Agamben – Nudities
Summarises my view on artistic research perfectly….
Chapter 10 Nudities ‘The Last Chapter in the History of the World’ – Agamben
“in the Marionette or in God” von Kleist (Agamben’s quote)
“The ways in which we do not know things are just as important and perhaps even more important as the ways in which we know them. There are ways of not knowing…that lead to clumsiness and ugliness, but there are others – the unselfconsciousness of Kleists young man (this is a ref to on the puppet theatre) – whose completeness we never tire of admiring…
We could say what is most intimate and nourishing does not take the form of science but of grace and testimony..
Perhaps a zone of non-knowledge does not exist at all, perhaps only its gestures exist..
As Kleist understood so well, the relationship with a zone of non-knowledge is a dance”.
the theme integrated the more theoretical aspects of my research paper in which I developed an approach to intermediality that draws from Giorgio Agamben’s gestural theory and introduced the concept of the intermedial gesture as a means of understanding the ways in which a variety of artists use intermediality within their practice.
Practically I needed to understand how to investigate liminality because the scope of this subject is potentially so broad. Initially I started looking at how liminality might impact on my media practice which synergised with the theme of the research paper.
I realised that my studio practice was becoming limiting and I devised the idea of liminal studio…
….as a kind of mobile studio on a threshold. I had the Dead House studio in mind, a liminal building (ex mortuary) in a liminal place, Chesil beach, a shingle spit separating the waters of the channel from the brackish water of the fleet lagoon.
I developed the idea of the liminal image…
…which is a combination of positive and negative images, either formed directly by projection on a screen, by chemical printing or digitally (blend modes in photography and video). I was interested in the way images can be made to emerge or disappear using these kinds of combinations which are taken for granted in motion graphics. This also linked with my reading around the negative in Unit 1.
I also conceived of structuring my moving image work around opposites in general and then thinking about the liminal zone in between;
positive-negative, macro-micro, motion-stillness, montage-blend, grey-colour, silence-sound.
Looking back I see this approach feeding through into all aspects of the final show.
My encounter with the exhibition The Boat is leaking. The Captain lied…
..inspired me to consider how radical intermedial combinations (in this case involving artists filmmakers and scenographers) extended the conception of intermediality far beyond the boundaries I had initially imagined.
Meanwhile William Forsyths idea of the choreographic object directed me to the idea of the animated object in a performative space
To compliment the media research I also undertook broader research on liminality that led me to research beaches (location of the liminal studio) and ruins in more detail.
and finally to focus on ruins but extend this to include the performative role of the ragpicker…
and also the fragment..
The role of the ragpicker returned me to two artists who I had engaged with briefly, earlier in Unit 1 – Mark Bradford and Theaster Gates.
Their use of recycled materials and objects (readymades) renergised my interest in this way of working, as did their socially engaged practice.
Finally I returned to the intermedial gesture. My research into puppetry (especially the work of Wael Shawky) and also von Kleist writing on marionettes
led me back to Agamben and Notes on Gesture, and also Calvino and Odradek where I started this blog.
This is a linking up of various apparently fragmentary themes of the reflective journal, starting with Calvino and Odradek, moving through Kleist to Agamben.
Finally, closely associated with Notes on Gesture, I discovered a chapter of Agamben in Nudities
This has served as my guiding text for artistic research later on Unit 2 and I suspect in the future – artistic research as a kind of dance between knowledge and non-knowledge.
The following articles deal with artistic research as a kind of liminal activity, working along boundaries – by Henk Borgdoff
Experimental systems is a good resource – highlights links between research processes and experimental sciences.