Cairo were to be built during five months in 2013. He just finished the New York phase of the project 26 Letters to Deleuze on the Abcédaire of Gilles Deleuze for EMPAC in Troy/New York.

      (www.peterstamer.com)

       

      Luanda Casella is a Brazilian writer and storyteller, living and working in Belgium since 2006. Her research focuses on the ways individuals relate to narratives in order to create a sense of identity, to form their opinion of the world, and ultimately to protect themselves. As a writer she's interested in magic realism and in all forms of prose where fictional elements are incorporated in the narratives with the same relevance as real facts — strongly believing that fantastic attributes given to characters and settings give us the freedom we need to address the often phantasmagoric social realities of our history. In her performance work she's concerned with finding techniques to produce hypertext fiction on stage. In other words, to expose the audience to an experience of co-authorship, where viewers are engaged in making intellectual and emotional associations to the completion of the story. In the context of the storytelling format "live-book" — an interaction of spoken word and live jazz music — she connects the experiences of 'reading' to that of 'watching a jazz concert' and builds (with prose) a space for free interpretation. Extremely influenced by plastic theatre, her stage narratives are enhanced by the use of paratextual material — in the form of video projections of written content, maps, objects, costumes and props — suggesting purely poetic truths.

      (www.luandacasella.com)

       

    • postgraduate program
    • workshop
    • Untouchable/Unacceptable/Intangible
    • THIS PLACE 23 March 2015
      posted by: Nicolas Galeazzi
    • Sara Manente / Marcos Simoes
    • a.pass
    • 01 June 2015
    • 05 June 2015
    • THIS PLACE

       The workshop unfolds a series of extra-sensorial practices as tools for collaboration in groups, couples or with objects. The dispositives, for example the telepathic approach, offer the possibility to create a third existence which is ‘a self’, an entity other than us, with its own qualities and ability to perform in an attempt to include chance and other contingencies in the work, to destabilize power relations based on linear logics and to questions the effect of belief and make-belief in a performative environment. Can we create magic by creating the rules for magic to happen? Like an ‘experimental magic’ without magicians? Is it possible to empower an object, a person, a situation through speculation and prediction?

      The workshop will start with a daily practice of writing questions for a tarot reader. What would you like to ask the cards? What do you need to know? How will the formulation of doubts affect you? We will offer three different performative tools to be explored and then appropriated into your own project. These practices were the starting point for the one year project called “This place”, during which we collaborated with 8 artistic couples to make and present 8 performances inspired by ‘paranormal’ experiences between people who know each other in an extra-ordinary way.

      For the workshop “Place this”, we want to discover the transformational powers of this knowledge in different constellations: individually, with objects, in couples, trios, groups. With the stubbornness of ‘the idiot’, we will practice and question again and again opening up the creative process to the material and the immaterial.

       

      this place, Sara Manente, Marcos Simoes : photograph Marcello Mardones


       

       

      Biographies

      Sara Manente

      °1978, lives and works in Brussels.

      Born close to Venice in 1978, she began practising ballet at an early age. In 2003, she completed a degree in Communication Sciences at the University of Bologna with a graduate thesis on Semiotics and Dance before moving to Belgium with a research scholarship at the Univer- sity of Antwerp. In 2007 she attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp (In Situ department) for a year. In 2008 she completed the post-master’s programme of a.pass at deSingel (advanced performance and scenography studies, previously A.P.T).

      Sara Manente works as a choreographer and performer.

      Since 2004 she has made performances, videos and research projects of her own and in collaboration, namely with Marcos Simoes, Ondine Cloez, Michiel Reynaert, Alessandra Bergamaschi, Constanze Schellow, Hwang Kim and the members of Cabra. Some of her works: Democratic forest (research project and workshops, 2008-2009), To park (per- formance installation, 2008-2010), Some performances (video, 2008), Lawaai means Hawaai (trio after two previous projects on noise and dance, 2009), Grand Tourists (experimental in-situ project, 2010), Not not a lecture (lecture performance and publication, 2011), Faire un four (quartet on the making of 4 similar and 4 different, 2011), x: I liked B better/ y: I am 29 too (telepathic experiment between North and South Korea, 2013), This place (a series of performances based on ESP and tarot reading made in two weeks with seven differ- ent artistic couples, 2012-2014) and Rita (video and performance of a joint Cabra project, 2014). As a performer, since 2009 she has been working for Juan Dominguez, Kate McIntosh, Aitana Cordero Vico, Marcos Simoes, Jaime Llopis, Nada Gambier and Gaëtan Bulourde.

      Sara is one of the founding members of the association CABRA vzw facilitating the work of seven artists: Sara Manente, Marcos Simoes, Norberto Llopis, Jaime Llopis, Santiago Ribelles Zorita, Kyung Ae Ro and Varinia Canto Vila

      www.cabra.weebly.com

       

      Marcos Simoes

      °1975, Portugal, lives and works in Brussels.

      Marcos studied civil engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon. He attended the intensive course of SNDO and the contemporary dance programme at the University Miguel Hernandez in Altea (Spain) where he started to create his own work. He created and performed

      three pieces in collaboration with Sara Manente: Palyndrome, Eye in the Sky and Instructions. He completed the post-master a.p.t/A. pass in Performing Arts in Antwerp where he presented several works around his concept: The LaughingBody. In 2010 he presents ‘Eskimo’ a piece for 6 performers in Monty and Working Title Platform. In 2011/2012 together with Hwang Kim and Sara Manente they presented ‘‘x: I liked B better / y: I’m 29 too ” at the Festival Bom in Seoul (Korea), and together with the Portuguese choreographic art- ist Lilia Mestre they present ‘Ai! a choreographic project’.

      In 2013/14 he works in different collaboration projects, ‘Proces- sionism’ with the visual artist Marcelo Mardones; ‘This Place’ with Sara Manente and invited guests; and a 2 weeks collaboration Project between CABRA VZW and ETT in Seoul (South Korea).

      As a performer he has worked for Sara Manente, Kyung Ae Ro, Nada Gambier and others. Currently he is working as a performer for Nada Gambier and in a collaboration Project with Artur Castro Freire.

      He’s one of the founding members of the association CABRA vzw fa- cilitating the work of seven artists: Sara Manente, MarcosSimoes, Norberto Llopis, Jaime Llopis, Santiago Ribelles Zorita, Kyung Ae Ro and Varinia Canto Vila.

       

    • postgraduate program
    • workshop
    • Untouchable/Unacceptable/Intangible
    • BRICOLAGE a tool for opening the block
      17 March 2015
      posted by: Nicolas Galeazzi
    • Nicolas Galeazzi
    • a.pass
    • 04 May 2015
    • 08 May 2015
    • case of: Nicolas Galeazzi
    • BRICOLAGE

      To open this block we start with bricolage. The bricoleur never starts - he is continuously working on 'whatever is at hand'.

      Diving into this concept, described in Claude Levi-Strauss' 'The Savage Mind', we develop a practice to present, discuss and discover the momentary objectives of our researches. With the help of found and constructed objects, objects of personal importance and desire, daily objects and precious ones, or objects of thought and discourse, we will try to define the actual quality of each one's research model and methodology.   

      The bricolage technique may be very close to many of our practices. The artist researcher is commonly acknowledge, as the bricoleur-scientist. He crafts the object of knowledge. Levi-Strauss describes the the bricoleur in opposition to the engineer: the bricoleur’s tools and materials are heterogeneous but - working only with what is there - his/her universe of instruments is finite. The understanding of the world is assembled and constructed on the go. The material "is the contingent result of all the occasions there have been to renew or enrich the stock or to maintain it with the remains of previous constructions or destructions."

      The engineer instead, tries - in the most rational manner - to overcome the constraints of his current reality and works under the basic assumption of infinite possibilities. The engineer as much as the scientist creates events (changing the world) by means of structures and the 'bricoleur' creating structures by means of events.

      Living and acting as an artist researcher in-between these two methodologies is a choice of political dimension, which we want to discuss at the beginning of the block.

      In the course of this week we will present the current state of our research case from various perspectives. ‘Bricolaging’ the 'objects' of your research, turning them upside down, looking at them through the other's eyes and assembling the elements in play, we want to understand the complex horizon of your research target.

      For this we will use a variety of objects (and their relations, materials and relations to those materials, tools and relation to them.) Fixing and recycling will be as much part of the practice of understanding as destroying, dismantling and dissecting.

      As a preparation to this opening workshop we would like you to search for three objects with different characteristics:

      • one precious object, relevant to your research in a personal, ev. emotional sense,
      • one broken object, to be fixed, even if in this case fixing might be hopeless,
      • and finally one object with an open structure - something not yet finished, in the middle of its becoming.

      All of these objects should have a more or less tight connection to the research discourse or field you’re working on.

       





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