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      There has been a shift in humanities scholarship:

      (feminist science studies, the post humanities, the ecological humanities, animal studies, queer theory,) humanities scholars have represented their matters of care with an aesthetic (and therefore political) commitment to narrating stories with an emphasis on the relationality among agencies, forces, phenomena, and entities usually kept separate, in the background, or out of the story altogether

      --> redistribution of agencies

      political stake ==> aesthetic tactics

      (the reading of ajayeb portraits) the global [and therefore ethical] consciousness (at the end of 12th century middle-south asia, “the east”)

      • descriptive practices of poetics and natural history

       

      situated perspective ==> storytelling

      my interest in your work is to become skillful at reading with you our situated perspectives --> Zoumana’s, Hoda’s, Sina’s, ajayeb’s, apass’, etc.

       

      http://ajayeb.net/bibli

      • women in my life: Avital, Haraway, Ahmed, Scher, Barad, Despret, teaching me science and art, attentive modes of differential reading and writing, practices of noninnocent care and concern
      • men in my life: Serres, Sennet, Delanda, Levinas, Anand, teaching me a non-guilt-driven knowledge of history and past, a different mode of remembrance which provokes a different mode of response and responsibility

      #i am learning from Kohn that the survival is complicated, from Haraway that world works by excess and therefore filled with hope, with Sennett and Delanda a better account of socio-material history, from Ahmed a different understanding of psychoanalysis, from Barad poetry and argumentation, from Scher the effort needed to become interested, from Kenney that there is no need for a “standard language” to describe your interventions or to produce a body of knowledge about your matters of concern,

       

      http://ajayeb.net/?q=hypertext

       

      stories that collect stories [~= archive? my hypertext? a mouth full? --this specific type of stories are dangerously worlders, usually handed to the unquestioned mechanics of universalized taxonomy and 17th century rigs: encyclopedic homogeneous tables. they are the stuff of ajayeb]

      (kinda mispronounced by Ekaterina > captured by Hoda > made found object by Sina)

       

      stories that collect other stories:

      1- archive ~--> sortability

      2- translation ~--> linearity

      3- dictionary ~-->

      ==> universality (that both these stories claim)

      (my work on hypertext apass ajayeb graph rigs, is to deal within these conditions of storing/storying. i wasn’t interested in this some time ago: a shift in my interest)

       

      http://ajayeb.net/?q=excess

       

      excess : there is always more that we don't know, what yet has to come; the world is constantly doing stuff; (--X--> accelerationist manifesto, apocalyptic narratives, technophobic narcissistic stories, etc.)

      (i am drawn to and by excess, and i am engaged in it: in my lectures, talkings, writings, and I take it up also visually in my drawings. my ajayeb hypertext search is contingent and opportunistic, and its searches are non-systematic.)

       

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12j9COM_uN9zlWhs9FQiFVdAoc_jMo0AMesYGCFfUPNY/edit?usp=drive_web

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1QYJHc3uoDwucLAMp4oPBe19CETNk2Pa27ZhK51bAngk/edit?usp=drive_web

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_sl0QNWI-Iedg48Ao7-aXxW9wnnife0xUTpnCzgrfQU/edit?usp=drive_web

       

      (as you have already noticed, my:)

      Routines:

      • interrupting stories with stories
      • partial connection (and its performance)
      • moving arguments through by infecting them with other arguments (=/= dialectical)
      • mobilizing (multidisciplinary) fields (=/= the imperative of knowing A, B, and C first before you do D)
      • mobilizing citation apparatus --> that which gives sense to what enables this work --> deliberately having a conversation with ajayeb al-makhlughat عجایب المخلوقات, Sa'di, Attar, Sadra, Sohrevardi, etc.
      • remembering what one knows (=/= owes) (and organizing, performing, reworking it, sustaining a state of generative transformation = my ajayeb.net)
      • having stakes in rationality (i constantly criticize rationality, but as you can see, i am not at all throwing it out)
      •  
      •  

       

      Practices:

       

      Trajectory:

      • Bibliography
      • Wonder
      • Ongoingness
      • Ontology
      •  

       

      Productions:

      • study as artwork
      • reading as artwork
      • bottom-top approach to writing
      •  

       

      Findings:

      • every research practice:
        • must include "the image of body"
        • must employ ontological attention to differential productions
        • must rework decompose redefine its root-metaphors
        • must give extensive equipment list
        • must trace its social connections in a wider ecology of practices
        •  

       

      citation apparatus

      to begin writing about ajayeb with the citational ‘avardeand ke...’ (...آورده‌اند که)

       

      citation, an important characteristic of fables, is about relational histories

       

      absence of definitive source (in my old childhood favorite radio show, by bring an endless list of fantastic source and bodies of lures) allows monsters to flourish and me the full range of my passionate crafts. ajaybe's compelling mystery demands (from me) an unorthodox and omnivorous approach (hame-chiz-khar همه چیز خوار).

       

      اما راویان اخبار و ناقلان آثار و طوطیان شکرشکن شیرین گفتار و خوشه چینان خرمن سخن دانی و صرافان سر بازار معانی و چابک سواران میدان دانش توسن خوش خرام سخن را بدینگونه به جولان در آورده اند که ...

       

      • Mirabile dictu... (miraculous to say...) (--> wonderful to relate… / Virgil’s citation making) (=/= sad to say…, unfortunately...)

       

      (with Despret's talking parrots)

      parrots (shekar-shekan) (and philosophers) really like to control the exchange, to keep control of a conversation : their refusal to let another individual choose the topic of conversation

      (parrots have) a pragmatic rather than a referential conception of language

      [?am i also referential (=/= pragmatic) in my conception of language?]--> to teach a being to speak presupposes not only a tolerance of but also a profound interest in misunderstanding (this ‘profound interest in misunderstanding’ is precisely both cognitive and political aspect of what I am trying to bring forth) ~-> (how language-learning with animals can help us learn) restating and inverting the question of control? (Despret asks)

       

      exchange can only be achieved when there is “a continuous reprisal of translations and betrayals of meaning” ==> understanding itself is compromised

       

      “we”: constituted by the assemblage of different (animal-, nonhuman-, machine-, human-)beings equipped with an apparatus aimed at making them talk well

       

      ***

      (one thing i am learning in apass is that) modeling ontologies involves articulating knowledge in ways that sometimes appears alien to that domain community

      [asking with Bowker:] for my ontology-building to appear representative, does my community itself have to learn the goals and language of my knowledge modeling?

      (the question i asked Sven: to tell others 'which language one is using.')

       

      in a way, my work and interest in ajayeb is about:

      • histories of standards in knowledge production, which, i argue, is key to all sorts of other productions
      • the politics of remembrance : the politics and philosophy of classifying certain textual/material activities such that they have a chance of being part of the cultural potential memory)-->{Olga, Hoda, Sana}

      -artists are using a lot of standards (of representations or materials)

      -(out of) control standards

      -there is a huge amount of standards i am depending on in my hypertext http://ajayeb.net/bibli

      -international diplomacy depends on manufacturing and enforcement of standard vocabulary --> how much are we really in diplomatic businesses?

       

      (it is about) organizing my memory

      (it is about) that which comes to (my) mind, and “things” coming to mind(s) (of the people around me, and before me)

      (it is about) the things I am told

      __(these are perhaps other names of cognition, affect, memory, semiotics, history, inheritance, figuration, interface, thing-relations, huntology,)

      __in our shared space where we let each other in the effect of our languages, I want to practice what comes to mind when I stand in front of you and your work, ask myself ‘what else’ comes to mind? in a sense, my project on ajayeb is that kind of training

       

      also in apass i want to catch you in your acts

      it is my privilege to recognize you (as...)

       

      asking:

      1- what do I know?

      2- what am I told?

       

      1. the first question has no clear answer, what i know is not placed somewhere in me, it is always an articulated matter of ‘with’ or in interaction with, it is an always compound relation between matters, changes before i can grasp, knowing is done always with a figure or a thing, it includes all sorts of optics and technologies, (affect theory, media theory, epistemology, semiotics, ajayeb theory, Sadrian imaginal ontology, etc.)
      2. the response to the second question is also not clear, i can never be sure of what i am told, i don't remember or even hear, what i am told is infolded in what i know

       

      (when i started with my islam lecture series i was testing the waters of these two questions and the possibility of staying with them without freaking out of ambiguity, panicking into a meaning i don't actually want to mean, or plotting an answer, plotting relevances)

       

      is all about loving to tell you about what i am reading

       

      to become a skilled listener : listening ~= response (=/= simply answering) --> (when we speak) we give other people talismans that are not (perfectly) clear to us----we penetrate and unpack what someone doesn't have the words clearly and response to what they intend

      -these have nothing to do with “common understanding,” “make something work,”

       

      cooperation is about getting deeper into something

       

      (i am more interested in) conditions that more skills are required (and not the opposite)

       

      (digital reading practices of) data mining =/= reading for the reactions of an implicit reader --> what the scholar of ajayeb (in the medieval) might have felt?

       

      #on hypertext note:

       

      i am becoming skilled at looking at my own notes:

       

      {(1) what are the skills necessary [=/= tabula rasa (of the reader, of the audience) of the communo-capitalism's standard of “user-interface”--the strange idea that the interaction and reading doesn't need or must not need learned-efforts or skills, that it should be “easy” and “effortless” --> fallacy of the unskilled listener.] to engage, interact, and get involved with the interface, data-set, grammar, and literacy of (my) reservoir? }--> ** let's ask that question with every apparatus that engages us into desire, movement, articulation, ...

      skills --> to become literate in this particular way --> situated knowledge includes this situated literacy and skills of reading particular to the object of “text” (in that case how do i address my interest in the pervert reader? the skills of the unlearning*)

      --> (2) this skills of (my) reservoir, what set of questions or problems equip me to address?

       

      (Sennett’s) varzidan, varz, varzide, ورزیده

       

      ok, again, the ‘skill’ question:

      1. --> what are the set of skills needed for my work?
      2. --> which problematics these skills equip me to address?
      3. --> can i (or should i) not know these problematics in advance?

       

      as you can see almost all my crafts and tropes are related to social order, communities of concern and research, practices of response, interactions in collective life, etc. the meanings of community and knowledge

       

      because of working on ajayeb, i am becoming sort of a “definitionist,” or “definitionologist” (not in the classical sense of concept theory)

      a definition i give is a local abstraction, even when it is making boundaries for a dispersed or global concept, it is still a situated knowledge. that means it might be categorical but not applicable outside this particular niche of space and time, even when accessed in my hypertext (--> wht Sven’s music sounds different when he plays it in the group?)

       

      (committed to the imperative of the Rig,) things not to do in the pop-up book:

      • use as ironic: incongruity (عدم تجانس) in expectations of what is meant and what it will mean in advance
      • use to symbolize: as a way of not dealing with transference and sujet supposé savoir
      • use of anamorphic gaze: a non-diffractive optical system
      • use of palindromic model --> to be careful (or keep in check) with sequential palindromic notion of pop-up book, to deal with the parsable seesaw motif inherent in the pop-up book Blickmaschin

       

      *a non-ironic non-symbolic non-anamorphic non-palindromic work

       

       

      my Rigs diagrams are swarms? -a multitude of different creative agents

      ajayeb.net (how can it be:) not a website but a “para-site”

      • am i creating an ego (for ajayeb) in my ajayeb.net? if yes, that would be interesting how? To equip a being with “ego”.

       

      topos/topic of hypertext, spatial character of electronic writing

      topic [from Greek ‘topos’: a place, in ancient rhetoric used to refer to commonplaces, conventional units, or methods of thought] exist in a writing space that is not only a visual surface but also a data structure in the computer --> Hypertext: “is not the writing of a place, but rather a writing with places, spatially realized topics.” (Bolter < Hubert)

      -in my hypertext, which writing materials, cognitive mappings, itineraries of reading, textual stability, loops and reductions are addressed?

       

      • in ajayeb.net the so-called url address or location bar, is itself a control panel, a graphical user interface widget;
        how did i come to use “?q=”: rhetorics of technologized inquiry in place before i even could think about how do I allow my objects constituted by “?”, “q” and “=” of the language and grammar of internet
        • selection pressure of ?q= : a (abstract) probe head:  explores a space of possible forms (of writing), is blind or shortsighted, nevertheless effective in certain circumstances ==> double articulation http://ajayeb.net/?q=double%2Barticulation
          • producing highlights: embodied attention that produces non-zero clusters of salient words that come to glow different than others
        • ?q= is an abstract machine that differentiates the process of sedimentary-sentence formation from the process that yields textual species
      • google webmasters tools is my first readership, it communicates its reading with me; (did i have a desire to make the hypertext for a machine?)
      • url passed in facebook post, results into a link to فلزیاب ، مطالب علمی و آموزشی / مدار فلزیاب و دستگاه فلزیاب تضمینی, a series of websites for selling treasure finders, finding metal under the ground, ganj, and so on...

       

      the English (since World War II) --> (1) international lingua franca of high technology, (2) the language of computers

      -in ajayeb.net the enforcement of standard spelling and grammar is weak or nonexistent

      -the amount of linguistic replicators that circulate through my ajayeb hypertext are bound to a colloquial English, they are nevertheless “English”. but this English is being changed and adapted by my foreign use in multiple ways. Is this language really “English”?

      -(towards) a flourishing of a neo-English + Farsi miniaturization of Eng

       

       

      ajayeb's craft and undisciplined tradition can be called empirical, it is an example of an archival research (done by historian.) i want to highlight the aesthetic quality of this activity.

      aesthetics: how elements are arranged together, how they are composed, how they are brought into relation in the space of a text (Kenney > Latour,Stengers, Bellacasa) (--> La Guin's bag, bundle) }--> rigs

      **aesthetics are political because they do consequential relational work**

       

      novels, poetry, feminist theory, speculative fiction, bestiary list categories --> these genres of composition gather together and stage their “matters of care” in ways that perform relations between things and teach their readers to inhabit sometimes unfamiliar, agential world. they are practices of sf worlding.

       

       

      bottom-up writing

       

      my ajayeb hypertext, what is there the specific law of putting together letters ([and atoms?] to produce a text)? That means the question of Greekness and syntax technology, and my reworking articulated

      • alphabetical proto cloud (Serres) --?--> without law, random
      • what are the laws of good combination that i am reworking or resisting or acquiring or answering to, in my ajayeb hypertext? (how composition is reproduced?)

      --> (the law enunciates [تلفظ کردن ,مژده دادن] the federated,) the law repeats the fact =/= the things of ajayeb are (still) in the process of being formed (--> the morality of reading that i am working on)

      (in the facts of the law there is no space between things and language, is reduced to zero)

      -language and things are born together with the very same process (Serres - Hermes.) --> stable gathering of elements

      • ajayeb's version of the network of primordial elements in communication with each other

       

      my interest in the devil is in the details of my makings (and others)

       

      *please take in mind that these names are my guess at my own rabbit chasings, (they are not “wants” or purposefully organized tracings or mobilized intentions)

       

      (do we need?) to get at (and maintain?) the deep structure of the one's situation

      --> transformational grammar

      --> bring intuitive decision-making to a conscious level

      -->

      in my hypertext writing, am i trying to enable myself to talk about my work in a language (that computers could understand)?

       

      common language ~= standard language

      (we can't talk about the commons without sorting out our understanding of our standard-saturated world)

       

      (my hypertext is not data-driven [= a system with focus on the acquisition, management, processing, and presentation of atomic-level data] nor a process-driven (or process-sensitive system, for example delivering a care), what is it then?) (also not systematically storing [my] “knowledge” for later access, storage of information in such long-term memory, no no no)

        • is it a support for my various tasks and practices outside the computer? --> excess-driven storytellings =/= minimum data set

       

      • a non-data-driven systems in this society are named secretive and mysterious in the name of transparency

       

       

      #in a way i am building an adequate mode of encounter with an idea of “Iranian scientist” (?)

       

      authors of ajayeb approached nature not in a way to sketch the boundaries of a discrete animal event, therefore, a unit of analysis, (which is very “natural” at 21st century;) rather an infrastructure itself in flux, providing an unnatural hierarchy

       

      questions for my ajayeb's Rigs and pop-up book:

      my rigs and pop-up book are descriptive concepts, that means: they obtain their meaning by reference to a particular physical apparatus ==>? a constructed cut between the object and the agencies of observation

      • pop-up book: an instrument with fixed parts ==> concept of “position”
      • Rigs on the other hand tries not to exclude other concepts such as “momentum” from having meaning

      --> ajayeb's variables require an instrument with moveable parts for their definition (?)

      exclusions (= physical & conceptual constraints) are co-constitutive

      objectivity (= possibility of unambiguous communication, boundary articulations) --> reference must be made to bodies in order for concepts to have meaning (?)

      • my Rigs and books are basically about how discursive practices are related to material phenomena

       

      reading: “text” is the interface between the materialization of “reality” and subjectivation of “reader” --> inseparability of language and reality in ajayeb

      (“We are suspended in language in such a way that we cannot say what is up and what is down, The word ‘reality’ is also a word, a word which we must learn to use correctly.” Petersen < Barad)

       

      ajayeb's iterative processes of materialization

       

      عجایب نامه =/= imagined and idealized human-independent reality

       

      ajayeb's stories of historically nonhuman people

       

      in ajayeb's descriptive intra-actions with reality, humans and language are part of the configuration or ongoing reconfiguring of the world (= phenomena)

      (with Barad)

       

      we cannot so easily answer where the apparatus ends, and this poses serious questions about the ontology of our practices

       

      • (but again, how can I answer) which ontological practices are embodied (or embedded) in (the productive and constraining dimension of regulatory) apparatuses of my ajayeb? (rigs, hypertext, pop-up, my sayings, etc.)
      • (resisting the anti-metaphysics legacy) how can I keep insisting on accountability for the particular exclusions that are enacted in (my) ajayeb and taking up the responsibility to perpetually contest and rework the boundaries (of my objectives)?
      • (if i continue with digital tech in reading ajayeb) how the digitized ajib knowledge can resist appropriation and translation into an idiom that will not sustain its metaphysics?

       

    • postgraduate program
    • workshop
    • block 2017/II
    • Medium Score
    • The Problem of the Score
    • The Medium Score Thinking making together apart
      07 May 2017
      posted by: Lilia Mestre
    • Lilia Mestre
    • case of: Lilia Mestre
    • The Medium Score

      The proposal for this block follows on previous iterations of scores as tools to practice dialogue or intersubjective formats for exchange in artistic research. ScoreScapes is an investigation of how scores can facilitate the relation between artistic research, documentation and knowledge processing.

      If artistic research is an active and methodological search for ways to keep the viability of our relation with the world, then how can this search be mediated by scores? If artistic research engages in processes of awaking unseen phenomenological relations with what surrounds us, then how do we compose materials and thoughts? What is the performativity at stake on the sharing of those? What’s the relation between subjectivity and collectivity? What does that do to our individual practices and to the collective itself?

      This time the practice of The Medium Score will focus on how different formats of communication intertwine in the making and the analyses of each others researches. Each time every participant will contribute with a 5 minutes template of his/her research as a module of knowledge processing within the common environment of a.pass post master.

      The score brings about the importance of art practice and research as a discursive tool. The score pushes for an assemblage of layers - philosophical, emotional, aesthetic, economic, critical, social-  that form a reflection of the world and the role of art within it. Every art work has a relation with multiple layers and constructs itself upon that basis. The context of each artistic research is variable and is therefor a contribution for a plural approach of relations.

      GENERAL FRAME : MMM - Medium, Methodology, Model

      Medium

      Use the medium you wish. Answer the questions that will be addressed to you always with the same medium. Be aware you can change medium just once and when you do so you’ll have to explain why.

      Methodology

      Through the practice of the score the methodological approach of the singular researches will emerge by the way participants will compose their replies. The score allows for the cognition of the individual methodological approaches.

      Model

      By the end of the score practice each of us will make a model of each of our researches. A model is a visualisation of the connections that the researches propose and the links they have with modes of production, the societal environment, the philosophical, architectural, political, etc, fields that the singular researches entail.


      INSTRUCTIONS

      -We meet every week on Thursdays from 17:00 till 21:00 on a.pass 4th floor studio.
      -We bring food to share.
      -We work with the people present. It’s not possible to participate remotely by email or other telematic means.
      -There is no audience.If you don’t have work to present you skip a session.

      The score is simple. It works as follows:

      Proposition > (X 8 question > reply ) > model

      To start:

      The first meeting each of us presents a 5 minutes sample of our research question. The sample is communicated as performance, text, object, dissertation,…It manifest the content of the research and the medium through which the research is taking place.

      The questions

      After we assist to each others presentations we assign by chance procedure who is asking questions to whom.

      Each of us has two days to formulate a question to one of the researchers that has presented her/his work. Questions are sent by email.

      The questions are a dialectic tool to engage in the discursiveness of artistic practice and research. They aim to argument what is at stake, its implications and further relations in the artistic research environment. They are the indicators of the dialogical potential of each research project. They are the motor of a process of sharing, contaminating, contradicting, thinking / making together apart. Questions are an intrinsic and important component of the score. Think them, contextualize them, offer them.

      The replies

      After receiving your questions you have 5 days to develop an answer with the medium you’ve chosen. You present your reply the week after in a 5 minutes template. And so forth till the end of the block.

      Change

      If you want to change medium during the score practice it is possible to do it once. You have to argument your choice when you decide to do so.


      PUBLICATION

      We think together how we will publish the practice of the score. How do we make public our processes? The question of documentation and archive is a collective process. The result will be decided by all of us and the materials we generate. A publication will be issued after the block finishes.


    • postgraduate program
    • block 2017/II
    • Medium Score
    • The Problem of the Score
    • The problem of the score Block curated by Lilia Mestre / May > July 2017
      21 April 2017
      posted by: Lilia Mestre
    • case of: Lilia Mestre
    • The problem of the score


      From May till July 2017 the a.pass post-master program questions how structures pre-determine singular outcomes, and to what extent they imply relationality. Every system is a network of connections and the way the system is set to operate defines forms of relation which reveal ideological standpoints. In other words modes of interaction are formatting forces that construct worlds. If we think that way, what kind of problems do our research structures entail?  And if we can think a polyphonic world , constituted by multiple models, how do we consider our own structure as a relational one? What kind of technologies are we putting into place? What kind of invitation are we making? And to whom?

      The notions of ‘apparatus’ and ‘tentacular thinking’ will be key to understanding and experiencing the problem of score in contextual ecologies. Apparatuses, as coined by Foucault and Agamben, are systems of governance that enable relationships between beings and structures through which the subject is constructed. During former block Donna Haraway  introduced us to tentacular thinking as a place from which one can build relations to economical, biological, philosophical, productional, institutional, etc orders. Together with the a.pass researchers, workshop givers and guests we reflect on them, challenge our practices and relate to other authors and art makers.

      Every Thursday we meet at a.pass 4th floor for movement practice with Anouk Llaurens, followed by a reading and reflexion group that tackles emergent issues and in the evening we play ‘The medium Score’. Through the score we concentrate on Medium, Method and Model in our researches as points of analysis and tools to craft relations. The MMM attempts to understand the implications of our works in our environmental context. The crazier the better!

      The Medium Score is a next iteration of Block Curator Lilia Mestre’s research on scores as collaborative tools for production, pedagogy and discourse. A variation of Writing Score https:///www.apass.be/writing-scores-the-book/ but this time each score participant will focus on his/her own medium. Scores are seen as dispositives of collaboration, of conversation and practice that tie together a plurality of concerns of a.pass researchers. More information about the previous scores at the ABCDAIRE > entry = Scores

      In what concerns workshops, Vladimir Miller and his project Settlement is in for a 2 week investigation on how spatial setups embody and facilitate certain ideologies of togetherness. Jennifer Lacey gives a week workshop on choreography and dance. Her approach consists in the development of processes specific to each project and its resources of production. Through her methods we produce aesthetic rules, body vocabulary and behaviour related to us as a group in context.

      In collaboration with former a.pass researchers Sofia Caeser we organise a seminar at La Bellone with focus on the status of document and display as structures that reveal power relations and equally structures that can be transformed and modify those same power relations. The full programme is under construction but we can already announce that artists Vincent Meessen, Olga de Soto, Kobe Matthys and Femke Snelting are invited to give public talks and masterclasses. Former a.pass associate researcher Juan Dominguez launches the book that results from his research on conspiracy.

      During The Problem of the Score the concrete models under consideration are the methodologies of researchers, the devices proposed by workshop givers, the structure of a seminar and the score as learning through practice tool.

      More information about the block soon!

    •  

       

      Perform Back Score
      Conditions for the emergence of poetics
      A way of life



      Perform Back Score was a proposal for the block Jan/April 2015 of the post masters a.pass (advanced performance and scenography studies) in Brussels. The program is based on 4 months blocks throughout the year, each of them concentrating on specific curatorial proposals concerned with contemporary art practices, the present socioeconomic paradigm and the role of education.

      As associate program curator for the first four months of 2014, 2015 and 2016 my focus was and is on how systems of interaction in the arts contribute to the production (process? creation?) of knowledge, first of all in the educational context and consequently, in my belief, in other social environments. I take these systems as scores that, when followed rigorously, demand the implication of individual engagement and resources in a much needed share-ability within a system of production and observation.
      In the act of giving attention to one’s own work, to the other’s work but also to the group and its context, the ecological and social aspects of art making are reflected and expanded. The inter-subjective bound takes place beyond the art works and practices themselves but in the act of paying attention, of observing and being observed.

      In 2014 I proposed in this same context a score for dialogue through writing titled “Writing Scores” where the participants were invited to meet weekly for a Q&A format practice where writing was the tool to deepen the observation of one’s own work methodologies and interests as well as the development of writing itself. This score allowed for valuable understanding of the individual and collective practices and stressed writing as a working tool for collaboration. For this time the focus was on performance as a discursive practice.

      PBScore

      PBScore is a score based on performance as a form of dialogue. For each session each participant presented a maximum 5 minutes long performance  that were showed one after the other without interruption in our weekly meetings. While assisting in each other’s performances, participants took notes and from those notes key words were pronounced to start a discussion about our impressions. At the end of each session participants selected to whom they wanted to reply to the week after and
      in between sessions, a report was written based on the keywords and the conversation that followed. The 9 sessions took place once a week between January and March 2015.
       
      The score participant in each performance exposed his /her own semantics, by constructing a response to another participant, activating a critical standpoint that in its turn become the object of critical observation. The players, by accepting the pre-established rules agreed to play the game that excluded them from daily routine and brought them to a concrete situation limited in time and space. This specific score was dealing simultaneously with the exclusion from daily life or personal  practice and the inclusion in a situation of dialogue through singular aesthetics. The participants instead of relating to material that they select through their interests and methodology had instead to relate to material that came from the other participants, bringing them to relate in ways that were not their usual approach.  The overall format of presentation was also not a familiar one, even though it had the condition of a stage.  A small area formed by mobile walls created a room in a room, a video camera was standing outside the space in the centre, the other participants stood behind the camera unless it was assigned other wise by the performer.
      The same situation re-started the following week at point zero again. The number and the mood of the players changed each time we re-started allowing for radical exposure and deep critic. The week after, the players could have been others, the response to ones previous performance could have not been present ... By playing the score there was the acceptance of inconsistency, of moving in blurry waters, of taking care of the space in between.What kind of attention is given when one spends some time reflecting and trying to respond carefully to another's aesthetic proposal?

      There is a strong political stand point on the giving of time, of taking the other seriously, on paying attention to someone or something that might and most probably will not give you anything concrete back, apart from the sustainability of dialogue indispensable for practicing being alive, being human.


      The score as partner that speaks back /
      Performance as feedback study

      The first impulse to make such a proposal came from my desire to make  art speak through its own practice. I wanted to confront discourse to other forms of language, in this case performance and its discursive potential. Not in a linear, brick by brick, way of constructing meaning, but in an assemblage of atemporal experiences. The performances replied the previous performance creating another time space relationship with the questions that were originated. The meaning was build by bubbles that had affinities between them and these bubbles created a rhyzomatic structure of thought and experience.

      I’m very interested in the idea of emphasising method as a collaborator that makes visible and foregrounds the dialogue between several elements and layers of the art works. When we take the structure of a project as an active collaborator by making its conditions operational and visible, we engage in the observation of those conditions on the work itself, revealing their intrinsic potential for communication, sharing and learning. PBScore intention is to invite the structure to be a partner of reflection, encapsulating the work in restrictions (like time, spacial area, technical tools where all limited) but forcing it to spill over when manipulated, crafted and exposed to others. The score as a structure allowed to set up the rules of the game and generate a dynamic of encounters that were the container for the performance experiences.

      In other words, by proposing an observation standpoint, a frame to look through, the score reflects at the same time the event itself and our individual and collective relation towards it.
      In the case of PBScore, the co-habitation of the performances, the observation lens (score), the subjects and the time we shared, were all partakers in the action of learning and constituted the conditions for the emergence of meaning and its share-ability.

      For example some of the participants decided to work with a same material during the 9 sessions making the material work on its flexibility, adaptability to the other and therefor discovering situations that would not have come by themselves. In these cases the score worked as a lens, amplifying the potential of the material itself and shifting our attention as witnesses into the potential inherent to the material. Others worked more intuitively, choosing on element of the performance they had to reply to, and transforming it, giving it another meaning, deviating it from it’s first sense, discovering in this case what catches the eye. Others functioned was translators of performances and in other cases a subject as the ‘hand’ became topic for a long sequence of proposals and responses.

      Obviously not all these  responses worked as we wanted. Many questions appeared towards the sense one could make out of it. In some cases they worked critically, other times as negations, or as empathy.


      Laboratory/observatory

      As an  laboratory/observatory  this process raised some questions: What do we do when we are responding to each other? What criteria do we use to select what to respond to? Critical thought? The affect towards another? Philosophical stand points? Political correctness? Desire?

      PBScore wanted to isolate responses in time and space in order to observe and reflect on dialogical mechanisms between the object of observation and the observer, between the one who answers and the one who listens. The process of this observation was individual and private  in a first instance to then became  individual and collective in the moment of sharing with the other members of the group. The weekly meetings and the time for reflection and constructing responses had quite different qualities in the process of the score. On the one hand the in-between periods in which each participant had the other in mind, living together in a way, with the proposal s/he had to reply to, and on the other hand the exposure of each participant in the collective weekly moments. These two divergent poles of activity combined the subjective agency of the participants with the social agencies  created by the context of a.pass.

      These intimacy and ‘extimacy’ moments elaborated on the process of learning not just as an individual practice depending on each person’s singular perception, but extending it to social and collective environment. In this case the environment of the post-master participants in performance and scenography studies with a focus on self-education and collaboration. My interest at this point was to practice the construction of art (knowledge) through exposure, share-ability and critical endeavour in a context of plural aesthetics.
      What happens when one has to engage with the work of another when at first instance there is no affinity?  What happens if there is a void, an incapacity of response? Or the other way around, what happens when the work of another seems to speak a very close language?

      The interest was not in creating a common standpoint for our different perceptual conditions and reflections on the performance objects that  we were part of,  but in creating an environment where those conditions and reflections could co-exist and be exchanged, allowing for critical observation, empathy, accidental correspondences, nothing, etc.
      More than in a place for common understanding, we created an experimental surface for communication in artistic research where one could observe one’s own strategies but also the ones of others, all of them contributing in a singular engagement within a group of obviously heterogeneous beings forming a plurality.
      I mean by this that the multi focal lens of this  score / tool is an apparatus for the co-habitation of different aspects of the being together, becoming a mirror of the situation itself. A mirror for the sociability implied in art making.

      These aspect was also enhanced by some performances that asked for the participation of all people present, breaking the separation  between the performance and the audience and engaging in another form of socialisation. But big contrasts happened when the next performance was a dance solo exposing the fact of being traversed by vital forces or a video piece with historical concerns on the notion of display, having in both cases a classical relation between the performance and the audience.

      PBScore comes from my desire to use performance practice in the service of dialogical contexts such as schools, art laboratories, performative encounters or any other environment in which the study of art, perception and knowledge processes is at stake. It's a learning-by-doing tool that pays attention to attention, that wants to go beyond the production of art and wants to engage in the production of life through artistic practice. Is that possible?
      I’m interested in a ‘practice the practice’ tool that sustains the learning by experience and supports the development of our relations towards the world through our concerns about the practice itself. A way to get closer, to look deeper, and at the end a way to experience present and presence. A way to re-actualise ourselves through the politics inherent in such systems of awareness, collaboration and responsibility.

      Theatre

      I would like to make an analogy to the theatre apparatus where the performers and the audience use the physical, social and political conditions of that environment as indicators of a way of looking and that frame the aesthetic experience.
      The theatre is an observatory per excellence but maybe one that is a bit too well-known. I don't think the audience presupposes anymore that everyone that sees a performance at the same time would have the same kind of interaction with it. But I want to insist exactly in that point, and to try to not pre-suppose but to be there, regardless of a strong drive in actual politics for standardisation. I’m looking here at the physical theatre and at performance (in all its forms) as places/spaces of diversity and difference which propose a way of thinking the arts as a perceptual apparatus provoking singular relations between the individual, the collective and the political.
      And with this is mind my attention at this point goes to the question: What happens when the theatre also allows for forms of non-representation, for states of presence that enhance our sociability, our criticality, our life processing capacities? There is a lot to say about this and many works lately have been developed under this question from the academic realm to the social field. In the case of PBScore the art maker and the spectator were part of the same group, alternating positions and being knowledgeable of both sides, augmenting exactly the capacity of the feedback machine that art can be but also making from each of the participants a producer and dissolving the idea of audience.
      The PBScore is an individual learning tool in a collective environment not searching for a conclusion but for a way of working together as neighbours, as important feedbackers, as engaged partners, as critical colleagues, as potential opponents in a process of orientation towards something, towards the communication of perceptual knowledge, towards the political in art making.


      Score as ecosystem

      As an interface for communication the score allows for the emergence of different voices like ghosts haunting the sensible acknowledgement of knowledge, process and concepts of art. Each participant had the same conditions to draw intentions, design orientations, make statements, have fun, take a piss, etc…, through performance practice. The scored created a force surface for the exposure of multiple existences. But what maintained the desire to come back next week? Was it the responsibility towards the other? The curiosity for the next response? The will to belong to a group? The drive of performing?

      PBScore as a horizontal structure brought about the responsibility of the ones involved as far as they wanted to be involved. It’s a structure that sustained and renewed itself on the basis of the participants and their presence. Like in any ecosystem, the species that constitute it, are the creators and instigators of the development of the ecosystem itself, their interaction constitutes its sustainability. Interestingly enough, the positions of each participant were not stable and none of them represented a fixed part of the ecosystem, but rather all of them were mutating pieces of a puzzle that constructed itself on the go. Mutual opportunism and  generosity are two sides of the same coin, like a parasitic system without aim, living for the sake of living while deepening the understanding of that specific life.
      This experience brings to the fore a complex number of elements that are inherent to a way of feeling/thinking. It reveals a universe  of interrelations between the chosen elements, forming forces of speech and the sensible that contain political perspectives and ideological concerns. Both aesthetics and ethics are intertwined  in a concise moment of exposure and attention. Justification is out of the game and rather observation and the 'being with it' are the rules through which feeling and opinion appear. Every participant is a centre with a culture, a history, a socioeconomic reality, a philosophical attitude creating therefor a poli-centered temporary community. In my opinion PBScore enhanced being plural and different as fundamentals of an ecosystem where each of the participants has a voice, where there's no obligation, where the ecosystem can't exist beyond the presence and engagement of who is part of it but exists on the tension of the plural.

      It makes me want to write down some formats that were at stake with this group of people. From dream oracles exposed through dance,  an historical fiction figure revealed through lecture performance format, trans-gender being re-actualised through documentary and live transformation, pornography in internet as a result of internet research, self becoming though the extreme use of theatre apparatus (lights, costumes, seduction, etc),  the concept of the angel creating the availability to receive/ become and much more.

      Empathetic, disruptive, enthusiastic, doubtful or convinced forces were 'performing' each time without dominating in an absolute fashion the ecosystem. This experimental format functioned as a study about aesthetics and co-existence in the performing arts, it developed special awareness about ways of thinking,  composing, sharing and engaging with a group. It gave focus to the performer, the performance space and the context where it takes place as a micro environment where the language is performance, image, text, sound, action, painting or dance…


      Flexible community without aim

      This horizontal structure implied a flexible community. A temporary, always different group of people, formed  and unformed around the weekly meetings. This score allowed for the building of a temporary community that established relations between its members and developed the sense of the doing. Performance became the time we spent together, a language spoken within this community. The system built means for communication and created the conditions for the emergence of poetics like vessels, bones, particles, all in movement. The ‘messages’ circulated through those vessels, inciting exchange and therefor producing change as a ‘natural’ consequence.

      The temporality aspect of the event and therefor of the community are very important. The score is performed in time, when it’s happening, allowing everyone to work with the present conditions and not aim for ideal circumstances,  a idealised future, or for the definition of a stale identity. Following this thought, the system can’t be understood as a goal but as a medium taking care that the  ephemeral quality of this particular process produces a vulnerable attitude towards the experience of art. It’s enhancing the desire to exchange and share worlds through practice and is not aiming to get to conclusions. If the system becomes an aim itself , it will just reproduce what we already know incapacitating the playing as revelatory practice. It is a process and it exists in the process of just doing it. But why just do it?

      Here, I would like to make a parallel between a practice like yoga or dance or a reading group for example, happening in a collective environment, and the need for sociability that brings together the individual and the collective. These gatherings set ups are learning together tools based in attention and observation. The knowledge acquired doesn’t serve anything else the vitality of knowledge itself, allowing all participants to learn through the other. These social environments are like battery  centres that inform forms of life sustained by sociability itself.  The process of socialisation  (spending time together) is endless and is pregnant, as there is the potential for the dissolution of duality between me and the other as fixed territories, the desire to become many /one. Like in a house of mirrors, PBScore was a device to the reflection and refracting of one’s one image, opening up ways of seeing, feeling and thinking the self though the other.

      The contamination of the one by the other was one of the ‘technics’ that appeared through out the score in different fashions. I remember one day someone we didn’t know presenting himself as someone that was already part of the score group and playing her role. Or the physical transformation someone into another, becoming then 2 participants which we never knew who would come to play.


      On the presence of the body

      One of the strongest rules of the PBScore is that one can not participate remotely. The presence of the body was absolutely necessary to play and witness the process of dialogue through performance in this score. As I could observe in the Writing Score proposed in 2014 the fact of gathering weekly to read the individual writings and continue the 'game' always in the presence and gaze of the others, created a specific dynamics through the rhythm of the encounters.
      The collective agreement to meet weekly created a ritualised social time/ space where alliances were built. This way a group of people created an extra - everyday rhythm where we could question and celebrate our practices.

      One of the conditions of the performing arts relies on the presence of the performers and of the audience, on the act of exchange between both parties which dissolves once the performance is over. But also on the act of memory that is activated at the precise same moment the performance disappeared and which is followed by the action of re-telling or re-processing what has happened. The intimate experience of witnessing resonates in parallel with the distance it requires to process it afterwards, both these factors are indeed of major importance in the study of performance as a critical tool. Digesting the other is of major importance for a becoming of the social body, for the possibility of a future not yet known.

      The continuous necessity of presence and distance, of the communal and the individual spaces are the necessary conditions to unravel sense(s), the relation(s) that take place, the conditions for the emergence of directions, orientations or inclinations towards what is to come. Considering these thoughts PBScore was proposing performance as rumour, as the re-telling of what has happened in one’s own gestures and gesticulations in order to re-actualise the dialogue constantly.
      To be able to participate one needs the public and the private, the institution (the score in this case in the frame of a.pass) and the intimate. PBScore was an invitation to all participants to come back to the place of the crime. An invitation to re-read and re-write presences, to unfold the stories created by the gatherings, to reformulate what remains and transforms in memory and sets the ground for the present to be.

      Every moment is unique, this time is not like the next time, what I think and feel now in this situation will not be the same in another situation. I am here and I am processing and contributing consciously and unconsciously, together and alone, deliberately or not, to what is happening, etc. Performing arts create a ritual of  presences, create a contract of attention and response between all parties. Something is unfolding and we all are part of it, we all think it, feel it, share it, though no one owns it and no one is the same. What a beautiful state to be in!

      Documentation

      This publication contains reflections about what happened in those three months. The film documentation that was used through out the score will not be used in a public realm. All the videos were data to come back to one’s own performance or the performance of another in order to reply. The use of the video camera delimitated a space of action that also functioned as another rule of the score. I remember someone performing in darkness, or doing nothing or bringing the other participants to the camera field as ways to deal with the paradoxical situation of being filmed in this context.  I don’t think the camera was at the end of much use, even though for some people the concrete material became material to construct upon.
      Another insert in this publication are the 9 reports, 8 written by myself and 1 by Philippine Hoegen that follow up the content that came about after each session.
      What is more striking to me is the fact that there is rather an afterthought built in linear language, creating an history in contrast to an absence of poetics that were all there was to experience. Maybe there’s exactly where lays the potential of performance.
      Something to think about!


      Lilia Mestre





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